June 2, 2008 – The Carp River Coalition issued a media release today, demanding that all development approvals in Kanata West cease until validated studies are in hand.
A motion passed by Council on May 14 left a large loophole in the development approval process which would permit approvals to move forward simply based on “updates” produced by the Kanata West landowners’ consultants.
Coalition calls for a halt to development in Kanata West
The Carp River Coalition is calling for a halt to all development in Kanata West until all supporting studies are corrected and approved. A report tabled at the Ottawa City Council meeting on April 23, 2008 by City of Ottawa Auditor General Alain Lalonde raises concerns about the accuracy and validity of studies completed in support of the Kanata West development area that were approved by City Council in June 2006. Many errors raised in the Auditor General’s 45-page report echo objections that were raised by the Carp River Coalition and filed with the Ontario Minister of Environment in July 2006.
Based on a Motion passed by Council on May 14, it appears that a large loophole remains that could result in continued development approvals while the supporting studies have not undergone a third party review. As recently as March of this year, the City of Ottawa hosted public meetings on new subdivisions being planned by Mattamy Homes and Tartan Homes in Kanata West, as if there was nothing to be concerned about. Under the new policy, City Council could approve development plans based on developers’ updated study results without a requirement for validation of the studies or a 3rd-party review.
The only studies available today are those which, according to the Auditor General’s report, contain a number of very serious flaws. The audit cites the use of an inappropriate model to estimate post-development water levels, inappropriate selection of a simulation storm event to estimate flood levels and the lack of calibration of the model to ensure it delivers accurate predictions of water levels under real-life conditions. City staff water resources engineer Ted Cooper had already pointed to the egregious error in the estimated impact of the development of Kanata West on water levels.
On May 13, the consultant presented “updated” results but these have not yet been validated by independent experts. The fact remains that the information required to support further development is not available today.
More worrisome is the fact that all of the necessary monitoring equipment to measure the water levels and permit calibration or “truthing” of the model has not yet been installed. “What are they waiting for?” wonders David Spence of Friends of the Carp River, a member group of the Coalition. Friends of the Carp River were asked by a former City Councillor to apply for a grant for two stream flow gauges which were subsequently purchased and handed over to the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority. They finally were installed last May and September. However, two other gauges upstream from Richardson Sideroad have yet to be installed.
Citizens of Ottawa must demand that their elected representatives put a stop to approving plans that are based on faulty or unvalidated information
It is irresponsible to throw taxpayers’ money at designing a partial restoration of the Carp River or continuing development plans in Kanata West as long as corrected and approved studies are not available to guide the work. If getting Kanata West right means City Councillors have to firmly revisit the “go ahead” which was given to this development, this is exactly what the citizens of Ottawa need to demand that they do.
For further information contact Carol Gudz at (613) 274-0991.
For Background and Updates, please visit http://greenspace-alliance.ca/carp
The Carp River Coalition comprises members of the Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital, Ottawa Riverkeeper, Friends of the Carp River, and the Ottawa Group of the Sierra Club of Canada.