A 2002 City of Ottawa decision is challenged

Back in 2002, then Planning and Development Committee agreed to change a portion of the Carp River flood plain, on the opposite shore of the Corel Centre, into a 2-zone floodplain, the floodway and a flood fringe. Then Councillors Munter and Stavinga dissented. Council approved this rezoning on 28 August 2002 without a recorded vote. (See PDC’s Report 33 to Council, Minutes 38. For more on 2-zone flood plain policy, look here.)

On October 11, 2007, this item popped up on the agenda of Planning and Environment Committee because the developer (The Regional Group) wanted an expansion of the list of uses for the planned development (20 Frank Nighbor Place), part of which is in the flood fringe.

Private citizen Ted Cooper, a water resources engineer, intervened, as did Erwin Dreessen. An agent for The Regional Group also spoke briefly. Under vigorous questioning from Councillors Holmes and Doucet, staff asserted that the flood analysis models for Kanata West had been rerun to correct for the error in the size of the watershed brought to light by Mr. Cooper last June, that the differences were negligible and that all agencies had signed off on the revised results. A promise was also extracted for staff to send the report to the “appropriate person” at the Ministry of Natural Resources. (By the rules, MNR’s Regional Engineer needs to be involved when a 2-zone flood plain application is proposed. There is a strong suspicion that no such sign-off took place in 2002, which would make that rezoning ultra vires.) Councillor Qadri brought up the investigation by the City’s Auditor General into staff’s handling of the Kanata West/Carp River file; the A-G is expected to report in May 2008. The agent for The Regional Group assured Councillors that a 100-metre corridor would be achieved along all of the development.

In the end, on motions from Ward Councillor Feltmate, some further additions were made to the list of permissible uses and a specific reference was added regarding garden centres, requiring that they be “floodproofed” to 0.3 m above the 100-year flood level. Unfortunately, our further suggestions to put conditions on the lifting of the Holding symbol or deferral of the rezoning that pertains to the flood fringe, were not heeded. The rezoning was approved, with Councillors Holmes and Doucet dissenting.

The staff report is here.

Read the intervention by Erwin Dreessen.

Read the intervention by Ted Cooper.