Posted by: HamptonIona | March 2, 2011

Update on Convent Parkland Purchase

This is a brief update of the first Hobbs meeting held on March 1 with regards to the levy.  Members of the HICG executive were not able to attend the meeting so we are providing details from what we have heard from others who attended.

The news was very bad and unexpected.  The price for the parkland determined by the appraiser was $11.5 million (Ashcroft is rumoured to have paid $12.5 million for the entire site).  It appears that rather than determine a price that was favourable to the City, the City has negotiated upfront with Ashcroft to determine a price that is favourable to Ashcroft and presumably one that would avoid an expropriation hearing.   Supposedly this valuation included $5 mln. in damages requested by Ashcroft.  Ashcroft argued that damages were required that should all of the parkland be taken, their proposed nine-story building on the southern side of the convent would no longer be accessible from the southern side of the property (either through Shannon or Bryon).  Since this building was never supposed to have access off the southern side of the site it was not clear as to why Ashcroft should be compensated for something that they never had.  Perhaps this will become clearer with time.

To date, it appears that the City has not seemed to have found any money from any of the different sources proposed by the community (cash-in-lieu of parkland fund, development charges, tax incremental financing).  If this is the case, then the full amount of the purchase price must be raised by the levy.   It has been determined that if the levy is applied Kitchissippi-wide it is estimated the levy will be approximately $97/yr for 10 years for the average priced home.  As the average priced home in Kitchissippi is $380,000, the levy will vary accordingly up or down depending on how your property value compares to the average.

Beyond this, it is our understanding that little in the way of details was provided.

We encourage you to attend the Hampton Iona Community Group’s Annual General Meeting on March 2.  We will have an opportunity to hear Councillor Hobbs explain what is happening and discuss the situation with your neighbours afterwards.  While the meeting will have to cover AGM-related activities, we recognize that the bulk of the meeting will be devoted to the Convent and the community response to what is happening.

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Responses

  1. This is so disappointing on so many levels.

  2. Just so disgusting. Ashcroft is laughing all the way to the bank no matter what happens, and Katherine Hobbs is facilitating it.

  3. I was absolutely stunned when I saw the valuation numbers last night.

    Almost as comical was the statement that the valuation documents couldn’t be made public because they didn’t want Ashcroft to have the information — that suggests that they think they have started with a low estimate and need a strong bargaining position.

    I suspect that their motivation behind not releasing the assessment is because they don’t want the public to be able to question and challenge the assumptions that were made in arriving at the valuation — assumptions that can and should be challenged.

    As others have said, this constitutes an outright betrayal of the community and an abdication of responsibility to promote public benefit.

  4. Hobbs was challenged last night to show leadership in a number of areas that have nothing to do with her taking a position on the levy. I urge everyone to continue to challenge her on this. She must as our representative seek the best opportunities to serve the community well (I would expect her to do the same for other pockets of the community if asked). She must fight to reduce the amount of the levy; she must seek and and communicate to us all of the financing options for the purchase of the land and how and over what exact time frame a levy would be imposed. Most of all she can fight to preserve green space in the urban core of the city. This land will never be reclaimed if we lose it now. Perhaps we should ask what she would prefer to drive past every day – a condo or a park. Hobbs must be convinced that even if she does not agree with us she must still represent our interests and work for us if asked. This is her job!

  5. I agree with Barbara, Catherine Hobbs was challenged to show some leadership and she didn’t. It gets me wondering how we can get proper representation at city hall if our councillor will not represent us. I know she reprensents the whole whole ward, but the whole “machine” that is the City of Ottawa just does not seem to care. Are they not supposed to have our best interests in mind? They just see the dollar signs of more tax paying residents. So, if we let Ashcroft win, the property is gone, and it’s gone forever.

    I would also strongly encourage people to get out to these meetings and make our councillor listen to the people she is representing.


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