Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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Settling Rochester Field’s future

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Community associations, condo boards and other stakeholders were yesterday given a head’s up by the City that it has undertaken to revise the Official Plan to settle the question of Rochester Field’s future. The proposal, part and parcel of the agreement to use NCC land for light rail, would see a major portion of the land preserved as open space, with much of it allowed for development.

In 2003, the City designated the NCC land commonly called Rochester Field as Major Open Space. That would have prevented any major development. The NCC disputed that designation, and took the City to the Ontario Municipal Board. That appeal was indefinitely postponed.

An agreement to split the land into Major Open Space and General Urban Area came out of the negotiations that led to permission by the NCC for the City to use its lands for the western light rail route. The proposed approximate split is shown in the attached picture, and the exact boundary would be developed through a secondary planning process. Note that I've asked a local designer to overlay the map provided by the City (attached as a .gif file below) as accurately as possible on a satellite map for clarity's sake. The cross-hatched area would be redesignated general urban - the rest would remain open space. When the paperwork is finished, the NCC will withdraw its OMB appeal.

The new designation is expected to go to Planning Committee on December 3. Precise zoning (what uses would be permitted in the new General Urban Area land, for instance), would follow as the NCC continues to consult and plan for a Sir John A. Macdonald linear park, and proposes in a concept plan how it would like to develop the remaining land.

Dividing the area into open space and developable land is part of the memorandum of understanding signed between the City and NCC as part of a package deal. Our opportunity to put Rochester Field to best public use (I know many in the community would like to see, for example, a soccer pitch), and to control what development will happen on the rest of the land will come down the road. But, these are issues worth raising now for future consideration.

I encourage everyone to reach out to me and to their community associations or condo boards with feedback.


Posted August 28, 2015