(ABOVE: Gerry Kroll stands in front of a large grove of trees that are slated for removal beginning this week.)
UPDATE (Jan 20): Tree removal delayed a day; more information about work required
Residents living near a disputed development property on Fernbank Drive are concerned about tree removal that’s slated to begin next week.
Keldine FitzGerald and Gerry Kroll have lived on Elm Street for over 30 years. A large number of trees on development land at 6279 Fernbank, immediately behind their property, are slated for removal starting as early as Sunday.
The development is the subject of an OMB hearing coming up in April. The landowner has to complete additional surveys and fieldwork that involves digging test pits and drilling boreholes. The work is being carried out by Cavanagh Construction on behalf of the land owner, J.P. Chenier. Cavanagh has received a permit from the city to remove some trees from the land.
FitzGerald has been a vocal opponent of the development, along with several other residents on neighbouring streets. She was surprised to hear about the plans to cut down trees and believes there should have been more notice given, especially since she has party status on behalf of the residents in the OMB hearing.
“We’re trying to get information… I got a heads up from the developer’s lawyer a couple days ago. Now the whole community knows about it. Letters were delivered yesterday. The bell wasn’t rung, nothing. They were placed on the ground – many might have blown away,” she says.
FitzGerald wants the tree removal delayed until residents have a full understanding of what’s involved.
She’s concerned about permanent damage to natural areas on the property as a result of the tree removal and other work required for testing, which includes “construction of test pads, digging test pits, and drilling boreholes”.
Fitzgerald has specifically asked the developer and the City of Ottawa to explain why three “test pads” are being built as part of the testing. They are each large surfaces with a foot print of at least 30×30 meters that require total clearing of the trees and vegetation.
(Coincidentally, two of the pads are adjacent to properties owned by residents who have been active in opposing the development, including FitzGerald.)
We contacted both the City of Ottawa and Cavanagh to ask for more information about the testing, but did not hear back before our deadline.
Based on documents shared with StittsvilleCentral.ca, Canavagh’s request to remove trees appears to be in line with city policy. A permit was issued through the city’s forestry department.
In his weekly newsletter to residents, city councillor Shad Qadri said a city forester will visit the site on a daily basis to ensure Cavanagh is compliant with the city’s guidelines.
Since receiving the notice that trees would be removed earlier this week, Fitzgerald and Kroll have been sending emails and making phone calls to various city officials and representatives for Cavanagh, and hope to at least delay the clearing until neighbours are given an explanation for the work being done.
(The residents who live near 6279 Fernbank Road are forming a community association. The first meeting is on February 23 at 7:00pm at Stittsville United Church. More info here…)