Carp Road Corridor Business Improvement Area

By Bruce Firestone | Uncategorized

Jan 25

We have in Ottawa a BIA (Business Improvement Area) focused on improving the Carp Road corridor. It’s an important stretch of road connecting the fast growing suburb of Stittsville and the historic Village of Carp.

It is a mostly rural area but there are municipal services at both ends but not along much of the 15.1 kilometre road connecting these two anchors. What this means is that the City of Ottawa has thousands of acres of industrially zoned land that do not have access to piped serves (water and sewer). This is a shame.

There is a shortage of industrial land in Ottawa that small and medium sized businesses can purchase and build on so that they can own their own buildings instead of being forced to rent from large landowners and developers. Yet here we have an opportunity to create a huge new wealth-producing area that (mostly) lies fallow.

There are three main problems:

1. The City of Ottawa is not pro-active on this file.

2. The gateway to the area is bookmarked by a huge smelly dump and an aggregate and asphalt operation.

3. The name of the road is not especially attractive..

Let’s deal with the last one first.

‘Carp’ are oily freshwater fish that prefer to scavenge the bottom for insects, crustaceans and benthic worms. This would not be the name I would choose for a major new industrial park. So my suggestion for the BIA? Change it.

I looked around for an Ottawa-based hero and found one: John Henry Tudhope who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1920. He was a Squadron Leader who surveyed available Trans-Canada airmail routes starting in Ottawa and extending through the Prairies and then the Rocky Mountains. So let’s first rebrand the roadway; call it John Henry Tudhope Airport Road instead of Carp Road at least along the middle section between Stittsville and the Village of Carp.

Does branding matter? Sure it does. I have had many clients over the years reject a site on Carp Road simply because it has a yucky name.

I would also rebrand the Carp Airport (how about John Henry Tudhope Airport?) and repurpose it. It would make a marvelous freight airport where cargo planes can taxi right to and then into industrial buildings built on the more than 1,000 acres of available land there. Getting aircraft inside your building is a huge help with JIT (just in time) processes.

Now for the middle problem. You can’t get rid of the dump or the aggregate operation; they’ll both be there for another generation or two. Instead, go around them. The BIA can create a new gateway using the relatively recent addition of the Palladium interchange on Highway 417 and Richardson Side Road. See the map below.

My suggestions are to use signage and a special asphalt (say, a light reddish sandy coloured asphalt) to demark the rebranded Tudhope Road so people will know they’ve arrived in a ‘special’ place.

As for the issue of the City of Ottawa, I would suggest that they use a special assessment zone. If there are say 15,000 acres that would benefit from the extension of water and sewer services and say it costs $75,000,000 to do it, that’s $5,000 per acre that has to be added to their property taxes.

That’s how we did the EMTS (East March Trunk Sewer) in Kanata which allowed for the huge expansion of Newbridge (now Alcatel) as well as the Kanata North Business Park, Briarbrook and Morgan’s Grant.

These things are typically front ended by the City and repaid over ten years so it would be something like $500 per acre per year added to an owner’s tax bill plus a bit of interest. This only applies to benefiting owners and is not otherwise a burden on City taxpayers.

I would guess that the value added to an acre of industrial land along this rebranded corridor might be something $100,000 or more. Land values might increase from $100k per acre now to $200k or more. In the east end of Ottawa, some industrial lands are selling for more than $300k per acre so there is lots of room for growth. $500 per year in additional property taxes is probably not too much for most property owners to bear.

For the City of Ottawa, this is a boon. Industrial development pays higher tax rates and taxes and demands far fewer services than residential development; they are a fiscal plus.

Hey ho, let’s go.

@ ProfBruce

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About the Author

Bruce is an entrepreneur/real estate broker/developer/coach/urban guru/keynote speaker/Sens founder/novelist/columnist/peerless husband/dad.