Wild Parsnip, Farm Grant Program and Property Tax Deferral Programs

With June comes Wild Parsnip. If you have been driving around rural Ottawa over the last week, you will have likely noticed small signs with red dots and green dots along roadsides. These signs are part of the City of Ottawa’s wild parsnip spraying program. Since 2015, we have taken a more aggressive approach with managing wild parsnip in the most affected areas. Through increased ditch cutting and spraying of a specific broad leaf herbicide, our efforts have proven effective.

The red dot signs indicate to the contractor that a resident has opted out of the spraying program. The green dot tells the contractor when they can restart. However, property owners who have opted out of the spraying program should still consider their role in managing wild parsnip. As soon as the invasive weed goes to seed, it spreads. By keeping the ditches mowed in areas that aren’t being sprayed, it will prevent the plant from growing and spreading. Therefore, even if you’ve requested that there be no spraying in front of your property, I would strongly encourage you to help control the spread of wild parsnip by keeping those areas mowed.

For more information on wild parsnip, please visit www.rideaugoulbourn.ca/wildparsnip.

Farm Grant Program

The City of Ottawa Farm Grant Program provides financial relief to working farmers. The grant program will assist eligible farm property owners by allowing the June final tax installment to be paid in December.

To qualify for the grant, the following conditions must be met:

  • The property must be defined by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation in the farmlands property class
  • The property must not be owned by a commercial enterprise
  • Taxes have been paid up to date before the June instalment
  • The final tax instalment billed (mailed May) is paid in full in early December

How the program will work:

  • Penalty charges will continue
  • Notification of the amount to be paid will be communicated to you in the fall
  • The grant amount will be the equivalent of the penalty charges and fees added to your account during the deferral
  • The City will automatically calculate and apply a credit for the grant amount to your tax account; there is no application to fill out

Should you have any questions, please contact Revenue Branch from Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 4:00pm at 613-580-2444. TTY: 613-580-2401.

Property Tax Deferral Programs

The City of Ottawa offers two property tax deferral programs for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Eligible homeowners may apply for a full or partial deferral of annual property taxes. Application for tax deferral must be made annually to the City of Ottawa to establish eligibility or confirm continued eligibility.

You may apply for one of the following programs: Full Property Tax Deferral Program or Partial Property Tax Deferral Program. For more information, visit ottawa.ca or call 613-580-2740.

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If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491. For information on Rideau-Goulbourn issues, please visit RideauGoulbourn.ca.

City of Ottawa presents plans for managing Wild Parsnip

Before getting into the bulk of my column, I just wanted to provide an update to residents in Richmond on the state of 74 Colonel Murray Street, a residence that, unfortunately, was lost due to fire last fall.  The site has now become a bit of an eyesore generating some concern in the community.  I just wanted to assure residents that the City of Ottawa will not allow the property to remain in its current state and will be cleaning it up if the site remains untouched as of May 15th.

On to more positive news, the annual Rural Expo & Food Aid Day BBQ returns to City Hall on Thursday, June 4th. The day will feature a great display of rural flavor on the front steps of City Hall, a pancake breakfast and a delicious lunch from The WORKS all in support of the Ottawa Food Bank. The Rural Expo helps urban residents learn more about what rural Ottawa has to offer. If your organization wishes to participate in the Rural Expo, please contact the Rural Affairs Office at ruralaffairs@ottawa.ca or 613-580-2424 x28352.

Summer has finally arrived and, with it, a number of great reasons to be outside.  This Saturday, the Manotick Kiwanis Club will be out in full force for their annual spring clean-up.  The following weekend, Watson’s Mill opens for the season. Activities will begin on Saturday at 10:00am, and the Season Opening Ceremony is scheduled to start at 11:30am featuring a full schedule of activities for the upcoming summer season. The ceremony will be followed by a community barbeque. The Manotick Farmers’ Market will also launch that morning and the Mill opening also marks the return of the Carriage Shed Book Sale.

A new season is set to begin at Dickinson House as well.  You are invited to come & celebrate spring and Queen Victoria’s Birthday at Dickinson House on Monday, May 18, 2015 at 2:00pm. There will be cake and lemonade and an opportunity to see the special exhibit of 2015, “Tableware in Times Past”.  As always, admission is free, and donations are gratefully accepted.  Also of note, a new season at the North Gower Farmers’ Market kicks off at the end of the month on May 30th.

Dickinson Days is fast approaching and so too is the annual Rural Expo & Food Aid Day BBQ at City Hall.  This year, our event is on Thursday, June 4th. The day will feature a great display of rural flavor on the front steps of City Hall, a pancake breakfast and a delicious lunch from The WORKS all in support of the Ottawa Food Bank. The Rural Expo helps urban residents learn more about what rural Ottawa has to offer. If your organization wishes to participate in the Rural Expo, please contact the Rural Affairs Office at ruralaffairs@ottawa.ca or 613-580-2424 x28352.

Wild Parsnip

While talking about being outside, it’s also the time of year for wild parsnip. Wild parsnip is an invasive plant that is commonly found within the City of Ottawa in areas of uncultivated land, roadside ditches, nature trails, as well as on and surrounding rural and residential properties.

Wild parsnip may pose a health risk to humans. The plant sap contains chemicals that will cause skin irritation and make the skin prone to severe burning and blistering when exposed to the sun. The blisters typically occur one to two days after contact with the plant. This can result in long-term scarring of the skin.

Wild parsnip is a highly branched plant, with hollow green stems. The compound leaves are green and dense growing. The yellow flowers are in clusters of up to 20 cm across. The plant can grow to a height of 0.5 to 1.5 meters. It is a biennial plant, reproducing only by seed. When working around wild parsnip or when walking through dense vegetation, wear goggles, gloves, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Thoroughly wash boots and gloves with soap and water before taking off your protective clothing.

Children should be reminded not to pick wild flowers. Ensure children are able to identify wild parsnip in order to avoid exposure. If you are exposed to the plant sap, wash the contaminated area(s) thoroughly as soon as possible, and seek medical attention if skin irritation occurs. For more information, visit ottawa.ca.

Our Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee is receiving an update from Public Works this week on how we are managing wild parsnip this year.  I do know we are increasing are resources when it comes to managing this invasive plant and I’ll provide more information on that next week.


Visit rideaugoulbourn.ca/wildparsnip for more information about the weed and what the City of Ottawa is doing to help prevent it spreading.


Property Tax Deferral Program

The City of Ottawa offers two property tax deferral programs for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Eligible homeowners may apply for a full or partial deferral of annual property taxes. Application for tax deferral must be made annually to the City of Ottawa to establish eligibility or confirm continued eligibility.

You may apply for one of the following programs: Full Property Tax Deferral Program or Partial Property Tax Deferral Program. For more information, visit ottawa.ca or call 613-580-2740.

Farm Grant Program

The City of Ottawa Farm Grant Program provides financial relief to working farmers. The grant program will assist eligible farm property owners by allowing the June final tax installment to be paid in December.

To qualify for the grant, the following conditions must be met:

  • The property must be defined by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation in the farmlands property class
  • The property must not be owned by a commercial enterprise
  • Taxes have been paid up to date before the June instalment
  • The final  tax instalment billed (mailed May) is paid in full in early December

How the program will work:

  • Penalty charges will continue
  • Notification of the amount to be paid will be communicated to you in the fall
  • The grant amount will be the equivalent of the penalty charges and fees added to your account during the deferral
  • The City will automatically calculate and apply a credit for the grant amount to your tax account; there is no application to fill out

Should you have any questions, please contact Revenue Branch from Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm (June to August 8:00am to 4:00pm) at 613-580-2444 (Transactions will be recorded for training and verification purposes). TTY: 613-580-2401.

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If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491.

Column: The growing problem of wild parsnip

Wild parsnip is a very common plant that shows up in abandoned yards, waste places, meadows, old fields, roadsides and railway embankments and in Ottawa it's popping up more and more.  In the Ottawa area, it is very common in roadside ditches - particularly in rural areas (though it's creeping into suburban areas and trails a bit more each year).  For one example, this plant is in abundance along Roger Stevens Drive, between Highway 416 and Fourth Line Road.

The flower of Wild Parsnip has some resemblance to Queen Anne's lace, though its flower is yellow instead of white. It may seem pretty, but stay well away from this "flower". Poison Parsnip is a member of the same family of plants as Giant Hogweed and can cause similar injuries.

Touching any part of the plant - or coming into contact with its oil - can lead to phytophotodermatitis and even blindness if the oil gets in your eyes. Sun exposure causes a reaction with the plant's oils that can cause mild to moderate reddening of the skin with burning sensation. More severe cases can even lead to extreme burning and third degree blistering of the skin.

How to avoid getting burned by poison parsnip

The best way to avoid injury from poison parsnip is to stay well away from it. Avoid any and all contact with it, particularly in sunlight. However, if you need to work near it or plan to try and remove it, here are precautions you should take:

  1. Dress in long sleeves, long pants and wear gloves.
  2. If your clothes come into contact with poison parsnip, avoid brushing against them when changing and washing them.
  3. Keep animals, and particularly pets, away from the plant. If they come into contact, do not touch or pet them before thoroughly washing the plant's sap off of them.

Please note: Animals can be burned by the combination of the oil and sunlight - in particular if they have little to no fur/hair. 

If you get poison parsnip sap on your skin:

  1. Cover the area so that it isn't exposed to the sun.
  2. Wash the affected area immediately and thoroughly.
  3. If the area is burning, a cool cloth can be used for relief.
  4. Treat blisters as you would minor burn blisters - avoid puncture and keep clean, dry.
  5. See a doctor for more severe burning and blisters. 
  6. For eye contact, thoroughly rinse your eyes and get to an ER immediately.

Wild parsnip burns can take a few days to heal or several months for more severe cases. Some doctors mistake the burns from this plant for poison ivy. Please share this information with your friends, family and neighbors so more people will know what it is and how to avoid it.

Heritage Gardening Weekend

Now that summer is upon us, please come and celebrate the season at Dickinson House’s Heritage Gardens this weekend, July 13 and 14.  Interpreters from the Rideau Township Historical Society and the Manotick Horticultural Society will be there to interpret the plants.  Everyone is welcome; admission is free.

Treats, Treasures and Open Market

The Kars Recreation Association wants to invite local residents to stop by the RA grounds between 9:00am and 3:00pm on Saturday, July 20 to mingle, browse and purchase art, crafts and homemade edibles from people in your community. Admission and parking are free.  This event coincides with the annual International Dog Show taking place on the Kars RA Grounds from Friday, July 19 until Sunday, July 21.  The Kars RA is located at 1604 Old Wellington Street in the beautiful village of Kars.  For more information, please visit www.kars.ca.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491.

Wild parsnip, aka poison parsnip - a weed to avoid

According to Weedinfo.ca, wild parsnip is a very common plant that shows up in "abandoned yards, waste places, meadows, old fields, roadsides and railway embankments" and in Ottawa it's popping up more and more. 

In the Ottawa area, it is very common in roadside ditches - particularly in rural areas (though it's creeping into suburban areas and trails a bit more each year):

Flewellyn Road, just east of Shea Rd. The yellow flowered plant is Wild Parsnip (a.k.a., Poison Parsnip).The flower of Wild Parsnip has some resemblance to Queen Anne's lace, though it's flower is yellow instead of white.

It may seem pretty, but stay well away from this "flower".Poison Parsnip is a member of the same family of plants as Giant Hogweed and can cause similar injuries. Touching any part of the plant - or coming into contact with its oil - can lead to phytophotodermatitis and even blindness if the oil gets in your eyes.

Sun exposure causes a reaction with the plant's oils that can cause mild to moderate reddening of the skin with burning sensation. More severe cases can even lead to extreme burning and third degree blistering of the skin.

How to avoid getting burned by poison parsnip

The best way to avoid injury from poison parsnip is to stay well away from it. Avoid any and all contact with it, particularly in sunlight. However, if you need to work near it, or plan to try and remove it, here are precautions you should take:

  1. Dress in long sleeves, long pants and wear gloves.
  2. If your clothes come into contact with poison parsnip, avoid brushing against them when changing and washing them.
  3. Keep animals, and particularly pets, away from the plant. If they come into contact, do not touch or pet them before thoroughly washing the plant's sap off of them.

Please note: Animals can be burned by the combination of the oil and sunlight - in particular if they have little to no fur/hair. 

If you get poison parsnip sap on your skin:

  1. Cover the area so that it isn't exposed to the sun.
  2. Wash the affected area immediately and thoroughly.
  3. If the area is burning, a cool cloth can be used for relief.
  4. Treat blisters as you would minor burn blisters - avoid puncture and keep clean, dry.
  5. See a doctor for more severe burning and blisters. 
  6. For eye contact, thoroughly rinse your eyes and get to an ER immediately.

Wild parsnip burns can take a few days to heal or several months for more severe cases. Some doctors mistake the burns from this plant for poison ivy. Please share this information with your friends, family and neighbors so more people will know what it is and how to avoid it.

If you'd like to learn more, here is some additional reading: