Kilmorie – last chance for fairness ad justice

On Nov. 14, the Ottawa planning committee met and approved the proposed development on the site of Kilmorie (21 Withrow Ave). The development will go forward if approved by full council on Nov 27. Read the response from Kilmorie Heritage Foundation below.

Dear Mayor Watson and City of Ottawa Councillors:

Former American First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy and many other individuals saved Grand Central Station in New York City. Mrs. Kennedy wrote a letter to Mayor Beame:

“Is it not cruel to let our city die by degrees, stripped of her proud moments, until there is nothing left of all her history and beauty to inspire our children?… If they are not inspired by the past of our city, where will they find the strength to fight for her future?”

On Wednesday, November 27, 2019,  the Planning Committee will be presenting to City Council an application, that they approved, to build a subdivision at 21 Withrow.  The motion to approve this application at the Planning Committee on November 14, 2019, was based on flawed and biased statements by Parks and Heritage City staff.  The City View Community Association and the Kilmorie Heritage Society had no opportunity to demonstrate to this Committee the correct facts.  Please see attached “Letter of Rebuttal”.  

Over the last few years, City View has met with our Councillor and Parks staff to state the deficit of parkland that exists in our community.  But still today, we hear the same flawed facts presented by the city.  Please see also the attached two pictures of Bassano Park, one of the three parks listed in City View.  Please also see the attached report on the deficit of parks in City View. 

The heritage value of the house has been approved by the Heritage staff at City Hall.  The property was not included, due to many extenuating circumstances.  This subdivision will forever hide this landmark from the view of all.  It will be hidden in an elite subdivision of million dollar homes on a private road.  This is a case of poor development and over development.

The preservation of this greenspace seems to be a priority in the City’s new Official Plan.  But it will be too late.  The greenspace and trees will be lost forever.

 “Grand Central Terminal stands as a universal symbol between New York City’s past and present.”

Kilmorie house and nature park, with gardens filled with heirloom flowers and plants, a block off the intensified Merivale Road, should be a universal symbol between our past and our future.  It should not be a subdivision with million dollar homes.  This subdivision has NO benefits for City View and the surrounding communities.

Will there be any Councillor on Wednesday, November 27, who will stand up and say that this subdivision is wrong?  

Joan Clark

President, Kilmorie Heritage Society

President, City View Community Association

Bassano Ave. Our city calls this a park!

Letter of rebuttal:

November 20, 2019

Dear Councillor Harder and Members of the Planning Committee:

Many supporters attended the Planning Committee Meeting, on Thursday, November 14, 2019, to oppose the current proposed development at 21 Withrow Avenue.  We found the meeting to be respectful and well managed.  All the presentations given by the members of the public were opposed to this development.

Following these presentations, a single representation was made  by the Consulting Firm on behalf of the developer. 

Some very pertinent questions were then asked by several Councillors. These were directed to the consultant, Jonah Bonn; Jennifer Shepherd, Program Manager, Parks and Facilities Planning Services and Sally Coutts, Co-ordinator, Heritage Service from the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department.

The answers given by these people were misleading or false.  In specific situations, the questions by the Councillor were not answered directly as the City’s representative basically changed the subject.  The members of the community observing at the back of the room felt an urgent need to rebut these points, but were too polite to disrupt the meeting.

Here are the points of our rebuttal:

  1. Ownership:
  • Chairperson Harder announced the developer, Joey Theberge, as the owner of said property. 
  • On Page 3 of the application, the Planning Department states that Joey Theberge is the owner of the property.

The fact that the ownership is stated to be Joey Theberge is incorrect.  It is very misleading to the public.  The owners are still the Roger Family.  Perhaps the question about a fair price for the property could be directed to the current owners, since Mr. Theberge could not answer this. This question should be answered before the development is approved. 

  • Jonah Bonn, Holzman Consulting
  • Mr. Bonn states that the cost to rehabilitate the heritage house would be up to $400 000 for the house and $100 000 for the garage.  Please understand that the house will be gutted inside and modernized.  The garage will be demolished and rebuilt.  This is NOT the intention of the Kilmorie Heritage Society and the City View Community Association.  Our intention is to save the inside of the house to reflect the era in which it was built.  We have met with our MP Anita Vandenbeld, who will help us to apply for grants for this purpose from the Federal Government.  We have approached Algonquin College to be partners in this rehabilitation project.  However, both parties require the purchase of the property before proceeding with any agreement.
  • Mr. Bonn was questioned about the proposed tree conservation plan through preserving and replanting.  Specifically he was asked about the trees in the centre of the property and the trees lining the border on Withrow Avenue.  Mr. Bonn stated that he was not a landscaper.  However, an examination of the proposed plans demonstrates that ALL the trees on the edge of the property will be cut down.  There will be very few trees saved in the centre of this property because the developer proposes to construct large milliondollar homes on very small lots.  Trees are obviously not a concern for them.
  • Mr. Bonn was asked to describe the intent for the lot width and area of the heritage home.  It will be on a 23m frontage and 1080 sq m area.  The By-law in City View requires a minimum lot width of 19.5m and area of 600 sq m.  This is a large house with a new proposed garage.  This is not a sufficient piece of land to frame the house as it deserves to be.  Additionally, this heritage house will be hidden from the public.  On Withrow, there are plans to build four houses and then in behind these there would be an additional five houses in a row (i.e. staggered).  The view of the distinctive heritage house from Withrow would be non-existent.  The access road from St. Helen’s will be a private road with no parking such that access can be restricted by residents of this proposed elite subdivision.
  • Mr. Bonn was asked about residents having adequate access to parks.  He states that the staff report states that City View has adequate parks.  Please see #3 below for more details.
  • Mr. Bonn was asked if there was any thought to selling to the community or partners for public use.  It was stated by legal representative, Emma Blanchard, that Joey Theberge has not foreclosed on the prospect of selling it but wants to move forward.  There is no magic number yet, because contrary to Planning Department documents, Mr. Theberge does not yet own this site.
  • There has been work done on a local levy.   After visiting almost half of the residents in City View, there was a 70% agreement for the levy. There are other supporters who have donated money towards the capital cost of this purchase.  Funds also exist in the Cash-in-lieu of Parkland Funds both by Ward 8 and City-wide and the annual OLG park funds.
  • Comments made by Jennifer Shepherd:
  • A question was asked about the calculation of any deficit in parkland in City View. 
  • The response was that there was no calculation.  The statement made by Ms. Shepherd was that she did not have the calculation with her at the time.  Ms Shepherd is well aware of this deficit.  The Executive of the City View Community Association have met and discussed with Ms. Shepherd about this very issue.
  • Ms. Shepherd then diverted from the given question by stating that there are 7 parks within 1.5 km from 21 Withrow.  She has used this flawed analysis previously, and we have corrected her, but she made no mention of this.

There are so many things wrong withMs Shepherd’s response:

  1. 1.5km is the radius.  Thus making a trip to the park a 3km journey
  2. Ainsley Park is not in City View but is located across Baseline, the future site of Rapid Transit.
  3. Ryan Farm Park is in the community of Ryan Farm
  4. Gilbey Park is located across Merivale Road.  Merivale Road is the nightmare of traffic and will increase the amount of traffic because of intensification plans along that road.
  5. Palsen Parkette is located in Crestview Community, across Meadowlands Road.  Meadowlands is the road used for cut through traffic and is a speedway for cars.
  6. That leaves three parks in City View. ( *SEE attached City View Parkland Deficiency November 2019)
  7. The Executive of the City View Community Association has previously asked Ms Shepherd to remove Bassano Park from the list.  It is a strip of land directly under the Hydro towers, one block in width.  There are no benches and no one has ever been able to use this strip of land for recreational purposes. (*See attached pictures)
  8. Ms. Shepherd also included the Nepean Museum in her calculations of the Doug Frobel Park.  The Nepean Museum is NOT included in the Doug Frobel Park.  Also, the baseball diamond is for the exclusive use of East Nepean Baseball.
  9. The Planning Report for 21 Withrow Avenue Development states (Page 7) that “it was determined that this area had adequate access to various types of park and open space areas.”  This is completely false and very offensive to the City View Community, and hides the fact that this development puts us significantly further into parkland deficit.
  • Ms. Shepherd was then asked if there was any criteria that the City looked at to buy this land in partnership with the Community. She responded that they did consider this possibility as this plan seemed to progress.  According to her comments, it was deemed that the costs of rehabilitating the heritage house, running it and managing the property were prohibitive. This prohibitive amount has been taken from the estimated cost by the developer to demolish the inside of the house and the garage and to modernize both. The Kilmorie Heritage Society has explored the cost of restoring the house, as in Billings Estate. This could  be covered by applications for available grant money from all levels of government for this purpose. 
  • The issue here is the land.  The supporters of this arts and cultural hub have signed up to give in-kind hours to restore and maintain the lands and gardens at Kilmorie and generous donations of native and heirloom plants have been made. The cost for this would not be prohibitive.
  • Heritage:
  • When questions were posed about the heritage designation, Sally Coutts, City of Ottawa Heritage Department, quoted the Ontario Heritage Act designation.  She said that the intention was to have a parcel of land to protect and honour the cultural heritage of the house.  How is this achieved when the house will be hidden from view from Withrow Avenue and only accessible from a small private road into this elite subdivision?  It is the intention of the developer that this heritage house will become someone’s private home.  The fact that this historically significant house will be invisible and inaccessible to the public because of its physical situation and private ownership, is clearly opposite to the intent of the Ontario Heritage Act.
  • Ms Coutts said that staff never had any intention to include the land with the heritage designation.
  • Ms Coutts said that her staff analyzed the history of the land and concluded that since the farm went to 5 acres and then to 2 acres, there was a huge loss of the original property. Then she proceeded to say that there was so much loss of land that staff felt that the designation of the house was sufficient to honour the house in the community and saw no need to include the entire parcel of land. This is an argument to save the land that is left, not lose it to development.
  •  This was the same Ms. Coutts who stated to a Board member of the Kilmorie Heritage Society that William Wilfred Campbell was not of any historical significance since he didn’t even have his picture of a stamp.  William Wilfred Campbell was declared a Person of National Historic Significance in 1938 by the Government of Canada. 
  • Ms. Coutts is the same City official who told the Executive of City View Community Association at a meeting with her, that if the Association applied for heritage status for the land, the application would remain at the bottom of her in-basket.
  •  Ms. Coutts remarks were inappropriate and biased.

The Kilmorie Heritage Society would like an opportunity to meet with the City staff. It is our view that the staff working in the various departments at City Hall, should give the people in the communities a chance to be heard.  This is part of the vision of the City for the new Official Plan. If we have to wait until the consultations on the new Official Plan, the opportunity to resolve the future of this historic site will undoubtedly be lost.  Will our elected officials and the staff who mandated to serve the citizens of Ottawa’s communities ever really listen to the people?

The Planning Committee meeting of November 14, 2019, and the decision made by this Committee was based on incomplete and erroneous information.

Therefore, we are requesting the matter not be forwarded to the November 27th Council meeting until all the issues have been addressed in an open and transparent manner.

Joan Clark

President, Kilmorie Heritage Society

President, City View Community Association

Attachments: City View Parkland November 2019

        

PART A:   INTRODUCTION & SUMMARY

The City of Ottawa’s Official Plan set a target of 4.0 ha of total greenspace for every 1000 residents.  It is stated that this target has been achieved throughout most of the urban area.

(Greenspace is defined as natural land, open space and leisure land)  

*NOTE: 1 ha = 10 000 sqm

The City of Ottawa’s Greenspace Master Plan (2006) set the standard ratio of parkland to residents at 2 ha of parkland per 1000 residents.       

Yet in City View the actual ratio of parkland per 1000 residents  is:

                       0.43 ha 

 OR  26% of the parkland that we should have.          

    ——————————————————————

 If Bassano Park and Doug Frobel Baseball Diamond are excluded (see Part B) the actual ratio of parkland per 1000 residents  is only:

                     0.27ha

 16% of the parkland we should have

This places City View at the second lowest ratio of parkland in the City of Ottawa                      

PART B:  BY THE NUMBERS

There are 3 parks listed in City View:

1. City View Park

          Area  = (46m x 83.3m) + (13m X 32.5m)

                             = 3831.8 sqm + 422.5 sqm

                             = 4254.3 sqm

Therefore, City View Park has an area of:         4254.3 sq m =  0.43 ha

2. Doug Frobel Park                       

          Area = 60m X 125m  =7500 sq m =.75 ha less .07* =.68 ha

NOTE: The area of the Nepean Museum Building has been removed from the total area as it is not parkland. 

          Building Area = (16m x 37m) + (9m x 15m) = 592 sq m + 135 sq m

                                                                                  = 727 sq m = .07 ha

NOTE: The Doug Frobel Baseball Diamond should not be included, since it is used exclusively by the East Nepean Little League.  It is not available to the community residents for any other sports or activities.  This land is not a shared community space.    60 m x 60 m = 3600 sq m. = .36 ha.

Therefore, this Park has an area of:                    

3173 sq m =  0.32 ha

OR

0.6773 or 0.68 ha (if baseball diamond is included)

3. Bassano Urban Parkette

** This should NOT be listed as a park.   This city designated parkette is located under the Hydro towers, has no benches nor equipment.   There is no signage and most of the community think it is private property.

Bassano Parkette has an area of:15.3 m x 57.4 m= 878.22 sq m =  .09 ha                                      

According to the Greenspace Master Plan, set in 2006, the City of Ottawa standard ratio of parkland to resident is:

2 ha per 1000 residents

Using the statistics from mid 2018, Ward 8 has a population of 51 828 and has 22 288 households.  Therefore there is an average of 2.32 residents per household.

City View has approximately 1400 households. 

Therefore City View has approximately  3255 residents.  This does not include the 180 residents living at City View Retirement Residence on   Meadowlands or the high density number of residents living in the Minto buildings on Baseline.

The City of Ottawa standard ratio of parkland to households is:

                    1000 residents = 2 ha

Therefore CITY VIEW SHOULD HAVE:         

                  6.51 ha of parkland for 3255 residents

We could  also look at the Ratio of households to parkland.

According to the City of Ottawa standards:

300 households = 1 ha parkland (10 000 sq

1400 households = 4.67 ha parkland (40 000 sq m)

Either way, we are definitely lacking parkland.

PART C: CONCLUSION

The community of City View is significantly lacking parkland.  This community is growing due to infill and  intensification.  Many  new homes are bought by young families.  These children will grow up, not having the accessibility to community parks. City View is not like other planned areas In the City. The roads and garden lots were established in 1913, well before there were any policies for parks, natural areas or green space. Since the 1970’s the community association has been trying to rectify this. In fact, in November 1977 the community identified this property at 21 Withrow for protection and preservation and recommended it for augmentation as parkland.  (City View Tomorrow, dated November 1977 and the subsequent City View Greening Report.

“The role of the park is not just as a compensatory blast of nature, quiet and calm and oxygen in a city with too little of all of them, but also as a jointly savoured event, a common currency, something possessed by everyone, but owned by no one.”             -Frank Bruni, New York Times

Cities are where most Canadians choose to live, work and play. Parks are “green engines” that help address nearly every issue cities face from health to food security, from public safety to community cohesion.

More than ever, parks are at the centre of public life.    -Park People

The families and seniors in City View need park space.  They need a place that they can spend quiet time, listen to children’s laughter, make new friends and meet their neighbours.

WHAT CAN WE DO TO SOLVE THIS LACK OF PARKLAND?

The City of Ottawa needs to save the greenspace at 21 Withrow.  This is the last available greenspace in City View.  Once greenspace is developed, it is lost forever.  Let’s think about the future and protect scarce greenspace.

The community of City View is working hard to make this a reality.  They have approached all levels of government.  They have received private donations to help with this cause.

Please help us save 21 Withrow!

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