GACA Board Meeting – November 3, 2020

Glebe Annex Community Association (GACA)
Board Meeting – Tuesday, November 3rd, 7:00 p.m.
Held Via Conference Call

Present:

  • Annalisa Salonius
  • Carrie Bolton
  • Cathy
  • David Perkins
  • Gabrielle Dellaporta
  • Joanne Benoit
  • Maja Rakocevic
  • Robert Logie
  • Sue Stefko
  • Jonathan McLeod (Assistant, Office of Shawn Menard, Councillor, Capital Ward)

1. Call to Order and Approval of the Agenda

  • The meeting was called to order at 7:02 with approval of the agenda.

2. Approval of October 6th, 2020 Minutes

The minutes were approved.

3. Business Arising from the Minutes of October 6th

  • There was no business arising from the meeting of October 6th.

4. Letter 770/774 Bronson Avenue Development

  • Sue A letter addressed to Katasa was drafted by our councillor’s office and circulated for the board’s approval prior to our meeting. It will be signed by our councillor, GACA, GCA and the DLRA.
  • It was good to see concerns related to the Bronson/Carling intersection addressed in this letter, as well as some environmental and greenspace concerns. Representatives from the GCA, DLRA and GACA are meeting with Fotenn and Katasa tomorrow. They will make it clear that they are not happy with the building height. If our councillor does not agree with the site plan during the approval process, he can remove his delegated authority, which means that the plan must go to City Council for approval. (Admittedly, however, Council usually supports the developers’ proposals).
  • Katasa and Fotenn have made efforts to be transparent with their plans and they are making an effort to reach out. This is the pre-application process; sometimes developers do not approach the community at all. When they submit their formal application, we will also have another chance to comment, although public comments usually do little to change these types of proposals.
  • The City is concerned with having enough affordable housing. Katasa is proposing to provide student housing, which is not the same as affordable housing. It was commented that student housing can be similar to a rooming house, in that some units have separate rooms but shared washrooms and kitchens. The owner can make a lot of money out of these multi-housing apartments versus renting standard apartment units. The GACA board supported the letter to Katasa.

5. Bronson Overpass Study

  • Sue The initial study on this came out in 2013 – GACA provided feedback to the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) at that time. The plan is for the Bronson off-ramp to go straight through to reach Chamberlain, no longer having to jog south at Bronson. This plan also includes sound barriers.
  • Sue asked anyone interested in looking at the plans and providing feedback to reach out to her, as she would like to provide our community with our observations before we send out the link for public comments.
  • Joanne and Carrie offered to help. Sue feels that overall, the plan is positive, but we need to take a closer look. It will affect our community. The planned construction dates are not provided in the material, but the MTO indicates that if there is no real opposition, they can start at any point after the consultation. The MTO has not been very responsive to Sue’s earlier requests – they took two years to respond to one of her questions on this issue. The deadline for comments is November 27th.

6. Traffic Meeting with the City

  • Sue After the meeting with the city last month, Jon reached out to the city traffic people to follow up. A Zoom meeting was held between the councillor, the City, and Sue and Gabrielle, representing GACA. They went through their traffic plan, item by item. There are 5 main points:
    • a) Speed limits – Because we have no speed signs, the speed limit is 50 km/h. Councillor Menard wants to see his whole ward transition to a 30 km/h zone. For this to happen, a speed study of our area is required. Staff expects the study to take place over the winter and go to committee and council in the spring. If all goes well, the new speed limit could be implemented in late spring/summer 2021.
    • b) Traffic around the park and Abbas – The neighbourhood’s longer streets are the biggest concern for traffic and speeding. These include Cambridge, Bell, and Lebreton. Due to the pedestrian traffic on Bell as a result of the park and corner store, this street was seen as a priority. The city is considering putting a pedestrian crossing near Abbas. First, they will do a study and see how many pedestrians cross – there needs to be at least 75-100 pedestrians crossing daily to justify a pedestrian crossing. The councillor’s office is also looking at installing a speed board somewhere in that area, to show drivers how fast they are going. Other options that could be introduced are signage, e.g., children at play. The Councillor was able to get $100,000 additional funding from Katasa from their 275 Carling project. Councillor Menard suggested using those funds for traffic calming measures in the Glebe Annex. However, we do not yet know if this is feasible – there will be more to follow on this issue.
    • c) Powell/Bronson crossing – While this was rated as one of the areas of highest concern during our community consultations in 2019, we have put our requests on hold for changes to this intersection for now. COVID has substantially reduced the amount of traffic, and we will wait to see how a return to ‘normalcy’ and the upcoming developments will impact the intersection before proceeding further. Some called for a longer pedestrian light.
    • d) Clemow – While residents called for making Clemow a one way westbound, the city thought it would make more sense to not allow turns from Bronson, but otherwise allow east and west traffic on the street. It seems to be a fairly simple change with just signage for now. Later we could incorporate something more physical, like a structure to discourage entry. The other measure that has been requested is moving parking from the north to the south side of the street. These are relatively simple and straightforward changes. The City will provide a petition for Clemow residents to circulate – they need support from 80% of residents.
    • e) Carling (from Bronson to Booth) – The biggest concern for pedestrians remains the long stretch between the traffic light at Bronson and the traffic light at Booth, particularly in light of all the upcoming development and the increased number of pedestrians. We would like to see a traffic light between these two points, given the distance between lights, and the fact that the road is too wide for a pedestrian crossing. This will likely not happen until Carling is rebuilt in a few years. One option is to obtain some of the funds to pay for this from future Community Benefit Agreements resulting from upcoming developments.

7. Gotta Go Campaign – Sue

  • The letter of support for the Gotta Go campaign addressed to the Mayor and City Councillors has been circulated to the board. The letter has been signed by many community associations and organizations. The lack of public washrooms is a serious issue in Ottawa. It was also noted that this letter was in line with recommendations from Colitis Canada. Sue would like to add our name to the letter; all were in favour.

8. Pollinator Garden

  • All board members have signed the contribution agreement. Sue still needs to sort out the insurance portion of this agreement, as the agreement says we need to have insurance in place before funds can be transferred. If we purchased insurance now, it would be in effect only until March, which would mean we would have to purchase insurance twice, given the work itself will happen in the spring. Sue is looking at other options. We are on the GCA’s insurance policy, which provides us with $2M insurance coverage – in this case, the city requires $5M. Robert asked why we all had to put our names on the line. A way to avoid this would be to incorporate. Robert and Joanne offered to help research the feasibility of incorporation. For future grants, it would be ideal to not have everyone be individually potentially liable.

9. Councillor’s Office Update – Jon

9.1 City of Ottawa Budget

  • The draft budget will be released tomorrow. Council is meeting at 10 a.m. for the release. It is going to be a tough budget – there are many increased costs due to the pandemic, and income from user fees and transit is down. The City is still committed to a 3% tax increase. Transit fares increases are to be determined, depending on how much money is to come from province. A lot of projects are delayed but key projects are going ahead. Once the budget draft goes to council, each committee will review and pass their portion of the budget. It then goes back to council in early December for finalization. The Council does not approve many changes. Our councillor’s office has issues with the way the budget process works, but the mayor and council like the current practice. Public pressure can sway the mayor, but it must be a large protest for there to be any changes.

9.2 Tree Protection by-law

  • Tree Protection by-law, the new tree by-law will deal with some issues of trees being cut down that should not be, such as the ‘accidentally damaged’ trees. We do not have enough tree coverage in our city, and trees are good for mental health, shade, they counter pollution, etc. New infill projects requiring tree removal would have higher fees and there will be new reporting requirements. There is a need to bring in tree specialists earlier in the development process.

9.3 Glebe Neighbourhood Activity Group (GNAG)

  • Due to the pandemic and social distancing requirements, all programming with rinks will be moving to Glebe Memorial Park.

9.4 Disruptions

  • MTO Bronson Overpass Interchange Project – Much of Orangeville street will be closed for the entirety of the project. There will be lots of detours – Carling will be a major detour route. The plan is start in 2021. Work on Bronson will entail some disturbances, perhaps in 2023. This project will need to be monitored. Drivers will find routes the planners did not think of, and traffic issues will occur in the Glebe Annex. The councilor’s office is disappointed with the MTO. They consulted the BIAs but not community groups or the councillor’s office until late in the process. The FCA also expressed concerns about the lack of consultation.

10. Civic Hospital

  • Campus Engagement group – Sue – The group recently met for the first time in several months. The purpose of the group is to provide feedback and input to the Civic Hospital, but they do not really get to contribute much. The preliminary design plan is expected in 2022, with construction taking place 2024- 2027. The building will be 2 million square feet in the first phase, but will grow over time to 4 million. Trauma, kidney, weight management, will all move from the current Civic to the new campus. The Heart Institute will also move there over time.

11. December Board Meeting

  • GACA does not usually hold a December board meeting but does get together for a holiday celebration at a local restaurant. Due to the pandemic a group gathering is not possible. Taking this into consideration, it was decided that we would hold a December meeting.

12. Adjournment

  • The meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.