2009 Annual Report (GA Inc.)



November 2008 – November 2009

The Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital is the leading advocate of greenspace preservation and expansion in the National Capital region. This year we undertook a number of activities to help preserve significant greenspace in the capital and provided input on sustainable farming, development and transportation.

Members of the Board in 2008-2009 were: Cheryl Doran (Chair), Sol Shuster (Vice-Chair), Janice Seline (Treasurer), Chris Szpak (Secretary), Barry George (Membership), Joseph Potvin, Mik Svilans and Amy Kempster.

Main Activities

Leitrim: Judicial Review and Permits To Take Water.

The Greenspace Alliance, as part of the “Friends of Leitrim Wetland” — a group working to prevent the destruction of the Provincially Significant Wetland — worked tirelessly on preparation for a Judicial Review of the June 2007 decision by the Ontario Municipal Board to dismiss our zoning appeals, on alerting the Ministry of the Environment to possibly illegal water taking practices throughout the fall and winter months and on commenting on proposals for Permits To Take Water (PTTW). Unfortunately, we lost on our Judicial Review application, based on a technicality. We appealed one PTTW to the Environmental Review Tribunal and successfully fought off motions to dismiss that appeal and allegations that we had trespassed. However, that Permit expired before the substance of our Leave to Appeal could be adjudicated. A 10-year Permit is now proposed and we have supplied extensive comments, supported by reports from Drs. Fred Michel and G. Clarke Topp.

As a fall-out from the Judicial Review application, the City of Ottawa has filed with the Divisional Court a request for $5,120 together with the Findlay Creek Developers who are seeking costs of $67,217 from the Greenspace Alliance. We are currently awaiting the Divisional Court’s decision and will contemplate our next move pending advice from the Ecojustice Environmental Law Clinic.

As much as these costs have caused us great grief, it is only a drop in the bucket as our lawyer is also being sued by the same Findlay Creek developers for $3,000,000, alleging defamation.

The Official Plan

Greenspace Alliance members have actively participated in the review process of the City’s official plan – a lengthy process that is mandated to take place every five years and should be completed in the spring of 2009. This has included attending sessions of rural strategy working groups, and meeting and providing input to Staff on amendments to be drafted so that issues of concern to the Alliance were being appropriately considered. The main focus of the Alliance has been on policies regarding rural residential development, advocating for measures that limited urban sprawl and protected sensitive areas which include Species At Risk in significant wetlands and woodlands. In practical terms, the Alliance has supported fixing the urban boundary, curtailing country-lot estate subdivisions, preventing the development of land designated Rural Natural Features (RNF), and ensuring that provincially significant wetlands be properly recognized and accounted for in the OP.

Development Charges City of Ottawa Advisory Committee

The Alliance participated in an Advisory Committee for the quintannual review of the City’s development charges. The Committee consisted of developers, the Federation of Citizens’ Associations and members of the Alliance.


[ For a further report on the activities of the Greenspace Alliance, please see Annual Report 2009 (FGA Inc.) ]