Volume 12 Week 5

Wednesday, July 18


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Orléans Ward
Bob Monette

Beacon Hill,
Cyrville Ward
Tim Tierney

(Posted 8:30 a.m., April 9)
Ottawa-Orléans MPP trying to block DND move to Nortel campus

By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

After trying to warn his fellow local politicians about the potential impact of the DND move to the former Nortel campus in Kanata, Phil McNeely has finally decided to take matters into his own hands.

The Ottawa-Orléans MPP has filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Official Languages to try to block the move which will impact thousands of local residents directly and tens of thousands indirectly.

McNeely argues that the move will result in thousands of DND employees currently living in Orléans to move west to be closer to their place of employment and that the majority of those employees will be francophone, severely impacting the Francophone nature of the local community.

According to McNeely, the Official Languages Act requires minorities, like the Francophone community of Orléans, to be supported so they can thrive, something the decision to move DND to the Nortel Campus runs counter to.

“It comes down to the Official Languages Act requiring minority language groups to be supported,” said McNeely who will file the complaint as a private citizen rather than an elected official. “And moving a large number of people from an area that is 35-per-cent French to an area that is six- or seven-per-cent French, then you don’t have the same (language) support.”

The veteran MPP points to statistics that show housing starts in 2011-2012 dropped by 22 per cent in Ottawa-Orléans while they rose by 24 per cent over the same period in Kanata.

The new DND campus is expected to house some 10,000 DND employees many of whom currently live in the east end and Orleans in particular, Once the LRT is built it will require at least two or three transfers to take rapid transit to the campus at Carling Ave. and Moodie Dr. McNeely argues many will choose to move rather than spend hours commuting back and forth to work on the other side of the city.

A recent report in the Ottawa Citizen showed renovations for the existing Nortel campus are already more than 30 per cent over budget rising from an estimated $623 million to more than $880 million. The campus was purchased by Public Works for $208 million.

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

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