Fight for a City
Free of Developer Influence
In the Glebe, throughout Capital Ward and across our city, we’ve seen the effects of undue influence that large development corporations can have. This manifests in many ways – urban boundary expansion with increased speculation, trees and greenspace might be an afterthought, planning guidelines may get shuffled aside and political donations play a role.
Throughout this term of council, we have been making suggestions to curtail development industry influence. We presented and passed a motion at Council on the revolving door between the industry and staff, examining the potential of a cooling-off period, while trying to bring more balance to city planning.
In February, our office is hosting a Town Hall meeting on developer influence. If you’re interested, please join me, Councillor Catherine McKenney and others as we discuss the issue and its broader implications for the city. The meeting will occur on Thursday, February 24 from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information and to sign up, visit our website at shawnmenard.ca/townhall.
Bank Street Canal Bridge Update
The Bank Street Canal Bridge is scheduled for renewal this year, with funding included in the city’s 2022 budget. The bridge will have separated bike lanes, stand-alone separated sidewalks and three lanes of traffic. It should be noted that traffic functioned very well when we used pylons to create more space on the bridge during the last two years.
Construction work is scheduled to start this spring and be completed by fall. We’ve asked staff to start as early as possible.
This has been a long process and it’s required a lot of input and support from residents and community associations to complete. We thank all of you for the collaboration and work you’ve put into this.
Civic Hospital Parking Garage
February is shaping up to be an important month for the proposed four-story, 2,500-space parking garage at Queen Juliana Park/Dow’s Lake that will serve the future Civic campus of the Ottawa Hospital. While we still believe this is not the right location for the parking garage, we continue to work on ways to lessen its impact on our communities.
At the time of writing, the plans are expected to be reviewed by both the NCC and the city during the month. The NCC has met on a “30% design review” of the garage and should be doing a complete review in the spring.
We expect the proposal to go before the Planning Committee either February 10 or February 24. We continue to work with both city and hospital planners to improve the designs. At our request, the planners held two stakeholder meetings with local community associations and other stakeholder groups in January. Residents had important feedback and advice for the planners, including ways to improve accessibility, connectivity for sustainable transportation and measures to ensure trees and other plants can flourish on the site.
We are also seeking a proper traffic study to try to mitigate the adverse effects of attracting thousands of cars to this site. We have asked for ongoing and meaningful consultations with the communities that will be most affected by the increased traffic and the construction.
Rideau Winter Trail
Have you tried the Rideau Winter Trail? It’s a great spot for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, fat biking or just enjoying a nice winter hike. Last year was the trail’s first full season and a lot of residents took advantage when so many other options for fun and exercise were unavailable during the pandemic.
Well, the pandemic is still here and so is the need for fun and exercise. This year, the trail has been extended and now runs from Donald Street to Bank Street along the Rideau River’s south side. In the future, they’re hoping to extend it all the way to Mooney’s Bay and to the new pedestrian bridge connecting Carleton University with Vincent Massey Park!
We continue to provide some funding from our office budget for the trail. It is maintained completely by volunteers. We would like to thank everyone who’s given their time and financial support. If you’d like to learn more, volunteer or donate, you can visit their website, rideauwintertrail.ca. And if you see me out there, say hello!
Thanks for reading this.
Shawn Menard is City Councillor for Capital Ward. He can be reached directly at Shawn.Menard@ottawa.ca.