Posted by: HamptonIona | March 10, 2011

Newsflash: City Won’t Seek to Buy a Piece of Convent Property

From The Ottawa Citizen (more to follow from HICG in the coming days):

There will be no levy imposed on the residents of Kitchissippi ward to purchase part of the former Soeurs de la Visitations convent on Richmond Road.

Councillor Katherine Hobbs told her council colleagues Thursday morning that the majority of her residents were opposed to the levy, as were local business groups.

“I am not supporting the purchase of the property,” said Hobbs.

Council closed ranks around Hobbs, with Mayor Jim Watson commending her, saying he has “never seen the number of public meetings held on one issue.”

Councillor Jan Harder called Hobbs “brave” and said the councillor “pulled out all the stops.”

Harder also successfully moved that the city take “cash-in-lieu of parkland” instead of green space from the developer of the site. This will give about $1 million to the ward to be invested in “improving and expanding parkland in Kitchissippi.”

The developed convent site will still have about 3,5000 square metres of green space.

The property is owned by developer Ashcroft, which bought it from Les Soeurs de la Visitation for $12 million and plans to develop condos and retail on the site.

Many nearby residents, however, wanted to preserve as much of the property as possible as parkland. Last fall, city council voted to act on residents’ behalf if they could come up with the money.

Ashcroft hasn’t offered to sell, but an appraiser hired by the city says that with the new zoning on the property, a piece at the southern edge is worth $9 million. The city also said the residents would also have to pay for about $2.4 million in legal fees, for a levy of about $97 a year for the next 10 years, if that amount was divvied up among all residents of Kitchissippi.

The city has a self-imposed deadline of March 31 to decide whether to try to buy the land and impose a levy, but it had to be decided Thursday because it’s the last meeting this month.

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Responses

  1. For the post-mortem, we need to see more information from Councillor Hobbs about the responses she received and her tabulations. This should include full access to all submitted comment sheets, e-mails, or other preserved forms, incljuding records of telephone calls if these are available.

    In addition, we need to see the details of the legal advice Council received as to the consequences of delaying the decision until the next council meeting. We also need to understand why Councillor Hobbs did not request a special meeting of Council closer to March 31.

    On her Facebook for Kitchissippi page, Councillor says in a reply to Chris Henschel (Mar 10, 05:51), that “more can be done” to moderate the impact of development “and I am starting to work on that immediately.” Has she engaged our community associations in this regard?


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