My comments for the Byron Linear Park and Westgate re-zonings
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Home / My comments for the Byron Linear Park and Westgate re-zonings
It can sometimes be difficult to navigate the City's website to view items on committee agendas. To make things a little easier, here are my comments related to the Byron Linear Park re-zoning that has been recommended by staff to allow the continued operation of the farmers market there, as well as the Westgate shopping mall re-development, also recommended by planning staff for approval. View the full reports here, including development details and staff recommendations.
Both of these items will be heard by the Planning Committee on March 28. Residents are encouraged to avail themselves of a five-minute speaking spot. It's appreciated when you can sign up ahead of time with the committee clerk, though you can also sign up on the spot.
For more on the 1960 Scott Street proposal, of which I am not supportive, visit here.
The proposed Westgate Secondary Plan and associated documents including the Westgate Master Plan and public realm plan are, at the high level, an appropriate planning framework for this key parcel and surrounding area.
Kitchissippi residents are generally in favour of the Westgate redevelopment, and I am supportive of greater height and density on this under-utilized land. Predictably, I am particularly keen to see cycling improvements foreseen by the plan on Carling implemented as quickly as possible, and I will be asking staff to take whatever steps necessary to leverage those beginning with the first phase of construction.
The comments submitted by the Carlington Community Association and Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association are constructive.
The CCA's comments with respect to facades, set-backs, vehicular access from Carling, a buffer zone in the Arterial Mainstreet Lands and suggested permitted use restrictions are particularly well-received and my request of planning staff are to incorporate those into a revised secondary plan before that is presented to Planning Committee.
The comments by the CHNA mostly related to traffic are also well-received. The recently-announced decision to move the Civic campus of The Ottawa Hospital to the CEF-east location will fundamentally change transportation patterns in the whole of the near west of Ottawa. While neither Westgate nor the Civic will be built tomorrow, it is incumbent on the City, working with land developers and the Province, to begin planning the long-term transportation plans for this area.
I am pleased that in the preceding weeks, the Secondary Plan language has been bolstered with the addition of Neighbourhood Line language. My strong expectation is that this line will be respected, and that the community will be able to derive some certainty that the City will demand appropriate setbacks and other mitigations to retain the low-rise nature of the area south of the line.
I am concerned that the Master Plan speaks to the elimination of a requirement for an Official Plan Amendment should the RioCan project not incorporate a community facility. While it is not strictly in the proponent's hands whether the City funds such a facility or not, a secondary plan requirement will help motivate negotiations.
Finally, the Westgate Parking Strategy is cause for some discomfort. This development will eventually be served with true rapid transit. The plan on first glance over-provisions residential parking. The project's sustainability will depend on an aggressive effort to boost transit and active transportation modal shares. The current parking plan works counter to that thrust.
Byron Linear Park
I am pleased to support the proposed re-zoning to allow the Westboro Farmers Market to continue to operate in its current location. The proposal has not been without contention. While a large majority of residents have written and otherwise expressed their support for its continued operation here, the discussions that have taken place through consultation require addressing.
Some residents have cited traffic/parking, noise, garbage, the degradation of grassed areas, and the general encroachment of commercial activities into public space as rationale for asking Council to reject this zoning change.
Since the beginning of this term of Council, I have been in regular touch with the Ottawa Farmers Market about mitigating the impact of their operations. City staff and I have had several meetings recently to discuss potential mitigation strategies, as well as a meeting with market staff to reiterate and address our concerns. Earlier in the term we facilitated an agreement for storage space in nearby municipal facilities that has reduced the setup time necessary for operations, and the market has proactively addressed many noise, garbage and bicycle parking initiatives.
I am aware of the strong potential to widen the Byron path, which would see merchants set up immediately adjacent to the asphalt, minimizing wear and tear on the grass. Though this is not guaranteed, I have expressed my hope this project could be prioritized given its potential to mitigate concerns associated with the popular market.
The need to address parking and traffic considerations is important, and I am looking forward to working with residents on potential parking restrictions that would mitigate some of the safety issues associated with the driver behavior in that vicinity. Recognizing that Westboro residents overwhelmingly welcome the market in their neighbourhood, I am satisfied that both Market and City staff are committed to addressing outstanding concerns.