I’ve been meaning to post this for a while. I signed up for email updates from both Live Q West and the neighbourhood group who oppose the development.

But before I copy the latest from each side, I’m going to give my opinion on the development of that section of Richmond Road, then include the latest from the two sides.

  • I have always found that stretch of Richmond really creepy. When the Canadian Tire was located there, I dreaded walking  at night because it was so isolated: empty used car lot with a burnt out shack on one side and a stretch of wall on the other side.
  • If the neighbourhood was so concerned about the historical significance of this property, why did they wait until it was sold to seek this designation? The nuns, before they left, painted over the frescos on the inside of the chapel and sold off a marble staircase. As a buyer, you would think that a staircase would be included in the price, no?
  • It's not a park ... it's a path.

    Tramway Linear Park is not a park. It is a pathway used by dogwalkers, families going to the playground near Granville, and cyclists.

  • The city calls it consider it to be a true shared pathway because it is not wide enough, and therefore does not have the yellow line down the middle. I will point out that some dogwalkers use the area between Bassett and Byron as a dog park, even though there are signs indicating that dogs must be leashed.
  • This area already has a lot of green space: 11 hectares at Hampton Park and the greenspace along the Ottawa River Pathway (owned by the NCC) and Westboro Beach (run by the city).
  • I do not support a levy to purchase land back from a developer. The city had its opportunity to buy the land and decided it couldn’t afford to bid at the time of the sale. Nothing has changed, except NIMBYism and BANANAism have arrived in Hampton Park, Wellington West and Westboro.
  • People tend to walk to local parks, if they use them at all. Parks tend to be frequented either by families or dog walkers. A park in that location will only be used by those in the immediate vicinity (i.e. the occupants of the new development) and benefit those living close by who are opposed to an entrance on Byron.  As a result, if the ward buys the land, the developer will be able to sell the units as being close to a park.
  • I recognize that Ashcroft doesn’t have the greatest reputation as a builder. However, when they hear constructive suggestions on how to improve a development they will listen. When all they hear is “we don’t want it” and “it’s too tall” and “it’s ugly” they stop listening, just as most people will do when listening to constant criticism instead of constructive feedback. Ashcroft did change the look of 101 Richmond based on the only constructive comments during one meeting at St. George’s church.
  • I like the design of the site so far. It keeps the convent cloistered. Let’s face it, nobody really saw it as they drove or walked along Richmond before. Why change that now?

So here’s the latest from the developer, including photos of the latest rendering:

Hello Everyone,
Congratulations on being the first to view the first renderings of the  hottest neighbourhood in North America, Q WEST!
Now you can see what you have been dreaming about!

We have also just released an amazing two-bedroom suite priced under $400 K, with it’s own private balcony!

Hurry in to the sales office located on the corner of Richmond Road and Leighton Terrace (90 Richmond Rd) so you don’t miss this opportunity of living the life of luxury. These suites are going fast!
Also located at the sales centre is our model suite!

All you first time home buyers please contact us reguarding only 5% down!*

For more information please contact Guy Church or Tyler Knowles

And from the group opposed:

E-mail #1:

Kitchissippi resident XXXXX will be holding a meeting on Wednesday Feb. 16th at 7pm in the lobby of Hilson Ave. Public School to organize supporters of the plans to acquire the rear section of the former Soeurs de la Visitation convent at 114 Richmond Rd. for use as green space.

The city passed a motion by Councillor Hume giving the Kitchissippi councillor Katherine Hobbs and city staff until the end of March to prepare a report recommending or rejecting the acquisition. There needs to be a huge outpouring of support by residents for this to happen.

This green space provides an opportunity to create a unique park with city-wide appeal. The lands are adjacent to a very significant heritage building which will be accessible to the public for the first time. The heritage home on the site is intended to be a restaurant. New shops, cafes, and services will also be present in adjoining buildings. The entire site is easily accessible to a wide area by walking and bike path along the Byron Linear Park pathway. It could be much more than a typical neighbourhood park. Imagine a multi-generation park with secluded gardens similar to the arboretum, a hedge maze similar to those found at european heritage sites, picnic tables, and a heritage themed play structure for kids, all next to the mature willow tree that would be saved.

This meeting is for people who would like to see the city follow through and are willing to put some energy into making it happen.

For details or to RSVP for the meeting (space is limited) please contact Amos Hayes at 613-265-4489 or ahayes@polkaroo.net

In related news, an area resident has passed on an email discussion she had with Councillor Hobbs on the Convent development.  Both the neighbour and Councillor have allowed us to post the discussion.  Please click here to read their correspondence.

E-mail #2:

Hello.

I just wanted to provide an update on where things are at with the convent garden acquisition process.

First of all, thank you to the 52 new people on this mail-out. Your support on the conventgarden.ca site is greatly appreciated. The site has facilitated over a hundred messages over a few days (and hectic holidays for many to boot.) Please keep distributing the site and consider submitting through it even if you have communicated in other ways. I intend to deliver paper copies to council when they vote.

Here we go:

– I encourage everyone to make some time to chat with, email, or phone your friends, family, and neighbours (city-wide) and explain what is at stake here. I don’t like to nag people either. But sometimes something comes along that will have an impact to people beyond ourselves and for generations to come, and it’s worth sticking our necks out a little. Imagine how many people had to do the same thing to keep all the green-space we (sometimes) take for granted now. And if they look at you funny, that’s fine. At least we gave it our best shot.

– I’ve added a map of support to the site. This will help everyone to visualize the broad support for the convent garden idea. If you have already contacted your councillor through other means and don’t want to pester them again, but you want your dot on the map, send me your address and I’ll add you manually. The map doesn’t provide any personal information and the dot location is a fairly rough approximation. We have already have a great distribution of dots on that map – including lots from outside the ward!

– There are a couple interesting documents available from the links page of the site. The media seems to have picked up on a half-acre but the documents suggest the area is larger. Let me know what you think.

– Flyers. Could those of you interested in helping with design, wording, or getting the things printed please email me with the subject [convent garden flyer create]? If you are willing to help organize the task, please let me know. The timeframe is short.

– If you have time to deliver flyers this weekend or next week please email me with [convent garden flyer deliver] and let me know if you can take on a leading role.

– The councillor created a public meeting schedule for next week. If you can attend, or can rally some other people to attend, especially in Hintonburg, Civic Hospital, and Champlain Park areas, then that would be great. We can do this if we stick together. And I’d like to think that this ward and city wide network of community minded citizens will be around to help each other after this particular issue has been resolved. The Westboro Community Association has a list of the dates and times here:
http://lovewestboro.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/kitchissippi-public-meetings-%E2%80%93-les-soeurs-de-la-visitation-114-richmond-rd/

– Your barrage of phone calls (as one aide put it) seems to have helped. We now have a public meeting schedule and Peter Hume’s office is aware that we expect him to follow through with his motion. I have not yet seen a peep from Jim Watson. If anyone hears anything back from him, please let me know. If you haven’t called yet, give it a try. They are nice people (or voicemail) at the other end.

Thank you all for your work on this. Please continue to what you can to help. Keep the groups, lists, blogs, tweets going. Keep the positive vision going and appeal to everyone who has enjoyed a walk in the Mackenzie King Estate, a picnic in one of the small historic towns nearby, or a visit to the Arboretum with parents or kids. These are people who will understand.

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