cbc.ca: Mayor’s committee picks challenged

12 12 2018

Mayor’s committee picks challenged

9 councillors vote against list that’s usually rubber stamped



cbc.ca: Secretive process leaves urban councillors on sidelines

12 12 2018

Secretive process leaves urban councillors on sidelines

Mayor Watson’s picks for committees and chairs excludes downtown

You might think the nominating committee of Ottawa city council would be responsible for nominating people to various standing committees and boards, and helping to choose the chairs for these important bodies.

That’s what Coun. Theresa Kavanagh thought. But like the new Bay ward councillor, you’d be wrong.

“I found it a little strange … that as a member of the nominating committee that I’m not part of the selection, I’m not part of the decision-making,” Kavanagh said after being presented with a list of Mayor Jim Watson’s choices.

“It’s done in a different room, then it comes here at the very last minute I’m asked to approve something.”

Welcome to Watsonville, Coun. Kavanagh.

Mayor picks the chairs

The process for selecting committee members is straightforward but secretive.

Councillors are asked what committees and boards they are interested in.

The clerk’s office organizes the entries by taking into account what people want, as well as geographic and gender diversity.

But it’s Mayor Jim Watson who makes the final recommendation on the make-up — and chairs — of the committees and boards.

Before 2010, committee members used to choose their own chair at their first meetings, but Watson changed that when he was elected.

Ostensibly, the current process requires the nominations to be approved by all of council, so councillors who aren’t happy with the mayor’s choices could vote against them.

That has never happened.

Deans and Tierney winners

The big news from the nominating committee is Coun. Diane Deans being tapped as the new chair of the Ottawa Police Services board.

Amazingly, she will be the first woman ever to hold this role.

The mayor is automatically on the Ottawa Police Services board, but he’s always assigned his seat to another councillor. This term, he’s giving his spot to Deans.

In theory, he could always choose to take that spot back from Deans, with whom he does not always get along.

Another winner? Coun. Tim Tierney.

The Beacon Hill-Cyrville councillor has been re-appointed as chair of the Ottawa Public Library board.

Watson hand-picked Tierney as the “councillor-at-large” member of the finance and economic development committee (FEDCO), a powerful body that deals with the city’s biggest money issues and acts as Watson’s de facto cabinet.

Tierney’s also pegged to be the vice-chair of planning and to be Ottawa’s representative on the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

He is also the same councillor who’s appearing in provincial court later this week to answer to OPP charges of bribery in the most recent municipal election.

Everyone has the right to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise, but you might have expected Tierney to have a bit of a lower profile until his legal troubles were resolved.

The mayor has apparently made a different choice.

Watson shuts out urban councillors

If there are losers among Watson’s choices, it’s the urban councillors who represent the five inner-city wards.

Not a single urban councillor is on the 12-member FEDCO — remember, it’s council’s most important committee — but all of the rural councillors are on it somehow.

There are also only three women on it, two of whom are new councillors.

In what way does this fairly represent the city’s vast geography and diverse needs?

No urban councillors are on either the library or police boards. Only a single urban councillor — Somerset ward’s Catherine McKenney — is on the transit commission.

The membership of the planning committee is truly eyebrow-raising.

Watson has tapped Coun. Jan Harder to be the chair for a second term, even though the same developers who come to her committee for rezoning approvals threw a campaign fundraiser for her this fall and every year raise tens of thousands of dollars for Harder’s favourite charity at a golf tournament in Barrhaven.

And while there are massive planning issues in the suburbs, some of the most contentious files — the ones that bring out members of the public — are in the centre of the city.

And yet, Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper is the lone urban councillor named to the planning committee.

First-time Capital Coun. Shawn Menard, who made development one of his key election issues, ranked planning committee as his first priority.

He was shut out of the committee.

Yet Coun. Laura Dudas, the new representative for Innes, was named to planning, even though she ranked the committee eighth on her priority list.

What was behind this and many other committee decisions? How did a councillor facing corruption charges get more opportunities than any of the councillors representing the downtown?

You’d have to ask the mayor.




12 12 2018


483 Edison and 514 Roosevelt triplexes. Read our concerns about this project:

Open House hosted by Novatech

When: Wednesday, 12 December, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Churchill Seniors Recreation Centre (345 Richmond Road)

See you all there.

Update: Comments to the City for the Byron, Roosevelt and Ravenhill Proposal

4 12 2018

Thank you Westboro!

Comments to the City for the Byron, Roosevelt and Ravenhill project, where the developer has applied for a zoning by-law amendment (from R3R to R4G) to add another residential unit to the triplexes he has built, were due November 27 . . .  and you rallied to the cause!  Some 30 residents took the time to contact Councillor Leiper, the City and the community association, outlining their opposition to this unnecessary and dangerous change in zoning in a residential area of our community.


Your Board of Directors also filed a thoughtful, detailed rationale opposing the amendment and the earlier email post below is an excellent summary prepared by savewestboro@icloud.com  group.


Why are we opposed?  Well, it’s pretty simple: we’ll be polite and say the developer “misrepresented” what he was intending to build. Triplexes were permitted at this location; the developer received the go-ahead from the City’s Committee of Ajustment to knock down 8 residences and put up 14 triplexes and 4 semidetached equaling 50 residences.  He has just about finished 6 of the triplexes.  Now, call us crazy, but attached is a picture of the so called triplexes . . . amazingly, they include a fourth mail box, air conditioner and hydro meter. Doesn’t look like a triplex to us.



So yes, the developer actually built fourplexes, adding a residential space in the basement of each, which means 14 more residential spaces.  Now he has to ask the City to change the zoning, which would support the increased intensity. The new zoning opens the door to other changes later down the road.


It is clear he went ahead and built what he wanted and now expects the City to grant him his zoning change and additional intensity.


We say no. This is not good planning – it is policy by stealth.  We deserve better.  The matter will be heard by City Planning Council in the New Year – we will keep you posted.  Join us in continuing to protest this project.


Community Open House Alerts for 1950 Scott St and Triplexes at 483 Edison & 514 Roosevelt

4 12 2018

Open house alerts!


1950 Scott St.: A 25-storey apartment building is proposed for the corner of Scott and Clifton that will include taking away some residential properties on Clifton Street:

When: Thursday December 6 at 6:30 p.m.

Where:  Van Lang Field House (29 Van Lang Pvt)


WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2018 – was originally scheduled for November 14

483 Edison and 514 Roosevelt triplexes. Read our concerns about this project:

Open House hosted by Novatech

When: Wednesday, 12 December, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Churchill Seniors Recreation Centre (345 Richmond Road)

See you all there.

Parkdale United Church: 1st Annual Amnesty International “Write for Rights” Event

29 11 2018

Please note this announcement from a neighbour:


Parkdale United Church is holding its first Amnesty International “Write for Rights” event on Sunday, December 9, from 12:30 to 3:30.  Could you please add the following information to your website’s community calendar/events and Facebook pages:

Write for Rights at Parkdale United Church

When: Sunday, December 9, 12:30 – 3:30

Where: Parkdale United Church, at the corner of Parkdale and Gladstone. Please enter by the ramp off Gladstone.

More details:   Join in the biggest human rights event in the world, Amnesty International’s “Write for Rights”.  This is Parkdale’s first Amnesty write-a-thon, but they have taken place since 2001. Last December, hundreds of thousands of letter writers all over the world wrote five and a half million letters and messages in support of those whose human rights have been violated. Because they are under threat all over the world, this year’s campaign will focus on courageous women peacefully advocating for human rights.  Parkdale’s write-a-thon event is open to all. Coffee kindly donated by Bridgehead.

Comments Needed by Nov 27: Triplexes at Ravenhill/Roosevelt/Byron and in Westboro

26 11 2018
Please see the comments below from the SaveWestboro group:
If you were able to attend the Open House meetings on the rezoning application and/or if you feel comfortable addressing the issues that it raises for the neighbourhood, please send your comments to the City Planner who is reviewing this proposal: Ann O’Connor:  ann.oconnor@ottawa.ca
You might also wish to send your email/comments to Jeff Leiper, to the Westboro Community Association, and to the ”savewestboro” email address.   Here are the coordinates:
To my mind, the developers’ proposals to rezone this area of Westboro raise two types of issues.
First, would the type of developments allowed under a R4 zoning be appropriate for the immediate neighbourhood and beneficial for Westboro as a whole?
Second, is it appropriate for the City to reward the triplex developers for “gaming the system” and building potential fourplexes when they only had approval for triplexes?
With regard to the first category of issues, here are some of the concerns that were raised by residents at the Open House meeting, held on Nov. 10:
  • Intensification is a sound planning objective. Westboro is not, has not been, and should not be immune.   However, there is a limit to the level of density that is acceptable.   The Official Plan makes it clear that Ottawa is a city comprised of unique neighbourhoods and that, in pursuing intensification and infills, the unique character of the neighbourhoods should be respected and preserved.  The rezoning would allow developers to introduce a density that is inappropriate for the area and out of character with the Westboro residential neighbourhood.
  • The area is NOT suitable as a transitional area from the R4 developments on Byron.  There will always be an “edge” area between a higher and lower density area.   This simply shifts that boundary further inward into the heart of the Westboro residential neighbourhood, allowing developers to introduce densities that will fundamentally alter the character of the rezoned properties and the residential areas adjacent to it.
  • The area is already experiencing significant issues with traffic congestion and on-street parking.   It is inevitable that the residents of these dwellings will have at least one car, if not more.   The parking provided by existing triplexes is already inadequate (although more than is legally required).   Increasing the number of residents will exacerbate both traffic and parking issues with broader impact on the adjacent residential area of Westboro.
  • Westboro is a neighbourhood noted for its narrow, tree-lined streets, many without sidewalks.  Snow removal is a continuing and growing concern as increased on-street parking further narrows the streets as the snow banks build up.  The increased level of on-street parking and traffic in the vicinity will make this problem worse. It will increase the risk for pedestrians on the streets, particularly for any children who walk to the neighbourhood schools.
  • Infills have resulted in significant loss of mature trees and permeable (i.e. planted) surfaces in the Westboro neighbourhood as structures that largely fill the lots have been allowed to proliferate.   These developments have greatly reduced the amount of land that was previously available for infiltration of rain water and snow melt.   Neighbours in a variety of Westboro areas have reported issues with water in their basements.   Allowing R4 structures in the area could create or exacerbate this problem for adjacent properties and their owners.
  • In addition to the drainage issues resulting from the loss of mature trees, the removal of trees that are as much as 100 years old is slowly, but dramatically, reducing the urban canopy that has been a defining characteristic of the Westboro residential neighbourhood.  If allowed to continue unabated, this practice will have tangible and significant cumulative environmental impacts, including an increase in ambient temperature throughout the area, worsening of air quality, loss of wildlife habitat, and a degradation of the environment for residents.
  • Intensification does not have to be accomplished at the expense of a “living” environment.

With regard to the second category, here are some points that were addressed at the meeting: 

  • The developers of the Ravenhill triplexes knew, from the outset, that they were intending to build structures that would be serviced and outfitted for 4 dwelling units, even though they sought and received permission to build triplexes.   They did not disclose their intentions to the Committee of Adjustment and they hid their plans from residents and the Westboro Community Association.
  • The tactic used by the developers for the Ravenhill triplexes was previously used successfully by a developer of triplexes on Byron Ave.   In that case, City Council’s Planning Committee approved an application to rezone the triplexes to R4.  This sent a clear signal to developers that they could successfully exceed the density limitations set for Westboro’s R3 neighbourhoods.   This was a “green light” for more of the same behaviour by developers.
  • Although not technically “illegal”, the behaviour of the triplex developers was devious and seriously misleading for both residents and for planning authorities.  They do not come before the City Planning Committee with “clean hands” and do not deserve to have their conduct rewarded.  Approving another R4 rezoning request would send a clear signal that this type of practice is acceptable.   It would reinforce the incentives that have already been established for developers to utilize this tactic. The inevitable result will be more and more attempts by developers to do the same thing elsewhere in Westboro.
  • Perhaps more importantly, rewarding such behaviour brings the entire planning and approval process of the City of Ottawa into disrepute.   Citizen reaction to this situation has been universally negative.  People are shocked that it has been allowed to continue and that it might succeed again.   It seriously erodes citizen confidence in the legitimacy of the approvals process and it signals that the laws and plans established by the City which were designed to protect and preserve the character of neighbourhoods like Westboro, can no longer be relied on to achieve that result.
Please do NOT just copy and paste any of these points.  You should express your concerns in your own words. Comments that are exact duplicates of a template will be discounted because they don’t reflect a personal engagement with the matter.
Also, don’t feel that you need to address every point in your comments.  You should focus on the issues that resonate the most with you.
So, please take a few minutes and send in your comments to Ann O’Connor.  If our voices are not heard, community approval for this rezoning application will be assumed.  Speak up for Westboro now!
Remember, Tuesday, Nov. 27 is the deadline.

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