On Saturday, we wrote about residents living near a disputed development property on Fernbank Drive who are concerned about tree removal that was slated to begin this week. Here’s the latest about what’s happening.
TREE CUTTING DELAYED: Crews were supposed to start clearing trees today (Tuesday), but that’s been delayed at least until tomorrow.
RESPONSE FROM CITY: We asked the City of Ottawa for some more information about the tree removal permit that was issued. According to David Wise, Manager, Development Review with the City: “The City is requiring that the developer do this testing to demonstrate that stormwater management and groundwater management can be provided adequately at this site. The City cannot permit development on the lands until this adequate service is confirmed.”
The City received three documents to support the tree removal: a tree conservation report, showing forest cover information, including species at risk; a butternut health assessment report, including the location and condition of trees on the site; and an outline of the hydrological work required on the site.
Read more: “Cypress Gardens Subdivision – Phase 3 – Tree Conservation Report (PDF)
“Our forester went out on the site several times to confirm what was in the documentation and make sure we understood where buttnernut trees were, where species at risk were,” says Wise.
HOW MANY TREES ARE BEING CUT? Wise says tree permits don’t count a specific number. Instead, they look at the area of tree clearing along with the species, health, and average diameter of the trees.
WHAT ARE THOSE PADS FOR ANYWAYS? One concern from residents was about large “pads” that are going to be built for the testing. They account for a lot of the area being cut – about 8,740 square meters, according to one of the resident’s calculations.
Wise says the test pads are required for to study groundwater flows underground for a full year. “They have to drill boreholes and install monitoring equipment in those boreholes… They have to bring drilling rigs onto the site, they’re quite large. The land is quite soft and as a result the pads are to reinforce an area for the drilling rigs to set up. They’re that large so that they can support a drilling rig. and all the equipment – generators, pipes, tubes.”
REFORESTATION: “There is no re-forestation plan since this work is in preparation for future development and if that is approved, rehabilitation will not be necessary,” says Wise. “If the subdivision is not approved, the City does not have a contingency for forcing rehabilitation unless the Ontario Municipal Board demands at the conclusion of the hearing on this matter.”
Phil Sweetnam, Vice President of the Stittsville Village Association*, suggests that the city should consider adopting a formal reforestation policy for new developments where vegetation is removed. Toronto, for example, requires developers to plan replacement trees.
“It may not be possible to put all of the trees into the same community where the original trees were removed. Those which could not be replaced within the sub division boundaries could be placed on public land such as in the Poole Creek area,” says Sweetnam.
“I think the residents should expect a higher replacement standard to help keep an urban tree cover,” he says.”
*Disclosure – Glen Gower, the editor of StittsvilleCentral.ca is a director with the Stittsville Village Association.