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Councillors approve Orleans development despite parking concerns

The city of Ottawa's planning committee has approved a housing development in Orléans after it was delayed due to concerns about the number of parking spaces.

The development at 360 Kennedy Lane East would include 81 residential units, many of which would be affordable housing. But it only has 61 parking spaces for residents and 15 for visitors.

The Queenswood Project, as it's called, came before committee three weeks ago, but councillors sent the proposal back to staff to "work through outstanding traffic and parking concerns."

That decision touched a nerve, with affordable housing advocates decrying the delay and concerned neighbours countering that the proposal had major problems.

On Monday, the application was back, with the number of parking spaces unchanged. But this time it sailed through committee unanimously.

Carly Forrester, representing the applicant Kindred Works, told councillors that the company will be able to keep track of which tenants have cars because it's a rental property.

"Should there be a tenant with multiple cars that are causing external pressure on other places, we have that ability to have that conversation with those residents," she said.

She also said they will make tenants aware of transit options in the area, including the Equipass for low-income riders. And she said if a car-sharing service expands to Orléans, they would reserve a spot for that. The company has had discussions with Communauto, a car-sharing service in downtown Ottawa that does not currently offer service in Orléans.

They also said there will be information as part of the lease about the number of parking spaces.

That satisfied Coun. Laura Dudas, who brought the motion at the previous meeting to revisit the proposal after ward councillors Matthew Luloff said the development wasn't ready to be approved.

Dudas said on Monday she was "incredibly pleased with the outcome."

"To take a week and a half just to have these conversations, I think it was absolutely essential and I think it was the right thing to do," she said. "I don't see any issues with us taking some time when it comes to developments, knowing that we have to get it right."

In a statement, Kindred Works said they are excited to "unlock the full potential" of the site.

"Today we move one important step closer to delivering safe, affordable housing to the Ottawa community," they said.


The proposal’s delay earlier this month provoked discussion about development in urban and surburban areas and the city's need for more affordable housing units.

More than 800 residents signed a petition raising concerns about additional traffic, a lack of on-street parking in the area, negative effects on property values and worries about "urbanizing an otherwise quiet neighbourhood." 

The development would be built on what is currently a field next to Queenswood United Church.

One resident, Richard Rice, described the proposal as imposing urban constructs on suburbia.

"Residents in the suburbs live there because they have made a conscious choice to reject the stress of the urban environment in favour of a more relaxed, slower-paced lifestyle," he told committee on Monday.

"We don't want to live in the big city and we don't want the big city brought to us."

Miranda Gray, another Orléans resident, spoke in favour of the development.

"What we are talking about here is a modest increase in density to allow a bunch more people to have that indepdence and live on their own, in a community that they'd like to be in.

"I'd like us to focus on the people not the cars."

The delay earlier this month drew the attention of the federal Conservative housing critic, who suggested opponents of the development were "#NIMBY cowards."

NIMBY is short for "not in my backyard" and is used to describe people who oppose changes to their own neighbourhoods.

On Monday, Coun. Cathy Curry, while supportive of the motion, suggested that too much intensification outside the core could push people to move out of the city entirely.

"You know what is going to start to happen, as it's already happening? Is people say…'I didn't want to live in the city anymore it was too busy, so I moved to the suburbs. And then, OK, now the suburbs are getting too busy so I'll move to the rural. The rural's getting too busy so I'll move to Almonte, Arnprior, Renfrew, Pembroke, Petawawa, you name it,' as people leave the city, where we then lose our tax dollars."

The proposal will come before city council this Wednesday. Top Stories

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