Bird sightings along the Ottawa River

The first photo shows a black cormorant ( I think … I googled the name and it seems to me to match) on the Ottawa River near Lemieux Island. If I recall correctly, cormorants are rapidly becomming an invasive species and are moving en masse into the Ottawa area having already over run the Great Lakes. It seems bird populations have bubbles just like our economy. Back in university, didnt they call it the boom/bust cycle? I first saw these birds about 3 years ago, there were a lot more last year, and this year I see them by the … Continue reading Bird sightings along the Ottawa River

Small Lot Water Retention

1.gravel fill 2.vegetation coverage 3. front yard hosta on red stone mulch 4.pea stone driveway 5.permeable pavement patio old water barrel 7.gravel drip line along garage I think it is possible to retain almost all of the water that lands on a lot. The biggest benefits come easiest: reduce impermeable paved areas, provide soft areas to absorb rain, store rain on site. – The above photos all come from my 29×100 downtown lot. The lot line is less than 2 feet from the city sidewalk. Photo one shows a retaining wall under the fence at the back lot line, … Continue reading Small Lot Water Retention

Flooding Responsibility

I feel empathy for the residents flooded in recent heavy rains. I live in a neighborhood area that has suffered sewer backups/flooding in the past (although not this year that I know of…). I dread the thought of having to tear up my basement etc. But a common thread throughout the media reporting on the flood really bothers me. “The City should … the City must … it’s the city’s fault…” Why are we so quick to blame the City and want taxpayers to cover the cost of our personal losses? All over the City, in surburban or urban areas, … Continue reading Flooding Responsibility

Festival Externalities

Every festival has impacts external to the site it operates on. These get managed in different ways. Winterlude and the Tulip Festival have numerous events along the canal, abutting neighborhoods like the Golden Triangle and The Glebe. For both these festivals, shuttle buses run along the canal to get crowds to and from the event sites. This distributes parking impacts over a larger area. It also means the City Hall garage and Lansdowne Park parking lots get used. For Bluesfest, there are no shuttle services, leaving adjacent neighborhoods to suffer from a huge influx of parkers. This is most noticeable … Continue reading Festival Externalities

More Observed Wildlife …

I never cease to be amazed at what I see along the NCC Ottawa River bikepaths. At dusk the other evening, I watched a group of people with a large trebuchet (a seige engine of the catapult family) flinging objects several hundred metres across the lawns. In the picture above, the upper triangular object is the counterweight, the fulcum is in the centre of the tripod of posts, and the weight to be flung (in earlier days this could have been a stone to break fortification walls or a dead body to fling over the walls to spread terror or … Continue reading More Observed Wildlife …

Landscaping resumes at Claridge’s Condo

I figured that Claridge might never landscape its project on LeBreton Flats. But in the last few weeks, a lot has happened. Sod appeared on the west side of Lett Street (right side of picture 2) in front of the Beirut-style bomb crater. And on Friday, some rather large trees appeared in the front lawn of the building, along the sidewalk. Compare the size of the new trees to the ones planted a few months ago along the north side of the building, shown on the left in picture 2. _ Picture 1 is of the rear yard, or courtyard … Continue reading Landscaping resumes at Claridge’s Condo

Is Infill Working?

Proponents of ‘smart growth’ and higher density cities usually cite as benefits the smaller ecological footprint and lower cost of servicing higher density mixed use urban areas compared to suburban growth. I wonder just how true this is. In my neighborhood, on the west side of the urban core, it is possible to walk to multiple employment centres. Shopping is a bit of stretch to the Rideau Centre, and for groceries, well they do call it a ‘grocery desert’ for a reason. However, Loblaws in Westboro does deliver and with a family of teens that is well worth while (I … Continue reading Is Infill Working?

Blue Herons along the bike path

It is probably necessary to double-click on these pictures to enlarge them. There is a large blue heron under the overhanging willow tree, and a second one sitting on the rocky point. A third one is out of view on the other side of the tree. – The NCC most conveniently provided an interpretation plaque at this very site to educate the viewer on the habits of the blue heron. This is along the NCC bike path just west of the Carleton St underpass… and east of the Island Park parking lot. Continue reading Blue Herons along the bike path

DCA garden on Somerset at Empress

There is a delightful abundant flower garden on the north side of Somerset at Empress street, right in front of the Dalhousie Community Centre. It is a great spot for a garden, in full sun, and raised up several feet above the sidewalk. It was planted by community members and is maintained by DCA volunteers. In the centre of the garden is a yucca plant. The cactus-like plant is blooming now with a magnificent spire of blooms. It blooms once a year. – The Somerset Heights BIA – now the Somerset Chinatown BIA – has donated funds for another garden … Continue reading DCA garden on Somerset at Empress

NCC vs City Maintenance Practices

city aquaduct city aquaduct NCC maintenance The NCC landscaped the area along the bike path behind the new War Museum and east of Booth Street, shown in photo 3. Along the riverside chain link fence the NCC planted rose bushes and other shrubs, then applied mulch. Mulch does not stop all weed growth. The picture shows little piles of weeds and grass pulled out by NCC contractors. They picked them up just after I took the picture. By removing the weeds, the rose bushes will have more chance to grow stronger and bigger and choke out future weeds. And of … Continue reading NCC vs City Maintenance Practices

Smart Construction techniques

Claridge has resumed work on the condo project on LeBreton Flats. The new tower will be immediately south of the current yellow brick podium and glass tower, and will appear to be a continuation of the same building around a common courtyard. _ The rock material excavated from the parking garage hole is trucked a few hundred meters to the south and dumped. The yellow excavator is moving the rocks into the blue crusher that turns the large rocks into gravel, which is being stacked up by the red shovel. The debris piles did not look that large a few … Continue reading Smart Construction techniques

Recession Over ?

New housing starts is a good leading indicator of economic confidence. Builders must get their product started a year or more before it is to be occupied. _ Three new residential projects have begun in the west side area. The top picture shows the excavation for the second tower of Claridge’s project on LeBreton Flats. If you look closely, you can see the base for the high crane has been installed on the right side of the hole, near Fleet Street which leads to Pooley’s Bridge and the downtown. _ Picture 2 shows the demolition of two older housing units … Continue reading Recession Over ?

Green Roof – Queen Elizabeth Towers

There are green roofs over the parking garage on the north side of the building (shown) and the south side. Both are about 3-5 floors above street grade. The green roof certainly improves the view from the condos. This particular roof does not seem to have pedestrian amenities – no flowers, benches, minimal paths. I wonder if it gets any use, or is mainly for the viewing pleasure of the above units. Note also the benefit received by the Kevlee tower further to the west, which overlooks the roof. _ View is from two thirds the way up the building. … Continue reading Green Roof – Queen Elizabeth Towers

Creative Parking

Major events such as Bluesfest attracts plenty of patrons who want to park in the adjacent neighborhoods. Parking control is much better this year; Kudos to the City for keeping the parkers off the pedestrian-cycling path along Albert, and off the NCC bike path along the aquaduct. All the construction along Preston has confused parkers. Some people are quite resourceful. In the photo, someone parked on top of the steel plates stacked up on Primrose near Preston. I half expected to find a mini or smart car inside the trenching box itself. Continue reading Creative Parking

Prince of Wales Bridge

A while ago I questioned the lack of visible maintenance on the Prince of Wales railway bridge over the Ottawa River from Bayview Station to Gatineau. This is an important link in interprovincial transit. Apparently the City is preparing a maintenance plan. The plan will cost 1.8 million; the repairs or rehabilitation another 20 t0 40 million dollars: M E M O / N O T E D E S E R V I C E To / DestinataireMayor and ToMembers of CouncilFile/N° de fichier: File NumberFrom / ExpéditeurWayne Newell – FromDirector, Infrastructure Services Department Subject / ObjetSubjectPrince of Wales … Continue reading Prince of Wales Bridge

Holland Cross Green Roof

Holland Cross is a mixed use project located at the corner of Holland and Scott Streets. It dates back to the 1980s. There are two office towers nearest Scott, with a not-thriving commercial mall at ground level. There are two residential towers set further south. They share a common parking podium. Two more residential towers were designed but not built on the east side of the common; eventually the land was sold to Domicile which built townhouses instead. Unfortunately, they do not relate in any way to the green roof and do not complete the formal arrangement of structures. _ … Continue reading Holland Cross Green Roof

Another Green Roof

Another in my occasional series on Green Roofs in Ottawa. This roof is behind a seniors complex on Somerset St, opposite Hartman’s. The roof runs through to Cooper St and is above the Centretown Community Health Centre. I do not know if the allotments and planters are associated with the seniors building or the Health Centre. Whichever, its a bright spot of green on rooftop. This view from the 16th floor of the Hudson condo building. There was also an excellent view of the brick paved driveways of the townhouses built on Cooper at Kent. The bricks are laid in … Continue reading Another Green Roof

Somerset Update

Crawford and Alexander opened their first decor/consulting/retail outlet in the neighborhood near the Grace Manor a few years ago, then opened much larger retail premises on Somerset between Wellington and Bayswater. Their shop window is always a delight to walk by. The displays change frequently. They even managed to get this cartoon-like car to park in front. Continue reading Somerset Update

Preston street Update

The old Bell Telephone switch building on Preston just south of Somerset (opposite Plouffe Park and the Plant Pool) has seen a variety of tennants come and go. I hope Darrell Thomas makes a long term stay. He first opened his button and cushion shop in the lower level of 240 Sparks St, back when that building had a commercial shopping floor on the lower level (the original third floor commercial level had largely closed out and been converted to offices several years before). I think the lower level mall is gone now, too. Just another step in the retail … Continue reading Preston street Update

Somerset Street update

Zen Kitchen has finally opened up on Somerset Street between Percy and Bronson. Frequent users of the street may have noticed film crews there during the renovation, as the story of opening the restaurant were documented for a food tv show. The owners live in the neighborhood too. I like the idea of businesses having both residential and commercial interests in the ward, as these interests are sometimes competing, sometimes complementary. Around the corner on Percy, the vacant lot behind the former Chuck Brown golf has been turned into a large veggie garden. Jill Brown, former alderperson (but not of … Continue reading Somerset Street update

Green Cycling

A few days ago I was cycling back from Loblaws, along the Scott Street multipurpose pathway. My panniers were full of groceries. I noticed that my front tire glowed green as a I cycled. I have to admit I admire those cyclists who whizz by with green or red tire rims, they look so neat, so fast. Not like me, another elderly cyclist on my Cdn Tire six-speed. I stopped at the light at Lanark Avenue. Hmm, I looked more closely at my front tire. I reviewed my route. I had cut accross the grass at the end of Clifton … Continue reading Green Cycling