Welcome to the community page of Quentin Bristow's website.
He is a 39 year resident of Billings Avenue, Ottawa South, in Canada's National Capital

(email: qbristow@bell.net)

Last update July 2011

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I am a member of the Faircrest Heights Community Association (FHCA). On this site I post any correspondence with officialdom that I have concerning green space preservation and other issues which affect Billings Avenue particularly. There may be some overlap with the FHCA website from time to time, but as far as I am concerned the more information that is disseminated about local issues the better.

I am also connected to the Federation of Citizens Associations (FCA), an organisation which tries to coordinate all the volunteer resources across the region, to zero in on issues where a particular community is threatened with unwelcome development or whatever. There is a section with postings of highlights and ongoing issues that are on their radar screen as well.

One of the main concerns of all the community associations in the Ottawa South area, is to try to head off any attempts by the various levels of government to divest themselves of existing local green spaces for development. The remaining urban green spaces in this area are largely owned by various levels of government. Members volunteer to prepare briefs and present them to the weekday hearings of municipal committees which make decisions on development projects and zoning proposals, as and when necessary to try and protect the quality of life in this area.

In general the only ones who have the time and expertise to do that are retired people with experience in dealing with bureaucracies. The many thousands of residents who are affected by such plans usually have busy working lives with children to bring up and support and simply do not have the time to devote to such activities. As a result they are usually unaware of what is going on except in a general way.

You will find links below (in an environmentally fetching shade of green), to correspondence that I have had with the city, excerpts of planning documents which the city publishes and makes available to the public, letters to politicians at various levels and so on. For example applications for new developments (housing, office, or whatever) are vetted by city staff and part of the relevant planning document which is published must contain a section on "Public Input/Public Comment".

The reaction of the affected communities is gauged by the city staff based on that consultation. More people would probably bat off emails if they were aware at any given time that proposals that could affect their neigbourghoods were under active consideration. It is therefore important to try and keep people in the area up to speed on what is in store for them while there is still time for them to make their voices heard in the 'Public Input/Pulic Comment' phases of the planning studies. With the advent of email it is a very simple matter to lodge a written comment with the city, which the staff are then bound to register and consider.

Urban parklands and vacant crown lands in inner city areas and on the outskirts, which are owned by one or other level of government are always under threat. My philosophy is that there are essentially three stakeholders in these lands; communities, governments and developers, each of whom view them through different prisms as follows:

Stakeholders Benefit Space Colour
Communities recreational green spaces
Governments all negative
red spaces
Developers lucrative gold spaces

This means that there is an unfortunate synergy at work between red and gold, both have a strong incentive to cooperate in deleting the green and they frequently do. For example it is not at all unusual for developers to be on city councils.

The one thing that can counter this synergy is vigorous opposition from the local communities affected by potential "deletions" of their greenspaces. It can be very effective if enough people get involved, which veterans of the local AVERT campaign (Alta Vista Environmental Rescue Team) will remember. There was enough public uproar over the proposed wholesale disposal of the NCC greenbelt lands in this area, that the municipalities stepped in and acquired most of them to be retained as green spaces.

Below are listed links to other relevant web sites, and the email addresses and phone and Fax numbers of Politicians and municipal staff who should be concerned with community opinion.

Politicians (Ottawa South)
David McGuinty
M.P. Ottawa South
Website: davidmcaguinty.com
Dalton McGuinty
MPP Ottawa South
Website: daltonmcguinty.com
Peter Hume
City of Ottawa Councillor
Tel: 613 580-2488
email: peter.hume@ottawa.ca

A list of the provincial government ministers and opposition critics, can be found at:
Queens Park Ministers listing
A Directory of City of Ottawa councillors can be found at:
Listing of Councillors

The federal government agency set up to dispose of crown lands that are surplus to program requirements is the Canada Lands Company. It seems that they may well be involved in the development of other substantial portions of the Hospital lands adjoining Smyth Road, so it is worth a visit to their website to see what their mandate is.