Annual Report 2004
State of the Alliance
The Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital is the leading advocate of greenspace preservation and expansion in the National Capital region. It is now incorporated under the federal corporations act. Our advocacy has ensured that natural spaces are no longer a neglected part of planning. But we still need to increase our membership to help convince politicians of the great support for natural spaces preservation by our region’s citizens. This year has been an interesting one as the ramifications of the new City of Ottawa Official Plan have affected many activities. One particular section of the new OP that has been a source of many problems is the provision for country lot estates that was added at the last revision. The Greenspace Alliance has appealed this section of the Official Plan, but the appeal has yet to be heard and the developers are going ahead with many developments.
Another important issue is changes to the Ontario Planning Act and Ontario Municipal Board. The Greenspace Alliance has provided several briefs to the province on these revisions. As well, the Greenspace Alliance’s brief to the City of Ottawa on Development Charges, prepared by Erwin Dreessen with input from Amy Kempster, led to several changes in the final provisions to have the development costs of greenfield development more properly charged.
The Country Lot Estate provision in the OP allows developers to subdivide rural areas into large estate lots, 0.2 ha or larger, often in Rural Natural Features. The Greenspace Alliance has consistently opposed usage of this at Planning and Environment Committee and is seeking to overturn amendments to the OP plan facilitating its use.
The Greenspace Alliance is also supporting residents of Kanata in appealing the conversion of large natural areas in the South March High lands to residential development.
Another important issue has been the attempt to amend the OP and rezone a large natural area at 5309 Bank Street. This site, formerly owned by the city until its sale to R.W. Tomlinson Inc. in July 2003, is rated as one of the most important sites in the city for biodiversity. An Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) paid for by Tomlinson, found 16 regionally rare species on the site, 5 of them provincially rare and 2 on the national endangered species list. Despite a provision in the sales contract not to damage any part of the site, Tomlinson has bulldozed habitat for the nationally endangered species, American Ginseng, found on the site.
The Greenspace Alliance was also active at budget time, ensuring that the fund for Natural Areas Acquisition was not removed and that sufficient funds were given to environmental planning to continue development of the Greenspace Master Plan. lt also reviewed and contributed to the development of the “Development Process On Time Review” policies of the city government.
The Greenspace Alliance also intervened in planning for the Chats Fall boat bypass, which initially was designed to pass through the Morris Island Conservation Area and through residential areas near Fitzroy Harbour and Wilola Beach.
The Greenspace Alliance has been an active member of the Friends of Leitrim group to prevent the destruction of the Leitrim Wetland. Barbara Barr, our representative has attended several sessions of the Leitrim Community Design Plan.
Our member, Al Crosby, wrote a brief for us in support of the rezoning of Montfort Woods to an environmental protection designation, a great outcome for a long-time effort to preserve it.
Fund Raising and Outreach Activities
Our chief fundraising activity each year is the Run/Walk for Clean Air, held in partnership with the Friends of the Farm and the Sierra Club of Canada, Ottawa Chapter. This year our share was approximately $575. Our representatives on the organizing committee have been Amy Kempster and Magala Goemans. The Greenspace Alliance also maintained a booth at the Wildlife Festival in April.
The Greenspace Alliance was asked for comment by the media in several instances in the last year, especially about proposed Gatineau Park Master Plan. Bill Royds and Amy Kempster appeared on Rogers Daytime show in an interview about loss of Greenspace in the region.