I am thrilled and honoured to share the great news that the motion to purchase and protect a portion of Shea Road Woods in Stittsville was discussed and approved at this week’s City Council meeting.
As a result of the decision, 5.4 hectares of land in the area south of Abbott St East and East of Shea Rd in the Fernbank Community would be acquired by the City. This is great news for the community as the woods are a popular site for many Stittsville residents to walk, play with their dogs and soak in some of the community’s natural beauty. It is important to note that while the future uses will still need to be discussed, it is my intention to ensure the allowance of off-leash dogs in sections of this area is maintained.
Working on retaining this property has been a priority project of mine for quite some time. I understand that with the recent growth of our unique little village, it is important to ensure our large areas of natural environment remain preserved wherever possible.
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 Mayor Watson and City Staff along with CRT Developments for their support in working with me to protect this important greenspace so that it can continue to be enjoyed by the community, and future generations. I would also like to highlight the following staff – Stephen Willis, John Smit, Nick Stow, James Bowser, Mark Richardson, Kevin Wherry and Jennifer Shepherd – for all of their hard work on this file as well as Councillor and Planning Committee Chair Jan Harder for providing her support.
Last but certainly now least, I would like to thank all residents for their incredible support of this very important item; it is great to see all of the hard work of the committed team of staff finally come to fruition. I look forward to sharing more news with the community as it is released.