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Results of the 2018 Survey: Top environmental issues for Blackburn Hamlet - Blackburn Hamlet Community Association

2018 Survey: Top environmental issues for Blackburn Hamlet

Why did we perform this survey? Back in January 2018, Ecology Ottawa approached community associations across the city of Ottawa to better understand neighbourhood and community led environmental concerns in order to improve their community engagement strategy. While our Committee certainly had many environmental issues that were top of mind, we created the survey to see what the most important environmental concerns to the community are.

The Survey: We drafted a survey in both English and French and made both available to the public at large from February 21st to March 7th, 2018.

The survey was promoted using: the Blackburn Hamlet Community Association’s facebook and twitter accounts in addition to its website. We also promoted the survey by sharing on our personal social media accounts and emailing friends and acquaintances that live in the Hamlet. Finally, sixty-five copies were delivered to the Amica retirement home for their participation.

What were the results?

The total number of residents that participated in our survey was: 260.

Residence of individuals completing survey Total

 

Amica 8
North of Innes Road, East of Bearbrook Road 74
South of Innes, East of Glen Park Drive 44
North of Innes Road, West of Bearbrook Road 77
South of Innes, West of Glen Park Drive 30
Other 7
Prefer not to say 16

 

The results from the survey were as follows:

Environmental Issue Number of votes

 

Deteriorating health and reduction in number of our trees 101
Litter left lying in public spaces 100
Growing volume of vehicle traffic and associated effects on the environment 94
Effect of various environmental nuisances on our ability to use greenspaces such as wild parsnip and ticks (Lyme disease) 89
Lack of safe active transportation infrastructure within the Hamlet itself and connecting the Hamlet to Ottawa, Orleans, and the future Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from Orleans via Blackburn By-pass 67
Invasive species and their impacts on native species and resident health and safety (eg. Wild parsnip, Japanese beetle, purple loosestrife, asian ladybeetle) 61
Loss/disappearance of monarch butterflies and honey bees 61
Over-development (trees, greenery being replaced with larger homes, or more buildings or more pavement) 45
Air quality issues/air pollution 27
Increasing presence of weeds 22
Failure to use/lack of buy-in by Hamlet residents in the City’s recycling and composting programs 22
Runoff and erosion affecting Green’s Creek 12
Increasing flood-risk 9
Lack of park space/greenspace 8
Other 20

 

Other environmental issues. Other environmental issues identified by residents under “Other” included the following:

  • Lack of cycling for commuting infrastructure – more bikes and trails needed. Poor or no connectivity and poor or non-existent maintenance of current network, especially Innes through the Hamlet (several potholes and deficient areas making it dangerous).
  • Inadequate bike parking at the malls despite zoning requirement.
  • Dust and mud from the quarry making it dangerous for cyclists on Bearbrook road.
  • Whether the Lafarge dust is causing long term health problems.
  • Few waste reduction discussions/events.
  • Dog feces not picked up.
  • Mosquitos and transmission of diseases such as West Nile.
  • Noise pollution caused by various sources such as trucks, motorcycles and racing vehicles.
  • Crime and graffiti.
  • Waste from our local businesses being left on Innes road, and other roads.
  • Cars idling at Tim Hortons.
  • Blasting at the quarry.
  • The lack of beautification projects in Blackburn Hamlet.
  • Biweekly garbage pick-up in summer months.
  • Failure of Ottawa Hydro to honour system of buried wires for street lighting.
  • EMF, radiation and microwaves emitted from cell towers and effects on health.
  • Residents putting reusable items out for garbage pickup.

We identified a clear top four environmental concerns for our community. They are:

  1. Deteriorating health and reduction in number of our trees.
  2. Litter left lying in public spaces.
  3. Growing volume of vehicle traffic and associated effects on the environment.
  4. Effects of various environmental nuisances on our ability to use greenspaces such as wild parsnip and ticks (Lyme disease).

Environmental Issues Categories. We also categorized each issue into a category to determine whether our residents are particularly interested in certain types of issues. We found that they are, and in particular natural environment (nuisances, invasive species, biodiversity, health) issues rank the highest.

Category Number of Votes

 

Natural environment (nuisances, invasive species, biodiversity, health) 235
Transportation (lack of safe active transportation infrastructure (pathways, sidewalks, pedestrian crossings), and growing, speeding vehicle traffic volume on Hamlet roads) 164
Greenspace (health of urban forest, lack of park space) 154
Waste (litter, lack of participation in recycling/composting programs) 126
Air (pollution/quality) 29
Water (pollution/quality) 21
Noise pollution 3
Energy 1
Other 2

 

Participants’ Comments. We did receive some very useful and insightful comments from the survey. Many residents highlighted their love for our community and in particular our natural environment. In particular, one resident did comment “I have always found Blackburn Hamlet an environmentally friendly community to live in.” As it relates to general comments about the survey, one resident indicated that the survey was poorly written and as such would elicit low-quality responses.

Some suggestions in moving forward included:

  • Engaging Orleans, Pineview and Ottawa in addressing our environmental issues as for something to succeed, it needs to grow larger.
  • Ensuring that our community priorities must be supported by the City of Ottawa.
  • Including more no idling signs in all our parking spaces to remind and encourage drivers to shut their engines.
  • Engaging bylaw to attend the Hamlet more often and fine those that do not pick up their dog feces.
  • Examining how we manage infill development.
  • Working on improving OC Transpo service in the Hamlet. Eg. better access to express buses, additional bus stops (for example one near the Blackburn Bypass).
  • “Doggy poop compost” hole near the entrance/exit to the gardens where people can safely compost their dog poop.
  • Moving the Southbound speed monitors located on Bearbrook as they are poorly placed and do not provide an accurate indication of how fast the traffic is actually going.
  • Include more garbage cans along Innes road.

 

What happens now? We have submitted our findings to Ecology Ottawa and will be exploring with them ideas to take action on these matters.

In examining solutions to our community’s environmental issues we will consider your ideas and suggestions and continue to brainstorm. It will take time, but we believe in thoughtful and efficient solutions. Many will be entail engaging the City of Ottawa, local businesses and residents.

This is what we have planned for 2018:

  1. Deteriorating health and reduction in number of our trees
  • It is our intention to consult with you and third parties to create a long-term plan for reforesting the Hamlet and preserving our urban forest.
  • We will be holding a community tree planting event in the fall, stay tuned.
  • On June 9th 2018 we will be having a Park Day to celebrate and learn more about our parks and the urban forest.
  1. Litter left lying in public
  • On April 21st 2018 we will be holding the annual spring cleanup to help address the litter.
  • We will also examine and identify ways we can work with others to address the issue of litter in our community.
  • At the funfair, on June 2nd2018, we will have a table in the arena to provide information on waste, recycling and different waste-related initiatives. This is your opportunity to give us ideas of how you think we can deal with the issue of litter.
  1. Growing volume of vehicle traffic and associated effects on the environment
  • We will continue to attend city, NCC and other meeting relating to active transportation and advocate for connectivity in the Hamlet of our trails and bike routes.
  • In collaboration with Blackburn Hamlet’s three primary schools, we will be holding a bike rodeo on April 28th to promote cycling with our youth.
  • We will continue publishing articles to educate on these important issues and to encourage action on behalf of residents. For example, in the April 2018 edition of the Banar we published an article promoting the Walking Bus program to encourage parents and guardians to participate.
  1. Effects of various environmental nuisances on our ability to use greenspaces such as wild parsnip and ticks
  • We did reach out to Ottawa Public Health to find out what work is being conducted by the City as it relates to ticks and lyme disease, their response and more about this will be included in a later post.
  • We will continue sharing through the Blackburn Hamlet Community Association facebook page useful information for residents to help identify and deal with various environmental nuisances.

In September, we will be holding and “Environment Education Day” which will focus on these top environmental concerns for our community. Providing you with more information, DIY solutions, and having open and franc discussions about what needs happen.

We will continue to listen to you and ask for your thoughts and feedback, and continue to connect with government, and local environmental groups and associations such as the Community Association Forum on Environmental Sustainability, Ottawa Tool Library, Just Food, Earth Path, Ecology Ottawa, Bike Ottawa etc.

Volunteering with the Environment & Transportation Committee

More than ever, the Blackburn Hamlet Community Association’s Environment & Transportation Committee needs your help. We are a committee of four individuals and while we dream big and have wonderful aspirations for our community, we need you to join us.

“Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing will change, it will not, it will not”.  – The Lorax

Please contact us at enviro@blackburnhamlet.ca.