Hunt Club’s Butterflyway Project

One snowy January morning, an email arrived from the David Suzuki Foundation, calling on communities across Canada to help restore habitats for local bees, butterflies and other pollinators on the verge of extinction. On a cold wintry day there is something deeply satisfying in dreaming of butterflies, and pink, purple and yellow flowers being kissed with plump bumblebees and hummingbirds. The images of Hunt Club’s green spaces and beautiful yards and gardens from my neighbourhood walks, rushed into my mind, and before I knew it, the Butterflyway cocoon was born.

Why You Should Care

One third of the food we eat and three quarters of world’s flowering plants depend on the tireless work of pollinators. They contribute to the biodiversity and resilience of ecosystems, to agricultural production and our nutritional security, and production in medicine, biofuels, fibres and even construction materials. The estimated economic value that pollinators create in the world’s crop production is approximately half a trillion dollars every year.

Beyond the economic impacts, global pollination experts warn that the extinction of pollinators would lead to an ecological and food production disaster of unseen proportions. While the volume of pollinator-dependant crops has grown by 300% in the last fifty years, the number and variety of pollinator species are in a consistent and staggering decline. Some 40 species of bees alone are being seriously endangered. The cumulative impacts of the extensive use of pesticides, intensive agriculture management, invasive plant species, pathogens, and pollution have led to a shrinking number of indigenous plants and a sharp decline of pollinator species and their habitats.

First Butterflyway Pollinator Patches

Thankfully in Hunt Club, Councillor Riley Brockington is championing the Butterflyway Project, and there are residents who are interested in helping to restore pollinator habitats.

As a result, the city has recently installed a pollinator patch at the Hunt Club Riverside Park Community Centre. With a bit of loving care, in two-to-three years from now, this will turn into a lush carpet of colourful wildflowers where pollinators can survive through the winter and thrive in warmer days. Similarly, volunteers on the Butterflyway Project will plant pollinator patches of varying sizes at several Hunt Club locations this summer, and at least five private properties will be hosting a Butterflyway pollinator patch. All these actions will help create habitats where pollinators can find food, water and shelter.

Councillor Riley Brockington in the first public space pollinator in Hunt Club

First Butterflyway pollinator patches in Hunt Club’s private yards and gardens  

We will be marking the locations of Butterflyway patches in Hunt Club’s public and private spaces, and adding pollinator gardens of all shapes and sizes, from a balcony’s mini patch to a garden pollinator site. Our vision is for Hunt Club to become a leading community in Ottawa in establishing pollinator patches, and we will strive to ensure that at least half are certified by the Canadian Wildlife Federation as a wild-life friendly habitat. Keep an eye on the map of local pollinator patches which will be updated periodically.

What You Can Do to Help

You can help out on the Butterflyway Project or plant a few wildflowers in planters or in your garden and ask your neighbours to do the same. Often the smallest things can make a big difference.

If you want to add your pollinator patch to Hunt Club’s pollinator patches map, or if you would like to volunteer on the Butterflyway project,  please complete the Volunteer Registration Form.   Learn more about Hunt Club’s Butterflyway Project here.

 

 

GetGrowing Hunt Club 2021

It’s all over except for the growing.  For the second year in a row, gardeners in Hunt Club were invited to sign up to receive a free seedling, package of vegetable seeds and an information pamphlet through GetGrowing Hunt Club.  This year 250 seed kit packages were delivered door to door.  The value of produce that can result from this locally grown harvest is $16,000!  That’s a lot of nutritious green beans and carrots and tomatoes!   As the growing season stretches in front of us, watch the Hunt Club Community Association Website, follow us on Facebook and Twitter , share pictures of your garden and learn of local initiatives such as opportunities to share excess produce.

GetGrowing Hunt Club is funded by the Hunt Club Community Association and City Councillor Riley Brockington.  We are grateful to our sponsors: Lee Valley Tools, Richmond Nursery, BWYL Group and Riocan.  And none of this would be possible without the many volunteers working with dedication and spirit during the COVID 19 pandemic.  All of it was done to deliver the promise of fresh locally grown produce to doorsteps in our ‘hood.  Thank you one and all!

The Butterflyway Project

If you would like to join a small team of volunteers to plant pollinator patches in dedicated spots of the Hunt Club Community, we welcome you!

By planting pollinator-friendly plants, especially those native to Eastern Ontario area, you will create precious habitats for local bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects without which our food supply would thin out.

You can help out on the Butterflyway Project by planting wild flowers, donating plants and other useful material, by looking after a newly planted pollinator patch or in other ways. Join us and be part of the action!
Please submit your completed Volunteer Registration Form (below) by May 20.

Photo by Berit Erickson. Example of a pollinator garden
Photo by Berit Erickson. Example of a pollinator garden


PLANTING LOGISTICS

Planting will be done two people at a time or, if restrictions continue, individually in 90-minute intervals, where volunteers would replace each other so that there is no direct contact. All COVID-19 protocols that are in force on the day of planting will apply.


MARK YOUR CALENDARS

  • Zoom meeting with volunteers: May 26, 7:00 – 8:00pm
  • Planting: June 4-5 (morning)
  • Alternate date: June 11-12 (morning)

*Please note that these dates may change in response to COVID-19 measures.


 

VOLUNTEER REGISTRATION FORM

    Contact Information



    Tell us how you would like to help out on the Butterflyway Project – select all that apply:

    Hunt Club is Green

    Do you look forward to this time of year? Fresh green is the colour of the season, With McCarthy Woods, the adjacent Southern Nature Corridor, the Hunt and Golf Club, and various parks, there’s more than 50% green in this satellite image of our communities.

    Travel anywhere in Hunt Club and you’ll see tree-lined streets and pathways.

    Measurements show a seasonal drop in carbon dioxide in the air, green is the signal mother nature is incorporating it into grass and leaves, helping to limit climate change. The greener the better.

    Mother nature could do with your help to limit climate change in Hunt Club. Here are five things you can do.

    • Cycle, walk, use public transit
    • Make your next vehicle electric
    • Plant or adopt and maintain a tree
    • Improve the insulation in your home
    • Consider a heat pump when replacing your furnace or air conditioner

    Hunt Club Traffic 2020

    Our community has three solar-powered radar-enabled signs that flash the speed as a vehicle approaches. The purpose is to make drivers aware when they are driving at speeds above the posted limits.

    In Hunt Club, they are on northbound Paul Anka Drive approaching Uplands Drive, northbound McCarthy Road north of the Plante intersection, and eastbound Uplands Drive across from Uplands Park. All are two-lane roads. Two others, just north of our community, cover both directions on Riverside Drive, a four-lane road with higher speeds.

    I was unaware that they also record each event for statistical purposes. No camera is involved so vehicles cannot be identified. Thanks to a request to Councillor Riley Brockington’s office, I was able to get statistics from the Uplands Drive sign for each day in 2020.

    Total counts for each week show the remarkable reduction in traffic in the Spring owing to the COVID-19 lockdown. Vehicle counts typically over 10,000 per week fell to less than half. Perhaps like me when you had to get out you found driving an absolute joy!

    Throughout the year Friday is the busiest day on the roads; Sunday is quietist. Friday 21 August was the busiest day of the year.

    The radar-enabled sign record isn’t perfect, likely due to equipment malfunctions as shown by lower traffic volumes for Week 3 and twice toward the end of the year.

    Three-quarters of all vehicles approaching the sign were adhering to the 50 Km/hr speed limit. All but 15 percent were travelling at less than 53 Km/hr. You save fuel and reduce emissions by driving smoothly and avoiding hard acceleration. Overall, the data shows a large majority of drivers on Uplands Drive observing the speed limit. But there are others.

     

    Coming soon, an article on speeding and driving in hazardous weather on Uplands Drive.

    Hunt Club Co-ops

    In these times of COVID perhaps you’ve done more walking than usual and noticed things you previously overlooked. For me, as I struggled along unplowed Gillespie Crescent, the relatively clear roads of the nearby Co-op were remarkable.

    Coady Co-op, built in 1978, is one of five housing co-ops in our area. It consists of 74 units of two, three or four bedrooms including five single-story units for those living with handicaps. In common with other co-ops, to keep rents low, residents contribute hands-on to the upkeep with tasks such as gardening and maintaining a rink which keeps costs down while enhancing the sense of community.

    Our friend Google found a document showing that by the end of this year Coady residents should be enjoying updated and more energy-efficient homes—siding and stucco replaced, many new windows and doors, kitchen and bathroom upgrades. That is the result of a multi-year refinancing and negotiation process, taking advantage of current low mortgage interest rates, that also saw the co-op acquire the land it had previously rented from the city.

    The area’s other housing co-ops are clustered around the Hunt Club Riverside Park Community Centre and adjacent shopping.

    The oldest, largest and best known is Quarry Co-op located across McCarthy Road from the community centre. Built in 1976 on a 10-acre lot it consists of 244 townhouses ranging in size from one to four bedrooms. Being older it’s a step ahead of Coady Co-op in renovating, adding better insulation and windows as seen in this photo from February. Congratulations to both co-ops for doing their part to fight climate change while saving on energy costs.

    In September 2018 Quarry made news when homes at the north end of the lot suffered tornado damage—see the video at https://youtu.be/7bArU3Ri4CY

    It’s quite possible to live in Hunt Club for years without knowing about the other three housing co-ops, all built in the late 1980s. They are on Twyford Street, east of the shopping centre.

    Sequoia Co-op Homes at 101 Twyford has 60 three-level townhouses with two, three and four bedrooms.

    Tannenhof Housing Co-op at 131 Twyford is a six-story retirement residence with 74 suites. It is designed for wheelchair accessible independent living, with organized leisure activities.

    Cardinus Housing Co-op at 141 Twyford is also a six-story building. Its 78 mixed family and single apartments include 18 that are wheelchair accessible.

    Find out more about co-op housing in Ottawa from the Co-operative Housing Association of Eastern Ontario including a map of co-op locations.

    Snow Days

    The sun is rising earlier, setting later and rising higher in the sky. Climate records tell that we are past the coldest days of the winter. 14 February is the day when the snow on the ground is, on average, at its deepest, 31 cm.  The snowpack diminishes only slowly until the third week of March.

    Weather does not adhere to climate averages. Take the period after the hanging of Patrick Whalen for the assassination of Thomas D’Arcy McGee on 11 February 1869.  It attracted an estimated quarter of the population who had to return home in a snowstorm.

    It continued. There was terrible snow in the days and weeks following. There are no official weather records for the period, but reports are it hardly stopped snowing until St Patrick’s Day. The snow accumulated to an estimated depth of seven feet. Roads were not plowed – the snow was compacted and built up to two feet thick on downtown streets. The railway to Prescott saw drifts to 20 feet and the government called out the militia.

    At the site of the Hunt Club golf course William Upton’s farm was buried. His diary records cows being stuck in snow drifts, some had to be left protected with blankets overnight. Next morning, they dug a trench so the cattle could get back to the barn. Rain came on 19 April, and then the floods. By the 22nd newspaper reports were that no trains could get in or out of the city owing to a flooded roadbed.

    Let’s hope we avoid a repeat—the pandemic is enough to deal with thank you!

    Little Libraries in Hunt Club

    Hunt Clubbites are readers!  As a way to share their reading materials, skilled and creative residents have built and erected ‘Free Little Libraries’ throughout our Hunt Club community. These are basically large boxes with a door that shuts tightly, mounted on a post. People place books that they have already read in the box. Others come and take one of the books, often replacing it with one or more of their own which they have already enjoyed reading. The idea is to promote and nurture a reading community.

    Here are the three ‘Free Little Libraries’ that I have spotted in our Hunt Club community: 3 photos attached.

    Can you locate all three of them? (Hint: two are in ‘Hunt Club Woods’; one is in the ‘Owl Park Neighbourhood’ east of McCarthy Rd.)

    Where would YOU like to see another ‘Free Little Library’ installed in our community?

     

    More Tornadoes?

    Friday, 22 September 2018. Early evening. I thought I was safe at home. Then suddenly out my front window, the howling wind tried to blow one end of my street to the other. In a few seconds, it was over. I’d have been terrified to see out of the back window the tornado which tore up trees in McCarthy Woods. Hunt Club was lucky, barely escaping the disasters in Craig Henry and Dunrobin.

    An expert report to the City advises climate change will bring a heightened risk of extreme weather, including tornadoes, and cause Ottawa’s seasons to shift with shorter winters.

    Climate change is real for us; it shows in local weather records.

    Since the 1920s our average temperatures increased by 1.22 C. The rate is accelerating.
    With our winters, warming doesn’t sound bad. We have fewer deep freezes. In the 1920s every year had “deep freeze” (<-30 C) temperatures, in the 2010s only one year.

    But in the summer hot nights bring misery. Typically one hot night (>20 C) each year in the 1920s has increased to seven in the 2010s.

    Even warmer winters have their downsides. Freeze-thaw cycles, causing potholes, have increased during the winter months, from five in a typical January in the 1920s to nine in the 2010s. The skating season will be shortened meaning challenges for Winterlude and the tourist business it brings to the City.

    Climate models tell us more of this type of change is inevitable. While preparation can’t protect from the terror of a tornado it can mitigate some impacts. We can slow the rate of change by doing our part to burn less fossil fuel.


    Photo Credit, CBC Canada

    City Stream Watch – The Hunt Club Creek

    Did you know that we have a beautiful creek winding its way through our neighbourhood?  It’s called the Hunt Club Creek It flows from the Department of National Defense (DND) lands bordering Hunt Club Road to the Ottawa Golf Course, then comes up at Uplands Drive near Country Club Drive, continues past Gillespie Crescent to Riverside Drive and then past Rivergate Place through NCC lands right to the Rideau River. Check out details compiled by John Sankey on the HCCA website at https://hunt-club.ca/community/history/hunt-club-creek/

    Hunt Club Creek

    The Hunt Club Community Association has renewed its adoption of the Hunt Club Creek with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA).  The Hunt Club Creek was originally adopted in 2013, under John Sankey’s Presidency, John has decided to step down from his role of stream watcher after a number of years of surveying the creek.

    HCCA will be putting together a team of stream watchers in the spring. The HCCA participated in an official Stream Watch with the RVCA in 2019. These in-depth surveys are done every 6 years so the next one will not be until 2025. In the meantime, under the terms of the adoption, HCCA must complete a stream watch at least once a year. What does this involve? As suggested by the RVCA, this can involve walking or wading along the stream and observing the stream and banks and documenting any significant changes such as increased erosion or pollution from the previous year. Also, the stream watchers may bag and remove any minor refuse encountered along the way. This fall I walked the whole length of the stream, except the golf course portion and noticed the culvert leading under Hunt Club Road was totally blocked, resulting in the creek in that area being totally stagnant. I informed the city at 311 and Councillor Brockington and a service request was made resulting in having the culvert cleared.

    Would you be interested in being a stream watcher for the Hunt Club Creek?
    Contact me at: vp@hunt-club.ca.

    Wendy Stewart Ponds

    The Wendy Stewart Ponds (aka the Sawmill Creek Constructed Wetlands), have become THE outdoor activity hub for our community. Walkers, runners, in line skaters, love birds, bird watchers and photographers, berry pickers, picnickers, naturalists and babies in strollers – all have discovered the beauties of the seasonal transformations of this natural oasis alongside the Airport Parkway.

    Over a dozen volunteers participated in a clean-up around the Wendy Stewart Ponds on Sunday, September 27, organized by James Mihaychuk, President of Ottawa South’s federal Green Party.  Relatively little garbage was found thanks to the weekly cleanup efforts of the Reussner-Pazur family and friends who have informally adopted this area. This has given them a deeper understanding of the flora and fauna here along with the various bird species and humans present and not. I’ll let Sophie tell the story now.


    Volunteers ready to start the clean up. Submitted Photo

    Clean Up Crew

    James Mihaychuk

    Since the start of the pandemic, my husband and I have been walking daily around the Wendy Stewart Ponds, just East of the Airport Parkway. For the first time – because we were confined and working from home – our neighbourhood has become our main destination for outdoor exercise and fresh air!  Day in and day out, we witnessed the wonders of nature in motion: the last snow of April, the budding leaves, the pulse of summer heat and the arrival and departure of migrating birds…

    Yet, we noticed that people with reduced strength/mobility were rarely, if ever, seen on this path.  Indeed, one does have to be fit to walk the 40-minute loop, as there are no benches beyond the Airport Parkway’s Juno Bridge…!  Thus, we were wondering: How fantastic would it be if the City of Ottawa installed benches around the Watershed? How lovely if people with reduced strength/mobility could rest at various intervals and enjoy this natural gem, like everyone else? These two questions were followed by action. My friend Christine and I went on a “scavenger hunt” to find seven desirable bench locations around the Wendy Stewart Ponds.  We had fun pretending to sit on imaginary benches, as the photo shows!

    Where’s the bench?

    So I wrote to Councillor Riley Brockington and submitted our bench location suggestions, along with GPS coordinates and photos. For the cherry on the cake, I asked Riley if the City of Ottawa would also plant a (fruit?) tree by each bench, so as to provide some nice shade on a hot summer day…!

    It is our hope that this inclusive project – to benefit people of all abilities – comes to fruition once the snow melts next spring!  If you think this is a good idea, please let Councillor Brockington know.

    Although many of us are used to calling this area the Sawmill Creek Constructed Wetlands, we are trying to use its new ‘official’ name – ‘Wendy Stewart Ponds’, as per the plaque on the rock at the South-West end of the ponds, just North of the Juno Beach pedestrian and cycling bridge, in honour of the environmental commitment that former Councillor Stewart dedicated to our community in previous years.

    News and Views from Paul Landry Park

    Pride in our community was on display with the dozen volunteers who came on Saturday, October 17 for the annual fall litter pick up at Paul Landry Park.  Even our municipal councillor, Riley Brockington, joined in with rake in hand!  It was a gorgeous day weather wise, and with so many helping hands we made quick work of the pick-up.  The good news is that the quantity of litter continues to diminish over the years, with just a few ‘usual suspects’ seemingly unable to hold on to their cigarette wrappers, chip bags, candy bar wrappers, water, beer and juice bottles or cans, until they get home.

    Unfortunately, last winter was rather dismal with our pristine snowy pathways continuously despoiled by dog poop droppings all along the way.  This coming winter, we ask all dog owners to please ‘Stoop and Scoop’ (City by-law No. 2003-77 ‘Animal Care and Control’) and respect others who use the park. We thank the vast majority of dog owners who do pick up after their dogs, for the pride and respect that you are showing for our community.

    Garbage pickups have now stopped in the park, until next spring.   Please do not dump your litter or dog poop bags in the bin at the Uplands Drive end, as they will not be picked up.   You need to dispose of your own waste.  Thank you for remembering this.

    Very happy to report that seven new trees were planted on November 20 at the Uplands Drive end of the park: two each of Sugar Maple, Prospector Elm, and Honey Locust and one Hackberry.  These trees will eventually provide food and shelter to birds and small animals, as well as shade for all of us.  We thank our City’s Forestry department for replacing those diseased trees that had to be cut down over a year ago because of the Emerald Ash Borer.

    Next on our ‘ask list’, as shared by many neighbours, is to have a few more benches installed around the play structure – for adults who are supervising their children; and maybe a picnic table or two near the newly planted trees, where people will be able to find respite in the shade on those hot sunny summer days.