Reports for NECA AGM, Oct. 25, 2022

Below you will find the Agenda for the New Edinburgh Community Alliance’s annual general meeting, the reports from the NECA board committees, a financial statement, NECA’s strategic priorities and the minutes from the 2021 virtual AGM.

The following motion on a proposal for a pilot project to close a portion of Stanley Avenue is available here.

The AGM will take place on Thurs. Oct. 27, 2022 at 7 p.m. in the Fieldhouse, 203 Stanley Ave. and will also be streamed online. Please register in advance to join by Zoom:  https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZErcOCsrj4pGNN-rR-Am2vnv85zmpiMe_iz

All residents are welcome to the New Edinburgh Community Alliance’s Annual General Meeting and to join the board! Contact: newedinburgh@outlook.com.

Motion to discuss pilot project on Stanley Avenue

At the New Edinburgh Community Alliance’s (NECA’s) annual general meeting on Oct. 27, 2022, board members and residents will be discussing the following motion concerning the proposal for a pilot project to close a small portion of Stanley Avenue near the New Edinburgh Park Fieldhouse (203 Stanley Ave.) to create space for additional public amenities.

If you would like to share your thoughts on this proposal, please join NECA on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. either at the Fieldhouse (203 Stanley Ave.) or online, as the meeting will be in a hybrid format.

Motion to provide the basis for discussion with the City of Ottawa about the Terms of Reference for a Pilot Project on Stanley Avenue

Whereas policy 3–4 of the draft Transportation Master Plan update prescribes “pilot street designs that function as ‘places'” and “seasonal repurposing of streets for place-making activities” whereby streets that border parks are among the most appropriate; and

Whereas the New Edinburgh Community Alliance (NECA) and the Crichton Community Council (CCC) wish to enhance the use of New Edinburgh Park for use by the community; and

Whereas Stanley Avenue between River Lane and the New Edinburgh Park Fieldhouse is non-essential from a motor vehicle through traffic perspective; and

Whereas the public space of New Edinburgh Park between the Rideau River and Stanley Avenue between Dufferin Road and the Fieldhouse is very narrow, thereby compressing the intensive recreational uses and natural functions of the vegetated landscape;

Therefore be it resolved that NECA in collaboration with CCC solicit the City of Ottawa to launch a two- to four-month trial of repurposing a segment of Stanley Avenue in front of the New Edinburgh Park Fieldhouse for place-making such that

  • place-making is realized with amenities for public use added onto the repurposed road segment during the trial period. Examples of desired (none in particular are required) amenities are: 
  • seating
  • planter boxes with community volunteer installed/maintained vegetation or otherwise
  • art, cultural, or educational based installation(s)
  • game or activity-based installation(s)
  • food and beverage service(s)
  • only emergency, park maintenance and other such authorized motor vehicles are permitted to drive through the repurposed road segment during the trial period
  • on-street parking availability is maintained for users of the Fieldhouse and surrounding public space; and

be it further resolved that the CCC in collaboration with NECA work with the City of Ottawa to activate the repurposed portion of Stanley Avenue with community programming and events; and

be it further resolved that during and upon completion of the pilot, NECA, CCC and the City jointly assess the degree to which the roadway’s closure to motorized through traffic impacts

  • the usage and user satisfaction of New Edinburgh Park and the Fieldhouse
  • the volume of interprovincial and other motorized traffic cutting through New Edinburgh
  • traffic elsewhere in the neighbourhood, e.g., along Crichton Street, River Lane or MacKay Street
  • parking availability
  • the neighbouring community

Park news: Icebreaking access, moth control, and hope for a clean-up day

By Karen Squires and Katherine Hall

Over the years the New Edinburgh Community Alliance (NECA) has worked with a group of volunteers to ensure the park area is preserved, kept clean and well-maintained, in collaboration with City team members.

While the park cleanup did not take place last year, the NECA parks group met with City staff members to discuss maintenance issues to do with the tennis courts, seasonal garbage bins, bench repairs, fencing and signage. As well, City staff have just confirmed that both the annual icebreaking program on the Rideau River and the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel (CSST) tunnel maintenance will be accessed by the broadened, newly resurfaced roadway entrance near the New Edinburgh Fieldhouse. Therefore, you will see the equipment required for the icebreaking coming through this area from late February to early March. We hope to provide an update on scheduling for the ongoing CSST tunnel maintenance, which will also access the park from the same location near the fieldhouse.

During 2021, LDD moths became a major issue, destroying tree leaves all around Ottawa. City staff have confirmed there is a budget in 2022 which includes a new, temporary, full- time employee joining the Forestry department for the express purpose of developing and implementing community support programming around LDD. This role will also support the development and implementation of an Urban Forest Outreach and Engagement Strategy which is a key recommendation of the Urban Forest Management Plan. One element of this program is a burlap distribution kit, more details of which we hope to provide in a future edition. We all want to ensure we are able to protect our trees against ongoing LDD invasion.

Prior to COVID-19’s ongoing public safety restrictions, residents (with Friends of the Park) were invited to come out and do a collective spring park cleanup each May. We are monitoring the situation now to determine how best to move forward in 2022 for potential spring and fall dates.

In Spring 2021, the New Edinburgh News asked for input from residents as to what they enjoyed about the park and what they’d like to see more of. Here’s a summary of what we learned. People: 

  • love to walk in nature – natural setting is a key theme!
  • would like to see more garbage cans and recycling bins.
  • want better signage to keep cyclists off the shoreline.
  • are interested in the restoration of natural beauty and the addition of more benches.
  • would like more cleanup initiatives.
  • support more wildflowers, green space, and tree-planting to improve biodiversity.
  • would like to see better care taken of seeded grass areas.
  • want more native plant species planted to attract birds.
  • support the possible expansion of the waterfront area to Porter Island, Bordeleau Park and Rideau Falls.

In November 2021, we were pleased to hear that the City will be switching to a cleaner grass mowing alternative, to cut down on fumes. We liaised with City staff, who have agreed to reduce the amount of mowing in the “regeneration area” of the park. A consistent theme is to keep the park natural and clean, and have places where people can stroll, sit, and enjoy the scenery including birds, wildflowers, trees, and the waterfront.

Members from the Crichton Community Council (CCC) manage the Fieldhouse, the skating rink, and children’s playground area in addition to such annual events as the plant sale, in and around the fieldhouse area. NECA continues to liaise with the CCC and to provide updates, through NEN’s event listings on what’s happening. 

To conclude, while New Edinburgh and Stanley Park and nearby areas serve a diverse group of people, there are more people using the park year-round since COVID lockdowns and restrictions. We will increase our coordinated efforts with City staff to ensure we all work together for a clean, natural, and safe space to enjoy all year. As of January 2022, the City is aware of our requests and have approved the funds to do some repairs to the tennis courts and fencing near the fieldhouse. They have also noted our request for better signage for cyclists and the replacement of one bench near the tennis courts. 

Karen Squires and Katherine Hall are members of the Friends of the Park committee at NECA. To learn more about Friends of the Park, please email info@newedinburgh.ca

Should a portion of Stanley Ave. be closed for good?

By Jason Tavoularis (This article appeared in the December 2021 edition of the New Edinburgh News)

I would like to start by thanking Marc D’Orgeville for serving as chair of the New Edinburgh Community Alliance’s (NECA) Traffic and Safety (T&S) committee these past few years, and for encouraging me to step up to replace him. Marc came to my home on Dufferin Road recently to complete the transition. We discussed various T&S matters like Dufferin Road’s new speed humps, a project we had worked on together, liaising with City Councillor Rawlson King’s office and adjacent residents.

But it was the Stanley Avenue road closure in late October/early November that really animated us. One of the documents Marc transferred to me as the new T&S chair was NECA’s 1997 Community Directed Traffic Calming Study report which recommended closing Stanley Avenue to traffic from the New Edinburgh Fieldhouse (203 Stanley Ave.) to the entrance of River Lane on Dufferin Road. This recommendation never moved forward due to the potential for negative spin-off effects.

The recent temporary closure inadvertently gave us an interesting proof point that seemingly justifies further study towards a Stanley Avenue revamp without through traffic. Marc and I live on opposite ends of the closure that was recommended in the NECA traffic calming report almost 25 years ago. Neither of us witnessed a negative impact from the recent closure. We did observe a more relaxing atmosphere in Stanley Park without cars driving past the playground. Did any other park users perceive this? Surely, there must have been some traffic diverted from Stanley Avenue onto Crichton or MacKay Streets, but did those living on these streets notice?

The path towards permanently changing Stanley Avenue in such a way is a long one that would need broad support to succeed, including that of residents, our community associations and our councillor –no small feat to achieve. But I think the potential benefits make this worth revisiting. I’m optimistic that this stretch of road in question can be redesigned to keep commuters away from the playground and the dog park without loss of parking or green space. Maybe a proposed plan would include a road segment repurposed as a vibrant gathering spot, like a skatepark or a vegetated area with seating?

I would like to hear your traffic and safety ideas and concerns for New Edinburgh, including this big idea for Stanley Avenue. Did you experience any negative effects from the recent closure on this street? What worries you most about a prolonged closure? How would you like to see a stretch of the road reclaimed? Any parking arrangement ideas for that tricky road bend? Would you support a temporary closure, perhaps during the summer months, to allow the effects to be evaluated more scientifically?

Please mail me at info@newedinburgh.ca

NECA board looking for new faces

By Cindy Parkanyi, NECA President

From its early days fighting construction of the Vanier Parkway extension to advocating for mitigation and improvements to the park and public spaces, the New Edinburgh Community Alliance gets involved in myriad issues and activities, from inputs on citywide issues (such as zoning by-law changes, official plans and major governance reviews) to more localized issues around heritage, development, traffic, safety, and the environment, to name a few.

All these efforts take time and effort, so the more of us who are willing to participate, the better off we all are. If you or someone you know wants to help address issues in our neighbourhood, or has great ideas to improve it, please consider join the NECA board or one of our committees. To get a better understanding of what’s involved before jumping in, log on to the Annual General Meeting on Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. or join one of the NECA board meetings: every third Tuesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. Currently, all meetings are being held on Zoom and the link is posted in advance at newedinburgh.ca/events. Nominations are open from now until the evening of the AGM: Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. However, we encourage nominations in advance. If you are interested, please email newedinburgh[at]outlook.com

City’s draft Official Plan is worrisome and aggressively anti-urban

By Ray Boomgaardt. This article originally appeared in the April 2021 edition of the New Edinburgh News.

In November 2020, the City of Ottawa published a draft revision of its Official Plan, intended to guide the growth of the city for the next 25 years. It invited public comments on the four volumes (Vol. 1 alone is more than 250 pages long). The Board of the New Edinburgh Community Alliance (NECA) submitted its comments on Mar. 12 (find our submission at newedinburgh.ca). Our City Councillor Rawlson King has invited residents to make any further comments to his office.

The City terms its revisions to its Official Plan as a “New Official Plan.” That’s actually a fair description, because the New Plan reverses many of the policies of the existing Plan. The extreme departure from existing policies is very strange – even bizarre – because the existing Plan is well written, has been regularly updated by Council, and seems to have served the City rather well. The New Plan is full of empty jargon, reverses not only well-established policies but also many recent Council decisions, and attacks fundamental rules and procedures protecting Ottawa’s urban neighbourhoods. 

Having been critical of the City in the past, it feels strange to be suddenly noticing all the merits of the existing Plan. But that is perhaps the easiest way to convey to you, dear reader, how worrisome this revision, the draft New Plan, is. 

Fifty years ago, the ideas of urban-renewal activist Jane Jacobs lead the citizens of Toronto in their campaign to stop the Spadina Expressway. In 1979, those same ideas galvanized New Edinburgh to stop the Vanier Arterial. Perhaps the writers of the New Plan were indulging in some black humour when they decided to label the Queensway, Ottawa’s expressway, a scenic route (yes, really!). But we digress. This article is not about that bit of Orwellian nonsense, although we do think it illustrates how poorly thought out and aggressively anti-urban the New Plan is.

One of NECA’s core values is our commitment to Jacobs’ understanding of what makes a city thriving and liveable: the city is made up of neighbourhoods. The existing Plan, was also explicitly based on this idea. The proposed revised Plan talks about developing “15-minute neighbourhoods,” but then repeatedly undermines urban neighbourhoods.

Let’s look at some examples.

An overview of the Plans

The existing Plan states: “This Plan manages this growth in ways that reinforce the qualities of the city most valued by its residents: its distinctly liveable communities, its green and open character, and its unique characteristics.”… “The environmental integrity of the city is reinforced throughout the Plan.”

The New Plan replaces these four commitments – to community, greenspace, unique characteristics and environment – with a far weaker and vaguer sentence: “we will need to find ways of supporting city neighbourhoods … as healthy, inclusive and vibrant places,” offering vague support for “healthy, inclusive and vibrant places.”

For existing urban areas, “healthy” seems to mean adequate parks and recreation facilities, and might even be construed as a back-handed reference to environmental integrity (i.e., a weakening of existing policy, but not a complete reversal); “inclusive” seems to mean more high-density buildings without lawns or trees (what the Plan calls the “missing middle,” i.e., with no accommodation for communities, greenspace, or unique characteristics); and “vibrant” seems to mean rapidly transforming with high-density infill (the existing Plan supports infill, but doesn’t require it to be dense, and does make it subject to the four commitments.)  

NECA has been fighting for the four commitments in the existing Plan to be respected by new development proposals; the New Plan simply deletes the commitments altogether. 

Secondary plans

NECA and other community associations have done a lot of work on our vision for the development of the Beechwood Avenue corridor. The new draft Official Plan proposes to designate Beechwood from the St. Patrick bridge to Hemlock Road as a “Mainstreet Corridor.” The good part of this proposal is that new projects along the Corridor are required to have ground-level commercial units and to provide extra-wide sidewalks. 

On the other hand, there is a series of additional elements that community associations would like to see included to help ensure appropriate development along Beechwood. Under both the existing Plan and the draft New Plan, secondary development plans can be initiated by the City, and, when approved, become part of the Official Plan. 

However, the draft New Plan introduces a new prerequisite for secondary plans: “the City shall require a landowners’ agreement. This Agreement shall be provided to the City prior to the commencement of the Secondary Plan. The … agreement shall include … how development and density are to be distributed, as well as how the costs of studies and plans will be divided.

In short, landowners who do not agree with a proposed planning process can veto it simply by not signing a landowner’s agreement.

Again, the City has simply deleted the prior ability to receive community input. 

Dealing with growth

The New Plan notes that provincial policy requires the City to designate enough land to account for growth over the next 25 years; and that the City expects to grow to 1.4 million people by 2046, an annual growth rate of about 1.2 per cent.

Over the past 30 years, the number of living units in New Edinburgh has probably grown at a rate of more than 1.2 per cent annually. So you might think that the City would use us as a model for the future. You would be wrong.

The New Plan proposes that 47 per cent of the growth will occur within the existing urban boundary (this is targeted to rise to 60 per cent by 2046, sec 2.2.1(1)), 46 per cent in the currently undeveloped land at the periphery of the urban boundary, and seven per cent in rural areas. So far, so good.

The New Plan goes on to state: “The target amount of dwelling growth represents the proportion of new residential dwelling units, excluding institutional and collective units such as seniors’ and student residences, based upon building permit issuance within the built-up portion of the urban area.”

Apparently, seniors’ units do not count. Really: that’s in the New Plan! New Edinburgh has three long-term care facilities built in the last 30 years. But they wouldn’t count under the New Plan’s math. 

Dealing with intensification

Fun fact: the draft New Plan uses the word “transect” as a noun, with a meaning unknown to either the Oxford or Random House dictionaries.

Here we go. In the inner urban “transect” (which includes New Edinburgh), the New Plan provides that “The minimum residential dwelling density …for each lot” is 80 units per hectare. This intensification requirement would apply to any new construction in New Edinburgh outside the Heritage District. The density requirement along Beechwood Avenue is 80 to 160 units per hectare.

A hectare is 10,000m2. So, at 80 units per hectare, each unit occupies 125 m2, or 1,345ft2.  This is the exterior dimension, so the interior living space on each floor would be about 1,200ftassuming 100 per cent lot coverage. Therefore, if one wants to build a two-storey 1,800fthouse (at 900ftper floor) on a 1,200ft2 lot, there is only 300ftof space for lot setbacks, a deck and parking. For lots that have approximately 15m frontage or wider, at least 50 per cent of the units developed on that lot must have three or more bedrooms. 

If you know the size of lots on your street, you can calculate what requirements a new development would need to meet. If a lot is 50×100 = 5000ft2 (464m2), the building would need to have four units to meet the standard, and two of them would need to have three bedrooms, since the lot is more than 15m wide. Assuming 50 per cent lot coverage, 2500ft2, and three floors, this provides 7,500ft2, or approximately 1,900ft2 for each unit (exterior dimensions).

Remember, these are minimum requirements. Presumably the by-laws will be amended to permit this kind of intensification. 

Conclusion

You tell me. What’s up with City Hall?

Ray Boomgaardt is a board member of the New Edinburgh Community Alliance.

CSST Information and Resources

 

Since early November 2016, NECA’s Task Force has been working hard to learn more about the forthcoming Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel (CSST) project and what the community can do to prevent being used as the main extraction site, or to mitigate the impacts of such construction. (Visit the Task Force on Facebook).

This page features information on the CSST for New Edinburgh residents, to help better understand the scope and scale of the project, what we know about it, and to get the community thinking about what we can do to help mitigate the project’s impact on our neighbourhood.

In February 2017, a Community Construction Monitoring Committee was created to liaise between the CSST team and New Edinburgh residents.

Latest CSST-related news

  • Feb. 27, 2017: NECA releases statement on Feb. 22 CSST East-West Tunnel Trucking Options Consultation.

Recent events and actions

  • Feb. 22, 2017 The City of Ottawa held an Open House on CSST Trucking Routes. Stantec’s “Technical Memorandum: Review Alternative Trucking Routes for Site 5 / Stanley Park” was presented. Read it here.
  • Feb. 6, 2017 The Task Force held a “Call to Action” at City Hall to show the Mayor we mean business and to support the community delegation’s meeting with the Mayor. The delegation included Tim Plumptre, Joe Chouinard, Sean Flynn, Sonny Dhanani, Pamela Howson and Marta Klepaczek. Read the press release here. The delegation’s report on the meeting is available here.
  • Feb. 4, 2017 The New Edinburgh Task Force hosted an open meeting to discuss and share information on CSST developments and plans. Read the pre-meeting letter to the mayor and view a Site 5 construction sequencing document here.
  • Jan. 30, 2017 See the latest correspondence between the Task Force and City officials here.
  • Jan. 25, 2017 The Task Force held a demonstration at City Hall calling for the CSST main extraction site to be moved to LeBreton Flats. Details here. Residents presented the mayor with a petition (at the time featuring over 600 signatures) concerning CSST main staging site. You can sign the petition online.
  • Jan. 16, 2017 The City of Ottawa held a meeting for New Edinburgh residents who will be most affected by construction at Site 5c (Queen Victoria Ave and River Lane) and residents/property owners in close proximity to this site who will be most affected by the construction.
  • Jan. 6, 2017 “The Task Force’’s Heritage Working Group submitted a report.
  • Jan. 3, 2017 The Task Force’s Health, Safety and Environment team put together a report .

How did we get here?

  • Oct. 27, 2016, the City of Ottawa held an info session for New Edinburgh residents on the forthcoming CSST project and how it will affect the community. Residents felt they were not consulted on this project and have serious concerns about the traffic and environmental impact it will have over a 30-month period on Stanley (New Edinburgh) Park as well as the surrounding residential neighbourhood.
  • Nov. 2, 2016 a group of residents met with City of Ottawa officials to gain a better understanding of the project. The final report from that meeting is available here.
  • Nov. 10, 2016 NECA’s board of directors held an emergency meeting to discuss the community’s response to the CSST project. The meeting minutes are available here.
  • Nov. 16, 2016 City Councillor Tobi Nussbaum hosted a second information session for New Edinburgh residents with the CSST project team.
  • Dec. 24, 2016 The Task Force sent a letter to Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson. Learn more about how you can tell the mayor of the CSST in New Edinburgh here! The Task Force has also sent letters to MPP Nathalie Des Rosiers and then-Chief Government Whip Andrew Leslie.
  • Documents indicate that the City’s own consultants say it is feasible/doable to move the extraction site elsewhere.  The next step is to follow-up with the Mayor and City Council expressing your own individual concerns/messages to the politicians.

A message from the Task Force

  • It is feasible to move the primary mucking site from the park.  It won’t stop the rape of the park, but it will help to reduce the impacts of this massive project on our community.  It will take some additional incremental funding from each of the three levels of government. But, more importantly, it will require the political will by our elected officials to make it happen, as the City’s bureaucrats are still recommending that the primary site remain in the
  • The Task Force is also concerned about the lack of community consultation on the CSST issue. Read their full message here.