October News Highlights
Autumn greetings to everyone, and welcome to the new residents of our area. By choosing to live in Rothwell Heights, we hope that you share our appreciation of the fabulous topography, tall trees and natural woodlands that provide the “country-in-the-city” ambiance that makes Rothwell Heights such a desirable place to live.
Although we are a relatively small residential community in Ottawa, our RHPOA Community Association frequently takes an active role in issues affecting our collective quality of life, both at the neighbourhood level and regionally. We work to develop and support constructive approaches to community problems, to help ensure that the City’s decision-makers recognize and take into consideration our neighbourhood’s essential characteristics and the collective interests of our residents.
RECENT RESIDENT-DRIVEN INITIATIVES
A resident-driven effort to control the infiltration of invasive species in Kindle Court Park has resulted in removal of a considerable amount of invasive buckthorn from the Park, making way for new growth and the developing understory of native trees. Several nearby residents also took the initiative to remove buckthorn from their own properties. The action follows the recommendations of a professional forester retained by the RHPOA to advise on the Park's long-term management.
Another resident-initiated effort has reduced unnecessary lighting at the Combermere Park tennis courts. The lights have been put on a “concierge switch” so that lights can be turned on when needed for play, and off when the courts are unused. This resulting energy savings have the added environmental benefit of reducing unwanted glare and light trespass into nearby properties and the night sky.
A recent effort to address “No Parking” signs along Blair Road was initiated by another resident. The City had signs on both sides of the road, until a resident led the effort to present the necessary evidence to change the signage to one side only.
The RHPOA stands ready to assist such resident-driven initiatives for appropriate and positive change, which are often enhanced by our Community Association's support and help with navigating the municipal process. If you have a concern in your area of Rothwell Heights, please contact the RHPOA.
BRIARCLIFFE HERITAGE UPDATE
Briarcliffe, a tiny section of Rothwell Heights comprised of Briarcliffe Drive, Kindle Court and Kindle Court Park, is currently being studied by the City of Ottawa to determine whether it merits designation as a Heritage Conservation District (HCD).
Briarcliffe was developed as a cooperative in the early 1960s in accordance with set of covenants to which all property owners agreed, governing the design of its homes and preservation of its natural landscapes. Many of Ottawa's most progressive architects of the day designed its homes including Matthew Stankiewicz, Paul Schoeler, Brian Barkham and James Strutt. The area which is now Kindle Court Park was set aside for preservation as a naturalized wooded landscape with a single footpath, to remain otherwise undisturbed.
Today, Briarcliffe is considered to be a rare, intact example of mid-century modern planning and architecture in a spectacular natural setting.
The initiative for the HCD Application arose in 2010 from the residents of Briarcliffe themselve, from a collective desire to protect the unique character of their neighbourhood. Last year, Ottawa City Council designated Briarcliffe as a Heritage Conservation District Study Area under the Ontario Heritage Act for a one-year period. The City is currently conducting an in-depth study, in accordance with the Act, to determine whether permanent designation is warranted.
There are currently 17 Heritage Conservation Districts in Ottawa, including the New Edinburgh area and the former Village of Rockcliffe. If designated as an HCD, Briarcliffe would be the first mid-century modern heritage district in Canada – a cultural coup for Rothwell Heights and for Ottawa at large.
The overwhelming majority of Briarcliffe residents support its designation as a Heritage Conservation District. Designation is also supported by our Ward Councillor Tim Tierney, Heritage Ottawa, the Ottawa Regional Society of Architects, the Ontario Association of Architects, the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and numerous other professionals and admirers of modernist architecture in Ottawa and beyond.
The RHPOA fully supports the heritage designation of Briarcliffe and applaudes this resident-driven initiative.
ROCKCLIFFE AIRBASE DEVELOPMENT PLANNING STARTS AGAIN
Development of the old Rockcliffe Airbase into a residential community is underway again! The consultant team for site plan development has now been hired, and the first Public Advisory Committee meeting and an “Ideas Fair” are both being planned for late November. Canada Lands Company’s Project Manager for the site has indicated significant interest in receiving ideas from the public for what they would like in the plans. Preliminary information on the Project can be found here.
Like other surrounding communities, we are interested in the Project, its potential for innovation, and its design of community infrastructure which will contribute to quality of life for residents in this part of the City. We are also interested in the Project’s potential impacts on transportation and transit around us. Therefore, our Association Executive will be participating in the Project’s PublicAdvisory Committee. If you are interested in working on this Project for the next 1-2 years with the Executive and on behalf of the community, please get in touch with the Association Executive.