[dropcap]A[/dropcap]About a hundred residents turned out Wednesday, May 8th, for an evening update on development of the western development lands.
Cheryl McWilliams, Development Review Planner from the City of Ottawa, gave a brief overview and history of the Community Design Plan that brought Richmond to the stage of seeing development launched on the western development lands. She stated that it had been about two years since the last public meeting. She felt it was time for an update on the many activities that are taking place and those that are about to begin.
The new community of Fox Run by Caivan Developments is taking shape. A new community well that will serve the development is in the final stages of being commissioned. The City has assumed operation of an initial phase of the well which should allow about twenty homes constructed in the development to be occupied soon.
A well head protection area has been established and once the City takes ownership and control of further well capacity Fox Run can then proceed with the balance of the 220 homes in the first phase of development. It is a legal condition of this development that the municipality own and operate the well.
McWilliams noted that Richmond’s sanitary sewer system is at capacity. Work is progressing to rectify that situation. The City will identify homes that may have “illegal” sump pump connections that discharge water into the sanitary system leading to overloads. They have mapped hot spots for further attention and will be following up with homeowners.
There will be minor upgrades to the sewage pumping station and eventually a twinning of the forcemain that carries Richmond and Munster sewage into Kanata.
Further work will also be done to better manage storm water and improve capacity to accommodate new development. For example the existing storm water pond serving the first phase of development at Fox Run will be expanded and a new pond will be created to serve Mattamy’s planned development. There will also be a realignment of the Van Gaal drain.
Four new parks are planned. The first will be a small play park near Meynell Road while later on a large community park with a splash pad, basketball courts, etc. will be established on lands in the Mattamy portion of the development adjacent to a new school. Discussions are ongoing with the School Boards to reach a decision about school planning and development.
As the development moves forward with new phases a round-about will be constructed to serve the developments from Perth Street. Perth will also be expanded to four lanes from the roundabout through to Eagleson.
Once the floor opened to questions most revolved around traffic, bus service, construction blasting and water of all types – drinking water, sanitary sewers and storm water management.
Given the number of questions that also hinged on Mattamy’s planned development, Mattamy representatives were invited to speak to their plans.
Mattamy submitted their application for subdivision in 2014. Following some changes and a plan re-submission the development is close to “draft approval”. Once draft approval is obtained Mattamy can begin selling homes as evidenced by the sales office recently located on Perth Street with a “coming soon” sign. Their plan calls for the development of 1159 homes of dispersed density throughout the site.
All the homes will be connected to sanitary sewer services and City water (from the new community well). The City also confirmed that the well would have the capacity to connect the rest of the Village to water when and if such a project were ever necessary. Nothing is planned at the moment.
Numerous residents expressed skepticism that the planned expansion of Perth St. would be sufficient to handle the increased traffic from these developments. One questioned whether there was a plan to bridge the Jock River at Ottawa, St. This is not in the plan.
Regarding who would pay for road and sewer upgrades, Councillor Moffatt, who was present at the meeting, clarified that development charges from this development and others throughout the village would fund the necessary improvements as construction phases move forward.
Several residents were concerned about the effects of blasting on existing homes and management of the water, traffic and increased storm water flows as the population increases with the new houses. A lot of focus was put on the city and Mattamy having a plan to tackle these increases. The City and Mattamy staff assured everyone that extensive engineering studies had been done and plans were in place. One resident suggested Mattamy set aside some cash and be prepared to repair any homes experiencing blast damages.
A complete application by Caivan to extend and make minor amendments to the plan of subdivision and zoning by-law for Fox Run is currently out for comment. The proposal would see some changes to the local internal streets as well as the addition of rear lane townhouses to the permitted uses, along with an extension of draft plan approval of the subdivision. Caivan’s proposal would see town homes facing Perth Street that will have the garage and access in the back of the houses.
The Mattamy and Caivan developments, coupled with developments in other parts of Richmond as well as yet to be announced development plans for lands near Eagleson and Ottawa St., promise to bring a period of massive growth and change upon the landscape of Richmond.