Community group fights development in North Gower


The Rideau Action Group (RAG) has been successful in getting a hearing date for their two appeals before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. RAG originally submitted these appeals to LPAT in January last year, after the Ottawa City Council amended a by-law and the Official Plan to allow for a massive distribution centre to be built within the boundaries of the village of North Gower.

from Google Earth

The land at 1966 Roger Stevens Drive is currently farmed, and home to a number of rare or threatened species. It had long been zoned for a small business park, and local residents understood from the North Gower Secondary Plan that any use of the land was going to be compatible with and for the benefit of the local agricultural community.

Residents of the communities of North Gower and nearby Kars are frustrated that the re-zoning will take away the only available land in the area that was slated for diverse local agriculture-related business growth, along with opportunities for residential and recreational use. The multi-million dollar company that wishes to develop the land into a vast single use, distribution/fulfillment centre has no relationship to the village, and an e-commerce distribution centre has no connection with the agricultural heritage of the community. North Gower residents know that a village with a population of 2100 will not be providing most of the workforce. North Gower is an un-serviced community without public transit that lies over 30 minutes drive from downtown Ottawa.

The group says the proposed development contravenes a number of the City of Ottawa’s own planning policies, including those that protect the character of villages, prevent industrial-use buildings in residential areas, and those that are in place to build in climate change resilience. If the building goes ahead as planned, the village will be irrevocably changed without benefit to the majority of local residents.

Seven days have been set aside for the August hearing, and RAG is now focused on raising money to pay the lawyer, municipal planner and ecologist required for the appeal hearing.

“Planning appeals are usually funded by individuals, but this really has been a huge community effort”, says Leigh-Andrea Brunet, Chair of RAG.

“Despite COVID-19 stopping us from getting together for BBQs and the usual fundraising events, this community has really pulled together and raised over $20,000 so far. I have no doubt that we will raise the additional money needed between now and the August LPAT hearing. People feel very strongly about protecting what is special about North Gower, and we have supporters in communities such as Kanata and Barrhaven too, who have had their own run-ins with city planning issues.”


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