Katherine Hobbs email re: Motion to Extend Timeframe for Noise Exemption

27 03 2013

Are you affected by this? Please let us know what you think about this process?

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From: Hobbs, Katherine [mailto:Katherine.Hobbs@ottawa.ca]
Subject: Noise Exemption

Today at Council I put forward a motion to deal with a requirement to extend the timeframe for noise exemption for 114 Richmond Road. A similar motion was put forward for an exemption at Lansdowne Park by Councillor Steve DesRoches. In each case every effort will be made to reduce the impact on the neighbouring houses. In the case of 114 Richmond Road, the contractor deals directly with the homeowners adjacent to the site, informing them of issues with construction that might affect them.

However I wanted to take this opportunity to provide some information about the noise exemption bylaw and what will be happening as a result of this motion passing. First some information and history about the actual exemption period. The period allowable for a noise exemption permit in Ottawa is 11 days. This dates back to the Ottawa Exhibition as it lasted 11 days. There is no decibel level associated with noise on a construction site after 11 p.m. For example if a construction worker puts a shovel in a truck, they could be cited and receive a fine for violating the noise by-law. As per the by law today, the only way to override the 11 day period is with a motion to Council.

Construction activities at 114 Richmond Road are expected to be beyond the scope of the noise-related regulations in Section 7 (Construction) of the Noise By-Law. Customary practices for the construction of reinforced concrete structures may give rise to three categories of noise. These are: 1) Gas operated motors to avoid dangerous water levels until the lower portions of the new structure are connected to City storm sewers 2) Pouring of fresh concrete as it needs to be kept above freezing in order for the curing process to complete. That means a gas-fired portable heater must operate during the “heating season” 3) Operation of gas fired motorized trowel machines operating after each slab is poured, normally into the evening of the day of the pour.

It is important to note that this does not change day to day construction activities on the site. This exemption allows the existing heaters to operate as they have already been doing throughout the winter. This is a very limiting and specific exemption and does not allow any new “noise”. It is important to note that this does not change day to day construction activities on the site. This exemption allows the existing heaters to operate as they have already been doing throughout the winter.

Therefore the noise exemption on this site has been extended. This is a very limiting and specific exemption and does not allow any new “noise”.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.
Thanks,
Katherine

Katherine Hobbs
Councillor/Conseillère – Kitchissippi
613-580-2485
OurKitchissippi.ca

Twitter: Katherine_Hobbs
Facebook: Katherine Hobbs for Kitchissippi

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46 responses

27 03 2013
DenVan

Bafflegab. Pure and simple. The wording of this letter makes it sound like Katherine Hobbs had no choice or alternative.

But of course she did: say no to this developer. Enforce the noise law and make them bear the cost.

27 03 2013
Miven

In my opinion, after reading some recent news stories, it appears Ms. Catherine Hobbs is bought and paid for by the contractors at 114 Richmond Road, Westboro. Perhaps the mayor would like to intervene on behalf of the citizens of Westboro who deserve better than having this mess at their doorsteps. Stand up against Catherine Hobbs, she is against you.

28 03 2013
Charles

You are right on about the perception that Hobbs has created by her direct actions.

But you are absolutely wrong to think that some help could be found from the Mayor. The motion by Hobbs was supported by a unanimous vote of the Council – so WATSON SUPPORTED IT.

Ther is nothing at all unusual in his vote on this type of thing. It’s typical of the developer-friendly motions that he has stood behind for years – even when he was mayor of the Old City.

So is the “get this over and done with” approach – without any meaninful public consultation or public discussion – typical of the approach of Mr.Watson’s administration. His budgets and a whole lot more are passed with little or any discussion or debate at Council.

Mr. Watson, like most of our Councillors, fall into line with the development-at-whatever-cost approach as a matter of quiet routine.

His defenders might argue that he has no choice but to approve such damaging projects and practices – because the OMB would approve them anyway.

If that was true, then Jim Watson had the opportunity to fix that when he was Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing – where he could have introduced legislation to change the way in which the OMB works. But he did not do that.

And even the OMB has shown that it will not go as far as the City Administration will – for the OMB rejected the change in zoning that City staff recommended and City Council approved to permit an overwhelming devleopment the north end of Roosevelt.

Of course the developer is challenging that OMB decision – and asking to be able to proceed with the development that Staff and Council approved.

Perhaps Mr. Watson’s ability to strike deals in private and to avoid difficult discussions of troubling matters at City Council makes him look like a good guy.

But one must look past the smooth appearance and the confident look – and judge him in the actions that the City implements.

And Mr. Watson is not simply another member of Council – he is also the head of the City Adminstration – and so he ultimately bears the responsibility for what the City does – as the person who is, formally and in law, the Chief Executive Officer of the City.

He is another of those who must be added to the list of those who have to be stood up against – along with the likes of the planning controller, Peter Hume … and Jan Harder – and most other councillors – who have shown themselves to be supporters of putting the self-serving wishes of developers ahead of the rights of citizens – and the formal requirements of the Official Plan.

To the list of those who put developers first, one must add a whole raft of staff at City hall.

Where is there a hint of support for the Community, for the laws and the Bylaws and the official plan?

It’s hard to find anywhere.

Surprisingly, it seems that even David Chernushenko voted for the Hobbs motion – despite the fact that he opposed the motion on Lansdowne.

… And since the vote was unanimous, it seems that even Diane Holmes went along.

What a cozy club they have – not one of them prepared to speak up against such abuse. Not one of them showing any with any interest in decency, due process, or the rights of citizens.

A pox on them all.

28 03 2013
Kevin O'Donnell (@ODonnell_K)

The motion was a walk-on, no warning, Thankfully, the city clerk is quite good and the motion is now available online. Here it is, see below. The vote was unanimous.

Lansdowne also got an exception yesterday. THAT motion was moved by Desroches and Wilkinson. Chernushenko had the decency to vote against after peppering staff with questions to suss out WHY it was necessary. In other words, Capital ward’s councillor had no interest in doing this, and voted against.

The motion for the convent was moved by our own councillor – and as far as I know – had no debate or push back. Of course, why would anyone push back when the exemption request was moved by the ward’s own councillor.

Moved by Councillor K. Hobbs
Seconded by Councillor J. Harder

That the Rules of Procedure be waived, due to time constraints associated with the impending construction season and the particular project at 114 Richmond Road and the fact that there was only one Council meeting in March, to consider the following motion:

WHEREAS Section 23 (Exemption – Construction Equipment) of the Noise By-law provides only for short-term and time-limited exemptions on construction noise; and

WHEREAS a significant high-rise construction project is scheduled to be undertaken on Richmond Road in Kitchissippi Ward 15, for which the construction activities are expected to be beyond the scope of the noise-related regulations in Section 7 (Construction) of the Noise By-law; and

WHEREAS customary practices for the construction of such high-rise reinforced concrete structures unavoidably give rise to three categories of noise:

1. Excavations requiring dewatering – gas-operated motors are used to activate pump systems, and must be operated beyond the 2200-hour time limit prescribed in the Noise By-law to avoid substantial damage and dangerous water levels; and, this activity continues at the site until the lower portions of the new structure are actually connected to City storm sewers;

2. Pouring of fresh concrete – this needs to be kept above freezing in order for the chemical curing process to complete in accordance with the structural engineer’s specifications, and normal industry practice; this heating is accomplished by means of gas-fired portable heaters which must operate continuously (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) during the “heating season”, normally October 1st to May 1st;

3. Pouring of fresh concrete slabs (floors) – these must have their top surfaces trowelled prior to set-up of the concrete, which is done with gas-fired motorized trowel machines operating after each slab is poured and until the optimum finish is achieved, normally into the evening of the day of the pour, often beyond the upper time limit prescribed by the Noise By-law;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the construction equipment being used in relation to the project at 114 Richmond Road be exempt from Section 7 of the Noise By-law such that it may operate between the hours of 2200 and 0700, seven days per week, from the date of Council approval until May 1, 2013, and between the hours of 2200 and 0200, Monday to Friday from May 2, 2013 until August 23, 2013 inclusive.

29 03 2013
Mike Murphy

I think it is time to have a protest march in front of the property, protesting the exemption and the actions of our self-interested Ms. Hobbs.

Sent from my iPad

2 04 2013
Katherine Hobbs

The permit for noise exemption at 114 Richmond Road was not for any additional noise, or an increased noise. There has not been one complaint about this overnight noise from the pumps or the heaters all winter. So the issues here are far different from Lansdowne.

Rest assured I would never have agreed to do anything that would negatively impact the residents. Why would I do that? In fact this motion will overall reduce the amount of time construction activities will have to take place on the site. To not allow the heaters would mean construction could only take place in the summer. That could extend the overall time of construction to possibly two extra ones. Just the time people want to be outside.

My commitment is not to this project or to the developer but to the people living beside it. Over the past 2 and a half years I have met with neighbours repeatedly – generally in their homes – in the evening, and on the weekends. There have been a myriad of issues to do with many details of the construction that actually affect the neighbours. All of their properties were affected by the fence coming down, and their gardens had to be replanted. There has been a huge issue with the access road. My office deals every week with a complaint or complaints on the construction site, stemming from construction vehicles parked on the street to trucks entering the site before 7 a.m. My office acts on each and every one of them.

Primarily the noise exemption issue came forward when it was discovered the contractor didn’t have an exemption permit and were informed they would have to have one. That is when the application they made to the City to continue the activities they have been engaged in with regards to keeping the temperature at night and pumping water from the construction hole. It is extremely specific in that it does not allow anything more than they have already been doing without having the permit.

It is important to understand that noise exemption permits are only allowable for 11 days. Council is required to approve to extend that period. Although the permit is not expected to be required much past a few weeks longer than that, much will depend on the weather. The gas heater is used in the evening to keep the temperature appropriate for the curing of cement which has been poured during the day.

It was not my goal to have the resident’s yards flooded because I would not allow a water pump to run 24/7 at the site as it has been doing for months. It was also not my goal to preclude that cement could only be poured in the summer, much delaying construction and ensuring the project would take years longer than because they can only work in the summer. Summers are an important time for the community. Right now they are going to lose about two summers – and I didn’t want to see that extended to four summers.

The choice may be simply that it the best one out of two bad choices. I can’t stop the construction, I can’t will the development away, I can only deal with what my judgement deemed is best for residents.

Are there some neighbours who remain unhappy about construction at 114 Richmond? Yes, definitely. I don’t blame them. It is very stressful and frustrating to have a construction project next door. I have had that happen a few times in my life, and I know what it is like. I want to see this situation ended as soon as possible for residents.

Another thing that might not be clear from news reports is that there is no allowable decibel level of noise allowed in the night at construction sites. The allowance is “0”. So that means you cannot even take a few steps, or shut a truck door on a construction site after the allowable hours, or you will be cited by the City. But just because there is a noise exemption permit, does not mean the noise is going to be egregious, as will be the case at Lansdowne when they are pouring cement. Rather this allowance at 114 Richmond Road is very specific, and is related only to the heaters and water pump. And again I must repeat that these activities have been taking place for months without my office receiving a resident complaint specific to noise from pumps or heaters at 2a.m.

9 04 2013
designs

Walk the walk Mike

2 04 2013
Katherine Hobbs

Kevin, You are not correct in your statement. This motion was not a walk on — notice was given out before the meeting. It was announced by the press the day before the meeting. Thanks, Katherine

2 04 2013
DennisVanStaalduinen (@DenVan)

So if I understand you correctly Katherine, the motivation behind this action was that the developer has already been breaking the noise rules for months? Wouldn’t the appropriate action be to punish the developer rather than hand them an exemption from the rules?

And are we to understand that this is the only way to carry out condominium construction in the City of Ottawa – and that there is no alternative to the method Ashcroft has chosen to use here?.

3 04 2013
Katherine Hobbs

What you can take to understand Dennis is that the noise has not been affecting residents in that there have been no complaints about the overnight fans. And there have been plenty of other complaints so I would have been apprised. I have been in communication with the neighbours and not one cited the overnight noise as a problem. Overall construction disruption and noise is definitely unpleasant to say the least, and understandably so. I have been working with these neighbours over the past 2 1/2 years on a variety of issues. The fact that the overall construction time could be lessened is reasoning for allowing the fans at night. Otherwise work is only done in warm weather. Extending the construction for a year and affecting another summer was the alternative. And for what? To say no to a pump and fans that were not affecting residents today? I understand you live miles away from this site, and are not informed as to what specifics have been occurring here. However if you are interested in a complete run down of all the problems that have occurred here and the actions of my office (as something has occurred here weekly) just let me know. You can come in and I will sit down with you and you can find out what has been happening here and ask questions and make helpful suggestions. Otherwise this becomes a situation where you are making judgements and suggestions without the benefit of all the facts, and I am sure that is not something you would wish to willingly engage in.

3 04 2013
DennisVanStaalduinen (@DenVan)

Ahem. You may need to pull out a map Katherine.I live less than 500 metres from the site. And while I am not directly abutting the property, the two construction cranes dominate the skyline at the end of my street, and I have had to put up with an entire summer of thunderous, dish-rattling blasting vibrations, and that is to say nothing of several previous years of similar noise from the other two Ashcroft buildings across the street and even closer to my house.

But you’re right, it is definitely worse for neighbours directly next to the site. I know many of them quite well, and I can’t imagine how awful it must be. Or how much more angry I’d be in their place that the one solution to this whole ugly mess – fewer buildings and a more modest development plan – is so far behind all of us. That would have been a great way to “lessen construction time”.and mitigate “construction disruption and noise”.

So telling them (and the rest of us) that running those fans all night is the *only* option is rather like telling a person whose dog has just been run over that they should be grateful to the driver for mercifully shooting it afterwards. I get it. We can’t have our dog back. But as the police officer at the scene, at least make sure somebody gets a ticket.

4 04 2013
DennisVanStaalduinen (@DenVan)

On his Ottawa Citizen blog, David Reevely shows that it WAS a walk-on and the “notice” and “press announcement” were the same cursory coverage given to all walk-on motions. Or, as Reevely puts it:

“There was certainly nothing presented to a city committee, no formal report released in advance, no chance for the public to comment. Hobbs didn’t post anything to her own website till after it was done.”

http://blogs.ottawacitizen.com/2013/04/04/hobbss-walk-on-motion-on-the-convent-noise-exemption/

So, back to Kevin’s point….

6 04 2013
Convent Neighbour

To Katherine Hobbs: To clarify your carefully drafted motion: item 3 means that (in addition to items 1 and 2) the only construction activity being noise exempt is the use of troweling machines!!

So we will be able to complain to the city about 24×7 hammering; cement trucks backing up; and any other construction activity after 2200 hrs.

I would like to ask, given your concern and empathy for your constituents, that you and your staff publish your cellphone numbers here and that your cell-phones be kept on all night, just in case Ashcroft does not live up to the limitations of this motion that you put forward.

In the future, the community would appreciate being consulted on any motions that you put forward on our behalf.

28 03 2013
Margaret

My last complaint to Mr. Watson, Ms. Hobbs, and Mr. Hume went completely unanswered by all of them a few months ago. I could hardly believe it. When my husband and I read about this noise allowance for construction we both were astonished that Ms. Hobbs actually brought it herself. Well, we have almost given up.

28 03 2013
Jan

I don’t get any sense that the views of residents were taken into account on this at all. Only the developer’s needs count around the table. According to Hobbs, this is just a sign of what is to come.

29 03 2013
Jeff Leiper

I’m the president of the Hintonburg Community Association and was largely going to leave this issue alone, but I’ve just been copied on the Councillor’s reply to a ‘Burg resident who copied us when he first complained to the Councillor about this process. The reply suggests that the lack of consultation on this noise exemption is the same as the lack of consultation I do before organizing the Hintonburg 5k and Dog Movie Night. I’m simply gobsmacked at our Councillor’s decision-making process.

The community already considers that Ashcroft has blanket permission with the Councillor’s office to do whatever it wants on this site. Given the sensitivity of the relationship between Councillor, residents and the developer, it’s not a huge leap to assume that constant, open and transparent communication might be necessary here.

This project should never have been approved. But, since it was approved, the pumping is probably unavoidable. So what could have been done differently here?

In a tense relationship, the obvious thing would have been to host a meeting with affected residents to provide a head’s-up that the motion was being drafted. I’ve learned in my 15 years of community association work that no one wants to learn about these kinds of things through the press. The full story never gets told, people have questions, and it’s inviting a world of trouble to catch people by surprise.

Secondly, at that resident meeting, the Councillor should have insisted that Ashcroft describe and defend each element of the exemption being sought. I understand the need for pumping. But I’m not convinced that residents, fully-informed, would have chosen 24/7 heater noise over a longer construction period. After seeing my Councillor’s letter to the Hintonburg resident, I’ve got questions: how loud are the heaters? Can anything be done to mitigate the sound they make? By how long would the construction period be lengthened if the heaters are not allowed? What activity would happen on the site if those heaters were not in operation? With a few basic facts at hand, residents could have provided informed guidance for the Councillor as to how they wanted her to proceed.

At that meeting, a draft should have been available of the motion. Kevin has been doing great work on Twitter trying to get the Councillor to see why the motion as it was passed was sloppy. That’s been met with the usual obtuse replies. This sloppiness likely could have been avoided by giving people a chance to comment on the draft language. I would even have had a City lawyer on hand to hear what people’s concerns are, and to draft the appropriate language, or to explain how the existing language sets to rest their concerns. As it stands, I agree with Kevin: this motion looks like it allows any noise associated with construction to proceed in the extended hours prescribed. In a one-hour meeting, that concern could have been put to rest.

The imprecision that is giving residents fits right now is not helped by the cavalier attitude towards the details of the legalities that the Councillor demonstrated at Council. As CFRA’s Stephanie Kinsella tweeted “#Ottcity council on noise by-law exemptions for Richmond Rd. @Katherine_Hobbs ‘How much (of motion) should I read?’ ‘Carried!’ say councillors.” My confidence that the Councillor understands the importance of language in these matters is not heightened when I read this kind of coverage.

At the end of the day, some basic communications work on this file could have saved considerable grief. Mitigation measures against the sound of pumping could have been prescribed and guaranteed, and the community could have been in the position of saying “yes” or “no” to work that doesn’t necessarily have to be done at night.

None of that was done, and the Councillor once again finds herself at the heart of a controversy. In this case, deservedly so.

2 04 2013
Katherine Hobbs

Jeff, Your assumption leading to your conclusion above in regards to whether I “understand the importance of the language in these matters” by not reading the motion in full at Council is bizarre to say the least. All Council members were delivered the motion with the rest of their Council documents before Council. It was even reported in the press the day before. Generally motions at Council are not read in their entirety, however, but Council has a responsiblity to ensure they know what they are voting on. It appears you are intimating that none of us, neither I nor my 23 colleagues were at all aware of what we were voting on because I did not read out the entire motion. While you are entitled to your opinion, you are certainly not correct in your assumption.

2 04 2013
Deb

This administration was bought and paid for by developers. If you look at who contributed to both Hobbs and Mayor Watson’s campaigns it was developers. The only way to change the cozy relationship that Council has with developers is to vote in a new Council. The next Ottawa municipal election is on Monday, October 27, 2014.

3 04 2013
tz@tz.com

looking forward to election time…

6 04 2013
6 04 2013
David

Katherine: The developers know all about these things well in advance. Why didn’t they raise the issue when they sought the zoning amendments?

Because they’d rather present the local residents with a fait accompli, delivered by the toothless city council on their behalf.

Stop representing developers. Start representing constituents.

7 04 2013
jenniferpeggdavies

Posted on behalf of Lorne Cutler of the Hampton Iona Community Group

From: Lorne Cutler [mailto:lacutler@magma.ca]
Sent: April-07-13 3:31 PM
To: ‘Hobbs, Katherine’; ‘Jim.watson@ottawa.ca’
Subject: Noise Waiver for Ashcroft

Dear Katherine,

I was out of town last week so I have not yet had a chance to write you on behalf of the Hampton Iona Community Group with respect to the motion that you recently sponsored with respect to noise at the convent site. From the City’s website I see the actual wording of the motion is as follows:

MOTION
Moved by Councillor K. Hobbs
Seconded by Councillor J. Harder

That the Rules of Procedure be waived, due to time constraints associated with the impending construction season and the particular project at 114
Richmond Road and the fact that there was only one Council meeting in March, to consider the following motion:

WHEREAS Section 23 (Exemption – Construction Equipment) of the Noise Bylaw provides only for short-term and time-limited exemptions on construction
noise; and

WHEREAS a significant high-rise construction project is scheduled to be undertaken on Richmond Road in Kitchissippi Ward 15, for which the construction activities are expected to be beyond the scope of the noise related regulations in Section 7 (Construction) of the Noise By-law; and

WHEREAS customary practices for the construction of such high-rise reinforced concrete structures unavoidably give rise to three categories of noise:

1. Excavations requiring dewatering – gas-operated motors are used to activate pump systems, and must be operated beyond the 2200-hour
time limit prescribed in the Noise By-law to avoid substantial damage and dangerous water levels; and, this activity continues at the site until
the lower portions of the new structure are actually connected to Citystorm sewers;
2. Pouring of fresh concrete – this needs to be kept above freezing in order for the chemical curing process to complete in accordance with
the structural engineer’s specifications, and normal industry practice; this heating is accomplished by means of gas-fired portable heaters
which must operate continuously (24 hours a day, 7 days a week) during the “heating season”, normally October 1st to May 1st;
3. Pouring of fresh concrete slabs (floors) – these must have their topsurfaces trowelled prior to set-up of the concrete, which is done with
gas-fired motorized trowel machines operating after each slab is poured and until the optimum finish is achieved, normally into the evening of
the day of the pour, often beyond the upper time limit prescribed by the Noise By-law;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the construction equipment being used in relation to the project at 114 Richmond Road be exempt from Section 7 of the
Noise By-law such that it may operate between the hours of 2200 and 0700,
OTTAWA CITY COUNCIL 17
DISPOSITION 51
WEDNESDAY, 27 MARCH 2013
seven days per week, from the date of Council approval until May 1, 2013, and between the hours of 2200 and 0200, Monday to Friday from May 2, 2013 until
August 23, 2013 inclusive.

While we understand that the intent of the motion was to allow Ashcroft the right to continue operating their water pumps and portable heaters in order to prevent water damage and to allow the concrete to properly cure, the Hampton Iona Community Group (HICG) is greatly concerned that the wording of this motion may allow for much more than its intent. While we are not that unreasonable that we would have objected to a level of activity that had been going on for weeks without us noticing it, we are concerned with both the process and the potential implications of this walk-on motion. We are also concerned that when wording in contracts (or motions) is not precise, the parties involved may choose to exercise a great deal of flexibility. We have seen how flexible our Secondary Plans can be!

While we understand the purpose of the “whereas” in the motion is to set context for the motion and to describe the limitation, the actual motion which reads “be it resolved that the construction equipment being used in relation to the project” appears to be far too vague. There is no specific reference to the type of equipment covered by the motion or the type of construction activity nor does the actual resolution reference the whereases listed above. Should Ashcroft wish to widely interpret the motion, there appears nothing to stop them from doing so. Furthermore, the Definition Section of Noise Bylaw 2004-253, defines construction equipment as meaning “any equipment or device designed and intended for use in construction, or material handling, including but not limited to, hand tools, power tools, air compressors, pile drivers, pneumatic or hydraulic tools, bulldozers, tractors, excavators, trenchers, cranes, derricks, loaders, scrapers, pavers, generators, off highway haulers or trucks, ditchers, compactors and rollers, pumps, concrete mixers, graders, or other material handling equipment.” This definition from the actual noise by-law goes well beyond the type of equipment your motion envisioned.

From our history with Ashcroft, we are concerned that they may choose to pursue maximum flexibility if that is in their interest, particularly if they can cite the wording in the actual Noise By-law as justification. As well, the third whereas in the preamble of the motion refers to pouring of concrete slabs. Given how general this “whereas” is worded, it could just as easily allow for Ashcroft to pour in the night and trowel in the day rather than the other way around. While it may be the norm to pour during the day and trowel at night, this “whereas” clause stipulates no such limitations.

Based on the above, we have the following specific questions:
How is the City going to enforce the waiver to ensure that it only applies to heaters and pumps and night time trowelling?
If Ashcroft decides that the motion allows for maximum flexibility and decides to use such flexibility, what actions can and will the City take to immediately stop any unanticipated noise?
How quickly will the City be able to act in stopping any such extra activity?
If the waiver doesn`t allow them to make any noise, only to do the work, then why did they need a waiver in the first place under the noise-bylaw?
What was the role of the City solicitors in drafting this motion and did they provide a legal opinion to Council on its enforceability and interpretation? Is this interpretation available to the public?

We further understand that under the noise bylaw 2004-253, an applicant must file with the City an application for an exemption from the bylaw 60 days prior to needing the exemption.
While we presume this was done for the initial exemptions, what is the notification period required for a waiver by Council of this bylaw?
If no notification period is required for a more lengthy Council approved waiver, why is one required for only an 11 day waiver by the director of By-law Services but none for more lengthy waiver by Council?
If the applicant did in fact give significant advance notice requesting a more permanent waiver by Council why was the community not notified and consulted?
Is a copy of Ashcroft`s application(s) for such waivers available to the public and if so, we would like to see it.

We also note according to the Bylaw, Ashcroft would have had to have paid a $50 fee for the 11 day exemption plus staff time at $60/hour. How much was that fee in total and what fee are they paying for a more permanent waiver. If they are not paying a fee, why not? The purpose of the waiver is to allow them to speed up construction and presumably improve their profit position or get their condos more quickly to market.

Presumably, the need to operate pumps and heaters around the clock is not uncommon at construction sites, particularly in this climate. As such, are waivers for these type of activities a common occurrence? If so, is it common for Council to provide waivers for longer than 11 days such as you have done ? If such waivers from Council are not common, then what makes Ashcroft`s project at 114 Richmond Road so special that it requires this waiver while other projects don’t? Why does the project need to operate heaters from May to August? Ashcroft has been pouring concrete at their project on the north side of Richmond Road all winter. Did they need a noise waiver for that project? What is to prevent every developer in the City from requesting similar exemptions from the bylaw?

As our Association has previously indicated, we are very concerned with the very limited information that Ashcroft is providing the surrounding neighbours on the construction status of this project. We are located next to a 4 to 5 year construction site. As a good neighbour, Ashcroft should be providing information to the neighbours on a regular basis. To date, however, information provided by Ashcroft has been minimal and when provided, it has been provided to the least number of neighbours possible. Knocking on the minimal number of doors is poor consultation at best. We have also been advised by residents of Leighton Terrace that they did not receive advance notice by Ashcroft of their request to be allowed to work for much of the night. We wonder if the south facing residents of Ashcroft`s existing condo across the road from 114 Richmond Road have also received any information on the construction status of the convent project. Given the minimal job that Ashcroft has done to date in keeping the community advised, as discussed at our November 2012 AGM which you had attended, we had hoped that your office would have taken a leadership role in trying to get Ashcroft to do more consulting with the community. As a minimum, we would have hoped that as soon as your office found out information on any construction matters that affected the neighbourhood that the information would have provided it to the neighbourhood immediately. Why was the community not advised in advance by your office that Ashcroft was seeking this exemption to the noise-bylaw?

To summarize, our main concerns are that this motion was brought forward with no advance notification to the community and that it appears to be too broadly worded and could easily be taken of advantage of should Ashcroft decide to interpret it in the context of the actual noise bylaw (particularly the definition of construction equipment). We are concerned as to what steps City Hall will take if Ashcroft chooses to go beyond the scope of the “whereas.” We would also like to know how this motion does not become a precedent for all developers in Ottawa. We look forward to receiving your response to our detailed questions above.

Sincerely,

Lorne Cutler
President
Hampton Iona Community Group

9 04 2013
Miven

We have several community associations in the immediate area of the
Ashcroft Development at 114 Richmond Rd.
Will they organize a march of concern at this site? It seems to me people want to object to what K. Hobbs and Ashcroft are getting away with.
All local communities are going to pay the price of over-development and over-population. Don’t allow them to divide and conquer our communities.

10 04 2013
Sue

I completely, 100% agree with everyone’s frustrations and anger concerning the convent property. I don’t, however, think a march is the answer. The developer and councillor Hobbs have won, the development is in progress and it can’t be stopped. Rather, I think the community association’s (all of them in the area) need to focus on the next issues coming forward–one of which is the above ground western LRT that is threatening to tear apart the Byron linear park and justify even more intensification.

10 04 2013
Miven

In Katherine Hobbs’ own words, illegal work and excessive noise is not a problem. She justifies her statement by saying people are not complaining, she doesn’t receive complaints. It must be okay. This is her logic.
If people protest her actions and Ashcroft’s actions it will bring awareness to people throughout our city that things are getting out of control when it comes developers and the support they continue to get from the mayor and city council.
They will continue pushing for larger, higher developments and worse over-intensification of neighbourhoods.
What must we do in this situation?

10 04 2013
Margaret Thomson

Having just read Jeff’s comments above, I can’t agree more, but am amazed at Hobbs’ response to the well-considered critique he has submitted. Essentially she has ignored the preponderance of his letter, This inability to take constructive criticism full on has been her hallmark as my counsellor, as I see it. With this noise fiasco, she does not have much wiggle room to save face perhaps, but who really knows why she does not address Jeff’s critique points in a forthright manner? Maybe she would like to reconsider, in as public a forum as possible. We, her constituents, deserve much better from her.
Having been surrounded by the racket of infill development for years now, I can only feel for those located even closer to the development than I am.

11 04 2013
Pam

Is it possible to force ex-city councillors to move out of the neighbourhood once they’ve been pushed out at election time? Perhaps we can add this motion to the next long day of voting. They will pass anything at that point.

15 04 2013
DenVan

On the contrary. I love the idea, but Councillors – win or lose – should be forced to move RIGHT NEXT TO the largest under-construction development they have approved during their term of office.

3 06 2013
Dean McCuaig

I like this idea. I live next door to a residential redevelopment project in Westboro. City staff are quick to answer any of my questions by siting by-laws that give them the justification to be unhelpful. However, I ask them who the by-laws exist for and I don’t get answers that include people, neighbors and neighborhoods. I think they would understand the issues better if they had to live next door to one.

14 04 2013
KJW

As a member of this community, I think the solution to this problem is representation. Councillor Hobbs does not appear to be representing the interests of her constitutes, in the least. However, during the last election there were three candidates, the incumbent, who had already earned my distrust, and Daniel Stringer, whose team did not respond to my questions re: his position on relevant issues, i.e. development. So from my research, Katherine Hobbs appeared to be the best choice.

The solution to this problem is to ensure that a member of the community, who is sincerely interested in representing their constitutes and fighting for their interests (even if it is a loosing battle), not only runs in the next election, but wins the next election.

That candidate would be someone who is already involved and fighting for the community. Someone who is engaged in the community (even when there is no election to win) not just by showing up at restaurant openings or sitting silently by during community meetings or tweeting.

14 04 2013
Miven

I agree, we don’t need another Katherine Hobbs elected next election. We need someone who will stand up for constituents, for our communities, and for each neighbourhood that is being taken advantage of by developers that have free rein from our city council and mayor. Now is the time to plan for our future.

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18 06 2013
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1 10 2014
Ashcroft planner hosts meet-and-greet for Kitchissippi councillor | WorWire

[…] Rothwell said he couldn’t think why anybody might be upset about his organizing an event for Hobbs. It’s just a chance for people to met their councillor, he said, with no fundraising element. He hadn’t given any thought to organizing similar events for other candidates, he said. (Challenger Jeff Leiper, a former president of the Hintonburg Community Association, has been particularly tough on Hobbs’ dealings with Ashcroft.) […]

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