From homes to chips to churches

Elizabeth
Elizabeth Howell
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Twice rebuffed, developer prepares third proposal for Barrhaven land

DCR Phoenix is taking another stab at kick-starting development of a 27-acre patch of land near Highway 416 in Barrhaven after two failed attempts with the city.

DCR Phoenix has held the 27.7-acre property between Highway 416, Fallowfield Road and O'Keefe Court since 2004. (Google Maps image)

This time, the Ottawa-based developer has an agreement with the Salvation Army to build a 70,000-square-foot church with community space on four acres of the land.

The new plan is once again running into opposition from the community after two other proposals went before city hall and failed - one to rezone the property for residential purposes, and the other to construct a distribution centre for Frito Lay Canada.

"Every time we bring a proposed development to the city to review, everybody (says) ‘We don't want this,'" said William Buchanan, DCR Phoenix's manager of planning.

"They don't look at the fact you're creating 35 to 40 jobs, and how much (property tax) assessment (goes) back to the city. It's the old (not-in-my-backyard) approach."

DCR Phoenix is waiting to hear back from the city on the developer's proposal to include the Salvation Army on the land. Located between Highway 416, Fallowfield Road and O'Keefe Court, the property is currently set aside for a "prestige" business park under the Nepean Secondary Plan.

Putting the church on the property will require changing part of the zoning to include a place of worship. The rest of the land could still include businesses depending on what entities approach DCR Phoenix for development, Mr. Buchanan added.

Previously, Frito Lay was listed as the lead tenant in a 2010 development application DCR filed with the city for the land.

The company had proposed a 100,000-square-foot warehouse and office for 230 employees. The proposal was dropped after vehement opposition from nearby residents, the councillor for the area, Jan Harder, and the Barrhaven Business Improvement Area.

"We already have suitable space for (warehousing) and plenty of it," said BIA executive director Andrea Steenbakkers in a 2010 interview, referring to vacant land in the South Merivale Business Park, at Prince of Wales Drive.

The DCR Phoenix land should be used for high-value employment instead, she said at the time.

Mr. Buchanan said he is prepared to go to the Ontario Municipal Board if this latest proposal falls through. Otherwise, he's hoping to secure agreements by the end of 2011 and to start development on the triangular-shaped property next year.

"In a perfect world you probably would get those types of uses that may be conducive to everyone in the area, but this is not a perfect world, and you can't hold out and wait for someone to come along for a piece of land that may or may not suit their needs," he said.

"It cost a lot of money to buy it, and will cost a lot of money to service it, and I frankly don't want to sit on it for the next number of years."

Organizations: Salvation Army, Frito Lay, Ontario Municipal Board

Geographic location: Ottawa, Fallowfield Road, Barrhaven Business Improvement Area South Merivale Business Park

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Recent comments

  • daniel
    January 22, 2012 - 18:38

    In my early 20's i had little options due to some choices i had made. I was unemployeed and homeless during the winter months. At the time I considered my situation hopeless until I went to the Salvation Army shelter in the market where i was given a warm place to sleep and a packed lunch for a temporary job that turned into perment employment. i'm now stable and a very productive member of society. If the Salvation Army and the service it provides to the community wasn't available I might have not got on the right path. I now make the right choices. Thank you Salavtion Army

  • Brian Cowper
    November 20, 2011 - 09:56

    I think density is an issue -- 240 employees at such a strategic intersection is absurd. What's better? 20 trucks that travel around the corner to Moodie Drive bypassing any residential or thousand of cars efficiently traveling down the 417 and 416 from Kanata and parts further east that don't have to travel far off a major highway and more vertical use of the 27 acres? As a visitor coming from the US or Toronto on the only entry point to Ottawa, does the first glimpse of the urbanized national capital need to be some giant distribution centre for corn chips? Perhaps not at the moment, but the strategic importance of that intersection in the next twenty years will be huge. Don't waste what are now four corners there on storage barns which suggest a lack of commitment from the owner to create a half baked, inexpensive, riskless revnue base.

  • CADMIN
    November 10, 2011 - 15:34

    @Brian Cowper Actually this is a perfect location for a warehouse/distribution centre. Close enough to the highway that it would be highly functional without needing to bring large vehicles through residential areas. Ottawa is a city of complainers and whiners. Let development be or we will start moving backwards and start shrinking. Want to live in a small city? MOVE.

  • Rndmacts
    November 09, 2011 - 19:50

    It seems to be a constant case of the tail wagging the dog, Barhaven dictating to the city what can and can't be done in the suburb. What we have so far is one of the ugliest developments in the city. Frito Lay wanted a distribution center that would have brought in 230 jobs and these people cried not in my back yard. Now I realize that of the 230 jobs perhaps 200 couldn't afford to live in Barhaven but I would be interested to hear what they would consider ideal development for this site. I think it is time that individual councillors keep their noses out of planning decisions until it is put before council for a decision. Jan Harder is behaving like the queen of Ottawa instead of just doing the job she was elected to do.

  • Brian Cowper
    November 08, 2011 - 16:19

    Warehouse/distribution? Stupid use of this land and location.