Category Archives: Nature & Environment

City staff want councillors to refuse development at 6279 Fernbank

(Aerial image via Bing Maps.)

City planners are recommending that councillors formally reject a proposed development at 6279 Fernbank Road due to concerns about flooding and environmental impact.

(UPDATE APRIL 14: The city’s planning committee approved staff’s report to reject the development. It will be presented to city council on Wednesday.)

Continue reading


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Rural affairs committee to vote on zoning for new Fernbank quarry

(Above: Location of the proposed Taggart quarry near Fernbank and Jinkinson. The Trans Canada Trail is along the north of the site. Via Bing Maps.)

UPDATE: ARAC approved the zoning application on Thursday. It will now go to City Council for approval.

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The City’s Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee (ARAC) will vote on Thursday on a zoning change that would allow Taggart Construction to operate a new quarry on Fernbank Road. Continue reading


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Update on new stormwater pond on Maple Grove

(via City Councillor Shad Qadri)

A new stormwater management pond, including a new outlet to the Carp River, is being constructed within the property at 1635 -1655 Maple Grove Road, between Silver Seven Road and Huntmar Drive.

The need for this stormwater management pond, known as Pond 4, was identified in the Kanata West Master Servicing Study and is required to support ongoing residential development in the area.

This pond will service the future development area between Palladium Drive and Poole Creek on the west side of the Carp River and is being constructed now to facilitate two new subdivisions being developed along Maple Grove Road by Mattamy and Tartan/Tamarack.

This pond will allow Mattamy to decommission their existing pond servicing Fairwinds South that is located along Maple Grove Road. All aspects of the proposal have been reviewed by the City, the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority and the Ministry of Environment. Required permits for the infrastructure project were recently issued and work on-site began in February.

The project is expected to be completed by and operational for home construction within Q2 of this year.


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Algonquin student plants the seeds for a community garden

Algonquin College student Kelsey Boggis-da Silva wants everyone in Stittsville to have the opportunity to start a garden, even if they don’t have enough room in the backyard, or any yard at all.

She’s organizing a meeting on Saturday, March 21 at Quitters Coffee at 2:00pm and is hoping to connect with people who want to help establish a community garden project.

“It not only would promote a sense of community, but allow those who don’t have the space or even expertise learn from neighbours and observation how to grow their own plants,” she says. “I think gardening is a wonderful, and important activity. We should know how our food is grown, how to grow our own food and care for the earth.”

She posted the idea to the Stittsville Neighbours group on Facebook and received dozens of comments in support and nearly 50 likes.

“The comments have been many, and all excited about the idea, with offers of support and suggestions. It’s been wonderful. It seems like it would be a project that could really get us together as a community,” she says.

A typical community garden is usually a co-operative effort between residents who share the costs to maintain a small plot of land, on public or private property. They grow vegetables and other plants for their own use and sometimes donate the produce to local food banks.

Boggis-da Silva is a business administration student at Algonquin so she’s hoping to put her management training to work out the details needed to get this project off the ground, like budgets, design, contracts and equipment.

One of the biggest challenges is finding a location for the garden.  She thinks the big space near Hazeldean and Stittsville Main that was once home to the Stittsville Flea Market would be great, but wants to get more feedback and ideas from the community.  Another idea is using space in Bell Park on the south end of Stittsville Main near Fernbank.

UPDATE: Shad Qadri says he’s been in contact with City staff about using the park between 67 and 77 West Ridge Drive for a community garden.

“My approach is goal-oriented. Look at the requirements of what is needed to reach that goal, put them in a logical order, access community resources the City has set aside for such endeavours and get our hands dirty. (Then we) rally the troops and put the people with specific talents in the right jobs, whether it be research, organization or community outreach,” she says.

She’s planted the seed, now she needs support from the community for the idea to take root and grow.

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The City of Ottawa provides funding for community garden projects through an annual grant to Just Food, a local non-profit organization that promotes sustainable food programs.  This year they will receive about $90,000 to help establish new gardens and support existing projects through the Community Gardening Network.

The network started with three or four gardens in central Ottawa nearly 20 years ago, and has grown to include more than 50 community gardens within the City of Ottawa, according to interim coordinator Jordan Bouchard.  Some of them have long waiting lists to get a plot.

“We’re building more each year,” he says. “Call me in three months and it will be a bit different!  It’s probably a fairly even split between gardens in central areas and gardens in the suburbs.”

“Our goal is to get as many people gardening in the City of Ottawa as possible.”

He says the number is actually much higher than 50, perhaps as many as 100, when you take into account about 30 gardens at local schools and other projects that aren’t part of the Community Gardening Network.

The group holds regular workshops throughout the year to help people in the community learn about what it takes to get a community garden project going.

He says community gardens can go just about anywhere, including private and public property, hydro corridors, Greenbelt land and park spaces.

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Stittsville does have an existing community garden on Stittsville Main Street near Cathcart.  It provides vegetables exclusively for the Stittsville Food Bank.

“Food Bank volunteers and Scouts helped build the boxes.  The horticultural society planted the vegetables and looked after the weeding and watering,” says Theresa Qadri, chair of the Stittsville Food Bank.

“Now the Food Bank volunteers plant the vegetables and work with the horticultural society in weeding and watering and harvesting. We are very thankful for our partnerships.  It is nice to know you can call on organizations to help the Food Bank and they respond with a yes so quickly,” says Qadri.

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For more information about Boggis-da Silva’s community garden project, check out the Stittsville Community Garden Initiative page on Facebook.


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Early birds can register now for Tim Hortons Cleaning the Capital

(Press release from the City of Ottawa.)

The City of Ottawa and Tim Hortons are pleased to announce the annual Tim Hortons Cleaning the Capital campaign, which will take place from April 15 to May 15. Early-bird registration is now available.

Registration is quick and easy:

  • Go to ottawa.ca, or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401) to register for the cleanup. The new interactive map on our website will show you which locations have already been claimed, allow you to register your own project site and choose the cleanup supplies that you need.
  • Select a location such as a park, ravine, shoreline, bus stop, pathway or any public area that requires litter pickup, graffiti removal or cleanup.

Win prizes

Volunteers who register their cleanup project before April 14 have a chance to win one of many early bird prizes donated by our generous sponsors. Volunteers who submit a final cleanup report by May 31 will be eligible for more prizes.

Cleaning the Capital is a city-wide event that brings together neighbours, communities and friends to help keep Ottawa clean and green! Last year alone, 80,000 volunteers collected almost 140,000 kg of litter from 1,400 locations.

This is a great opportunity for families and friends to work together on community cleanup projects that help make Ottawa clean, green, graffiti-free and litter-free. Cleaning the Capital is also an excellent way for high school students to earn their community volunteer hours.


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Kanata North Environmental Studies information meeting on Wednesday night

(Meeting notice via Marianne Wilkinson, councillor for Kanata North.)

South March Highlands Blanding’s Turtle Conservation Needs Assessment and Shirley’s Brook and Watts Creek Stormwater Management Study – Phase 2

March 4, 2015
7 to 9 p.m.
All Saints High School
5115 Kanata Avenue

City staff will present information and answer questions in relation to two final reports on environmental studies in Kanata North.  These reports will provide information about the Blanding’s turtle population studies, existing drainage conditions in the Shirley’s Brook and Watts Creek subwatersheds and further studies required to support the stormwater management solution for the Kanata North Lands development phases 7, 8 and 9.

Residents can read the blandings turtle report on ottawa.ca.

View or Download a copy of the public meeting presentation:  March 4 2015 Presentation

Accessibility is an important consideration for the City of Ottawa. If you require special accommodation, please contact Nick Stow no later than March 2, 2015.  

For more information, contact:

South March Needs Assessment
Nick Stow, Planner
Planning and Growth Management
110 Laurier Avenue
Ottawa, ON  K1P 1J1
Tel: 613-580-2424 ext. 13000
e-mail: nick.stow@ottawa.ca

Shirley’s Brook and Watts Creek Study
Darlene Conway, P. Eng.
Senior Project Manager
Planning and Growth Management
110 Laurier Avenue
Ottawa ON  K1P 1J1
Tel: 613-580-2424 ext. 27611
e-mail: darlene.conway@ottawa.ca


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PHOTO: Six feet of rock delivered to 6279 Fernbank

In the photo below, Fernbank resident Ian McKim stands in front of a pile of rocks delivered today at 6279 Fernbank Road, just behind his property.

The rock pile is one of three test pads to be built on the disputed land. The developer says they’re necessary for environmental testing, including hydrogeological testing to measure water levels on the site.

Rocks behind the McKim's house, March 2, 2015


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LETTER: Developer’s explanation at odds with previous info

Re: UPDATE: Developer says Fernbank tree clearing needed for accurate testing data

The developer’s lawyer’s response to your query is at variance with what we were told.  When we enquired about the need for such large pads, we were told that they were required to support the drilling equipment and various other ancillary gear, such as generators.  The extensive road network was, of course, required so that the construction equipment could (a) remove the trees; (b) remove the organic matter (i.e., the peat); and (c) move and compact the fill necessary to build those roads and pads.

The original proposal for the hydrogeological “water balance” study submitted to the developer by Golder Associates (engineering firm) was buried in a large packet of affidavits submitted just prior to the OMB pre-hearing conference, and made no mention of the reason for the pads and the extensive road network.  The City’s experts did not question the amount of construction / destruction proposed by the developer, and clearly took the Golder expert proposal at face value.

The “water balance” study the City and the community asked for simply requested the developer to identify the source and quantity of water entering and leaving the site, to obtain a clear picture of the amount of water (storm and otherwise) that needed to be handled by the storm sewer infrastructure.  There was nothing in the request about having to do any construction on the site to get this information.  It’s obvious that the developer’s engineers do not understand that the water that has been observed on the site is flowing water that enters the site from off-site sources at the south, near the McKim’s property on Fernbank and leaves the site by draining into a storm sewer inlet at the Elm Crescent end of the Hemlock road allowance.  The water does not appear to drain into the adjacent Urban Natural Feature, in fact, the opposite seems to be true.

It is also clear that the developer’s experts and engineers have no understanding of the natural function of the wetland on this site.  From many years of observation, the Community has come to understand that the wetland functions as a natural storm water storage area.  Its elevation is significantly lower than that of the surrounding areas, and thus has become a complete storm water management system, constructed by nature instead of by man.  It stores large amounts of water, and gradually releases it into the underlying aquifer, with the excess flowing into Poole Creek.

The community has, on several occasions, including the 2002/2003 OMB hearing, tried to explain this natural function to the developer’s and the City’s experts, only to have these words fall on deaf ears.  This wetland does not fit into the experts’ textbook learning or the Ontario Storm Water Management Design manual, so it obviously can’t possibly be a storm water management system. 

It’s interesting to note that the site was once part of “Fernbank Creek”, and was shown as such on old topographical maps.  Fernbank Creek drained into Poole Creek.  It stopped being a creek when the streets and ditches of Cypress Gardens Phase II were laid out in the early 1960’s.  Until the storm sewer system along Elm Cres. was constructed in the early 1990’s, drainage to Poole Creek was by means of an extensive ditch system that nearly always had water in it.

I am particularly concerned that the City failed to engage the Community when the tree removal permit was applied for, and I am also concerned that the developer has proceeded with site preparation without having obtained the necessary subdivision approvals.  The City is hiding behind the concept of “the owner of a private property can do anything he likes, other than tree removal or building a swimming pool or putting up a building larger than 100 square feet”.  Why is the City unable to enforce the “Protection” part of an EP zoning?  Why does the City’s zoning bylaw allow building in an EP zone at all? 

Gerry Kroll, Stittsville 


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EDITORIAL: Good neighbours need to communicate, even developers

(Above: Part of the land cleared recently at 6279 Fernbank Road, south of Elm Crescent. Photo taken February 14, 2015.)

If I’m going to build a new deck in my backyard, or put up a fence, or cut down a tree right next to my neighbour’s property, I’m going to tell them about it first.  We’ll probably have a discussion.  My neighbour will want to know why I’m doing the work, and how it’s going to affect them.

Good neighbours communicate.

And when they don’t, you end up with situations like the one we’re seeing on the development property at 6279 Fernbank Road. Neighbouring residents in the Cypress Gardens area are upset because a huge swath of trees is being cleared so that the developer, J.P. Chenier,  can conduct environmental testing.

To be clear, the developers (J.P. Chenier, along with Cavanagh Construction who is assisting in the process) appear to have done everything by the book. They’ve submitted engineering plans for the testing and received a tree cutting permit from the City of Ottawa. As required under city rules, they notified residents about the work in advance by dropping a letter in their mailbox.

But while they may be fully compliant with all the regulations, they’ve failed to have a meaningful dialogue with residents to address their concerns.

Residents have contacted the developer several times since receiving the tree cutting notice to ask questions and have asked for a meeting. They want an explanation about what work is involved and why it’s being done.  They have safety concerns about the number of trucks coming through the area, the amount of noise the construction work is causing, and potential damage to wildlife habitat.

While they agree that some trees need to be cleared for testing, they believe the area being cleared is far bigger than what’s absolutely necessary.

Even if the work is completely justified, the residents still deserve an explanation. The lack of engagement from the developers is only breeding distrust, stress and anger amongst the neighbours.

“If they would even discuss or advise us of the schedule, it would help,” wrote one neighbour in an email to us earlier this week.

StittsvilleCentral.ca was able to obtain an answer to one of the residents’ questions this week, through a lawyer representing the developer. (Read more here.)

But it shouldn’t take a journalist’s request to get neighbours to talk to one another.

Note: This article was updated to include clarification of Cavanagh’s role in the development.


Residents in the area are planning a meeting on Monday, February 23 to form a community association in advance of the OMB hearing. The meeting is at 7:00pm at Stittsville United Church (corner of Fernbank and Stittsville Main). More info here…

What do you think?  Add your comments below or email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca


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UPDATE: Developer says Fernbank tree clearing needed for accurate testing data

(Above: Some of the land that’s been cleared in preparation for testing.  Photo taken on February 14, 2015.)

For more than a month, residents living near 6279 Fernbank have been asking why such a large area of trees needs to be cleared for environmental testing on the development property. Borehole drilling at other development sites hasn’t required such extensive tree clearing.

StittsvilleCentral.ca received a response from the landowner’s lawyer this week: Continue reading


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Jock River project wins prestigious national conservation award

(Press release from the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority)

The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, the Ottawa Chapter of Muskies Canada, National Defence Headquarters Fish and Game Club and Ottawa Flyfishers Society are thrilled to announce that they have just won the Top Canadian Fishing Industry Conservation Project Award for 2014.

The Jock River Habitat Embayment Creation Project saw the creation of 1,000 square meters of new spawning, nursery, rearing and feeding habitat at the Richmond Conservation Area (Richmond, Ontario). This transformation will support the 40 plus species of fish that reside in Ottawa’s Jock River — including muskellunge and northern pike. The shoreline wetland will also provide important habitat to other species such as birds, amphibians and turtles and increase overall biodiversity. It will also improve shoreline stability and protect water quality in the river.

“We saw the opportunity to convert a barren grassed park area in to something alive and productive,” says Jennifer Lamoureux, RVCA Aquatic and Fish Habitat Biologist. “We are delighted with the project results and are thrilled to receive this award — it is the result of wonderful partners and the hard, diligent work of supportive volunteers.”

The Spring Fishing and Boat Show’s award recognizes the top Canadian fishing industry conservation project. The winner is determined by a vote of the members of the Canadian Fishing Hall of Fame.

Lamoureux along with project partners Peter Levick and Ken Taggart from Muskies Canada attended the official presentation at the Industry Breakfast Friday, February 13 at the Spring Fishing and Boat Show at the International Centre in Mississauga.

“Muskies Canada – Ottawa Chapter is delighted to be part of this rewarding habitat enhancement project,” said KenTaggart, Chair of Muskies Canada (Ottawa Chapter). “This is another example of how we can accomplish so much more by working together in partnership than we ever could by ourselves.”

This project was made possible by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Recreational Fisheries Conservation Partnership Program), along with the generous support of other community partners including the Community Foundation of Ottawa, Fendock Inc, Muskies Canada (Ottawa Chapter), National Defence Headquarters Fish and Game Club, Ottawa Flyfishers Society, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation and Shell’s Fuelling Change Program.

Project Highlights:

  • 1,000 square meters of new spawning, nursery, rearing, and feeding habitat to support the 40 species of fish that reside in the Jock River
  • 9 days of construction in October 2014
  • 108 truckloads of fill removed from the floodplain of the Jock River
  • 100 metres of new shoreline created by re-grading the existing slope and planting a shoreline buffer around the perimeterof the new embayment feature
  • 294 volunteer hours invested in the construction of the embayment

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OPINION: Why the City’s wildlife construction protocol is so important

Canada has the second largest land mass of any country but sadly we are losing our natural habitat at the highest rate. As our cities are becoming more and more congested, people are opting to live in the suburbs, causing urban sprawl to encroach further and further into wildlife habitat.

There seems to be an endless amount of new development sprouting up in every direction, especially in Stittsville. While most people are sad to see forests cleared and wetlands drained, few people put conscious thought to the plight of the wildlife that once lived there.

Unlike many forward-thinking cities which already have in place a progressive and sustainable developmental approached to wildlife-sensitive planning, the City of Ottawa is still in the dark ages in respect to how it handles its wildlife and development. Presently thousands of animals needlessly die at the hands of bulldozers, blasting and construction machinery, either being buried alive or crushed to death and even suffering from internally bleeding through the effects of blasting (for animals that have their nest underground).

This type of habitat destruction happens throughout the year, with no regard to the animals that live there, or the birthing season, which leaves mothers and babies vulnerable and defenceless, creating orphans which are left to die through injury or starvation. To date wildlife in areas slated for development are not given any chance to relocate or even escape.

After 15 years of empty promises, the City of Ottawa has finally developed a Wildlife Construction Protocol with input from a variety of wildlife organisations which addresses the very important issue of how wildlife are treated before, during and after land is developed. Whilst this is a big step forward for wildlife, the protocol is still only in draft form and needs to be approved by the committee and the City Councillors. This approval will only go ahead if there is enough public support. Whilst we cannot stop developers from destroying wildlife habitat, with this new wildlife construction protocol we can at least force them to follow a protocol which would allow a more humane way of treating our precious wildlife.

Today we have the ability and means to give wildlife the protection they deserve. We can be a leader in sustainable development and show our children and future generations what respect and compassion for all truly means.

We must not forget that the way we treat our most vulnerable creatures on this earth is a measurement of who we are as human beings. I really believe that this issue should be a major concern to all Canadians.

(The City of Ottawa is accepting comments on the updated Wildlife Construction Protocol until end of day on Sunday, February 8. More info here.)


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Community associations voice concerns about Carp Road landfill effect on property values

Six community associations from Stittsville and the surrounding areas have sent a joint letter to Ottawa mayor Jim Watson about Waste Management’s proposed Carp Road landfill expansion.

The letter cites concerns about property values, odours, and transparency about the city’s negotiations with Waste Management. Continue reading


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Reminder: OEB Stakeholder Forum on TransCanada’s Energy East Proposal, January 29-30

From the Ontario Energy Board.

On January 29th and 30th, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) will be hosting a stakeholder forum in Ottawa as part of its province-wide consultation on the potential impacts, both positive and negative, of TransCanada’s proposed Energy East Pipeline in Ontario. The purpose of this forum is to give members of the Province-wide Stakeholder Group the opportunity to make brief presentations that specifically address the province-wide impacts of TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline. The forum will be open to the public attendance. Additional details about the stakeholder forum are available in the agenda. Continue reading


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Stittsville Goulbourn Horticultural Society holds annual photo contest

2014 winning entry by Marise Dube
2014 winning entry by Marise Dube

 

The Stittsville Goulbourn Horticultural Society is running their annual photo contest again this year.

Rules

  1. Photos will be accepted in original (CAMERA) .jpg or print format. Photo prints can be dropped off at the Stittsville, Richmond or Munster public libraries. Digital photos can be e-mailed to sghorticultural@gmail.com. One e-mail entry clearly named and numbered with photo attachment per class. Please provide a self-addressed envelope (if you want to submit off line) your disc, memory stick or pictures to be returned.
  2. Memberships for new entries must be purchased before the deadline of 15 February 2015. Memberships must be in good standing for entry and include all rights and privilege for individual fee of $15.00 or $25.00 per family. Can be included with photo submission.
  3. We reserve the right to show entered images at our meetings, in our newsletters or on display in the Goulbourn Recreational Centre Trophy Case or at other public events. Used for the promotion of the Society only.
  4. Entries will be judged by an independent judge according to 40% horticultural value, 40% photographic value, and 20% impact and appearance.
  5. One entry per image.
  6. Colour and balance can be enhanced, removal or addition of images into a photo results in disqualification.
  7. The Judge’s decision is final.

Categories

  1. “Greenhouse Delights” –A plant guide to pre-season seedlings or extended season growth.
  2. “Garden Proud: A look at my garden” – Selfies accepted.
  3. “Faded Blooms” – Twisted petals, twigs, wilted or dried flowers from back, front or side view. Macros accepted.
  4. “Creations Constructed” – Flower or other seasonal arrangements.
  5. “Pollinators” – Bees our endangered friends busy at work.
  6. “Panorama” – A panoramic view of a field of any season in the Ottawa Valley.
  7. “Oh My Gourd!” – Jack O Lanterns, bumpy, knotted gourds of any size or colour.
  8. “Autumn Joy” – The best of a fall harvest….veggies.
  9. “Waves of Green” – Leaves of curly, round, light green, dark green stripes, dots on any plant, tree or bush.
  10. “Winter Scene” – Your best snow or ice covered plant, tree, leaf or bush in snow.

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UPDATE: Tree removal begins on Fernbank property

Construction equipment began clearing trees on Thursday from the disputed development property at 6279 Fernbank Road.

Neighbouring residents were hoping to delay the tree clearing until they had a chance to meet with the developer and the City of Ottawa to get a better understanding of what work was being and done. That meeting never happened.

Heavy equipment rolled in and started clearing trees from the property earlier this morning. Residents shared several concerns today with StittsvilleCentral.ca, including:

  • Concern about a family of four deer who’ve been seen frequently in the area
  • A lack of construction fencing to protect neighbours living next to the construction areas.
  • Concern about wood chips and other debris landing in backyards, which could pose a danger to children and pets.
  • Heavy construction traffic on neighbourhood roads.
Resident Ian McKim shows the size of wood chips that landed in his yard. He says construction debris poses a danger to children and pets.
Resident Ian McKim shows the size of wood chips that landed in his yard. He says construction debris poses a danger to children and pets.

 

Neighbour Joe Trudeau took this photo prior to this week, showing a family of deer who live on the Fernbank property.  Residents are concerned about loss of habitat for wildlife on the land.
Neighbour Joe Trudeau took this photo prior to this week, showing a family of deer who live on the Fernbank property. Residents are concerned about loss of habitat for wildlife on the land.

Tree clearing behind the McKim property next door on Fernbank

Tree clearing behind the McKim property next door on FernbankTree clearing behind the McKim property next door on Fernbank

The three photos above show tree clearing as seen from the backyard of the McKim property next door on Fernbank.  This part of the land was cleared to build a large gravel pad to drill a single  borehole in the middle.

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