Ian McKim, Jillian McKim, Gerry Kroll and Keldine FitzGerald stand in front of a proposed 140 housing development on marshlands off Fernbank Road. Photo by Barry Gray.

LETTER: Proposed development on Fernbank raises concerns about flooding

(ABOVE: Stittsville residents Ian McKim, Jillian McKim, Gerry Kroll and Keldine FitzGerald are concerned about a proposed 140-unit housing development on marshlands off Fernbank Road.  Photo by Barry Gray.)

Approximate location of the proposed development at 6279 Fernbank Road
Approximate location of the proposed development at 6279 Fernbank Road.

 

Editor’s note: Residents near a proposed development at 6279 Fernbank Road are hoping to engage with the community to keep people updated on an upcoming Ontario Municipal Board hearing expected in April.

As resident Jillian McKim  explains in her letter below, residents and the City of Ottawa are concerned about several aspects of the proposed development, including the effect it could have on stormwater drainage.

McKim is part of the landowners group that is planning a meeting in November to bring residents up to date. If you’re interested in getting more information, contact Keldine FitzGerald at keldine@keldine.ca.

Marshlands off Fernbank Road where a 140 housing development has been proposed. Photo by Barry Gray.
Marshlands off Fernbank Road where a 140-unit housing development has been proposed. Photo by Barry Gray.

LETTER

The Elm Development at 6279 Fernbank, also known as Cypress Gardens Phase 3, is a proposed development of split-singles and single-family homes to be developed over 6.8 hectares of wetlands, storm water management lands and old growth forest nestled between Fernbank Road, Porter Street, Meadowland Drive, Elm Crescent and West Ridge Drive. It will be the final phase of the Cypress Gardens community started in by J.P. Chenier Sr. in the late 1950s.

The original plan of subdivision proposed 140 dwelling units (59 single detached dwellings and 81 townhouse units), with one access road onto Elm.  A revised plan was provided at a pre-hearing conference earlier this year that included 148 dwelling units and a second access from Porter Street.

The developer has appealed to the OMB due to a difference of opinion on the fees payable and the lack of decision by the City of Ottawa on the subdivision application and related zoning by-law amendment.

In June, the Ontario Municipal Board held a pre-hearing with representatives in attendance from the City of Ottawa and the property owners. Keldine FitzGerald also attended as an Elm Crescent resident seeking party status on behalf of the Stittsville landowners group.

The city and community have concerns about insufficient information on stormwater management and drainage, as well as for overlook and integration with the surrounding community.

The site is currently part of the Fernbank wetland, is constrained by a consistently high groundwater table, and is directly adjacent to a section of wetland that is protected as an Urban Natural Feature and is a headwater area of Poole Creek.

Reports from the developer, the City of Ottawa and the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority indicate that there are significant concerns with the stormwater management proposal, most notably that the subject lands are within a large ponding area that provides stormwater storage during major storm events. The stormwater management system for the adjacent communities relies on this storage to ensure that the storm sewers do not surcharge.

In some areas the land will have to be back-filled up to three metres which will result in the basements of the new homes towering above many of the backyards of the existing 20+ homes that currently back on to the wetlands.

In July 2009, residents in Cypress Gardens, West Ridge and along Fernbank Road experienced significant flooding on their properties and in their homes.  This was during what was considered a five-year storm, meaning a storm that has the probability of occurring once in five years.

The stormwater management infrastructure was inadequate to manage the amount of rainfall. The wetlands that are located to the north and south of Fernbank Road provide significant storage of stormwater runoff for the immediate area and when the Monarch development displaced much of those wetlands, the water simply over topped the road and ran naturally to the north into the Poole Creek catchment.

Even then, the wetlands could not manage the influx from the area and flooded Poole Creek.

It has yet to be determined to what extent the existing stormwater management systems in the adjacent communities are dependent on the storage within the wetland on this site. Where exactly will this water go if the site is developed?  This will be one of several significant issues to be dealt with at the Ontario Municipal Board hearing which is expected to be scheduled for the spring of 2015.

Concerned landowners from each street impacted met with neighbours in the fall 2013 and plan to further engage the community as the process develops in November 2014. The group maintains open communication with the City and its technical experts in regards to issues and development concerns on behalf of the surrounding community. Should community members wish to get involved they can contact keldine@keldine.ca.

–Jillian McKim

Stittsville resident Ian McKim stands in marshland off Fernbank Road where a 140-unit housing development had been proposed.  Photo taken in spring of 2014 by Gerry Kroll.
Stittsville resident Ian McKim stands in marshland off Fernbank Road where a 140-unit housing development had been proposed. Photo taken in spring of 2014 by Gerry Kroll.
City of Ottawa sign indicating the meeting for a proposed 140 housing development off Fernbank Road.  Photo by Barry Gray.
City of Ottawa sign with information about a proposed 140 housing development off Fernbank Road. Photo by Barry Gray.

We want to hear from residents about issues affecting their neighbourhoods. You can email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca with your letters and story ideas.

 


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