The preparation of the Richmond Road/Westboro Community Design Plan has involved the participation of numerous dedicated people from the surrounding community, representing a wide variety of interests, including the community associations, condominium associations and residents from the surrounding neighbourhoods, the Westboro BIA, and the NCC. All these groups collaborated in the preparation of the Plan and were represented on the Planning Advisory Committee (PAC) under the leadership of City Councillors Shawn Little (2005-06), Christine Leadman (2007-) and Alex Cullen. At four PAC meetings, property developers attended in order to make presentations for specific sites.
The PAC generally supports the recommendations of the CDP. Where the PAC does not agree with the recommendations for an individual property, it is noted in the text, with a rationale.
Prior to the CDP study getting underway, a Richmond Road corridor community workshop was held in June 2005. The workshop established a vision for the future development of the Richmond Road corridor - “mixed-use development at a human scale” - and criteria addressing building heights and setbacks, streetscaping, pedestrians, parking, and land use. The workshop focused on two sections of Richmond – between Tweedsmuir and Island Park Drive and between Sherbourne and Golden. Although the workshop findings contributed to many of the recommendations of the Richmond/Road/ Westboro CDP, it was recognized following the workshop that the CDP would need to look at a larger geographic area than considered by the workshop participants.
The main CDP consultation events included:
• First Public Open House to introduce the study (November 29, 2005). This open house was held jointly with the Richmond Road Widening Environmental Assessment study (before it was cancelled) and the McKellar Park/Highland Park/Westboro Area Traffic Management Study. Attendance in excess of 500;
• Community Workshop- March 8, 2006
• Second Public Open House (April 3, 2006) to review the preliminary vision and the results of the workshop. Attendance in excess of 300;
• Third Open House (March 22, 2007) to review the draft CDP. Attendance in excess of 200.
1.3.1 First Public Open House – Issue Identification
The following are the highest ranked issues identified by those who filled out comment sheets from the first open house:
- Preserve the scale and character of existing neighbourhoods;
- Preserve, enhance and extend green space and recreational facilities, including Byron Tramway Park as a green buffer and pedestrian link;
- Provide urban design guidelines;
- Improve pedestrian/cycle links;
- Ensure compatibility of new development;
- Provide a land use plan;
- Define character, scale and mix of uses for Richmond Road and Scott Street.
1.3.2 Community Workshop and Second Open House – Preliminary Vision
The following were the main comments from the community workshop and second open house:
- Preserve/enhance green space including all of the Atlantis-Selby and Rochester Field/Maplelawn lands;
- A range of opinions for the preliminary vision’s maximum building heights, including some reductions proposed in specific sectors;
- Existing Transitway stations are appropriate locations for intensification;
- Building form, massing setbacks, shadowing and other urban design issues are important in considering intensification proposals;
- Avoid creating a wall of medium/high rise buildings that block views to the Ottawa River and overshadow existing low-rise neighbourhoods;
- Richmond Road is not a traditional mainstreet like Westboro Village over its whole length and each sector has a distinct character;
- Revise unifying vision/overall strategies/principles by adding statements on liveable communities, enhancing transit, green pedestrian/cycle links, add to/enhancing green space, links to other neighbourhoods, Ottawa River as a unifying community backbone;
- Need traffic and servicing impact analysis of preliminary vision.
1.3.3 Third Open House – Draft Community Design Plan
Comments on the draft community design plan from the third open house and public/technical circulation included the following:
- Must confirm absolutely the preservation of Atlantis-Selby as green space;
- Additional greenspace, community parks with active uses should be a priority;
- CDP proposal for moderate intensification is good and not overwhelming;
- Intensification should only be allowed if existing roadway infrastructure can support it- no high rises
- Concern about cut-through traffic on streets south of Richmond;
- Recognition of the need to increase use of transit, with some concern regarding the feasibility of achieving a 40% transit modal share target;
- Much improved concept from previous open house;
- The City should find small pockets of greenspace in this area and work to have these areas zoned so that trees may be planted to enhance the streetscape;
- Support improved bicycle and pedestrian links and westward extension of Byron Tramway Park;
- Add CDP as a Secondary Plan to the Official Plan.