Carleton County concept looks better and better
in face of amalgamated city betrayals

From the August 5, 2005 issue of the...

--------------  Ottawa Valley News  --------------

Goulbourn residents voice concern with city decision-making

By Karen Secord
Ottawa Valley News

Tony Walker and Bruce Webster have a bone to pick with the City of Ottawa. And at the first meeting of Carleton County on Sunday afternoon they told a casual gathering of local residents, landowner representatives and media why they are feeling betrayed by the amalgamated city.

Goulbourn Landowners Group

As president of the newly formed Goulbourn Landowners Group Tony Walker says that he represents 60 landowners in the Stittsville area whose properties have been devalued by 85 percent as the result of a provincially significant wetland designation.

Bruce Webster, Director of the Richmond Village Association, (L), and Tony Walker, President of the Goulbourn Landowners Association, say their groups are upset about the treatment they have received at the hands of City of Ottawa bureaucrats.

“So our land is worth 15 percent of what it was before,” he said. “Our properties are effectively frozen. To make any changes we need permission from potentially 12 different ministries and any of them can say no or ask for environmental impact statements.”

Walker is not only upset by the manner in which the designations were made, he is also concerned that such designations can be made without proper compensation.

...Many of the properties are only wet because the city directs water onto them.


“City bureaucrats deny that there is any devaluation,” Walker continued. “We’ve talked to property assessors and they confirm that the actual number is 85 percent. Because they are just devaluing our property and not actually expropriating it they have no legal obligation to compensate us.”

While Walker insists that he and the other landowners in the group agree that wetlands are valuable and should be preserved, they also believe that they should be compensated if their properties actually do qualify for the provincially significant designation.”

But they are concerned about whether their properties do in fact qualify for the provincially significant designation.

“We think that very few if any of our properties qualify as provincially significant on their own merit. We’re being designated by a loophole called ‘complexing’, which means that if they can show there is a basic wetland plant population on our properties and we’re within 750 m of an existing provincially significant wetland they can designate us provincially significant wetlands and having done that they can go another 750 m and designate the next property as provincially significant. Potentially they could go from one side of Ontario to another without having to ever do a provincially significant evaluation.” 

Indeed, Walker notes, many of the properties are only wet because the city directs water onto them.

“The city does not protect wetland in its care,” he told the group. “Most of the development over the last 25 years in Stittsville has been done on wetlands.”

Richmond Village Association

Bruce Webster has a stinky problem. Sadly, he says he is not surprised.

“The City of Ottawa has no concept of what a well is,” he tells the group of mostly rural residents. “They think water comes out of the Ottawa River, they run it through the Britannia filtration plant, pipe it down a big old pipe – some of the pipes are more than 100 years old they’re made of wood. The city uses over 50 percent, I believe, of the water they actually purify so it’s a lot of money for water you don’t get to use.”

...The City of Ottawa decided it was a good idea to run a high pressure sewage force main right through the aquifer that 5,000 residents drink from.


“In the Village of Richmond we’re on wells, on shallow wells, and the City of Ottawa decided it was a good idea to run a high pressure sewage force main right through the aquifer that 5,000 residents drink from. Not a problem if you can guarantee that structure is going to work properly. The City said they were going to make it work for us.”

Webster says that one of the things he and his neighbours were worried about was odor.

“On May 17 we woke up and had to close the house up tight because we were gagging from the stench of sewage not being properly managed by the city. The city denied they had a problem until about 2 weeks ago. They didn’t respond until the MOE came out and told the city they had a problem.”

Webster says he has thought a lot about moving…”but I can’t sell it now because it stinks!”

  Fallowfield farmer Marlene Black, and her daughter Laura, performed two tunes she wrote in honour of rural landowners at last Sunday’s barbeque on the Maclaren homestead in West Carleton.  




- Ottawa Valley News-