Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ottawa trade show centre a go

At yesterday's City Council meeting, after much debate, council approved the Shenkman site plan application for the Capital Exhibition Centre virtually giving the go ahead to begin site preparation.

Prior to the vote Gloucester-Southgate councillor, Diane Deans, submitted two motions, one of which may have put the project in jeopardy.  The motion to withdraw the $8.5 million in funding if the Ministry of Natural Resources [MNR] found the piece of land to be a provincially significant wetland was defeated.

Although a supporter of the project, Councillor Deans stated that if the MNR review indicated the land was indeed a provincially significant wetland the land would have already been cleared and perhaps concrete poured.  The councillor asked her fellow councillors where the environment ranked on their list of priorities.

The councillor who was the most vocal opponent of the motion was Councillor Jan Harder of Barrhaven who sited existed city and MNR studies of the area, as well as her experience with trade shows and the need to seize this unique opportunity, as reasons for her opposition.  City staff stated that delays of even three weeks would compromise the project with events having already been booked for January 2012 and reiterated the proponent's need to clear the land before frost hits to not lose the winter construction period.  Based on the recommendation of Mayor O'Brien the motion was defeated.

The second motion, which was successfully carried, moved that capital funding be set aside for the provision that paved shoulders be used for bicycle lanes on Lester Road from Bank Street to 3899 Uplands and Breadner Boulevard on both sides of the road.  The estimated cost of the project is $231,000 with half of the funds coming from Shenkman Corporation.  This funding will be a part of a future capital budget to be considered and approved by Council at a later date.

The proponent originally planned to complete site preparation work, including soil compaction and tree removal, by mid-October.

Kevin Bourne

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