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Kanata residents frustrated by delays in Campeau Drive extension

The Campeau Drive extension was due to be finished by now, but in fact work has not even begun to connect the major road to an isolated Kanata neighbourhood.
Arcadia resident Daniel Therien at the bank of the Carp River with Campeau Drive behind him. Therien says the extension of Campeau Drive into his neighbourhood can't come soon enough. (Photo/Devyn Barrie)

When Daniel Kucherman bought his house in 2014, he was promised Campeau Drive would be extended within two years to give his isolated subdivision of Arcadia a direct connection to the rest of town.

But, after years of delay, that vital extension has not even begun.

"In Arcadia, we cannot walk to buy a bag of milk, but we can walk to buy an expensive handbag from the (Tanger) outlet mall. Basic amenities should come first," Kucherman said in an email last month.

Arcadia is a small neighbourhood in Kanata North, a stone’s throw from the Tanger Outlets and Canadian Tire Centre. The only road connection is via Huntmar Drive, but a Campeau Drive hookup has been in the works since 2012. It was supposed to be finished by now but Minto, the developer, hasn't even constructed a stormwater pond necessary to build a bridge over the Carp River and connect the road.

“Minto keeps getting different timelines for getting things done, I don’t have the most recent one yet,” said Marianne Wilkinson, the city councillor for the area. She said the city had money approved to build the road four years ago, but it was soon determined a pond would be needed to drain the area – which is Minto’s job.

“They weren’t very keen at the beginning but they're getting keen (now),” Wilkinson said.

The area is very complex for drainage, she said. The land has a high water table and a relatively flat geography, so any design would need to mitigate the potential for additional flooding.

As well, the pond requires provincial as well as city approval, which adds to the red tape Minto must go through to get the project approved. Wilkinson said the province can take three to six months to approve the permit Minto will need. With that, she said it’s possible the road could be completed in 2019.

“The timing of that (permit) is really unknown,” she said. A public meeting on the matter, as well as the future phases of the Arcadia subdivision, is scheduled for July 12 at 7 p.m. in Hall C of the John G. Mlacak Centre.

Kucherman said the road can’t come soon enough.

“It has caused a great deal of frustration to Arcadia residents who would like to see the bridge completed as soon as possible,” he wrote. Kucherman is out of the city and was not available for an interview before deadline, so provided his perspective via email.

“Each year that passes makes the money that the City of Ottawa has approved for the Campeau Bridge worth less and less,” he added.

Wilkinson echoed Kucherman’s concern, noting inflation could mean the city needs to wait for more money even after permits are approved.

Daniel Therien, another Arcadia resident, said traffic in the area will keep getting worse until the road is finished.

“(The current system) has a tendancy to cause traffic,” Therien said. He’s recently separated and often travels further north into Kanata to pick up his daughter, he said.

“It's very inconvenient when you know that Campeau could connect right there, (but instead) you have to drive to the Queensway, drive to the second exit (to get there),” he said.

He said it would also be a benefit for attendees of events and games at the Canadian Tire Centre. If they live in Kanata, they could simply take Campeau and alleviate the congestion on the highway after a major event.

Therien drives down a dirt path that runs between the Carp River and Arcadia and discusses the traffic problems in the area. At the end of the path, he gestures towards a strip mall across the river and the Canadian Tire store a little further down.

“That’s Campeau (right there),” he said. “We’re so close.”


About the Author: Devyn Barrie

Devyn Barrie is an Ottawa journalist.
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