A developer draining water from its construction site and into the Shea Woods, leaving behind messy residue, did not violate environmental regulations, the province said.
We got a lot of response from a story in our notebook published last week about the flooded woods. Many readers left comments and emails asking whether this broke any rules and what kind of compensation may be required, either by the province or City of Ottawa.
The draining was discovered late last month when concerned residents emailed Coun. Shad Qadri about it, also copying this newspaper in the communications. Soon after, the city visited the site and told the developer to direct their drainage to a nearby storm pond instead.
A resident sent along a photograph of the aftermath, showing a gray deposit left behind.
“The developer is not violating the Ontario Water Resources Act or the Water Taking Regulation by removing water as part of the construction project,” said Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks spokesperson Gary S. Wheeler, in an email.
Wheeler said the province did not receive any complaints in regards to the Shea Woods draining, but sent an environmental officer to the site on Aug. 3 (a few days after our request to the ministry for information).
“The officer did not observe any environmental impacts off of the developer’s property,” Wheeler said.
He encouraged anyone with concerns about this or other sites to contact the provincial Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060.
The Shea Woods is a cedar forest located southeast of Holy Spirit Church and a popular spot for dog walkers. Last year the city agreed to purchase it for $1.5 million from CRT Developments, who is building nearby.
That particular area in the CRT Development is under the direction of Claridge Homes, according to documents filed with the City of Ottawa. Claridge is the “C” in CRT (the other two letters are Richcraft and Tamarack).
Claridge did not respond to multiple emailed requests for comment.
While the deal to purchase the land was made, the City of Ottawa said it doesn’t own the land yet. It will be acquiring the land through either purchasing the land or dedicating it as parkland when the subdivision is completed.
“Acquisition is anticipated to be finalized in concert with the registration of that phase of the subdivision, and/or within two years of the date council approved the acquisition,” the city said in a statement attributed to Kevin Wherry, acting general manager of Recreation, Cultural & Facility Services.
As for whether the city will require the developer to clean up the mess, the statement said the developer will have to show there are no contamination concerns “and that the Shea Woods will be able to function as intended” before transferring ownership.
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