UPDATE: Developer says Fernbank tree clearing needed for accurate testing data

Part of the land cleared recently at 6279 Fernbank Road, south of Elm Crescent. Photo taken February 14, 2015.

(Above: Some of the land that’s been cleared in preparation for testing.  Photo taken on February 14, 2015.)

For more than a month, residents living near 6279 Fernbank have been asking why such a large area of trees needs to be cleared for environmental testing on the development property. Borehole drilling at other development sites hasn’t required such extensive tree clearing.

StittsvilleCentral.ca received a response from the landowner’s lawyer this week:

“The purpose of the current work is to supplement the previous hydrogeological work and provide additional subsurface information in order to satisfy the City and the community. The purpose of the test pads (and the monitoring wells located within the test pads) is to provide groundwater elevation measurements that can be easily related to post development grades. Note that this is a fill site in that fill will be placed to raise the grade of the area to be developed. This is required for servicing purposes. The elevations of the test pads are approximately the same as the proposed design finished grades.”

In other words, in order to accurately assess groundwater and soil conditions, they want to simulate site conditions once houses are built. While the developer disputes the City’s requirement for the testing, they’re going ahead with it anyways. That dispute is supposed to be resolved at the upcoming OMB hearing. You can read the full letter here.

That’s a bit different than what the city originally said back in January: that the large size of pads were to accomodate the size of the drilling rigs.

SOME BACKGROUND: The land is owned by J.P. Chenier, and Cavanagh Construction is assisting in obtaining development approval. The developer presented a rezoning application and site plan to the City, but filed an appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board when the City didn’t make a decision within the required timeframe.  The appeal will be heard by the OMB in April.

The city and community have concerns about insufficient information on stormwater management and drainage, as well as  integration with the surrounding community.

The City says they won’t approve the development until additional hydrogeological testing is done to determine just what effect new homes would have on the water table in the area, including drainage to nearby property.

The developer believes the testing is not necessary or warranted; the City and residents are insisting that it is. The residents agree that some trees need to be removed for the testing, they’re just not convinced that such extensive tree clearing is necessary for the tests.

Cavanagh site plan map.
Cavanagh site plan map (click for full size). The areas in grey are being cleared for testing.

The tree clearing includes three areas with a footprint of at least 30×30 meters that require total clearing of the trees and vegetation, and several access roads.

Tree clearing started in January to prepare the area for the testing, which includes carting in fill to create three large gravel pads, access roads, and installing drilling and monitoring equipment. (See previous stories for more info…)


Residents in the area are planning a meeting on Monday, February 23 to form a community association in advance of the OMB hearing. The meeting is at 7:00pm at Stittsville United Church (corner of Fernbank and Stittsville Main). More info here…


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