There is no Good Way to Execute a Bad Idea

Green Reality, South March Highlands

It appears that the City of Ottawa has two standards for engaging public consultation – one for East end citizens and another for the West end.

In Navan, the City will engage the public through the consultative Schedule C Environmental Assessment process when a development proposes a major water drainage area diversion across a watershed boundary that threatens environmentally sensitive wetland at Mer Bleue and an important woodland at Notre-Dame-des-Champs.

Yet in an identical situation in Kanata (where KNL is proposing a water diversion that threatens the National Capital Greenbelt, South March Highlands, and the Kizell Provincially Significant wetland) the City has cancelled plans to engage the public through a Schedule C EA, because it will allow KNL to conduct a pre-approved Schedule A/A+ EA involving no public consultation at all.

Worse the City has made this bad decision:

  • Against the professional opinion of 4 licensed water resources engineers who have all recommended that a Schedule C EA be done;
  • Against the objections of the National Capital Commission who is against a water diversion that would impact the nationally significant Greenbelt that lies downstream;
  • Against the objections of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority who is against a water diversion because it is contrary to the official Watershed Plan which is supposed to guide all development in both watersheds;
  • Against the provincial guidelines for development planning and storm water management that state that development should be planned on a watershed basis;
  • Contrary to KNL’s Conditions of Draft Subdivision Approval that requires conformance with the Watershed Plan;
  • Contrary to KNL’s Conditions of Draft Subdivision Approval that requires public consultation prior to any phase of development – which has NEVER occurred;
  • Ignoring the public safety risk to a nuclear isotope processing facility that lies on the floodplain less than 500 m downstream from Beaver Pond Dam.  According to a recent CEAA study, water infiltration is a recognized nuclear safety risk at that facility.

Is the planning department so inept that they seemingly apply two different standards in Ottawa?  Or is there another hand at work behind the scenes that has corrupted decision-making?

How can the City’s Planning Committee, allow such bad decision-making to be perpetuated?  You can ask the Chairperson yourself by emailing Peter.Hume@ottawa.ca .

If Mayor Jim Watson is sincere about improving the City’s consultative process he would ensure that all citizens be treated fairly by his administration.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. moose  •  Mar 19, 2013 @7:55 am

    Either there is a lot of incompetence in the city of ottawa, or it’s time to run a “Commission Charbonneau” and root out the corruption, starting at the top.
    In the unlikely case there is none, then we can feel good about it and officials will have that proof.
    The point (other than ongoing “3%-30%” cost to the public) is an ongoing series of biased and bad decisions are being made in secret since Watson is in charge, and the public will be on the hook finanically and stuck with issues such as water drainage and shopping malls in public lands. I am very afraid of the ecological impact of many such decisions, of the financial impact, and hey how much money do you think the LRT undergorund is costing behind the scenes, and even vs cheaper and lower cost + lower risk alternatives.

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