Growth in Barrhaven
The ongoing focus of the BBIA is on long-term employment-based job growth and protecting the downtown commercial area of Barrhaven. Ottawa’s suburban communities play a vital role within the larger context of our city and offer the ability to be sustainable communities that are complete with work, live and play opportunities. The careful consideration of the development of Barrhaven’s Downtown is very important. The well-planned integration of the core with our employment areas is key as we can ensure that Barrhaven is built differently than other suburban areas, offering a hipper and more social vibe to millennial workers. We need the LRT to service our Marketplace Station, and further south to a future Cambrian Station, with an off-road dedicated corridor from Baseline Station, through Fallowfield Station. We need our future BRT to come into the heart of Citigate through the downtown and passing our future Barrhaven Main Streets (Riocan and Marketplace Avenues). We also need to incorporate arts and culture to make Barrhaven a complete community that attracts today’s employers.
The Proposed Barrhaven Downtown Secondary Plan
Secondary Plans are policy documents which specify an underlying land use plan for a community. The Barrhaven Downtown Secondary Plan will bring 10,000 jobs to the heart of our community with major growth along transit corridors. Development in the Plan continues to support mixed uses while removing barriers to short-term development (through adjusted height and density designations) and repetitiveness in current version. There is now an added station area designation based around the confluence of our current BRT (future LRT) lines. The Strandherd Retail District will be expanded, allowing development to advance now, thereby relieving pressure to add more retail at the cost of our employment-designated lands at Citigate and to allow for future redevelopment by intensification once the market allows. We currently do not have enough density to create the demand and we won’t achieve the density we want if we don’t allow for some short-term flexibility in the Plan.
Given that we have a greenfield slate, we can proceed accordingly. We support the proposed changes to the Barrhaven Downtown Secondary Plan. Active Frontage Streets will support true main street development with patios and cafes. At 100,000 people in our primary market area alone, it is time for Barrhaven to have unique small retail with character and culture. The addition of urban parks provides the perfect opportunity to gather and celebrate community. The Barrhaven BIA has retained the GBA Group to assist with advancing the Barrhaven Downtown vision by fine tuning its elements and preparing a business plan. The objective of this new partnership is to establish a great civic centre that will anchor Barrhaven’s Downtown. A number of scenarios have been proposed that contain elements that take advantage of the site being located at the confluence of existing and future rapid transit service. The outcome of our work will be to create a Business and Development Plan for the implementation of the project – a vibrant meeting place for the residents of Barrhaven and beyond. You will recognize them as a leader in Place-Making Advisory services and major contributors to local successes such as; Lansdowne Live, The Shaw Convention Centre, Algonquin College Expansion and the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Care facility. Their team has been working with our Executive Director and meeting with key City and development industry stakeholders on planning, economic development, departmental plans and interests, transit, roads, and more and to collect thoughts and ideas on bringing this project to fruition.
The roads in Barrhaven (Strandherd, Jockvale, Greenbank, Chapman Mills) are already well over capacity and many are dead-ends and/or incomplete. Greenbank is a two-lane over-capacity road bottlenecking at a tiny bridge. The Greenbank realignment needs to be done. Jockvale is also a two-lane dead-end road. Strandherd is under construction and will be for some time to build the bridge over the VIA tracks and widen the road. Chapman Mills Drive currently ends at Longfields. Given the great opportunity for imminent economic growth before us with the revision of this CDP, we have urged the City to highlight the priority for roads and transit investment in Barrhaven’s core. Residential and commercial development is FAR outpacing infrastructure development. This new Plan presents an opportunity to align the two.
The City’s transportation funding system is not currently set up to accommodate growth areas. Suburban areas are always deferred unlike urban road and infrastructure projects in the core. Strandherd Road is the new Hunt Club, yet it is a two-lane, rural road. We need to demand a change in the way suburban roads are funded and built! During our Secondary Plan consultations, the BBIA worked with Councillor Harder and staff to address the growing traffic concerns in Barrhaven. A motion moved by Councillor Harder was recently passed by the Planning Committee to direct staff in Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development to work with the Transportation Services Department to detail the funds that would be required, to be allocated from Strandherd Widening project, to fund the following in 2020:
- Detailed design of Greenbank Road from Chapman Mills to Barnsdale Road
- Detailed design and construction of the extension of McKenna Casey to Dealership Drive including the closure of McKenna Casey at the VIA crossing for safety reasons
They will provide this information prior to the December 11th Council meeting so that a Motion may be considered during Council’s consideration of the 2020 Budget in Committee of the Whole. We are optimistic that the Motion will pass and we will see real improvements to moving people more efficiently and safely around Barrhaven.