Monday, 4 October 2010

Saving the South March Highlands - Urgent Call to Action


The story of the South March Highlands and why it must be saved, in under five minutes.
A must watch video. (Best viewed full screen in 720HD)

Who would have thought this spring, when the battle to save the South March Highlands was reignited, first by the Sierra Club of Canada in relation to the Terry Fox Drive Extension and the Blanding's Turtle, and soon after that by a coalition of concerned residents and community groups, focusing on the road and the proposed development lands, that we would be looking towards a possible victory in the battle.

However, as I write this, a motion is about to go before Ottawa City Council on Wednesday October 6 to expropriate the KNL lands, known as the Beaver Pond Forest, that are in imminent threat of clear cutting and urban development.

It is urgent that this motion pass as the first step in saving the South March Highlands. But it is only the first step. Originally all of the South March Highlands was zoned "environmental protection" and presumably protected. But as we all know, in Ontario, where developers have their own kangaroo court known as the Ontario Municipal Board, zoning is meaningless when it comes to protecting environmentally sensitive lands. In order to save the rest of the South March Highlands the city must purchase all of the remaining SMH lands that have not yet been developed, both those that have been rezoned for development, and those that remain zoned "environmental protection".

Maps indicating the boundary of the South March Highlands (from Brunton report)
and zoning of the lands (from City of Ottawa)

(click maps to enlarge)


Zoning Codes Used on Map
RESIDENTIAL ZONES
Residential Third Density Zone R3
Residential Fifth Density Zone R5
OPEN SPACE AND LEISURE ZONES
Parks and Open Space Zone O1
ENVIRONMENTAL ZONE
Environmental Protection Zone EP
RURAL ZONES
Agricultural Zone AG
Rural Residential RR
Rural Countryside Zone RU
OTHER ZONES
Development Reserve Zone DR


I therefore urge all of you to immediately email your City Councillor and urge them to support the expropriation motion and the acquisition by the city, by negotiation or expropriation, of all of the remaining SMH lands.

This is a jewel, a piece of wilderness in the city, that we cannot let become just more cookie cutter subdivisions.

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