South March Highlights. Photo by Denise Deby.

Petition opposes tree cutting from South March Highlands

(PHOTO: South March Highlights. Photo by Denise Deby.)

Trees are again being cut down in Ottawa’s South March Highlands. KNL is removing trees from 75-100 hectares of land in the Highlands, one of Ottawa’s most biodiverse areas, in preparation for construction. They’re required to take measures to mitigate against harming species at risk (including Blanding’s turtles, Least bitterns and butternut trees) and other wildlife.

Residents are concerned, though, that destroying the trees now will destroy hibernating wildlife and their habitat, including shelter and food sources. Some have started a petition, available here.

The petition is directed to the owners of Richcraft and Urbandale (the companies behind KNL), the mayor and city councillor, and the Ontario minister of natural resources and forestry. On Monday, January 23, 2017, a group of citizens will take the petition to City Hall (12:30 p.m. at the Lisgar Street entrance–weather permitting–or the information booth in the main atrium).

The Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital has also sent a letter to Mayor Watson, emphasizing the significance of the area, the harm being done to this ecologically important area, and the need to take action to protect the city’s natural spaces.

This tree cutting is happening in the context of a long struggle to protect the area from development. Citizens’ and environmental groups’ actions and support have slowed but not prevented the loss of ecological, geographical and cultural heritage.

(This post originally appeared on Green Living Ottawa.)

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Kanata North Councillor Marianne Wilkinson is publishing updates on the tree clearing on her web site. Here’s the latest from January 17:

City environmental and forestry staff visited the KNL worksite last Friday with KNL’s Biologist and Site Supervisor.

At the north end of the site, adjacent to Terry Fox Drive, the remaining portion of the Goulbourn Forced Road realignment was cut last week.  The cutting only took one day, although the trees have yet to be removed from the site.  No issues.  The work was well done.

At the south end of the site, Ottawa Cedar has cut about 20 acres.  They are leaving a buffer of approximately 50 m adjacent to Goulbourn Forced Road as a visual screen.  Processing and removal of the cut trees has not yet begun, nor has installation of the turtle fencing.  Both activities require the construction contractor, Coluatti, to upgrade the access road into the site, which will likely occur this week.  We checked the boundary of the retained natural environment area.  The tree cutters are doing a good job of respecting it.

The tree cutters continue to implement the wildlife protocol.  There have been no issues to date.  Staff will re-visit the site again later this week.


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5 thoughts on “Petition opposes tree cutting from South March Highlands”

  1. Sadly, the City Of Ottawa didn’t have the vision years ago to buy and protect the most biodiverse forest in the region.

    However, residents still have every right to expect proper planning procedures to be followed. Why is a major forest being cut down before a sustainable storm water management plan has been made public? This is a pretty basic requirement if serious flooding is to be avoided. It won’t only be wildlife but the public that will suffer the consequences should this happen.

  2. Damn shame one of the areas that survived the great fire of 1870 has been destroyed. There are still a few surviving ancient oak and maple trees above the rock line. They are quite rare. I hope they will be saved.

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