LIFE ON THE RIDGE (THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, 2013)
(By Sheila Brady) – High over the Carp River, the past and the future combine ridge to create a new community around an old family homestead.
The past and future are colliding on a rocky ridge high above the Carp Valley in Kanata. Tucked into an eastern corner of the ridge sits the Richardson farm house, a reminder of pioneer families who settled March Township in the early 19th century — like generations of the Richardson clan, who raised cattle on 160 acres of rocky terrain that sloped down to flat land by the Carp River. Built in 1871 with grey limestone quarried in the area, the historic farm house is now securely sealed up against the weather, waiting to be restored and sold in the next year or so to a family that will likely earn money from microchips, not beef patties. High above and to the west of the farm house, heavy machinery is pummelling rock, sending up clouds of dust and carving street patterns out of granite and veins of crystal white quartz, making room for new homes by three builders — Uniform Urban Developments, … and Braebury. In an innovative move to promote a varied streetscape, the three partners held an informal lottery, drawing lots in groupings of three and four, building next door to each other. The three have a blend of traditional and modern twostoreys and trim bungalows. The first newcomers are moving in this fall and within a decade there will be 1,000 homes, ranging from modest townhomes to big single homes. Original members of the Richardson family would likely be flabbergasted by the rearrangement of their landscape. This is Richardson Ridge, a community that will never flood because it sits 36 metres above Terry Fox Drive and the Carp Valley. Views are expansive, from green fields to big box stores, apartments and homes in Kanata and the newly branded home of the Senators, the Canadian Tire Centre. Planning has extended over seven years, says John McDougall, co-founder of Uniform Urban Developments, which is the majority owner at Richardson Ridge. “There was a lot of red tape and we were held up when the city put a freeze on development near the Carp River.” The waiting is over and now it’s full throttle ahead, with all the financial implications. Blasting for roads, sewers and the homes comes with a hefty financial premium, says McDougall, because there is a lot of granite and quartz. “We also wanted to preserve a lot of the natural environment. We didn’t want to flatten the ridge. We wanted to keep the natural ruggedness of the area.”
“There is a shadow of Bill Teron at Richardson Ridge,” he adds. Teron, often called the grandfather of Kanata, designed the award-winning community of Beaverbrook in the ’60s, placing homes around rock outcroppings.
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