The Salvation Army’s Vanier Development Proposal: Who is the Real Applicant?

When applying for amendments to the City’s Official Plan and/or Zoning Bylaw, applicants are required to submit several technical reports as supporting documentation which are then used as part of the review on the part of appropriate City staff (not just planners). These documents include, for example, environmental site assessment, transportation/traffic impact, geotechnical investigation, building elevations and site plan and, planning rationale. Document requirements can vary depending on the complexity of the application. All of the technical documents for the Salvation Army proposal are made available to the public on the City’s web site. Continue reading

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When Charity Organizations Clash with Communities: How the City of Ottawa Failed Vanier

‘Third sector organizations’ is a term often used to describe a wide range organizations that are neither government nor private sector. It includes voluntary and community based organizations such as registered charities, non-profit agencies, self-help groups and neighbourhood associations, social enterprises and cooperatives.  Some of the common features of third sector organizations are: they tend to focus on social needs of marginalized families and individuals in terms of poverty, health care, affordable housing, domestic violence and other issues; they tend to be community or location based in terms of addressing specific needs within a neighbourhood or the larger municipality; and, they tend to be strongly dependent on volunteers, public funding and/or household and corporate donations to sustain their programs and services. In effect, third sector organizations represent extensions of municipal government’s role in improving the overall quality of life of local residents. Such organizations address community needs in areas where government (and private sector) fail to respond effectively.  Continue reading

WOW! Why is the Ottawa Citizen so down on Eastview?

WOW was my first reaction when I read the Ottawa Citizen Editorial Board’s opinion piece this morning on “Why We Support The Salvation Army”. One of the main reasons the Editors are supporting the Salvation Army project on Montreal Road in Vanier is that the site has already a “rundown motel and poorly maintained parking lot” along a stretch of Montreal Road where few would dare to walk along in the day never mind the night. Presumably, this is because of the rundown character of the area and because, as they state, “many potential clients for the new social services hub are already in this area”. The Editors also claim that there are no developers planning “classy condos” in the neighbourhood. The WOW factor became even more pronounced when reading their statement that they doubt the Salvation Army will not “drag things down much” more than it is and that “Vanier residents…are arguing to protect a gentrified community that doesn’t yet exist”. Continue reading

In Search of Balanced Job and Population Growth in Orleans

As I mentioned in an Orleans Community Improvement Plan, there has been a long-standing issue that Orleans has experienced limited employment growth compared to the rest of the City or other suburbs like Kanata which in turn has limited the opportunities for residents to live and work in the community. As a result, Orleans residents face commuting traffic gridlock every morning and evening. This employment/population imbalance is frequently raised in virtually every recent election held in the community – federal, provincial or municipal. Continue reading

Trying to Make Sense out of Planning Sense: The Proposed Salvation Army Social Services Complex in Vanier

The proposed Salvation Army project is, without doubt, the most controversial active planning file at the City today. The Planning and Growth Management Department recently published a draft planning report recommending that City Council approve the Official Plan and Zoning Amendments application to allow the project to be built on Montreal Road in Vanier. The draft report has generated considerable opposition from the community as well as other interested individuals and organizations. The concerns and issues raised against the project have been extensively covered in the local media and in online social networks and I will only summarize the key ones below: Continue reading

The Orleans Community Improvement Plan needs a major overhaul.

Ottawa City Council approved the Orleans Community Improvement Plan (CIP) in 2013. The main goal of this initiative is to attract major knowledge-based employers which would result in a significant improvement in the job-to-household ratio in Orleans so that residents have an opportunity to live and work in the same community.  This has been a long-standing issue in the eastern suburb which has experienced limited employment growth compared to the rest of the City or other suburbs like Kanata. The issue is frequently raised in virtually every recent election held in the community – federal, provincial or municipal. Continue reading