Thanks to Ken Edwards for sharing this link from Strava, the finess tracking app. The company has released a heatmap based on data they’ve collected from people who bike and run and otherwise “recreate” all over the world. Continue reading →
AT CITY HALL
City Council gave full approval today for the acquisition of 5 hectares of Shea Woods. The City will pay CRT (Claridge-Richcraft-Tamarack) Developments just over $1.5-million for about one-third of the land … Council also approved a zoning bylaw amendment for 1620 And 1636 Maple Grove Road, paving the way for a 945-unit residential development. Continue reading →
(PHOTO: Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Shad Qadri joined local residents on Tuesday to announce plans to protect the Shea Woods. Photos by Frank Cianciullo.)
The City of Ottawa hosted a media event today to announce a $1.5-million agreement to conserve part of the Shea Woods, a cedar forest located southeast of Holy Spirit Church and a popular spot for dog walkers.
The forest is currently owned by CRT Developments, who are planning a housing development in the area. A City of Ottawa press release (included below) outlines how the City intends to protected the forested area. Continue reading →
(PHOTO: Afternoon in Shea Woods, January 2017. Photo by Glen Gower.)
“…fallen branches become magic wands, old rotting tree trunks become balance beams that they must cross while escaping from some imaginary, forest-dwelling bad guys. They have favourite trees with perfect climbing branches. The Shea Woods really is more than just a forest…”
I was first introduced to the Shea Woods just over 10 years ago. A friend suggested it as a wonderful spot to walk our new puppy. We were newly married and new to the Stittsville Community. I quickly realized how lucky we were to have such a beautiful natural space right in our community.
During my quiet walks there, I was enchanted by the mature cedars, the fern beds that grow in the open, sunlit areas of the forest floor and the old stone fences that border the woods – left behind, I would imagine as I walked, by one of Stittsville’s early settlers.
As the seasons change, so do the Shea Woods – from the apple blossoms in the spring, to the warm colours of the sugar maples in the fall and the dusting of snow on the trails in the winter.
In my early days of walking there, I met a gentleman who told me he was one of the first neighbours to start marking trails through the Shea Woods. At that time, he had already been walking there daily with his dog for years. Clearly, this was a special place for more than just me.
Soon, we started walking through the Shea Woods with our children. The minute they step into the woods, their imaginations soar – fallen branches become magic wands, old rotting tree trunks become balance beams that they must cross while escaping from some imaginary, forest-dwelling bad guys. They have favourite trees with perfect climbing branches.
The Shea Woods really is more than just a forest. In the middle of the woods, there is a tree where neighbours hang plastic containers filled with dog treats to share. The tree is decorated each year at Christmas.
There are daily meet-ups at the big rock and springtime clean-ups. In the age of IPhones and PlayStations, the Shea Woods is a meeting place for neighbours, a place to catch-up with old friends, and meet new ones.
It is an easily accessible natural space for our children to explore and as adults, a place to quietly walk, listening to the birds and the wind in the trees.
We all know that trees and natural green spaces are important. We know that trees filter the air we breathe and help prevent roadside runoff from getting into our waterways. We know that trees help reduce flooding, fight soil erosion, cool the air, muffle urban noise and increase property values.
We are also starting to learn more and more about how important time in natural spaces is to both the physical and mental health for adults and children alike. It has been shown to reduce stress, improve cognitive function and feelings of well-being.
Today, we celebrate moving from knowledge and planning to concrete action. Accessible green spaces like the Shea Woods are one of the things that makes Stittsville such a wonderful community to live in. Thank you to Councillor Qadri, Mayor Watson and the City Planning Team for their efforts in making this a reality.
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 →
(Shad Qadri and City of Ottawa Planning Forester Mark Richardson accompanied students in grade 5 / 6 from Stittsville Public School to the Shea Woods in June.)
City Council approved a motion from Shad Qadri this week to look at funding options to acquire Shea Woods, a seven-hectare forest off Fernbank Road.
The land, bordered by Fernbank, Iber, Abbott and Shea, about the size of 30 soccer pitches, is privately owned. The forest is part of the approved Fernbank Community Development Plan but the city still has to find money to acquire it.
At a busy council meeting on Wednesday, councillors approved a motion from Qadri that directs city staff to review future funding options for the forest.
“I believe that it was important for me to re-iterate this need at this time, so that staff can begin looking for ways to ensure that this important tract of land can be protected in a permanent fashion. It is not something that needs to be done overnight, but, preparations can begin now looking to the future and determining how funding can be identified to complete the effort,” said Qadri in an email to StittsvilleCentral.ca.
On Friday, June 12, city councillor Shad Qadri and City of Ottawa planning forester Mark Richardson accompanied students in grades 5 and 6 from Stittsville Public School to the Shea Woods. Continue reading →