Trend-Arlington seeks exemption from Infill 2 to protect heritage forest from intensification
Dear Councillor Harder,
I am writing to you today to follow up on my presentation to the Planning Committee on May 26th requesting an exemption from Infill 2 in general and corner lot divisions in particular for my community of Trend-Arlington, in order to protect the eastern part of the white pine forest that extends into our community from the NCC, from unsustainable intensification.
Because a precedent has been established with Rockliffe Park in Infill 1 for heritage reasons... rightly done in my opinion. And, because we believe our forest has heritage value since it grew out of the Great Fire of 1870 which decimated most of what is now western Ottawa, not too mention the ecological value to the City of preserving these tremendous trees/forest, and the City's commitment to trees in this Council term... We would like your help to make sure corner lot divisions are never allowed to take place in Arlington Woods.
I know you know my community well. Anyone who comes here to live or to visit knows the magic of entering our neighborhood under the great white pines. I can't tell you how many people have told me that they decided to buy here simply because of the forest. Our homes are aging but its the forest that keeps their values high and taxes rolling in. To divide corner lots in what is essentially an old growth forest from Ottawa's perspective, would result in many of these trees having to come down. One extra house on these lots is not worth the destruction of the forest and the decimation of our community.
While our corner lot properties are slightly smaller than the minimum lot size required for lot divisions, they could still be divided through the acquisition of a minor variance from the Committee of Adjustments. A proposition that we do not believe we should have to face, given the very unique and distinctive nature of our community.
We have started a petition (on and offline) that is gaining tremendous traction as just about everyone we've spoken to has signed it. We will continue to make the rounds until this comes before Council on June 24th. The petition and an edited version of my presentation to the Planning Committee has been posted to TrendArlington.ca at: http://bit.ly/1IYg2mH
Today, we will also begin a letter writing campaign to help make it clear to you and to all of City Council, how strongly we feel about this issue.
In addition, I have spoken to and gained the support from Tree Ottawa and Ecology Ottawa (Chris Henderson and Graham Saul respectively) and have contacted our MPP Lisa Macleod to let her know of the situation. I have also contacted Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner to inquire about acquiring Heritage status for our forest. Ottawa-West MPP Bob Chiarelli has also been cc'd on this email so he is aware.
You can make this all go away and make a lot of people very happy in my community by making it impossible for corner lot divisions to take place in Trend-Arlington. It doesn't make sense from a sustainability perspective, a tree perspective nor a community perspective.
There are a number of different ways this can be achieved. I'll leave that up to you, the experts, to figure it out. I hope that you will work closely with Environment Committee Chair David Chernushenko and the two councillors whose wards the forest is located in (Councillor Egli and Councillor Chiarelli) to come up with a satisfactory solution. Mayor Watson has also been cc'd as I'm sure he will be interested to learn of this situation because the preservation of our forest and the coming completion of the Nepean Trail cycling route, which will pass through Arlington Woods linking Merivale Road to Bell's Corners, presents interesting possibilities from many perspectives, not the least of which are economic and ecotourism.
We are prepared to go to the wall to safeguard our forest and our community. I sincerely hope that this will not be necessary.
James O'Grady, President
Trend-Arlington Community Association
cc: Mayor Jim Watson; Councillorsllors Jan Harder, Keith Egli, David Chernushenko, Rick Chiarelli, Tim Tierney; MPPs Lisa MacLeod, Bob Chiarelli; Green Party leader Mike Schreiner; Ecology Ottawa and Tree Ottawa reps Graham Saul and Chris Henderson