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RPRA’s Rockcliffe Park Tennis Club Update June 2020

RPRA’s Update re Rockcliffe Lawn Tennis Club Lighting

June 22, 2020

 

Context

 

The Rockcliffe Park Residents Association received dozens of letters, emails and calls in April, May and June 2020 from neighbours arguing strongly for and against the Rockcliffe Lawn Tennis Club (RLTC) plan to install lighting. This debate has caused controversy in our community.

 

On that basis, the RPRA would like to take the opportunity to update the community on the current situation, provide facts, outline actions and clarify the RPRA’s role.

 

Objecting opinions to tennis club lighting can be broadly summarised as follows:

 

  • Concern that tennis club court lighting would add significant light pollution, and accompanying increased noise traffic into the night which would detrimentally impact the quality of life, and property value of all surrounding residential neighbours.
  • Concern that introducing bright lighting would be incompatible with the unique and protected nighttime character of the village. Tennis court lighting would not to be compatible with the Rockcliffe Park Heritage Plan.
  • Concern over the impact of bright lighting on sensitive wildlife and nature in the area.

 

In contrast, the RLTC and supporters of tennis club lighting argue that:

  • Tennis court lighting would not have a significant negative impact on surrounding neighbours, and the overall nighttime character of the village.
  • Tennis court lighting would help the club compete for members with other tennis clubs.
  • Tennis court lighting would provide a benefit to the community, by promoting active living and allowing for shared enjoyment and interaction into the evening.
  • The Heritage Plan lists the tennis club as a “Heritage Attribute” to the Heritage Conservation District, and does not specifically restrict tennis court lighting.

 

Community members have offered their views, and turned to the RPRA for information and guidance.

 

The RPRA’s role is “to foster a spirit of community within the Village, to preserve and enhance its unique natural environment and its special heritage character, and to represent the interests of Rockcliffe residents.” The guiding principle of the RPRA is its commitment to the three, linked core values: Heritage, Community and Environment. The RPRA’s articles provide that the purpose of the RPRA is “to provide any service or carry out any activity whatsoever tending to the benefit of the residents of the Heritage Conservation District of Rockcliffe Park, in the City of Ottawa, Ontario.

 

The volunteers of the RPRA board and RPRA committees have spent an extraordinary amount of time and effort over the last several months listening to all voices in the community.

 

This document provides a factual overview of the background, and current situation.

 

Timeline

 

  • Consultation with the RPRA Heritage Committee and community prior to submitting a Heritage Permit application to the City of Ottawa is strongly encouraged, but there is no legal obligation for Heritage Permit applicants to do so. The RLTC did not enter into a consultation process with the Heritage Committee or neighbours prior to submitting an application for a Heritage Permit application to the City of Ottawa for tennis court lighting in April

 

  • The City of Ottawa and the (then) Ward Councillor did not notify the RPRA Heritage Committee of the RLTC application upon receipt. The City of Ottawa also did not notify or consult with the RPRA Heritage Committee during their review and approval process. Note: there is a legal obligation for the City to notify the public of all heritage applications except those that the City heritage staff deem to accord with the conditions under which the City staff can exercise Delegated Authority.

 

  • The RPRA and the wider community therefore only became aware of the application after the Heritage Permit was granted under Delegated Authority on 3 May 2018. The permit was granted on the basis of the 1997 Rockcliffe Park Heritage Conservation District Guidelines, not the Rockcliffe Park Heritage Conservation District Plan, which only came into full force in May 2019.

 

  • The RPRA became aware of the growing discontent within the community in 2019, and the president of the RPRA sent a letter to the RLTC in early Dec 2019 asking the tennis club to consider foregoing their lighting plans: “The essential equation, in short, is the long-standing heritage character of our community and the legitimate interests of close neighbours vs. the desire of some members to play later … than has been the practice in the past.”

 

  • Due to the Covid-19 crisis, a public information meeting planned by the RLTC for the 25 March 2020 was cancelled.

 

  • In April 2020, neighbours of the tennis club legally challenged the City with regards to the approval process for the Heritage Permit, arguing that the RLTC application did not meet the criteria for Delegated Authority, and that the Heritage Permit was therefore invalid. The City’s legal department maintained that their decision was legal.

 

  • The RLTC has committed to the community in an open letter on 2 May 2020 that: “… the (RLTC) Board has decided to hold off on further project development until there has been ample discussion.”

 

  • Subsequently, the Heritage Permit expired on 3 May 2020 (two years after approval), as confirmed by the City of Ottawa. Neighbours withdrew their legal challenge.

 

  • A group of individuals distributed a collection of letters on 9 June 2020, asking residents to email the RPRA and state their objection to any future lighting plans by the RLTC.

 

 

Current situation

 

 

The RLTC currently has no Heritage Permit for any court lighting, and it is currently unknown to the RPRA if or when the RLTC will pursue future lighting plans.

 

As a matter of policy, the RPRA and its Heritage Committee generally do not comment on hypothetical or future applications.  Instead, the RPRA (through its Heritage Committee) only provides comments on specific cases, when:

 

  • An applicant approaches the RPRA Heritage Committee informally prior to the submission of a Heritage Permit application. This is an informal and confidential pre-consultation allowing the applicant to better understand the Heritage Plan, and decide if or how to proceed with a Heritage Permit application to the City of Ottawa.

 

  • The Heritage Planning Branch of the City of Ottawa invites the RPRA Heritage Committee (and Ward Councillor) to comment as part of a coordinated, formal consultation process upon receipt of an application. Any comments the RPRA Heritage Committee provides are only shared with the City’s Heritage Planning Branch at that stage. The City’s Heritage Planning Branch is solely responsible for preparing a recommendation to the Built Heritage Sub Committee, and City Council.

 

The RPRA and its Heritage Committee have no decision-making authority in the Heritage Permit process. Only the City of Ottawa can grant Heritage Permits for Rockcliffe Park.

 

The RPRA Heritage Committee fairly evaluates any specific proposal on its own merits, based on the provisions of the Rockcliffe Park Heritage Plan and in line with the above policies.

 

The RPRA is bound by its mandate and commitment to uphold the Heritage Plan which recognises the importance of subdued nighttime illumination. The visible night sky, lack of glare, light pollution/spillage and a dimly-lit visual environment are important, defining aspects of our unique neighbourhood that the Heritage Plan seeks to protect. Any lighting that materially diminishes or alters the nighttime character of Rockcliffe Park is in conflict with the purpose and intent of the Heritage Plan.

 

There are legitimate and fundamental concerns regarding tennis court lighting in the sensitive location of the RLTC. The RPRA appealed to the RLTC in the past not to pursue future lighting plans in recognition of our protected nighttime environment, and in the spirit of being a good neighbour.

 

The RPRA has offered assistance in seeking alternative ways of improving the club’s membership without the need for court lighting at the RLTC location. The RPRA values the tennis club as an important community facility, and is looking forward to continued dialogue and partnership for the next 97 years.

 

 

 

 

RPRA Board meeting April 15th

The April 15th RPRA board meeting will be held via teleconferencing. We apologize for any inconvenience, and ask that any public delegations submit their matters of interest in writing to secretary@rockcliffepark.ca, prior to April 10th. Minutes of the meeting will be posted on the RPRA website.

 

New retaining wall at The Pond

Pond Retaining Wall and Rehabilitation

In May and June, the City built a retaining wall and installed loose rock to protect the Pond’s shoreline from further erosion, stabilize the banks and discourage sunbathing and digging. The RPRA hopes this work will help to preserve our beautiful Pond and Conservation Area. This year, the City will not be pumping water into the Pond. The City did pump water for the past two years and found the added water made little to no improvement in Pond water levels. This year will be a test year to determine the water levels without pumping.

 

Pond Retaining Wall Rehabilitation in Progress, by Brian Dickson and Iola Price

As published in the March-April issue of the Manor Park Chronicle

Over the course of 2019, members of the Rockcliffe Park Residents Association’s (RPRA) Pond Committee worked with City representatives and our Councillor to address environmental issues relating to the Pond. Shoreline erosion is of particular concern, especially at the access point to the Pond. To stabilize this area, the City proposed building a wall and steps composed of natural rock, such as exists now. The City also investigated whether the stairs could be narrowed, consistent with safety, and structured in an irregular pattern. City staff proposed loose rock (rip rap) to protect the shoreline and provide access for the heavy machinery and work over the January-February 2020 period with final rehabilitation details to be finished in the Spring. The riprap installation will by nature of the irregular rocks and distribution result in a space which is not suitable for sitting and sunbathing. The rip rap will extend to the low water mark and remain after the project’s completion, thus limiting access to the adjacent eroding shoreline

Additionally, the RPRA worked closely with the City to introduce signage that promotes responsible use of the Pond as a conservation area and also worked with the city on the water pumping. The City measured water levels in 2017, 2018 and again from May 15 to September 24, 2019, which showed that the pumping has had minimal, if any, impact on maintaining the water level or decreasing its decline over a three-year period. Since the pilot project to pump water into the Pond was to include a year of no pumping for comparative purposes, we do not anticipate pumping in 2020.

Changes to the access point are minimal in that this project is limited to the construction of a stable retaining wall. The access ‘stairs’ will be roughly 2 meters wide, located near their current position and be smaller in height. The stones are mined from Southern Ontario, but may be more consistent in dimension although similar to those currently in place. The resulting structure will be more stable, reducing future safety concerns. The entry path from Pond St will also be reconstructed in the spring.

Other issues discussed with City representatives have included buckthorn removal, dredging to increase shoreline depth (not possible as part of this project) and the need to replant with native shrubs as part of a Conservation Area. We have developed a collaborative relationship with the City in which they take into account our concerns and proposals. It is heartening that the City pays attention to the Pond and over the years has been taking incremental steps to protect it. We are pleased that the City was able to find the funds to implement this shoreline rehabilitation work in a manner consistent with the Pond’s ecological importance and as part of the Caldwell-Carver Conservation Area.

Here are two photos of the work in progress at the Pond, taken May 2020, to curb erosion of the banks. Thanks to Iola Price for the photos.

 

 

Spring Book Sale postponed – maybe Fall 2021

Spring Book Sale: Book donations cannot be accepted at this time.

The two-day spring sale in support of the Ottawa Public Library outreach programs and Rockcliffe Park Branch was cancelled. It was to have been held on Saturday April 25, 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday April 26 11 am to 5 pm. The Library Book Sale Committee are now hoping to hold a Sale in Fall 2021.

Thanks to our sponsors Chartwell New Edinburgh Square, Guardian New Edinburgh Pharmacy and Dymon Storage

Only when the City of Ottawa facilities open and all returns to normal, please bring donations to the Rockcliffe Park Branch or call for pick-up 613 580 2424, ext 27623

 

 

Speaker Series

Wednesday, March 11, 8 pm: RPRA Speaker Night

 

with Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, Truth be Told. Based on her recent autobiography, the former Chief Justice of Canada invites us into her legal and personal life and reveals the hopes and doubts, the triumphs and losses on and off the bench, which have marked her journey. Come and join your neighbours for another fascinating talk, followed by questions, tea, coffee and cookies. At the Rockcliffe Park Community Hall, 380 Springfield Rd.

 

 

Wednesday, Feb 12, 8 pm: RPRA Speaker Night

John Ivison, author and journalist is our February speaker

with John Ivison, Trudeau: Lessons for the Prime Minister. One of Canada’s most popular and well-connected political journalists will speak to us about his recent book on Justin Trudeau and the last election and its significance. Tea, coffee, home-made cookies follow the always-lively Q&A session. At the Community Hall, 380 Springfield Rd.

Annual General Meeting of the RPRA and The Rockcliffe Park Foundation’s Annual Report to the Community

All residents of Rockcliffe Park are invited to attend their residents’ association’s AGM and find out what’s going on in their community. Come and have a voice in how Rockcliffe Park is run by being able to vote on current issues.

Councillor Rawlson King will address the community with a talk Rideau-Rockcliffe: A Vision for 2020 and Beyond, and answer questions on the key issues he is dealing with since coming to office. Coffee and tea are served.

Note the change of venue: the AGM will be at the library of the Rockcliffe Park Public School at 350 Buena Vista Rd (and not at the Community Centre). February 26, 2020, 7 – 9:15 pm.

BookFair Logo

Rockcliffe Park Book Fair 2019

Prepare your shelves for the 58th annual RPPS Book Fair, 1-3 November, 2019

By Sara Dobbin, RPPS Book Fair Committee

Come find your “golden ticket” at the 2019 Rockcliffe Park Public School Book Fair. Students are excited for this year’s theme: Roald Dahl. An author who appeals to both the young and young at heart, the inspiration of this award-winning author will be felt throughout this year’s event. 

Roald Dahl’s imagination has taken us on adventures to places beyond belief. His novels capture fantasy and reality in perfect balance. His first children’s novel, James and the Giant Peach, published in 1961 still carries its audience on a timeless journey, taking us away from stress and fear and placing us into a world of love and compassion. Meaningful morals are intertwined throughout his repertoire. This is one of the reasons why adults return to his stories and children are eager to read them. Some of our younger readers may have been introduced to Roald Dahl when his vivacious characters were brought to life on film by acclaimed producers like Tim Burton and Wes Anderson. You can also find productions of five of his books on Broadway! 

The RPPS Book Fair has been our school’s top fundraiser for nearly 60 years! We welcome you to visit thousands of donated books over three days in the RPPS gymnasium, Queen Juliana Hall. Matilda doppelgangers will have a field day browsing books of every genre, as well as magazines, vinyl records, puzzles and board games. Bookshelves are restocked regularly, so there are new treasures each day. Children are welcome and can be found “wondering what to read next” in our abundant children’s section. They can also explore our Craft Corner. No need to hurry home for lunch, you can enjoy a hot meal, dessert, and coffee in our Café.

Book Fair at RPPS is one of our community’s most anticipated annual events. Volunteers from the school and community work more than 4,000 hours each year. Those generous hours raised $44,000 in 2018. Proceeds are used to sponsor educational field trips, author and illustrator workshops and literary programing. For a full list of funds management visit our web page: www.rockcliffeparkbookfair.com 

We hope to see you at the 58th annual RPPS Book Fair, 1-3 November, 2019 in the Rockcliffe Park Public School gymnasium (Queen Juliana Hall – enter off Springfield Road near Buena Vista).

For more information on hours, location and volunteer opportunities, visit; 

www.rockcliffeparkbookfair.com

Follow us on:

 pastedGraphic.png RockcliffeParkBookFair pastedGraphic_1.png@ rppsbookfair  pastedGraphic_2.png RPPSbookfair. 

Rockcliffe Park Library

Rockcliffe Park Library Programs POSTPONED

 

Join in the fun at the Rockcliffe Park Branch of the Ottawa Public Library, located at 380 Springfield Road. Programs are free to attend; pre-registration may be required (see details below). Our library is a local treasure, full of community spirit. Please join in the celebrations and share in a love of reading. For more information go to https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/branch/rockcliffe-park or phone 613 580-2940 (Infoservice). For registration (if requested below) for any program, please do so on the library’s website or phone (both above) or in person at the branch. 

 

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Special PD Day Program, Friday February 14

Reptiles Rock! Drop in between 10:30 and 11:30 for a chance to see and touch an amazing selection of snakes and lizards.

Toddler Time, Wednesday February 19

Stories, rhymes and songs for toddlers and a parent or caregiver. At 10 am. For 19 months to three years old. Drop -in.

Author Visit with Anthony Keith, Monday February 24

Join resident Tony Keith who will read from a recently translated account of his step-father’s transatlantic voyage in a small wooden sailboat in the 1930s. Translator Irene Tomaszewski will also speak about the unusual history of The Voyage of the Yacht Dal: From Gydnia to Chicago, 1933-34 by Andre Bohomolec. This is a gripping adventure story of three men who survive a harrowing hurricane and, astonishingly, live to tell their tale. Former CBC reporter, Terry Milewski, offers a compelling review of the epic adventures on pg. 7 of the August 2019 Rockcliffe News.

Music in the Stacks: Deep Winter Series, March 3

Drop-in to hear flautist Justin Theriault from 7 – 8:15 pm.

Japanese Storytelling, March 6

Drop-in at 3 pm to ear Japanese storyteller/comedian Toshiki Mori perform Kamishibai, a form of visual and participatory storytelling that combines hand-drawn visuals with narration of a live presenter.

Legends of Ireland, March 17

Drop in from 1:30 – 2:30 to hear Susan Toman and friend present Legends of Ireland – Harp Music and Storytelling.

Armchair Travel: Polar Bears, March 31

From 7 – 8 pm. Registration required for this English-language presentation from polar travel specialist, Carole Gobeil. Come to hear where are the best places to see polar bears in the northern hemisphere and more.

PD Day Program: Songs and Stories of Loggers and Lumberjacks, April 3

At 10:30 – 11:30 am. Louis Mercier presents the stories and songs of the lumberjack in this interactive performance. Bilingual presentation.

PD Day Program: Flying Colours Painting workshop, May 15

Artist Jennifer Nicol will guide you on using professional watercolour materials, which always results in beautiful paintings and gives a great sense of accomplishment. English presentation.

 

 

Speaker event at Rockcliffe Park Community Hall

Speaker Series

SPEAKER PROGRAM, 2020, suspended until further notice

Join your neighbours for informal evenings with distinguished speakers. Presentations will be followed by questions, coffee and cookies. Admission is free. The Speakers Program is an initiative of the Rockcliffe Park Residents Association and is supported by the Rockcliffe Park Foundation. Details and additional information may be found at www.rockcliffepark.ca.

 

Wednesday, March 11, 8 pm: RPRA Speaker Night

with Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin on Truth be Told. Based on her recent autobiography, the former Chief Justice of Canada invites us into her legal and personal life and reveals the hopes and doubts, the triumphs and losses on and off the bench, which have marked her journey. Come and join your neighbours for another fascinating talk, followed by questions, coffee and cookies. Free admission. Rockcliffe Park Community Hall, 380 Springfield Road

 

 

 

Wednesday, Feb 12, 8 pm: RPRA Speaker Night

John Ivison, author and journalist is our February speaker

with John Ivison, Trudeau: Lessons for the Prime Minister. One of Canada’s most popular and well-connected political journalists will speak to us about his recent book on Justin Trudeau and the last election and its significance. Tea, coffee, home-made cookies follow the always-lively Q&A session. At the Community Hall, 380 Springfield Rd.

 

Archaeology Dig in Rockcliffe Park

Be part of an archaeological dig on July 16, 17 and/or 18

Are you interested in local history, do you love spending time outdoors, or do you simply like to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty? If any of these appeal to you, Rockcliffe Park Residents Association, Lindenlea Community Association and the NCC invite you to participate in an archaeological initiative in Rockcliffe Park on Tuesday July 16, Wednesday 17th and Thursday 18th.

 

NCC archaeologist, Ian Badgley, and his team will guide us in exploring two sites. One site, believed to be on a portage route between the Rideau and Ottawa Rivers, has revealed Indigenous artifacts from about 5000 years ago! The other site, where a winter Tea House stood during the early to mid 1900s, could turn up discoveries of a more recent nature.

 

This is a free event with the equipment and expertise provided by the NCC. The sites will be open from 8 am until 7 pm and registering before hand is not required; however, if possible, we ask that you sign up here so that we can get a sense of the participant numbers. You do not have to commit to the full time slot, and you can sign up for as many time slots as you wish. You are also welcome to spectate if digging in the dirt is not for you. Providing your contact information will allow us to notify you of last-minute changes due to weather or other reasons. Meet at the Rockcliffe Pavilion (just off the Parkway) for onsite registration and directions to the sites.

 

Ages 10 and up are recommended for the main sites; a “spontaneous” site geared towards younger explorers will also be provided. You will need to be able to navigate some trails with slight elevation changes to access the sites. Please wear long pants and sturdy footwear. Bring work gloves, bug spray, sun protection, hats, water and snacks. Information on ticks can be found here.

 

The NCC partners with the communities of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg and Pikwàkanagàn for the joint management of archaeological resources. An opening ceremony will be held at the start of the dig.

 

To find out more information and to register for this event go to https://wedigrp.eventbrite.ca

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