By Simon Hopkins
Many residents have raised concerns over a proposed development to be built on the northeast corner of Parkdale and Carling Avenues.
The development would replace the existing medical building with two high-rise condominiums. One tower would be 16 storeys and the other 27, totalling over 400 apartments.
After its initial approval by Ottawa’s planning committee, the issue was reconsidered following opposition to the project by officials from the Central Experimental Farm. The federal government wasn’t informed of the project with enough notice ahead of the initial meeting, so the committee considered the issue for a second time.
The farm, located across the street from 1081 Carling, conducts research that helps develop crops that are resilient to climate change. The officials from the government stated that shadows cast by the towers would cover areas of the farm, impacting crop growth and their research.
Supporters of the project argued that large apartment complexes are needed to address the housing shortage. Their critics said that expensive condominiums won’t solve the problem because they aren’t the type of housing in shortage.
After the second planning committee meeting on Sept. 20, which included representatives from the federal government, the committee again voted in favour of the development.
The Kitchissippi Times spoke with community members using the paths through the farm. We asked: How do you feel about a housing development that could inhibit the work of the Central Experimental Farm?
“We absolutely think that it is very shortsighted and that they are going to set a precedent that is very bad. The planners in our city have done a very bad job in the past and are continuing to do so. Just because a developer bought that land and wants to build two towers is no reason that the city and the planners should say ‘go right ahead.’” – Monica Rosenthal
“I’m very concerned. The Experimental Farm is a special place in Ottawa. It’s special to the nearby residents and to all of Canada. The research done here is essential to our being able to feed ourselves. It’s not a small matter to have negative effects on the farm.” – Karen Wright
“Is climate change a priority? Is urban tree canopy a priority? The official plan says it is. But they’re not going to allow for proper tree canopies; they’re going to shade the farm. This is not a response to the housing crisis – this is not going to help the homelessness crisis. These are condos – this is profit.” – Mary-Anne Kirvan
“This space is everything. It’s rare to find an open space like this in the city. It’s nice that it’s open to people to walk around. We need this open space – not just buildings.”- Andre Barkoudeh
“Global warming is so on the forefront we need these studies more than ever; our food sources are growing thin, and these guys do research here that affects the whole of Canada. Not only is the shade a problem, but it would also mean 20 stories of people’s balconies looking directly into my backyard.” – Jeff Jenkins
“I think they should be able to develop as long as it isn’t interfering with the years of research. I’m all for development but not if it’s going to compromise the farm.” – Christine Earnshaw
“We live behind the site. There’s lots of animal activity in our yard, and they’re going to suffer through this and not stick around through years of construction. It’s horrifying.” – Kim Johnson