CLA past president concerned with city’s forest management plan

WEST CARLETON – Carleton Landowner Association past president Shirley Dolan said some good stuff and some concerning stuff came out of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs committee’s special meeting held last Friday (Feb. 22).

It was the first meeting of ARAC with Coun. Eli El-Chantiry sitting as chair. During the meeting, ARAC passed its draft budget which includes $7.2 million to renew rural infrastructure. ARAC streamlined the Site Plan control process, approved appointments to a few rural boards and BIAs and discussed the city’s forest management plan.

Witnessing the first meeting of the new committee was Woodlawn resident Shirley Dolan, a past president and active member of the Carleton Landowners Association.

CLA past president Shirley Dolan attended the Feb. 22 ARAC meeting and has some concerns about the city's Significant Woodlands policy. File photo by Jake Davies
CLA past president Shirley Dolan attended the Feb. 22 ARAC meeting and has some concerns about the city’s Significant Woodlands policy. File photo by Jake Davies

Dolan says there was good news and bad news coming out of the meeting for landowners. The good certainly included the draft budget.

“There are some good things in the budget,” Dolan told West Carleton Online on Monday (Feb. 25). “I was happy to hear about the infrastructure funding. They said they should be able to catch in roads in five years instead of 10. That’s still a bit of time, but that’s still good news.”

Dolan said ARAC had a good suggestion as well as the city embarks the huge project of updating its Official Plan.

“Get involved in the Official Plan,” Dolan said. “I think that’s good advice. Thing in the plan have had a big affect on landowners in the past. They find out the hard way.”

A red flag that popped up for Dolan is the discussion on the city’s Significant Woodlands policies now under review. The Significant Woodland Guidelines explain the significant woodland policies of the City of Ottawa and how they shall be implemented in the city’s planning processes.

Dolan says she spoke to Coun. El-Chantiry after the meeting concluded.

“He stressed to me the Significant Woodlands policy applies mostly to urban areas,” Dolan said. “The city is saying it won’t impact the rural areas, but I think we all know there are more wooded areas in the rural areas that the urban area so there is going to be some impact.”

Dolan said she was told rural landowners will have the Environmental Impact Study waived if applying for a severance if some standard requirements are met.

“What are those standard requirements?” Dolan asked. “And are there fees associated with it?”

Dolan says there will be no discussion at ARAC and instead the guidelines go before the Planning committee tomorrow (Feb. 28).

“The bottom line is I think there is a significant portion of landowners that have this designation on their property and don’t know it,” Dolan said. “I don’t think the city has done a very good job of letting the residents know about the designation.”