Jeff Leiper: Second Coming Of Katherine Hobbs

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There is no traffic crunch on Spencer Avenue that would require Kitchissippi Councillor Jeff Leiper to consider the idea of bike lanes on the street.

If a cyclist can’t negotiate that wide peaceful residential street without the aid of bike lanes, he or she is a menace to their own well-being.

This is the kind of idea that would well up in the mind of former Kitchissippi councillor Katherine Hobbs. Let’s paint lines and eliminate parking spots on a street that is so peaceful that youngsters play basketball and street hockey on it. Good grief.

Leiper

It is reminiscent of city planners wanting to turn Byron Avenue into some confused mess of rules on biking and transportation in general. If it works, and Byron and Spencer are very successful at present, don’t change it.

That said, there are real issues that Leiper could actually address. Take for example the fact that the more-than-two-times-more-expensive-than-it-should-be light-rail project tunnels down the Macdonald Parkway where no one lives. Nice work. Did we hear a peep from Leiper on that travesty in his ward? No.

A grade-school child could tell you that line should be on Carling Avenue rather than a parkland expanse. Former councillors such as Clive Doucet and Diane Holmes saw the stupidity of the parkway route. Where was Leiper? Nowhere.

Voters in 2014 wanted change from the odd reign of Hobbs in the ward. They were tired of community icons such as the Westboro convent disappearing behind a wall of condos. Now the convent sits fallow in a construction site that is mostly an empty lot. That occurred during Leiper’s time in office. Where’s the action on that?

Hobbs

Meanwhile another community icon, the Trailhead building on Scott Street, is being replaced by a highrise. Zoning continues to be a suggestion with the perks of “gateway” neighbourhood buildings (a fob to developers) not being enough for the lofty-storey exemptions of builders. Where is the Leiper people voted for to change that?

Under Leiper’s watch, residents continue to see the erosion of a heritage-like community under the bulldozer and monster homes destroying the irreplaceable nature of an old neighbourhood.

Strange we don’t see this in Rockcliffe. Maybe the Rockcliffe rep is better at standing up for the ward. Hard to believe.

Has anything of significance changed under Leiper or was brought about by Leiper? Well there is the oddball debate on the need for bike lanes on Spencer and the planning-induced gridlock on Wellington West. Transitway buses will continue to operate on Scott and Albert into perpetuity during the middle of the night. That’s quite an innovation.

Zoning continues to be a suggestion as are community design plans. Is Leiper protesting? No.

What we’re seeing in Leiper is a facade of change that’s a continuation of the mess that was instituted by the previous councillor.

Leiper needs to spend time on the issues that matter to residents of Kitchissippi. And that isn’t putting bike lanes down Spencer at the expense of the wishes of the community.

The Spencer bike lane would just be a continuation of the odd ward policies of Leiper’s predecessor.

Kitchissippi residents expect more and a municipal election begins to approach when voters can do something about Leiper.

Sharpen up.

 

To read Leiper’s response to this post, click here.

 


 

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24 thoughts on “Jeff Leiper: Second Coming Of Katherine Hobbs

  1. Spencer runs parallel to Scott Street heading west from Parkdale. Is this intended to give people a cycling route that avoids the mess that is the bus nightmare of Scott Street around the Tunney’s Pasture transit station?

    There is an east/west pathway between the Transitway ditch and Scott Street. Maybe it’s not going to survive the LRT developments.

    I’d certainly prefer to cycle down Spencer if the alternative were Scott. And that’s before they close the Transitway west of Holland to begin the conversion for the next phase of the LRT which will push hundreds of buses onto Scott between Tunney’s Pasture and Churchill.

    As Scott becomes more congested, Spencer may see an increase in traffic as cars try to avoid all the west-end express buses heading to and from the Tunney’s LRT station to drop off or pick up their passengers at the train. If that’s the case, the bike lanes may be a good idea.

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    1. The Voter:

      That’s a lot if’s. Spencer is stop and go for cars as in lots of stop signs.

      For cars, it is much faster to use Scott … LRT construction or not.

      cheers

      kgray

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      1. If you think council doesn’t care about heavy traffic on major roadways like Scott Street, they care even less on interior neighbourhood streets with heavy traffic and speeding.

        I think speeding in Ottawa has reached epidemic proportions.

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      2. I agree it’s much faster now – my point was related to after the buses now on the Transitway west of Tunneys are moved onto Scott while the Tunney’s-to-Lincoln Fields section of the LRT is built. People will look for options and there’s really none north of Scott since the parkway is already pretty full so they’ll look south of Scott and find Spencer.

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    1. Anonymous:

      Lot of people named “Anonymous” lately. Must have been a popular name years ago but I never meet anyone in person who is called that.

      No … does that disqualify me from speaking to the issue?

      Are you a journalist?

      There goes my three-part series on skydiving. Don’t do that either.

      cheers

      kgray

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  2. “Every day brings small wins, but we are absolutely challenged, to your point, in getting some of the big ones.”

    This is the problem with councillors like Leiper, and also Fleury. They have no vision and no drive to make their communities better beyond “small wins”. When challenged on important issues all they can say “I expressed my position”, or that they voiced concerns … Leiper talks about having blogged about his position. Literally anyone can blog, you’ve been elected to be a councillor.

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    1. K.A.:

      It would be nice if he won a few fights … particularly in his own ward where usually other councillors show deference.

      I’ll play nice in your ward if you play nice in my ward. That’s usually how it works.

      Maybe Leiper didn’t play nice.

      cheers

      kgray

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    2. K.A.:

      One other point on Leiper. The councillor was elected to change the wild west planning in his ward.

      If he can’t do that, he should step aside before the voters do it for him.

      cheers

      kgray

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  3. There may be more discussion in the pages of The Bulldog than at your city hall.

    I will give credit. Mr. Leiper did respond to Mr. Gray. I’ll also give him credit when he voted for the motion to revisit the Mooney’s Bay Park (he was one of seven yeas against 15 nays).

    Keep up talking. You can only expose the Power Bloc at city hall by talking and later by voting.

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    1. Chaz:

      I don’t want losses. I want wins.

      If I wanted losses, I would have voted for Hobbs in the last election.

      cheers

      kgray

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  4. Bulldog, with respect to the concerns you raised against Councillor Leipter and 1960 Scott Street, it is my understanding that he was one of seven councillors, the others being Brockington, Chernushenko, Deans, Fleury, McKenney and Nussbaum to vote against the rezoning of a six-storey site to permit a 22-storey building being adjacent to two-storey residences. The other 17 members of council have raised a collective single finger to the nearby residents who dwell in two-storey buildings.

    The real question is what were the councillors who represent wards along the LRT route thinking. The councillors for Bay and College ward should have recognized that their wards are next up along the western leg of the LRT. The same comment applies to the councillors for the eastern leg, all the way out to the western edge of Orleans. I understand why Councillor Mark Taylor chose to ignore the residents of his ward. Had he voted against the proposal, Mayor Jim Watson may have confiscated that precious embroidered deputy-mayor jacket.

    I have exchanged e-mail messages with Councillor Rick Chiarelli, expressing my dismay at his short-sighted view, when he voted in favour of this abomination. I feel for the residents near the Iris/Transitway LRT station. They are deer in the headlights. As for Centrepointe, we don’t stand a chance either. The city owns most of the undeveloped land around Baseline Station, and that puts the city in double-bonus territory. The city will score the incremental value that will come with rezoning the current 12-storey land to 20-plus-storey buildings, along with their usual “vig” of development charges and property taxes, but there is no conflict of interest involved there, is there?

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    1. Ron:

      I am not Bulldog. I am a human being.

      I’m tired of noble victories or protests. I want something done about the destruction of the old west end.

      I’ve got the protesting part pretty much down.

      We elected Leiper for change on development and zoning and height and we get ill-thought-out bicycle lanes. Is this his ward of the residents’ ward?

      We need change and if Leiper can’t give it to us, we should get someone else.

      Sure it’s difficult but then lots of things are difficult.

      I want results, not the same old stuff.

      cheers

      kgray

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      1. Ken, I too am weary of the ongoing failure of our elected officials to stand up for the rights of the residents of their wards. In order to stop this nonsense we need 13 members of council to not continually abdicate their responsibilities to their constituents. There were seven councillors who voted against rezoning that six-storey site on Scott Street to a 22-storey abomination. These same councillors need to convince another six of their colleagues to join them in votes based on principles.

        I thought the most likely councillors to see the light would be those whose wards will have the LRT pass through, and thus be subject to the same pressure to rezone sites to unreasonable for the neighbourhood heights. That is why I am disappointed with Councillor Rick Chiarelli, as two of his communities (Parkway Park and Centrepointe) have stations on Phase II of the LRT. As for Councillor Mark Taylor, of Bay ward, well he has spent the better part of his career acting on Mayor Jim Watson’s instructions, first in Watson’s MPP office in Ottawa West-Nepean, then as an acolyte of his Honour for the last term and a half. Alas, one cannot expect a leopard to change its spots.

        So, here is the question for the seven who voted against 1960 Scott St. Which councillors did you approach for support, and what reasons did they give for choosing to support the rezoning application? Think of it as the first step in executing on that open, transparent and accountable rhetoric that we keep hearing about, but not seeing.

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        1. Ron:

          Leiper needs to be able to work a deal with the other councillors.

          To over-rule a councillor in his own ward shows Leiper is not garnering respect or playing his cards right.

          cheers

          kgray

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        2. Ron,
          I don’t think the majority of people living in the ‘Transit-Oriented Development’ areas which are contained in a circle drawn with a 600 metre radius around the stations know what’s coming. I’ve talked to people who live within circles of the Cleary and New Orchard stations and were completely unaware of the TOD zones.

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          1. The Voter:

            Transit-Oriented Development is the reason the line is being run down a park where no one lives rather than down Carling in a commercial zone.

            The city and developers get more money from building condos in high-rent rendez-vous than down Carling where TOD makes sense. Light rail in other cities is often built to rejuvenate tired downtown areas. Build a condo neighbouring Highland Park and the penthouses run for $3 million or $4 million. Build the same condo on Carling … not so much.

            The route for Ottawa’s light rail is not about TOD or good planning. It’s about garnering as much money as possible for developers and the city and elected representatives’ campaign coffers.

            cheers

            kgray

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            1. Ken,
              You, Ron and I are three of probably 100 people outside of city staff and councillors that understand what TOD is and how it is connected to the LRT route.
              The outcry when New Edinburgh residents weren’t told about the sewer tunnel dig coming to Stanley Park and when Wellington/Scott residents weren’t told about the overnight buses staying on their streets post-LRT should have clued councillors in to the dangers of keeping information too close to their vests.
              My point was that people in the communities adjacent to the stations don’t know the area is now ground zero for heavy-duty development.
              When those 22-storey condos start sprouting around the other stations as they have at Westboro Station, there are going to be some pretty surprised residents in those neighbourhoods. If I were a councillor with any re-election plans, I’d be telling them now instead of waiting until they find out.

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              1. The Voter:

                Thank you for this.

                I think we can find the odd route for LRT in transit oriented development.

                Simply … as the city and a developer, would you rather TOD your condo in Westboro Beach or beside the Canadian Tire on Carling Avenue. Follow the money.

                Communities along the light-rail line will be absolutely ravaged by redevelopment because of TOD which in the Ottawa example is just a money-grab.
                The shame of it is that Carling could use the redevelopment but it is coming instead to a community that is actually very desirable. It won’t be desirable after it is a clutch of condos.

                Furthermore the TOD geographic limits are so huge that they incorporate whole communities. It will be very sad when this is all over. It will be like the destroyed sea views in Vancouver. Condo, condo, condo.

                And that’s why one top LRT city exec when asked if he or she would take light rail off the Macdonald Parkway, this person just said they’d quit.

                You have to wonder what’s in it for an exec to threaten to quit over the route of LRT?

                cheers

                kgray

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              2. The Voter:

                This is why I get concerned about Leiper. While he is fiddling around with bike lanes (which is his passion), he has not developed a successful strategy to stop the destruction of some of the best and historic neighbourhoods in the city.

                Thus Kitchissippi burns while Leiper pedals.

                Yes the Spencer Avenue bike lanes are useless … so are the ones on Byron beside the linear park pathway but the real tragedy is that time is being taken up when it should be used to address the very serious issues of the future of Kitchissippi.

                If Leiper’s strategy is the same one he is using to locate bike lanes everywhere, the ward is in big trouble.

                cheers

                kgray

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  5. Okay Ken – you hooked me. I was checking the score and saw it was 2 -2, going into overtime,

    I am watching the game now,

    There it went in, you are going to Round 2, bet you are jumping up now.

    skoal,
    Chaz

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  6. I just read a piece in the Ottawa Citizen by Jon Willing. It said that Mr. Leiper has heard some complaints about putting bike lanes on Spencer. Mr. Leiper organized an open house to “gauge the community’s appetite for bike lanes”. Meeting is on Tuesday.

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