Intensification, Abortion, And Weak Arguments Against Both.

If you try to tell a woman what she can or can't do with her body, you're rightly called an asshole and told to mind your own damn business. As long as it falls within the constraints of the law, it's her right. This is common sense.

If someone wants to tear down a house they've purchased so they can build one that's wheelchair accessible, and you then try to get the property declared a heritage building so they can't do that, you're rightly called an asshole and told to mind your own damn business. As long as it falls within the constraints of the law and zoning regulations, it's their right. This is common sense.

But if that someone is a real estate developer, and they want to build something that's mandated by the city's official planning documents, why do the rules suddenly change?

Why, if the South March Highlands is sacred Algonquin land, did we only first hear from the Algonquin on January 6th of this year when the plans have been in motion for a long time? I can't find a single news story that predates this one.

If the people of Ottawa are so adamantly opposed to the idea of 12-storey condos on Richmond Road, why weren't tighter restrictions put in the city's official plan? It's common knowledge that residents who live close by feel that way. Perhaps city hall took the Community Design Plan into account, but felt the city needed higher density in that area than the community would've liked and made a compromise? If there's anything in writing saying that each ward gets to dictate its own terms of development, I'd love to see it, but I doubt it exists because it's a remarkably irresponsible way to manage a growing city... even by Larry O'Brien's standards.

For better or worse, we live in a society governed by rules and regulations, and one of those rules is that if you don't like what someone else is doing on property they own, as long as what they're doing falls with the rules and regulations... they have the right to do it, and if you try to retroactively change the rules when people start doing things you don't like, then you're being an asshole. Should the rules should be changed? Perhaps. I can think of plenty of things that I'd change given the chance, but the purpose of democracy is to ensure that as much as possible, the laws and regulations reflect the rights and the will of the majority. If I'm not in the majority on a given issue, my options are to get the majority on my side or suck it up, and speaking for myself here, straightforward arguments that can be quickly and easily be independently verified tend to work better than appeals to emotion.

Sadly, the only anti-development group in the city that seems to get this is the one working against the project I'm most looking forward to - the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park. It wasn't Clive Doucet's tears or impassioned and self-serving pleas from people hoping to keep their property values high that convinced me, it was people running the numbers and suggesting the city was taking on way too much financial risk for a potential upside that's far from certain. If the contracts were based on faulty math, the city should explore its options. I still think putting condos and retail there is the right move, but if possible, they should be built on terms that fairly distribute the risks and rewards between the developers and the taxpayers.

In closing, Intensification is the longest four-letter word I've ever come across.


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2 comments

  • As long as it falls within the constraints of the law, it’s her right. This is common sense.

    I suspect you've a bit too strong an admiration for the law.

    • Mitchell Powell
  • While I recognise that this isn't the point of your post I think your first paragraph is a bit dismissive of opposing views. People on the opposite side of the abortion debate hold that the right of the unborn child to life supersedes the right of the woman to do anything with her own body. Its a much more complex issue than you are allowing for. If there are two individuals (mother and unborn child) involved in the abortion decision then it is not as simple as what one woman decides to do with her own body.

    Personally I think there is some point prior to birth when a child becomes a separate individual. Perhaps once a separate brain and heart have been developed would be that point. Not being a scientist I couldn't tell you when this occurs. But given the large number of premature children born that go on to live healthy lives it is clearly some time before the full nine months of gestation. Canada currently has no laws limiting time or access to abortions and is quite an anomaly in the world on that point. I am not saying that all abortions need be outlawed, but in defense of the new individual that has been created there may be a point at which it should be considered a crime to kill that individual prior to birth. If that makes me an asshole so be it, but I feel that the rights of both individuals need to be considered once there are 2 in the picture.

    • Brian