Place Eco Rubin: Protect land from housing

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Ken and Debbie Rubin shared a goal, to protect their 15 hectares of land in Luskville from unchecked housing development.In an interview, Ken said, “We began to think about the land’s future… We ruled out the National Capital Commission (I’m one of their chief critics, wanting a legal status for Gatineau Park); though there was one conversation. Incidentally, the NCC has bought part of the north side of Bradley Road to protect it from developers.”

The Rubins explored various options, settling on the non-profit group, ACRE (Action Chelsea for Respect of the Environment). ACRE has acquired several properties, saving them from private development. Lands ACRE owns are protected, but permit some community access to trails, and sometimes enabling the former landowner certain types of compatible, pre-arranged uses and access.

Said Ken, “We suggested an ecological corridor extending from Gatineau Park was key to ACRE ‘taking over’ our land. ACRE had not (and still does not) have Pontiac properties but their Board knew our land borders Gatineau Park and that made our lands an okay candidate for their protection.”

Protection

Ken recalls that although their land borders the Eardley Escarpment and Gatineau Park, “oddly enough, [it] was zoned residential, not agricultural.

“We saw unchecked housing coming to the Pontiac side and to Bradley Road and wanted our space to be protected, a buffer from the coming sprawl. But we also knew our land had special environmental characteristics. We know climate change is happening, so transferring and donating the land to ACRE, which can in perpetua protect it, made sense.”

Place Eco Rubin is born: 344 chemin Bradley, Luskville

The Rubins are delighted that ACRE has taken over their 15 hectares. ACRE established a Stewardship Committee, comprised of several local and regional residents. Stephen Woodley, President of ACRE joins Sheila McKrindle, Carolyn Callaghan, Carl Savignac, along with immediate neighbours of the Rubins, artists Chantal Dahan and Richard Blais. (Blais built a sign and gateway to Place Eco Rubin, further promoting community awareness of the sanctuary.)

Says Dahan, “I’m concerned about the ecosystem of this region, where housing development brings the city so close to our door. Place Eco Rubin serves as an important buffer, and the tree-planting initiative is the first of community minded activities.”

Species-at-risk plantation = restoration

ACRE hoped to organize replanting initiatives of native trees and flowers – and are delighted at the progress. They thank Carl Savignac, Director, Dendroica Environnement et Faune, who organized funding for 10,000 native trees (from NRCAN’s 2 billion tree program and Fondation de la Faune du Québec), plus a crew of volunteers to plant them. In 2023, Carolyn Callaghan of the Canadian Wildlife Federation hopes to organize planting native wildflowers here.

Savignac notes, “This is a species-at-risk habitat restoration project where we’re planting an 80% mix of deciduous trees (red oak, bur oak, red maple) and 20% conifers (white and red pine, larch).

This conversion of a 5 hectare hay field into young forests will help attract habitats for the endangered Golden-winged Warbler and other wildlife.”

Land legacies

When the Rubins were researching how best to protect their land, they investigated many organizations. ACRE suited their personal goals and needs well. Savignac explains, “The nearly 15 hectare site, that has a creek running through it, is found in the midst of growing surrounding housing developments. Its gifting and restoration help enhance the Eardley corridor area’s biodiversity, creating a unique Pontiac park preserve.”

ACRE

ACRE Land Trust President Stephen Woodley explains, “Place Eco Rubin will be primarily a location to protect, observe and enhance the natural habitat and be a site of low-impact ecological research and environmental education.”

Want to learn more about protecting your land for posterity?

Contact ACRE at: acrechelsea.qc.ca

Volunteer now!Although ten thousand trees were planted in late October, Savignac welcomes more volunteers to install coco mat and anti-rodent spirals. Contact: 819-431-8429; csdendroica@gmail.com.

Katharine Fletcher is a freelance writer, author, and visual artist.
Contact her: fletcher.katharine@gmail.com and view her art at facebook.com/KatharineFletcherArtist/