Erwin posted the following report to the GA List on November 11 (published to the web site, slightly revised, on 2 December 2013):
The official “public meeting” for the new Official Plan was held on November 8, 2013. It was remarkable on two accounts:
1. There was not a single public delegation registered for the first agenda item, the Infrastructure Master Plan. There was no staff presentation. Nor was there any discussion by Councillors (except for Clr. Hubley who had a question for Ian Cross on the population projections. The latter had some difficulty explaining the numbers.) This Master Plan and supporting documents were released on 24 September, 2013 — a total of nearly 900 pages.
This absence of engagement by the public and Councillors alike about a plan with a $1.5 billion capital requirement over the next 9 years represents total failure of the process. Council apparently is abdicating its responsibility in favour of staff and the process is designed such that it is simply impossible for anyone else to respond to anything in the plan.
(See below for a further look into the public consultations that accompanied the Infrastructure Master Plan.)
2. After having heard 24 public delegations on agenda item 2 — the Official Plan Amendment — there was no discussion with staff, and no discussion among members of Committee. Chair Hume intimated that he had sent a procedural memo to his colleagues the day before and had received confirmation from legal counsel Tim Marc that dispensing with debate did not reduce citizens’ rights. He indicated further that 11 motions had already been received — others were verbally hinted at in the wake of some of the presentations. The Chair instructed everyone to send any and all motions to staff by November 12, and instructed staff to evaluate anything noted in the presentations. Then staff would produce a document prior to the meeting of Council on November 26 with a consolidated motion containing all ideas that it finds acceptable. Any motions that staff does not accept would be listed along with reasons why they were rejected.
Again, citizens were deprived of seeing decisions being made, at least at Committee level.
+ Contrary to the usual process, the Chair did not name or count any submissions that were received in writing. (The Minutes published later listed 37. In most cases the Minutes give no indication of the substance of these submissions.) Chair Hume also boasted at the start of the meeting that this process had seen the most extensive outreach ever, with 10,000 citizens participating. That turned out later to include 8,000 visitors to the City’s web site. This is so much hot air. An RMOC consultation (if memory serves, it was for the 1998 Regional Official Plan) did an outstanding job reaching out to all segments of the population. Anything done for this “Building a Liveable Ottawa” exercise since the Planning Summit of 2012 pales in comparison.
+ Eleven of the 24 oral submissions were by community representatives or individual residents. I include among those a 5-minute video by Greely residents singing the praises of the lifestyle that Greely has to offer, prominently featuring certain developments by Sunset Lakes Corp. This was followed by another 5-minute video, arguing that the boundaries of Greely should expand by 200 acres, half of which are owned by Sunset Lakes. The 14 presentations by lawyers, developers, landowners or their consultants (and the Kanata BIA) took up about 87 minutes or 60% of the total time spent on presentations (not counting Councillors’ follow-ups). Of these, a remarkable 42 minutes were taken up by various employees of Fotenn. A number of these went way over the permitted time. Holding the record was Fotenn’s Miguel Tremblay who was in the seat for 6 + 10 minutes, representing several clients. He was followed by his boss, Ted Fobert, with an 8-minute presentation. Not to be outdone, Fotenn’s Pamela Sweet came forward twice, the second time with an 11-minute presentation. None of these were admonished by the Chair that they were over the 5-minute limit.
+ Among the more remarkable community submissions was one by the Metcalfe and District Citizens’ Association. President Dal Broadhead noted that they had fought an OMB case in 1974 … and won. Thirty-nine years later, they’re back at fighting the same cause again. They are opposed to additional designations for aggregates. [ED: They won this one: No additional designations are proposed in the OPA tabled for this meeting.] They called for balanced representation in the stakeholder group that is to look at further designations.
+ Another was by Gary Sealey on behalf of the Beaverbrook Community Association (KBCA). He pleaded for help in getting Beaverbrook designated as a heritage area; 400 residents have signed a petition requesting this. Also, Teron Road should be a Parkway, a road classification that is not recognized by the City.
+ David McNicoll, citing his letter to Premier Wynn of the day before, pointed out that Ottawa does not track any life processes.
The Greenspace Alliance’s 5-page submission is here. It includes a letter from the “Conservation Partners” [the 3 Conservation Authorities covering Ottawa] that explained what the policy is about stormwater facilities and the flood plain. In a follow-up e-mail we spelled out the “motions” that were implied in our submission. Staff later replied to each of our motions. Read all about it here, along with a few comments.
Consultations about the Infrastructure Master Plan: A summary
The 545-page Infrastructure Master Plan tabled on September 24 at Planning Committee, upon closer inspection turns out to consist for fully 50% of an Appendix E called “Draft Consultation Summary report.” In reality, it is essentially a dump of anything that has been sent out or recorded about the whole “Building a Liveable Ottawa” — not just the Infrastructure Plan (the Appendix has 11 appendices of its own). It’s a draft in that it has many “Placeholder” sections — the date of the Revision is September 19, 2013. Here and there it says “remove this section if there’s nothing about the IMP.” In truth, PDF pages 270-545 are a disguised consultation report about the whole “Building a Liveable Ottawa” project. How odd to find it hiding as the second half of the main IMP report!
There is an extremely summary summary of submissions (Table 2.1, PDF pp. 277-280). Mostly, the “consultations” appear to have consisted of one-way communications. For example, 56 City employees attended one “Internal Agency” meeting, 45 the next. There was one meeting with First Nations. There were three meetings with developers (more detail in sub-appendix F). There was, at an unspecified date, a “Community Forum” with 110 attendees representing 27 organizations; a grand total of six comment sheets were received at that Forum.
One of the few places of an indication of dialogue is in Table 3.2 (PDF pp. 289-291).
8,063 people responded to an on-line survey in March (the design of which was criticized on the GA List at the time). Strangely, nobody from Kanata responded. (Sub-appendix I says there were 4,119 responses. Whatever.) The rural on-line survey attracted all of 151 respondents.
Sub-appendix C (Project Launch Event) includes 12 2-page briefs about the project “…at a Glance.” To this writer’s recollection they were not found during the hastily called Open House meetings in October. Potemkin Village?
The report on social media finds a “Tweet Reach” of 1,199,747 (in the text upped to 2.2 million), all originated from 1,678 mentions. Magic.
For the full Infrastructure Master Plan (40 MB) and its many supporting documents, go to http://app05.ottawa.ca/sirepub/mtgviewer.aspx?meetid=2344&doctype=AGENDA and click on agenda item 7; then click on the PDF icon to access any document.