CBC.ca: Majority on planning committee taking developer donations

21 09 2018

Link to article is here.

Majority on planning committee taking developer donations

Developers held fundraisers for 2 members, including chair Jan Harder

Most councillors on the city’s planning committee are accepting campaign donations from developers during this campaign, and at least a couple — including committee chair Coun. Jan Harder — have been the beneficiaries of developer-organized fundraisers.

Planning is City Hall’s most powerful committee, approving billions of dollars in development applications in a single council term.Its members may accept donations from executives of the very companies that need the planning committee’s approval.

Municipal election rules absolutely allow these sorts of donations, but the practice raises eyebrows in some circles.

“If I’m mayor, no one is going to sit on that planning committee who receives money from developers — not a person,” said mayoral candidate Clive Doucet. “That’s a huge conflict of interest.”

Whether accepting these sorts of donations is a conflict — or even a perception of conflict — is up for debate, but some residents feel strongly about the issue.

Leiper, Nussbaum refuse developer money

Following this week’s revelation that former planning chair Peter Hume invited almost 70 people in the development world to a fundraiser next week for Alta Vista incumbent Jean Cloutier, CBC asked the other nine members of the planning committee whether they’re open to accepting donations from people in the development industry.

Only two members — Kitchissippi’s Jeff Leiper and Rideau-Rockcliffe’s Tobi Nussbaum — said they are making efforts not to knowingly accept them.

“This ward is being transformed by development and it’s often in a direction that residents are not pleased with, and I want residents to have confidence that I am not tied to that development industry,” Leiper said.

The remaining members — Stephen Blais, Riley Brockington, Rick Chiarelli, Harder, Allan Hubley, Shad Qadri, and Tim Tierney — are accepting donations from anyone legally allowed to contribute, including those in the development field. They also add the $1,200 maximum donation cannot influence their vote on the planning committee.

The names of donors and the amount they contributed become public next March, five months after the Oct. 22 election.

Fundraiser for chair

Development industry executives also organized and attended fundraisers for Harder, the longtime councillor for Barrhaven, and Cumberland incumbent Blais in May, according to emails obtained by CBC.

The one for Harder was organized by Jack Stirling — who was the Minto VP of development for years but has been working on his own since 2015 — and Taggart Group’s Ted Phillips.

“We would appreciate you bringing a cheque (or as many as you like) in the amount of $1,200 made out to Jan Harder 2018 Campaign,” said an email sent to about 30 executives in Ottawa development circles.

Harder told CBC she “did not ask anyone to do anything for me,” but that Stirling, an old friend, offered to host it. She attended the event at the Barrhaven Heart and Crown but said she didn’t handle any contributions and doesn’t know how much was raised.

Asked whether it might appear inappropriate for the chair of the planning committee to be attending fundraisers with development executives, Harder said that “if I have friends from any walk of life, I am proud to take their contribution … I’m an ethical person, that’s how I was raised.”

Blais solicits campaign cash

Also in May, Blais asked Phillips to have a fundraiser for him. Taggart wrote to about a dozen development folks that “Steve” would like to have a small lunch “to get some cash in the bank.”

Blais told CBC he attended and paid for the lunch, which would be an allowable campaign expense. He said fewer than 12 people attended and he wasn’t sure how much money was raised, but likely in the range of $7,000 to $8,000.

All political systems rely on donations and generally those donations come from people who have an interest in what goes on in the city.– Ted Phillips, Taggart Group

He points out that all sorts of organizations and businesses work with the city, but no one ever suggests that candidates refuse donations from people connected to social agencies, advocacy groups, charities and not-for-profits — many of whom receive city funding.

“I’ve voted against projects from people who have in the past contributed to me, and I’m sure that I’ll vote against projects in the future [of those] who have contributed to me recently,” said Blais.

“I can’t speak for anyone else, but on a fairly regular basis I reject outright or constrain developers’ requests.”

Brockington lobbied developer

Riley Brockington, who was first elected to River ward in 2014, said his goal is not to take money from the development community, but he would if he incurs a large debt in his campaign.

“I’m very concerned about optics and perceived conflict of interest, and I don’t want to be part of that,” he said of developer contributions.

Brockington told CBC earlier this week that he had a single conversation with a development industry executive about a number of things, including the possibility of a fundraiser, but that he didn’t push for an event because his fundraising is going well.

“I have not got to the point where I have asked anyone to proceed with a fundraiser,” said Brockington, who added there were no subsequent discussions with the developer after that one conversation.

But emails obtained by CBC show Brockington’s staffer, who is also volunteering on his campaign, asking the developer about possible dates for the fundrasier.

“Riley asked me to get in touch with you to help coordinate the fundraising gathering in his honour that you discussed,” said one email to the development executive on Sept. 13.

“If you give me a few dates, I can let you know what works best for Riley’s schedule.”

The developer has not responded to Brockington’s request.

Politics relies on donations

Ted Phillips of Taggart is open about the fact that he often raises money for incumbents and first-time candidates. Sometimes he offers, other times he’s asked.

“All political systems rely on donations and generally those donations come from people who have an interest in what goes on in the city, the province, or the country,” he said.

Phillips also pointed out that while some want to paint developers as somehow conniving, many groups come to those same developers to ask for money. Indeed, developers do give millions to art galleries, recreation centres, hockey arenas and hospitals.

“What’s ironic to me is how some people want to vilify developers and make it sound like they’re bad people.”


Triplexes in Westboro, heading south on Roosevelt and Edison: Make your views known!

21 09 2018
Triplexes in Westboro heading south on Roosevelt and Edison: Make your views known!
This week you may have received a flyer prepared by concerned neighbours on Edison regarding applications for triplexes at 483 Edison and 514 Roosevelt.
The developers of these properties have applied to the city for a pair of triplexes at each of the sites. Many in our community have since contacted the Westboro Community Association asking where we stand on the issue and what residents can do to make themselves heard. We are very pleased that these applications have garnered this level of community interest. We too are concerned with the rapid rate of development in our community and the toll it has taken on our green space, our infrastructure, the safety of our streets, and the character of our neighborhoods.
The WCA has a small planning committee that meets every few weeks to review the many infill development applications for Westboro. The Committee has been in touch with the planners for both Edison and Roosevelt and we have expressed our concerns about the proliferation of triplexes throughout Westboro, especially as it moves south and north of Byron into the lower density residential fabric. These areas are mostly zoned R3R, meaning that triplexes are a permitted use. While welcome new neighbours, we object to the current model of side by side triplexes being proposed for sites where there used to be single family homes on lovely treed lots.
The city approved this model on Ravenhill, where we now have six adjacent triplexes, and we have since seen the same model approved on Winona and on Elmgrove. We are dismayed to see it now moving even further south. This is particularly alarming since the next move seems to be for the owners of the triplexes to then apply for rezoning to allow for a fourth unit. As such, we continue to lobby the city for a definition of a “transit oriented community”, clear transition areas between high and low density areas, and some neighbourhood boundary lines.
On October 3, the city will hear the Edison and Roosevelt applications at Nepean City Hall at 1 PM. We will be providing our formal comments at that time.
However, we need your help.
One way for concerned neighbours to do so is by submitting comments directly to the Committee of Adjustment here.
Another way is for you to show up and attend the hearing on October 3rd (1:00pm). These are open to the public and anyone can come.
We have received many letters on this issue directed to our website, and thank you for those.  We are sorry we cannot respond to all of you, given that we are volunteers-and a small group at that! For additional information, you can also visit our Facebook page here.
We are actively seeking members for our board to help us keep up with the volume of infill applications in Westboro. Please join us at our AGM on October 16 at the Churchill Seniors’ Centre to learn more about the WCA and to bring some of your great energy to helping us keep Westboro beautiful!

Westboro Community Association AGM: October 16 at 7:00 p.m.

20 09 2018

Please join us on October 16th for the Westboro Community Association Annual General Meeting: We’re seeking new board members!

WCA’s Annual General Meeting

October 16th, 2018

Churchill Seniors Center at 7:00 PM

Please join us on Tuesday , October 16th at 345 Richmond Road:

  • 6:30 PM doors and community kiosks open
  • 7:00 PM reports from Board of Directors
  • Election of new Board of Directors
  • Special guests, presentations TBA (details to follow)
  • Refreshments served

Come out, meet your neighbours, and discuss the issues important to our community! Membership is required to vote but you can attend without joining. Membership is $10 for one year or ($20 for family membership.)

Your Community Association needs youInfill development in Westboro continues to grow.  Residents turn to us for help in responding to development issues in their neighbourhoods. The demand can be more than our small board of directors can handle. We need new members to bring their talents to our community.

Interest in becoming a board member or community resource person? Email us at helloWestboro@yahoo.ca, or contact karenljohnson@sympatico.ca or normmorrison@rogers.com


483 Edison: Neighbourhood flyer that’s been delivered to affected Edison residents.

20 09 2018

Sharing this neighbourhood flyer that’s been delivered to affected Edison residents. Please note the open house on Sept 25th.

Note that the views in this flyer do not necessarily reflect those of the WCA.


483 Edison Flyer v6

Cornerstone: Celebrate the Dream Event – October 24th

14 09 2018

Please see the message below from Cornerstone, Housing for Women:

The Celebrate the Dream Event

Welcome to the New 373 Princeton Avenue:

Wednesday October 24th, 2018

5:30 pm to 8:30 pm

373 Princeton Avenue, Westboro

Our new home is complete and we are ready to welcome you to Princeton!

Please join us for this fun foodie event, featuring the best food, beverages and entertainment that the neighborhood has to offer.

Princeton will be a new chance at a brighter future for forty-two women to move past the experience of homelessness into hope and healing.

Tickets are limited. Special early bird price of $50 available until September 30th, 2018.

For more information, please contact jessie-lee.wallace@cornerstonewomen.ca or call (613) 254-6584 ext. 503.

Celebrate the Dream Event


Westboro  Community Association Raises Funds for Cornerstone

26 08 2018
Westboro  Community Association Raises Funds for Cornerstone

August 18-19th turned out to be a great sunny weekend for the Fuse street party!
In support of women’s housing, Board members of Westboro Community Association raffled off a custom landscape design donated by Westboro landscaping firm, Urban Turf. Proceeds were donated to Cornerstone Housing For Women.
Shown drawing the winning ticket is Michelle Groulx, Executive Director of Westboro Business Improvement, joined by Community Association Chair, Gary Ludington, and Vice-Chair, Karen Johnson.

Scott Street closure – this weekend, August 25 to August 26

24 08 2018

From the Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper

Scott Street closure – this weekend, August 25 to August 26

Between August 25 and 26, Scott Street between Island Park Drive and McRae Ave will be closed. However, local traffic will be permitted.
A detour for all other traffic will be in place, with the appropriate directional signage. The detour will use Island Park Drive, Richmond Road, and McRae Ave. Note that a request for a Local Traffic Only sign at Clifton and Richmond Rd has been made.
The closure is occurring so that the contractor for 1960 Scott St can install their crane. A Road Closure Permit has been issued by the City for this work.

%d bloggers like this: