Category Archives: Nature & Environment

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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Trees to be removed from disputed development property

(ABOVE: Gerry Kroll stands in front of a large grove of trees that are slated for removal beginning this week.)

UPDATE (Jan 20): Tree removal delayed a day; more information about work required


 

Residents living near a disputed development property on Fernbank Drive are concerned about tree removal that’s slated to begin next week.

Keldine FitzGerald and Gerry Kroll have lived on Elm Street for over 30 years. A large number of trees on development land at 6279 Fernbank,  immediately behind their property, are slated for removal starting as early as Sunday.

The development is the subject of an OMB hearing coming up in April. The landowner has to complete additional surveys and fieldwork that involves digging test pits and drilling boreholes. The work is being carried out by Cavanagh Construction on behalf of the land owner, J.P. Chenier. Cavanagh has received a permit from the city to remove some trees from the land. Continue reading


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Update to the City’s Wildlife Construction Protocol now available for review

(From the City of Ottawa.)

The 2013 Wildlife Strategy identified the need to update and revise the City’s current wildlife construction protocol, previously approved by the former Region of Ottawa-Carleton, prior to amalgamation.

During summer, 2014, City staff consulted with key stakeholders to obtain their feedback on what changes are needed to the protocol. These stakeholders include:

  • Regulatory agencies
  • Wildlife experts
  • Representatives from the development industry, and
  • Environmental consultants

Continue reading


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The loud bang you heard on Monday morning was probably a frost quake

(Above: Winter along Poole Creek. Photo by Barry Gray)

There were lots of reports of a series loud bangs on Monday morning in Stittsville and surrounding areas.  It’s likely the noise was due to a frost quake, or cryoseism.

They’re usually caused when temperatures rapidly decrease, usually about three or four hours after a significant temperature change like the one Ottawa experienced on Sunday.

Most of the reports from residents mentioned booms anywhere from 3:30am to 8:00am on Monday morning.

From Wikipedia:

A cryoseism may be caused by a sudden cracking action in frozen soil or rock saturated with water or ice. As water drains into ground, it may eventually freeze and expand under colder temperatures, putting stress on its surroundings. This stress builds up until relieved explosively in the form of a cryoseism.

“Additionally, the ground must be saturated with water, which can be caused by snowmelt, rain, sleet or flooding. The site of a cryoseism generally has little or no snow cover to insulate the ground. Geologically, areas of permeable materials like sand or gravel, which are susceptible to frost action, are likelier candidates for cryoseisms. Following large cryoseisms, little to no seismic activity will be detected for several hours, indicating that accumulated stress has been relieved.

A post on the Stittsville Neighbours Facebook group had 100 comments as of about 11:00pm on Monday night. Here’s a sample:

Facebook reports of frost quake

Did you hear the frost quake?  Tell us about it in the comments below or email feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca


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Photos from the first winter storm of 2015

All that ice today made for some great photo opportunities. If you have a great photo of Stittsville, send it along to us at feedback@stittsvillecentral.ca

 

 

 

Residents invited to make comments regarding Carp landfill expansion

From the Ontario government:

The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change received a submission for a multi-media Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) under Part II.1 of the Environmental Protection Act from Waste Management of Canada Corporation (WMCC) for a proposed landfill capacity expansion of Ottawa Landfill Site. Continue reading


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Deadline for the Carp Landfill Community Liaison Committee extended to January 5

The deadline to apply to become a member of the Carp Landfill Community Liaison Committee (CLCLC) has been extended to January 5, 2015.

The CLCLC provides members of the community the opportunity to question, comment and provide suggestions on Waste Management’s landfill facility and operations on Carp Road.

Click here for more info…


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LETTER: Fernbank and Flewellyn have always been wet

Re: Property values drained by wetland designation

I’m 60 years old. I grew up in Stittsville. When I was a young boy we didn’t have garbage pick-up in Stittsville. On weekends I would often go with my father in the family car on Fernbank Road west of Stittsville to a Goulbourn Township dump in the far west part of Lot 16, Concession 10, on the northerly side of Fernbank Road to get rid of our garbage. Continue reading


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QUARRY QUERY: Do industrial operations on Jinkinson affect water levels in the area?

EDITOR’S NOTE:  The network of streams and wetlands surrounding Stittsville have been changing over the past few years. Landowners say they’ve seen a dramatic rise in the amount of water on their land during a period that has coincided with Stittsville’s expansion.

In Part 1 of this series, we highlighted water issues along Flewellyn Road.  Homeowners there believe that quarries are one of several factors contributing to the water changes.

In Part 2, we look at concerns of the landowners who live right next to the quarries.  One of those landowners is Len Payne, who’s raised the ire of government and conservation officials for some of the changes he’s made to his property to try to drain his land.  We’ll examine those issues in a later story in this series.  Today’s story starts with a tour of his property between Jinkinson Road and the Trans Canada Trail. Continue reading


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Dead and damaged trees removed from Pioneer Plains Park in Jackson Trails

Over the past week city forestry crews have been removing some trees in Pioneer Plains Park in Jackson Trails.

Shad Qadri provided this update on Facebook earlier today: “They are only removing dead trees that pose any danger and wind damaged trees to make the park safe as well as the residents property’s along Bryce place. These are not stand alone trees but more in the forested areas. So no replanting is necessary. Should you have any questions please email me at shad.qadri@ottawa.ca”


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LETTER: Concern over continuing impact to groundwater safety at Carp landfill

Re: Carp landfill exceedances don’t pose a threat to drinking water, says MOE

Yes there has been historical off site groundwater contamination at the site. In fact it was first noted in 1986 when the Ministry of the Environment ordered the landfill operator of the day to supply residents along Carp Road with clean city water. Subsequent studies have shown that this historical contamination has moved primarily in a northeast direction to lands across Carp Road from the landfill. This is where the water quality guideline exceedances mentioned in the press release continue today.

It is true that the Ministry of the Environment has required Waste Management to put in place control systems to try and control the level of contamination leaving the site. And they continue to operate these systems even though the landfill closed in 2011; as they are required to under the terms of their Certificate of Environmental Compliance until such time as the level of contamination is reduce to acceptable levels. As well as the control systems, Waste Management has been required to purchase lands east of Carp Road that have elevated levels of leachate indicators. These lands comprise a Contaminate Attenuation Zone (CAZ) where land use is restricted until such time as the high levels of leachate parameters are reduced by natural attenuation to levels that are within the provincial guidelines that are designed to protect groundwater use on adjacent lands.

The Ministry of the Environment is charged with the conservation of the groundwater resources of the Province. In order to achieve this, guidelines on water quality have been developed to assure that discharge to neighbouring properties has no more than a negligible or trivial effect on the existing and potential reasonable use of adjacent property. As shown in the press release these guidelines (B-7) have been exceeded since 2001 when monitoring on the CAZ property began and continues today. On average these exceedances have been 60% over the guideline limits during the monitoring period.

The guideline limits are designed to be on the conservative side so they are less than the drinking water standards set out by the Province. Thus there is a safety margin when it comes to protecting the drinking water supply. This is understandable because if the guidelines were set at drinking water standards it would be too late for corrective action if they were exceeded. However in 1986 when the contamination problem was first detected there were families living along Carp Road using the groundwater as a source of water. Since that time the families have moved, the wells abandoned and houses have been moved or demolished. Surly this is a sign that the drinking water quality has been impacted.

The concern is that the landfill has impacted the groundwater to the extent that 125 acres of land had to be purchased by Waste Management to act as a Contaminate Attenuation Zone so that high levels of contaminates can be attenuated to acceptable levels over time. And that where families use to live using groundwater as the source of drinking water there are now empty lots. The control systems proposed and put in place by the landfill operator over the years seem to have limited effect as to this day there are exceedances of the guidelines and new control systems being proposed. How can a site that for years has impacted the groundwater resource and exceeded provincial guidelines, be considered for expansion until proven controls are in place?

Harold Moore, DLOGTW Campaign


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