Blanding’s Turtle habitat to be affected by Potter’s Key development

(File photo: Blanding’s Turtle along Hazeldean Road.  Photo by Ken McRae.)

Minto is proposing several measures to protect Blanding’s Turtles at the new Potter’s Key development on Hazeldean Road. They’ve applied to Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) for permission to proceed with the development, which could impact the animals, classified as a Species at Risk in Ontario (SARO).

Construction could affect up to 21.3 hectares of the species’ habitat.  This type of MNRF permit is not uncommon for developments in our area, and is required if there’s a potential that any endangered or threatened species’ habitat will be disturbed.

Some of the steps Minto says they’ll take to mitigate the impact include:

• Fencing and marking any habitat to be retained during and after construction to reduce damage to habitat as well as harming individual turtles.
• Keeping travel corridors used by the species intact to avoid isolation.
• Species education and awareness training for construction staff.
• Enhancing turtle habitat by undertaking channel restoration of Feedmill Creek to create a natural protected vegetated riparian corridor.
• Installation of barrier fencing along the restored riparian corridor to reduce turtle mortality.
• Species information packages for new residents.

You can read more about the permit application here. Members of the public are invited to submit their written comments by August 8, 2016 by email to and quote ER number 012-8004 in the subject line.


The Blanding’s Turtle is a medium-sized turtle easily identified by its bright yellow throat and chin. Unlike most Ontario turtles that have wide, flatter shells, the Blanding’s Turtle has a domed shell that resembles an army helmet.

Blanding’s Turtles live in shallow water, usually in large wetlands and shallow lakes with lots of water plants. It is not unusual, though, to find them hundreds of metres from the nearest water body, especially while they are searching for a mate or traveling to a nesting site.

The most significant threats to the Blanding’s Turtle are loss or fragmenting of habitat, motor vehicles, and raccoons and foxes that prey on eggs. Illegal collection for the pet trade is also a serious threat.

Blanding’s Turtles are slow breeders – they don’t start to lay eggs until they are in their teens or twenties – so adult deaths of breeding age adults can have major impacts on the species. This long-lived species can survive in the wild for more than 75 years.



JULY 30: Towel drive and fundraiser for the Ottawa Mission

On July 30, grab a glass of lemonade at the old log barn on Abbott Street, and drop off you gently used towels and toiletries to help Ottawa’s homeless. The event takes place from 10am-noon  and proceeds will support the Ottawa Mission.

The event is being organized by local real estate agent Jasmine Hunter and Sarah Rozema-Seaton of digital marketing firm Big Red Bow. More info on Facebook…

July 30 - Mission Possible towel drive and fundraiser for the Ottawa Mission


BUILT UP: Increasing density both a positive and a challenge

(Photo: Aerial photo of Fairwinds. Photo by @TwitchxB)

With a couple of proposals for low-rise apartment buildings along Robert Grant (Haliburton Heights, Livery Street), and a multi-story retirement complex along Hazeldean (Wellings), we wanted to find out what Stittsville could look like with more high-density developments. Continue reading


GAIA JAVA: Robert Wannell and Caelan Roberge-Toll on July 22


Robert Wannell (left) and Caelan Roberge-Toll
Robert Wannell (left) and Caelan Roberge-Toll

Ottawa High Schools have graduated some amazing young musicians recently. Robert Wannell has delighted us several times in the shop with his insightful and skilled jazz guitar stylings, both from when he was still a student under Jean-Francois Fauteux at Nepean High School, and more recently since he has been studying at Humber College in Toronto. Continue reading


Maple Grove Road to close until early September for sewer work

(press release via City of Ottawa)

Maple Grove Road will be closed to traffic between Terry Fox Drive and Silver Seven Road beginning Wednesday, July 20. The closure will allow for the installation of sewer pipes related to construction of the Kanata West Pump Station on Maple Grove Road. The closure will remain in effect until early September.

Work will take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., extending to 10 p.m. as required. No overnight work is planned. A signed detour will be in place throughout the construction period. Motorists and cyclists are advised to follow all signage directed at them. Pedestrian access will be maintained throughout the construction period.

There are no anticipated effects to OC Transpo routes.

Walter Baker Park and nearby businesses will remain open as usual and access will be maintained.

For current information about traffic and construction around the city, visit



Property assessment notices are coming, and here’s what that means for your tax bill

(via City of Ottawa)

Every four years, the Ontario Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) mails property assessment notifications to residential, commercial and industrial property owners providing them with the latest assessed value of their property.

MPAC will begin mailing property assessment notices for residential properties in Ottawa on July 18. Assessment notices for non-residential properties will be mailed in the fall of 2016. The last province-wide Assessment Update of Ontario properties took place in 2012 and was based on the valuation date of January 1, 2012. This update is based on the valuation date of January 1, 2016.

On average, Stittsville assessment values are up 5.03%, among the highest of any city ward. Kitchissippi (7.35%) and Rideau-Goulbourn (5.34%) are higher, and Kanata South has an average increase of 5.02%. The average increase across the city is 3.45%.

However – an increase in assessment value doesn’t necessarily mean your taxes will go up as a result.  The assessment notice is not a tax bill and an increase in assessment does not necessarily mean the same or any increase in property taxes.

On Monday, City of Ottawa Finance staff and MPAC staff briefed members of City Council, their staff and the news media to explain the new assessments and their relation to property taxes.  Here’s a copy of the slide deck from the presentation.

We’d like to hear from our readers: What are you seeing on your property assessment? Any big changes – increases or decreases? Add a comment below or email


How one group of residents is helping Syrian families come to Canada

Refugee Aid Canada Members (L to R): Back Row: Sameena Khan, Susan Monaghan, Olivia Nixon and Heidi Brault. Middle Row: Amin Amlani, and Nilofar Amlani. Front Row: Marc Blanchard, Charles Gregoire, and Hassan Futainah. Absent: Nazmu Mamdani, Samira Ayad Yedri
Refugee Aid Canada Members (L to R):
Refugee Aid Canada Members (left to right). Back row: Sameena Khan, Susan Monaghan, Olivia Nixon and Heidi Brault.  Middle row: Amin Amlani, and Nilofar Amlani. Front row: Marc Blanchard, Charles Gregoire, and Hassan Futainah. Absent: Nazmu Mamdani, Samira Ayad Yedri.


“If not me, who? I need to do something,” said Olivia Nixon when she became aware of the plight of the Syrian refugees.

She wasn’t the only one compelled to act. Continue reading


Successful tourney for SKM Software Stingers at Play On

(ABOVE: Councillor Shad Qadri took some time out to speak with the boys following the game.)

The SKM Software Stingers of Stittsville participated in the Play On! tournament on July 9 and 10 at Canadian Tire Centre.  They competed in the U8 recreational division, finishing first out of eight teams in the preliminary round.  They made it all the way to the finals, losing a close, but hard-played game 8-6. The team also won the best jerseys of the tournament award, with each player receiving a PlayOn Gongshow hat.

SKM Software Stingers receiving their Finalist Medals (rleft to right: Jamie Charlebois, Matthew Mines, London Knight, Brian Kirkwood, Ramsey Stretch, Andrew Zapp, Drew Morris)
SKM Software Stingers receiving their Finalist Medals (left to right: Jamie Charlebois, Matthew Mines, London Knight, Brian Kirkwood, Ramsey Stretch, Andrew Zapp, Drew Morris)

GAIA JAVA: Gretchen Martin with Alan Sandeman on July 15

Gretchen Martin with Alan Sandeman play on Friday, July 15 at 7:00pm at Gaia Java on Stittsville Main Street.

Once again the ‘Dynamic Duo’ will be entertaining this coming Friday at Gaia Java. Although both are very competent artists in their own right, they occasionally join forces to great effect, as you will hear!

Of all the artists who play at Gaia Java, I think I have had the most requests about’when are they playing again?’ for Gretchen Martin. When she arrives she sets up her multiple keyboard rack and other equipment, and when she starts singing it is as if there is a whole band there! Now this time she is bringing in another collaborator who is also familiar to Gaia Java audiences – Alan Sandeman, whose smooth guitar technique, steady voice and droll introductions have amused us on several previous occasions.

Alan and Gretchen had connected musically for a number of years, in fact the first time I ever heard Gretchen singing was on a recording made by Alan, where she nailed an Elton John classic.

Gretchen comes from a musical family and has been playing and singing for years, growing up in Winnipeg and then living for a while in Hawaii. When not making music she is busy with a role in the Canadian Military.  Alan has a background in high tech, and as well has played in a wide range of musical situations. Just the title of one of his songs: “I’m sorry your honour, I didn’t know she was your daughter’ tells you that this is going to be interesting! The prospect of his dry humour together with Gretchen’s intro jokes promises to keep you smiling this Friday.

This will be a treat of an evening – come and hear this talented duo, and expect some familiar tunes from the Eagles, Elton John, Adele, Billy Joel or other well-known hit makers. And expect them to be done very professionally!

Gretchen Martin with Alan Sandeman play on Friday, July 15 at 7:00pm at Gaia Java on Stittsville Main Street.

-Paul Jay


City asks for feedback on Wyldewood Park playground options

(via Councillor Shad Qadri)

The following layout plans and concept images depict two options for play equipment replacements at Wyldewood Park. Both play equipment options offer opportunities for climbing, hanging, balancing, swinging, crawling, and sliding, as well as socializing and cognitive activities. Both options also include an accessible asphalt path, asphalt ramps into the play areas, engineered wood fiber safety surfacing in play areas, a new accessible park bench, and a new accessible sand box with a widened edge for seating. Continue reading


STITTSVEGAS PODCAST: Marijuana dispensary, refugees, local band at Bluesfest

Devyn Barrie put together another strong Stittsvegas podcast this week. Guests include:

You can listen to the full podcast here…





Medical imaging centre will open this fall on Stittsville Main Street

Here’s a note from Councillor Shad Qadri about a medical imaging centre opening at 1609 Stittsville Main Street later this year. That’s next door to the Dynacare medical lab next to Greco:


I am pleased to announce that a new Stittsville Medical Imaging Centre will be opening this fall. Services offered will include X-rays and ultrasound exams, including prenatal 3D ultrasounds.

Last year I connected with the business’ new owners and asked for Stittsville’s thoughts on such a service which was received with an overwhelmingly positive response. Now, I will continue to work closely with the owners to ensure that the needs of Stittsville continue to be met.

The branch will be located at 1609 Stittsville Main St and I will be certain to provide more details including a grand opening date as the time nears.

If you are interested in learning more about the services being offered or if you are a talented sonographer, X-ray technician or administrative staff who live in the area looking for full time or part time work, please contact Dr. Gregory Davies at


THIS OLD HOUSE: Lytle family puts Stittsville Main Street home up for sale

(ABOVE: Cathy Lytle stands in front of her family’s home at 1495 Stittsville Main Street. Photo by Devyn Barrie.)

After more than a century on Stittsville Main Street, the Lytle House is up for sale.  The asking price is $499,000 according to Brent Taylor of Brentcom Realty. “Redevelopment ideal for retail, service commercial, office, residential and institutional uses, including mixed-use buildings, and excluding auto-related uses,” says the listing.

It’s a large lot, 100 feet along the street and 160 feet deep.

Cathy Lytle says the house has been standing since at least 1900, and it’s been in her family for 64 years. While it doesn’t have a heritage designation, it is on the city’s heritage registry. That doesn’t give it any protection, but if a future owner applies to demolish it, the City could do a review that could lead to full heritage designation.

DEVYN BARRIE: What can you tell me about the history of the house?

CATHY LYTLE: It was built in 1900 from a bachelor and it was sold four years later to a young couple… he was a tinkerer and they raised their daughter, Evelyn. She took cancer and died and then the father died of old age and the mother died after she sold the house to my parents… she lived with my parents for five years, she had herself written into the deed, for one bedroom and three meals a day and they got along fine, until she passed away.

Ab & Gwen Lytle's house, 1976. Photo from the Goulbourn Township Historical Society archives via Lesley McKay.
Ab & Gwen Lytle’s house, 1976. Photo from the Goulbourn Township Historical Society archives via Lesley McKay.


DB: It must have been something to grow up here and watch the town change all around it, hey?

CL: It’s not the [same] town anymore. Doesn’t matter which window you look out, it’s not the same at all. It’s funny, we were just saying I can remember all the places we used to go and play and climb trees and whose farmer fields we used to run through. And I said, now people look at you and say “well no, there was something else” or “No, no that was just all field.”

But yeah, [there have] been changes, it’s been hard on some of the older ones to see some of the changes.

DB: What’s it been like for you?

CL: I’m okay with some of the change, I just don’t like people coming in and telling me how to live. They want certain things changed here… but you’re taking away the essence of a small town.

DB: Why sell the house?

CL: Oh, we can’t afford to keep everything up. [My mother is] 87, she’s not well. My dad was a small contracting excavator, he left her a little bit of money, she was only on old age pension, she can only do so much. I only work part time and I work a minimum wage job… I can’t afford it. So, we decided to go to something that we both can manage and enjoy.

Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.
Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.

DB: How does it feel to have to leave this house behind?

CL: I’m okay. I’m ready. And I think she’s ready too. She’s had [a longer time] here, she’s raised her family and I was born here. We’re all business and everybody else has gone out and done better, this will help pay for some medical bills coming down the road…

… It’ll be sad in a way, but we have our memories, we have our pictures and they can’t take that away from us.

DB: Any idea what might happen to the house if it does get sold?

CL: We’ve had a business here for 40 years, like everybody else on Main Street. They had their house and their business right there. Last 20 years my dad’s been dead and we got rid of the business, so it’s kinda nice to think that somebody else will come in and make a go of it… maybe put something in like an ice cream store or something that reflects the core, not an office building or something. But it’s up to them.

DB: What do you think about the state of Main Street in general today?

CL: Well, when I grew up there was no sidewalks. It was a main highway… the traffic was heavy but now… you can’t sit outside, it’s hard to hear outside, the dust picks up, people come in on either side of you… it’s changed a lot compared to what I used to play, run and climb every tree in this place. It was a lot different… I watch the kids over in the park, but it’s not the same. We used to like the trains coming in and watching the people and wave, you don’t do that anymore. You can’t, there’s nothing there. And these people who are using the park don’t understand what was really there and I think they would have enjoyed it a lot better.

This interview was originally heard on Stittsvegas. Click here to listen to the full interview…

Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.
Lytle House, June 2016. Photo by Glen Gower.

Three Stittsville properties on the agenda at Committee of Adjustment

The City of Ottawa’s Committee of Adjustment will decide on three Stittsville applications on July 20.


The owner, Farmhouse Investments Inc., wants to subdivide the land into two separate parcels: “In order to do this, the Owner requires the Consent of the Committee for a Conveyance. The land to be severed is shown on a Draft 4R-Plan filed with the application, will have frontage of 43.25 metres on Fernbank Road to an irregular depth of 102.92 metres and will contain a lot area of 4560 square metres. This parcel contains the existing dwelling known municipally as 5897 Fernbank Road. The land to be retained is also shown on the Plan filed with the application, will have frontage of 38.33 metres on Fernbank Road to an irregular depth of 102.94 metres and will contain a lot area of 15,866 square metres. This parcel is vacant and will be known municipally as 5903 Fernbank Road and is part of the Fernbank Community Plan for future development.” More info…

That “existing dwelling” is also known as Flewellyn-Jones House, which recently was designated under the Ontario Heritage Act. The owners are planning to turn it into a PTSD wellness centre.


The owner, real estate agent Glendon Moore, wants to subdivide the property into two separate parcels of land to create a new lot for future development. The house currently facing Johnwoods would make up one piece of land, and a slightly smaller parcel would front front Hartin Street.

“The existing detached dwelling known municipally as 30 Johnwoods Street is to remain on the other parcel. In order to do this, the Owner requires the Consent of the Committee for Conveyances.  The property is shown as Parts 1 and 2 on a Draft 4R-Plan filed with the applications and the separate parcels will be as follows:
Applications for 30 JohnwoodsApproval of these applications will have the effect of creating a parcel of land for the existing dwelling which will not be in conformity with the requirements of the Zoning Bylaw and therefore a Minor Variance Application (D08-02-16/A-00190) has been filed and will be heard concurrently with these applications.”

“In order to proceed, the Owner requires the Authority of the Committee for a Minor Variance from the Zoning By-law to permit a reduced rear yard setback of 2.8 metres whereas the By-law requires a minimum rear yard setback of 9 metres. It should be noted that, for By-law purposes, the frontage on Hartin Street is deemed to be the front lot line for this property.” More info…

325 HALIBURTON, 200, 201 ROVER, 100 SHINNY
(Fernbank / Robert Grant area)

Abbott-Fernbank Holdings Inc. owns the property, and proposes “to construct four detached dwellings on Lots 76, 95, 96 and 115, with one dwelling on each lot. The proposed dwellings on these lots will not be located in conformity with the requirements of the Zoning By-law, as shown on plans filed with the Committee. In order to proceed, the Owner requires the Authority of the Committee for Minor Variances from the Zoning By-law. More info…

(Perhaps as notable as the application are the new street names: Shinny Avenue, Slapshot Way and Rover Street.)