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October 4, 2018

Opinion – Infill builders are cutting up our roads in Ottawa and we’re paying for it

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Infill development, a significant contributor to the city’s property tax coffers, is a booming business. Properly done, it can enhance an aging street and blend respectfully with the existing character of an established neighbourhood. Properly done, infill is constructed by developers who respect and communicate with neighbours and who do their best to minimize disruption and destruction.

While some developers and their sub-contractors do quality work in just such a respectful manner, infill development in parts of Ottawa is now a free-for-all.

The ongoing carve-up of public roads is a prime example and although residents and councillors in rural and suburban wards have been traditionally indifferent to the inconveniences of urban infill, they, too, are ultimately contributing to paying the road repair or replacement bill.

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Kitchissippi ward, which includes Champlain Park, the Civic campus of the Ottawa Hospital, Mechanicsville, McKellar Park and Westboro, accounts for more infill and intensification than all other urban wards combined.

Ward councillor Jeff Leiper says high on the list of complaints he hears about infill – and he hears lots – is the routine damaging of public roads by developers who typically buy and demolish older houses, then build two, three or four replacements on the same piece of land.

The new properties need services, or service upgrades, and that’s when the public roads get carved up or, in official parlance, “cut.”

There are hundreds of examples throughout Kitchissippi – and other areas of urban Ottawa –of trenches being cut through roads and refilled in a slap-dash manner, leaving behind a crumbling bump or a dip on previously flat, well-engineered roads.

They are ugly to look at, uncomfortable to drive over and constant jolts to the body for cyclists – not to mention the danger to those on two wheels.

Keep reading in the Ottawa Citizen


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