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Hillcrest School Council Newsletter


Faircrest Heights Community Association General Meeting

When: Monday, November 26 @ 7 p.m.

Where: Pleasant Park Baptist Church, 414 Pleasant Park Road

Having opted to wait until after the municipal election campaign, we will be joined by Jean Cloutier, our re-elected Councillor for Ward 18, and David McGuinty, our Member of Parliament for Ottawa South. We’re awaiting confirmation from John Fraser, our MPP at Queen’s Park. After brief opening statements (the speaking order will be drawn from a hat), they will be available to answer questions.

Also, please be prepared to renew your membership, the fee for which remains $10.

 

Coyotes: here to stay? Bet on it.

By KEN POLE

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 greenspace.

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 kilometres.

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.

However, they 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."

The 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 https://www.ontario.ca/page/harass-capture-or-kill-wild-animal-damaging-private-property.

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 (Nov 2017)

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: 

·       Potholes along the eastern side of Lynda Lane approaching the hospital, and a pothole on Roger Rd near the intersection of Highridge Rd.

o   These have been sent to Matt Kavanagh in the Roads Services department for review and action

·       The stretch of Billings Ave approaching Lynda Lane is quite dark in the evening and night time

o   We have submitted a service request to have this area reviewed for street lights

·       There 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) 

o   We have forwarded these concerns to Myles Lance in the Forestry department for review and action

·       The speed limit signs are too infrequent along Smyth Rd

o   Our colleague, Riley Carter, with the Transportation Services department will review to see if more signs are needed based on the OTM and HTA requirements

·       The 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

o   Michael Carneiro in Transportation Services will review

·       A speed display board (or other traffic calming measures) would be beneficial at or near the intersection of Pleasant Park Rd and Fairbanks Ave

o   Robert 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 jeancloutierott@ottawa.ca 

If we missed any action items, please do not hesitate to contact my office by emailing jeancloutierott@ottawa.ca, 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.

 

 

 


 

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