Well, that was a year!
Wellington X started 2016 recommending revisions to the City’s Request for Proposals for hiring a consulting team for the North King’s Town Secondary Plan, and ended it heartened by the community response to the DIALOG consulting team’s draft report. Over 65 letters to the City asking for changes to the report were cc’d to Wellington X!
In between there were highs and lows:
Canvassing – Sayyida Jaffer, Justine Scala, Colin Khan and other volunteers enjoyed going door-to-door and talking with people in North King’s Town, both in 2015 and 2016. They were gratified to find how much people want to talk and are already engaged, and by how many are already opposed to the Wellington Street Extension.
Land Swap with Weston Bakeries – Council’s approval of the land swap with Weston Bakeries, in which the entire width of the WSE was purchased for parts of the northern section, surprised the DIALOG consultants. This occurred during the initial planning stage of the NKT Secondary Plan and restricts the potential for alternatives to the WSE. More recently, other attempts to jump the gun on the NKSP include the ABNA proposal to move the Outer Station, and the City’s idea of ending golfing in Belle Park. We will continue to stand against any proposals that pre-empt the Secondary Planning process.
Changes to the Official Plan – community members- including Anne Lougheed, Mike Cole-Hamilton, Julian Scala and Vicki Schmolka- slogged through four drafts of the City’s Official Plan and made presentations and wrote letters to Council and Staff. This resulted in important changes to language in the OP about the WSE and protection of the waterfront, including:
- Recognition in the transportation section of the OP that a Secondary Planning Process for NKT will examine the feasibility of the WSE
- Changed wording in the OP’s treatment of the Woolen MiIl area to no longer include and describe the WSE as an important link to the downtown
- Corrected wording to state that the UNESCO World Heritage Designation protects all of the Rideau Canal north of the Causeway as an Environmental Protection Area with a 30-metre wide setback from the waterfront, not only the section north of Belle Park
- Improved language with regard to the 30-metre wide Ribbon of Life along the waterfront
- Wording changed to refer to road widening and extensions as “projects” rather than “improvements”
De-greening of Doug Fluhrer Park – DFP has changed from mostly green to mostly pavement and gravel with the construction of the K&P trail and the City’s gravelling of the lane along it.
DIALOG’s draft NKT Report – The draft NKT Secondary Plan Visioning Report misrepresents the results of DIALOG’s and the City’s community consultations, which clearly showed that nearly all of the public are against the WSE. As well, the draft report does not require sufficient protection of the waterfront or reflect that the secondary planning process is happening, in part, to determine alternatives to the WSE. More generally, it seems to reflect little vision for the integrity of this diverse and environmentally sensitive area of the city with a long industrial and residential history.
Community Engagement! – At community and City events throughout the spring, summer and fall, the community attended and spoke loudly in favour of waterfront and cultural heritage protection, environmental sustainability, active transportation and social equity, and against the WSE. People made Tshirts, bought Tshirts, and wore Tshirts (thanks Barb Danielewski!), and helped create an ongoing big banner designed and guided by Nancy Douglas. As well, the community filled in surveys and wrote letters, including those 65+ letters already mentioned asking for changes to the NKT draft report. As a result the City has requested a second draft of DIALOG’s report to be presented for further comment from the community.
You are all awesome! As one of our group said, “Some highlights for me were the t-shirt workshops, the banner and the canvassing. They all reminded me that we live in an amazing and vibrant community and that it is possible to be an activist and to have fun, too … I’ve also been encouraged by how many people do come out every time that there’s a public meeting. Whether we win or lose this fight, that gives me hope.”
Stay tuned and stay involved for the next season of this gripping drama!
- Will DIALOG’s revision of its draft NKT report reflect the concerns raised by the public?
- Will the City protect the lane next to Doug Fluhrer Park from use by vehicles as promised and will weeds be allowed to grow back on it in the spring?
- When will the second phase of the NKT Secondary Plan process begin and which consultants will the City hire for that process?
- What will happen to the Outer Station?
- Will the new urban K&P trail be used extensively and will those who use it want the WSE to be built alongside it?
However things unfold, we will keep insisting on our right to participate in decisions that affect our lives and our City.
— Mary McCollam