By Karen Squires and Katherine Hall
Over the years the New Edinburgh Community Alliance (NECA) has worked with a group of volunteers to ensure the park area is preserved, kept clean and well-maintained, in collaboration with City team members.
While the park cleanup did not take place last year, the NECA parks group met with City staff members to discuss maintenance issues to do with the tennis courts, seasonal garbage bins, bench repairs, fencing and signage. As well, City staff have just confirmed that both the annual icebreaking program on the Rideau River and the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel (CSST) tunnel maintenance will be accessed by the broadened, newly resurfaced roadway entrance near the New Edinburgh Fieldhouse. Therefore, you will see the equipment required for the icebreaking coming through this area from late February to early March. We hope to provide an update on scheduling for the ongoing CSST tunnel maintenance, which will also access the park from the same location near the fieldhouse.
During 2021, LDD moths became a major issue, destroying tree leaves all around Ottawa. City staff have confirmed there is a budget in 2022 which includes a new, temporary, full- time employee joining the Forestry department for the express purpose of developing and implementing community support programming around LDD. This role will also support the development and implementation of an Urban Forest Outreach and Engagement Strategy which is a key recommendation of the Urban Forest Management Plan. One element of this program is a burlap distribution kit, more details of which we hope to provide in a future edition. We all want to ensure we are able to protect our trees against ongoing LDD invasion.
Prior to COVID-19’s ongoing public safety restrictions, residents (with Friends of the Park) were invited to come out and do a collective spring park cleanup each May. We are monitoring the situation now to determine how best to move forward in 2022 for potential spring and fall dates.
In Spring 2021, the New Edinburgh News asked for input from residents as to what they enjoyed about the park and what they’d like to see more of. Here’s a summary of what we learned. People:
- love to walk in nature – natural setting is a key theme!
- would like to see more garbage cans and recycling bins.
- want better signage to keep cyclists off the shoreline.
- are interested in the restoration of natural beauty and the addition of more benches.
- would like more cleanup initiatives.
- support more wildflowers, green space, and tree-planting to improve biodiversity.
- would like to see better care taken of seeded grass areas.
- want more native plant species planted to attract birds.
- support the possible expansion of the waterfront area to Porter Island, Bordeleau Park and Rideau Falls.
In November 2021, we were pleased to hear that the City will be switching to a cleaner grass mowing alternative, to cut down on fumes. We liaised with City staff, who have agreed to reduce the amount of mowing in the “regeneration area” of the park. A consistent theme is to keep the park natural and clean, and have places where people can stroll, sit, and enjoy the scenery including birds, wildflowers, trees, and the waterfront.
Members from the Crichton Community Council (CCC) manage the Fieldhouse, the skating rink, and children’s playground area in addition to such annual events as the plant sale, in and around the fieldhouse area. NECA continues to liaise with the CCC and to provide updates, through NEN’s event listings on what’s happening.
To conclude, while New Edinburgh and Stanley Park and nearby areas serve a diverse group of people, there are more people using the park year-round since COVID lockdowns and restrictions. We will increase our coordinated efforts with City staff to ensure we all work together for a clean, natural, and safe space to enjoy all year. As of January 2022, the City is aware of our requests and have approved the funds to do some repairs to the tennis courts and fencing near the fieldhouse. They have also noted our request for better signage for cyclists and the replacement of one bench near the tennis courts.
Karen Squires and Katherine Hall are members of the Friends of the Park committee at NECA. To learn more about Friends of the Park, please email firstname.lastname@example.org