This report, which appeared in the June 2000 issue of the local newspaper "VISTAS", has not generated any more feedback than the first one did!

Region rejects City request for link from Health Complex to Riverside Drive

By Quentin Bristow

On February 16th of this year, city council passed a resolution calling on the region for the second time, to commit to the construction of a portion of the Alta Vista Parkway linking the Smyth Road Health Complex to Riverside Drive. Regional municipality staff prepared a report recommending rejection of the request and this was considered by the Regional Transportation Committee on the 19th of April. The report argued that the new 12 week transportation study for the whole area, currently underway, is needed before any decisions on upgrading the infrastructure to support additional development in the Health Complex can be made. The comment was also made during the staff presentation that because of the closing of the Rideau Veterans Hosptal, there is now actually less traffic along Smyth Road than there was ten years ago.

In my presentation to the committee I suggested that the staff member must be living on another planet if he was unaware of the horrendous commuter traffic problem that the new Conroy/Hunt Club road development has created in our area. I indicated that the ideal solution would be a freeze on further development in the Health Complex, rather than the new road, but that if the additional development is approved, then there must be infrastructure upgrading to accommodate the traffic increase.

Councillor Hume stated that up to 1.8 million square feet of development is on the books for that site, with just under half of that scheduled to begin within the next three years, and that the region needed the hard evidence which only a formal traffic study might provide, to present at the appeal hearings before the Ontario Municipal Board which would surely follow any decision by the region to freeze development in the site, most of which is crown land. The city request was voted down by the Regional Transportation Committee.

This frustrating exercise once again underlines the need for joint consultation by all levels of government to ensure that the disposal of crown lands surrounded by residential communities (such as the Rideau Veterans lands), is done with the public interest being the only objective, as opposed to simply allowing uses which generate the largest return and compromise the local quality of life, as is the case at present.

I have posted correspondence I have had with politicians on this and other matters on my personal website at: http://www.cyberus.ca/~qbristow I can be reached by email at: qbristow@eisa.com or: qbristow@cyberus.ca