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
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