Tag Archives: 6279-fernbank

NOTEBOOK: A small step to better protect our forests from development

One of my biggest complaints about suburban development is how builders often take a “bulldoze and build” approach, stripping away long-standing forests and natural areas. While there are some restrictions to prevent this, there aren’t always enough measures in the City’s policy toolkit to provide the necessary protection.

So I was really encouraged this week to see City Council unanimously approve a change to the Official Plan that should do more to proactively protect “significant woodlots” in the urban area.  Continue reading


SHARE THIS

LETTER: Community should have had more notice about construction

PHOTO: Construction begins at Porter Place, June 2016.

Re: Sign’s up at Porter Place

The community is not amused by the description of Patten Homes’ Porter Place “Closer to nature, closer to the right pace of life. Porter Place promises inspired family-friendly living in a new community knitted into an established neighbourhood you will be proud to call ‘home’.”

The residents adjacent to the newly named Porter Place were not impressed by lack of communication from the City or the Developer as heavy equipment rolled on site the past week.

Residents were not given any previous notice (as required by the City of Ottawa Plan of Subdivision Conditions) even though the developer claims to have sent it weeks ago. Notification came to the SouthWest Stittsville Community Association from the Developer late on the afternoon of June 21 to advise the community that heavy equipment would be onsite starting June 27. Environmental protection measures would be put in place which would include Silt and Snow fencing along the Urban Natural Feature (UNF) beginning as early as June 22.

Regretfully once again the City and Developer have not taken the existing residents into consideration or shown any neighbourly courtesy with proper notice, nor have they held the Wildlife Protocol (which City of Ottawa Planner Mike Schmidt calls best practises and therefore not enforceable) to any standard. The property and adjacent UNF are currently hosting nesting birds, ducks, geese as well as ponding frogs and turtles during their reproduction season.

We can only assume, as a timeline has not been communicated, that this is the beginning of the site preparation and we can expect nothing less than aggregate dumping for the next couple of months. Residents should plan accordingly (whatever that means) and report any upset or displeasure to Mike Schmidt, Planner, City of Ottawa Mike.schmidt@ottawa.ca

Jillian McKim
Stittsville


SHARE THIS

LETTER: Who should control development in our city?

PHOTO: Construction equipment in front of the Bradley-Craig barn. Photo by Dan Pak.

The citizens of Ottawa spend considerable time and money defining the type of community we want to live in through things like the official plan, zoning by-laws, heritage designations and green space conservation strategies. Yet often developers spend just as much time and money to justify projects which contravene the City’s plan.

We often hear developers complain about how long it takes and how expensive it is to get anything done. But often this is because they are using expensive experts to prepare a rationale to be exempt from the controls set out by the City. Recently there have been several prime examples of this in the Stittsville area.

First is the Bradley-Craig barn. The City gave the farmstead (farmhouse and barn) heritage designation to protect it as prime example of the early agricultural history in the region. The developer who didn’t want it, asked to dismantle and move it. Although staff and the Built Heritage Sub-Committee voted against the request to move the barn, the Planning Committee and Council voted in favour of the developer.

Second is the clearing of 6279 Fernbank Road. The site is one of the last large nature area providing a home and refuge for wildlife. Through the “Protocol for Wildlife Protection during Construction” the City defines a number of best [ractices to minimize the impact on wildlife during construction. Regarding removal of trees and wetlands, it states that clearing should not take place in the winter (mid-October through March to protect overwintering wildlife). Yet contrary to the City’s own definition best practices they gave the developer a permit to remove trees this winter, starting February 1.

Third is the approval for the expansion of the landfill on Carp Road at the 417. Throughout the long approval process the City repeatedly prepared reports and passed motions listing environmental and community impacts. There were also concerns that more landfill capacity might impact long term waste reduction strategies. In this case the developer went above the authority of the City using the Provincial environmental assessment process. Since the province has little skin in the game it was easier for the developer to get approval and thus pressure the City to comply with rezoning and site plan approval.

So it seems that no matter what measures the City and the community put in place to direct development in a healthy way that leads to a city we want to live, work and play in, developers manage to get approval to develop a City that gives them the best bottom line.

Harold Moore, West Carleton


SHARE THIS

NOTEBOOK: 6279 Fernbank OMB decision + tow trucks + more

6279 FERNBANK OMB DECISION

The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has given the green light for development to proceed at 6279 Fernbank, west of Stittsville Main. That’s not exactly a surprise.

In late October, Planning Committee and City Council gave their blessing to a Plan of Subdivision and Zoning amendment, after a number of issues were ironed out between the developer and city staff, including stormwater management.  The only councillor to vote against the development was  Shad Qadri. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

NOTEBOOK: Free ice cream & more, 6279 Fernbank, museum needs space

FREE STUFF!
Lois & Frima’s is giving away free ice cream on Saturday, October 31. It’s become an annual tradition to clear out their buckets of ice cream before going into hibernation for the winter .  They’re in the Ultrama Plaza at 1626 Stittsville Main Street, all the way in the back of the plaza. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

NOTEBOOK: Dog park signage, voter turn-out, 6279 Fernbank

DOG PARK SIGNAGE
Earlier this year we published a map of off-leash dog parks in Stittsville, using data pulled from the City of Ottawa’s web site. Recently, a reader pointed out that signage in several of the parks did not match the information from the city’s web site.

Signage at Coyote Run park in West Ridge. The city's web site lists it as "off-leash", but signage indicates otherwise. Photo by Vicki Gibson.
Signage at Coyote Run park in West Ridge. The city’s web site lists it as “off-leash”, but signage indicates otherwise. Photo by Vicki Gibson.

We asked the city about it, and it turns out that some of the signage in parks may in fact be wrong.  Here’s a response from the City, attributed to Roger Chapman, Chief, By-law and Regulatory Services:

“By-law and Regulatory Services will review the web information and the history of the designation of Coyote Run, to confirm the approved designation, and make any necessary adjustments accordingly.”

The City says that the online information is correct, and takes precedence over the signage.

***

VOTER TURN-OUT
Over 80% of eligible voters in Carleton cast ballot in Monday’s election, the third-highest in Canada.

Voter turn-out was 80.55% in Carleton, where Conservative candidate Pierre Poilievre won the riding by just 1949 votes over Liberal Chris Rodgers. We were just behind Orleans (80.91%) and Ottawa Centre (82.22%).

Overall voter turn-out in Canada was 68.49%, the highest since 1993.

***

6279 FERNBANK UPDATE FOR PLANNING COMMITTEE
The City’s Planning Committee will get an update Tuesday on zoning & plan of subdivision for 6279 Fernbank. Usually reports are posted with the meeting agenda but not this time – the agenda notes that the “Report to be issued separately prior to the meeting.”

Jillian McKim, who represented the community that surrounds the development property, gave us an update last week and says that the developer and the City appear to have resolved the disagreements that led to an OMB hearing last spring.

UPDATE: The report has been posted on the City’s web site.

***

570 HAZELDEAN ROAD DEVELOPMENT APPROVED
Shad Qadri reports that Mattamy’s proposed residential development at 570 Hazeldean Road, north of the Trans Canada Trail in the Fernbank area, has been approved. It will include 600 residential units including detached homes and townhomes.


SHARE THIS

UPDATE: 6279 Fernbank development likely to proceed

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jillian McKim lives on Fernbank Road in a home that’s adjacent to a proposed 149-home development at 6279 Fernbank Road.  Over the past few months, she’s been participating as a community representative in discussions with the City of Ottawa and the developer, Chenier/Cananagh, about the subdivision design.    After an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing in April, the City and the developer agreed to try to reach a consensus to resolve their disagreements. As McKim explains, at this point it looks like the development will proceed with a few conditions in place to address resident concerns about flooding and zoning.

***

I have spent the past six months in bi-weekly (and sometimes weekly) meetings at City Hall with City of Ottawa and Chenier/Cavanagh experts. The learning curve was steep but I can now confidently say that I have become fairly functional in stormwater management and flood mitigation strategies. What did this get the community? The proposed development of 149 houses at 6279 Fernbank Road will go ahead. However, not without first hearing some local concerns.  Continue reading


SHARE THIS

LETTER: Community involvement points way towards a better planning process

Re: City and developer agree on further study of 6279 Fernbank

The unusual and unexpected adjournment and the conditions show the advantages to communities of having a party status at the hearing. Without this, I doubt if we would have been included at this point.

As the designated party, I put a huge amount of time and effort into preparing for the hearing, as did every member of our committee — my husband Gerry Kroll, The McKims, Diana Trudeau, and Glen McDonald. Those who could were witnesses for us, as well as Bob White and researcher and retired librarian, Faith Blacquiere of Glen Cairn. Jillian McKim also cross-examined the witnesses for the other Parties, as did I on the first day, before my voice abandoned me in the dry atmosphere of the hearing room.

We are glad of the opportunity to take part in discussions and studies over the summer and into September. Our involvement gives us a chance to support the applicant’s studies into what really happens to the water that runs through the site — where it comes from, its route and ponding, and where it goes — and to influence the final decision on whether or not this development should go ahead, and what form it should take if it does. While we don’t have power of veto, we will still have the right to present our summations, and, if the City and applicant reach an agreement that we don’t like, we will be able to include our reasons for disagreement in our final summation, for consideration by the Ontario Municipal Board.

I hope this experience will lead to a better way of doing things than is now current in the City of Ottawa. In many jurisdictions, it is normal for the community to be consulted and for a feasibility and viability study to be done for both the site itself and the surrounding community and lands, before an application ever goes into the city or municipality, especially for a site that does not fit normal parameters for development, such as this piece of wetland. Such consultation here could have saved thousands of dollars and months of hard work.

I’m not sure if the activities during this adjournment will take us to the conclusion that the surrounding community believes it should come to, but I hope that at the end there will at least be better understanding of the site, and cooperation among all parties going into the future. I commend the City and the applicant for including community representatives, and I look forward to having the future of this site finally resolved.

The site does, after all, perform a natural water management function within the surrounding communities and adjacent UNF (Urban Natural Feature), and between Fernbank Wetland and the Poole Creek Watershed. It may or may not support housing on an artifical 3.5 meter-high plateau without causing harm to existing lower-level houses — in my mind, it probably won’t. But it could definitely be a lovely wetland and woodland park for wildlife, much of which has called it home for many years, and people wishing to walk around a trail and boardwalk and enjoy some peace away from the hustle of the road, absorbing the calm of nature among the trees of this very special area.

Keldine FitzGerald, Stittsville


SHARE THIS

City and developer agree on further study of 6279 Fernbank

(Photo: Ian McKim, Jillian McKim, Gerry Kroll and Keldine FitzGerald stand in front of the land at 6279 Fernbank Road last fall.  Photo by Barry Gray.)

An Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing about a proposed development at 6279 Fernbank Road ended last week with the developer and the City of Ottawa agreeing to try to reach a consensus.

The hearing ran seven days from April 20 to April 28. On the last day, the hearing was adjourned with the city and developer agreeing to work together to find a common approach to address the city’s concerns  about stormwater management plans and other engineering issues. Continue reading


SHARE THIS

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


SHARE THIS

Southwest Stittsville Community Association holds first meeting on April 16

You are invited to the first meeting of the Southwest Stittsville Community Association on Thursday April 16th at 7pm in the community room at Sobey’s (6315 Hazeldean Rd, Stittsville).

The purpose of this meeting is to establish our neighborhood association; which would be representative of the households south of the TransCanada Trail and west of Main Street. The association is a voluntary group of neighbours who seek to preserve the strengths of our neighbourhood, build a sense of community, and address any problems or issues that may arise. Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate.

The proposed development at 6279 Fernbank Rd is a current issue facing our community. There will be an Ontario Ministry Board hearing on this proposed development on April 20th. The group presenting on behalf of the community would like to receive your input concerning this development.

Please join us on April 16th to meet your neighbors, hear about the benefits of a community association, and determine where we would like to go from here. Bring your neighbours and friends to help us develop a strong community association.

If you have any questions about this meeting, or are unable to attend and would like to provide comments, please send them to our community email address: swscommunityassociation@gmail.com.

We hope to see you there.
Sincerely,

Your SWS Community Association Executive
Jillian McKim – Co-Chair
Sheri Vermette – Co-Chair
Jennifer de Sa – Treasurer
Catherine Fafrowicz – Secretary


SHARE THIS

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


SHARE THIS

New community association formed for southwest Stittsville

About 30 people attended a meeting at Stittsville United Church on Monday night to establish a community association for the southwest area Stittsville.

Jillian McKim, one of the organizers, said a formal community association will give more weight to community concerns at an upcoming Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing in April about a disputed development property at 6279 Fernbank Road.

McKim said she also hoped the association would contribute to the community in other ways, for example holding community events or starting a Neighbourhood Watch, and addressing resident concerns such as parking and traffic.

The association’s boundaries are roughly from Fernbank in the South to the Trans Canada Trail in the north, between West Ridge and Stittsville Main.  The residents say that’s roughly the water catchment area affected by development at 6279 Fernbank, along what used to be known as the old Fernbank Creek.

City councillor Shad Qadri said that he opposes the development at 6279 Fernbank as it stands.  He says the City’s planning department has not approved the development because they are not satisfied with the environmental studies and technical information provided by the developer, J.P. Chenier, as part of the plan.

He says it’s now up to the OMB to decide at the hearing whether or not the information they’ve provided is adequate to proceed with the development.

Several volunteers agreed to take on roles in the new association, including Catherine Fafrowicz as secretary, Jennifer De Sa as treasurer. and Sheri Vermette and Jillian McKim who will serve as co-chairs. The group will meet again in the next couple of weeks.

The community association will be a party along with the City of Ottawa in the OMB hearing about 6279 Fernbank that begins on April 20.   The association is hoping to find volunteers with knowledge in engineering, water management, and planning/design who can assist with preparing for the OMB hearing and presenting their case in front of the board.  Keldine FitzGerald is the contact for interested individuals, and can be reached at keldine@keldine.ca.

McKim advised residents to start taking time-stamped photographs of conditions inside and outside their homes, especially water levels.  She says photographic evidence can be presented to the OMB that shows adverse impact of the neighbouring development.

“If your basement backs up when it rains or spring thaw, you need to take a picture,” she says. The group is also looking for any historical photos that residents have on file.

 


SHARE THIS

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 


SHARE THIS

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


SHARE THIS

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


SHARE THIS

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.

SHARE THIS