David Reevely (Ottawa Citizen) refers to your Hobb comments as ‘epic thread’!

6 04 2013

Your comments to Hobbs regarding the convent-site noise exemption have been noticed. Most recently by David Reevely of the OTTAWA CITIZEN. He refers to the ‘epic thread’ of resident comments on our Hello Westboro blog, and noted ‘the only person defending Hobbs was Hobbs’.

Reevely’s full article:

Reevely’s blog post on the same topic, more detail:

Original post that gave everyone something to talk about:



Convent update: Construction Road through Byron Linear Park

14 10 2012

Hampton Iona and Westboro community groups received this letter from Councillor Hobbs.  Unfortunately, we were given no advance warning that this was happening.   If you have any questions,  you should either contact Councillor Hobbs or Doug James.

To summarize, the City is planning to allow Ashcroft to built a temporary construction road through the Byron Linear Park.  Next  summer the City will be widening Shannon Street and once that widening is completed, that newly widened street will become a construction route and the temporary road through the Park will be closed.

Dear Residents of Shannon Street, Hilson Avenue and Byron Avenue,

This letter is being distributed to advise you that in the coming days, work will commence to prepare a temporary access through the Byron Linear Park for construction vehicles at the location shown on the plan attached.  The temporary access is necessary to accommodate works at the south side of the former Sisters of the Visitation property.  The temporary access will be gravel and will involve some modest site modifications such as the removal of approximately two trees and the realignment of the linear path next to Byron Avenue.  As part of the path realignment, stop signs will be erected at the intersection with the temporary access to help minimize pedestrian conflicts. This temporary access is intended to be in service only until Shannon Street is redesigned through the Site Plan Control Process, all required approvals are issued, and the construction to implement that design is completed.  It is expected that the reconstruction of Shannon Street will be completed next summer, and at that time, construction vehicles will cease using the temporary access through the park, and instead, use Shannon Street to access the site for the duration of construction.

The final design of Shannon Street is intended to include widening the travelled portion of that road to a maximum of 6.75 metres and it is anticipated that a major portion of the asphalt widening will take place on the southern side of the roadway.  There is also no sidewalk planned for the widened road.  In addition to the asphalt widening, roadway modifications to accommodate the turning radius for construction traffic will also be accomplished from the side of the park and the hydro poles will be relocated at Ashcroft’s expense.  Any trees that are removed, both in relation to the increased road allowance as well as the temporary construction access through the linear park will be replaced (two trees for every one tree removed) as part of the Site Plan Control Process. During the construction process, Ashcroft Homes will be required to ensure that dust and dirt are monitored and managed.  This will likely involve watering of the roadway and construction vehicles.

It is acknowledged that construction activities at 114 Richmond Road have been difficult for the surrounding residents; however, the temporary access through the Byron Linear Park and the final design of Shannon Street is being undertaken with the goal of minimizing the impact on the residents of Shannon Street, both during the construction phase of this development and after construction is completed.

For further information please contact the undersigned,

Douglas James
Planning and Growth Management Department
City of Ottawa
613-580-2424 ext. 13856


Ashcroft and the Convent, revisited.

24 08 2012

In case you haven’t heard, Ashcroft Homes has submitted their site plan for Phase 2 of their development, which is the back half of the Soeur de la Visitation Convent Site. You can read about it on the Hampton-Iona Community Group website. Make sure you scroll down and read the comments from other members of the community.

You can also check out the website of local resident, Kevin O’Donnell.

** Update! “Ashcroft Homes drops plan for driveway across Byron linear park”. Read the story over at the Ottawa Citizen.

An update re: the convent site (114 Richmond)

25 08 2011

The Hampton Iona Community Group summarizes recent developments on their blog in two recent posts:

Interested residents might also want to read a recent article published in Ottawa This Week: “Westboro residents want say in convent site plan


29 06 2011

As one of three community Appellants (Westboro Community Assoc., Hampton Iona Community Group & Sylvano Carrasco) against the City’s re-zoning of the ‘Les Soeurs de la Visitation’ convent, located at 114 Richmond Road, Westboro Community Association wishes to announce that the three Appellants have reached an agreement with Ashcroft Developments.

The Appellants have agreed to withdraw their appeal to the OMB in exchange for consensus on a number of issues (a detailed outline of the settlement can be found on www.hamptoniona.ca) including Ashcroft withdrawing their own appeal for added height and density, as well as for $200,000 to be placed in trust, by Ashcroft. This fund will be administered by the community through a yet to be established not-for-profit corporation and is for community use. We will be seeking input from the community as to how these funds can be used.

The only party not at the table for the negotiated settlement was the City of Ottawa, despite several requests.

Despite the existence of a Community Design Plan and a Secondary Plan, City planners, Ashcroft’s planners, and an independent urban design team all supported the proposed Zoning By-law heights approved in November 2010 by City Council.

The three Appellants were faced with a situation in which the only option left was an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

There was an attempt to raise the necessary funds to hire legal and planning help but not enough money was raised to date. As a result, we could neither hire a lawyer to defend our position at the OMB, nor obtain the help of a planner. As a Board we felt backed into a corner, and regretfully, were forced to make a decision. Rather than face imminent and almost certain loss at the OMB, and possible greater densities due to Ashcroft’s challenge, we concluded that we had no choice but to accept Ashcroft’s proposal. We are deeply saddened by this latest development and the affect it will have.

We still disagree with several major aspects of the proposed development, but the crux of the matter is that the City has failed to support the Community Design Plan, which later became the Secondary Plan for Westboro/Richmond Road. We believe that the City has not respected the wording nor the intent of these documents and has designed their secondary plans to be virtually ineffective.

For your reference, the following text was copied directly from the City of Ottawa website.

[Amendment 70, June 24, 2009]
1.0 Introduction/Planning Strategy
The Richmond Road/Westboro Secondary Plan is a guide to its long-term design and development, taking into consideration land use, urban design, zoning, transportation, existing streetscape conditions, compatibility of new development, and other issues of concern to the local communities. The Secondary Plan provides a framework for change that will see Richmond Road/Westboro as we know it today become Richmond Road/Westboro as we will know it tomorrow. A unifying vision and overlying objectives and principles set out the policy context for the specific sectoral strategies that focus on land use and building scale, as well as a greenspace network strategy. This Secondary Plan is meant to be read and interpreted as City Council’s policy direction for municipal actions, particularly the undertaking of public works and the review of development proposals, city-wide and site-specific zoning changes and Committee of Adjustment applications.

The Secondary Plan is based on City Council’s July 9, 2007 approval of the Richmond Road/Westboro Community Design Plan (CDP), a joint staff-community effort to develop a vision for Richmond Road/Westboro as an attractive and viable place for all who shop, work or live in the area. The CDP provides detailed background information on existing conditions and community issues as well as land use policy and zoning recommendations. Development proposals and public works also need to consider the CDP’s urban design guidelines, proposed streetscaping improvements and other implementation measures.

In addition to the CDP, reference must be made to both the City of Ottawa Official Plan and this Secondary Plan for complete policy direction for the future development of the Richmond Road/Westboro area.

The implications of these weak plans are vast, not only for Westboro/West Wellington, but for the entire City. We fear that what the City has approved at 114 Richmond Road due to the weakness of our Secondary Plan has set a dangerous precedent, not only for the future of our neighbourhood, but it has damaged, perhaps irrevocably, the confidence of the WCA and our members and neighbours. We urge Mayor Jim Watson and City Council to address this issue and ensure Secondary Plans are treated as equal to the City’s Official Plan.

Gary Ludington
and the WCA Board

The forces at work in our neighbourhood

24 05 2011

If you haven’t yet heard, planning committee was supposed to discuss a plan to let a road cut through the linear park on Byron Avenue. That item was pulled from the agenda at the behest of Councillor  Hobbs. You can read more about that here.

In related news, this was a letter to the editor that was published in the Ottawa Citizen on May 23.

Re: Build access road to Westboro convent site across Byron park, city planners recommend, May 17. The development of a lovely old convent in Westboro, once a place of peace and contemplation, has exploded into a messy, acrimonious debate that has pitted neighbour against neighbour. It has also seen the new city councillor for the area badmouth her predecessor.

At issue is a second road that Ashcroft, the developer, wants to include to give access to the development. The choices on where this road would go are all unacceptable: Byron Park, resulting in a road cutting through a linear park (Councillor Katherine Hobbs now says she no longer supports this option due to public outcry); Shannon Avenue, a tiny lane that would be widened and destroy the front yards and quality of life of the families living there; or snaking it through the development itself, resulting in the elimination of a stand of mature maples earmarked to remain accessible to the public.

These choices are bogus. Don’t ask us to choose between a set of rotten alternatives, instead make the developer produce a plan that does not require an additional access road. Reduce the density; put the seniors residence across the street on Richmond Road as was originally planned. I am sure Ashcroft can come up with some sort of layout that will be profitable, preserve the maples and not require radical changes outside the development. I am certain they could do it, but the city is not asking them to, so we are left squabbling among ourselves.

I completely resent being put in this position. Why are the developers the force in our neighbourhood, rather than the people who live here and the council that is supposed to lead and protect us?

Heather Mitchell, Ottawa

A letter from a neighbour: Amos Hayes on the Convent

18 05 2011

This letter comes from Amos Hayes and has been republished with permission.


Staff has recommended allowing a permanent private access road through the Byron Linear Park. Their report is on the agenda for the planning committee on Tuesday May 24th (next Tuesday!) at City Hall (Champlain Room in the heritage part).

From what I understand, enacting their recommendation will also require a city bylaw change to permit access to a property through adjacent property.

These decisions will affect communities throughout the city.

Please pass along this information to your neighbourhood community associations and your neighbours. Please let your councillor know that this is an unacceptable use of a public park.



Send your comments to the planning committee:

Caitlin Salter MacDonald
(613) 580-2424 x. 28136

Bums in seats are *really* important. Come to the meeting on Tuesday at 9:30am at City Hall and let the planning committee and planners know how you feel. You can sign up to say your bit on the morning of or let the person above know sooner if you’d like to be early on the list.

Further info:

The only alternative on the staff’s table is access through Shannon Ave. (currently a narrow street which dead-ends at the property.) This would have a significant impact on residents there. Even though it has been confirmed that the southern building parking will have underground access to Richmond Rd., the city staff and the councillor are suggesting that if there is no southern access, the developer will cut down all the mature trees on the eastern side of the property (Nun’s Walk) rather than slightly adjusting building footprints to accommodate emergency/service vehicle surface access from Richmond Rd. You may recall that in November the committee was assured that all service vehicles would use the Richmond Rd. entrance either way, and that the Leighton Terrace entrance was to be the second entrance required for emergency vehicles only.

The community has been railroaded into a terrible either/or decision which pits neighbour against neighbour, all to reward a developer with an overly dense site plan. This is despicable and an affront to all communities. Please take some time to make yourself heard. Please also consider visiting http://hamptoniona.ca and donating time or money to the community appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board.

Amos Hayes

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