First, a disclaimer: I am a member of the CCCA Board and Chair of the Transportation Committee for the association.
The Centretown Citizens Community Association held its Annual General Meeting the other night (October 25) and it was a typical AGM with the reports of the great work that the volunteers do to make sure that everything possible is done to protect Centretown from construction projects that are to come, transportation issues, safety and accessibility concerns and the lack of green space.
The meeting had three presentations; Nelson Edwards spoke about the Ottawa Moves initiative that will look at how Ottawa needs to adapt to move our population better than it does now. (Ottawa Moves has presentations in Andrew Haydon Hall at City Hall November 2nd and 3rd and the public is invited to attend but must pre-register through the city website. For those unable to attend I will be live tweeting the November 2nd session) The second was from the CCOC, Meg McCallum a CCCA Board Member and a CCOC employee, gave the presentation about the Beaver Barracks and other affordable housing in Centretown.
Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi spoke about items in his vision for Centretown. Naqvi lists Development/the OMB and the LRT/O-Train as two issues that are high on his list of ‘must do’s’.
Part of making discussions work between Council/Community and Developers will involve eliminating the image that Communities will always object to whatever a developer brings to the Planning Committee. The other way we can make the relationship smoother is to also bring the OMB into the conversation, but more specifically to have the OMB respect the wishes of City Planners, Community Associations and the Official Plan and the Community Development Plan (CDP) that have been created. Developers have been successful in pushing the limits past what the Official Plan and CDP dictate. I was pleased that Mayor Watson in his Budget delivery this past week specifically mentioned the use of the OP and CDP as the guidelines for development and that a “cultural shift in the Development Industry” was needed in respecting them.
Two steps to help Ottawa take back control of development in the city involve looking at how we live in Ottawa. These initiates will examine how we move around and how people coming into Ottawa also will move around.
This week, the previously mentioned, Ottawa Moves has two seminars being held. This week Councillor Holmes also announced a ‘Sidewalk Summit’ for November 8th, you can find details from her website http://dianeholmes.ca/. The summit will address issues pedestrians have with getting around Centretown. The issues of pedestrians have not been heard as loud as those as cyclists, and this summit will take the 1st steps to address this. Councillor Holmes is asking that if you will be attending to take notice and photographs of sidewalks that are unsafe, need repair etc. as you pound the pavement. It is very good to note that CCCA Past President Shawn Menard is back on the Board fulltime and is a known advocate for pedestrians in this city through his previous work on the CCCA and time on the Ottawa PTAC (Pedestrians and Transit Advisory Committee).
It will be a busy year for the CCCA, and that is only with what is known to be coming up – never mind the surprises that are lurking behind backhoes, peeping out of potholes and creeping up from cracks in sidewalks and pavement.
You can follow the news of Centretown through Twitter at @centretownbuzz and @CentretownNews or visit the CCCA Website www.centretowncitizens.ca.