(from Councillor Riley Brockington)
Dear Residents of Riverside Park North,
An early Happy Earth Day to you (April 22).
This email is intended to provide you with an update on the property located at 3071 Riverside Drive, commonly referred to as the former location of Bayview PS. My last communiqué to the community on this matter was January 8, 2016.
In the late winter, 2016, the Ottawa Community Lands Development Corporation, which is the arms-length corporation tasked with selling and developing City owned property, launched a Request for Expressions of Interest (RoEI) with the local development community. The purpose of this initiative was to engage the local development community on possibilities for the site. The OCLDC facilitated 20 separate meetings and they describe those meetings as having been positive and respectful towards the existing community. This was a voluntary, non-binding process. It served two main purposes: It informed the local development community that this parcel of land is being readied for eventual sale, which will include specific conditions, such as zoning, building height, requirement for a park and it also gave staff an idea on what the possibilities are for development. Three of those 20 groups also met with me to share their vision. All meetings were positive and I concur, I found from my discussions that there was genuine intent to be respectful of the existing community and to develop the site in accordance with the community design plan that was created several years ago.
The OCLDC plans to circulate a public Request for Offers (RFO) in May 2016. Potential bidders would have approximately 6 weeks to submit their offer. The RFO would provide details about the expected zoning, (low and medium density), the height restrictions on the medium density (no higher than 6 stories), and the requirement for a park. To clarify, the City of Ottawa will not pre-zone this land. It will be sold as is, all 10 acres, and the successful developer would have to go through the rezoning process. This would be vetted through the Planning Committee, for which I am a member. Specific wording is typically included in all OCLDC agreements that prevents a purchaser from rezoning the lands in contravention of the agreement and purchasers have no rights of appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. When the successful developer is known, I will meet with them immediately to better understand their plans. It is likely that I would host/co-host a public meeting with the community for you to meet the developer and better understand their plans for the site.
There are no final decisions made at this time regarding the egress/exit points or location of the park. As part of the site plan application, which normally follows the zoning application, the developer would sit down with city staff and myself to refine the development proposal and address various matters, such as the egress/entry point(s). A traffic study is being conducted by the OCLDC and will shed some light on the potential needs, all based on an assumption of 300 total units on the 10-acre site. The successful developer may propose fewer units, and thus, their anticipated traffic demands may be lower. It is simply too early to provide you with any definite answer as to whether Riverside Drive will be the main entry/exit and how the Springland Drive lane may be used/configured.
As it stands now, City Parks and Recreation staff believe the ideal location for the park is where it was originally proposed, the south-west corner, hugging Riverside Drive. I am currently working with OCLDC staff to insert specific wording in the RFO to ensure land is set aside for the park. The location of the park is still not final, but I am not proposing it be located elsewhere. I have not made any decision on what the components will be in the park. It is my intention to host a public consultation session, asking the greater community what they would like to see in the new park. It is too early to start this process, however, you are always welcome to share your ideas with me.
To summarize, the City of Ottawa plans to publicly embark on a Request for Offers for the 10-acre site, located at 3071 Riverside Drive, later this Spring. The successful bidder must reserve land for a park, must abide by the community concept plan that indicates low and medium density housing, including a height limit of six stories on the medium density section. A public meeting will be held, probably in the autumn 2016 with the new developer, if they are ready to share their vision with the community. If there are no immediate plans to build on the site, then a public meeting may be called at a later date. The construction of a new park may also be delayed, if there are no immediate plans to build the sub-division. In my opinion, there is a zero per cent chance that any construction on the 10 acres would commence in 2016.
Following the RFO process, including verification and acceptance by the Board of Directors of the OCLDC, I am hopeful that I will be able to provide another update to the community later this summer (late July).
If I have unintentionally omitted information you seek clarification on, kindly let me know and I will provide that to you. I remain committed to working with you, as this process and journey evolves.
City Councillor – River Ward