"Mr. Mayor, you don’t need a Rural Summit to find out
what’s wrong, you need only to open your eyes and
look at what is going on in your administration."


Reported in ...
 

The Stittsville News

 



July 19, 2005

Letter: 650 acres of land are dry forest, not wetland

Dear Editor:

The city of Ottawa seems to think that 650 acres of land southwest of Stittsville, currently classified as dry forest, should be reclassified as “provincially significant wetland”.
          The property owners on the other hand, many of whom have lived on this land all of their lives and should know the true nature of this area, claim that this land is classified as dry forest because that’s exactly what it is, or I should say, was, until neglect and negligence by the township/city with regards to fulfilling their responsibility of providing maintenance to the existing network of drainage systems allowed the area to become inundated with beavers, with the resulting backup of standing water. 
          As a result, this land has begun to take on the characteristics of wetland.

 
 
The roadside drainage ditches were allowed to be regularly blocked up by dams constructed by the overpopulation of beaver, which has reached epidemic levels, and resulted in the flooding of the entire area served by this network of drainage ditches.

 
 

Does that make it an authentic wetland, or is it simply flooded dry forest.
          Aerial photos of the area, readily available from the National Air Photo Library in Ottawa, show clearly exactly when, where, and why these valuable bush lot areas became flooded over the past several years. 
          Several areas of negligence on the part of the township/city are involved here. 
          The Hobbs Drain Extension was not constructed in accordance with the engineers report, resulting in inadequate capacity and insufficient elevation drop to carry the volume of water, resulting in overflow and spillage onto surrounding properties. 
          The Heritage Corners estate lot development was allowed to be constructed with a drainage ditch that simply dumped the water flow into the adjacent bush lot, resulting in the destruction of 20 acres of valuable forest area. 
          The roadside drainage ditches were allowed to be regularly blocked up by dams constructed by the overpopulation of beaver, which has reached epidemic levels, and resulted in the flooding of the entire area served by this network of drainage ditches. 
          The aerial photos also show that this entire area was actively farmed, as the remnants of fence lines and hay field delineations are clearly visible throughout this area.  This would hardly be the case if this area were authentic wetland. 
          Our forefathers spent many years clearing and farming this land, only to have it undone by the neglect of our township/city decision makers.
          The owners of the properties in question say that the correct action would be to restore the land to its natural state of dry forest, through maintenance and reconstruction of the drainage network. 
          The city, on the other hand, wants to simply rename it into something that is not its natural state. 

 
 
By going to MNR and obtaining their official approval before even informing the actual owners of the properties, the city has essentially closed the door to any meaningful and non-confrontational discussion on the topic.

 
 

How ironic that a well intentioned, albeit badly misinformed, endeavour could end up costing the city over a million dollars in damage claims, plus legal costs. 
          Had the city consulted with the property owners in the beginning, instead of sneaking behind their backs with secret aerial surveillance and obtaining Ministry of Natural Resourse’s official approval of the reclassification, most of this could have been avoided. 
          And then the city wonders why there is such a lack of respect and trust on the part of the rural population! 
          Mr. Mayor, you don’t need a Rural Summit to find out what’s wrong, you need only to open your eyes and look at what is going on in your administration.
          By going to MNR and obtaining their official approval before even informing the actual owners of the properties, the city has essentially closed the door to any meaningful and non-confrontational discussion on the topic. 
         
The property owners have allowed the city the opportunity to back away gracefully from this fiasco.  It remains to be seen whether the city does so, or plunges headlong into a situation that can only end up in a legal battle.

            Terry Hale
            Fernbank Road
            Stittsville


 

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