------ Aylmer winning one battle, losing the war (Part 2)
The recent victory to save the Deschenes forest was bittersweet. In the Deschenes sector alone, the following projects are either anticipated or well underway: Ambassade Champlain, aka Champlain Village, adding more than 6,000 addresses; Richcraft: 3,500 new addresses; Tours Lucerne: 193 new addresses; and Vivo: 2,000 new addresses.
Le Droit states that 53% of Gatineau’s population growth is expected to occur in the Aylmer sector over the next few years. So, we face the following situations:
Situation 1. The development in Aylmer will not stop.
Situation 2. Aylmer residents must travel East to access services not available west of the Champlain Bridge: hospitals in Montreal, Hull, Gatineau, Buckingham, Ottawa; some health care services; universities (UQO, UofO, Carleton) & CEGEPs; major employers (federal government, high tech in Kanata, hospitals and universities); Ottawa International Airport, VIA Rail, and inter-city bus service.
Situation 3. The NCC wishes to turn the Sir John A. MacDonald Parkway into a linear park for Ottawa residents, eliminating travel west after crossing the Champlain Bridge until much further along Island Park Drive. The traffic bottlenecks we have on Sunday mornings now, due to the Nokia Sunday Bikedays, will occur every day of the year with this plan.
I encourage citizens to ask councillors and officials for concrete answers to the following questions in relation to these situations, for example:
Situation 1: Will mature trees be respected and preserved as a contribution to the natural environment and to the mental health of residents increasingly confined to small condominiums? What are the plans to accommodate the increase in all types of traffic that these new projects will bring? Is there a transportation committee that citizens can participate in?
Situation 2: When will there be a hospital built west of the Champlain Bridge? When will Aylmer health care services be available west of the Champlain Bridge? Why is it acceptable to have post-secondary students spend 2 hours commuting each way? Why are promoters allowed to advertise Aylmer as 10 minutes from downtown Ottawa?
Situation 3: Have the NCC and Ville de Gatineau assessed the impacts on residents West of the Champlain Bridge? What was the outcome?