What’s Up in West Wellington?

Residents of Wellington Village and the Parkdale Market area are facing a lot of change of late, as is to be expected in any election year. October’s election ushered in a new mayor, several new councilors, and increased attention for many hot-button issues threatening to change daily life in Ottawa as we know it. Here’s what West Wellingtonites (sp?) are facing now:

Arguably the biggest overall issue facing West Wellington is residential intensification. Intensification is natural in growing communities like this one, which is receiving increasing attention due to its funky feel.  The term is used when existing buildings or sites are developed or redeveloped at a higher density (number of residential units in a given space) than what exists now.

One high-profile example that’s gained much public attention is the proposed redevelopment of what was Les Soeurs de la Visitation convent, the 135-year-old heritage site that lies just outside West Wellington in at 114 Richmond Road.

Image courtesy of Pictometry Bird's Eye (in report to City of Ottawa 9 March 2010. http://tinyurl.com/285ugb5

Ashcroft Developers bought the property from the Sisters in 2009 and are planning to build 600 condominiums in three high-rise apartment buildings on the convent grounds. Although the plan includes public green space and leasing the old convent building to the community for use  at virtually no cost, West Wellington residents have loudly protested this plan from its beginning.

They’re concerned about about the height of the proposed nine-story buildings, which they say go against planning standards for the area. They are also unhappy about the increase in traffic the development would bring to the area’s already congested streets.

The city is now looking to buy back part of the land on the site to preserve green space in the area.

A recent traffic forum held by the Wellington Village Community Association and the Elmdale School Council emphasized the growing concern of heavy traffic in the area. Back-ups on busy roads like Byron Avenue, Island Park Drive and Richmond Road have commuters using residential streets in the area as shortcuts on their way to work. This has the local homeowners on edge, especially those with small children.

New Kitchisippi Councilor Katherine Hobbs

In the next year, West Wellington residents will be getting used to their newly-elected city council representative Katherine Hobbs.

So far, community members  say they haven’t heard much from Hobbs on the above issues.

They’re hoping to hear supportive feedback from her once she officially takes office in December.

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