Once upon a time, there was a small settlement on the banks of a beautiful river. It was a lovely site, with many trees, open meadows of wildflowers and grasses, and a marsh where water plants grew and many different kinds of insects, birds, butterflies, and small animals lived. When it rained, the water seeped into the ground where tree roots could reach it, and it replenished the marsh.
We all listen to the news: the polar icecap is melting, the seas are rising, the weather is more unpredictable, droughts are increasing, forest and bush fires are harder to manage. We hear and see that our climate is changing, but what do we do in response to all this news? What should we do?
OSCA's Planning and Zoning Committee has called on the City of Ottawa Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Planning Committees to be more cognizant of climate change and more clear about how its proposed policies would affect neighbourhoods in a submission to a joint meeting of the two bodies. There was little time given to review the new official plan and only five days allotted for public review and comment.
Our Living City team has hit its stride this summer. With the help of dozens of amazing volunteers, we’ve distributed over 10,000 trees, knocked on thousands of doors, and given away loads of green infrastructure adaptations like splash guards and redirects. Now, we’re gearing up for an exciting September chalk full of events. Trust us, you won’t want to miss out!
The City of Ottawa is updating its by-laws to protect urban forests. And there's still time to share your ideas for a greener city.
On Friday, July 26th two monarch butterflies were spotted on the SW corner of Sunnyside & Bank outside the Dollar Store. On Saturday, July 27th another monarch danced among the milkweed on the corner of Fairbairn near Bank on the east side of the Firehall.
Unusual, you might ask? No, monarchs love milkweed and for several years now Green Dreamers have been cultivating this wild perennial hoping that monarch butterflies would feed on their preferred plant food right here in our own “street yard”.
Bill 66 is a provincial bill that would allow municipalities to by-pass both land-use planning and environmental regulations in the name of being 'Open for Business'. Under the envisioned scenario, a large business could be given a pass if it provided a certain level of local employment—100 people in Ottawa's case.
A law by-passing other laws and protections, generations in the making, is deeply concerning, but the legislation goes further, foregoing any consultative process with the public and disallowing residents from appealing such 'Open for Business' decisions.
The actual environmental consequences of land development in sensitive areas should this this legislation be enacted, should also give cause for serious pause.
The loss of mature trees in Ottawa’s residential neighbourhoods, and failure to replace them, has reached a crisis situation due to the intensity and rapid pace of infill housing, urban development, and climate change. City policies, by-laws, internal procedures, and enforcement practices intended to regulate tree removal and encourage tree replacement have not kept up. The result is a significant degradation of the urban environment that affects human health and hamper's the municipality's ability to adapt to the effects of climate change.
A new website, Tree Action Now, sponsored by the Greenspace Alliance and others, brings together three strategic actions on this issue:
Trees are amongst our most generous neighbours, providing shade and shelter, cooling, windbreaks, and even fruit. We need to protect our valuable old trees and add young ones. We face the loss of trees via construction/ development, emerald ash borer, as well as ice storms, wind, and other weather. Our urban canopy is under duress!