Committee hears of investigation into Conservancy development

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal blue stripe are in the foreground with " Audit Committee update" in the centre.

The Audit Committee today heard details of an investigation into allegations related to the planning of The Conservancy development(link is external) – a 56-hectare residential community under development in Barrhaven.

The Conservancy has more than three kilometres of Jock River frontage, and because of its location, a change to existing floodplain mapping was required before development could proceed.  After a consultant determined that the peak flow rate had not changed, the City and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority agreed the floodplain mapping would not be updated. The developer applied for a cut and fill permit from the RVCA. The RVCA Executive Committee approved the cut and fill permit. While the City deviated from its normal process, the City did not contravene any legislative requirements in the steps taken for approval.

The Office of the Auditor General’s report recommended the City ensure that decisions and results associated with directions from City Council are communicated back to Council in a timely manner. It is further recommended a City communication be distributed to reiterate that staff do not take an advocacy or endorsement position for any developer or development, ensure the necessary City subject matter experts are involved when a consultant is leveraged to conduct a peer review. The City agreed with all three recommendations.

The Committee approved KPMG as the City’s new external auditor(link is external) for a five-year term ending September 30, 2028. KPMG would also serve as the external auditor of Build Ottawa for the same period. KPMG will be responsible for the audit of the City’s consolidated financial statements as well as many other audit engagements related to City programs and related entities.

The Committee recommended Council approve the Audit Committee budget(link is external) and the Office of the Auditor General’s workplan(link is external).

Recommendations from today’s meeting will rise to City Council on Wednesday, December 6.

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