Kalynn Sawyer Helmer
OTTAWA – Speculation has spread across the Ottawa area that an Amazon distribution centre is in the works for a vacant lot along Boundary Road and Highway 417 north of Russell. Reports say the centre features 99 truck loading bays and 1,000 parking spaces for potential employees. Although the rumors cannot be confirmed as of yet, suspicions arose after a zoning by-law amendment was proposed to the City Council of Ottawa. Neither Amazon nor the developer, Broccolini Construction will confirm the rumoured one-million-square-foot building but CTV News reported on Thursday that Broccolini says they have a user in mind. Trees have already been cleared on the 96-acre lot.
While Russell Township Mayor Pierre Leroux said he was excited at the prospect of 1,000 jobs on Russell’s doorstep, the development will need to address traffic concerns in the area.
“Whether it’s Amazon or another company, they’re talking about 1,000 jobs. It’s an amazing opportunity for the Township. I think it’s going to help with the economic development of the area,” said Leroux.
As a letter to the editor this week in the Villager section points out, the Taggart Miller Dump project is in the same area as the commercial development. “The reality is that Amazon is going to do its homework when it invests in a location,” said Leroux.
However, a commercial distribution centre on the same road as a mega dump could pose problems for commuters and traffic congestion. Leroux explained: “we as a township will have comments when it comes time for the site proposal because it will have a huge impact on traffic.”
Whether or not the user of the land will be Amazon, the commercial zoning seems to ensure that whichever company occupies the space, they will also bring with them opportunities for the surrounding area.
Due to the unconfirmed nature of the development, Glengarry-Prescott-Russell MP Francis Drouin is not commenting until the company makes an official announcement.