CRCBIA AGM focuses on city services

Special to WC Online

CARP ROAD CORRIDOR – The City of Ottawa’s largest light industry business park will focus on growth and lobbying for infrastructure to support that growth attendees to last Thursday’s (Feb. 1) Carp Road Corridor Business Improvement Area (CRCBIA) annual general meeting heard.

The CRCBIA, a light industrial park in West Carleton’s east end roughly stretching along Carp Road from March Road to just over the Queensway spanning two city wards, hosted its annual general meeting for its members at the Irish Hills Golf Club, one of the business members within the CRCBIA. The CRCBIA is one of 19 City of Ottawa BIAs, which all receive funding through a levy paid by landlords within the BIA boundary through their municipal taxes.

Roughly 31 people attended the AGM including three city councillors. The CRCBIA boundaries are in two City of Ottawa wards and both councillors, Ward 5 Coun. Clarke Kelly and Ward 6 Coun. Glen Gower were both in attendance as was Kanata North Coun. Cathy Currie.

CRCBIA AGM board chair Wayne French greeted the attendees to the breakfast meeting.

“How grateful I am to be your chair,” French, wearing an Ottawa Senators jersey, said. “It’s an honour. Eight months ago, I had a serious heart surgery. I thank the community for their support.”

Coun. Kelly, attending his second CRCBIA AGM, was the first politician to speak.

“Sadly, many groups suffer from lack of attendance and engagement,” he said. “Engagement is something the CRCBIA doesn’t have to worry about. It is one of the most focused, prepared, engaged groups I deal with. The CRCBIA is a unique economic opportunity for the City of Ottawa.”

One of the major lobbying points of the CRCBIA is bringing water and sewer services to the area, something Kelly says he has heard loud and clear.

“Some staff in the city are for service, and others still need convincing,” Kelly said. “Some day, in some fashion, we will see services at the CRCBIA.”

For Gower, it was his first CRCBIA AGM.

“I’m relatively new, but glad to be a part of the BIA,” he said.

Gower talked about the expansion of Carp Road to four lanes, south of the Queensway to Hazeldean Road, with construction expected to begin this year.

“For Stittsville residents, this is one of the number one things I hear about,” he said. “Now is the time to prepare.”

Gower said Novatech Engineering Consultants are already working on a Master Servicing Study.

“So, we can do it right the first time,” Gower said.

Coun. Currie said she was in attendance because of her role on the Kanata North Business Association, the BIA not far from the CRCBIA location.

“We are becoming much more connected,” Currie said. “We all share a common challenge and that’s attracting talent.”

Currie says her role as vice chair of the Transportation committee is also a benefit. Finding transportation for employees has always been a challenge for CRCBIA employers.

“The more connected we are, the better,” Currie said.

CRCBIA executive director Roddy Bolivar took over the rest of the meeting and started with a promotional video the CRCBIA produced to promote the area and the unique businesses within.

“There’s great diversity in the corridor,” Bolivar said. “This video echoes that point.”

A person speaks at a podium.
EGIS Group land planner Bridgette Alchawa speaks on the advantages of water, sewer and transportation services coming to the Carp Road Corridor. Photo by Jake Davies

Bolivar then introduced guest speaker Bridgette Alchawa, a land use planner with EGIS Group consulting, who presented Vision for the Carp Road Corridor.

“It was very encouraging to hear the councillor’s words this morning,” Alchawa said of the potential of bringing services to the CRCBIA and the Master Servicing Study. “Stay involved, stay in the loop.”

Alchawa said her team looked at the vision of the corridor if it was serviced.

“It is extremely improbable a business can unlock its maximum potential of its property without services,” she said. “Services could introduce new uses and create a more diverse area and maximize properties.”

Alchawa said, if the entire 2,300-hectare property was serviced, the area could go from employing 600 people in the area to 6,000.

“I think if you had that Amazon-type of company coming out here, you would have water services immediately,” Alchawa said.

Following Alchawa’s presentation, Bolivar went in to a review of 2023 and a look at plans for 2024. He shared what he called his “Big Win List,” for the CRCBIA.

The big wins to date include:

  • Removal of the “limited range of agriculture uses” business restriction of 2012.
  • Add warehouse permissions in the Residential Commercial Zone 2014.
  • Ensure intersection at Westbrook and five lanes 2016.
  • Reduced area requirements for septic systems 2017.
  • Retail permissions to manufacturers 2018.
  • The City of Ottawa Official Plan policy endorsing water in the corridor 2022.

Bolivar says big wins to come include municipal water and/or sewer services; road/intersection capacity improvement including the overpass; and a new area plan, which would facilitate faster development approvals.

Bolivar says the CRCBIA will continue to advocate on those issues as well as bringing public transit to the whole of the CRCBIA; getting underground pipes as part of the Carp Road widening project to make future connection to the system easier; and to continue to promote and enhance business opportunities within the CRCBIA.

CRCBIA treasurer Sandra Cain when through the financials with the attendees.

The CRCBIA had total expenses of $143,932 in 2023, roughly $13,000 less than the organization had budgeted for.

In 2024, the CRCBIA is budgeting $167,731 (a budget that is submitted to city council for approval). The levy of $125,000 remains as it has for the last few years, and the CRCBIA will draw $37,731 from reserves.

That levy is split between the roughly 200 individual properties within the CRCBIA, with the amount based on the assessment of each property. No property will pay more than 1.25 per cent of the levy, regardless of the assessment.

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