Category Archives: Nature & Environment

NOTEBOOK: City moves a step closer to protecting Shea Woods

(PHOTO: Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Shad Qadri joined local residents on Tuesday to announce plans to protect the Shea Woods. Photos by Frank Cianciullo.)

The City of Ottawa hosted a media event today to announce a $1.5-million agreement to conserve part of the Shea Woods, a cedar forest located southeast of Holy Spirit Church and a popular spot for dog walkers.

The forest is currently owned by CRT Developments, who are planning a housing development in the area.  A City of Ottawa press release (included below) outlines how the City intends to protected the forested area.  (The total area of protected forest appears to be less than the 7-hectares that was previously identified by city staff as worthy of protection.)

This isn’t a done deal yet. It still needs approval from Planning Committee and City Council (which is likely to go through). Perhaps slightly more challenging will be getting permission from Hydro One to allow the park within their power line corridor, along with associated engineering studies.

Still, the agreement between the City and CRT, along with the additional funding, is great news for our community.

See also: Remarks from Sabrina Kemp from today’s announcement…

The city of Ottawa has plans to acquire a portion of Shea Woods, as shown here. Map via City of Ottawa.
The city of Ottawa has plans to acquire a portion of Shea Woods, as shown here. Map via City of Ottawa.

***

Here’s today’s press release from the City of Ottawa:

Stittsville residents are a step closer to celebrating as the City moves to acquire and protect a five-hectare portion of Shea Road Woods, a popular local greenspace. The City has reached a purchase agreement with property owner CRT Developments, subject to approval by Planning Committee and City Council.

The woods, situated near the Goulbourn Recreation Complex, are already frequented by local residents for dog walking and nature hiking. City Council had committed to acquire this important natural area in 2009 and again in 2013. The privately owned lands could otherwise legally be developed.

On Tuesday, October 24, Planning Committee will consider the agreement, which would see the City pay cash for about one third of the property. The remaining two thirds would be transferred in exchange for another parcel of land that was to be developed as a City park.

Ottawa generally requires each developer to design and build parks on behalf of the City as part of their subdivision agreements. As part of a subdivision adjacent to the Shea Road Woods, CRT Developments had already planned a 3.28-hectare park. In exchange for the Shea Road Woods property, the City will allow that land to instead be developed with low-density housing.

The City would pay cash for the remaining 1.72 hectares, at an estimated cost of $1,577,573. Funding for that purchase would come from the Environmental Resource Area Acquisition Reserve Fund, which Council established to help acquire and protect features like Shea Road Woods.

A final purchase agreement is conditional on the City obtaining permission from Hydro One to relocate the planned park to a nearby transmission line corridor, so that the community can still enjoy a full range of recreational, health and fitness opportunities. Moving the park facilities will also require engineering studies and possible design measures to ensure that community health and safety will never be compromised.

The agreement will provide continued access to high quality outdoor recreational space and accessible greenspace. Protecting the woods will also increase Ottawa’s urban tree canopy cover and improve land use efficiency, consistent with the Building Better and Smarter Suburbs initiative.

Ottawa’s Official Plan contains policies for the acquisition of natural areas and other greenspaces. The City already owns many Urban Natural Features, as well as over 10,000 hectares of rural land in such environmentally significant areas as the South March Highlands, the Carp Hills, Constance Bay, Cumberland Forest and Marlborough Forest. These areas are managed by the City for conservation and passive recreational purposes, and provide local residents with valuable opportunities to experience and appreciate the natural environment.

The City’s guide to conservation areas in Ottawa includes more information about ongoing efforts to protect greenspace.

Quotes

“It’s important that we continue to work to preserve and enhance greenspace throughout Ottawa. Urban natural areas like Shea Road Woods contribute significantly to public health, community enjoyment and property values, while keeping the City’s overall ecological integrity and aesthetic enjoyment open to all.”

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

“Protecting greenspaces like the Shea Road Woods is not only an ecological priority, it is also a commitment to quality of life for our residents who value having places where they can enjoy nature within the city. As the population grows and neighbourhoods evolve, we will continue to work to maintain these valuable urban natural areas.”

Councillor Shad Qadri, Stittsville Ward


SHARE THIS

SHEA WOODS: ‘More than just a forest’

(PHOTO: Afternoon in Shea Woods, January 2017. Photo by Glen Gower.)

Mayor Jim Watson, Sabrina Kemp, and Stittsville Councillor Shad Qadri at Tuesday's announcement. Photos by Frank Cianciullo.
Mayor Jim Watson, Sabrina Kemp, and Stittsville Councillor Shad Qadri at Tuesday’s announcement. Photos by Frank Cianciullo.

Here’s part of Stittsville resident Sabrina Kemp’s remarks at today’s Shea Woods announcement.

I was first introduced to the Shea Woods just over 10 years ago. A friend suggested it as a wonderful spot to walk our new puppy. We were newly married and new to the Stittsville Community. I quickly realized how lucky we were to have such a beautiful natural space right in our community.

During my quiet walks there, I was enchanted by the mature cedars, the fern beds that grow in the open, sunlit areas of the forest floor and the old stone fences that border the woods – left behind, I would imagine as I walked, by one of Stittsville’s early settlers.

As the seasons change, so does the Shea Woods – from the apple blossoms in the spring, to the warm colours of the sugar maples in the fall and the dusting of snow on the trails in the winter.

In my early days of walking there, I met a gentleman who told me he was one of the first neighbours to start marking trails through the Shea Woods. At that time, he had already been walking there daily with his dog for years. Clearly, this was a special place for more than just me.

Soon, we started walking through the Shea Woods with our children. The minute they step into the woods, their imaginations soar – fallen branches become magic wands, old rotting tree trunks become balance beams that they must cross while escaping from some imaginary, forest-dwelling bad guys. They have favourite trees with perfect climbing branches.

The Shea Woods really is more than just a forest. In the middle of the woods, there is a tree where neighbours hang plastic containers filled with dog treats to share. The tree is decorated each year at Christmas.

There are daily meet-ups at the big rock and springtime clean-ups. In the age of IPhones and PlayStations, the Shea Woods is a meeting place for neighbours, a place to catch-up with old friends, and meet new ones.

It is an easily accessible natural space for our children to explore and as adults, a place to quietly walk, listening to the birds and the wind in the trees.

We all know that trees and natural green spaces are important. We know that trees filter the air we breathe and help prevent roadside runoff from getting into our waterways. We know that trees help reduce flooding, fight soil erosion, cool the air, muffle urban noise and increase property values.

We are also starting to learn more and more about how important time in natural spaces is to both the physical and mental health for adults and children alike. It has been shown to reduce stress, improve cognitive function and feelings of well-being.

Today, we celebrate moving from knowledge and planning to concrete action. Accessible green spaces like the Shea Woods are one of the things that makes Stittsville such a wonderful community to live in. Thank you to Councillor Qadri, Mayor Watson and the City Planning Team for their efforts in making this a reality.

The Shea Woods, September 2017. Photo by Glen Gower
The Shea Woods, September 2017. Photo by Glen Gower.

SHARE THIS

PHOTOS: Sunday evening’s storm cuts power to thousands in Stittsville

High wind gusts and torrential downpours hit Stittsville around 6:00pm on Sunday evening, cutting power to over 10,000 people in Stittsville. About 20 minutes later, Environment Canada issued a wind warning for gusts up to 100km/h, and a gust of 97km/h was reported at the Ottawa Airport – the highest recorded wind speed in 20 years. Here are some of your photos from during and after the event.

Do you have a photo from today’s storm? Send it along to feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca Continue reading


SHARE THIS

TransCanada drops plans for Energy East pipeline

TransCanada announced today that it has cancelled plans for the Energy East pipeline. It would have would have carried 1.1-million barrels of crude oil each day across the country, including a stretch on the western boundary of Stittsville.  (The photo above shows the part of the pipeline route, looking south from Jinkinson Road.)

Here’s a press release from Ecology Ottawa, who have been campaigning against the project for several years:

Ecology Ottawa is celebrating TransCanada’s announcement earlier today that officially terminated the company’s proposed Energy East pipeline project. Energy East, which would ship 1.1 million barrels of diluted bitumen across Ottawa, posed a direct threat to the city’s water, land and climate. Since the pipeline project was announced in 2013, Ecology Ottawa has been working in communities across Ottawa to mobilize resistance to the pipeline.

“TransCanada will tell you it has abandoned Energy East because of technical reasons. They will cite the price of oil and the additional burden of new National Energy Board requirements as the reason for scuttling the project,” says Robb Barnes, Ecology Ottawa’s Acting Executive Director. “More important still is the fact that Energy East lost on political grounds. Like other communities along the pipeline route, Ottawans rejected this project because it threatened the health of their city and was completely incompatible with our community doing its fair share to fight climate change.”

Ecology Ottawa volunteers have been working for years to raise awareness and mobilize opposition to the proposed pipeline project. Since 2013, over 8,000 residents of the city signed a petition opposing Energy East. Volunteers have been knocking on thousands of doors in their communities, holding information sessions, engaging with their elected officials and staging rallies to demonstrate their opposition to the project.

“The end of Energy East is a moment to reflect on the real energy priorities of the 21st century,” says Anthony Garoufalis-Auger, Ecology Ottawa’s Clean Energy Organizer. “Instead of dirty pipeline projects that benefit massive transnational companies and produce few jobs, we can now renew our focus on the renewable energy transition, where the jobs are more plentiful, more local, and don’t threaten the environment. Ottawa can play a leadership role in this transition, but we need to see consistent leadership from our elected officials.”


SHARE THIS

THE GREAT OUTDOORS: Stittsville Public’s new open air classroom

(PHOTO: Students, staff, volunteers and elected officials took part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony — complete with kid-sized scissors — at Stittsville Public School on Friday, September 29. It marked the official opening of a new outdoor classroom. Photo by Lorrie Hayes.)


“Parent Council saw this as an opportunity to get the kids out and moving while still considering the curriculum and academics. This is an opportunity to bring the learning outside. To be a place and a space for movement and fresh air. I think we’re starting to understand that with kids having difficulties concentrating at school, there’s a feeling that more movement and more fresh air might contribute to helping some of those situations.”
–Sabrina Kemp, former co-chair of the Stittsville Public School Parent Council


Sabrina Kemp is ecstatic for the opening of a new outdoor classroom at Stittsville Public School.  An official ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Friday in front of students and staff.

“It’s fantastic, I’ve dropped by a few times and it’s great to see the kids playing. And I love seeing that the school can accept some risk, and the benefit that comes from that,” she says. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

New guidelines for planting street trees in subdivisions

(via City of Ottawa)

Ottawa’s new subdivisions may soon have more tree-lined streets, thanks to guidelines received by the City’s Planning Committee today.

The new guidelines offer flexibility to the 2005 Clay Soils Policy when it comes to small and medium-sized trees under certain conditions. With more than half of the vacant land within Ottawa’s urban boundary potentially containing sensitive marine clay soils, this update will increase the number, size and variety of street trees in new subdivisions. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

Continue to protect yourself against West Nile virus in Ottawa

(via City of Ottawa)

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has received reports of 13 human cases of West Nile virus (WNV) illness in Ottawa residents as of September 18. The previous highest number of WNV cases in Ottawa was 8 in 2012. With temperatures well above average for this time of year, mosquitoes carrying WNV continue to bite humans. OPH is advising residents to protect themselves against mosquito bites. Mosquitoes most likely to transmit WNV (Culex pipiens, the northern house mosquito) are found in urban areas in and around homes. Testing has shown mosquitoes carrying WNV in all the urban areas of Ottawa. These mosquitoes will pose a risk on warm days until there have been several hard frosts.

Continue reading


SHARE THIS

WETLANDS: A regulatory loophole you can drive a dump truck through

(PHOTO: Ken McRae says he believe some landowners on Flewellyn Road are dumping fill into wetlands to avoid Provincially Significant Wetland designation. Photo by Devyn Barrie.)

A local environmental activist believes some Goulbourn property owners are taking advantage of a regulatory loophole to destroy wetland on their property.

Ken McRae says he’s seen dump trucks delivering fill to a property on Flewellyn that he believes is being dumped into wetland. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

CARP RIVER RISING: Restoration project raises concerns in Arcadia

(ABOVE: Carp River, April 8, 2017. The Arcadia neighbourhood is in the background.)

(Guest post from Daniel J. Kucherhan with the Arcadia Community Association.)

Residents of Arcadia have been watching the Carp River closely over the past few weeks, as record rainfall has caused water levels to submerse pathways, bridges, and trees that were delivered as part of the Carp River Restoration Plan (CRRP). Continue reading


SHARE THIS

Horticultural Society is accepting photo contest entries

(ABOVE: “Through The Garden Gate” by Brian Carson, Best in Show winner for 2017.)

The Stittsville-Goulbourn Horticultural Society is accepting entries in their annual photo competition.

Class 1: We See Thee Rise – a spring garden
Class 2: Glorious and Free – a summer garden at sunrise
Class 3: With Glowing Hearts – autumn’s full colour
Class 4: The True North – a winter scene – your interpretation
Class 5: Stand on Guard – the Maple – showing a tree, a branch or a leaf
Class 6: Garden Pollinators– close-up of a pollinator(s) on a bloom
Class 7: Fun with Foliage – capture texture on garden foliage
Class 8: Rushing Water – stream, water fall or fountain; must include vegetation
Class 9: Rocks and Roots – a rock garden
Class 10: Trans Canada Trail – Leaves, trees, wildflowers and bushes
Class 11: Richmond Fair – Outstanding fall arrangements, vegetables, flowers and houseplants
Class 12: Local Beauty – barns, silos, buildings in Richmond, Stittsville, Munster landscape.

You must be a member to enter. Memberships cost $15.00 for individuals and $25.00 per family. Five dollar 1st prize for each class. Stittsville Goulbourn Members can also enter the District 2 2018 Competition in March.

Rules:

  • Entries and membership information must be submitted by Sunday February 4/2018.
  • One entry per image.
  • One entry per class.
  • Photos will be accepted in digital format only. Digital photos can be e-mailed to SGHortcultural@gmail.com.
  • Entries will be judged by an independent judge.  Entries will be judged with 40% to horticultural value, 40 % to photographic value and 20% to appearance.
  • Colour and balance can be enhanced. Removal or addition of images into a photo results in disqualification.
  • The judges decision is final.
  • Prizes will be awarded Tuesday February 20, 2018 meeting.
  • We reserve the right to show images at our meetings, in our newsletters or on display at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex display case or at other events for the society.

For more information visit https://sites.google.com/site/sghortsoc/

Class 2 Winner Jim Gillick 2017 Stittsville Goulbourn Horticultural Society Annual Photo Competition
(Photo by Jim Gillick. Class 2 Winner from 2017.

SHARE THIS

First human case of West Nile virus reported in Ottawa

(via City of Ottawa)

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has received lab confirmation of the first human case of the West Nile Virus (WNV) in Ottawa for the 2017 WNV season. OPH reminds all Ottawa residents to protect themselves from mosquito bites and to remove standing water where WNV-carrying mosquitoes can breed. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

LINKED: Residents question Hydro One easement plans in Kanata

UPDATE (Sept 1): Hydro One commits to trimming trees in Beaverbrook

***

Jessica Cunha reports in the Kanata Kourier-Standard:

Many Beaverbrook residents are concerned after discovering Hydro One has marked trees on their properties. A number of homeowners discovered orange spraypaint on their trees last month. Neighbours, concerned about what the markings could mean, sent a flurry of emails back and forth. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

LINKED: Cavanagh fined for discharging sediment into wetland

From CBC Ottawa:

An Ottawa construction company convicted of discharging construction sediment into a drain that flows into the Jock River in 2013 has been fined $275,000.

Thomas Cavanagh Construction Limited was convicted in June of four charges under the Ontario Water Resources Act, according to Ontario’s environment ministry. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

PHOTOS: Hail & rainbows from the early evening storm

Quite the storm earlier this evening… torrential rain, hail, winds… then a double rainbow followed by sunshine. Here are some photos captured in the Stittsville area.

(We love seeing photos from in and around our community. Please send your pics to us at feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca)


SHARE THIS

JUNE 24: Plant a sunflower and build an insect hotel at JoJo’s Garden

(via Jo-Jo’s Community Garden)

All Stittsville kids are invited to come out to the Jo-Jo’s Community Garden on Stittsville Main Street this Saturday from 10am-12pm to plant a sunflower of their own at the garden and also participate in building our new Insect Hotel. Continue reading


SHARE THIS