Councillor demanding answers on changes to flood plain in south Barrhaven

By Kate Porter, CBC News Ottawa, June 8, 2020

When Ottawa city council approved a major expansion of the urban boundary less than two weeks ago, it vowed not to allow future construction on certain sensitive types of property including prime farmland and flood plains.

Yet at this very moment, a 100-hectare swath of the Jock River flood plain — the equivalent of four LeBreton Flats — is being significantly altered to make way for a future development in south Barrhaven, leading one councillor to question the city's commitment to protecting flood plain lands in coming years.

"I don't know how we can say that," said Coun. Catherine McKenney, "when in fact we are allowing development —significant development — on a flood plain today." 

Although the application to change the contours of the Jock River flood plain was filed and approved months before councillors debated urban expansion, McKenney can't understand how the project went ahead without council knowing about it.

(...)Behind McKenney's concerns is a complex, three-year effort by developer Caivan Communities to change part of the Jock River flood plain, north of the river up to McKenna Casey Drive, from Highway 416 to Greenbank. 

"It has been one of our more challenging files," said Sommer Casgrain-Robertson, the general manager of the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA), the regulator of the Rideau River watershed, of which the Jock River is a part.

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