Auditor General’s report on Carp River project tabled

On April 23, 2008, the City’s Auditor General tabled his report, “Audit of Carp River Watershed Study and Related Projects.” [709 KB, 45 pp]. (See also the Auditor General’s press release, a heavily slanted press release by City management and another highly contentious press release by the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority [none are still online].)

The report vindicates key objections raised by the Carp River Coalition in its July 2006 Part II Order request and its commentary on later discoveries of errors, including:

– It has not been demonstrated that distinguishing a “flood fringe” is appropriate here. (The City and MVCA are the only jurisdictions in Ontario the Auditor could find that allow application of a 2-zone flood plain policy in greenfield development.) The letter, but not the intent of provincial flood plain policy was respected.
– The drainage area is wrong because the Fernbank lands were not included and a portion that flows to the Jock watershed was included.
– The models poorly simulate the one actual event for which data were available. They are not properly calibrated. The post-development analysis is therefore unreliable. (The report says that flood levels in the Carp could be as much as a 1.0 m higher than stated.) Sensitivity analysis is no substitute for calibration.
– The impact on the River downstream of Richardson Sideroad — the River’s ability to transport sediment — must be considered.
– Restoration work should begin downstream and work its way up.

Other criticisms include the lack of consideration of soil conditions (clay and peat) and the appearance of conflicts of interest of a consultant and of the City itself.

Council decided to send the report to three Standing Committees before debating further what to do about it.

At a press conference later, City manager Robert MacKay said that the proposed Terms of Reference for a 3rd-party review of the consultants’ work would be on management’s desk the following week.

The report was widely covered in the media, including:

[Archivist’s note: << >> marks coverage that is no longer found online. Other coverage to our knowledge never was online.]

Rush Hour, 23 April: “City in conflict over Kanata development: auditor”

Ottawa Sun, 24 April, by Derek Puddicombe: “AG rips errors in project – Discrepancies in engineering work.”

Ottawa Citizen, 24 April, by Patrick Dare: “Auditor slams city for conflict in Kanata West – Officials worked with developers, then acted as approval agency for building on flood-prone land: report.”

CBC Radio news casts, 24 and 25 April., April 23: “Audit finds Kanata West flood study flawed, incomplete.” This post attracted 8 comments and received 18 recommendations.

<<CBC Radio, Ottawa Morning, April 23>>: “Awaiting city audit of Carp River development” (audio)

<<CBC Radio, Ottawa Morning, April 24>>: “Kanata West Development City’s Watershed Moment” (audio)

CBC Radio, Ottawa Morning, April 25: “Kanata West Developer Reaction” (audio), April 25: “Conservation authority defends position on Carp River development.”

CBOF Radio newscasts, 24 April.

Le Droit, 24 April.

Metro, 24 April.

CBC tv News at Six, April 25, featuring MVCA’s John Price.
CBC tv News at Six, May 1, featuring Ted Cooper and Meredith Brown. (This story is about the relocation of Hazeldean Creek for the Trinity project — subject of Ted Cooper’s hearing before the OMB on February 20-22, 2008.)

Ottawa Citizen Editorial, 25 April: “Kanata West: a loss of trust.”
Ottawa Citizen, 26 April, by Randall Denley: “Public left wanting in Kanata West deal – When the city’s both a developer and responsible for granting building permits, who is looking out for the people?”

“Talk Ottawa” on Rogers Cable 22, April 30, with Councillor Marianne Wilkinson, John Price and Erwin Dreessen on the panel: “The development debacle in Kanata West — The Kanata West flood plain fracas.”

Also noteworthy is an earlier column by Randall Denley in the Ottawa Citizen of March 23, page A3: “When water rises, faith and hope aren’t enough.”

And not to forget, Coalition member David Spence’s smashing picture in front of Bradley Falls, in a warm-up article two days before the AG tabled his report, by Patrick Dare in the Ottawa Citizen of April 21: “Carp River’s time has come, say friends of humble waterway.”

All along, the trucks keep rolling:, Feb 22: “Trucks visit Kanata West site despite Ottawa’s call to stop work.” This is about the relocation of Hazeldean Creek, one of the issues that was the subject of Ted Cooper’s OMB hearing in February. On May 3, CBC Radio reported that MOE is investigating because the developer does not have a permit from MOE.