Earlier in the year the committee sentenced the community to an unwanted and
unnecessary office/residential complex with its approval of the Canada Lands
project for the former Rideau Veterans site, with the comment from two members
that the project would be "good for the community". No one who lives in the
community can identify a single scintilla of benefit to anyone - except the self
perpetuating crown agency Canada Lands, and whichever developer is lucky enough
to do the construction.
This was particularly galling because the site is crown land (in which all taxpayers
and voters have a stake), and it should not have been disposed of without a careful
consideration of the public interest issues involved.
We now discover that this project was just the hors d'oeuvres. The entrée is going
to kill our quality of life completely. It seems that we can now look forward very
soon to weekday construction going on from dawn to dusk . Unless the necessary
additional roads are in place, there will be cement trucks and other noisy heavy
equipment, puffing out mushroom clouds of diesel soot with every gear-change,
chugging back and forth along Smyth Road and Alta Vista Drive, and this will
continue for possibly ten years!
The proposed CMA building is a big part of the new development and I understand
that it alone will bring in (eventually) 650 new employees with their cars and their
needs for housing. Few if any will come off the city welfare rolls - they will be drawn
in from other areas, likely outside the region. The same will almost certainly be true
for all the other new employees who will be working in the two million square feet
of new space. We can therefore look forward to more developments like the Hunt
Club/Conroy road in the vicinity, spilling traffic through our community .
The lions share of the new development is on crown land, but most of it is health-
related and it would be difficult to argue that it is not in the public interest. The
CMA building however is another matter, it is the headquarters for the physicians
advocacy group. The Canadian Medical Association is of course primarily concerned
with promoting the professional and financial interests of physicians across Canada.
The new building will not therefore be a facility dedicated to the public interest.
However, since the land is privately owned, the argument cannot be made that this
should be a factor in the approval process, nevertheless, the impact on the
community in terms of traffic and street parking at the very busy intersection of
Smyth road and Alta Vista drive, should surely be a factor.
Without new roadways, the traffic study shows that when all the new development
is in place, we will then see the rush-hour traffic on those two existing roads
increase from the current sixteen hundred cars per hour, to an estimated forty six
hundred per hour, or about three cars every two seconds.
Today we are in a situation where a committee is being asked to approve a major
project which will clearly exacerbate the existing traffic and parking congestion in
the surrounding communities, when it has only a few days left to serve, and with
the future development approval process largely undetermined.
Under the circumstances, I submit that the proper course for the committee now is
to put a freeze on the approvals of any of the development in the table above, until
the new administration (with a new mandate and a new modus operandi), has had a
chance to review the recommendations of the traffic study, chief among which is
the putting in place of new infrastructure, primarily roadways which will be
adequate to cope with the traffic.
If approval for this project is granted in haste, it will create a precedent and tie the
hands of the next committee by triggering a green light for all the other projects to
go ahead, with no commitment to budget for the necessary infrastructure.
Plans for infrastructure to cope with traffic and street parking must be made,
with funding attached, as a sine-qua-non before any of the above development