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Minto's Manotick plan roasted

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Myles Frosst asks a question during a forum of Manotick residents opposed to the proposed Minto development that could add 2,000 residences to the community.
CREDIT: Jean Levac, The Ottawa Citizen
Myles Frosst asks a question during a forum of Manotick residents opposed to the proposed Minto development that could add 2,000 residences to the community.

More than 1,500 residents from as far away as Kenmore and Fitzroy Harbour crammed into the Manotick arena last night to hear how community leaders hope to stop a 2,000-unit subdivision near the historic community's core.

Moderator Wayne Rostad called Manotick a "benchmark for other communities," and urged "cool, calm, deliberate dialogue" as people talked about Minto Developments' proposed Mahogany Harbour project.

Brian Tansley, president of the West Manotick Community Association, which co-hosted the event, said Manotick planned for growth, but not "impulsive, dramatic growth" that would threaten its "heritage, character and pride."

Paul Webber, legal counsel for the community association, called the City of Ottawa "a mausoleum built on the corpses of former villages" like Orleans, Kanata and Stittsville -- now urbanized parts of the city -- and warned that "Manotick is next in line."

He said the city has made numerous mistakes in creating and applying its official plan and said the land earmarked for the project "should not be available for urban development."

Mr. Webber criticized the city for "hiding behind creative interpretations of the official plan" and told the lively crowd there were "significant legal remedies available" to contest construction of the subdivision. He said urban development in a rural area happens when a community hooks up to city sewage.

"We're starting to understand this is about the big pipe," Mr. Rostad quipped. "Bring in a big pipe and a lot of poop happens."

Minto's vice-president of development, Jack Stirling, attended the meeting. While he would not comment last night on the content of the meeting, he told the Citizen "it was great to have so many residents here, expressing an interest in their community."

Although the meeting was co-hosted by two Manotick-area community associations to voice concerns about the Minto project and the city's handling of it, speakers quickly pointed out the larger issue of rural rights was at stake.

In an interview before last night's meeting, Bruce Webster, president of the Rural Council of Ottawa-Carleton, talked about the community of Richmond's disastrous experience with a force main and pumping station that experienced leakage and odour. Force mains, the "big pipe" Mr. Rostad spoke of, are in the plans for the Minto project.

"If the city had initially listened to the residents of Richmond, this force main would never have gone through," Mr. Webster said.

"The bureaucrats certainly don't seem to be working for the residents, and they are certainly not listening to the residents."

Bob McKinley, who served as chairman of the Rural Summit Task Force -- mandated to address rural residents' unhappiness with amalgamation -- criticized the city for "wasteful and stupid thinking" in planning to bring city sewage service to Manotick.

Manotick is served primarily by individual well and septic systems, which require homes to be built on lots that are half an acre or larger. City services must be in place for the Minto development to proceed.

Before the meeting, Mr. McKinley said "central sewers destroy villages eventually," and pointed to Stittsville as an example of a community being transformed into a suburb when "big pipe" service is brought in.

He said standalone sewage treatment plants using proven and widely-used technology can be tailored to meet a village's needs, without opening the door to rampant development.

Jack McLaren, president of the Carleton and Ontario Landowners associations, told the audience Manotick's problem is lack of effective rural representation. "You do not have control of municipal government decisions in your rural community," he said, "and because of that -- the amalgamated city took that away from you -- other people are now making decisions on how your community is going to build and grow."

He said the village's secondary plan, which was developed prior to amalgamation, "is basically ignored by planning staff at the city, and (Manotick residents) do not have the political clout to make changes at city council because (they) have one rural councillor out of 23."


 The Ottawa Citizen 2007


April 24 - 2007   Manotick Arena:  "Save Your Village" - Townhall Meeting

CBC Radio:  Manotick hanging on to village image