All posts by Glen Gower

NOTEBOOK: New bike repair station at Village Square Park

Nice to see this new bike repair station added to Village Square Park this week, along the Trans Canada Trail near Stittsville Main.  It’s a good spot for it, with hundreds of cyclists passing by each week.

(This would have come in handy a few weeks ago when my wife blew a bike tire on Abbott street just past the park!)

Safer Roads Ottawa (SRO) is setting these up at parks, libraries and other public areas around the city, but there aren’t too many yet in the suburbs.  According to SRO: “Each self service bike repair station includes a work stand, an air pump and the following tools:

  • Philips screwdriver and stand
  • 2 steel core tire levers
  • pedal wrench
  • 2 cone wrenches (8/10 mm 9/11 mm)
  • Torx T-25
  • Hex key set
  • The air pump includes heads to fill both Presta and Schrader valves.

Information on how to use the repair station and tools can be found at www.Ottawa.ca/bikerepair

UPDATE: City staff will be at the repair station to give tips on bike maintenance and safety on Monday, August 21 at 6:30 p.m.

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Anecdotally, I’ve heard about more and more cyclists from outside of our community coming to visit Stittsville by bike. For example, blogger Andrea Tomkins and her husband Mark, who biked in from Westboro a few weeks back.  That’s about 50km round trip, and you can do it entirely on recreation trails.  More evidence: the bike rack behind Quitters is usually overflowing on a sunny weekend day.

Stittsville as a cycling destination?  Sounds good to me.

Now let’s hope we see some safer bike infrastructure on Stittsville Main Street in the near future too.


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NOTEBOOK: A fenced dog run, more cash for road repairs, ice cream at Quitters

FENCED DOG RUNS PLANNED FOR STITTSVILLE SOUTH NEIGHBOURHOOD

Valecraft Homes recently tweeted out the design of a park and stormwater pond in their new Rathwell Landing neighbourhood, (located south of the existing Westwind neighbourhood). Continue reading


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COMMENT: Traffic calming needs a little creativity

(FILE PHOTO: Speed sign on Hobin Street, near A. Lorne Cassidy school. Photo by Barry Gray.)

Eric Darwin writes a must-read local blog called West Side Action.  It’s focused on urban issues near his home in central Ottawa, but a lot of what he writes about can be applied to neighbourhoods all over the city.

Case in point: A recent post about some creative ideas for traffic calming.  A lot of Stittsville streets  have a problem with vehicles drivers travelling too fast, especially West Ridge, Fringewood, Kittiwake, Alon, Maple Grove, Rosehill, Hobin, Liard, Stittsville Main, Iber, Amberwood… I could go on and on.

We’ve seen some limited attempts at traffic calming in Stittsville, mostly those flex posts in the centre of the street, or “SLOW DOWN” painted in white on the roadway.  There’s a $40,000 yearly budget in each ward for this kind of thing, but that doesn’t go very far at all.

Darwin says we need to get creative: “If our city traffic committee had any guts, instead of just ‘considering’ stuff that filters up from the bureaucrats, they’d pre-approve a menu of simple paint and portable measures to be supplied and  installed anywhere the community can convince the councillor to authorize them. If they don’t calm the traffic, nothing ventured nothing gained. Try something else.”

A few of his ideas:

  1. Paint the road narrower. City policy requires a 10-foot minimum lane width, but a lot of our neighbourhood roads are much wider than that. A simple line of paint creates the impression of a narrower road, and does slow traffic.
  2. Temporary “bulb-outs”. That’s where the road gets narrower at the intersection, giving pedestrians a shorter width to cross, and forcing cars to slow down. Permanent bulb-outs can be expensive, but Darwin suggests temporary cones or planters in the meantime.
  3. Add a median. Those ubiquitous flex posts are ok, but you could do even better with something less flexible!  Maybe a row of planters with trees down the middle, or again, just some simple paint.  “Nothing like the fear of denting some sheet metal to encourage compliance,” he writes.

For decades, cities and developers built neighbourhood roads with the goal of moving cars as fast as possible in and out of the subdivision. We need to shift the balance to focus on pedestrian safety first. Implementing a few simple ideas like these ones will start accellerate that shift.

You can read his full post here:

Non-stop traffic calming


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NOTEBOOK: City staff want your feedback on parking time limits

In some Stittsville neighbourhoods (especially the newer subdivisions), parking is a massive bone of contention.  There were 268 parking bylaw compliants in Stittsville during the first half of the year, the most of any bylaw category.

City of Ottawa traffic services staff are in the process of updating the parking bylaw, and are looking for feedback on a specific part of the rulebook on parking time limits. Continue reading


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NOTEBOOK: Local businesses invited to BIA info meeting on Tuesday

UPDATE: About 50 people attended the meeting on Tuesday night to hear about the BIA proposal, ask questions and share concerns.  The steering committee plans to keep educating the local business community on what the proposal is all about, and there’s a survey on the City’s web site for local business owners to complete.

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Local businesses are being encouraged to attend an information meeting on Tuesday, July 18 to hear about plans to create a Business Improvement Area (BIA) for Stittsville. The meeting happens at 7pm at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex, Hall A.

A group of around half a dozen local business owners have formed a steering committee to drum up interest and support in the plan.  (The group includes a variety of owners and management from Walkerworks Framing, Jo-Jo’s Pizza, Huntington Properties, Stittsville IDA, Covered Bridge Brewing, and Warmstone Dentistry.)

From the group’s Facebook page: “Stittsville is such a dynamic community with incredible opportunity. The growth we’ve experienced and will continue to experience at an increasingly rapid pace needs direction. The Stittsville BIA proposal is here to exhibit the power of BIAs and how we can help unlock untapped potential for all Stittsville business owners. We need to support each other and our businesses through an organized effort. Shop the Stittsville is movement. Come enjoy some pizza courtesy of Jo-Jo’s and voice your opinion – it matters!”

Continue reading


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NOTEBOOK: Jack Ketch update, Carp Rd landfill contaminated soil

THE JACK KETCH RESTAURANT PLANS AUGUST OPENING
John Curry
wrote a great overview of some of the historical buildings on Stittsville Main Street recently in the Stittsville News.  The piece starts with a brief history of the yellow house at 1536 Stittsville Main Street: “The two-storey building… was built in the 1890s as the home of Miss Rebecca Stitt, a dressmaker who worked at the Mann General Store in the village. It was passed on to her sister Elizabeth, who was a nurse. It was the home of Sterling and Grace Howie for 27 years until they sold it in 1992 for use as the hair salon for Precision Cut Hair Styling. It later served as a day care centre and is now being renovated to be a restaurant.”

The new restaurant will be known as The Jack Ketch, a 30-seat restaurant run by Kevin Conway and his partner Allison Pearce. Conway says they plan to open the restaurant sometime in August.  For some hints as to what’s in store, check out their a teaser web site, Facebook page and Instagram.

Trout with lentil ragout and mussels

A post shared by Jack (@jackketchfood) on

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WASTE MANGEMENT APPLIES TO PROCESS CONTAMINATED SOIL
Waste Management has filed paperwork with the Ontario Government to amend their Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) so that they can process contaminated soil at their Carp Road landfill facility.

Here’s how minutes from a public liaison committee meeting describe the proposal: “application is to construct a soil treatment pad to treat hydro carbon impacted soils, these materials once they meet strict soil analysis would also be used on site for the same purposes as above and including cover material for the landfill/waste operation, none of this material would leave the site.”

Hydro carbon impacted soils include soil contaminated by petroleum products like oil and gas.  Waste Management’s application seeks permission to process and store up to 120,000 tonnes of contaminated soil per year, above and beyond any previously approved landfill capacity.

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RADAR GUN & DEER RUN
I jotted down a couple of quick notes at last night’s Stittsville Village Association meeting:  1) Councillor Shad Qadri says that part of this year’s $40,000 traffic calming budget for Stittsville Ward will go towards a radar gun. The gun will be available for community associations to borrow to measure traffic speed on neighbourhood streets.  (I wonder if baseball teams can borrow it to measure pitches too?)  2) Qadri also mentioned that construction of the new splash pad at Deer Run Park is progressing well and could be finished by mid-August.

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PEAK PARSNIP
We appear to be in peak Wild Parsnip season. The yellow weed is growing along pathways, fields and ditches all over our community. This is the third year that the City of Ottawa has been spraying herbicide in public areas.  If you’re wondering about what to look for, or how to safely get rid of the plant on your property, check out this article from our archives in 2015…

Wild Parsnip. Photo via the City of Ottawa.
Wild Parsnip. File photo via the City of Ottawa.

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CELEBRITY NEWS
If you were at NeXT restaurant on June 27, you might have spotted Michael J. Fox having dinner there with his family. He was in Ottawa to receive a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award at Rideau Hall the next day.


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NOTEBOOK: Farmers’ Market update, more thefts at Carp Road Park & Ride

FARMERS’ MARKET UPDATE
There’s still no date set for the opening of the “official” Ottawa Farmers’ Market at Village Square Park, but Suzanne Bird is forging ahead anyways with a mini market next door at “The Barn”.  Bird owns the old log building on the east side of Village Square Park. The first event will be on Friday, June 30 from 4:00pm-7:00pm, and will feature two Ontario CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farmers. More info here…

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MORE THEFTS AT CARP ROAD PARK & RIDE
Last month Devyn Barrie reported on a man who had all four of the wheels stolen from his car during the day while it was parked at the Carp Road Park & Ride. This week, there were reports of two thefts of catalytic converters from cars. In one case, thieves sliced through the vehicle and took the catalytic converter, a section of the exhaust system and cables from a 2017 Nissan Titan.

Councillor Shad Qadri wrote in his newsletter this week that city officials are looking into the feasibility of adding security cameras to the lot. (The lot is technically in Rideau-Goulbourn, not Stittsville.)

Meanwhile, the City is planning to pave the lot, and increase the number of spaces from 115 to 150.

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UPDATED PLANS FOR 5505 FERNBANK
The City of Ottawa has posted applications for a Draft Plan of Subdivision and Zoning By-law Amendment for a new phase of the Blackstone subdivision. You can read about the plans here, and submit comments and questions to City of Ottawa staff.

The piece of land is at the southeast corner of the Fernbank area, adjacent to the Walmart. Cardel and Mattamy are the developers, and the plan is to develop 950 housing units, including detached homes and townhouses, and apartments. The proposed development includes two parks, a stormwater management block, a public elementary school site and a future Catholic high school site.

It’s probably worth pointing out that even though there’s land designated for future schools, there’s no guarantee they will ever be built, and there’s a window of at least seven years for the school boards to exercise their options on the land. The master plan for the entire Fernbank area includes land for 11 schools, including a public high school further west.

Plan of subdivision for 5505 Fernbank


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NOTEBOOK: More honours for Tysen, Poole Creek blasting, coyote meeting, more

CONGRATS TYSEN!
This week at the Spirit of the Capital Youth Awards, Stittsville’s Tysen Lefebvre received the Max Keeping Award for Personal Strength and Courage. It’s awarded annually to an individual who has demonstrated a tremendous passion for life by overcoming personal obstacles. Tysen’s goal is to raise one million dollars for Make-A-Wish. He’s over $600,000 so far. Continue reading


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NOTEBOOK: Kanata-Stittsville LRT study will look at three route options

(PHOTO: Artist’s rendering of the Rideau LRT station downtown. Via City of Ottawa.)

It occurred to me on the drive home from Monday night’s LRT open house that we just spent a lot of time and money on consultants to tell us that the best route for LRT is along the Queensway, like we’ve been planning all along.

Still, consultants and planners will spend the next few months evaluating three options (down from 13 shortlisted routes) for the potential future Kanata-Stittsville LRT extension, from Moodie Drive to Palladium. Continue reading


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NOTEBOOK: Infill on Jonathan Pack, Haliburton Park plans, noise bylaw changes

INFILL ON JONATHAN PACK
On June 7, Ottawa’s Committee of Adjustment will consider a request to subdivide a piece of residential property at 28 Jonathan Pack Street. Currently it’s a large lot with a single home, and the proposal seeks to divide the property in half, keeping the house on one lot and using the other for a new house. (You can find more info here…)

The property in question is typical of many on Jonathan Pack, with large lots about 30m wide at the front stretching back about 60m. The lots on Forest Heights and Stitt Street, which run parallel to Jonathan Pack, are quite a bit narrower and considerably denser.

I don’t know enough about this application to say if it’s good or bad for the street, but I do know that we’re seeing more and more large, older properties in Stittsville been subdivided for infill development. If you’re not a fan of endless suburban sprawl, infills like this one can be a way that sprawl can slowed. What’s important is getting the design right, and ensuring that the scale of the infill is compatible with the existing neighbourhood.

Continue reading


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NOTEBOOK: Three reasons why OMB reforms are good for our community

Great to see that the Ontario Government is pushing ahead to reform the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB), with a proposal to replace it with a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal. Three quick thoughts on why this will be good for our community – both Stittsville, and more broadly, all of Ottawa. Continue reading


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Barbara Bottriell recognized with Roger Griffiths Memorial award

Great to see Barbara Bottriell recognized as the Roger Griffiths Memorial Citizen of the Year last night at the annual Stittsville Volunteer Appreciation Awards.  Other recipients included the Stittsville Seniors’ Community by Revera for Business of the Year, Caitlin Bauer for Youth Citizen of the Year, and Patricia Warford for Senior Citizen of the Year. A full list of nominees is included below.  We’re lucky to have so many dedicated volunteers who give back to their community in a big way. -GG. Continue reading


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NOTEBOOK: We’re the guinea pigs for building better suburbs

The City of Ottawa sent out a press release earlier this week about progress on a long-term project called “Building Better and Smarter Suburbs”. (You can read the full press release below.)

Suburbs are changing, and the city’s policies, bylaws and planning/design guidelines need to be updated to adapt to the evolving environment. The Building Better and Smarter Suburbs project contains a series of strategies covering all sorts of issues. Continue reading


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NOTEBOOK: Owners want to axe Palladium Autopark capacity limit

Oh the irony.

A planning consultant says that a luxury auto dealership planned for Palladium Drive will be pedestrian friendly.

I’ll admit, a lot of the information contained in the Proposed Zoning By-Law Amendment Planning Rationale for 2499 Palladium Drive, 2500 Palladium Drive and 675 Autopark Private is over my head, but I know enough to read these documents with a certain degree of skepticism.

Continue reading


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PHOTO: Turtle near Poole Creek

We spotted this guy (or gal?) on a path near Poole Creek on the weekend.  It's a snapping turtle, and they're a common sight in Stittsville near creeks and marshes at this time of year.  Don't get too close though - these guys won't hesitate to snap if they feel threatened.  In late May and early June, you'll start to see mother turtles burying their eggs in the sand at local playgrounds, and then the turtles hatch in September.
Photo by Glen Gower

 

We spotted this guy (or gal?) on a path near Poole Creek on the weekend.  It’s a snapping turtle, and they’re a common sight in Stittsville near creeks and marshes at this time of year.  Don’t get too close though – these guys won’t hesitate to snap if they feel threatened.  In late May and early June, you’ll start to see mother turtles burying their eggs in the sand at local playgrounds, and then the turtles hatch in September. More photos & stories about Stittsville turtles here…


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Court upholds fine, orders rehabilitation of Rothbourne Road wetland

A provincial court has ordered a company and its director to rehabilitate a provincially significant wetland on Rothbourne Road that they damaged over five years ago.

On Thursday, Justice Diane M. Lahaie of the Ontario Court of Justice in Ottawa upheld an appeal initiated by the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MCVA), and issued a court order to a numbered company, 1634088 Ontario Inc., and its director, Rodolfo Mion, to rehabilitate and restore the wetland on Rothbourne Road near Highway 7.

Essentially, the judge ruled that the original $7,500 fine imposed wasn’t much of a punishment (or a deterrent) for bulldozing a wetland to create developable land.

Continue reading


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A pair of Jane’s Walks planned for Stittsville on May 6

(PHOTO: Jane’s Walk 2016 on Stittsville Main Street. Photo by Barry Gray.)

Two Jane’s Walks are planned for Stittsville on Saturday, May 6. One is focused on the W.J. Bell Rotary Peace Park, and the other is a walk along the central part of Stittsville Main Street. Continue reading


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“MY CARP RUNNETH OVER”: Pathway flooding is perfectly normal, says City

Carp River, April 8, 2017. The Arcadia neighbourhood is in the background.

(Thanks Karen for the headline pun.)

The mighty Carp River overflowed its banks during the first week of April, covering the adjacent floodplain and recreation paths with water.  Officials say that’s completely normal.

Continue reading


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NOTEBOOK: Congestion pricing, cell phone tower, patio season

CONGESTION PRICING BACK ON THE RADAR
Looks like the debate over “congestion pricing” might be coming to City Hall in the near future. That’s the idea of using financial incentives (or disincentives) to decrease car use and increase transit ridership, particularly from the suburbs of Ottawa into the downtown core.

The four downtown councillors – Chernushenko, Leiper, McKenney and Nussbaum – commissioned a study that was presented at a symposium last week.

The study looks at the potential effects of four pricing models: highway tolls, “cordon” charges (a toll to enter downtown), parking rate changes and a gas tax increase. The authors conclude that raising the cost of parking downtown would be the most cost-effective tool: “The report concludes that while a cordon charge to enter the Ottawa central area could be more effective at accomplishing the stated objectives, the implementation costs given today’s technology would make it impractical. Tolling the highways was evaluated to be less effective given the possibility of leakage onto parallel arterial roads and the inability to address north-south traffic. The study notes important jurisdictional and other challenges regarding the feasibility of raising the gas tax and concludes that focussing on parking charges would be more useful in addressing congestion and increasing transit ridership. Although high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes were not examined in detail, the report suggests their feasibility could increase in light of provincial highway expansion plans.

“Managing congestion using pricing tools is increasingly recognized by cities worldwide as a way to increase transit ridership, lower greenhouse gas emissions, improve air quality and address commuting frustration” says Chernushenko. “Our goal in commissioning this research and analysis from CPCS is to contribute to an ongoing conversation about how to best to encourage sustainable transportation and support our significant investment in LRT. This is a very important discussion for Ottawa to have.”

There are no immediate plans to move forward on any recommendations in the study, but it’s a debate that Stittsville commuters will want to keep an eye on in the months to come.

You can read the report here…

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CELL TOWER PROPOSED FOR IBER
Via Councillor Qadri: “Shared Network Canada (SNC) is proposing a 50m tri-pole communication tower to be constructed at 145 Iber Rd. The tower will be used to offer space to multiple cellular carriers to enhance and support their networks. A small fenced area with a walk-in cabinet will be constructed at the base of the installation. A public meeting will be held at the Main Hall of the Goulbourn Recreational Complex (1500 Shea Rd) on Wednesday, April 12th to help answer resident questions and concerns regarding the project.” There’s more info about the meeting here…

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590 HAZELDEAN ROAD ZONING
On April 11, the City’s planning committee will be considering a zoning bylaw amendment for 590 Hazeldean Road.  Currently zoned as agricultural land, the proposed change would allow for a residential development with parks, a school and commercial areas.  The initial consultation for the zoning change happened way back in late 2013 / early 2014, but the item is only now coming in front of councillors.

The staff report prepared for the meeting describes the land as “vacant”, but that’s not really accurate. The word suggests empty, worthless land.  In this case it’s quite the opposite. Until a few years ago it was home to an active farm, and the Bradley-Craig heritage house and barn are still standing along Hazeldean Road.  (The barn is supposed to be relocated soon to Saunders Farm.)

You can read the background documents here…

SIGNS OF SPRING


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