Friday, October 11, 2013

Rockcliffe Lands Redevelopment (Part 4)


So how to get people on board in terms of the potential for this type of biophilic development?  Tell them all about the local birdwatching opportunities, the beautiful landscaping, the zen-like rainwater ponds and the idyllic setting that they would be living in.  Opportunities to forest-bathe, enjoy nightly avian performances, take in the pleasures of pollinator parks, meet new neighbours like chimney swifts or purple martins and play the old fashioned way.  People will benefit in so many ways by having a more natural surrounding and being drawn outdoors.  How else can the Rockcliffe Lands be redeveloped so as to allow the green surroundings and its fauna to flourish?  


This area and its surroundings is a big draw for birds.  Not only is there the Ottawa River to the north but you have two marshes and a stream connecting them on the west side. At least a 100 birds have been seen in this area including the Bobolink and Bluebirds.  The project has already identified small stands of trees that should remain and the wood lot in the north-east corner.  To support and increase the diversity of birds in this area, habitat for birds needs to be included, along with efforts to decrease hazards for birds.  Habitat can be hedge borders, shrubby areas, open fields and trees.  It can also include manufactured constructs such as purple martin housing or chimney swift towers - see links above.  (It would be a great opportunity to build some demonstration towers here as new development does not include brick chimneys such as houses used to have.)  There also needs to be water and food for the birds - which can be provided by the proposed blue areas and hedge borders and shrubs (for berries and seeds).

Also bird-friendly design guidelines should be recommended.  Buildings (especially glass towers) can be a hazard for birds and result in deaths due to collisions especially during migration.  Any new highrises should be designed to minimize dangers to birds.

Hand in hand with birds of course are bees!  And when designing pollinator parks, it is beneficial to include insect habitat such as mason bee condos and insect hotels.  Mason bees are not known to be aggressive and are a great benefit for pollination of a green urban environment.  Going beyond that, insect hotels provided different sizes, shapes and materials for sheltering many types of insects and will ensure greater biodiversity in neighbouring gardens and lands.  And another beneficial neighbour would be bats.  These flying mammals help regulate winged insect populations, especially mosquitos so building design and/or park design could include recommendations for increasing habitat for them.  Some golf courses are encouraging bats to reside on their property.

Images from: Freshkills Park Blog, Pacific Horticulture (online), Sierra Club local chapter blog

If people are going to live in a more biophilic environment what needs to go hand in hand is an education program to help people adapt to more frequent encounters with all types of fauna and how best to discourage unwanted visitors.  There are ways to COEXIST WITH (coyotes, skunks, crows, etc) WILDLIFE in a less confrontational manner.

NEXT UP: DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES AND HONOURING ALGONQUIN LANDS. Rockcliffe Lands Redevelopment (Part 5): November 2013


Posts on Rockcliffe Lands Redevelopment:

First blog post: September 2011

Rockcliffe Lands Redevelopment (Part 1) - November 2012

Rockcliffe Lands Redevelopment (Part 2) - April 2013

Rockcliffe Lands Redevelopment (Part 3) - September 2013

Rockcliffe Lands Redevelopment (Part 5) - November 2013


1 comment:

  1. From the Rockcliffe Lands PAG Meeting No. 7 (Dec. 3/2013)

    3) Q: Wildlife habitat and green corridors were proposed to provide animal access among the Montfort Woods, the NRC, woods, the NCC, etc.

    R: With regards to wildlife, CLC has commissioned a bird inventory that reveals no surprises: birds are found where their expected habitat is located. Transitions from the Montfort and NRC Woods are planned to protect the internal habitat areas of those woods. Collaboration with the City’s parks department is resulting in the inclusion more natural green space within dedicated City parks (which will also include manicured lawns for playfields).


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