Peer  Review 

Official Plan Projections (for the City of Ottawa)

Mr. Nixey was retained by the City of Ottawa staff to lead a peer review of the population, housing and employment projections underpinning the City’s official plan.  The reason for the review was that the City had departed from its traditional projection methodology to embrace a new approach which, unfortunately, was driven by employment momentum during the very rapid expansion of the high tech industry during the late 90s, just months before its sharp retrenchment.  The flawed projection greatly exaggerated the amount of development charge revenue that was being realized and this was jeopardizing the City’s ability to fund its capital program – including its portion of an LRT project then in negotiations with the Province and the Federal Government.


Peer Review

Commercial and Emploment Land Needs

The County of Prince Edward retained Danix Management Limited to prepare a peer review of a commercial and employment land needs analysis developed in support of an official plane amendment application to facilitate the redevelopment and transition of a WWII airfield.


Employment Lands Study (City of Ottawa)

Danix Management was retained by the City of Ottawa (Policy Development and Urban Design Branch) to determine if the employment lands designated in the official plan were adequate to meet projected requirements (part of a mandated review).

Phase 1 of the study, based on a quantification of the land supply, land absorption trends and three approaches to demand projection concluded that there was more than adequate supply. The study also examined a series of specific questions including: the impact of the “federal footprint” on land requirements; the evolving nature of retail and its land requirements; the development potential at station locations along the proposed LRT and the implications this may have for employment land demand; recentl trends in mixed use development within employment area; the need for serviced rural employment lands; and the development vocation of lands at the interchanges of the 400 series highways. 

During deliberation by Planning Committee the question of “development readiness” was raised in relation to the employment lands supply and to answer this, a Phase 2 study was initiated, also completed by Danix.

Phase 2 involved an assessment of each land parcel, including the development of an assessment grading scheme that was then vetted by panels of local developers, realtors and the business community.  The assessment identified a weakness in the amount “shovel ready” land (land that can be developed within a year) but a large supply of lands in the “pipeline” – lands with development hurdles that could be cleared within a 5 year horizon. Further, the clearance of these hurdles was shown to be, in the majority, the responsibility of private landowners and developers (through the normal process of land development) and the land area requiring municipal investment (to remedy a lack of trunk servicing or arterial road capacity) was shown to be very small.


Land Requirements for High Tech Firms (for the Regional Municipality of Ottawa Carleton)

Mr. Nixey has been retained, from time to time, to lead examinations of a range of thorny land use and development issues. For the Planning and Development Approvals Department, RMOC, Mr. Nixey prepared a comprehensive study of the land and accommodation requirements of high tech firms, including quantification of the factors driving executive decision making concerning firm location. The reason for the study was to confirm or refute the basis for an application for a large expansion to the urban boundary to provide land for high tech firms which was, according to the proponent, in very short supply.


The Effect of the Federal Greenbelt on Development Economics (for the National Capital Commission)

This study examined, for the National Capital Commission, the implications of the federal greenbelt on regional development economics by documenting the dislocation in building intensity and property values along transects drawn from the centre core through to the outer margins of the suburban communities lying outside the greenbelt.  The report also quantified the cost premium for city building associated with partitioning the urban fabric through the imposition of the federal greenbelt.  Daniel undertook the study research and authored the report.


Building Momentum (for the City of Hamilton)

This report prepared for the City of Hamilton by the Canadian Urban Institute assesses the long-term infrastructure requirements for the City of Hamilton, and suggests priorities for investment in infrastructure projects by identifying and analyzing existing and proposed community assets. Daniel Nixey served as Senior Advisor to the project team.

Through consultation with Hamilton stakeholders, 25 foundational projects were identified and six principles for infrastructure investment in the City were distilled.

The 25 foundational projects were grouped into five districts: four in the downtown and waterfront areas of Hamilton, and the fifth in the McMaster Innovation Park. For each district, an analysis was conducted that drew on best practices from other industrial cities that have carried out successful revitalization programs in similar districts under similar circumstances. Based on this analysis, the study team then calculated the estimated increase in assessment value that would be provoked by selected infrastructure investments in each of the five districts.             


Guelph Innovation Lands (for the Ontario Ministry of Public Infrastructure Renewal)

The mandate for this project (delivered by AuthentiCity of which Daniel Nixey was a project partner) was to develop a workable partnership and a creative approach to planning and development that focused on wealth creation opportunities in the York District of the City -  an underutilized district adjacent to the University of Guelph, partially occupied by the former site of the Ontario Corrections Institute, the Turf Grass Institute, Better Beef (Cargil abattoir) and the City of Guelph’s wet dry recyling plant. 

This Project, commissioned by the Province, had two principal elements:

  • The design and delivery of an engagement process, structured around specific engagement events, that focused attention on the identification of realistic development opportunities and the realization of achievable outcomes within a partnership model;
  • The design of an intensification strategy for the York Lands, built upon the principle of sustainable development, that provided demonstrable returns to the landowners and unlocks the capacities of the creative economy.

The objectives of this process and the resulting district strategy underlined the Province of Ontario’s commitment to a collaborative approach for the planning and development of public lands within the York District where both the City and Province owned significant properties.

An important aspect of the consultant’s work was to engage with a range of stakeholder groups to prepare  development “propositions” and then determine the “contribution” of the various propositions to both achieving the development vision for the York District and meeting the targets for development as set out under the Province’s Growth Plan.

The study developed a range of development propositions in collaboration with the community, generated estimates of the required investment, and examined value uplift and capture.


Leveraging Growth and Managing Change (for the County of Prince Edward)

The Prince Edward County Council commissioned this work to: establish a shared vision and planning framework for the County and its partners to: effectively to leverage economic development opportunities; identify actions that could build on existing cultural and tourism strengths and overcome barriers;  and provide direction on the development of a Cultural Policy Statement for the County. Daniel served as project manager.


Parks Canada Discovery Centre (for Parks Canada) 

Parks Canada was interested in evaluating the opportunity for developing a “discovery centre” in vacant, abandoned space adjacent to the Rideau Canal under the newly rebuilt Plaza Bridge in the heart of downtown Ottawa.  The concept was to leverage the opportunity of this abandoned space for the interpretation of the Parks Canada mission by finding partners that could make shared use of the space and defray its cost.  Working with a local architect, Daniel determined the costs of preparing the space for commercial occupation, developing an operating budget, review regulatory constraints, identifying and recruiting suitable partners and developing a business case to provide a rationale for the required investment.


Greenbelt White Paper (for the City of Ottawa)

Daniel was asked to draft for City staff a whitepaper to open a public discussion on the pros and cons of permitting development of all, or some, of the federal greenbelt which surrounds the older built-up area of the City of Ottawa. The draft of this paper was eventually published by the City as part of a white paper series examining various topics related to their official plan review. It was understood that the topic would be exploring a topic of great sensitivity to many Ottawa residents.  However, staff felt the question needed to be addressed in some form since the idea had been put forward from time to time by area developers and the Mayor of the time seemed to favour its consideration. As expected, the whitepaper proved provocative.


Canada Conference Centre/Sports Hall of Fame  

The Canada Conference Centre – located in the historic train station located in the heart of downtown Ottawa - was being promoted as the potential home of the Canada Sports Hall of Fame.  To enhance project viability for the proposed expensive refurbishment of this historic structure, additional development would be required.  Daniel was retained by an architectural firms leading the project to determine the strength of the opportunity for commercial development on this site.  As part of this research, Daniel examined the drawing-power of the various “halls of fame” throughout North America and recommended a project configuration that could best capture the pedestrian flows at Ottawa’s busiest intersection.


St Lawrence Seaway (for the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority)

In 1978, LBA Consulting Partners completed, for Paul Normandeau, Chairman of the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority, a study of the economic benefits to Canada of extending the season of navigation on the St. Lawrence Seaway, a topic of a heated debate between Canada and the USA at that time.  The study was in response to report by The US Army Corp of Engineers that indicated great benefits to the USA, albeit at the expense of substantial infrastructure investments in ice breaking technology. 

The LBA study (Daniel was one of four consultants on the study team) was based on extensive interviews with participants from all affected economic sectors across Canada and modeling of projected changes in commodity flows through the Great Lakes and the Seaway based on season length.  The four consultants were given letters signed by Paul Normandeau and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau requesting cooperation in providing the study team with input, opinion and data.  

The study convincingly demonstrated there would be no net benefit to Canada due to the difficulties of moving cargo during the winter (both ship and rail), the lower cargo carrying capacity of the Seaway during the winter months (operating draughts were shallower), greatly increased transit times, an escalation in operating costs (Canada being responsible for 13 of the 15 locks) and immeasurable but certain environmental damage.  

The season of navigation was not extended then and remains unchanged today; thirty-five years after the study was conducted.