On 30 November 2019, the Briarbrook and Morgan’s Grant Community Association (BMGCA) held a workshop to engage the community in a visioning exercise for future uses of a hydro corridor. The corridor runs 1.5 km from Old Carp Road to Terry Fox Drive. We have been working with BMGCA, Hydro One, and the City of Ottawa for four years to support the evolution of the corridor into green space that provides recreation and green infrastructure benefits. Councillor Jenna Sudds and Hydro One’s Terry Tysick also attended the workshop.
There was some discussion about how Morgan’s Grant can act as a model for other publicly owned hydro corridors in Ottawa. Corridors can serve many community needs: recreation, sustainable mobility, physical and mental health, natural heritage, biodiversity, food security, and ecosystem services like storm water absorption. The design must be resilient to access by Hydro One for maintenance and repairs, and to withstand extremes of weather.
Key issues discussed during the workshop include:
- making the corridor more available for winter recreation;
- enhancing natural heritage features – adding more local native shrubs and plants, including those that provide food like wild berries;
- connecting the corridor trail into the network of Kanata North trails that can be used by bike commuters (a north/south link to tech business), and recreation bikers and walkers;
- serving a broad demographic (children, adults, seniors);
- adding benches and a place for meditation; and
- adding crosswalk markings to bisecting roads to improve safety.
In 2017 Hydro One seeded the corridor with a pollinator mix designed by the University of Guelph. The mix consisted of:
- 32% oats
- 20% blue stem grass
- 14% Virginia wild rye
- 6% purple cone flower (rudbeckia)
- 5% lanceleaf coreopsis
- 4% common sunflower
- 3% yarrow
- 3% black-eyed susan
- 3% showy tick trefoil
- 3% common milkweed
- 2% wild bergamot
Hydro One bought and installed two pollinator hotels in the corridor and provided funding for a summer student in 2019, who removed wild parsnip, set up and monitored test plots, and documented flora and fauna in iNaturalist.