As mentioned in last week’s column, this week, Planning Committee discussed and approved an agreement that would see the City acquire about five hectares of Shea Road Woods, a popular local greenspace in Stittsville’s Fernbank Community south of Abbott Street East and east of Shea Road near Holy Spirit Parish.
This is great news for the community as the woods – deemed Stittsville’s “unofficial dogpark” – are a beautiful green space in which residents often take their dogs for long walks to soak in some of our community’s natural beauty.
City Council committed to acquiring this important natural area in 2009, to ensure area residents have access to high quality outdoor recreational space. The agreement with CRT Developments would see the City pay cash for about one third of the property. The remaining two thirds would be transferred in exchange for another parcel of land that was to be developed as a City park.
As part of subdivision agreements, Ottawa requires each developer to design and build parks on behalf of the City. As part of a subdivision next 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 would allow that land to instead be developed with low-density housing. There would be no net loss of recreational park facilities within the Fernbank Community as CRT Developments would pay for parks facilities next to the Shea Road Woods.
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 natural features like Shea Road Woods.
I would like to thank all residents for their overwhelmingly positive response to this item leading into Planning Committee. Your comments certainly made a lasting impression on the Committee members and truly shed a light on how important residents feel about preserving our natural areas.
All existing comments sent to Planning Committee will be circulated to members of Council for discussion and final approval at the November 8th City Council meeting. If there are residents who did not have an opportunity to submit comments earlier they can email those to Caitlin Salter-MacDonald, Program Manager, Committee & Council Services at Caitlin.Salter-MacDonald@ottawa.ca .
As this item progresses, I will be certain to share any updates in my weekly newsletter.