Hydro Corridors – A Partnership for Community Greenspace

The Ottawa Stewardship Council continues to work on a model for sustainable maintenance, conservation, environmental stewardship, and safe public use of hydro corridors across the city.  Interest is building at Hydro One, the City of Ottawa, and communities across the city in developing a stewardship model for corridors owned by the City or Hydro One.

Information sign at Morgan's Grant hydro corridor
Information sign at the Morgan’s Grant hydro corridor.

Based on our work with the Briarbrook Morgan’s Grant Community Association in Kanata, we are learning about what is important for the community, how to better engage the City, and how to meet Hydro One’s requirements for access and clearance around towers. This collaborative approach led to Hydro One asking the OSC for advice and assistance in building links with communities where they needed to do corridor maintenance.

As a result OSC has advised several other community groups about how to work collaboratively with Hydro One staff in exploring what they can do on hydro corridors while in turn providing a positive impact on Hydro One’s maintenance practices.  The goal is to create ongoing cooperative links that will grow into active community led stewardship programs in the future.

ottawa stewardship council helping Morgan's Grant hydro corridor project.
Morgan’s Grant corridor planted with wild flowers.

Most recently OSC has been actively engaged in advising city councillors on the importance of including almost 250 kilometers of hydro corridor lands into the City of Ottawa’s greenspace management plan as well as having them identified in the City’s new Official Plan. These efforts are showing promise as the councillors with whom OSC has met are supportive of the value of recognizing corridor lands and of the need for a cooperative long-term agreement with Hydro One such that communities affected by activities on hydro corridors may take active roles in their environmental stewardship, conservation, and recreational use.

These discussions, and the involvement of an increasing number of community groups and associations who have contacted the Council and its partners, are growing.  We are encouraged by the number of individuals and groups who want to learn how stewardship can improve their impact on the ecological quality of hydro corridors and by steps being taken by City Councillors to support the initiative.

Councillors Jenna Sudds and Jean Clouthier are looking at forming a working group of community organizations and City staff that will help advise on best approaches and practices for creating a model.  The goal is for interested communities living near or adjacent to corridor lands to become engaged with Hydro One and the City in the proper care and stewardship of these significant tracts of greenspace. The Council has provided considerable input into these plans and continues to offer its assistance.