A letter to Ottawa’s Forestry Services

The Champlain Park Community Association (CPCA) recently formed an Environment
Sub-committee. We are offering to undertake a collaborative
effort with the City, case to protect and enhance the urban forest in our
community. 

I am pleased to inform you that a number of residents in the community are
willing to share their significant professional and technical expertise (including a professor of botany, treat an environmental anthropologist and several published amateur
naturalists) regarding the trees in Champlain Park. This local knowledge and our
enthusiasm was evident most recently on Sunday June 26, drug when Champlain Park
hosted the Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee’s first urban forest
walk of 2011:  Walk in the Park: Heritage Trees of Champlain Park. 

Champlain Park residents are keen to preserve the unique character of this part
of Ottawa’s urban forest. Sadly, this character is under threat. Recently, we
have lost various mature trees to infill development, including a 179 year old
bur oak on Northwestern Avenue. This tree was part of the original natural
forest in the community. We were consequently delighted to see the City plant
three bur oaks on the median at Northwestern, a gesture we take as a tribute to
the magnificent heritage trees of Champlain Park.

As you know, losses due to the emerald ash borer are also imminent. While we
appreciate the City’s proactive approach to establishing new trees before the
ash is lost, we are concerned about the preponderance of non-native tree species
and short ornamental trees recently planted on Northwestern. While overhead
wires account for some of the choices, a number of the short trees are actually
not anywhere near power lines and will never grow to provide a canopy effect on
our only boulevard. This may not have been apparent from maps when the trees
were selected. 

We wish to work with you.  We believe that we can help the City make the most of
its investments in trees, by providing local knowledge and a long-term perspective on what species will make the greatest contribution to public spaces
in the neighbourhood, such as the Northwestern Avenue median and Champlain Park.

Collaboration also would provide us with the opportunity to learn about and
adapt the technical criteria used to select trees for particular niches in
Ottawa’s urban environment. 

The CPCA Environment Sub-committee welcomes opportunities to provide assistance
to and learn from the City’s staff so that general urban forestry initiatives
can be adapted to this neighbourhood. Please keep this in mind when planning
future initiatives involving public spaces in the neighbourhood.

Thank you,
Nick Xenos
Chair, CPCA Environment Sub-committee

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