Thursday, April 06, 2006

Urbandale Tastes Victory in Fight With Kanata Residents

Let's go back to Jun 01, 2001:
Residents taste victory in fight with Urbandale

Anna Marie Young

Urbandale Corporation has verbally agreed to withdraw its application to construct 178 townhouses in Bridlewood until January 1, 2002.

The temporary moratorium is a victory for the residout the burden on the outlet ate surrounding area who lobbied hard to prevent the development fearing increased traffic problems in their community.

Phil Garby, spokesperson for the group, says his neighbors are thrilled. "All-in-all, we're very ecstatic. We didn't think it would happen this fast but I really believe it did because of all the people who came together," he says.

The verbal commitment came after Kanata councillor Alex Munter met with Urbandale's President Herb Nadolny, Monday. Munter presented arguments for delaying the application, more time to investI't time for ibility of constructing a pool on the land, and the probability of a high school.

"From my perspective, all of this is new because I wasn't Bridlewood's councillor. It (the development) hit everyone as a bit of a surprise. We didn't know the school boards had walked away from their option on the land to construct a school, so what we need is time, and Urbandale was quite receptive. I think it shows good faith on their part," he says.

Calls were placed to various parties at Urbandale Tuesday morning. A spokesperson from Nadolny's office said the Corporation has "no comment" at this time. The15-acre parcel of land has been dual zoned for both singles, towns and semi-detached homes as well as institutional for 20 years, and according to Ontario law, once land is zoned it remains that way for life.

"There should be changes to the provincial planning laws. I believe zoning should expire and if it's not developed by then the applicant should have to reapply. I'll be working on that over the summer," Munter says. Garby credits Munter for being the groups "key negotiator. I send letters and emails to Urbandale asking them to meet with us and we didn't get any response," he says.

Garby says the grassroots group now plans to work closely with the Bridlewood Community Association to plan its next move and decide where to concentrate its energy.

"We want the pool, and we want the school. If the land will support both, why not build both? We've got to be aggressive about it. We stopped this and it's time to rally the troops," he says.

Former Kanata councillor, Lance Mitchell, is heading up a task force with a plan of action to go after school boards in an effort to secure a high school. "Groups like this have been successful in the past. The construction of other schools in Bridlewood are the result of other lobbying efforts," Munter says.

He emphasizes the decision on where to put a new $5.4 million pool in 2002-03 will be made after a Kanata-wide process. "We'll have to consult with pool and ice users across the city about the location and facilities. My hope is that we can turn an indoor pool into a larger complex but that will bring with it transportation issues. (For instance), the Kanata Recreation Centre generates a lot of cars," he says.

Although the completion of the Bridgestone Drive extension is part of the overall traffic solution, the addition of any number of cars will strain the already congested traffic situation in a community that doesn't have enough exits.

Munter says there was a plan to prevent the problem, but it was thwarted by residents. "In the 1980s, Springwater Drive was to connect to Palomino Drive and residents there were successful in having the road link taken out. That is a major cause of all the traffic issues in Bridlewood," he says.

If at the end of the moratorium decisions have been made to put the school elsewhere or not build the high school, Urbandale will have to refile its application. Munter says he has already written to senior city managers to inform them of what's transpired. "I'm committed to addressing residents' concerns ... but I'm not going to turn around 22 years of neglect of Bridlewood in a few months," he says.
So, we have increased traffic problems in Bridlewood community and no pool.
The Urbandale tactics is very bad:
Urbandale housing developers have cleared a large area of these Environmentally protected trails (Trees over 100 yrs old!!)
We bought an Urbandale home, and "they" made a big deal about the location and the natural beauty of the parklands. It's kind of unfair, we feel, that Urbandale would use the park as bait, hook us, then take it all away. We love the forest! Our boys love going on the family "explorations". It would be a real shame to lose it all.
One more personal comment: "Urbabdale construction quality is terrible."


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