The Future of Shea Road Woods at Planning Committee

This week, I had the great pleasure of joining Mayor Watson, City Planning Staff, Tanya Hein (President of the Stittsville Village Association), Adrienne Charlton (President of the Blackstone-Fernbank Crossing Community Association), and other interested Stittsville residents on-site for a special announcement regarding the acquisition and protection of the Shea Road Woods.

 

As it stands, the woods are a privately-owned natural area and could legally be developed without acquisition by the City. The woods are known by many as the unofficial dog park of Stittsville and are located south of Abbott Street East and east of Shea Road near Holy Spirit Parish.

 

Working on retaining this property has been a priority project of mine for quite some time and with Stitttsville growing at the rate that it is, I understand how important it is to preserve our natural environment wherever possible. As such, I have continued to push in finding potential solutions in how to ensure that this area remains protected.

This was one of the first items I brought forward to Mayor Watson’s attention when he resumed office and I would like to provide my sincere thanks for his support. I would also like to thank City staff and all engaged residents for their contributions in establishing this project.

 

On October 24th, Planning Committee will consider the first step in the long-term acquisition and protection of Shea Road Woods.  The report and recommendations to Planning Committee seek approval of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the owners, CRT Developments Inc., for purchase of the woodlot through a combination of cash and parkland dedication.

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As part of all subdivision agreements, Ottawa requires each developer to design and build parks on behalf of the City. As part of a subdivision adjacent to the Shea Road Woods, CRT Developments had already planned a 3.28-hectare park. In exchange for the Shea Road Woods property, the City will allow that land to instead be developed with low-density housing. The City would pay cash for the remaining 1.72 hectares, at an estimated cost of $1,577,573. Funding for that purchase would come from the Environmental Resource Area Acquisition Reserve Fund, which Council established to help acquire and protect features like Shea Road Woods.

 

A final purchase agreement would be conditional upon the City obtaining permission from Hydro One to relocate playing fields and other park facilities to a nearby transmission line corridor, so that the community can still enjoy a full range of recreational, health, and fitness opportunities.  Such a move will require engineering studies and possible design measures to ensure the community that health and safety will never be compromised.

 

This is great news for residents as the Shea Woods have become a popular natural feature in Stittsville, providing our communities with beautiful scenery and nature walks. The area is already frequented by many who walk their dogs and while the details of the future uses will still need to be discussed, it is my intention to maintain the area to permit off leash dogs. I would like to thank all staff who have contributed in bringing this project to the point it is at now for all of their hard work. I would also like to send a sincere thank you to all of the residents of the Stittsville community who have been engaged in this item throughout this process for sharing their thoughts and their commitment to preserving Stittsville’s natural features.

 

If Planning Committee and City Council approves the MOU, then City staff will move quickly to carry out the necessary studies and create a plan for the woodlot and park.  Although challenges remain to the final protection of Shea Road Woods, the City and CRT Developments are committed to the principle of preserving it for future generations.

 

For additional background, you can view official report submitted to Planning Committee here.

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Share your voice in supporting the City’s purchase of the Shea Road Woods

This item will be voted on at the City’s Planning Committee on October 24th starting at 9:30 am.  Residents can show their support by submitting comments to the Planning Committee Coordinator, Melody Duffenais at melody.duffenais@ottawa.ca.  Melody will ensure that all comments are circulated to the members of the committee.

 

Residents are also welcome to attend the meeting and they can choose to register to speak to the item for 5 minutes as well, however, there is no immediate necessity as I will be certain to draw the committee’s attention to the written comments that have been submitted.

 

Residents will also be able to listen live to the Committee meeting too through the City’s website here.

 

I would like to thank all residents for their positive feedback this week in regards to this item. The community’s support of our natural features really goes to show that sometimes the most highly-regarded venues of our ward are also the most natural.

Newly Paved Shoulders at Fernbank Road

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As residents may have noticed, work has been underway to pave the shoulders on Fernbank Road from Shea Rd to approx. 500m West of Terry Fox Drive. The anticipated cost of $150,000 for this specific project is funded as part of the rural cycling route improvements budget of $4,050,000.

 

I first recommended this project to the City as this has been an area of concern for local cyclists. It is my hopes that these new paved shoulders will deliver a safer area for cyclists and pedestrians who use Fernbank to commute more confidently, providing more space for faster-moving vehicles to pass.

Liard Speed Humps

Yesterday, October 19th, I was happy to introduce a speed hump pilot project on Liard Street in an effort to deter speeding and promote community safety.

Speeding is an issue that I take very seriously. Liard St is one area that residents have expressed concern over for quite some time and many residents have specifically requested that speedbumps be implemented.

However, speedbumps often come with unwanted side effects including uneven snow plowing over the wintertime and additional obstacles for emergency vehicles such as firetrucks. Some streets in Stittsville do have permanent speedbump installations and over the years, many residents have approached me with request for their removal.

As a result, Transportation staff do not typically recommend the installation of speedbumps, however, given the large demand for additional measures on Liard, I was able to work with staff on the implementation of a unique temporary speed hump pilot project.

 

Liard Street was selected as an appropriate location to pilot the temporary speed humps as it is going to be resurfaced within the next year or two. After this time, staff will be able to assess their utility and either move ahead with a permanent installation or remove the humps during resurfacing. Given the long term damage caused by the mechanism used to bolt down the hump, these devices are not installed on all roadways.

 

I am interested in how the results of this project will pan out. If successful, I am open to exploring the potential this project may provide to other similar streets with severe speeding concerns.

 

If residents are concerned with speeding on their streets, it is very important that they report speeding directly to the Police.  The more reports made to the Police highlight the area as a concern and officers can be deployed to the area. This also assists my office as I am also able to review the number of reports made for a particular street.  You can report online here – https://www.ottawapolice.ca/en/contact-us/Online-Reporting.asp

Overnight Construction at Abbott/Stittsville Main

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Resurfacing-related roadwork will be taking place at the intersection of Stittsville Main and Abbott St beginning October 22nd-October 27th, weather permitting. This work was initially mentioned in my September 22nd newsletter but was delayed.

Work will take place overnight to limit impacts on traffic and police will be on site to direct traffic. Notice will be provided to residents in the vicinity in advance of the work and is also available for review here.

Residents may overhear noises coming from trucks and paving machinery. My apologies for any inconvenience this may cause.

Commemorative Naming of Mary Durling Park

On October 20th, I had the honour of being part of the official renaming of Mary During Park, formerly Cypress Gardens Park, located at 33 Brae Crescent.

 

Mary Durling was a well known member of this community and an active volunteer in this area for many years.  Through her volunteer work, Mary formed rich ties to this community and an overwhelming amount of public support was received during the public consultation for this proposal.
Mary Durling was described as a loving, generous and kind person who brought joy to those in her company and made others feel special. Mary also devoted her time to raising awareness and funds for important causes and advocated for those in need of a voice. She unselfishly supported many charitable organizations such as the Heart and Stroke foundation, Cameron Awareness and the Ladies Auxiliary Stittsville Legion for many years. Most importantly, she was said to be a great bingo and dart player!

 

This park is particularly significant to Mary Durling and her children as the family spent a great deal of time enjoying this space and making memories in this exact location over the years.

 

For these reasons, I am very proud that we were able to make this event happen and that Mary Durling will be honoured for her work and dedication to this community through the naming of this park.

Stittsville Library Events for October/November

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There are four special programs coming up at the Stittsville branch in October and November, 2017.

 

On Sunday, October 22, 2017 from 1:30 – 4:30 PM is a Children’s Hallowe’en Workshop called “Mansion Mayhem.”  This program is hosted by staff from the Goulbourn Museum for children ages 6-11! There will be edible haunted houses to decorate; creepy crafts to make, and ghoulish games to play.  A fee to cover the cost of materials is payable to the Goulbourn Museum.  $25.00 per child.  ($20 for Kits’ Club Members).  Please register by emailing  register@goulbourn.ca  or calling 613-831-2393.

 

The Library Children’s department staff are planning a special Halloween Story time on Saturday, October 28, 2017, following the Saturday Story time beginning at 10:30 a.m. There will be pumpkins to decorate, so plan to stay longer if you want to enjoy the spooky fun!  No registration is required.

 

The week-end of November 3, 4, & 5, 2017 marks a very special model train show presented by the Ottawa British, and members of the British Railway Modellers of North America.  The fictional village of “Marmalade Wharf” is set in post war England.  This is a program not to be missed by children, and serious model train enthusiasts.   More information is available at https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/event/ottawa-british-00-gauge-model-train-show. No registration is required.

 

The Goulbourn Museum will host their monthly “Yap and Yarn” program at the Stittsville branch on Sunday, November 12, 2017. 1:30 p.m. This program is open to the public so bring your fibre arts projects and learn about an upcoming Community Fibre Arts Exhibition planned for this fall.

 

I hope that residents consider joining these fantastic events organized by our phenomenal Stittsville Library branch staff!

Trick or Treat with the Mayor

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On Saturday, October 28th, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m., Mayor Jim Watson will once again host a safe Halloween event in support of the Ottawa Food Bank’s Baby Basics Program. The Baby Basics Program targets the most vulnerable members of our society, infants and toddlers, whose parents lack the resources to adequately provide for them.  As a result of this program, expensive items such as formula, baby food and diapers are made available to assist families in need.

Trick or Treat with the Mayor, along with some favourite costumed characters, in the Haunted Heritage House after passing through the Ghoulish Graveyard on Elgin Street. Follow the Yellow Brick Road with Dorothy and all of her friends to the Halloween Dance Party on Marion Dewar Plaza, where guests can trick or treat and dance with more costumed characters. Guests can also take a ride on the GT Express, decorate a miniature pumpkin or be wowed by the outdoor magic potions lab and show. Inside City Hall there will be hot chocolate and treats in the Hocus Pocus Café.

 

I highly encourage all residents to consider stopping by this excellent annual event for a great evening of fun, games, and Halloween excitement. With the support of our corporate sponsors, a memorable evening is assured for everyone while supporting a very worthy cause.

Trick or Swim or Skate!

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This Halloween, consider giving a healthier alternative to the standard Halloween treat.

Once again this year, the perfect candy-free alternative for a Halloween treat is Trick or Swim or Skate tickets.

Each ticket is good for admission to a public swim or skate at a City recreation facility. You can hand them out at the door on Halloween night or give them directly to the little trick-or-treater in your life.

Tickets are available now, while supplies last, at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex (1500 Shea Road) or other participating City recreation facilities near you.

Trick or Swim or Skate tickets are:

  • fun;
  • affordable ($10 for 10 tickets);
  • allergy free;
  • have zero calories;
  • gluten free;
  • They promote an active lifestyle; AND
  • They do not cause cavities!

Plus, a public swimming or public skating session is bound to last way longer than any mini chocolate bar, even for the slowest of eaters.

Kids ages 3- 15 can redeem their tickets from November 1, 2017 to January 31, 2018 during regularly scheduled public or family swims and skates at City pools and select arenas (unfortunately, tickets are not valid for wave swims).

I highly encourage residents to consider giving the gift of physical activity to all the little ghosts and ghouls this Halloween!

The Complex is Haunted!

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Stop by the Goulbourn Rec Complex on October 27th for an array of spoOoOoOoky fun!

Show off your costume as you partake in cookie decorating, a haunted house, a spooky family portrait and more!

Admission is free and donations will be accepted toward the Stittsville Food Bank. The event runs from 5:00-7:00 PM with Haunted Swim continuing until 8:30.

I hope that all residents join this great opportunity for a wicked good time!

Jo-Jo’s Pizza Pumpkin Bash!

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Jo-Jo’s Pizza is hosting a Pumpkin Bash on Saturday, Oct. 21 at their location on 1573 Stittsville Main Street. Free pumpkins, a bouncy castle, and prizes for the best costumes will be given out. The event will take place from 11-3 with a rain date of October 22nd.

I highly encourage all residents to stop by for this fun event as everyone is welcome!