Mayor’s community associations meeting bring muffins, no meat

Mayor Jim Watson provided few commitments at a breakfast meeting he hosted for Capital Ward community representatives in early summer.

Of the five community associations represented, Old Ottawa East (OOE) had the most contentious issues, including the Alta Vista Transportation Corridor (AVTC), the proposed canal footbridge, the implementation of a detailed community design plan, the redesign and rebuild of Main Street, and the completion of the Rideau River western pathway (also called the Nature Trail).

Community association presidents and area Coun. David Chernushenko attended the coffee-and-muffins affair.

The mayor opened the meeting with a 30-minute speech on the city’s successes and plans. He mentioned the importance of the proposed Light Rapid Transit system which directly impacts Capital Ward only in Old Ottawa East because of its use of the Lees Avenue station.

On the topic of footbridges, Watson called the Corktown bridge a “huge success,” though he admitted having had doubts about it when the project was initially proposed.

He also expressed a desire for the Coventry / baseball stadium – train station footbridge at Highway 417. But when asked if he supported the proposed second canal footbridge Watson questioned whether it would be a priority, given the other infrastructure demands.
Similarly, the mayor would not commit to burying hydro wires on Main Street, one of the many improvements the community association will likely seek when the city reconstructs Main Street next year.

When told that OOE would look for better community centre space in the future Watson said the community already had one of the best centres in the city.

The only OOE issue on which the mayor was unequivocal was the Alta Vista Transportation Corridor.

“It’s not needed,” Watson said. “It defies logic. We’re putting our infrastructure money into transit.”

But Watson would not go so far as to remove the AVTC from city plans, saying the Transportation Master Plan and Official Plan review processes were underway.

Brendan McCoy and Michael Jenkin of Old Ottawa South and Lynn Barlow of the Glebe community associations spoke of their continued dismay with the city’s plans over the Lansdowne Park development.

All community associations complained about the way the city had managed development of existing neighbourhoods.

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