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  • Candice Vetter

CJRO News August 10 to August 16, 2020

Hello, bonjour, and welcome, to Carlsbad-Vars Radio, CJRO, at 107.7 and 107.9 FM in Carlsbad Springs, Vars, Edwards, southeast Ottawa, parts of Russell, and online, at CJROradio.com.

I’m Candice Vetter, reporting from my home office in North Russell.

Last week candidates for City Councillor and registered third parties were allowed to place election signs on private property, with permission, as of Thursday, August 6.

Election signs on private property must follow the Temporary Signs on Private Property By-law.

Signs on public property are not permitted until Saturday, September 5. All signs cannot be placed along highways, in a median, or fewer than 50 centimetres from a sidewalk or shoulder, or two metres from the road edge if there is no shoulder.

All election signs must be removed by Wednesday, October 7, 48 hours after Voting Day.

A chicken pox outbreak has been declared at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, with three infected patients which have been isolated. In a statement CHEO said families whose children may have been exposed to the chickenpox have been notified of the situation.

Chickenpox often shows first as fever, followed a red rash mostly on the torso which spreads. Soon spots appear and become blisters. Chickenpox virus can spread from person to person through the air, in saliva, or through direct contact with a blister. It takes 10 to 21 days after exposure to develop symptoms.

Ottawa Public Health recommends the chickenpox vaccine for healthy children ages one to 12 years.

Environmental and economic issues dominate the local news this week.

Unfortunately for Calypso and its usual hundreds of summer jobs, it will not be allowed to reopen at all this summer. The park had submitted a health plan that was approved by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit but not by the province.

In Russell Township two environmental issues were debated in Council.

Many residents have expressed opposition to a plan to allow a stand of trees near St. Guillaume Road at the roundabout to be clear cut. The purpose of the cutting is so potential customers can clearly see the proposed new A&W from the road.

At the Council meeting on July 6th the mayor and three councillors dismissed concerns by Councillor Cindy Saucier about tree removal for a cosmetic reason. There was also a confusing issue regarding if the proponent, Mr. Nav Aggarwal, would be allowed to not pay a sum in lieu of green space, if he undertook the cost of the tree removal. So it seemed like a triple whammy to Saucier, as Mr. Aggarwal will not only be causing tree removal on Township property, he would not be providing any green space as is usually required, and then would not be paying the usual fee for not having green space. Many Township residents are opposed to the removal of the mature trees there, even if some brush and shrubs are removed for visual purposes.

A much bigger issue is also on the agenda. As reported last week, Hemson Consulting is recommending that the Township of Russell go ahead with plans to acquire more significant and high-quality farmland to expand the 417 Industrial Park.

In the interests of disclosure, note that I own property that would be directly negatively impacted by that expansion.

The consultant’s recommendation is based on a study started four years ago, and except for mentioning that economic growth can’t be guaranteed, and that the current Coronavirus crisis might impact projections, the new reality of pandemic and post-pandemic economic loss does not appear to have been considered.

From an environmental perspective, the proposal suggests that all farmland is similar, and that keeping other lands agricultural will mitigate the loss of some of Eastern Ontario’s very best farmland. There is no discussion of how current farms and acreages along Eadie Road, which is quite pretty now, will go from farms, fields and forests to industrial park. There has been no discussion with neighbouring landowners directly, and landowners have had to question the Township.

In 2016 I attended a Township meeting regarding changes to the UCPR’s official master plan and was there told that the land abutting Eadie Road was not meant to be included. But here it is. And who owns it?

The report suggests that the Township must buy all the land that they don’t already own between St. Guillaume Road and Eadie Road, from Burton Road to Route 100. Land acquisition costs are estimated at almost $25 million. Water and sewer costs would be over $18 million. Local Servicing Costs would be $4.7 million. Utility costs would be over $7 million. And financing costs would be over 16 and a half million dollars. Adding up these costs the total is projected at almost $72 million, not including inflation.

According to the Hemson report the project would not start recouping financial losses until 21 to 40 years from the start. So where would the money come from?

A funding source is expected to be industrial land sales, servicing fees paid by people operating in the park now, and servicing fees for future businesses. These fees are expected to add up to about $57 million over 40 years. This would leave a shortfall to be funded of 14 and a half million dollars.

The consultant says there will be some federal and provincial grants, but provides no details and no idea if such grants are likely to still be available considering the new debt load governments are suddenly dealing with.

The report also suggests that Russell Township could spend a significant portion of its reserve fund.

And finally, a one percent levy added to municipal property taxes would make up the difference. I was out talking to people around Russell Township last week and heard strong opposition to any kind of financial risk or additional burden being added to residents in a time fraught with uncertainty.

Also in the category of environmental change, Ecology Ottawa, a local environmental non-profit organization usually gives away trees, but has been unable to this year. But last week Ecology Ottawa announced it is partnering with Ferguson Forest Center to give Ottawans the discounted rate on local native seedlings. An online order form is available during August. Pick up will be Thursday, September 4th to Sunday, September 6th. The trees range from $3-$8 and there are seven species. To order trees see www.ecologyottawa.ca.

The annual Perseid meteor shower peaks this week. Find a clear, dark-sky location, bring a reclining lawn chair and look up. The meteors tend to peak between midnight and a couple of hours before dawn, but you can usually see some at any time of the night.

Do you have news that matters to our area? Do you have an opinion about development decisions made during COVID in Ottawa or Russell? If yes, I’d like to hear from you! Contact me by emailing newsCJRO@gmail.com.

CJRO – Last on the dial, first for local news.

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