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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.