Community celebrates Chernushenko





By John Dance 

At November’s Old Ottawa East (OOE) community annual general meeting outgoing City Councillor David Chernushenko was praised for his eight years of work, most notably for the rebuilding of Main Street and the Flora Footbridge.

“If the question is ‘Did you make Old Ottawa East a better place to live?’ the answer is ‘Yes,’” Don Stephenson, chair of the Community Activities Group (CAG) of OOE, told Councillor Chernushenko to the applause of the 120 attendees at the joint AGM of CAG and the OOE community association(OOECA) held at the Church of the Ascension.

In response, Councillor Chernushenko said he was very proud of his accomplishments, particularly the rebuilding of Main Street, noting, “A four-lane traffic sewer has reverted to being a community street.”

Phyllis Odenbach Sutton, president of OOECA, also thanked Councillor Chernushenko and presented him with a Main Street sign.

A number of other community members were honoured, including Lisa Dunnett, retiring events coordinator of CAG, and Ron Rose, for his leadership as OOECA’s transportation chair during the lengthy Main Street consultation and construction.

Shawn Menard, Capital Ward’s new city councillor effective December 1, outlined his priorities, notably establishing a “ward council” that will have representatives of the communities that constitute Capital Ward; better dealing with development proposals including infill restrictions; reviewing concerns with the new Immaculata playing field; addressing the loss of trees and greenspace; and determining if residents want to have cannabis retail storefronts.

Menard joined the many residents at the social hour that followed the formal meeting.

OOECA and CAG Highlights

The OOECA President’s report outlined the many successes in the transportation file, including the installation of flashing crosswalk beacons at Greenfield and Concord street north and at Colonel By and Main; the reopening of the sidewalks on the Rideau River LRT bridge; the completion of the City portion of the Rideau River Western Pathway; the reopening of the Greystone Village river walking path; and the completion of the Main Street road safety audit.

On the other hand, she cited a number of remaining challenges: LRT construction is not yet complete; the on-ramp to Highway 417 remains closed; there’s been no progress on sound barriers north of the Queensway; and construction activities continue to adversely affect roads and trees. In terms of planning issues, the OOECA planning committee now has nine members, with most neighbourhoods represented.

During the past year, the committee reviewed and commented on approximately 15 Committee of Adjustment applications for minor variances; assessed a variety of large development proposals; supported the City staff recommendation to limit hours of lighting at Immaculata’s new playing field; and participated in several city-wide consultations. CAG, which is separate from the community association, is the not-for-profit organization that delivers recreation, sports, cultural and community events, including the Winter Party in the Park, the Main Event, summer BBQs, the fall festival and the Valentine Skate.

A major accomplishment of CAG in 2018 was the resurfacing of the Springhurst basketball court.

Open Forum

A key part of the meeting was the open forum, capably moderated by OOECA’s Jaime Girard, where residents had the opportunity to raise questions and state their opinions on a wide range of municipal issues. “Where are we regarding affordable housing in Greystone Village?” Rebecca Aird asked.“Affordability is becoming a really significant issue in the city and in our community,” she noted, adding that “Regional [the developer of Greystone] had committed that one of its buildings would be affordable housing.”

The need for additional affordable housing was also mentioned by Chris Osler of the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre. He suggested that the Alta Vista Transportation Corridor lands could be used for affordable housing, as could other lands along the LRT routes. Other residents were interested to know what businesses were going to be located in the new Main Street buildings.

Odenbach Sutton responded that the developers have not yet confirmed any leases or sales. However, Domicile had earlier reached out to get a sense for what residents were seeking, and Regional had pledged to seek a grocery store within its development.

Stephen Pope suggested that, in light of the power outages resulting from the September tornadoes, it was time for residents to demand that the City of Ottawa require its wholly-owned Hydro Ottawa to improve the resiliency of the electrical network.

Parking problems in the community have been exacerbated by the increase in construction activity and, as noted by Suzanne Johnston, by the great growth in the number of Airbnbs in Old Ottawa East. And there were complaints about cyclists and motorists going the wrong way on one-way streets, as well as the lack of community involvement in the development of the proposal for a community centre in the Deschatelets building of Greystone Village.




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