By John Dance
October 3rd, 2016
So what’s next for SLOE - how can Sustainable Living Ottawa East launch a third wave of transformative “green” projects in Old Ottawa East and what are key possibilities?
These questions were bounced around at two focus groups attended by new and long-standing SLOE members and the proposed possibilities may turn out to be as successful as SLOE’s earlier progeny like the farmers’ market, children’s garden, the Rideau River nature trail and the community garden of the “first wave” and the “Deep Green” project - influencing the development of the institutional lands - constituting the “second wave.”
At the top of the new list is the stewardship of the river corridor from the Smyth Bridge through to Springhurst Park. Included in this effort would be collaborating with the city of Ottawa to ensure the proposed Rideau River Western Pathway, running from Sandy Hill to Old Ottawa South, respects the unique natural features of the OOE stretch and is pedestrian-friendly.
River stewardship work would include ensuring that the 30-metre open space along the Rideau River in front of Greystone Village better supports the riverine ecology while also complementing the new development and serving as a green pedestrian nature trail for all Ottawans. This project will involve collaborating with Regional Group and the Rideau Valley Conservation Foundation which is tentatively going to take ownership of the new park area.
Included in the effort will be creation of a soft-surfaced walking trail, extensive tree planting, creation of key vantage points and access points where residents can launch their canoes and kayaks. Regional Group offered to give the City of Ottawa the property but, to the chagrin of the community association, the city refused to take it over because of ongoing maintenance and potential liability costs.
Another thrust would be greening and naturalization initiatives beyond the shoreline. Key amongst these would be “greening” the new Main Street. Although numerous trees have been planted as part of the reconstruction project, SLOE members propose to work with residents, businesses and Saint Paul University to ensure the trees flourish and others can be planted. As part of this work SLOE will be looking to engage community support to maintain the new perennial garden at the rebuilt Main-Riverdale intersection. Other examples are working with residents to plant and nourish more trees in backyards and elsewhere; and establishing OOE as a bird haven.
Upgrading the OOE stretch of Colonel By Drive is the third major possibility. This would involve working with the National Capital Commission to prepare a plan for improving the landscaping and natural characteristics of the parkway and adjacent parkland. Currently, OOE’s section of Colonel By is somewhat barren relative to the rest of the parkway and Queen Elizabeth Drive on the other side of the canal.
Other proposed projects include following-up on the Deep Green projects such as on ensuring sound management of storm water in the new development; community-focused energy/greenhouse gas issues; celebrating the re-opening of a green Main Street that will be much more pedestrian and cyclist friendly; organizing another lantern walk along the nature trail and contributing to the sesquicentennial circumnavigation of Rideau Island.
SLOE operates informally on the basis of supporting those who will contribute or lead in making OOE sustainable. “The more OOE residents who join in on this work, the more of these initiatives will be implemented,” says SLOE founding member Rebecca Aird. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in any of these projects or if you have other suggestions you’d like to pursue.