New Leadership, New Issues For SLOE

By Alexandra Gruca-Macaulay

The April issue of The Mainstreeter featured a comprehensive overview of the many ways in which Sustainable Living Ottawa East (SLOE) has advocated for and engaged in a myriad of initiatives that contribute to a sustainable and healthy life in our community.

As the new chair of SLOE (which, in my own shorthand, I regard as the environment committee of Old Ottawa East), I was humbled to read about the years of hard work and dedicated effort by SLOE committee members. And, to be honest, I was also filled with a significant amount of trepidation about how much work still lays ahead.

Our household is part of the “new migration” to Old Ottawa East, in our case, from the far west of Old Kanata. We were drawn to this area both for its ideal urban location between the “two Rideaus,” as well as the vibrant and deep-rooted community that lives here. Old Ottawa East is a very special place, as anyone living here attests, yet, at the same time, I have become aware that much of what we treasure cannot be taken for granted.

Alexandra Gruca-Macaulay is the new chair of Sustainable Living Ottawa East (SLOE) and is pictured here beside the new “turtle fence” built by the Regional Group to ensure our neighbourhood snapping turtles don’t stray into the construction area and lay their eggs. Photo by John Dance.

Old Ottawa East resident, Dianne Breton, a ‘snow mole’ volunteer, photographs ice covering the sidewalk leading into Main Street. Photo by Sara Miller Llana/The Christian Science Monitor.

Most recently, one of the tasks facing SLOE was to propose a resolution at the community association in support of Councillor Shawn Menard’s motion to declare a climate emergency in Ottawa and to call upon city leaders to support the motion. As a community bounded by water, and one experiencing a significant loss of natural green space due to development or reconstruction, we understandably have a heightened sensitivity to protecting what we value in our environment. To that end, my hope is that SLOE will continue to play an integral role in preserving a healthy environment, maintaining upkeep of assets that are already in place, and creating new initiatives for optimizing sustainable, healthy, and flourishing community life in Old Ottawa East.

Community accessible greenspace has been and will continue to be, a top-of-the-list priority for SLOE. Preserving our green space is an explicit design element of Old Ottawa East’s Community Design Plan (CDP), as well as our Secondary Plan. Projects of interest on the near horizon include continuing to work with Regional Group to ensure that the urban park at the Deschâtelets forecourt will be developed as represented, obtaining assurance that Ballantyne Park will be reconstituted as a community leisure use park once the Hawthorne reconstruction project is finished, and finding ways in which Springhurst Park can be sustained as a biodiverse, waste-free, passive and active recreation park.

Integral to preserving green space is the need to protect and develop biodiversity in the community. One of the CDP’s objectives is to integrate existing trees in infill and larger developments. Yet, regrettably, promises to maintain or install trees and/or greenspace are not always kept. Members of SLOE will work with the city to find ways to strengthen requirements for all parties to take responsibility for these undertakings. Another initiative, albeit ambitious, will be to find ways to develop the Rideau River shoreline into a four-season linear park.

The Flora Footbridge is a testimony to how this community has been able to translate other ambitious dreams into reality. If you would like to get involved with SLOE, kindly contact us at https://ottawaeast.ca/sloe

Correction
In the April issue of The Mainstreeter, in a photograph on page 4, we incorrectly identified one of four representatives of Sustainable Living Ottawa East (SLOE) as Patricia Ballamingie. The individual in the photograph was, in fact, Magda Goemans. We regret the error on our part.

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Filed in: Environment, News

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