Volume 12 Week 5

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(Posted 8:30 a.m., Feb. 29)
Interprovincial bridge consultants unveil 'preferred' alignments

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

The consultants charged with the task of determining where a new interprovincial bridge should be built unveiled the preferred alignments for two out of the three previously identified corridors at a community workshop Tuesday night.

More than 100 residents whose homes back on to the proposed routes in Convent Glen North were allowed to attend one of two meetings which were held at the Bob MacQuarrie Complex.

The word "allowed" is being used her to reflect the fact that only half that number were original invited through direct correspondence from the consultants, It was only after news of the first workshop was circulated to neighbours who hadn't been invited, that a second workshop was quickly organized.

The meeting itself began with a statement from Voyageur Drive resident Hugh Carter who criticized the consultants for failing to give people earlier prior knowledge of the meetings, or to provide invitees with information or diagrams of the preferred alignments.

"This is a new low. None of us were given any information beforehand. We just came here and it's been dumped on us," said Carter.

Howard Williamson, who acted as facilitator for the two meetings, explained that the workshops were only recently added to the public consultation process to give residents who live in close proximity to the proposed corridors the opportunity to provide input. Their comments would then be used to "tweak" the alignments prior to the next round of public scheduled consultations in May.

"This is a workshop, it's not a public meeting," explained Williammson. "We wanted everyone to come in and look at the maps with a fresh perspective and give us feedback."

Lead consultant Angela Iannuzziello further explained that the workshop came about as a result of the public consultation process during the last phase of the Environmenrtal Assessment.

"These meetings were inserted into the process because we heard in round two that the public consultation groups wanted to be made aware of any new information as it unfolded," said Iannuzziello, who has replaced Steve Taylor as the lead consultant on the project.

Residents who attended the meetings got to see three large aerial diagrams of the preferred alignments for Corridors 6 and 7. Corridor 7 has not changed from what was originally presented in February 2009. The bridge would cross the Ottawa River on a diagonal and come within 250 metres of the homes on Voyageur Drive. It would then cross through the NCC land on the north side of Hwy. 174, virtually splitting them in half, and tie into Hwy. 174 half way between the Rockcliffe Parkway overpass and Jeanne d'Arc Blvd. interchange.

Corridor 6 would cross the Ottawa River just to the east of Green's Creek near the Rockcliffe Parkway and cross the NCC land to the same spot on Hwy. 174 as Corridor 7.

Most of the comments made during the workshop echoed the objections the community has had with the two corridors since they were first made public.

In short the residents don't want the Greenbelt touched; they believe a bridge will only add to the already untenable traffic situation on Hwy. 174; they are concerned about the potential impact on the environment; the additional noise pollution it will create and the impact it will have on their property values.

The majority of the residents were also upset at the fact that they weren't allowed to see the preferred alignment for Corridor 5, better known as Kettle Island and the Aviation Parkway, which they unanimously referred to as the preferred option.

The preferred alignment for Corridor 5 is being unveiled at a separate meeting for residents whose properties back on to the Aviation parkway. Other workshops are being held in Gatineau to gauge the response of residents living on the other side of the river.

Once the preferred alignments are tweaked, they will be unveiled at another series of public consultation meetings in May along with the factors that will be considered in evaluating the three options.

The consultants will then go about evaluating the three alignments through the summer and early autumn. The final preferred corridor will be announced at the end of the year, along with any mitigation measures that the consultants feel are necessary to address the concerns of local residents.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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Posted Jan. 12



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