Ward 21 Report, By Rideau-Jock Councillor David Brown
As you may have heard, a development has been proposed on Manotick Main Street which has triggered some debate. I wanted to take a moment to outline what is proposed in the development, what the process for it looks like (including for public consultation), and where I stand on the matter.
First and foremost though, it should be noted that no formal decisions have been made with respect to this proposed development. There has not been approval for any aspect of the plan. At the time of writing, the proposal documents have not even formally accepted by the City and is not posted publicly. Once the submission from the developer is deemed complete, more details about the proposed development will be available on the City of Ottawa’s DevApps website.
With that in mind, the proposal in question involves the “Hawkins properties” at 5646 and 5650 Manotick Main. Residents may know the site as being where the “Car Wash, Discount Tobacco, and Grocery Shop” is located. The developer is proposing the addition of a drive thru Starbucks and expanded carwash for the site. As proposed, the site will be serviced by municipal water and a septic system for wastewater. The use of the site is appropriately zoned for commercial activity, but the developer is pursuing a zoning by-law amendment to accommodate the addition of the Starbucks. The proposed development appears to be inline with the Manotick Secondary Plan, which guides municipal policy in Manotick including with respect to new developments.
In terms of next steps, if the development is deemed complete by City staff, the site plan, planning rationale, and all supporting documents will be posted on the City’s DevApp site, which the public can access. Additionally, once posted, new provincial regulations mean that the City must determine whether or not to approve the development within 90 days. My office will be hosting a public consultation sessions. It will be communicated through my weekly newsletter, social media, and time-permitting, in my regular Manotick Messenger column. I look forward to hearing what residents have to say.
Already I have heard some feedback. Some residents have concerns regarding noise and site safety. Others are concerned about the development’s impacts on existing businesses in the village. Some are worried about issues regarding water management on the site. Others still have raised issues regarding traffic impacts from the site.
My own view is that many of these concerns require careful consideration. As I have told residents who have reached out, I do not have access to all the supporting documentation for this proposed development and thus I do not have enough information to determine whether or not the proposed development adequately addresses many of these concerns.
Though the development comes with challenges that merit debate and consideration, it is important to note that all of the concerns with the development are predicated on the fact that there is demand for this development. Increased traffic, noise, and business in the area are all a byproduct of the fact that there is demand in the community to patronize the proposed businesses, and that demand is arguably growing as the village welcomes more neighbours. Additionally, the introduction of new businesses provides employment opportunities, especially for young people in the community. While the potential negatives should be carefully weighed, I do believe that we cannot forget that development, when done responsibly, can improve our community.
To that end, I believe that a balance can be struck, one that manages the potential downsides while capitalizing on the benefits offered by the development. So long as that balance is achieved, I will be supportive of this development, but I will reserve judgement until residents can have their say and all the information regarding the development is available.