By Charlie Senack
The possible rezoning of land to make way for a truck depot in Barrhaven East is causing some friction in the community as a petition is started to stop the change from happening.
An application has been put forward to the City of Ottawa to rezone land at 2 and 20 Leikin Drive and 99 Bill Leathem Drive, in the South Merivale Business Park.
The applicant is looking for an amendment to permit a warehouse and truck transport terminal on the site, which could see up to 1,000 transport trucks a day pass through the quiet suburban streets. According to the proposal, the warehouse would be in operation 24 hours a day and would include a distribution operation. The land would need to be rezoned to Light Industrial Zone, Subzone 9, in order to permit the development.
Karen Meades who lives just blocks away from the site, has started an online petition to show the city they are opposed to the development. As of April 22, the petition received 635 signatures from concerned residents who are also against the rezoning.
“With where it is situated between Merivale and Longfields, it’s right in our residential neighborhood,” said Meades in an interview with the Barrhaven Independent. “Of course there’s also the concern with traffic; with noise; there is the pollution damaging our residential neighborhoods, but there is also public safety and environmental issues that we feel are compromised.”
Meades also says the community feels the proposal is not consistent with the planning framework at the City of Ottawa. The site currently houses a few businesses including: Lumentum, a high-tech operation which focuses on creating a sustainable future, and the headquarters of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. As a result, she says this proposal seems out of place.
“The assessment is a joke, Even if the suggested traffic amendments to double lane turns onto Fallowfield from Merivale and Woodroffe were made, I doubt, with the added traffic, it would alleviate the issue,” wrote Annie Garneau on the petitions page. “Cyclist safety will be lost. Fallowfield and Prince of Wales would need to be double lane per side for me to even consider this proposal realistic. Stats from 1991 don’t cut it for 2026 traffic demand.”
Gloucester-South Nepean councillor Carol Anne Meehan, whose ward the land is in, says she too has concerns about the zoning amendment application and shares some of the residents’ concerns.
“One of my concerns is the lack of adequate infrastructure needed to support such a plan,” Meehan said in a statement to the Barrhaven Independent. “The roads around the site Merivale, Woodroffe, Fallowfield and Prince of Wales are not designed to handle the volume of trucks being proposed. My position has consistently been for the city to provide adequate infrastructure before allowing development that will negatively impact neighbourhoods and local traffic.”
But Meades says that simply is not enough. The bottom line she says is 1,000 trucks a day should not be driving down suburban streets and is also worried about what it would mean for safety.
“To speak to agmating infrastructure is not really the point,” she says. “The point is residential areas are not where you would add capacity for trucks — you would still be bringing them through and that’s not what we want.”
It’s a sentiment many in the community share. Residents in the area have already complained about the increase in traffic caused by Barrhaven growing and fears what this would add.
“Any trucks leaving to head north from the proposed truck depot will go right by my door,” wrote David Pelletier who lives on Fallowfield Road. “I moved to this neighbourhood for the peaceful surroundings — not to have an additional 365,000 trucks drive by my home annually. Add that to the vast amount of increased new traffic by the neverending house construction in and around Barrhaven, traffic, pollution and noise will increase exponentially.”
Others are worried about the environmental impact it could play.
“I have lived in this area since 1972, and the unique clean air and quality of life by the Rideau River will be destroyed by allowing this twenty-four hour a day Truck Depot to come into our area,” wrote Brian King. “Please stop it from happening.”
Residents have until the end of the month to share their feedback on the proposal. Meades says she hopes the growing petition will show the city how much anger and frustration this has caused, putting an end to the re-zoning possibility.