The Farm Is Not Precious To Me

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Central Park
Central Park

Contributor The Voter is an important part of what we do here at The Bulldog.

And we spend a lot of time encouraging debate on this news site so her comments questioning my position on moving the Central Experiment Farm are considered and valued.

So respectfully I disagree with her position on the farm. You can follow The Voter’s arguments by clicking on the aforementioned link.

Yes, comparing the farm to Central Park or Hyde Park is not appropriate. If for nothing else, much of the farm is fenced in and inaccessible to the public. It’s not a people place. In fact when I lived in Barrhaven many years ago, it reminded me of the Prairies where I had once lived … flat, featureless. No one is standing in line to visit the area between Regina and Winnipeg.

I don’t blame people with families for trying to find inexpensive housing so their children aren’t forced to live in condos. A backyard is a wonderful asset for a family.

Furthermore, the current residents didn’t gobble up the land on which their homes reside. That was approved by the city government and jumping the Greenbelt was a huge planning mistake for the city.

I’m sure The Voter realizes that an error has been made and it can’t be taken back. So we must deal with what is there. What is there is not good in some ways.

I don’t think the hospital is a desecration of the farm’s land. It is an extremely good alternate view.

To another point, yes the farm helps us breathe with its greenspace but the drive from Barrhaven to the core might negate that fact though a comparison of the two factors might be difficult.

The farm also means that city services must be extended across it without many of those services being used along the route. It’s not just pipes and power, but OC Transpo, policing, fire and ambulance. The farm makes the city difficult to cover.

I’ve suggested that some in the interest of intensification might want to put condos on the front lawn of the Hill but not very seriously. It was to illustrate my concern about extremification.

I believe Lansdowne was already paved when it was reconstructed. A crumbling parking lot is not paradise, nor is a treeless plain.

I’m not saying destroy the Experiment Farm. Use the money from its sale to construction a better farm that’s not in the middle of the city.

That said, I understand why people disagree. For many the farm is precious.

Unfortunately it’s not precious to me.


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10 thoughts on “The Farm Is Not Precious To Me

  1. “The farm also means that city services must be extended across it without many of those services being used along the route. It’s not just pipes and power, but OC Transpo, policing, fire and ambulance. The farm makes the city difficult to cover.”

    I would argue the opposite view, namely that to develop this property would mean a whole lot more traffic congestion and infrastructure demands, making it a very expensive drag on city resources, as well as taking far longer to traverse.

    I agree that the farm aspect can go elsewhere, but the idea of a city lung is valuable and unique, especially once LeBreton Flats disappears from the open-field equation. I would welcome the Experiment Farm being transformed into a real central park.

    And let me repeat the fact that LRT is not coming to Carling for a very, very long time.

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    1. Sheridan:

      With respect, you can put in new infrastructure on the farm or somewhere deep in the suburbs on another farm.

      Take your pick.

      cheers

      kgray

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      1. Ken:

        I am not understanding your reply. My point is that if you move the Experimental Farm (EF) to say Lanark County, and then redevelop that EF land with a shopping mall, ten condo towers and a bunch of townhouses, then that development will require a lot of new city infrastructure. Further, this new development (i.e. mall, condos,etc.) will cause traffic congestion that we don’t presently have. Indeed, it will take more time to travel the distance of this property, producing gridlock during rush hour.

        Think of the Soeurs de la Visitation redevelopment times 25.

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        1. I guess what I’m saying Sheridan is that if we don’t put development on the farm, development will occur at the edges of Barrhaven, Kanata, Orleans etc. and further which are not blessed with services … just like the Experimental Farm.

          cheers

          kgray

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          1. Ken:

            That goes to the heart of the hospital location debate, namely: why do we need to build another mega-hospital (we already have the Ottawa General)? Instead divide the Civic campus between the old Sir John Carling site, Tunney’s Pasture and Barrhaven.

            Barrhaven, Riverside South, Manotick etc., certainly have the population to support a new, medium-size hospital.

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            1. Sheridan:

              I don’t have the expertise to say what can be done medically where. I do know that businesses that run in one spot tend to be a bit more efficient. Take The Bulldog for example. Efficient as hell in one place.

              Alf Chaiton has some ideas on the hospital that are similar to yours and blew away some cobwebs in my head. Listen to Digital Dog on Saturday.

              cheers

              kgray

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    2. Population growth for the Ottawa area will be a constant, irrespective of where the housing is built. This growth will require that the city expand outwards (south past Manotick, west past Stittsville, east past Orleans), upwards (see Preston & Carling), or inwards – into the two major tracts of land that comprise the Central Experimental Farm inside the Ottawa borders.

      Upwards will occur no matter what, but perhaps the absolute height might be mitigated if the locally available housing supply increases significantly, while the growth in overall demand remains constant. What if we allowed medium density (4-6 storeys) residential (i.e. no single family homes), commercial and institutional development within the Carling/Merivale/ Baseline/Rideau Canal area, while also retaining significant tracts of that land for public parks?

      Outward expansion can be delayed by about a decade by infilling between Barrhaven and West Hunt Club, and between Riverside South and the airport, and between Orleans and Blair Road, while also retaining large tracts of forest and wet lands.

      With population growth comes infrastructure requirements. Perhaps this time we could install the rapid transit infrastructure in advance of the arrival of the population density. This could be the impetus to stretching the LRT not just to the inner edges of the distant suburbs, but beyond, to the outer edges, so that the incremental road network doesn’t have to handle the same volume of vehicles that low density housing generates.

      Until we stop discarding opportunities before they are fully examined, we will be destined to see high rises beside bungalows and an ever expanding perimeter of low density housing.

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  2. Scientific research doesn’t require valuable land and so much of it in what has become a central area of the city.

    Green space is great, but if that’s the purpose then let’s actually turn it into something like a Central Park, where the public will actually have access and will want to go. Just don’t see anyone lined up to fund building Ottawa’s own Central Park, though I actually love this idea. You could walk along the canal from Hog’s Back, and get to Dow’s Lake and/or whatever might replace CEF. Right now, you get to CEF and you have manoeuvre your way around fenced off areas.

    If we have to pick between keeping CEF as it is indefinitely, or building something vital like a hospital… well I just can’t imagine we would choose to compromise on a hospital to save CEF. And I don’t think the hospital is even asking for the whole of CEF.

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    1. K.A.

      Perhaps a combination of parkland and housing so that the housing could help pay for the parkland redevelopment.

      cheers

      kgray

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    2. We are looking at two relatively large tracts of land with a clean canvas. The limitations are primarily self-imposed. There is no need for a one-size-fits-all approach. This could be an excellent opportunity to develop a truly mixed-use, inner-city community.

      In addition to a mix of parkland, residential, commercial and institutional uses, we could, for example, retain the “soil-test” area that was cited as a reason to not locate the new Civic campus directly across the street from the old one. We could retain (or not) some of the AgCan buildings, if they are either useful or historic. We could … well that is the beauty of not imposing limitations on the imagination.

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