Kitchissippi Times Letter to the Editor: Westboro is changing

24 09 2018

Kitchissippi Times Letter to the Editor: Westboro is changing

Dear Editor,

The character of the Westboro is changing fast…  and is going to change faster.

The lot beside our home was recently sold, and we were not surprised to hear it was to be redeveloped. We were not surprised when the City of Ottawa envelope arrived in our mailbox, informing us of an application for minor variances. But we were surprised (though perhaps we shouldn’t have been) by the proposal itself – subdivision of the lot to build two apartment buildings. Six apartments (or 8) where there was one single family home. The application requires “minor” variances to reduce both the minimum allowed width and area of the lot.

Constance Downes and Max Finkelstein at their Westboro home. Photo by Andrea Tomkins

We are not opposed to new developments. In fact, we are generally supportive of City policies for infill and intensification. However, we are shocked by this level of intensification and the incongruity of the proposal to the character of the street, which is a mix of older and newer single-family homes.

We were taken aback that the City considers an application for an approximately 25% reduction in the allowable minimum area to be “minor.” There can be valid reasons to grant minor variances (e.g. where it adds community value by improving traffic flow or addresses safety concern). However, in this situation, there appear to be no valid grounds. Granting these minor variances would not add  any community value. It is clearly for the maximization of profit and tax revenue by squeezing two apartment buildings into an area that is clearly defined under the City bylaw as being too small.

Time to do a bit of snooping around the neighbourhood. We are not alone. It’s not just “in our back yard.” On Roosevelt Avenue, there is an identical proposal just two blocks away by the same developer, same apartment building plans, same minor variances requested to enable the construction of another two side-by-side monolithic buildings on one lot. Granting five “minor” variances cannot be considered, by any reasonable measure, to be “minor.” Again, another two blocks away on Ravenhill, we find four recently-built apartment buildings, and two more being built right now, on what were previously three single-family lots, completely changing the look and feel of the street. In this case, the approved three-unit apartment blocks mysteriously grew to be four units after construction.

So on Edison, where we once had one neighbour, we will have six (or eight). Where we once had the shade of century-old maple trees we will now have none. Where once gardens and lawns provided beauty and a permeable surface for run-off, we will have concrete. Where there were once one or two cars with sufficient driveway there could now be six or more, with only two parking spaces provided. Where will the other cars be parked? We all know the answer – on the street. Churchill Alternative School, which our son attended, is at the north end of the block. The twice-daily drop-off and pick-up of students in school buses and cars already creates a chaotic situation that has required complex parking and traffic restrictions. The addition of more cars to this mix could make it a dangerous situation.

As the city continues to grant these “minor” variances, the precedent is being set thus allowing it to happen over and over and over again throughout our neighbourhood and others. One doesn’t have to search far to find similar situations in the Glebe, Old Ottawa South… the list goes on.

We repeat, we are not against reasonable intensification nor are our neighbours to whom we’ve spoken. However, the City has no plan or vision for Westboro’s future, official or otherwise. There is no definition of “intensification” or how it will be applied. Are there any limits to it? There appears to be none. There is no definition of what constitutes a “minor” variance and no consideration of the cumulative effects of these “minor” variances. How many can one request?

Is there an unwritten vision by the City that Westboro will ultimately become a community of solid apartment buildings? We know none of this. The City, our politicians and the Committee of Adjustment is failing the residential community. To have the future of Westboro written on a case-by-case basis simply for the pursuit of maximum short-term profits is a mistake. The City’s lack of long-term community planning is a mistake that its citizens will look back upon with regret.

So say goodbye to our cozy, tree-lined Westboro haven. It will soon be gone forever. Unless we, the residents, act. If you are concerned, there are three things you can do right now:

  • Come to the developer’s community meeting on Tuesday, September 25 at 7 p.m., Churchill Seniors Centre (345 Richmond Rd).
  • Write a letter and/or attend the City’s Committee of Adjustment hearing on Wednesday, October 3, at 1 p.m. at Ben Franklin Place, The Chamber, Main Floor, 101 Centrepointe Dr.
  • Write a letter to Councillor Jeff Leiper ( and to Joel Hardin, MPP (

For more information on this proposed infill development and our community’s hopes to work with the developer to find a more suitable solution that maintains the unique character of Westboro, please contact

Max Finkelstein and Constance Downes
487 Edison Ave.


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 or call (613) 254-6584 ext. 503.

Celebrate the Dream Event


Event: Celebrating Two Old Ottawa Maples

3 08 2018

Celebrating Two Old Ottawa Maples

Richard Deadman and his family invite you to join them in their yard at 102 Springhurst Avenue in Old Ottawa South to celebrate two maples at risk of falling to Regional Group’s “Greystone Village” (see CTV story). They are located near the Rideau River on the northern edge of the former Oblates Missionary site, a property that will see 916 condos and townhouses go up in the next few years.

Starting at 1:30 PM this Sunday, August 5, 2018, the Ottawa naturalist Owen Clarkin will talk about the features and ecology of the sugar maple, and the two trees at risk. Tree activists will outline efforts to map the lost trees of Ottawa and steps needed to correct the poor record of tree protection in the City of Ottawa. By 2:15 the event will move down Springhurst Avenue to the Rideau River Nature Trail, concluding by 3 pm.

Join the celebration of what is and could remain a heritage green space in a residential neighbourhood.

Champlain Oaks project
Big Trees of Kitchissippi

Bur oaks in Champlain Park: Sunday, May 6, 2018

3 05 2018

Please the attached information from a neighbour.

Six heritage trees in an urban ‘hood

We will visit six majestic bur oak trees that will be coming into leaf. Learn how Champlain Park ‘hood has managed to get a provincial designation for these heritage trees—to date, the only such designations in Ottawa. Discuss and strategize on ways to ensure heritage trees and all our natural heritage are recognized by the City of Ottawa as it reviews its tree by-law in 2018.

Meet at Champlain Park, 149 Cowley Ave. Ottawa, near the fieldhouse. From there, we will walk south on Cowley to visit the first bur oak. We will walk west on Sunnymede Ave. and visit two bur oak trees on Keyworth Ave. Our next stop will be two bur oak trees on Daniel Ave. The final stop will be at the bur oak located on Clearview Ave at Patricia.

Three of the trees are located in backyards where access to the yard involves driveways with some slope and grassy, uneven terrain in the yards.

Debra and Daniel are animators for the Champlain Oaks Project, which was launched in our small enclave within Kitchissippi Ward in 2010. Our neighbourhood project aims to protect and celebrate these massive bur oak trees that have grown in this part of the city for centuries, from acorns planted by squirrels and blue jays!

Fake Donation Boxes in Westboro

5 03 2018

Just an FYI that fake donation boxes have been found in Westboro, most recently by the development site at Kenwood and Churchill.

Call the City (Road By-Laws) at 311 if you see one and they will remove it.

Proposed Build: 6-Storey Building at Highcroft Ave, Byron Place & Churchill

18 02 2018

Please see the attached flyer about a proposed 6-storey mixed-use development on the corner of Highcroft Avenue, Byron Place and Churchill.



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