Coyotes: here to stay? Bet on it.
One Faircrest Heights
resident reported seeing a pack of five coyotes in her back yard
last month and, more recently, another encountered a pack of
four strolling down Briar Avenue while he was walking his dog.
Then, this past Monday evening, I saw a lone coyote dart across
Highridge Avenue at Crestview before disappearing between two
houses abutting Billings Park.
This evidently is part
of an increasing presence of Canis latrans in urban areas
as municipalities push out their boundaries and it seems to be
most prevalent in the south end of Ottawa, where coyotes have
been spotted rooting through garbage. This could be due to a
reduced inability to catch their usual prey, such as rabbits and
mice, because of the snow and ice buildup in our parks and other
Should you be
concerned? Some wildlife experts say otherwise but it’s a good
idea to take precautions with children and small pets. Is it
coincidence that we seem to have an increased number of cats
reported “missing” in Faircrest Heights in the past year or so?
I don’t think so, even though cats generally aren’t normal prey
for coyotes. But, again, there is the coyotes’ apparent
difficulty in capturing their usual prey.
Coyotes will take feral
cats or the occasional domestic one which has been left outdoors
or insists on being out. And they will go after small dogs. So
if you hear one barking in your neighbour’s back yard, it might
be worthwhile letting them know about this.
Like other parts of
our municipality, Faircrest Heights has a lot of greenspace
which is an effective corridor for coyotes, which don’t need a
cohesive area such as a single park. They thrive if there’s
enough food and shelter and can have ranges of 40 square
The Urban Coyote
Initiative, which monitors the animals throughout North America,
says that research with more than 1,400 scats indicated that
“the most common food items were small rodents (42%), fruit
(23%), deer (22%), and rabbit (18%).” Only about 2% of the scats
had human garbage and 1.3% showed evidence of cats. “Apparently,
the majority of coyotes in our study area do not, in fact, rely
on pets or garbage for their diets,” the UCI researchers said.
acknowledged that coyotes have become habituated and overly bold
– such as the pack wandering down Briar recently. The homeowner
who saw them said they were almost going door-to-door to check
out whatever might smell good.
John Pisapio, formerly
with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources & Forests (OMNRF)
and now senior wildlife biologist with the Newfoundland &
Labrador Department of Environment & Conservation, once told
The Ottawa Sun that upswings in coyote populations are a
natural phenomenon. "These animals are regarded as being highly
intelligent and adaptable,” he said. “They are here to stay.
They're part of the ecosystem, and they've been part of the
urban landscape for a number of decades too."
OMNRF cautions against
feeding squirrels because as those rodents proliferate they
attract larger predators. A male coyote can weigh up to 20
kilograms, a female up to 18kg.
So what to do if you
encounter a solitary coyote or a pack? For one thing, don’t
approach them. If there’s any indication of interest on their
part, shout and make yourself as “large” as possible. Carry an
umbrella which can be used to frighten the animals when you open
it. Consider a ski pole as a deterrent. And walk away slowly if
that’s a option. Never run because that, as with just about any
canine, is an invitation to chase.
In cases where coyotes
pose a clear threat to you or pets, homeowners can hire an
approved agent (the OMNRF doesn’t do it) to destroy a coyote if
it poses an obvious threat. You can check out that option at
That said, you are legally entitled to protect yourself, family,
pets or property but there’s a catch: Ontario law states that
this must be done “humanely”. The only real option there is a
gun but the OMNRF points out that there are bylaws against
discharging firearms within the City, so they recommend calling
the police if there is an imminent danger.
Summary of FHCA Annual Meeting by Councillor Cloutier
Good day, neighbours,
It was a pleasure to
speak with you during the Faircrest Heights Community Association meeting on
Wednesday evening. My colleague, Erin, and I took notes of what we heard that we
may be able to assist with, and have actioned these items. They are:
along the eastern side of Lynda Lane approaching the hospital, and a pothole on
Roger Rd near the intersection of Highridge Rd.
have been sent to Matt Kavanagh in the Roads Services department for review and
stretch of Billings Ave approaching Lynda Lane is quite dark in the evening and
have submitted a service request to have this area reviewed for street lights
are visibility issues due to shrubs and trees at the intersections of Lynda Lane
and Smyth Rd (turning right from Smyth to Lynda) and at Alta Vista Dr and
Faircrest Rd (turning right on Alta Vista from Faircrest)
have forwarded these concerns to Myles Lance in the Forestry department for
review and action
speed limit signs are too infrequent along Smyth Rd
colleague, Riley Carter, with the Transportation Services department will review
to see if more signs are needed based on the OTM and HTA requirements
pedestrian light at the intersection of Smyth Rd and Valour Dr is too infrequent
(crossing Smyth) and is unresponsive when the crossing button is pushed
Carneiro in Transportation Services will review
speed display board (or other traffic calming measures) would be beneficial at
or near the intersection of Pleasant Park Rd and Fairbanks Ave
Charbonneau, our colleague in the Temporary Traffic Calming (TTC) department
will review this area and provide his recommendations for TTC measures for
spring 2018. We have passed the deadline to purchase and install TTC measures
for 2017. The installation season typically begins in May. Our office has a set
budget for TTC measures, which must be spread equitably throughout Ward 18. We
are happy to review any location where you feel TTC measures should be
installed, but cannot guarantee that location will be feasible, or practical
based on equitable distribution. Please be as specific as possible when
requesting TTC reviews, ie. address, facing east, west, north, southbound
traffic etc. so that we can do our best to address your concerns. My collegue
Erin manages our safe street program – she can receive your requests at email@example.com
If we missed any
action items, please do not hesitate to contact my office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org,
or by phoning (613) 580-2488. Even if I am not able to directly address your
concerns, comments, or questions, my team and I will do our best to put you in
touch with the appropriate party, be it MPP John Fraser, MP David McGuinty, or a
department within the City of Ottawa. I would also like to encourage you to
contact my office year-round as issues arise.
You can also keep
up-to-date on activities and news in Alta Vista, and find out about upcoming
community office hours - where you can stop by to speak to me in the
neighbourhood - by subscribing to my weekly newsletter at jeancloutier.com.
Thank you very much for having me out to your community association meeting. It
is my pleasure and privilege to serve the residents of Faircrest Heights.
|The following was published yesterday
(Jan. 31) in The Citizen. The community associations in Alta Vista Ward are
requesting a meeting with Councillor Cloutier.
Faircrest Heights Left Out of Road Repair Plan.
The list of allocations will be up for approval at a finance and economic
development committee meeting on Tuesday. There are some eye-catching numbers in
the ward-by-ward breakdown, like the four zeros in a column summarizing the
amount divvied up from the $10 million.
Alta Vista, Rideau-Rockcliffe, Rideau-Vanier and Somerset won’t receive extra
asset renewal funding if council approves the allocations.
Some councillors who represent those wards are downplaying the zeros.
“This isn’t a political thing. It’s up to staff to decide where the needs are,”
Alta Vista Coun. Jean Cloutier said.
The $10 million is surplus from the 2017 budget. Council on Dec. 13 voted to use
the money — called a “Christmas miracle” by at least one councillor — for
infrastructure renewal after Mayor Jim Watson revealed the surplus as
councillors were gearing up for a budget fight over maintenance funding.
Cloutier seconded Watson’s motion to use $10 million for asset repairs, but the
councillor said on Tuesday that it wasn’t his intention to get some of that
money for his ward by supporting the mayor.
“I’m not going to bang on anybody’s door saying I seconded this motion and I
want my share,” Cloutier said. “It’s not the way I do things.”
Cloutier said he supports a staff plan to gradually close a $70-million
infrastructure spending gap over 10 years.
Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum didn’t have any complaints. He warned the
city about the optics of “pork-barrel politics” in an election year with $10
million up for grabs.
“I noted that staff did mostly respect the asset management plan that we
approved at council last year,” Nussbaum said.
As it happens, in 2018 there were no projects in Rideau-Rockcliffe that were
below the funding cut-off line, Nussbaum said.
Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury said he’s “surprised” his community, one of
the oldest areas of the city, wouldn’t get some of the $10 million, but he’s
waiting to assess the allotments after speaking with infrastructure staff.
Watson said he made “one small change” to the list before the city published the
document. It involved a road in Osgoode ward and Coun. George Darouze asked the
mayor to consider including the project, Watson said.
“Out of fairness, he was one of the few that had no dollars in the $10 million,
so I thought this $150,000 contribution to connect two parts of a road was
reasonable,” Watson said.
There are four wards currently without payments from the $10-million fund, but
Watson said Darouze was the only councillor who approached him.
As for the others, they’re open to make proposals at committee or council
meetings, Watson said.
Of the 23 wards, Rideau-Goulbourn is proposed to get the largest cut of the $10
million. The $1.96 million would mostly be used for road resurfacing and road
Infrastructure staff selected the work based on current asset conditions,
co-ordination with other projects, the ability to complete the work in 2018 and
projects that were identified but unfunded in the 2018 budget.
The proposed breakdown of the $10 million is $5.98 million for road resurfacing,
$3 million for buildings and parks, $680,000 for road preservation work and
$340,000 for sidewalks and pathways.
A New Community Voice is Coming
Residents of Faircrest Heights and the other communities in the Alta Vista
area, like their counterparts in many other markets, saw their community
newspapers vanish virtually overnight last month after a transaction between two
It was a lamentable loss which effectively silenced the communities and their
residents because the community newspapers have been a two-way channel, keeping
us all abreast of what was going on around us while also letting us express our
views on the policies and events which affect us all.
That channel is about to reopen for us through a new publication, the Alta
Vista Canterbury Community Voice. Delivery every two weeks will be by Canada
Post and the first issue is expected on Thursday, Feb. 15, and coverage
hopefully will complement that already provided by VISTAS, our
long-established link to our community.
As outlined last week for the presidents of our area’s community associations,
the project is a free tabloid-size newspaper with paid advertising and coverage
by professional journalists of key issues generally ignored by the major news
This is a brave and welcome venture by businessman Mike Wollock, who
should be congratulated for his commitment.
can reach the newspaper at 613-458-6423 or e-mail the editor, Patrick
Uguccioni, at email@example.com.
Faircrest Heights Commuity Associaton