Letters To The Editor

That was then, this is now

 The front page of the April issue of The Mainstreeter reads: “Ghost Town. Thanks to
our caring community for staying indoors”.
 My understanding is that “stay indoors” is not what is being advised any longer. If
anything, this is a time to be making walking, running, and gardening a regular part of
our lifestyles. With proper physical distancing, it is very safe. We have many good places
to walk (in addition to the canal path, which can be busy at times).
 While it’s great to see some people out walking, the numbers seem to indicate that
many are not. If we’re inside watching screens, or alone in isolation, there will be physical
and mental health impacts. Recent news has made it clear that chatting over your fence,
or at the end of a neighbour’s driveway, is also quite fine if you’re two metres apart.
 Let’s get outdoors!
                     Peter Blanchard,
                     Drummond Street
                     Founder of GreenOttawa.ca
(Editor’s note: We thank Peter for his contribution of an excellent article at page
35 of this issue of The Mainstreeter entitled 10 tips for a great urban walk.)

COVID-19 and the community

 I greatly appreciated your editorial in the April issue of The Mainstreeter. Ordinarily
I might have simply said that I’d enjoyed reading it but somehow that didn’t feel quite
right given the content of the article and what we’re all living through these days. The
information you shared from that old issue of National Geographic about a previous
virus was grim but illuminating. But there was also a lot of encouraging content in
the article that was comforting and hopeful as well as interesting, along with useful
information throughout the issue.
 We in the local jazz community lost a great friend to COVID-19 recently and that has
brought the situation home to many who knew him in a more affecting way than was
perhaps previously the case. I know this is true these days for many people when a loved
one, friend or acquaintance falls victim to the disease; it can really throw you for a loop.
On the same day that our friend lost his fight with the disease, however, I learned (via a
TV news report) that a long-ago friend had won his lengthy battle, so some balance in
the scheme of things may help us to manage the sorrow.
 I am grateful to live in such a caring neighbourhood as Old Ottawa East and to live
amongst such lovely folks as my neighbours, some with whom I’ve established close
connections since moving to The Corners on Main, and those I’ve only gotten to know
virtually since the virus changed our lives. Even though in-person contact is occasional
and fleeting, living here makes it a lot less lonely for someone like me who lives alone.
Whether it’s been finding a bouquet of flowers or a bottle of wine at my door; receiving
homemade muffins or other treats; volunteering on our condo COVID-19 neighbour
assistance team; hearing the sound of music playing inside or children playing outside,
or simply chatting online via email, Zoom or our condo Facebook page, it all helps me
to feel less isolated, as does connecting with my family and other friends on a regular
basis.
 I too wonder and worry what the world will be like post-COVID-19, but I am trying
to be optimistic. For now, I am also using the time and enforced isolation to attack
clutter, and finally recycling or shredding mounds of collected articles, magazines,
letters, printed emails, and receipts.
 So now that I have read the April issue of The Mainstreeter from cover to cover —
rather than holding it aside to read when “I have time” — I can toss it into the
recycle bin!
                     Karen Oxorn,
                     The Corners on Main

He’s pleased, we’re proud!

 Just been reading the April issue. As it always does, The Mainstreeter boosted my
knowledge of our community. The writing is clear and tight, photos relevant, story
ideas newsy and original (Cuban Embassy!). Greystone is a tricky (to say the least)
story, and the summary on page 13 is balanced and fair. As a retired news editor
and journalism professor, I’m grouchy and hard to please. This publication glows.
Keep it up.
                     Roger Bird,
                     McGillivray Street

Slattery’s Field – A redo!

 Just picking nits about a recent article [Spotlight set to shine on that strange building,
February 2020 issue] that mentioned Slattery’s Field! I’m not sure that the location of
the electrical substation [at 39 Riverdale Avenue] was ever part of Slattery’s Field, or
Slattery’s holdings (despite what the plaque on the building says). I believe it was part of
“Rideau Garden”, the property of Lewis Williams, the son of one of the first settlers in
the area who arrived in 1817.
 William Slattery, a wealthy Ottawa butcher, had his house right across the street, at 40
Riverdale, but most of his property was either north of Riverdale, or east of Main Street.
His first holding was a 27 acre property he bought in 1873, bordered by Main Street to
the west, Rideau River to the south and east, and up to Clegg Street. (Which is confusing
because there are reports of Bower’s land footing onto the Rideau River). He built a
house, but it was destroyed by fire in the 1890s.
 In 1877, Slattery bought a large acreage on the west side of Main, from Clegg to
Riverdale. The northerly part was known as “Slattery’s Field” and was likely where the
flights started/finished. It is reported that one of the planes crashed at the corner of
Clegg and Drummond streets, totaling the plane.
                     Steve Konkle,
                     Centennial Blvd.

Do we need a second footbridge?

 Is a footbridge over the Rideau at the foot of Clegg Street really needed? It takes only
ten minutes to walk at a leisurely pace from the base of Clegg to the light rail bridge. By
bicycle it takes seven minutes to go all the way around to the opposite side. For the gain
of just a few minutes’ time, what could we be losing if it is built?
 We are truly fortunate to have this stretch of natural river in Old Ottawa East to enjoy
and cherish. During the pandemic, we have become even more aware of the critical
importance of intact green and natural areas to support our well-being. This type of
natural space is unfortunately becoming an increasingly rare commodity. As many of us
benefit from enjoying our proximity to this great natural resource, we should also take
very seriously our role in protecting and conserving it.
 Building a bridge over a natural watercourse is quite a different and more serious
matter than building a bridge over a canal. Any proposed project in or near a natural
watercourse must consider its potential impacts on the environment. While the impacts
from one project alone may not seem significant, the cumulative effect of more and
more development gradually diminishes the integrity of the whole.
 It is well known that larger, continuous natural areas are far better for supporting
wildlife. Connected, natural corridors are critical for maintaining the ecological integrity
of the sensitive river shoreline. A bridge at this location would not only disrupt the
shoreline ecology, but there is also the potential loss of large trees, impacts from the
construction, and loss of views to consider.
 Do we see the river as an obstacle to be crossed, or as a natural treasure to be valued
and protected?
                     Linda Burr,
                     Glengarry Road

Letter to the Editor - Linda Burr

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Filed in: Front Page, Letters

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