HON. JOHN MANLEY

3rd August 2000
Mr. Quentin Bristow
Billings Avenue
Ottawa, ON
KIH 5L6

Dear Mr. Bristow:

Thank you for your response to my letter regarding the development of the Rideau Veteran lands. I regret the delay in replying to you.

The federal government has taken the public interest into consideration concerning the current plans for redevelopment. First, the disposal of federal surplus lands - dictated by a Treasury Board policy - requires that surplus properties must be circulated among all federal departments, crown corporations and agencies to determine if the government has any interest in protecting or acquiring these lands. This process for the property was carried out in 1995/96 with the result being no federal or public interest in the Rideau Veteran lands.

In addition to circulation at the federal level, Treasury Board policy requires that properties be circulated among all other levels of government including school boards. In the case of the Rideau Veteran lands, the circulation among all levels of government was conducted simultaneously with no one identifying an interest. In particular, the Ontario the level of government responsible for the provision of health care services, indicated that it had no interest in the lands even though these lands are located immediately adjacent to other existing health care facilities.

In 1997, Public Works and Government Services (PWGSC) was authorized to market the property for disposal to the private sector - with no restrictive covenants on potential uses. The property was publicly advertised and bids solicited. The only offer received was judged too low and the property was subsequently offered to the Canada Lands Company. Sale of the land to the CLC was the best decision because the government received full market value for the property and as a result of its mandate, the CLC is obligated to respect government policies in regards to environmental, heritage issues and federal policy directions.
[The italics are mine; the only consideration in that decision should have been how best to serve the public interest - not how to maximise the financial return for the government! In this case that is not served by imposing an unnecessary and unwanted office/residential development on the local community, with the attendant traffic congestion, noise and air pollution ]

Furthermore, the current CLC development plans for these lands are fully consistent with the municipally-approved Visioning Study (1994-95), the Alta Vista/ Smyth Road Planning Study (Aug.'96), and Official Plan Amendment #22 (1997), all of which were the subject of extensive public consultations. It is my understanding that the land uses currently approved for the property and bein- implemented by CLC residential, institutional/office, and a seniors/graduated care facility - are consistent with the public interest expressed during these Visioning and Planning studies. The CLC's current development proposals were also the subject of a public meeting and an appeal process established under the Provincial Planning Act. It is important to remember that both the City and Region approved both of the CLC's re-zoning and subdivision applications.

If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

Yours very truly,

John Manley