Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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190 Richmond Road (Superstore) at Planning next week

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The proposal for two new six-storey rental buildings to be build by Choice REIT on the site of the Superstore will be at Planning Committee for its approval next Tuesday. I am supportive of this proposal after extensive consultation and given its compliance with the high-level plans for the neighbourhood. There will be a new park built on the Superstore site with the development, and I'll continue to work with the community on pedestrian and cycling access through the site, as well as the new park layout.

You can read the full report by clicking on the .pdf document below. You can read all the details on the committee agenda page here. My comments (contained in the report) were as follows:

The proposal for 190 Richmond Road has been subjected to significant consultation since first proposed, and I’ve been pleased to bring some new tools to the discussion. Through that consultation, I am comfortable that the development is at an appropriate 13 scale and will contribute some positive features such as more rental housing in the neighbourhood – much-needed – as well as a new park.

The Community Design Plan and Secondary Plan anticipate development at this scale. While I’m cognizant that any new development in Westboro – and particularly at this controversial site – will have detractors, I believe the fundamental principles for development in our ward should be followed: we should plan for growth, and then stick to those plans.

I am pleased that two key changes were made in the course of consultation. First, the building is further set back than from where first proposed, and there is a significant step-back after the fourth floor. Both changes have been made to accomplish my and resident’s key consideration that the building’s significant massing not have an unacceptable impact on Byron Linear Park.

I have spent several hours speaking with cycling and walking passers-by at a “pop-up” pathside consultation, and am comfortable that a mainstream of people with whom we’ve consulted are generally not in opposition.

I would draw colleagues’ attention to the appendix (document 6) to my comments, a report I commissioned from Milieu Technologies to help me understand sentiment about this development. I invite colleagues to peruse it. It was extremely helpful to me in understanding ward sentiment toward this proposal, and to help me assess the proposals pros and cons.

The report raises one problematic consideration. When first proposed, and in the first rounds of consultation, residents had been told that this development would be geared towards seniors, which helped increase receptivity to it. After most of the consultation was done, the developer switched course, proposing that these would be rentals for a general population. While my office subsequently alerted residents to the proposed change in use, and relatively minimal feedback was returned for us, I consider that while legal, this should not be the norm in these discussions. When developers are ready to present a proposal to the community, it is reasonable to expect that they will present the planned use in a transparent fashion.

With that said I do thank staff in my office, the City and at Choice for the efforts put into several consultation rounds. Some work remains, such as a parks planning process to determine how the s.37 funds for the new City park will be allocated, as well as finalizing a workable plan for the path used by many to cut through the site from north to south.

Posted May 18, 2017