Posted by: HamptonIona | August 16, 2012

Soeur de la Visitation Convent Site

Ashcroft Homes has submitted their site plan for Phase 2 of their development which is the back half of the property. Staff is currently reviewing this document and has not yet made it public. Staff has advised however that Phase 2 does not include the actual convent building as Ashcroft is still deciding what to do with it. Once staff has released the Phase 2 site plan documentation, the public will have an opportunity to comment on it. Comments are, however, made directly to staff and staff makes all final decisions under their delegated authority. Site plans are not approved by councillors unless the ward councillor lifts delegated authority. Councillor Hobbs did not do so for the Phase 1 site plan so it is highly unlikely that she will do so for Phase 2. As well, it is unlikely that there will be any public meetings on the site plan as neither the City nor the councillor held one for Phase 1 of this project.

In conjunction with the site plan, Ashcroft has also submitted a rezoning request to allow them to build a permanent road through the Byron Linear Park.

As this is a rezoning request, this specific request will have to be reviewed by Planning Committee. Due to strong community opposition to this request, this southerly road was turned down by the Planning Committee in Fall 2010 and a subsequent request submitted by Councillor Hobbs was pulled from the Planning Committee’s agenda in May 2011. There is no date yet for Planning Committee to hear Ashcroft’s latest request. Your association has written Councillor Hume to remind him of his strong support against building a road through our park and for his continued support for the community in this matter. It is recommended that the community continue to let Councillors Hobbs and Hume know our position on Ashcroft’s latest request to build a permanent (or a construction) road through the Byron Linear Park.

At this time, there is no date scheduled for Planning Committee to hear this matter, but it is important that we let our elected officials know in advance how we feel about this matter now. Other members of the Planning Committee are: Jan Harder, Stephen Blais, Rainer Bloess, Rick Chiarelli, Allan Hubley, Bob Monette, Shad Qadri and Mark Taylor.



  1. While I agree that an additional road through the Byron pathway is not what anyone wants, I am certain that the only available alternative (using the neighbouring Shannon Street) would be even worse. Leaving the pathway sandwiched between cars turning from 2 relatively busy streets would be terribly unsafe. Drivers have a far more difficult time seeing bikes and pedestrians approaching from behind than they do with bikes coming from the sides.

    This is exactly why the traffic engineers who studied the site were very clear in saying that the use of Shannon Street would be completely inappropriate.

  2. Not sure if the perspective of the Community Group has fully considered the implications of the alternative to cutting through the Byron Linear Park.

    Access through Shannon Street would actually require: (1) more trees being cut down, (2) more park land lost to roads and (3) more serious safety issues, especially for the children who attend Hilson Avenue Public School.

    I sincerely hope the community association will be upfront with the community about the realistic (and negative!) consequences of a “hard line” position on the developer’s proposal to cut through the Byron Linear Park.

  3. Road access through Byron Linear Park is the best solution to a difficult situation. No one in the neighbourhood wants more traffic near the park, but if it’s going to happen, it needs to be done in the safest manner with the least possible impact on green space in the park.

    A traffic study shows that using Shannon Street is a poor choice for road access, because the sight lines are not good for drivers to see pedestrians. Additionally, using Shannon Street would take more space and trees out of the park than going straight through to Byron Ave.

    An access road straight to Byron Ave. is safer because it would keep traffic away from Hilson Ave. school, and it would provide better sight lines for drivers to see pedestrians. I think it would be less impact on both drivers and pedestrians to keep the new road in line with the current pathway and traffic flow, in which several roads already cross straight across the park. Bike riders and walkers are used to having to stop at these intersections.

  4. I think there are many people that have blindly said no to an additonal road through the Bryon Linear Pathway without understanding what the other option is which is using Shannon St. And the impacts to using it. There has been such a big focus on Byron but when you look at what they’ll do to Shannon, it is clear using Byron makes the most sense and ultimately the safer option.. Less park land would be taken away, its safer for cars and people and it doesn’t impact homeowners property. Please take the time to clearly understand the impacts to Shannon St. before sending an email to your councillor.

  5. Some thoughts on the impacts on Shannon:

    I want to look into the Hilson traffic pattern when school is in session before commenting, but I’m hopeful most of that can be addressed with drop-off/pick-up time traffic restrictions (starting with no right-turn from Shannon to Hilson).

  6. It is too bad that there weren’t two entrances created on Richmond Road for the development, that’s what they did for the Central Park development nearby. It looks to me like putting in a road straight to Byron is a better option:
    – less removal of trees and park space
    – no impact on people’s front lawns
    – better sightlines
    – farther away from Hilson elementary school

    While I think it is important to have high-quality traffic studies, I don’t believe that a no-right-turn restriction at key times will keep the kids at Hilson safe — many of the kids will be coming from the very direction that the cars will be going in if they have to turn left off of Shannon.

  7. Both options are terrible. But the bottom line is that from a traffic safety perspective, access through Shannon seems to be the less sane choice. Not to mention that going through Shannon will mean encroachment onto to the bike path itself. I would encourage anyone with an interest in this issue to check out the Shannon/Hilson intersection. As a cyclist and a parent, the safety implications are far worse by using Shannon. I wonder how many in the community were aware of the Shannon plan when they supported the campaign against access through Byron

  8. Good morning Mayor Watson and respected Ottawa City Council members,

    I am writing to you to express my support for Ashcroft’s latest application to cut through Byron Linear Park.

    I live at 417 Hilson Ave, near the convent site at 114 Richmond Road.

    If Ashcroft is not given permission to cut through the Byron Linear Park then the only option for them is to use Shannon Street. The owners on Shannon Street were never properly informed of this fact. This has been noted by council members in the past – that the owners on Shannon Street were never truly told what was potentially going to happen to their homes.

    Treating a small minority group of home owners this way is unfair.

    Furthermore, the widening of Shannon street would cut into Byron Linear Park by 90 meters length anyways. If you do the math, its actually less damage to the Byron Linear Park to cut across it the way the developer is asking.

    Traffic Safety

    There is also the issue of the nearby Hilson School. 600 units worth of traffic dumping onto Hilson is going to be a hazard for a lot of school children, including my own. Clearly, the city council should take a stand for child safety at a minimum and let the developer just cut across Byron Linear Park – its the least dangerous solution.

    I note also that many of these vehicles may be driven by people at or past the age of retirement. Large SUV’s have poor visibility especially for small children, if you add the narrowness of Shannon, such numbers of vehicles and uncautious school children – it is clear this is an unacceptable risk. If it arises that Shannon Street becomes the only option – then another minority without a voice will be brought harm – our children.

    Is this something the city council would really consider? If they fail to allow the developer access through Byron Linear Park, this is essentially what you will be doing.

    Recently, our own Counciler Hobbs has stated (incorrectly):
    “The widening of Shannon, which would likely mean that four houses’ front yards would be cut back as the city started using its right of way across the land, was regrettable, but it was the best of a bunch of bad options”

    As a parent with 3 children living beside Shannon Street, I think the use of the word “regrettable” is remarkably cold when in fact what we are talking about is placing school children into an intensely dangerous zone. I can whole heartedly state that I do not agree with Counciler Hobbs on her statement. I suggest that she give more thought and consideration to the very serious factor of traffic safety when finalizing her position on this important matter.

    For your consideration,


    David Long

  9. This isn’t meant to be a loaded question, but a genuine “did I miss something:” why are the only two options Shannon and Byron Park? Why can’t the city’s answer be “neither?”

  10. I think Ashcroft should solve their access problems without cutting into either Byron or shannon. I am sure that they can figure it out without upsetting the near residents anymore than they already have.

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