In North Gower — and doesn’t that name scream power retail! — a group of residents is fighting the good fight against a proposal to possibly build a 700,000-square-foot building about 2.5 kilometres from the heart of the village, pop. 2,000.
Though no site plan has been submitted, it would sit on 120 acres, be as high as nine stories tall, with up to 63 loading bays. More people, potentially, could work at this warehouse (3,500) than live in North Gower — for an employer yet to be named.
There is, by the way, no municipal water or sewer service, no transit link and no obvious reason (except Highway 416) why an 800-metre long building should land here. So, of course, Ottawa council approved both a zoning change and an official plan amendment in December 2019.
“On nearly every aspect, it goes against the planning policies,” said Teddie Laframboise, a farmer and riding school owner who helped found the opposition Rideau Action Group.
To return to the main, are we inviting planning chaos by approving giant warehouses — and they are disguised planets — in places we never imagined they would, or should, land?
Just down 416, at the Strandherd exit, the same company, Broccolini is finishing the largest Amazon “fulfillment centre” in Canada. It will have a gross floor space of 2.8 million square feet (about two Rideau Centres) and be able to handle something like 100,000 packages every day.
And this build not long after the opening of the Amazon centre in the east end, on Boundary Road. At one million square feet, Broccolini describes it as the largest industry facility ever built in the Ottawa area. (Well, until Barrhaven opens.)
Our city hall whiz, Jon Willing, reports there is a good deal more.
Residents in Rideau Glen are concerned about a warehouse and truck terminal proposed in a nearby business park. Online retailing is cited as the reason to build a hub that could see more than 500 trucks a day.
At Walkley and Conroy roads, meanwhile, a plan has been submitted to demolish a couple of buildings to put up three, one-storey warehouses with a total area of about 270,000 square feet and 32 loading bays.
It is a trend without a visible end.
“Retailers, especially small retailers, even shopping centres, are suffering from this immediate-delivery (sector),” said retail analyst Barry Nabatian, of Shore-Tanner and Associates.
“It’s terrible for retail. It’s terrible for the quality of life. It’s terrible for transportation.”
This content was originally published here.