Faircrest Heights Community Association

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Summary of FHCA Initiatives and Interventions concerning Local Issues
which have “Made a difference” over the last decade

Many of these initiatives and interventions have been directly related to proposed development plans. These plans come mainly from private developers, but also from ongoing expansion plans submitted by the Ottawa Hospital. Members of the FHCA executive have been vigilant and vocal in ensuring that city plans and environmental standards are maintained, and developer’s promises are kept.

 This is an ongoing process. It is clear that focused and coordinated community input into new development in our community is essential. We can make a difference.

The FHCA does indeed have a credible track record of active participation in the evolving plans for our area. However, continued support and active participation is required. All are welcome, both retirees and others who would be available in working hours and at other times, and also younger people in the workforce who can bring local issues which are important to them to the table.

Below are some examples where the FHCA has had some influence on the outcome of events in our area over the last decade or so.

  • Life Sciences Park

This is the area behind the Vincent Massey Primary School on Smyth Road, bounded on the West by the Hospital and on the East end by the new Seniors sheltered home. It was originally owned by the province and was zoned by the City as ‘Institutional’, meaning for public sector related buildings.

At one point representatives from the Ontario Lands Corporation, who administered the property, called for the City to allow for more flexible zoning. There was a public meeting of the appropriate Council committee where there were presentations by FHCA members making the case for no changes to the zoning.

The councillors voted unanimously to turn it down the Ontario Lands Corporation request. This decision headed off what would quite probably have been an extensive office and retail development in that area.

  • Riverside Drive - Hospital Link Road

In the mid 1990's it was becoming apparent that the traffic along Smyth road, as a result of the expansion of the Ottawa Hospital, was becoming a major bottleneck. The FHCA, along with other local CAs, campaigned for some relief, or at the very least a moratorium on further development in the area.

There was on the books at that time, a long term plan to construct a road to be named the Alta Vista Parkway, running from Conroy Road, to the Queensway at Nicolas Street.

Thanks to the community campaign, the idea took hold that a portion of that project from the Hospital to Riverside Drive, would if implemented alone, mitigate the burgeoning traffic problem on Smyth Road. The necessary environmental assessment was funded and implemented with the clear understanding that there would only be funding for the portion that provided a link from the Hospital to Riverside Drive.

The result gave the green light for the construction of the link between the Hospital and Riverside Drive. At the time of writing, this link is now being designed and funds have been set aside for its construction.

  • The Oak Park Development

This development, which was completed recently was built on land originally set aside for the Rideau Veterans Hospital which occupied the land since the 1940’s. It was declared surplus to requirements in the early 1990's and sold to the Canada Lands Corporation, the federal agency responsible for managing federal crown land. The land was subsequently put up for sale and the successful developer tabled plans for its development. The FHCA had many meetings and presentations in attempts to lower the housing density, which the developer had proposed. As a result of the lobbying, the developer’s proposal was modified.

  • The National Defence Medical Centre Lands (NDMC Lands)

The National Defence Medical Centre is a hospital building and a large parcel of land adjacent to Alta Vista Drive, that belonged to the Department of National Defence (DND).

It was declared surplus some years ago and was handed over to the Canada Lands Corporation for disposal to the private sector. It was apparent to the FHCA that it would be a mistake to allow this parcel of land, to be sold off for more Office/Retail/Residential uses. The policies of both the Federal and Provincial governments explicitly stated the need for more long-term care facilities close to existing hospitals, and for expanding the footprints of existing hospitals wherever possible.

A letter was sent by the FHCA executive addressed to Premier McGuinty and other Provincial, Federal and Municipal elected officials, urging them to acquire the NDMC lands and hold them in abeyance for future hospital use as the current policies called for. Other Community Associations endorsed this letter.

No direct reply was ever received, but the upshot has been that the Province has now moved to take half of these NDMC Lands for future hospital expansion.

  • Billings Avenue Speed-bumps

Traffic in the FHCA residential area, has increased in the last decade. Billings Avenue presents an attractive alternative to Pleasant Park road for rush hour traffic, because it provides an exit to Alta Vista Drive without a traffic light.

FHCA worked with the City to set up temporary roadside speed display LCD screens. Councillor Hume indicated that he would look into having speed bumps installed if enough hard evidence was forthcoming that the speeding was considered to be real problem.

Anonymous responses to a brief questionnaire were invited from residents. The community response was overwhelming and Councillor Hume decided that the problem did indeed warrant a solution such as speed bumps and eventually they were installed.

  • The Billings Avenue Playground and John Murphy Park

  Residents with children recognized that there was a need for playgrounds at locations well away from main roads. Members of the Executive and parents worked on plans for each park with the City with parents providing both fundraising and the manual labour to install the playground equipment.  The playgrounds are well used and have proved to be a great success.
  • Faircrest Heights Memorial Park

Members of the Board had been advocating for a formal paved path running from Lynda Lane, diagonally across the green-space to the traffic light at the entrance to the General Hospital.

 The idea of a Millenium Park, to encompass the path, evolved as a way to celebrate the approaching millennium, as it then seemed reasonable that it could be completed by the year 2000. After a delay of many years, we are seeing the result of this initiative, with the creation of the FHCA Memorial Park.

The boundaries of Faircrest Heights are Lynda Lane, Billings Avenue, Oak Park and the Health Complex, and the train tracks in the west.


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