TACA requests exemption from corner lot divisions in Infill 2 to protect ‘heritage’ white pine forest from intensification
Nepean, June 18—Following up on President James O’Grady’s presentation to the City of Ottawa’s Planning Committee on May 26th, the Trend-Arlington Community Association has launched a petition to impress upon City Council the importance of preserving urban forests in Ottawa like the native white pine forest in Arlington Woods, as it considers Infill 2, a rezoning initiative for the outer-urban area.
Arlington Woods was carefully developed by Campeau Homes in the early 1970’s under the eastern wing of a native white pine forest. The forest which boast many trees over a hundred years old, extends from Graham Creek through the Greenbelt and into Bells Corners. It grew out of the remains of the Great Fire of 1870 that destroyed much of what is now western Ottawa. Bells Corners and Stittsville were wiped out. For this reason the Trend-Arlington Community Association believes the white pine forest has tremendous heritage value to both the City of Ottawa and to the communities of the old City of Nepean.
As a result of the devastation caused by the emerald ash borer beetle to Ottawa’s ash trees and overall tree canopy, Ottawa City Council has made trees a priority for the city this term. The Infill 2 rezoning initiative is a perfect opportunity for the City to build in protections to preserve natural assets like Arlington Woods’ white pine forest, from unsustainable intensification”, Mr. O’Grady says.
Arlington Woods resident Dave Wood put it best when he wrote on the petition that his family moved to Trend-Arlington 2 years ago from Westboro Beach to escape the intensification. “It was the trees that drew us in to Arlington Woods.”
“I am for intensification where it makes sense, and in this case it doesn't. And, I speak as an owner of a corner lot who would benefit from allowing a severance under Infill 2. My biggest problem with Infill 2 is that there is no provision to consider the existing neighbourhood character unlike Infill 1. In our case the biggest character of the neighbourhood is the white pines and natural environment so consideration should be given to maintain that character!”
There is a reason City’s don’t develop inside native forests any more. Its because its unsustainable. “The forest is already under tremendous stress. It can’t sustain any increase in development. “Dividing corner lots in our community will mean many of these beautiful, mature trees will have to come down. The forest will be irrevocably hurt as will our community because we are one and the same.”
Green Party of Ontario leader Mike Schreiner concurs. “It is more important than ever to protect our urban forests with the devastation the Emerald Ash Borrow beetle is having on trees and forests across Ontario. The Green Party supports urban intensification, but it is only sustainable when it respects nature. Cutting down 100+ yr. old white pine trees fails to respect natural heritage and is not sustainable, especially when they are part of a forest with heritage value to the City of Ottawa.”
Despite its location just inside the Greenbelt, Trend-Arlington has always asserted that it is not an urban community. “We don’t feel it is right to treat us like Westboro and Hintonburg. Corner lot divisions may make sense in other parts of the City, but it doesn’t make sense in Arlington Woods because of our unique situation,” O’Grady says. “These trees are irreplaceable. We hope the City will realize that its of more value in this instance to keep the baby, rather than throw it out with the bathwater.”
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James O’Grady, President
Trend-Arlington Community Association