by David Brown, Candidate for Rideau-Goulbourn Ward 21
[dropcap]R[/dropcap]Richmond is set to double in size over the next decade, with that comes benefits and challenges. Managing this growth has to be a priority for the next councillor of Rideau-Goulbourn. If you live in Richmond, you love Richmond. We want to maintain our small village charm and make sure our busy streets are safe.
Once development starts in earnest, we will be welcoming new neighbours to our village. This will be good for the many small local businesses, community groups and organizations that call Richmond home. With our new neighbours also comes growing pains like clogged roads, the need for more sidewalks and highlights a lack of recreational opportunities that exist to keep our kids active and engaged.
Richmond’s Community Design Plan sets out what Richmond will receive in upgrades to accommodate this growth but here is where we have a problem. We won’t see several of these infrastructure upgrades until the majority of the new homes are built. We need a councillor that is prepared to work on our community’s behalf to have these upgrades completed before the village is expanded. Not after. Why should there be undue strain and pressure on existing Richmond residents?
I doubt many City planners or politicians have tried to turn on to Perth Street during peak rush hour, or have tried to make the near impossible turn out of Hyde Park, where some residents say they plan their day around the heavy traffic volume. The same problem exists for residents who need to cross Perth Street from Queen Charlotte to access the new medical centre and the park near Rochelle Drive. Are we prepared to wait to have these issues addressed?
For eight years, our councillor and city planners did not seize the opportunity to sit down with Richmond’s developers and residents to update the 8-year old Richmond Community Design Plan. Perth Street from Gamble Drive to Eagleson Road should be widened now, and a traffic light at Shea Road and Perth Street intersection should have been installed when the new plaza was built. These upgrades are critical to enhance the safety of our village.
Councillors in other wards have worked with developers to negotiate front ending agreements to have growth related infrastructure built years before originally planned, why is Richmond being left behind?
Richmond should embrace the expansion and enhancement of our wonderful village. But, can we really afford to wait any longer for leadership and action to ensure that our village receives the upgrades it requires to keep our residents safe?