Some personal accents added to the land of New Edinburgh may stay – but others must go

Chris Straka sits in a Muskoka chair in early January.  It was one of the items that Straka, one of the self-proclaimed

Chris Straka sits in a Muskoka chair in early January. It was one of the items that Straka, one of the self-proclaimed “boys and gals of the lane,” added to a swath of NCC-owned land at one end of River Lane in New Edinburgh. (Kimberley Molina/CBC – photo credit)

Some personal “decorations” on public lands that became a point of contention between New Edinburgh neighbors were allowed to remain, others must go.

Chris Straka, along with several of his neighbors, had been behind many of what he calls “public space embellishments” on a small strip of land bounded by Dufferin Road, Stanley Avenue and River Lane.

This included a small free library on a power pole, two Muskoka chairs, a wooden horse and unicorn, and some Christmas lights.

However, some neighbors saw the facility differently — not as amenities, but as an extension of someone’s personal property.

After someone complained to the city, Ottawa bylaw officials began investigating in December, giving Straka, who owns a home across the street from the property, 48 hours to remove the decoration or a $615 fine to pay.

However, they withdrew after realizing that the land actually belonged to the National Capital Commission (NCC).

Since then, Straka said he’s been working with the NCC to find solutions to those amenities.

Kimberley Molina/CBC

Kimberley Molina/CBC

Library OK, lights may damage trees

CBC has seen emails between Straka and the NCC in which the commission said it had no concerns about the small free library and could work with the community to move it to a more accessible area along a trail.

However, the Christmas lights will have to be taken down because of “possible damage to the trees,” the NCC said. It suggested that a land access permit could be issued for the rest of the winter or other times of the year.

The lights had been powered by extension cords connected to Straka’s house.

The red Muskoka chairs are also set to be replaced, likely with nearly identical chairs that can be tied to the floor.

Kimberley Molia/CBC

Kimberley Molia/CBC

Then there is the wooden horse and the unicorn.

After years of sitting on the strip of land, they were “fed up,” Straka joked. As part of the deal with the NCC, they will now be looking at “alternative pastures,” he said, which could include time in New Edinburgh and Stanley parks.

But for now, they’re “going to be spending a little bit more time in their stable at my house,” he said.

In a statement to CBC, the NCC said it was “engaging with the community and is exploring opportunities for future collaboration.”


Show More

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button