High-Rise Buildings Focus Group
Extensive consultations occurred over a period of 18 months with a Focus Group consisting of architects, planning consultants, development industry stakeholders (including members of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association and the Building Owners and Managers Association), staff from the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism at Carleton University, and representatives from the federal government and the National Capital Commission. Consultations with the Working Group took the form of introductory meetings, design charrettes, and follow-up meetings with individual members of the Working Group and representatives of Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association and the Building Owners and Managers Association.
Why weren’t members of the public part of that group for the built structure of Ottawa as it is their city after all and is much bigger than any organization that sat at the table?
Residents also have millions upon millions of dollars of real-estate investments in this town and they are excluded from the process. Doesn’t the homeowner who lives beside the huge high-rise above have a right to a say in how his investment is treated?
And one other point … this focus group, gathered for the report with no public representation, met for 18 months.
Yet planning committee chairwoman Jan Harder was only able to issue a press release telling councillors and the public that there was a meeting for them … in 27 hours. Then two business days later at council, the measure was passed in four seconds.
Harder said 102 community associations were notified of the high-rise and zoning changes but only two responded. The report said only one organization was told. Bulldog columnist Ron Benn said his Centrepointe Community Association didn’t receive notice.
Harder has said publicly that she is much smarter than many of her peers so she couldn’t possibly have made a mistake on the lack of public consultation.
Accordingly, we can only conclude because of her massive intelligence that she was anti-democratic on purpose.
That’s not the kind of person you want as head of planning committee. You want someone who represents the community, not just special interest groups.
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