Trees to be removed from disputed development property

Gerry Kroll stands in front of a large grove of trees that are slated for removal beginning this week.

(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.

Kroll and Fitzgerald's dog Lily looks towards the group of trees that have been earmarked for removal starting this week.
Kroll and FitzGerald’s dog Lily looks towards the group of trees that have been earmarked for removal starting this week.

 

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.

There is a requirement for additional hydrogeological and geotechnical information for the proposed development. In order to provide the information it is necessary to undertake fieldwork which involves the construction of test pads, digging test pits, and drilling boreholes. To accommodate this work some tree removal is required. Therefore, Thomas Cavanagh Construction Limited acting as agent/property manager for the owner of the subject property has received a permit to remove trees in accordance with City Bylaw 2009-200. The tree cutting will begin the week of January 18th, 2015. Tree Permit is associated with City File Number D06-01-14-0182.
Letter delivered to residents living near 6279 Fernbank Road.

 

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.)

Cavanagh site plan map.
Cavanagh site plan map (click for full size). The area in grey will be cleared as part of the testing

 

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.

Tree removal permit issued to Cavanagh Construction for work at 6279 Fernbank Road.
Tree removal permit issued to Cavanagh Construction for work at 6279 Fernbank Road.

 


(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…)

Trees and signs at the corner of Porter and Meadowland
Trees and signs at the corner of Porter and Meadowland

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6 thoughts on “Trees to be removed from disputed development property”

  1. Sadly, when this whole sad story is concluded, the developer with his unlimited financial resources and the OMB in the development community’s pocket , will likely win !

    Doesn’t help that so few people at the city have the guts to really stand up to developers – who if truth were told really run this municipality !

  2. Mike

    I think its a bit of a myth to say developers run the city I know some people play that card but in reality its not true with that said both sides need to work on things better.

  3. OK, I’m sympathetic to those people who got used to a nice view of forest out their back yard, but if the forest doesn’t belong to them, and belongs to someone else, they don’t have any say whether the trees stay or go, or whether the land can be developed. If they wanted to be looking out to trees in the back yard, they should have planted trees in their own yard. If they want to keep the existing trees that are on someone else’s property, they may be able to purchase the lots from the developers. Each 50′ lot they would want to keep might be obtainable for ~$350k-$400k. We may be in a similar boat down the road. We’re on the west edge of Stittsville, and currently there’s farmland behind our house and it’s nice to look at, but I know that someday the city may allow development out there. I don’t own the land, and as it’s not public land I know and don’t expect to be able to have a say on whether whoever owns that land wants to develop it.

    1. John, part of the issue in this case is concern about the importance of the natural features. Another reason they are opposing this particular tree cutting is because the land is subject to an OMB appeal. The residents want to make sure the process was followed properly to obtain a tree removal permit, given the disputed status / upcoming OMB hearing.

  4. Classic NIMBY.

    I find it ironic that someone who lives in a subdivision that was beginning to be built in the same ecosystem in the late ’60s/early 70’s (where, presumably, many trees were cut down in the process) is complaining about ongoing development.

    Even within the last 10-15 years, there have been hundreds of houses built in areas adjacent areas that were part of the same forest complex (e.g., West Ridge, Coyote and Black Bear). Did you complain when those trees were cut down?

    I’m against rampant suburban development, but you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

  5. This is more more than an issue of losing privacy for home owners.
    Please do some more research.
    This development includes re zoning so that lots that should hold single family homes will have townhouses. Traffic and safety are huge concerns for residents including myself.
    We moved to this street – paid to live here as opposed to communities in Barrhaven where homes are jammed into small spaces?
    Do you think if a plot of land in Rockliffe were rezoned to allow 60 townhouses – the local residents would allow this?

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