Residents in the Overbrook neighbourhood are upset hundreds of ash trees being removed along the Rideau River will not be replaced quickly enough to prevent considerable soil erosion in the area.
The National Capital Commission confirmed some 600 trees along North River Road are being removed by city crews as part of efforts to contain the infestation of the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle that has spread across many parts of the city.
The trees were cut this winter in the park corridor along the Rideau River, much to the surprise of area residents.
"I was utterly astounded it looked like this after having beautiful trees for ages and ages," said Michelle Robichaud, a board member with the Overbrook Community Association.
"What shocks me is the scope of it, we didn't realize it is happening all at once," said Robichaud.
Bulk of replanting to be done in 2015
NCC spokesman Jean Wolff said in advance of the cutting, the federal landowner planted some 60 trees in 2011 and 2012, but said a later replanting of a more diverse group of trees would have to wait until 2015.
"It is only after the stumps have been removed and the site has been cleaned that the most of the replanting towards reforestation will happen," wrote Wolff in an email response.
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"As removing large numbers of big stumps and cleaning up after that will likely take all summer, the bulk of the replanting job will start in the spring of 2015."
Robichaud said she is worried Ottawa's prolonged cold this winter will lead to a larger than usual thaw, one that will be made worse by the loss of trees along the river.
"With all this snow we're going to have really high waters in the spring and there is nothing keeping the soil here there's going to be huge erosion problems," she said.