Letter: South March should be in urban boundary

To the Editor:

We are property owners at 1479 and 1465 Old Second Line Rd., located across from the earlier-proposed Urban Boundary Expansion of the Ottawa Official Plan known as the South March lands. We have lived here for the past 40 years.

The City of Ottawa many years ago established a scoring system to assist with the determination of which lands if any should be considered for expansion and development. The system is used by the city Planning Department to guide the city councillors in the decision-making process without bias and influence from developers and landowners.

The South March lands were scored highly by the Ottawa Planning committee and were included in the proposed Urban Boundary Expansion in meetings held at Ottawa city council in May 2020. 

On Jan. 26, 2021 at the joint meeting of the Planning and the Agricultural and Rural Affairs committees we watched in disbelief as our Coun. Eli El-Chantiry made a motion to remove these South March lands from the proposed Urban Boundary Expansion and give the 175 hectares to a development that scored poorly on the Planning committee parameters. Coun. El-Chantiry has decided that lands in his area of West Carleton-March, which scored high enough for the planners and city staff to recommend, should not be included but instead lands that did not meet the prerequisites should be included.   

We believe Ottawa city councillors should respect the recommendations of the knowledgeable and experienced city planners.

Why should South March lands be included in the Urban Boundary Expansion? The South March lands are ready to be developed, are close to transit, park-and-ride facilities, high tech companies for employment, the DND location on Carling Avenue at Moodie Drive, grocery stores, restaurants, banks, pharmacies, medical centres, churches, schools, recreation facilities such as the Richcraft Recreation Centre (pool) and the South March Highlands Conservation area (biking and walking trails), as well as infrastructure such as good roads (March Road) and nearby water and sewer services. A 15-minute community is possible here with housing for all ages from young families to seniors.

Coun. El-Chantiry mentioned the bedrock located on some parts of the South March lands, but that can be dealt with by construction/building companies. He also mentioned increased traffic on March Road, and that March Road was the main road to get to the Village of Carp…but there is Hwy 417 and the Carp Road, as well as Huntmar Road, and Terry Fox Drive to the Old Second Line Road for traffic to use to get from Kanata to Carp.

We believe it is unfair and inadvisable to remove the South March lands from the proposed Urban Boundary Expansion of the New Official Plan for Ottawa.

We recommend Ottawa city council review this matter and consider the return of the South March lands to the proposed Urban Boundary Expansion of the New Official Plan for Ottawa
at the city council meeting to be held on Feb. 10.

Suzanne and George Thompson,
South March