honouring Lloyd Francis

It’s true that Bells Corners would be very different today if it hadn’t been for Lloyd Francis and his smart idea of buying up big chunks of farmland cheap and then developing it on a grand scale. The construction of the Bill Teron homes in Lynwood Village by T.F.S. Lands (Teron-Francis-Sim) was an early example of car-dependent tract housing in Ottawa.

Many other imitators followed as new suburban neighbourhoods (for example the Minto tract housing in Crystal Beach) were quickly developed.

So Lloyd Francis could be described as a land speculator, a skillful developer and maybe a profiteer, in the sense that his smart idea paid rich dividends. He has also been credited with the introduction of lot levies as a development tool.

As for Lloyd Francis the politician, I’m not denigrating his accomplishments.

He certainly had a long illustrious career: chief government whip, parliamentary secretary to the president of the Treasury Board, Canadian ambassador to Portugal (appointed by Brian Mulroney), etc. According to the CBC he was notable for being alternately defeated and elected in successive elections between 1962 and 1984.

I’m not saying that Lloyd Francis doesn’t deserve to be honoured.

But should Rick Chiarelli and the Bells Corners Business Improvement Association (BIA) have the power to rename the community’s main street after a politician who was the father of the development industry in Ottawa? The same industry that bankrolls politicians like Rick Chiarelli?

Notice how many big developers wrote big cheques for Rick Chiarelli’s campaign war chest:

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5 Responses to honouring Lloyd Francis

  1. Rich Littleton says:

    The late D. A. Moodie claimed he invented the lot levy when he was reeve of Nepean. At least what he wrote in his autobiography. More than one old timer I’ve talked to concurs with this.

    – Thanks, I should have said that Lloyd Francis was one of the people credited with the introduction of the lot levy in Nepean.

    I distilled this section of a Wikipedia article a bit too much:

    “The Lynwood Plaza at Bells Corners was built by Francis and Sim’s Lynhar Developments and included what would become the landmark Robinson IGA.

    Long time Nepean Reeve D. Aubrey Moodie, in his book, “The Spirit of Nepean” described Francis as one of the contributors to the foundation of Nepean. Moodie explains about the introduction of lot levies, now known as development charges, and how they contributed to the financial stability of Nepean Township. It was the transfer of large sums of money in the form of lot levies, along with Francis and Teron’s aggressive development activity that enabled much of Nepean’s Parkwood Hills and Bells Corners neighbourhoods to be built. To the pleasure of some and the disdain of others, Mr. Francis was one of a list of individuals credited with the introduction of lot levies as a development finance tool that is relied upon to this day to fund infrastructure commensurate with new residential developments.”

  2. wanderer says:

    As I said before, new signage is all that’s needed to clear up the street names on the main drag, and a profiteer should not be honoured by naming the street after him.

    I can’t wait to see what happens. RC already seems to backtracking from his wacky idea, saying that “people have told me that Lloyd Francis Boulevard might be too long a name.” But that may just be a ploy – he usually ends up getting what he wants.

    Here’s the quote from the EMC:

    “I’ve met with other councillors who deal with Richmond Road, emergency staff, and have taken the issue to council, they have determined there needs to be a road name change (for the Robertson-Richmond stretch),” said Coun. Chiarelli.

    “What the name will be is unclear. The Nepean Museum has suggested (Ottawa West MP and Bells Corners founder) Lloyd Francis. People tell me they think that’s too long a name, but that’s where it stands right now.”

  3. thelonelyisland says:

    you shouldnt be posting peoples information without they’re permission

    – Thanks for your suggestion, but what information? If you’ll point out exactly what you object to I’ll consider deleting it or correcting it.

    If you’re referring to the list of the developers, contractors and deep-pocketed individuals who donated big bucks to Rick Chiarelli (around $30,000) – it’s all on the public record at the city’s elections office. Anyone can ask to see it and they’ll make photocopies for you. A list of everyone who gave money to the politicians for the Oct. 2010 election will be soon be available on the ottawa.ca website.

  4. jay says:

    Lloyd Francis? Usually, we try for something impressive when renaming something.

    Why can’t we leave the name Robertson and extend its use eastward? Less cost and confusion for most of those situated there/using it.

    – I like politics and history, so I’m not against commemorating the exceptional ones. But Lloyd Francis?

    On the other hand, apparently RC consulted the Nepean Museum, and THEY suggested Lloyd Francis. It’s just a coincidence that the former politician’s son cut a cheque for Rick.

    But I wonder if the director of the museum suggested any other names, or has every local politician and developer of any note already been honoured? I wonder if she suggested any non-politicians?

    If the REAL goal of the name change is to generate some interest in Bells Corners and brand it as a place to drive to and shop, then why not have some fun with it and let the community and the small businesses have a say? Make it a contest or something to generate some media attention and let the community vote online.

    Or, if that’s a dumb idea, let’s make it all Robertson like you said, or just add some cheap signage, if people getting lost in Bells Corners is a serious issue.

    It costs the taxpayer, the businesses and individuals a bundle to make a name change – let’s not do it to serve narrow commercial and political interests.

    If the firemen, the police and the paramedics say that there REALLY is a serious safety issue and the name must be changed – how about Bells Corners Road?

    Otherwise, leave it alone and give the taxpayer a break for once. Let the big box stores and the councillor find some other way of drawing attention to themselves.

  5. Rich Littleton says:

    This issue has set off my bullsh*t alarm. Renaming Robertson Rd. would cause more confusion not less. There’s no way city emergency workers have taken the issue to council, demanding renaming Robertson Rd. to Lloyd Francis Blvd. for safety’s sake; that’s just stupid. No one is going admit that they can’t read a map. Improved signage is the way to go. Two city employees with positions in a one room museum generally don’t tell city councillors what to do, just more RC spin doctoring. Sounds like another vanity project, friends taking care of friends; a friend of mine, a friend of ours – forget about it! If RC wants to name a street after Lloyd Francis, do it in a NEW subdivision or an industrial park, instead of burdening taxpayers.

    – The safety argument is just to be used as a possible trump card in case the road to renaming gets a little rocky.

    Basically it’s just more smoke and mirrors, a backroom taxpayer-funded marketing ploy for the councillor and his buddies.

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