You may have noted the new Fernbank entrance sign at the intersection of Robert Grant Avenue and Fernbank Road. I have received a few inquiries about this sign and thought I would share some details on this entrance sign to residents.
The gateway at Robert Grant Avenue and Fernbank Road was envisioned as part of the Fernbank Community Design Plan (CDP) as approved by City Council in 2010. This Fernbank CDP was a lengthy process of master planning for the entire Fernbank Community located between Stittsville and Kanata and I know many residents in Stittsville were involved in this process and attended the workshops to assist in designing this community. The process of developing the CDP included extensive public consultation, and the title given to the community at the time was “Fernbank”. Subsequently, many developers have developed their own marketing names for their individual Plans of Subdivision, and you may notice there are more new names coming forward for developments in the Fernbank lands south of Hazeldean Road. I have been in contact with City Planning staff and we can appreciate in the present scenario this may lead to some confusion as some residents in the area assume this signage is for the Fernbank Crossing subdivision and have noted it is odd it says Fernbank Stittsville and not Fernbank Crossing. This is a similar situation to many newer communities which have a variety of subdivisions under one community banner, for example Kanata Lakes contains Heritage Hills, Richardson Ridge, Kanata Estates, Marchwood and Shaughnessy Village.
The sign is referred to as a “Community Gateway” in the Fernbank CDP for which there are two planned in the Community, the other will be located at Hazeldean Road and Robert Grant Avenue in the future. These gateways are being funded as part of the Robert Grant Avenue road construction project, and as a result are city funded and are required to reflect the name of the entire community. The remainder of the planned gateways are identified as “neighbourhood gateways” and are funded by the individual developers for their own subdivisions. An example of this would be the Blackstone gateway located at Westphalian Drive and Terry Fox Drive. There are many of these located throughout the individual neighbourhoods that make up the Fernbank Community and it is up to the discretion of the developer to construct such signage following the design guidelines for new development application gateway features.
As an arterial road, Robert Grant Avenue also serves as an entrance to the Stittsville Ward and as a result was seen as a good location to identify the entry into the Ward and include the name Stittsville in the sign. Similar Ward entry/welcome language can be found at key entry points to the Stittsville Ward on Arterial Roads (ex. Carp Road, Stittsville Main Street and Hazeldean Road).
While I can appreciate that some residents in the area have raised a concern with the signage, I did also want to highlight that during the design phase of the signage there was an extensive consultation process undertaken by my office to seek input from the current residents living in the area. The consultation included hand delivering notices to a large number of the occupied houses in the area and through my website and e-Newsletter. The consultation process involved an online polling of 4 entry feature option that residents were able to vote towards the options they preferred. We did not receive any comments related to the proposed naming. For background information on this process please visit here.
I think this community gateway is a great feature to the area and am pleased that the signage is now installed along Fernbank.