Tranquil Acres - doing great work in our community

To begin, I just wanted to thank each and every one of you for reading this column for the past four years (minus three months). As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, this will be my last column prior to the upcoming municipal election due to the Council approved blackout period. It will, however, return in November as this term of Council does not end until November 30, 2014.

Just a brief reminder that I will be hosting a meeting at the Manotick Arena on Monday, August 25th at 7:00pm to introduce you to the new owners of the Weaver House and to provide an update on the next steps for Dickinson Square. Also important to remember is that on Sunday, Beaverwood Road will be Manotick’s very own Daytona as the Manotick Village & Community Association hosts the 4th Annual Soap Box Derby.  The derby begins at 10:00am and the day will also feature the MVCA’s Picnic in the Park, beginning at 11:30am. Hope to see you there!

McBean Street Bridge

Please don’t hate me for talking about the winter but you may recall that we had some issues plowing the sidewalk on the McBean Street Bridge this past year. In the coming weeks, work will take place to rehabilitate the sidewalk. The finished product will be a wider sidewalk on the northbound side of the bridge, which will allow for proper winter maintenance to take place, not to mention more room to stand during the Richmond Fair & Santa Claus parades! On the bridge itself, a full rehabilitation is scheduled for 2017.

Councillor for Hire: Tranquil Acres

On August 8th, I had the pleasure of spending part of the day at Tranquil Acres on Third Line Road in Kars. Tranquil Acres is a therapeutic equestrian centre for people with varying social, emotional and mental health needs. What I find so amazing about this centre is that they use the horses to help their clients learn and heal. From what I learned, horses are animals of prey and, as such, are hyper vigilant toward their environment. This gives them the unique ability to sense and tune into the emotions that are hidden in non-verbal communication.

I happened to be at Tranquil Acres on an EAGALA (Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association) training day. Equine specialists and Mental Health specialists from across North America were in Kars to learn about equine assisted learning as this method of mental health treatment grows in popularity due to its effectiveness. The EAGALA model is aimed at children and adults suffering from such issues as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, stress, ADHD, PTSD, among others.

An upcoming program that is being offered at Tranquil Acres is called H.E.L.P. (Heroes. Equine. Learning. Program.). This is aimed at addressing post-traumatic stress and operational injuries through peer and equine-based experiences for our military, our veterans and our first responders.

It was really quite an interesting experience to watch the training process and see how the specialists interact with clients through the horses. I encourage you to learn more about Tranquil Acres on their website and I want to thank Ryan and his team for inviting me and allowing me to spend a day with them.

Land Evaluation Area Review & the Barnsdale Lands

In July 2014, the City of Ottawa together with the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) started an update of Ottawa’s soils mapping to improve our soils information, identify prime agricultural land, and guide future planning in rural Ottawa. As a result, farm owners in two large test areas may be approached by representatives of the City or OMAFRA seeking permission to access to their property to allow sampling and mapping of soils conditions on their land. Between now and October 2014, staff from the City and/or the Ministry may contact you and request your permission for soil experts to gain access to your land. The access and sampling will not damage crops, farm equipment or infrastructure (fences or tiles). Soil sampling will only take place on your property if you grant permission for the soil experts to enter.

Both the City and the Province will use the soil capability mapping resulting from this field sampling to determine and protect the most productive lands for farming. Farmers will be able to use the soil mapping for their properties for a variety of purposes, including managing the use and distribution of fertilizer.

The results of the surveys undertaken in 2014-2015 and the city’s existing and highly accurate topographic information will be used by OMAFRA to produce some of the most up-to-date and accurate soil capability mapping available in Ontario. The city will use the mapping to review the City’s Agricultural Resource Areas. Farmers who participate in this study will receive copies of the mapping information for their fields.

This review ties into a current rezoning application for lands north of Barnsdale Road, adjacent to the current urban boundary. This application calls for the rezoning of the land from Agriculture to General Rural, which would make it more attractive for future boundary expansion. I believe this application is premature, as I have stated in the past, and it should wait until the soil surveys are complete and the LEAR is finalized. To that end, I will not support any rezoning of Agricultural lands until we have completed our LEAR study.

Dickinson House

Come visit Dickinson House on August 23rd and 24th between 10:00am and 5:00pm for the opportunity to learn about and play a variety of Heritage Games on the lawns of Dickinson House. Hopefully you can make the trip to stop by and see some old fashioned fun!  Another highlight this month is a unique exhibition of antique chairs on the third floor.  As always, admission to this lovely heritage home in the heart of Manotick is free; donations are gratefully accepted.

ROSSS Walk of Care

As you may know, Rural Ottawa South Support Services (ROSSS) is a charitable foundation that is dedicated to providing programs and services to endeavor to keep seniors living independently in their homes for as long as possible. Every year we host a “Walk of Care” fundraiser. This 5-kilometer event takes place on Saturday, September 6th, 2014 on the Osgoode Multi-Use Pathway. “Walk of Care” will start with registration at 9:00am followed by a warm-up activity. Walkers will enjoy the beauty of nature along this route while contributing to the needs of seniors and adults with physical disabilities within our community. There will be refreshments and entertainment beginning at 11:00am. Prizes will be drawn at 12:00am.

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While this column won’t appear here for the next two months, you can still contact me on any issue via email at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491. Thank you!