LETTER: Vegetation destruction at the expanded landfill

Here’s part of a joint letter that COLA wrote to Mayor Jim Watson along with Greenspace Alliance and the Ottawa Carleton Wildlife Centre:

The new landfill proposed by Waste Management for their site along Carp Road has received the last remaining provincial approval and soon will be cleared for development. The Site Plan which was recently approved with conditions by the City of Ottawa shows that a significant amount of green space will be removed for the landfill development.

In all nearly 25 hectares of vegetation are to be removed which include 9.5 hectares of significant forest containing important interior forest habitat and 4 hectares of wetlands. The remainder is an open meadow environment. These open green spaces are currently home to a wide variety of animals and diverse vegetation communities including some species on the endangered list.

As part of the approved Site Plan, Waste Management will replace these lost green spaces with compensation lands that plant new areas of vegetation amounting to the same acreage as the green space to be removed. Unfortunately these compensation lands will not replace the complex structure and connectivity of the wildlife habitat to be removed. It will take decades before mature forests are replaced.

The removal of these natural green spaces will have significant impact on the wildlife that now call them home and safe movement corridors. The Ottawa Official Plan directive to be wildlife-sensitive in its practices was established to assure that planning and development in the city would take account of wildlife and minimize the impacts on wildlife. In recognition of this directive the city recently introduced the “Protocol for Wildlife Protection during Construction”. Nowhere in the Site Plan is it mentioned that this city protocol will be applied during removal of green spaces and construction of the landfill. The City should make it a requirement in the Host Municipal Responsibility Agreement now being negotiated.

In 2006, Waste Management received recognition for its contribution to wildlife habitat conservation in the form of a Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) certification for the Carp Road site, thus it should openly acknowledge the value of the Wildlife Protocol and implement it during construction of the new landfill to minimize the impact on wildlife. If not, the displacement of wildlife is certain to cause many problems for the surrounding residents and businesses.

We urge the City and Waste Management to meet with us to outline plans and discuss how our concerns can be addressed.

Read the full letter here (PDF)…