That the Planning and Environment Committee recommend that Council adopt the amendment, to the Official Plan of the City of Ottawa adopted on 14th May 2003, as detailed in Document 1 to this report, in order to establish the land use designations for the land within and adjacent to the Special Study Area in Kanata.
RECOMMANDATION DU RAPPORT
Que le Comité de l'urbanisme et de l'environnement recommande au Conseil d'adopter la modification apportée au Plan officiel de la Ville d'Ottawa le 14 mai 2003 et décrite au document 1 annexé au présent rapport, de façon à établir les affectations du sol pour les terrains situés à l'intérieur et autour de l'aire d'étude spéciale de Kanata.
Staff recommends an amendment to the new City Official Plan in order to fulfil the requirements Council established for the Special Study Area in May 2003. The Special Study area, which was created by the Council at the time of the adoption of the City’s New Official Plan, encompasses approximately 91 ha of land located between the alignment of the proposed new Terry Fox Drive and the former urban boundary of Kanata. Because of the significance of the landform in this area Council directed staff to complete a study within 12 months to determine and refine the boundaries of the Natural Environment Area and propose the most appropriate designations for land within the Study Area. They were also to identify mechanisms to ensure public ownership of the Natural Environment Area and to determine the location of the urban boundary in this location.
The proposed Official Plan amendment proposes that a new Natural Environment Area (NEA) designation boundary be established based on the updated environmental study prepared by Daniel Brunton (June 2004). This designation is smaller than the one that currently exists.
The Official Plan amendment will also designate the balance of the land within the Special Study Area as General Urban. This designation will permit a variety of land uses and complements the development of the land to the east and to the south of the Special Study Area. Since only part of the Study area will be urban, Terry Fox Drive and the boundary of the General Urban designation will become new urban boundary. The re-designation of some land outside the Special study area to a General Rural designation is also being proposed in response to the reduction in the size of the Natural Environment Area.
Any land acquisition that flows from the Council’s adoption of the attached amendment will be subject to a separate report or reports and Council Approval.
Notice of the proposed Public Meeting and Official Plan amendment was given in accordance with Council’s Public Notification Policy. This included advertisements in daily newspapers, both French and English, and an advertisement in the community newspaper. Participants expressing an interest in the Special Study Area throughout the consultation process have also been notified.
The Study included three facilitated workshops involving, landowners, representatives of the local community associations and Council advisory committees, a public information meeting and a focus group meeting organised by the Ward Councillor.
A landowner who wishes to develop part of the environmental land within the Study Area disputes the proposed NEA designation and has proposed a land deal, which would provide part of the natural lands free to the City in exchange for development rights. Staff does not support this proposal because of the impact it has on the integrity of the natural area.
The community have not responded formally to the Draft Plan through the public consultation process however responses at the public meeting indicate that they believe the natural area boundary should be expanded and that urban development should not be permitted within the Special Study Area.
Le personnel recommande qu’une modification soit apportée au nouveau Plan officiel de la Ville afin de respecter les exigences que le Conseil municipal a établies au mois de mai 2003 concernant l’aire d’étude spéciale. Constituée par le Conseil au moment de l’adoption du nouveau Plan officiel de la Ville, cette aire comprend des terrains d’une superficie approximative de 91 hectares situés entre le tracé de la nouvelle promenade Terry-Fox projetée et la limite de l’ancienne ville de Kanata. Vu l’importance de la forme du relief dans ce secteur, le Conseil a donné instruction au personnel de réaliser dans un délai de 12 mois une étude visant à définir et à parfaire les limites de la zone écologique naturelle et de proposer les affectations convenant le mieux aux terrains faisant partie de l’aire d’étude. Le personnel devait également établir des mécanismes destinés à faire en sorte que l’aire d’étude spéciale constitue une propriété publique et déterminer l’emplacement de la limite de la zone urbaine dans ce secteur.
La modification projetée au Plan officiel prévoit la redéfinition de la limite de la zone écologique naturelle, en fonction de la mise à jour de l’étude environnementale à laquelle Daniel Brunton a procédé au mois de juin 2004. La zone ainsi désignée est plus petite que celle qui existe actuellement.
La modification au Plan officiel prévoit également l’attribution de la désignation « zone urbaine générale » au reste des terrains situés à l’intérieur de l’aire d’étude spéciale. Cette désignation permettra diverses affectations du sol qui viendront compléter les aménagements réalisés à l’est et au sud de l’aire d’étude spéciale. Étant donné qu’une partie seulement de l’aire d’étude constituera une zone urbaine, la promenade Terry-Fox et la limite du secteur portant la désignation « zone urbaine générale » formeront la nouvelle limite de la zone urbaine. Il est également proposé d’attribuer la désignation « zone rurale générale » à certains terrains situés à l’extérieur de l’aire d’étude spéciale, afin de compenser pour la diminution de la taille de la zone écologique naturelle.
Toute acquisition de terrains qui découlera de l’adoption de la modification décrite en annexe fera l’objet de rapports distincts et sera soumise à l’approbation du Conseil.
La population a été avisée de la tenue d’une réunion publique et de la modification projetée au Plan officiel, conformément à la Politique du Conseil sur les avis publics. Le personnel a publié des annonces dans les quotidiens de langue française et de langue anglaise ainsi que dans un journal communautaire. Les participants qui ont manifesté de l’intérêt pour l’aire d’étude spéciale tout au long du processus de consultation ont également été avisés.
L’étude a donné lieu à trois ateliers dirigés par des animateurs qui ont rassemblé les propriétaires et les représentants des associations communautaires locales et de comités consultatifs du Conseil, ainsi qu’à une réunion publique d’information et à une séance de discussion organisée par la conseillère du quartier.
Un propriétaire qui souhaite aménager une partie de la zone écologique située à l’intérieur de l’aire d’étude conteste la désignation de « zone écologique naturelle » et a proposé un échange de terrains en vertu duquel la Ville obtiendrait gratuitement une partie des terrains en cause contre des droits d’aménagement. Le personnel n’est pas favorable à cette proposition, en raison de son incidence sur l’intégrité de la zone écologique.
La collectivité n’a pas officiellement réagi au plan provisoire dans le cadre du processus de consultation publique, mais les réactions recueillies lors de la réunion publique révèlent que la population souhaite que les limites de la zone écologique soient élargies et que le développement urbain ne soit pas autorisé dans l’aire d’étude spéciale.
This report recommends land use designations for the land identified as the Special Study Area (see Figure 1) on Schedules A and B of the new City Official Plan. The Amendment makes three changes to the New Official Plan:
As a consequence of these changes, the urban boundary will be defined by Terry Fox Drive and the boundary of the General Urban Designation.
At the time of the adoption of the City’s new Official Plan, Council modified the provisions of the Official Plan to create the Special Study Area (Policy Section 3.11). The Special Study Area encompasses approximately 91 ha of land located between the proposed alignment of Terry Fox Drive and the former urban boundary of Kanata (See Figure 1).
Part of the land is part of the South March Highlands Natural Environment Area and Marginal Resource Restricted (MRR-1) area in the former Regional and Kanata Official Plans.
The suburban communities of Marchwood and Lakeside are located to the east of the Special Study area. The Kanata Town Centre and Highway 417 are located along Terry Fox Drive to the south, and the Carp River and the planned community of Kanata West lie to the south and west of the Special Study Area. Within and to the north of the Special Study Area is the larger natural area known as the South March Highlands. The City has already secured ownership of a significant area of these Highlands.
For the Study Area Council gave directions as follows:
Section 3.11 Special Study Area
“1. The purpose of the Special Study Area designation is to permit a refinement of designation boundaries within it. In particular, the City will undertake a study within 12 months of City Council’s adoption of this Plan – in consultation with landowners, community groups, individuals and other stakeholders with an interest – to evaluate:
a) The appropriate boundaries of the Natural Environment Area found within the Special Study Area based on an assessment of natural values and its role as part of a large greenspace in the area;
b) Mechanisms to ensure public ownership of the Natural Environment Area lands;
c) The relationship of all lands surrounding the Special Study Area, including the adjacent National Environment Area lands in the rural area to the west and north, to determine the potential greenspace linkages, trail connections and opportunities for land acquisition;
d) The most appropriate land-use designations within the Special Study Area;
e) The location of the urban boundary.
2. The recommendations of the special study will require City Council approval. At that time, a determination will be made as to the need for an Official plan amendment.”…
The area of study was intended to be broad enough to ensure that all surrounding impacts would be considered, however the recommendations impact 5 properties being part of Lots 6 to 10 in Concession 1, March Township.
The ownership of these properties is divided into four basic areas as identified on Figure 2 and detailed as follows:
1) Part of the original Richardson Farm purchased by the Regional Group under the name Richardson Road Inc.
2) Land to be retained from the same farm by the Richardson family who are affiliated with Richardson Road Inc.
3) Three holdings owned by Judan Holdings, EAB Management Co. Ltd. and Fyrstur Limited collectedly known as Kanata Highlands Properties.
4) Land owned acquired by KNL (Urbandale and Richcraft), which is to be transferred to the City as compensation land for the tree cutting in Kanata.
Appeals to the new City’s Official Plan in respect to the Special Study Area have been lodged by Kanata Highland Properties, Richardson Road Inc. and the owner of the land located south of Richardson Side Road, whose land is urban but where development is tied to the outcome of the Special Study Area review.
A number of natural environmental assessment studies have been prepared for the South March Highlands that clearly demonstrate that it is one of the most significant natural areas in the City of Ottawa for its role in maintaining biodiversity and ecological functions. Daniel Brunton Consulting Services was commissioned to fulfill Policy 3.11 parts 1 (a) and a portion of 1 (c) of the Official Plan. He was selected to do this due to his extensive experience and knowledge of this area. He was required to recommend the appropriate Natural Environment Area boundary within the Special Study Area based upon criteria established by the Province and City’s Official Plan and considering the long term sustainability of the NEA given the context of adjacent existing and proposed land uses/activities. Extracts from the final “Natural Environment Area Boundary in South March Highlands, Special Study Area (Brunton, June 2004”)”report are included as Document 2 to this report. The recommended boundary shown on Figure 8, in those extracts, forms the basis of the staff recommendation for the designation of the Natural Environment lands.
Staff commenced the review of the land uses in this area in July 2003 beginning with three workshops. Landowners, representatives from City advisory committees and representatives from local community and environmental associations were invited to participate. The goal of the workshops was to define the issues and to determine how the study should proceed. A Public Information Meeting on the Draft Official Pan Amendment was held in the community on June 17th 2004. Staff attended a focus group meeting, organised by the Ward Councillor, on August 11, 2004 together with representatives of Kanata Highland Properties and community groups.
Staff recommendations are presented in the form of an Official Plan Amendment to implement changes to the City’s new Official Plan. The Draft Amendment is attached as Document 1 to this report. The amendment has the effect of re-designating part of the Special Study Area as urban land and refines the boundary of the Natural Environment Area both inside and outside of the Study Area.
The OP amendment will address the appeals lodged by Richardson Road Inc. and the landowners to the south of Richardson Side Road.
Staff recommends that the Official Plan Amendment in Document 1 to this report be adopted as it is consistent with the direction given by Council in Section 3.11 of the City’s Official Plan to identify and protect the Natural Environment Area, to determine the most appropriate designations within the Special Study Area, to determine the location of the urban boundary, and to identify means to secure the Natural Environment Area lands in public ownership.
The first step in identifying the appropriate designations involved the delineation of the Natural Environment Area is based upon ecological characteristics of the landscape and with the view to the long-term sustainability of the features. Having an updated review of the natural lands and mapping the boundary of the lands was requested by both the landowners and the community.
The land within the Special Study Area forms part of the South March Highlands. The majority of the area is represented by dry, upland deciduous and mixed forest in thin soil cover over Precambrian bedrock outcrops. Wetlands comprised of deciduous swamp forest, thicket swamp and mineral swamp are also present in this landscape.
The remaining land in the Study Area is comprised of inactive fields, grazing land, some treed escarpment land and the floodplain to the Carp River. One active farm containing a farmhouse and outbuildings, belonging to the Richardson family, is located in the Study Area. (see Figure 2) The ruins of a number of older buildings are scattered through the other properties that comprise the Special Study Area.
The recommended NEA boundary retains all of the ecological functions identified as significant within the Special Study Area, as well as the large majority of the significant ecological features. This combination of ecological assets indicates that the NEA would remain large enough and with sufficient ecological function to be self-sustainable despite the negative impacts of surrounding development. The recommended NEA satisfies the environmental criteria established in the new Official Plan as well as meeting the standards for Provincially Significant Woodland, Provincially Significant Wetland and Provincially Significant Wildlife Habitat as described in the Ontario Provincial Policy Statement (Ontario 1997; 1999). Brunton’s recommended NEA boundary is largely consistent with his earlier NEA boundary analyses undertaken in 1992 and 2000.
This new boundary for the natural area takes into consideration the physical planning that has occurred in the area. These include agricultural impacts, the new alignment for Terry Fox Drive, recent tree clearing and planning decisions on the adjacent urban lands. This includes the City’s recent approval of revised plans for the KNL lands in the Marchwood/Lakeside Communities.
Given the potential for development of the lands surrounding the recommended NEA lands, the 2004 Brunton report recommends that any development that is proposed within 50 metres of this land should require an Environmental Impact Study (EIS). The Official Plan already has a standard provision that requires that all development occurring within 30m of land within a Natural Environment area must be supported by an EIS. These provisions in the Official Plan are considered adequate to ensure that any future development will not impact on significant features and functions of the NEA.
Some of the remaining lands within the Special Study Area were not at a sufficient scale of ecological importance to be included in the proposed NEA designation. An area, containing a ‘White Pine’ grove, within the proposed General Urban Area, has been noted as having local values. The Environmental Impact Statement required by Section 4.2 of the Official Plan prior to development will include a comprehensive examination of this local urban natural feature and will establish how it will be preserved.
Staff recommends that confirming the designation of the environmental land is the first step in securement. Beyond that, the new Official Plan provides many other mechanisms to obtain long-term protection of the land, not the least of these being acquisition of the land.
City staff endorse the recommendations of the 2004 Brunton report and concur that the first step to protect the significant ecological features and functions of the South March Highlands is to retain these lands in a Natural Environment Area (NEA) designation. The NEA designation does not permit development other than possibly one severed lot where acquisition by the City may be unsuccessful. The restriction on the use of the land in this manner increases the likelihood that the natural features of the land will be retained.
Some of this NEA land is already secured by additional means. The City has an agreement, with KNL developments for the acquisition of part of the NEA. This agreement results in the transfer of the land to the City as compensation for the tree-cutting incident in Kanata, two years ago.
The City’s Official Plan provides for a wide variety of securement mechanisms in addition to designation of the land. Examples include private stewardship agreements, encouraging the ‘Echo Gift’ of land in return for tax deductions, land exchanges and acquisition. The Natural Environment Area policies in the new City Official Plan provide for the acquisition of NEA land by the City where there is a willing seller. The former Regional Municipality purchased much of the South March Highlands on this basis.
An offer has been made by Kanata Highland Properties to transfer some of their NEA land to the City free of charge. This offer is detailed in the letter in Document 3 to this report. In essence Kanata Highland Properties have offered to give part the NEA land to the City in exchange for the right to develop the balance of their land within the Special Study Area. They dispute the environmental value of over 43 acres of the land proposed by staff as the Natural Environment Area. (See the letter from Muncaster Environmental Planning in Document 4 to this report)
Staff does not support this proposal as it would remove much of the identified NEA land from within the Special Study Area. This reduction would significantly impact the ecological features and functions of the remaining NEA land within the SSA and beyond. It would essentially severe the South March Highlands within the Study Area into two areas, eliminating the critical environmental linkages that Council was concerned to preserve when they created the Special Study Area.
In addition Kanata Highland Properties have offered to sell 110 acres of NEA land they own located west of the Special Study Area to the City. They are offering this additional land for $1.1 million.
The City should continue to explore the long-term securement of the NEA lands in this area with the landowners.
Staff recommend that the land within the Special Study area, which is not included in the Natural Environment Area, be designated General Urban, and that the boundary of this designation become the new urban boundary.
As indicated above, the primary concern for the development of the land within the Special Study Area is the protection of the land identified as being environmentally significant, and identifying how this land can be secured
Apart from the Natural Environment Areas approximately 58 ha (143 acres) of land within the Special Study Area has the potential for urban development. Most of this land is currently farmed, but with the development of Terry Fox Drive, this land will be cut off from the balance of the farmland bordering the Carp River. This land also links to and forms a natural westward extension of the Marchwood Community located to the east of the Study Area and to the new urban lands added by Council to the south of Richardson Side Road.
This other land is comprised of nearly 57 ha owned by the Regional Group and the Richardson Family and approximately 1.2 ha held by the Kanata Highland Properties consortium. Staff recommend that these lands be designated General Urban.
The Regional Group has provided preliminary estimates of the potential yield from the development of the Richardson property and their own land (see Figure 2). They suggest that just over 1100 units may be possible. The additional developable land to the north owned by Kanata Highland Properties may only increase these numbers marginally. This estimate does not factor in the potential buffering around the NEA land nor does it consider the protection of locally significant stands of trees or the dedication of parkland. Overall the potential development from the Special Study Area can be considered equivalent to a typical neighbourhood in the adjacent Marchwood Community.
Road access to this land will be provided from the future Terry Fox Drive and Richardson Side Road. Terry Fox and Kanata Avenue would accommodate the majority of future road traffic. Development of the land brings the opportunity to acquire the land for Terry Fox Road, by dedication, through the development process. If development of the road is required earlier than planned by the City, the landowners would be required to initiate the construction.
No problems or issues have been identified in regards to the servicing of the developable land within the Special Study Area. The extension and upgrading of the City’s water and sewerage services will be the responsibility of the developer. Any upgrades to shared components that are identified at the time of development approval, such as expanding the capacity of pump stations, will be funded through Development Charges.
No changes to the alignment of Terry Fox Drive are recommended by staff as a consequence of this Official Plan Amendment.
The new alignment for Terry Fox Drive will follow the floodplain to the Carp River. The alignment was approved by the former Regional Municipality in 2000 and was confirmed in the new City Official Plan. This alignment raised the prospect that the urban boundary would be expanded in this location. The potential for the development of this land, and the desire to protect the natural areas within the Study Area, were the impetus for the creation of the Special Study Area and its associated policies.
The consultation for the Terry Fox Drive Environmental Assessment Addendum occurred concurrently with the Special Study Area consultation. The alignment of Terry Fox Drive figured significantly in the discussion of the Special Study Area. The location of the urban boundary and the designation of the land within the Special Study Area have been linked to the alignment.
As a consequence Kanata Highland Properties requested that an alterative alignment be considered for Terry Fox Drive. This alternative was purported to have less environmental impact and would better satisfy the development plans of the owner. Community representatives requested the First Line Road Alignment be revisited since it was also believed to be less environmentally damaging and would allow the urban boundary to be retained at the current western Boundary of the Marchwood Lakeside Communities. Both suggestions reflect the polar opposite objectives of the landowners and the community through this process.
The technical review as part of the EA Addendum Study demonstrates that there is no necessity from an environmental or road design basis to consider the landowner or community alternative alignments for this arterial road, irrespective of the land uses permitted within the Special Study Area.
The EA Addendum Study makes recommendations for minor adjustments to the overall alignment of the road to improve the road geometry and design. Despite design changes to reduce the footprint of the road there will be impacts on natural features within the Special Study Area and South March Highlands. However, part of the design includes modified culverts and a major roadway ecological passageway to mitigate many of the identified impacts of the road.
Transportation Committee considered the EA Addendum for Terry Fox on September 1st 2004. The recommendations of that Committee will go before the Council at the same time as the recommendations on the Special Study Area.
Staff recommends the adoption of the Official Plan amendment attached as Document 1 to this report, which will have the following effect:
The urban boundary through the Special Study Area will follow Terry Fox Drive and the boundary of the General Urban designation.
This amendment responds to the requirements of the Special Study area as follows:
1) Modifies and confirms the Natural Environment Area Boundary. The Amendment will define a smaller NEA boundary that is consistent with the recommendations of the 2004 Brunton report (see Document 2 to this report). This boundary is defined by the principles outlined in the new Official Plan and the Provincial Policies for wetlands, significant woodlands and wildlife habitat. Staff and the Conservation Authority have reviewed the Brunton recommendations and are confident that they represent provincially and regionally significant environmental land in this area.
2) Provides for the securement of Natural Environment Areas by designating the significant land in a designation that limits development. The City, through an agreement with KNL, has secured a portion of the Natural Environment Area within the Special Study Area. While the balance of the Natural Environment Area remains in private ownership the City’s Official Plan includes mechanisms to secure the protection of Natural Environmental lands where there is a willing seller. The City should continue to pursue a number of methods to acquire the NEA land within the Study Area.
3) Recognises the relationship between the Study Area and the adjacent lands. The recommended Natural Environment Area is contiguous with and provides connections to adjacent natural areas in the Marchwood/Lakeside communities and the greater South March Highlands. By maintaining the physical connections between the natural lands in the urban and rural area, natural linkages are preserved and the potential exists to accommodate the extension of recreational trails in the long term.
4) Provides the most appropriate designation to the remainder of the land within and adjacent to the Study Area by designating the balance of the land General Urban. This designation will permit a variety of land uses and complements the development of the land to the east and to the south of the Special Study Area. The development of these lands forms a logical extension of the Marchwood community and helps to accommodate some of the anticipated growth in the west without significant extension of municipal services. The development of the land also reduces acquisition and construction cost for Terry Fox Drive. The re-designation of the farmland to the west of the Study Area also finally acknowledges that this land is not environmentally significant.
5) Defines the new urban boundary around those lands where urban development is appropriate and where urban services will be provided. This area is identified by Terry Fox Drive and the boundary of the General Urban designation.
The attached amendment applies only to the City’s new Official Plan and as such will come into force and effect when that Plan comes into force, following the resolution of outstanding appeals.
Three workshops were held with representatives of the local community groups, city advisory committees and landowners to identify the different issues and interests within and adjacent to the Special Study Area. A walk through the Study Area was co-ordinated by one of the landowners for workshop participants. The purpose of the workshops was to identify issues and common objectives for the Special Study Area.
The concerns surrounding the development proposed in the adjacent communities of Marchwood and Lakeside influenced much of the early discussion. While these issues were discussed, the focus of the workshops was the Special Study Area and the land located south and west of the proposed Terry Fox Drive.
These workshops identified the need to more accurately define the NEA boundary and to review the alternative alignments for Terry Fox Drive.
The main issues arising from the discussion can be summarised as follows;
1) The Urban Boundary does not automatically move with the alignment of Terry Fox Drive.
2) Consideration of alternative alignments for Terry Fox Drive
3) Definition of the Natural Environment Area
4) Process issue– Should environmentally significant lands be brought into the urban area where land value and development pressure threatens their protection?
5) Process – The City should always negotiate with landowners to secure significant environmental land or other public benefit in exchange for development opportunities.
6) Process – The City should consider this area as part of a comprehensive urban expansion west of First Line Road, and as far as Huntmar Road.
For the purpose of this Study staff have assumed that the location of Terry Fox does not automatically determine the urban boundary. The evaluation of the alternative road alignments was addressed by the Terry Fox Drive Environmental Assessment Addendum report. Both of these issues no longer appear to be a primary concern of the Community. The remaining issues reflect the general opposition of the community representatives to the inclusion of any part of the Study area in the Urban Area.
In advance of further public consultation, a technical circulation of a Draft Official Plan amendment was circulated in March 2004. This preliminary draft amendment outlined a possible land use scenario for the Special Study with an NEA boundary based upon the preliminary information received from Daniel Brunton. That amendment was similar in format to the Amendment recommended by this report, and recommended part of the Study Area as NEA and part as urban area.
This circulation was sent to the City’s list of technical agencies, to local community associations, and participants of the workshops held in 2003. Technical agencies responded with no concerns regarding the proposed designation changes.
The Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority responded relative to the definition of the NEA land and requested more detailed information and a copy of the completed Brunton report. The Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority was forwarded a copy of the Brunton report on its completion and has subsequently indicated that they have no concerns with the proposed Official Plan Amendment. They supported the provision of a trigger to initiate an EIS where development is proposed adjacent to the NEA land, and suggested that a portion of the buffers between any development and wetlands or tributaries to the Carp River should be vegetated. These latter issues are either covered by OP policy already or will be addressed during the development process.
No written comments were received from community associations as a result of this technical circulation.
Public Information and Focus Group Meetings
A public information meeting was held at the Mlacak Centre in Kanata on June 17th for the purpose of explaining the outcome of the Brunton Study and to present a refined Official Plan Amendment as the proposed staff recommendation. Notice of this meeting appeared in the Kanata Kourier Standard on June 4th 2004. In addition each of the community associations were forwarded a written invitation, and each of the individuals and groups who participated in the workshops were invited. Thirty-four people attended the meeting, including representatives of the landowners. An effort was made to get copies of the Daniel Brunton Report distributed to community associations in advance of the public meeting. Copies of the report were available at the meeting.
Kanata Highland Properties also made a presentation of their alternative proposal for the Study Area. The basis for their presentation is contained in the letter in Document 3 to this report.
There were many and varied comments, suggestions and alternatives provided by the public in response to the staff presentation. Since these were not presented in written submissions, staff have assembled these into four themes as follows:
· Response –
This reflects a concern for the protection of the natural areas bordering their community but also a concern about the amount and speed of development that is already occurring in Kanata North. The designation of the natural areas that meet City and Provincial criteria will continue to be protected by the proposed Official Plan Amendment. Other locally significant features will be addressed through the EIA process required at development. The addition of a small amount of urban land within the Special Study Area is unlikely to impact the existing rate of development in the Marchwood or the proposed Lakeside Communities.
When it approved the alignment of Terry Fox, the former Region recognised that some decisions needed to be made about the land between the new and old road alignments. The work undertaken at the Region was rolled into the preparation of the new Draft Official Plan for Ottawa. The January draft Plan proposed an urban designation for part of these lands. Council decided that a second look at this area was required and created the Special Study Area. The current designation for the land is Natural Environment Area because Council directed that the former land use designation for the land apply until the Study is completed. The environmental assessment for the land clearly indicated that the NEA designation should only apply to part of the Study area. The balance abuts urban land to the south and to the east, and staff considers this the most appropriate designation for the remaining land in the Study Area.
· Response –
The community wants the treed area referred to as the Richardson Forest included in the NEA. Under the proposed Official Plan Amendment, this forested area north of Richardson Side Road would be re-designated General Urban, as it no longer satisfies the NEA criteria. Notwithstanding this, the forest would be considered locally significant as it has features that represent local values and functions. Staff is proposing that part of this treed area, namely the ‘White Pine’ grove feature, be accommodated in the development plan for the area. The preservation of this special feature will be addressed through an Environmental Impact Statement. Although Richardson Forest may have some high local values relative to other woodlands in the City, protection of the entire feature is not recommended. The features and functions of this woodland are represented in the adjacent natural areas. As directed in Policy 3.11, the most significant natural environment area in the SSA is represented in the proposed NEA designation. Securement efforts should be direct to the proposed NEA as it is the most significant and valuable environmental asset in the SSA and attributes to the environmental values and functions of the adjoining natural areas.
Staff considered this area at the time of the preparation of the Draft Official Plan. The recognition of the new alignment of Terry Fox Drive as a specific rather than conceptual alignment made consideration of this land an immediate rather than a longer term matter. The consideration of inclusion of parts of the Special Study Area in the urban boundary began with the former Region and was rolled into the Official Plan for the new City at amalgamation. Council required staff to review this area a second time, and also required that a conclusion be provided in 12 months. That period has already been exceeded.
· Ideally this would be the case, however as indicated in (1) above the selection of the Alignment For Terry Fox Drive has accelerated consideration of this area. The city has approached the landowners to discuss acquisition of both the road alignment and the NEA. These discussions were interrupted at the time of amalgamation. The City retains the objective to secure Natural Environment Areas and has a number of mechanisms with which to do so. The proposed Official Plan Amendment does not prevent the City from pursuing the acquisition of the NEA land.
Staff attended a focus group meeting, which was convened by the Ward Councillor, on August 11th , 2004. Representatives of the community associations and Kanata Highland Properties Inc also attended this meeting. Discussion at the meeting focused on planning matters related to the Marchwood/Lakeside communities and the Kanata Highland Properties’ development proposal for the Special Study Area.
Notice of the proposed public meeting and Official Plan amendment was given in accordance with Council’s Public Notification Policy. This included advertisements in daily newspapers, both French and English, and an advertisement in the community newspaper. Participants expressing an interest in the Special Study Area, throughout the consultation process, have also been notified.
Copies of the report were circulated together with the draft amendment to land owners, and community associations registered with the City.
Any land acquisition that flows from City Council’s adoption of the attached amendment will be subject to a separate report or reports and Council Approval.
Document 1 - Official Plan Amendment for the Special Study Area
Document 2 - Extracts from the Brunton report “Natural Environment Area boundary in South March Highlands Special Study Area. Brunton, June 2004.”
Document 3 - Email letter from Ed Balys, dated May 21, 2004
Document 4 - Letter from Muncaster Environmental Planning, dated May 24th , 2004
Document 5 - Natural Environment Area boundary in South March Highlands Special Study Area Final Report, June 2004 (On file with City Clerk and distributed separately)
The Planning and Growth Management Department is to notify those people who have requested notification of Committee and Council decisions.
The Planning and Growth Management Department is to prepare the implementing by-law and forward to Legal Services Branch, and undertake the statutory notification of the Official Plan Amendment.
Department of Corporate Services, Legal Services Branch to forward the by-law to adopt the Official Plan Amendment to City Council
Amendment to the
Official Plan of the City of Ottawa
Special Study Area
(Part of Lots 6 – 10, Concession 1, former City of Kanata)
The Statement of Components
PART A - THE PREAMBLE
PART B- THE AMENDMENT
Details of the Amendment
PART A - THE PREAMBLE, introduces the actual Amendment but does not constitute part of Amendment No.-- to the City of Ottawa Official Plan.
PART B - THE AMENDMENT, consisting of the following text constitutes the actual Amendment No. --to the City of Ottawa Official Plan.
The purpose of this Amendment is to change and redefine the land use designations of the lands shown on Schedules “A” and “B” being a part of Schedules “A” and “B” to the Official Plan of the City of Ottawa, insofar as they apply to the land within and adjacent to the Special Study Area in Kanata.
The amendment is intended to:
1. Confirm the location and designation of the environmentally significant lands within and adjacent to the Special Study Area;
2. Permit development of land within the Special Study Area that is not considered to be environmentally significant;
3. Confirm the location of the realigned boundary to the urban area; and
4. Change the designation of some lands adjacent to the Special Study Area from Natural Environment Area designation to General Rural designation.
These changes require amendment to the Schedules of the Official Plan only. However, given that the policies for the Special Study Area will no longer be required a text change is also required to remove Section 3.11, which makes reference to the Special Study Area.
The lands subject to this Amendment consist of the eastern-most parts of a number of parcels of land located in Lots 6 to 10, Concession 1 in the former City of Kanata. The land is located west of the former urban boundary of Kanata and north of Richardson Side Road. Approximately 91 hectares of land is contained within the Special Study Area. (See the location map opposite).
The Special Study Area principally comprises that part of the land holdings which lay to the east of the future alignment of Terry Fox Drive. Terry Fox Drive in this location runs north of Richardson Side Road skirting the floodplain of the Carp River and into the environmentally significant landform known as the South March Highlands. Because of this association with the South March Highland, the Special Study also took into consideration impacts in the broader landscape context. For this reason the proposed Amendment also impacts land located west of the proposed Terry Fox Drive.
Over one-third of the land within the Special Study Area, mostly in the north, comprises part of a larger shield landform referred to as the South March Highlands. This landform is unique in the City and includes wetlands, rock outcroppings and significant areas of upland forest. The forested ridge of land that runs through the Special Study area extends in an easterly direction into urban Kanata and west to eventually connect to the Carp Ridge. This connection is referred to locally as the Hazeldean Ridge, and for some time has been identified for protection in the former Regional and City of Kanata Official Plans. In both Plans the land between the former Kanata urban boundary and the Carp River was designated for protection as an Environmentally Significant Area. These designations applied not only to significant natural areas but also to active and inactive farmland.
Most of the farmland drains towards the Carp River and lies within the extensive floodplain along which the new Terry Fox Drive will run. Most of this farmland east of the Carp River is used for grazing. The Richardson Farm comprises the largest part of the Study Area. The Richardson farmhouse was considered by the former Kanata City to have some historical merit but has not been designated. A number of ruins of older farm buildings are scattered about this area, but none have been deemed to have historical significance.
To the south of the Study Area the urban area known as Signature Ridge extends south to the Kanata Town Centre. To the west of the proposed Terry Fox Drive lays the Carp River and the land beyond is primarily grazing land. To the west of the Carp River and to the south of Richardson Side Road the area of Kanata West has been designated for future urban Development.
The lands affected by the Amendment are highlighted on Schedules “A” and “B" to this Amendment, which correspond to portions of Schedule “A” Rural Policy Plan and Schedule “B”, Urban Policy Plan, to the Official Plan of the City of Ottawa adopted on May 14th 2003.
At the time the new City Official Plan was adopted, Council included the Special Study Area and the associated polices leading to this Official Plan Amendment. Council did this to ensure that the environmentally significant land would not be impacted by urbanisation of the neighbouring farmland, and that the City would have mechanisms to ensure that protection. The expectation that the Richardson farm and adjacent lands would become urban was initiated by the selection and approval of the new alignment for Terry Fox Drive adjacent to the Carp River. Therefore the policy direction for the Special Study Area included the following provisions:
“1. …The Special Study Area designation is to permit a refinement of designation boundaries within it. In particular, the City will undertake a study within 12 months of City Council’s adoption of this Plan – in consultation with landowners, community groups, individuals and other stakeholders with an interest – to evaluate:
a) The appropriate boundaries of the Natural Environment Area found within the Special Study Area based on an assessment of natural values and its role as part of a large green space in the area;
b) Mechanisms to ensure public ownership of the Natural Environment Area lands;
c) The relationship of all lands surrounding the Special Study Area, including the adjacent National Environment Area lands in the rural area to the west and north, to determine the potential green space linkages, trail connections and opportunities for land acquisition;
d) The most appropriate land-use designations within the Special Study Area;
e) The location of the urban boundary.
2. The recommendations of the special study will require City Council approval. At that time, a determination will be made as to the need for an Official Plan Amendment.
3. Subdivision approval on the lands to the south of Richardson Side Road, immediately adjacent to the Special Study Area, shall be withheld until the special study is complete in order to ensure that road connections, parkland dedications and other matters subject to subdivision approval are planned with regard to the findings of the special study and in a manner that will complement the land-use designations and other findings of the special study.”
Staff commenced the work of addressing these requirements in July 2003 with three workshops. Landowners, representatives from City advisory committees and representatives from local community and environmental associations, attended the workshops and walked the Study Area. The workshops helped to define the issues and to determine how the study should proceed.
The consultants for the Terry Fox Drive EA reviewed the environmental impact of proposed changes to the original alignment and design for Terry Fox Drive. In addition they reviewed a completely new alignment proposed during the planning study by a landowner, and at the community’s request they revisited an alignment rejected in the earlier EA process. The conclusions of that review confirmed that the recommended alignment remains the most cost-effective and least environmentally damaging. This confirmed that the boundary of the Special Study Area remained very similar to that identified by the new Official Plan.
In conjunction with the Environmental Assessment Addendum Report that was being undertaken for Terry Fox Drive, additional work to update earlier environmental studies for the area and to more clearly define the environmentally significant lands was also initiated. The environmental review, undertaken by Dan Brunton, recommended a refined boundary for the environmentally significant land within and adjacent to the Special Study Area. This new boundary is significantly smaller than the land designated for protection in the former Official Plans and reflected in the new City Official Plan. An amendment to rectify this difference was considered appropriate and the attached schedule changes recognise the designation changes that result from the refinement of the boundary of the Natural Environment Area.
A possible reduction in the size of the Natural Environment Area (NEA) designation provides the opportunity to consider some of the land within the Special Study Area as being suitable for urban development. .
To the west of Terry Fox Drive the refinement of the NEA boundary will allow the expansion of the General Rural designation to include the flood plain lands and pasture land east of the Carp River and west of the proposed Terry Fox Drive. To the east of Terry Fox Drive, within the Special Study Area, the reduction in the amount of NEA land will permit the expansion of the General Urban designation from urban Kanata to include the less significant ridge and pasture lands.
As a result of these changes to the land use designations, the urban boundary will be deemed to coincide with part of Terry Fox Drive and the limits of the land designated General Urban, by this Amendment.
The Amendment will therefore primarily involve changes to Schedules “A” and “B” to the 2003 Official Plan. However a text change is also required to remove the reference to the Special Study Area and associated policies.
In addition a number of the other schedules include background mapping that differentiates the urban /rural parts of the City. The background mapping of these schedules may need to be amended to be consistent with Schedules A and B.
PART B - THE AMENDMENT
1.0 The Introductory Statement
All of this part of this document entitled Part B - The Amendment, consisting of the following text and the attached maps designated Schedules “A” and “B” to Amendment No. -- , constitute Amendment No. -- to the Official Plan of the City of Ottawa.
The following changes are hereby made to the Official Plan of the City of Ottawa:
1. That the text of the Official Plan is hereby amended by deleting Section 3.11 in its entirety and by removing any reference to section 3.11 elsewhere in the text.
2. That Schedule “A” – Rural Policy Plan is hereby amended by:
in the manner shown on Schedule “A” to this Amendment.
3. That Schedule “B” - Urban Policy Plan is hereby amended by:
in the manner shown on Schedule “B” to this Amendment.
4. That Schedules “C”, “D”, ”E”, “G”, “I”, “J” and “K” be modified, as necessary, to reflect the Urban boundary as defined on Schedule “A” to this amendment.
The implementation of this Amendment to the Official Plan shall be in accordance with the respective policies of the Official Plan of the City of Ottawa.
Delineation of Natural Environment Area in the South March Highlands Special Study Area, Kanata, City of Ottawa
Daniel F. Brunton,
Brunton Consulting Services, Ottawa
Lands in the South March Highlands north of Richardson Side Road, west of the First Line Road allowance and east of the proposed Terry Fox Drive extension are designated Special Study Area (SSA) on Schedule B of the City of Ottawa Official Plan (Ottawa OP) (Figure 1). Policy 3.11 of the Ottawa OP (Ottawa 2003a) outlines the intent of this designation, which is generally to permit a refinement of designation boundaries within it. The policy states the following:
“In particular, The City will undertake a study within 12 months of City Council’s adoption of this Plan - in consultation with landowners, community groups, individuals and other stakeholders with an interest to evaluate:
a) the appropriate boundaries of the Natural Environment Area [NEA] found within the Special Study Area based on an assessment of natural values and its role as part of a large greenspace in the area;
b) mechanisms to ensure public ownership of the Natural Environment Area lands;
c) The relationship of all lands surrounding the Special Study Area, including the adjacent Natural Environment Area lands in the rural area to the west and north, to determine the potential greenspace linkages, trail connections and opportunities for lands acquisition;
d) the most appropriate land-use designations within the Special Study Area;
e) the location of the urban boundary.’‘
The present study addresses a) and a portion of c) (in bold, above). The objectives of this study include:
The present study does not involve original background field work. This was deemed unnecessary, given the existing detailed in-house knowledge of the site and its surroundings. There is also a substantial body of recent, additional natural environment documentation for this area, as noted in Section 2.2. Nonetheless, the boundary recommendation of this study was reviewed and confirmed in the field in June 2004 (Appendix 3).
In order to understand the ecological significance and contributions of the SSA it is necessary to evaluate it within the context of its larger natural unit, the South March Highlands. This is a science-based investigation which intentionally does not factor in social issues such as recreational desires or aesthetic interests. The intention here is to provide a clearly defined, ecologically defensible boundary which can be accepted by any interested parties as a technically reliable, objective delineation.
Determinations in this study are consistent with the directions and standards of the Ontario Provincial Policy Statement (Ontario 1997) and its Natural Heritage Reference Manual (Ontario 1999), as well as the Natural Environment Areas directions and discussion of the Ottawa OP (Ottawa-Carleton 1999; Ottawa 2003a). Criteria employed in the definition and delineation of NEA boundaries reflect the significant weight given to ecological function values by the province and the municipality in these policy documents.
“Natural Environment Area designation applies to land having a high environmental value as assessed through federal, provincial, and municipal studies. This designation identifies sensitive areas where development could unduly stress ecological functions and where careful management, restoration and enhancement are required. [This] ... includes areas identified by the Province as significant wetlands and related complexes on the Canadian Shield, such as the Carp Hills and South March Highland .... These lands are designated to ensure that the natural features and functions inherent in each area are protected and preserved.” (Ottawa 2003a)
The criteria employed for the identification of lands satisfying the Natural Environment Area (NEA) definition are consistent with those employed in the identification of High Value regionally significant natural areas in the City of Ottawa (former Region of Ottawa-Carleton) Natural Environment System Strategy (Ottawa-Carleton 1997). They include:
- ecological integrity (level of ‘naturalness’, including representation of natural habitat diversity of the larger natural area);
- habitat continuity (uninterrupted (or lighted interrupted) interior forest area (woodland core not affected by disrupting ‘edge effect’) within which natural ecological functions persist; ecologically appropriate size and shape of the area);
- ecological corridor function (size and importance of linkage between natural habitat areas);
- natural biodiversity (diversity of native species and habitats represented within the natural habitat);
- special features (number and population size of Provincial VTE (Vulnerable, threatened, Endangered) native species (Oldham 1999) or Regionally (City of Ottawa) significant native species (Brunton 1998); Provincially or Regionally significant vegetation types (Bakowski 1996; Geomatics International 1995, respectively).
Sites found to most completely satisfy a number of these criteria (highest diversity, largest interior forest area, effective ecological linkage, etc.) were rated as High Value natural areas within the City of Ottawa (former Region of Ottawa-Carleton). The South March Highlands rated High (Brunton 1997) and is designated Natural Environment Area (NEA) in the City’s Official Plan (Ottawa 2003a). Consistent with those guiding municipal and provincial policies then, the proposed SSA NEA boundary represents a qualification by practical protection and sustainability considerations of landscapes otherwise satisfying NEA designation. These qualifying factors include:
- vulnerability of NEA lands to physical impact by external activities (adjacent land use, recreational and transportation activity, landform character, etc.);
- isolation or fragmentation of NEA component habitats (physical separation from other potential NEA land);
- restrictive impact of other municipal or provincial directions (municipal zoning, Provincial Policy Statement, etc.);
- degree of representation of compromised significant habitats (peripheral locations, degraded condition) within the NEA.
A comprehensive review of the documentation of natural environment features, functions and related planning considerations of the SAA and its surroundings was undertaken. These include the Ontario Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) (Ontario 1997; 1999) and the City of Ottawa Official Plan (OP) (Ottawa-Carleton 1999; Ottawa 2003a). A chronological review of natural environment inventory and significance assessment documentation was also undertaken as follows, commencing with the initial natural environment assessments for the area:
· Natural Environment Inventory of the Kanata Lakes Study Area, Kanata, Ontario (Brunton 1992);
· South March Highlands Study Area: Natural Environment Assessment (Brunton 1992);
· Natural Environment Systems Strategy for the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton: Stage 1, Regional information base and ecological profile. (Geomatics International Inc. 1995);
· Candidate Life Science Areas of Natural and Scientific Interest in Site District 6E-12: A Review and Assessment of Significant Natural Areas (Draft) (Brunton 1995);
· Candidate Natural area evaluation (Ottawa-Carleton 1997);
· Summary Natural Area reports for Natural Areas west of the Rideau River (500 series) (Brunton 1997);
· Provincial Policy Statement (Revised February 1, 1979) (Ontario 1997);
· Natural Heritage Reference Manual (revised) ( Ontario 1999);
· Official Plan, Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton (Ottawa-Carleton 1999);
· Shirley’s Brook/Watts Creek Subwatershed Study (Dillon Consulting 1999;
· Natural environment implications of the Terry Fox Drive alignment in the South March Highlands, Kanata, City of Ottawa (Brunton 2000)
· Terry Fox Drive Environmental Study Report (Dillon Consulting 2000)
· Kanata Lakes Natural Environment Area Implementation Plan (Draft) (CH2MHILL. 2001);
· Kanata Lakes North Serviceability Study (Cummings Cockburn Ltd. 2002);
· Richardson Lands, Kanata - Initial identification of NEA lands (Muncaster 2002c);
· Lots 8 and 9, Conc. I, Kanata - comments on natural environment features (Muncaster 2002b);
· Kanata Lakes NEA boundary definition, Shirleys Brook and tree-cutting mitigation (Muncaster 2002a);
· Environmental Impact Statement: Kanata Lakes North, Kanata Ward, City of Ottawa (Muncaster 2003);
· City of Ottawa Official Plan (Ottawa 2003a);
· Carp River Watershed/ Subwatershed Report (Draft) (Robinson Consultants 2003).
Brunton (2000) provides considerable background information on the SSA and is appended to this report for reference purposes (Appendix 1).
Established and verified ecological data were extracted from the above and employed in the determination of ecological significant sites and landscapes (1) within the SSA, and (2) within the Extended Study Area. The Extended Study Area (Figure 1) includes the landscape between the SSA and adjacent natural lands to the north, east and west (i.e. the remainder of the South March Highlands and westward to the Carp River). The ecological data derived from the assessment of existing documentation are summarized and compiled below in order to identify the overall area within and adjacent to the SSA containing ecologically significant landscapes definable under terms of the PPS (Ontario 1997).
As noted above in 2.1) Natural Environment Area definition, the proposed NEA boundary within the SSA directly reflects this objective analysis of the ecological feature and function data which have been documented within and adjacent to the SSA. It is qualified, however, by considerations of the ecological implications of land use designations and zoning, the land management history of particular sites, and recent land management actions. Areas with a recent history of intensive logging activity, otherwise significant unforested habitats demonstrating several agricultural grazing impact, and sites with ecologically disruptive adjacent land use practices, have poorer long-term ecological prospects. To achieve ecological significance comparable to other SSA landscapes in such areas, if even possible, would require substantial mitigation efforts.
This NEA boundary also reflects how the ecologically significant area within the SSA connects with and relates to comparable ecologically significant lands in adjacent portions of the South March Highlands. The boundary designation also considers the ecological connectivity requirements between the SSA NEA and the natural lands in the Extended Study Area to the east and north, and towards the Carp River. The Provincial Policy Statement (Ontario 1997) requirement for ecological protection zones adjacent to Significant Natural Heritage Area Woodlands are then addressed in order to allow for physical protection of the NEA from proposed development.
The NEA boundary within the SSA was reviewed and confirmed through an on-site examination on 4 June 2004, with the boundary revisited and discussed with a group of landowner representatives, City planners and review agency specialists on 9 June 2004. This allowed for some additional natural environment features and function documentation (e.g. degraded quality of open habitat immediately north of the Compensation Lands, additional significant species observations). The on-site examination confirmed the location of the proposed boundary line within the SSA at a finer scale and accommodated the landscape changes which had occurred since the 2000 field season thereafter.
As part of the recent discussions on the design of this road, an alternative route crossing the SSA and located slightly west of the preferred route (Dillon Consulting 2003) was suggested by a landowner. Dillon Consulting (2003) considered that the Balys & Associates alternative route would have “a higher impact on the environment (volume of rock knolls to be removed, and wetland impacted)”. In a later assessment of the natural environment implications of the Balys & Associates proposed route, it was suggested (Muncaster 2002b) that the degree of ecological disturbance along this alternative route for the crossing of the Hazeldean Escarpment and the SAA might be no greater or even somewhat reduced to that of the preferred Terry Fox Road ROW. That opinion, however, does not address the question of maintaining ecological connectivity across the roadway ROW other than to suggest that roadway development along either alternative will inevitably have some impact.
Regardless of the route selected, it is clear that the extension of the Terry Fox Road arterial across the South March Highlands will constitute a major ecological challenge to the Provincially Significant values in and about the SSA and throughout a large segment of the South March Highlands. Major mitigation measures, as described above, will be required to at least reduce the losses of significant ecological value here.
The proposed NEA boundary encloses a representative, self-sustainable natural landscape which satisfies Natural Environment Area criteria of the Ottawa OP (Ottawa 2003a) as well as Provincially Significant Woodland, Provincially Significant Wetland and Provincially Significant Wildlife Habitat delineation standards called for in the Ontario Provincial Policy Statement (Ontario 1997; 1999). As described above, the NEA considers not only the present ecological assets and capabilities of the landscape in question but addresses long-term sustainability in light of the on-going development of adjacent lands.
The SSA NEA boundary proposed as a result of this investigation is illustrated in Figure 8. As noted previously, the natural features and functions of adjacent landscapes are important to long-term ecological sustainability of this area. Accordingly, NEA identification criteria are applied to the Extended Study Area as well and the resulting boundary is also depicted on Figure 8. Definition of all portions of the NEA boundary within the Extended Study Area have not been defined with the same degree of rigour, however, as has been applied within and immediately adjacent to the SSA. The location of the proposed NEA boundary within the SSA was reviewed and confirmed by D. F. Brunton and S. Murphy during the field inspection of 4 June 2004. A summary of decision points and observations is provided in Appendix 3. The proposed NEA boundary in the larger Extended Study Area has not been field checked beyond the SSA.
The present critical analysis of NEA boundary requirements is largely consistent with and supportive of the conclusions drawn by the earlier NEA boundary analyses for the lands west of the First Line ROW (Brunton 1992a; Brunton 1992b; 2000). For the lands east of the First Line Road ROW, the present analysis is largely consistent with the NEA boundary conclusions of Brunton (1992a), Brunton (1992b), CH2MHILL (2001) and Ottawa-Carleton (1999). It does not match well, however, with the significantly smaller NEA boundary proposed by Muncaster (2002a; 2003) (see also 4.8.2, above).
The NEA boundary proposed in this study (Figure 8) involves substantial reductions in the area of provincial ecological significance depicted in Figure 6. The reductions are intended to exclude only natural landscape areas for which development approvals have been granted and/ or habitats which, subsequent to adjacent development being completed, will no longer sustain the significant ecological features and values they presently possess. The proposed NEA, however, still retains all of the ecological functions identified as significant within the SSA, as well as a large majority of the significant ecological features. The major areas to be excluded and the implications of their removal are as follows:
· Richardson Forest (Lot 6)
- moderately significant upland forest vegetation isolated from the remainder of South March Highlands significant landscape by long-standing agricultural development to the north and by on-going residential development to the east for which the City of Ottawa has committed development approvals;
- linkage area with the proposed SSA NEA near the First Line Road ROW negatively impacted by the 2002 forest clearing and to be completely severed by proposed residential development of Urban lands south of Watts Creek;
- ecological function of the forest area also increasingly impacted by expanding residential development south of Richardson Side Road (Heritage Hills);
- preservation of locally or Regionally significant features (e.g. White Pine forest area) can be addressed at the site plan level of subdivision design.
· Drainage route to Carp River from Lot 7 Evaluated Wetland
- degraded upland scrub habitat which is regenerating from extensive, long-term agricultural activity and which supports few natural values;
- wetland protection requirements can be accommodated by typical fisheries habitat protection measures in subwatershed planning (including 30 m no-development buffer), subdivision site planning and/ or through landowner stewardship initiatives (water course enhancements, etc.) (see 5.3, below).
· Rock outcrop habitat in Lot 7 to south of Evaluated Wetland
- habitat severely degraded by long-term agricultural activity (grazing) with few natural or representative vegetation elements remaining.
- area is entirely committed to urban scale residential development.
Although reduced in size and ecological significance by the constraints identified above in Section 4.8 (see also Figure 9), the proposed SSA Natural Environment Area remains a highly significant natural asset. Key sustainable ecological values include:
- retains a rich assembly of native biodiversity with no known SSA native species excluded from the proposed NEA.
· Special features:
- full representation of the significant vegetation types and of all known SAA significant species (Regionally Significant fauna, uncommon flora) retained;
- Provincially and Locally Significant Wetland components.
· Ecological connectivity:
- linkages with the remainder of the West Block to the east and with the Regional Conservation Lands to the north retained; the latter linkage has the additional ecological benefit of including PSW habitat.
· Ecological integrity:
- retains extensive area of natural, unfragmented forest habitat with little or no significant non-native elements.
This combination of ecological assets indicates that the proposed NEA area would remain large enough and with sufficient ecological function to be self-sustainable despite the negative impacts of surrounding development. This capacity is enhanced by the upland nature of most of the site, making it potentially less vulnerable than down-slope areas. Protection of these significant values will require designation of a buffer zone between proposed development areas and retained NEA lands (see 5.2, below).
Ecological buffer areas are required to provide a protective transition zone between ecologically sensitive and Provincially significant habitats and negative external influences (Ontario 1997). The size of such protection zones are left to the determination of particular planning authorities through the application of good planning principles. The Ontario Wetland policy identifies an Adjacent Area extending 120 m beyond Provincially Significant Wetlands (or PSW complex elements) within which the needs of a sufficiently wide protective natural vegetation buffer should be considered (Ontario 1994). In the case of the appropriate protection zone surrounding the Provincially Significant NEA area within the South March Highlands SSA, that direction is provided by the City of Ottawa OP (Ottawa 2003a).
An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required for new development within a 30 metre distance of the boundary of an NEA or Urban Natural Feature to “manage the … transition zone between urban development and natural features …” (Ottawa 2003a). The EIS would determine the mitigation measures, including consideration of a no-development buffer, required to provide the appropriate level of protection for the NEA’s significant values. This NEA protection zone performs the same function identified for ‘Adjacent Lands’ in the OPPS (Ontario 1997).
The Natural Heritage Reference Manual (Ontario 1999) recommends a 50 m ‘Adjacent Lands’ zone abutting Significant Woodland and Significant Wildlife habitat “ … for considering whether development may have an impact on significant wildlife [and woodland] habitat”. Particularly in light of the uncommonly sensitive nature of the South March Highlands landscape, therefore, establishment a comparable no-net-impact zone of 50 m in width is both appropriate and ecologically justifiable along the NEA boundary in the SSA. This is particularly so in light of South March Highlands soils being generally more vulnerable to disturbance and less capable of supporting disturbance-tolerant natural vegetation than landscapes on the clay and loam based lowlands which dominate eastern Ontario (Chapman and Putnam 1984).
The Provincial Policy Statement and the Ottawa OP (Ontario 1997; Ottawa 2003a) would not be contradicted by a particular development proposal on abutting lands, then, if it is first demonstrated by an competent EIS study that no net negative impact would result for the significant features and functions for which the NEA or Urban Natural Feature was identified.
Linkage is provided between the SSA Natural Environment Area and the Carp River in Lot 7 along a degraded drainage channel through areas of transformed agricultural land, upland thicket and scrubby forest over partially buried granitic bedrock outcrop. This narrow and relatively lightly vegetated corridor provides limited potential for upland habitat representation though it may offer significant aquatic functional values (fisheries habitat, water quality protection, etc.) in the Carp River. Accordingly, maintenance of the drainage channel within its natural course and application of the standard City of Ottawa 30 m no-development water course and fish habitat buffer should satisfy both the policy and the intent of stream set-back directions provided in the Ottawa OP (Ottawa 2003a).
Despite existing and proposed negative impacts from development on neighbouring properties, the proposed SSA Natural Environment Area constitutes a self-sustainable, provincially significant natural landscape. It can continue indefinitely to provide an important contribution to the ecological wealth of the larger South March Highlands and indeed, to the City of Ottawa. The major considerations in achieving this ecologically important result are noted below.
The proposed NEA boundary reflects the objective analysis of the known ecological features, values and processes of the SSA. In recognition of the implications of present and future land uses on the long-term sustainability of natural landscape values in the NEA, the recommended protection area is substantially smaller in extent than the landscape presently definable as being Provincially Significant (Ontario 1997; 1999). The proposed NEA boundary, however, still contains the majority of SSA natural values and largely supports similar protection area conclusions of Brunton (1992a), Brunton (1992b), CH2MHILL (2001) and Ottawa-Carleton (1999).
Adjacent Lands are identified by the OPPS (Ontario 1997) as providing a transitional zone between significant natural landscapes (Provincially Significant Wetlands, Woodlands, Wildlife Habitat) and development. The Ontario Natural Heritage Manual recommends a 50 m wide Adjacent Lands zone around landscapes like those of the SMH NEA (Provincially Significant Woodlands and Wildlife Habitat), while a comparable 30 m wide zone is identified as requiring an EIS within the City of Ottawa (Ottawa 2003a). Given the additional level of ecological sensitivity of this granitic-based landscape, however, the establishment of a 50 m Adjacent Area zone surrounding the SMH NEA lands is both ecologically appropriate and defensible, and is recommended here.
Some locally or regionally significant natural features (e.g. the White Pine grove in the Richardson Forest) are not at a sufficient scale of ecological importance to be included within the NEA proposed here. Protection and preservation of such areas should be accommodated, however, at the site plan level of subdivision design.
End of Extract
BY FAX AND E-MAIL
May 20, 2004
Mr. Bruce Finlay
Planning Environment and Infrastructure Policy Branch
Planning and Development Department
110 Laurier Ave West, 4th Floor
Ottawa ON K1P 1J1
RE: Kanata Special Study Area - Proposal from Landowners of Kanata Highlands Properties
Dear Mr. Finlay:
On April 28, 2004 our planning consultant Nancy Meloshe and I met with you and Susan Murphy to discuss your upcoming report with respect to the preparation of an Official Plan amendment for lands within the Special Study Area between the proposed Terry Fox Drive and the Hydro Cut in the former City of Kanata. The Kanata Highlands property represents about 63 acres of land within the Special Study Area and our lands are delineated on the attached plan. (Ref. Photo/Map of KHP)
At that meeting you advised that the City's Environmental consultant, Dan Brunton was still completing his field work and that it was staff's intention to hold a public meeting in June to be followed by your report to Planning and Environment Committee in July 2004. You advised that it was your intention to designate much of the Special Study Area lands as General Urban Area but most of our lands east of the Terry Fox Drive would be designated Natural Environment Area.
As you know we have actively participated in the planning study for this area and we have retained at considerable expense to the landowners a qualified team of professionals including planners, civil engineers and environmental consultants to undertake studies for our lands and to represent our interests through the planning process.
We believe that approximately 43 acres of the south portion of our lands severed by Terry Fox Drive alignment should be designated as General Urban Area for responsible development while preserving the northern 20 acres, (30%), as Natural Environmental Area as we have outlined in the enclosed photo/map plan.
The 20 acres to be preserved will include the prominent east tip of the Hazeldean Ridge and the environmentally sensitive lands identified by Dan Brunton for his 'tunnel' under Terry Fox Drive. It will also include a generous widening of the Hydro Cut to make a more substantial environmental linkage of the NEA lands in KNL's Kanata Lakes development to the south with the City's Parklands to the north.
The 43 acre portion of our lands is a well-drained, relatively flat plain of former pastures and well-timbered woods of secondary growth and deciduous trees. In the opinion of our environmental consultant, Bernie Muncaster these lands lack most of the features and diversity in the natural habitat that have generally been considered NEA. These lands have no old growth trees or significant landforms. There are has no coniferous or mixed forests nor do the lands contain many of the features present in other portions of the Kanata Lakes area that have been considered Natural Environment Area. We also noted that most of this portion of land has not been identified as a Significant Environmental Area nor given any of the three Priority ratings in D. Brunton's 'South March Highlands Study Area Natural Assessment Report' dated July 1992. (p.86, Figure 40: Significant Areas)
We appreciate the importance of preserving the natural environmental quality of the March Highlands. In addition to the 30% of land to be preserved with the right to develop 43 acres of land in the Special Study Area east of Terry Fox Drive, we also propose to reserve 110 acres of environmentally significant lands northwest of the Terry Fox Drive alignment for acquisition by the City. These lands include the spectacular Hazeldean Ridge that is part of the pre-Cambrian shield with its pockets of old growth trees and the head waters of Shirley's Brook on both sides of the railway tracks. These lands in public ownership would make a significant addition to the adjoining 604 acre City owned natural parkland.
With City ownership of the NEA lands on both sides of Terry Fox Drive, a significant passageway structure can now be designed and strategically positioned to provide not only the vital connectivity your experts have requested for fauna and wildlife and watercourses but also to serve the Kanata communities for their recreational usage and safe passage under the 4 to 6 lanes of Terry Fox Drive. It would become the prime community recreational access to the the City parkland to the north.
We believe that this proposal represents a win-win solution for the City, the community and the landowners. We propose that 43 acres of our land east of Terry Fox Drive as outlined on the attached plan would be designated as General Urban Area. A 20 acre parcel of our land east of Terry Fox Drive and north of those lands proposed to be designated General Urban Area would be designated Natural Environment Area and dedicated to the City. In addition, the 110 acre parcel of land north identified west of Terry Fox Drive would be preserved as Natural Environment Area and reserved for acquisition by the City. The remainder of our lands west of Terry Fox Drive and north of Huntmar Road would be designated General Rural Area.
As discussed at our meeting of April 28, 2004 you are prepared to include our proposal in your report to Planning and Environment Committee for consideration. We would also like to have the opportunity to present this proposal at the public meeting in June. We have met with Councillor Peggy Feltmate and a number of the leaders in the Kanata communities and they are aware of our proposal.
We would be pleased to discuss our letter with you in more detail and we look forward to your positive response in the staff report to Committee and Council.
Edward A. Balys, P Eng
Mr. Ed Balys
Balys & Associates Inc.
2210 Marchhurst Road
Dear Mr. Balys:
Comments on Natural Environment Features and Proposed Land Use
Following our recent discussions and field surveys, this letter provides a review of the approximately twenty-five hectare portion of the Kanata Highlands property between the future Terry Fox Drive and the First Line Road allowance. The emphasis in this review is on the proposed land use that will see the south and southwest portion of the twenty-five hectares (approximately seventeen hectares) used for residential development, with the balance to the north to be retained in its existing condition (referred to as ‘parkland’).
The south and central portions of the lands between the future Terry Fox Drive and the First Line Road allowance are dominated by a dry-fresh sugar maple deciduous forest intermixed with bedrock outcroppings, with cultural meadows and thickets in the central-west part of the site. Shirley’s Brook, and associated thicket and deciduous swamp wetlands, are in the northeast corner of the site where Terry Fox Drive approaches the First Line Road allowance.
American beech, red maple, red oak, basswood and ironwood are also well represented in the sugar maple forest. There are scattered deciduous trees, primarily sugar maple, up to 60cm diameter at breast height (dbh), but the majority of trees are less than 20cm dbh. The understorey growth is modest, with regenerating maple stems common. There are minimal recent disturbances to the forest as ice storm damage was minimal and the trail network was confined. Historical disturbances included extensive logging and pasturing, with these disturbances more pronounced in the south portion of the site. The dry-fresh sugar maple deciduous forest ecosites are heavily managed, grazed or disturbed sites that tend to be relatively lacking in shrub and understorey vegetation (Lee et al., 1998).
The larger trees are more common in the north portion of the deciduous forest and the largest trees observed on the site, red oaks and white pines, in the range of 100cm dbh, will be removed as part of the Terry Fox Drive construction.
The ground cover in the north portion of the maple forest is more characteristic of rich woodland, with good representation of white trillium, blue cohosh, jack-in-the-pulpit, wild lily-of-the valley and yellow dog's-tooth violet. In contrast, the south portion of the deciduous forest has a less rich ground flora, reflecting the greater historical pasture activity in this part of the forest.
In addition to deciduous forests, the lands between the future Terry Fox Drive and the First Line Road allowance include large bedrock outcroppings and areas of cultural thickets that have been more recently used for pasture and other agricultural activity. The large bedrock outcroppings produce excellent vistas of the surrounding lands and contain an interesting flora component along the ledges of the outcroppings including wild columbine, blue phlox and Dutchman’s breeches. A few ephemeral ponds are scattered along the base of the outcroppings.
Shirley’s Brook crosses the north portion of the site, just south of the Terry Fox Drive alignment. Marsh and swamp wetlands are associated with the Brook.
Much of the study area represents a deciduous forest, however the lands lack many of the features present on other portions of the Kanata Lakes area that have been considered Natural Environment Area. For example, there is little diversity in the natural habitat present and the extent of mature trees is reduced relative to other forests in the vicinity. Ephemeral ponds were noted adjacent to a few areas of the bedrock outcroppings. Wetlands, including small marsh and swamp areas, are restricted to the north portion of the site, in association with Shirley’s Brook. No coniferous or mixed forests are present on the site.
It is important to consider the future land use of this general area. The Terry Fox Drive alignment will represent a substantial impediment to the corridor function between the South March Highlands north and south of the alignment. Coupled with extensive residential development to the northeast, east, southeast and south of the study area and associated loss of natural areas and much greater human presence, the ecological functions of the landscape will be significantly reduced. The NEA boundary on the KNL lands to the southeast of the study area is now proposed to extend along the First Line Road Allowance for the south portion of the Kanata Highlands property.
Review of the Development Proposal
The parklands to be left in their existing natural state represent the more diverse ecological habitat on the site and include the following features and functions:
· A corridor function between the Natural Environment Area lands on the KNL property east of the First Line Road allowance and the City-owned lands and core areas of the South March Highlands to the north. It is recognized that the corridor function will be reduced with implementation of the residential developments and construction of Terry Fox Drive. The parklands include the areas surrounding the proposed wildlife tunnel under Terry Fox Drive. The First Line Road allowance corridor will be widened along the entire north-south length of the site, with the corridor extension much more extensive when the major bedrock outcroppings are reached.
The line between parkland and development was carefully chosen in the field, with fifteen points flagged. In the northwest portion of the site this boundary is relatively clear between the more mature deciduous forest and major bedrock outcroppings to the north and cultural thickets to the south. To the east, the parkland was extended to the south to include the major bedrock outcroppings, ephemeral ponds and mature trees. Approaching the First Line Road allowance, the parkland was widened to include ephemeral ponds and other lower-lying areas.
Most of the development land was not identified as a Significant Area in Brunton (1992) (see p.86, Figure 40: Significant Areas). Portions of the east portion of the development land were identified as a high priority area and referred to as the Hazeldean Escarpment. The important features identified by Brunton (1992) for the Hazeldean Escarpment were abundant rock barrens, intermixed upland hardwood forests, a stand of large white pine and significant flora on slopes and summit. As the Hazeldean Escarpment, and associated rock barrens and significant flora on slopes and summit, will be retained as part of the parklands and the white pine stand will be retained south of the site as part of the Richardson NEA lands, the important habitats and functions of the Significant Area will be retained.
In summary, based on the site features and the anticipated development to occur surrounding the site, the development proposal appears to be supportable from a natural environment feature and function perspective.
Please call if you have any questions on this information.
MUNCASTER ENVIRONMENTAL PLANNING INC.