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Acorn Rescue and Sapling Give Away

Updated: Apr 22, 2020

A Distinctive Tree Permit has been issued by the City of Ottawa to fell a healthy, magnificent Champlain Oak. The bur oak is at 115 Northwestern Avenue (see picture), and the subject of a recent development proposal. Last month, Mr. Sam Falsetto (developer) was blocked by the Committee of Adjustment and the community from building a three-and-a-half story double with in-law suites, rooftop lookouts, and multiple back decks at this site. He has now obtained a building permit for a single dwelling, and a tree cutting permit that was issued April 15. 

Because our goal has been to save and celebrate the Champlain Oaks, we are suggesting another way for the community to conserve and give new life to the tree we are about to lose.

What you can do: Collect acorns from the tree that you and your children can plant at home. By doing this, you will help conserve the unique genetic material of this tree. While there are no bur oak saplings from the tree visible on the property, we will have on site potted bur oaks donated by members of the community that you can take home and plant.

When: Wednesday, April 20th, 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (rain or shine). We’ve chosen this date because the felling could happen as early as Thursday, April 21, seven days after the permit was issued (waiting period required under the By-law).

Permission:  The owner of the property has given the community permission to enter the property to collect acorns from the ancient tree. He will also provide a cross-section of the tree to the community for research and historic and educational purposes.

 Bring along: Planting pots with soil (for the acorns), a message for or about the tree, or a piece of cloth to decorate and commemorate the tree. The media has been invited, so let’s find ways to be colourful.

What Else?   Ottawa’s Urban Tree Conservation By-law (passed in 2009) is intended to conserve mature trees in the context of new developments. In fact, no application for a tree permit has been denied since its inception. Given this, we need to hold city officials accountable by demanding to know: under what circumstances would a tree permit be denied?

At 115 Northwestern Ave., the City could have used its discretion under Section 20 of the by-law to deny a permit based on the historical and ecological value of the tree, objections to cutting expressed by many in the community (the COA ruling is full of community objections to the loss of the tree, including concerns raised by the COA Panel itself), and the fact there is an acceptable alternative to cutting the tree (i.e. building a smaller house). Destroying a distinctive mature tree with many ecological, economic, cultural and historical values is not acceptable, and it is a shame that City officials did not simply say “no.”

Who to contact: To make your views on this tree permit known, write or phone:

Jason Pollard (Senior Forester): 613-580-2424 ext 16012;

Katherine Hobbs (Kitchissippi Councillor): 613- 580-2485;

Kent Kirkpatrick (City Manager):  613-580-2424 x25657;

For more information on the Wednesday event, contact Debra Huron and Daniel Buckles at 613-722-8048.

Please encourage others to speak out about this tree and the need for clarity and firmness regarding under what circumstances a tree permit would be denied. If these cannot be defined and acted upon then the By-law has no meaning or significance. --Debra Huron

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