NOTEBOOK: Clearing begins on CRT lands & Shea Woods

Trees cut at the edge of the Shea Woods, October 28, 2017.

We knew it was inevitable but it was still a shock this weekend to see the trees already coming down along the edge of the Shea Woods.

A strip of cedar trees and brush along the east side of the forest has been cut down, and the field to the east is being cleared and is surrounded by construction fencing.

The land is owned by CRT Developments, (the CRT stands for  Claridge-Richcraft-Tamarack), and is known formally as 5786 Fernbank Road. It’s slated to become a housing development.  (Although the land is popular for dog walking, and is even referred to by public officials as an “unofficial dog park”,  it is private property.)

Last week, the City of Ottawa’s planning committee voted to approve a deal between the city and the developer that would protect about five hectares of the forest.  This is good news for the community and thank you to volunteers like Sabrina Kemp who’ve been pushing for this for a number of years.

I bet a lot of dog walkers will be surprised by the size of the natural area will be cut down — even with the five hectares that are being protected.

(If you’re interested in following the conservation efforts for Shea Woods, check out the Conserve the Shea Woods group on Facebook.)

This map shows a "possible design scenario" for the configuration of the woodland park and a neighbourhood park within the hydro easement. (Map via City of Ottawa / documents to be tabled at Planning Committee on October 24.)
This map shows a “possible design scenario” for the configuration of the woodland park and a neighbourhood park within the hydro easement. (Map via City of Ottawa / documents to be tabled at Planning Committee on October 24.)

 

This updated map shows the approximate protected area of the Shea Woods, and the land currently being cleared.
This updated map shows the approximate protected area of the Shea Woods, and the land currently being cleared.

 

The map above shows the location of the five-hectare area of forest to be protected in green, although the exact boundaries are yet to be determined. The yellow part on the map is roughly the area that’s now being cleared.  Most of that yellow area is field but there are a few clumps of trees and a large apple orchard. The hydro corridor and some of the surrounding land to the north west of the protected forest will be landscaped as sports fields and play areas.   (I created this map based on information provided by the City of Ottawa this week, published development documents, and observations from yesterday’s walk.)

Pretty much everything else will most likely be developed, including the “treat tree”. There is a grove of sugar maples to the east that will be kept as part of a community park.

Like many in the community, our family and our dogs have enjoyed walks in the cedar forest, the old apple orchard and the open field for a number of years now.  I’m happy that part of the forest will be saved, but it’s still sad to see the rest lost to a housing development.

Blasting sign near the Trans Canada Trail at the entrance to Shea Woods. October 28, 2017. Blasting sign near the Trans Canada Trail at the entrance to Shea Woods. October 28, 2017. There are blasting operations to the east of the forest.
Blasting sign near the Trans Canada Trail at the entrance to Shea Woods. October 28, 2017. Blasting sign near the Trans Canada Trail at the entrance to Shea Woods. October 28, 2017. There are blasting operations to the east of the forest.

Trees cut at the edge of the Shea Woods, October 28, 2017. Trees cut at the edge of the Shea Woods, October 28, 2017. Trees cut at the edge of the Shea Woods, October 28, 2017. Trees cut at the edge of the Shea Woods, October 28, 2017. Cleared field east of the Shea Woods, October 28, 2017.

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7 thoughts on “NOTEBOOK: Clearing begins on CRT lands & Shea Woods”

  1. So disappointed! I have lived here for 50 yrs and I have now decided to leave Stittsville. Stittsville was once a beautiful place to live and grow up in, now it just another subdivision lining developers pockets with more cookie cutter houses.

  2. Very disappointing indeed. The amount of land that is being swallowed up by housing developments is really sad to see. One of the very things that drew us to Stittsville in the first place was the “country surroundings”. I realize that development will happen it’s just too bad that the farm land is being developed to do it.

    1. I highly agree. I have lived here for 25 years when there were cows and some horses in the fields on Hazeldean, which is now a conglomeration of shops and traffic. We’ll have to see the traffic build up with so many homes in construction and nature lost as well. Then the wild animals will have to be exterminated( it was their home!)

  3. Sad and angry – we have so many houses in Stittsville do we really need more? Builders are cramming too many houses onto small lots. where you look out your kitchen window right into your neighbours house. Going, going, gone are the birds, wildlife and fresh air. Where has our quality of life gone?

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