Greenspace

Keeping Westboro Green

posted Dec 3, 2010 10:16 AM by Westboro Beach Community Association   [ updated Dec 3, 2010 10:17 AM ]

Originally posted February 14, 2010

The National Capital Commission is currently in the process of reviewing its Greenbelt Master Plan and Urban Lands Master Plan, which guides the way the Greenbelt and the Greenspace in the region is used, managed and protected.

With the Selby plains, Westboro beach, bike paths and greenspace along the Ottawa river and various parks and pathways, the Westboro beach community offers our residents, the city and visitors to the National Capital region a unique experience.

The WBCA is reinvigorating its Greenspace Working Committee to work with the NCC and the city of Ottawa in maintaining and preserving our local greenspace and in setting a clear vision for its use, now and in the future.

We are looking for new members to join our group. We will have a short presentation at the upcoming general meeting this April and welcome all those interested to come out. If interested please send an email on our website. More info on the general meeting will be coming soon.

NCC Presentation – 2006

posted Dec 3, 2010 10:14 AM by Westboro Beach Community Association

Originally posted March 12 , 2006

Presentation to NCC Board of Directors regarding Westboro Beach greenspace.

Backgrounder to the Save our Greenspace Initiative

posted Dec 3, 2010 10:13 AM by Westboro Beach Community Association

Originally posted March 11, 2006

In 2004 the Westboro Beach Community Association through an Access to Information request, determined that the greenspace along Atlantis, Selby and Churchill was being considered for development by the NCC.

As this greenspace impacts not only the Selby/Atlantis/Churchill area but the Atlantis Yard(previous NCC Maintenance Building), the Westboro Beach, and all the community users of this land, residents attending the Westboro Beach Community Association AGM (November 4, 2004) established a Greenspace Working Team.

The Team has collected all relevant background material, worked with the City and NCC planning processes, examined the experience of other community groups in protecting green and recreational spaces, and developed an overall strategy for our community.

The Team recommended to the WBCA Executive that a Community Design Plan be initiated, has participated as part of the Public Advisory Committee for the CDP and has developed a vision for the greenspace lands including Westboro Beach, the Atlantis Yard, Atlantis Woods and the Selby Plain.

The Community Design Plan is scheduled for approval in 2007 and the report recommendation states:

The Atlantis/Selby lands should be preserved as green space to provide both a local community park and a city wide attraction.

The report also states: “determine the future designation of and the means by which the Atlantis/Selby greenspace will be preserved”. It is this recommendation that is now the priority for the Greenspace Team.

The Westboro Beach Lands – A Concept Paper

posted Dec 3, 2010 10:11 AM by Westboro Beach Community Association

Originally posted February 21, 2006

Westboro is an established community with a long record of stewardship and involvement in community, recreation, and facility development.

Due to recent building development demands and the wish to ensure livable and sustainable environments, Westboro is the subject of, or included in, significant planning exercises by the City of Ottawa and the National Capital Commission (NCC). The Westboro Beach Land’s concept proposal is a response for public input to the Community Design Plan of the City of Ottawa and centers on the Westboro Beach area specifically the Ottawa River, and Atlantis/Selby lands.

The concept plan addresses the fact that the NCC has indicated that it may eventually seek to allow residential housing on the existing greenspace at Atlantis and Selby Avenues.

Westboro Beach Community Association (WBCA) Vision

The WBCA concept plan proposes an alternate option – the formation of the Westboro Beach Lands, encompassing Westboro Beach on the Ottawa River, a former NCC maintenance yard building and the Atlantis/Selby greenspace. This area is in close proximity to Westboro Village’s main street, is part of the Trans-Canada Trail and is served by the NCC Recreational pathway system and the City’s Transitway system.

It is proposed that the Westboro Beach Lands reflect back to serve today. Acting as a “river museum” it is a prime opportunity to celebrate historical voyageurs on the Ottawa River and the economic contributions of the lumber trade to communities along the River. Westboro Beach originated in the 1880′s as a result of the Skead’s Mill lumber company. The development of this historical riverside community will be highlighted by a series of historical plaques placed strategically throughout the Lands. Visitors will learn about and reflect on, the lives of preceding voyageurs. A revitalized urban forest and naturalized wetlands on Selby Plains will provide pathways for active traveling and points for quiet reflection.

Adding to the theme, the NCC Maintenance Yard will become a “Post” – serving modern voyageurs. The building will support trekkers, cyclists and paddlers by offering shelter, repairs, camaraderie and traveling support. Recreational courses in River based travel and outdoor activities like water safety, kayaking, canoeing, and skiing will support the theme.

The concept proposal is built on a set of principles and presents options for thematically unifying the site, optimizing the natural and existing infrastructure, and creating value for residents of Ottawa and visitors to the Capital. The Westboro Beach Lands option creates a Gateway to the Ottawa River for residents and a Gateway to the National Capital for long-distance trekkers, paddlers and cyclists. It will become an accessible natural site in the centre of the City for active living and appreciation.

The Kitchissippi Stromatolites

posted Dec 3, 2010 10:10 AM by Westboro Beach Community Association

Originally posted March 12, 2005

A Presentation to the National Capital Commission’s Board of Directors – The Kitchissippi Stromatolites.

Presentation to the National Capital Commission

posted Dec 3, 2010 10:05 AM by Westboro Beach Community Association

Originally posted March 11, 2005

The Treasure of the Kitchissippi Lands.

The Selby Plains – City of Ottawa Planning

posted Dec 3, 2010 10:04 AM by Westboro Beach Community Association   [ updated Dec 3, 2010 10:11 AM ]

Originally posted May 1, 2004

How Selby Plains may be considered in context of greenspace planning by the City.

Urban Lands Master Plan

posted Dec 3, 2010 10:02 AM by Westboro Beach Community Association

Originally posted June 23, 2003

Meeting with Mr. Richard Scott, Principal Regional Planner, NCC, on June 23 to learn about progress on the NCC’s Urban Lands Master Plan.

David Adams and I met with Mr. Richard Scott, Principal Regional Planner, NCC, on June 23 to learn about progress on the NCC’s Urban Lands Master Plan.

The NCC had assured us in earlier conversations that any changes to the Selby plains would be taken only in the context of this Master Plan. This fact was also confirmed in a letter from Marcel Beaudry to Shawn Little, dated March 19, 2003, in which Mr. Beaudry noted that “any rezoning or disposal of these sites should only be undertaken in the context of the objectives applicable to the overall Ottawa River Parkway corridor. These objectives will be developed as part of the Urban Lands Master Plan presently being initiated by the NCC and the City of Ottawa Official Plan process”. It is clear, therefore, that we need to understand the process of how this plan will be developed, including time lines, and have a say, either directly or through umbrella community groups, in what it might mean for land use in our neighbourhood.

The NCC web-site has some information on the plan, but Mr. Scott warned us that it needed some minor up-dating (which should be in place by mid-July). They are just getting started again on the Plan after an earlier start had been interrupted by the departure of the project leader. To bring us up to date, he took us through a Power Point presentation, a copy of which can be viewed on the WBCA web-site in PDF format. (insert link).

The Urban Lands Master Plan is a second tier planning process, one step more detailed than the PFCC (Plan for Canada’s Capital). Other Master Plans include the Greenbelt Master Plan and the Gatineau Park Master Plan.* The Urban Lands Master Plan will guide the use of all federally-owned land inside the Greenbelt. Indeed, land use is the “meat and potatoes” of the plan.

The Power Point presentation outlines the structure of the plan as well as its time lines.

  • Phase 1 (August 2003 – December 2004) will conduct basic research and result in the first public consultation in January 2005. It will allow the NCC to do some “outloud thinking” to elicit public response.
  • Phase 2 (January 2005 – March 2006) will result in a Concept Plan. This will be quite general, providing overall direction. It could, however, suggest the possibility of NILM (National Interest Land Mass) boundary changes. (Selby Plains are currently part of the NILM).
  • Phase 3 (April 2006 – December 2007) brings it all together and develops implementation strategies resulting in the final Master Plan. Although all phases feature public consultation, it is most intensive in Phase 3.

Aside from formal consultation fora, there is a “Working Committee” comprising staff from the City of Ottawa, from the City of Gatineau and from Public Works and Government Services Canada, Greenspace Alliance, the Federation of Communities Associations, CREDDO (an Outaouais umbrella organization) and Transport 2000. Presumably, we can work with these umbrella organizations to make our views known.

In addition to a description of the Master Plan, a number of other issues relevant to our interest in the Selby plains were discussed. These included:

  • The planning process is not driven by the need to generate revenue. It is true, however, that the NCC, in its business plan, does count on rents and proceeds from the disposal of surplus properties to fund a portion of its expenses. The big push for this occurred during the last Conservative government as a result of the Neilson Task Force recommendations. There is less pressure now for the NCC to be self-funding. Almost all of the urban area properties that the NCC will dispose of this year are in the “southern corridor”. These are marked on the Land Base map of the PP presentation, identified as “Federal Lands not subject to Plan”, and were declared surplus by the NCC in 1988.
  • Although the NCC’s internal documentation, obtained pursuant to our access to information request, stated that the NCC had declared the Selby plains as surplus to Federal needs, they are still part of the Ottawa River Parkway Corridor and part of the NILM. The NCC cannot change this designation without considering the broader context. This broader context will be provided by the ULMP. In this regard there is nothing that says that the corridor needs to be of constant width…..indeed, variations are desirable.
  • Quite aside from what the Plan says, we should not loose sight of the political process. Re-zoning can be intensely political and be influenced by deals whereby the City might trade off one area for gains in another.

Conclusions:

  • Although there is no guarantee, in all likelihood, the NCC will need/want to await the completion of the ULMP before making any moves – should, indeed the ULMP recommend them – to dispose of the Selby plains. This means that any attempt to develop the Selby plains should be unlikely before 2008.
  • That said, we know that there are political interests in favour of the residential development of this greenspace. We cannot count on the planning process to be respected.
  • It will be important to follow this very closely. One way will be to fully sensitize those community umbrella groups on the ‘Working Committee” to our concerns. We will also want to be fully prepared for any public consultations, the first of which will likely be in January 2005. Richard Scott has kindly agreed to bring us up to date on a regular basis and suggested that we check back with him every 2 months or so.

Notice to Westboro Beach Residents

posted Dec 3, 2010 9:25 AM by Westboro Beach Community Association

Orginally posted March 12, 2003

NCC Intention to Sell Parklands for new Residential Development.

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