Industrial Park development quashed & Councillor Kitts pushes for disaster relief

An overview of Ottawa City Council's September 21, 2022 session.

The session of Ottawa City Council opened today with a moment of silence in recognition of the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. Mayor Jim Watson noted that the official portrait of the monarch was taken down and will be replaced with the official portrait of King Charles III.

The meeting then proceeded with Councillor Cathy Curry, who brought forward a motion asking Council to sustain a planning committee recommendation and deny the zoning application for 100 Steacie Drive, located in an industrial area of Kanata. Curry pointed out that there will be no sidewalks in the area for the foreseeable future, there is a distance to transit service stops, and there is general unfriendliness towards pedestrians. The councillor further stated it will "never be the kind of residential neighbourhood we aspire to as a Council." The motion passed.

Councillor Jeff Leiper put forward a motion recommending City Council appeal the development at 1186, 1188, and 1194 Wellington Street to the Ontario Land Tribunal. Councillor Leiper's motion stated that since Wellington is a main street, the development would violate provincial policy for failing to maintain or enhance the road or to minimalize vehicular trips. Furthermore, the development does not relate well to neighbouring properties. Leiper's motion also stated that the proposed 16-story development violates the Wellington Street West development plan regarding height regulations and the street's character.

Councillor Riley Brockington asked city staff why they are recommending that the development application be approved. A city staff representative on Council stated that the proposal was in accordance with official plans enough to recommend its approval to the Planning Committee. Brockington asked if the proposed development was within the radius of an LRT station where a higher-density building development has been recommended. A second envoy stated that the site was within 800 metres of the Tunneys Pasture LRT station. Council agreed with Councillor Leiper; the was motion carried.

Councillor Catherine Kitts put forward a motion asking the mayor to write Premier Ford requesting designations as 'an area affected by a natural disaster.' Kitts's Ward includes many rural villages and communities within city limits, including Navan and Carlsbad Springs, which continue to deal with the aftereffects of the storm that hit the city in late May. Kitts noted that even on her commute to City Hall today, she saw buildings in her riding without roofs due to the storm damage. Kitts' motion states that residential tenants, small businesses, and not-for-profit organizations could submit for financial assistance and other related expenses under the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians.

The motion further notes that Council requested assistance on June 8, 2022, but there has yet to be a response. The motion states that the province is obliged to act if there is a natural disaster that has been confirmed by an independent group cooperating with the city.

Kitts noted that the municipality of Uxbridge has already received provincial support, and the level of damage from the storm there was similar to that in her Ward. Councillor Diane Deans agreed with the motion and further recommended that Mayor Watson should invite the Premier to come to see the damage firsthand. The Mayor voiced his support for the motion, as did the rest of the Council.

The city's elected officials will meet again on October 5th for their last Council meeting before the fall election.