The issues related to the protection of the South March Highlands and the Carp Hills are multi dimensional and cut across all three levels of government. Long term solutions to protecting this special area will require the coordinated action by many different public and private sector stakeholders.
The work of SMH-CRC Inc. are focused on the ABCs of environmental protection:
The South March Highlands and Carp Hills are in many ways Ottawa’s best kept secret. Our group works to increase public awareness of this special area and mobilize citizens to request answers from their elected representatives. We are currently engaged with several local area schools, organizing school field trips into the South March Highlands. We publish current events and issues analyses on our website and our members are present on the Greenspace Alliance and the Green Belt Coalition Board of Directors and on the National Capital Commissions Public Advisory Committee, working to keep South March Highlands and Carp Hills issues on the planning and environmental protection radar.
B-uilding alliances and coalitions with stakeholders
The SMH-CRC has built strong relationships with Greenspace Alliance, the Greenbelt Coalition and Ecology Ottawa and works together with these group on forest and species protection related issues. During the past year we have worked closely with local community associations, the Algonquin community and the Catholic School Board. In 2013 we hope to engage with other local organizations (e.g. Boucher Forest Foundation in Aylmer Quebec)
C-alling government agencies to account
Federal Government: Our members actively follow the National Capital Commission’s activities and are working hard to ensure that the NCC establishes linkages to the South March Highlands and Carp Hills included in its future expansion plans of the Greenbelt (http://www.canadascapital.gc.ca/planning/master-plans/greenbelt-master-plan-review)
Province of Ontario: Legislation and regulations exist that could help protect the South March Highlands and the Carp Hills from further development. Again, because of the determined efforts of one of our members, in September 2011 the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ designated Kizell Pond (in the South March Highlands) as a Provincially Significant Wetland. This protected status has forced local housing developers Urbandale and Richcraft to reconsider their planned subdivision west of Goulbourne Forced Road (an area also known as “KNL Phases 7 and 8″).
In July 2013, new Endangered Species legislation will take effect in Ontario, this new legislation could help ensure the survival of many threatened and endangered species found in the South March Highlands (including Blandings Turtles, Butternut Trees, American Ginseng)
City of Ottawa: In January 2012, an agreement was reached between the City of Ottawa and Greenspace Alliance on the importance of Eco-Corridors in future land use planning in Ottawa (our group participated actively in this process). We are now working to ensure that the City of Ottawa complies with this agreement and follows through on its commitments.
In the fall of 2012, the release of engineering and technical studies prepared by the engineering firm AECOM occurred because of the efforts of one of our members (by filing an access to information request). The findings of this study (detailed on this website) have caused further delays to planned housing development in the South March Highlands areas (also known as KNL Phases 7 and 8).