Marcel Denomme, VP Land Development, Urbandale
It was great to meet with you to discuss the projects that Urbandale has underway in Kanata North. I appreciate the opportunity to discuss and to share my ideas and concerns that have been raised by the community as I have been out canvassing for the last 5 months.
I wanted to circle back to the discussion we had, specifically on the planned commercial plaza to be built at 5100 Kanata Avenue.
This Commercial development is intended to be a neighbourhood shopping plaza serving the direct neighbourhood, including the
school and the seniors home currently under development. Having spoken to many local residents about this development my specific recommendations are:
- Decrease the footprint to fit within the current zoning . Current zoning allows for 3,000 square metres of commercial space and your plans are for approximately 3,800 square metres. This is 25% larger than the zoning allows for. As discussed, the community has expressed concerns about increased traffic congestion around the plaza. Allowing this increased commercial presence will lead to more traffic. The current zoning will provide adequate footprint for a neighbourhood plaza and the residents I spoke to have no desire for a plaza 25 percent larger in scale.
- The current design is car centric. Although the illustrations do include paintings on the road to guide pedestrians, the overall layout encourages car use to get from one section of the plaza to another. It is not easily navigated by foot.
- Increase the number of bike racks available and ensure the design is safe for cyclists to navigate.
- Re-evaluate the design so that you could create more communal space. By this I mean patios and outdoor space in which the community could gather. The example I shared was Laval Street in Gatineau with the umbrella installation. It is a very compelling and charming location that people want to enjoy. That is my aspiration for this development and that of many people in the community.
- Examine ways to incorporate green infrastructure. I understand that the City does not currently provide any incentives to do so, but it’s the right thing to do and I encourage you to give thought to this. Incorporating green roofs and an ambitious tree and vegetation plan, plus green swales to improve run off are all opportunities. I appreciate the discussion around the possibility to install a car charging station and would encourage you to do so as well.
- Lastly, I appreciate your suggestion to rerouting the walkway as discussed that goes behind the plaza and connects to the neighbourhood behind. Your suggested new route will ensure ongoing privacy for the homes that are directly behind and will give you the opportunity to ensure a decent buffer. Thank you for exploring this.
While I appreciate that some of these comments are aspirational and are not required for Urbandale to act on, I encourage you to nevertheless take them into consideration as they reflect the feedback shared by many Kanata North residents. This is an opportunity for Urbandale to lead and demonstrate your commitment to building sustainable, connected and desirable communities.
Jenna Sudds, Candidate for City Councillor Kanata North