Post-election letters to the new Council

13 November 2014

The Greenspace Alliance today sent a congratulatory letter to each member of the new Council, also reporting on the responses to our propositions received from 13 among them.  Their responses are below, following the letter to Mayor Watson (which is as a PDF here).  The letters to each Councillor or Councillor-elect are bundled in a pdf here (1.9 MB).

Erwin Dreessen


Dear Jim,

On behalf of the Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital I wish to congratulate you on winning a second term. We look forward to working with you, Council and staff over this next term for the betterment of our fair city.

We are most encouraged by the commitment you made during Ecology Ottawa’s environmental debate on September 24 to bring forward a long-awaited site alteration by-law. We also noted your intent to lobby the Province for the ability to levy stronger fines against violators. Be aware that, of the 13 winning candidates who responded to our propositions, eight unequivocally supported a “strong” by-law while two did so conditionally; two provided no answer; one (Councillor Moffatt) would support such a by-law in urban areas only, which we chose to interpret as opposition to an essential if not the main purpose of a site alteration by-law.

Winning over rural Councillors to a by-law, particularly the “stronger” version such as Markham, London, Welland, Kitchener, St Thomas, Niagara, Oakville, and Hamilton have, clearly will be a major challenge. The by-laws in these cities all have provisions about the impact on vegetation or trees. Some time ago, when staff had begun drafting a site alteration by-law, it held out Kingston to us as an example; it has no provisions on vegetation and would not be helpful in preventing surprise “tree massacres” in the city.

We stand ready to assist staff in drafting this by-law as well as politicians to communicate its merits to their colleagues and the public.

The other proposition you responded to on September 24 was about the role of Advisory Committees. Nine of the 13 responding elected candidates supported our proposal; one more did so conditionally. Jim, the whole advisory committee structure in the City needs a significant re-think and your recent reforms not only missed the mark but made things worse. We are particularly keen to revisit the mandate and role of the Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee and would be pleased to meet with the new Chair of the Environment Committee to discuss the need for not only more frequent meetings but also how ESAC can work together with community organizations and tap into the considerable talents present in the community.

Our two other propositions garnered similar support from now-elected candidates. We look forward to seeing a firm allocation in upcoming Budgets for the acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands. And we know you are firmly in support of closing the door on any future applications for wasteful and destructive country lot subdivisions.

The table below summarizes the responses we received from winning candidates. Their full responses are brought together here.

Allow me to remind you that our propositions were endorsed by 150 individuals from across the city and by the following 16 local organizations:

+ Ecology Ottawa (Graham Saul, Executive Director)

+ Ottawa Field-Naturalists Club (Fenja Brodo, President)

+ Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre (Donna DuBreuil, President)

+ South March Highlands-Carp River Conservation (Prue Thomson, President)

+ Peace and Environment Resource Centre (Elaine Gibson, Chair, Board of Directors)

+ Heron Park Community Association (James McLaren, President)

+ Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Ottawa Valley Chapter (John McDonnell, Executive Director)

+ Bishops Mills Natural History Centre (Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad)

+ Woodroffe North Community Association (Dave Grosvenor, President)

+ (James O’Grady, Founder)

+ Poets’ Pathway (Jane Moore, Chair)

+ International Communication for Animal Justice (Joan Reddy, Founder and President)

+ The Champlain Oaks Project (Daniel Buckles)

+ Hintonburg Community Association (Matt Whitehead, President)

+ Rockcliffe Park Residents Association (Marilyn Venner, Secretary)

+ Rideau Trail Association – Ottawa Club (Sheila Parry, Chair)

Again, our congratulations and we look forward to a constructive dialogue on these and other issues over the next term of Council.


Erwin Dreessen


Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital

Attached: Jim Watson commits to bringing in a site alteration by-law — Media Release – 14 October 2014 Table

Ward                                    P1     P2     P3    P4

X 1  Bob Monette   yes?   ?   ?  yes
X 4  Marianne Wilkinson   yes  yes  yes  yes
X 9  Keith Egli   yes?  yes  yes  yes
X 10  Diane Deans     ?    ?    ?
X 12  Mathieu Fleury   yes  yes  yes  yes
13  Tobi Nussbaum   yes  yes  yes  yes
14  Catherine McKenney   yes  yes  yes  yes
15  Jeff Leiper   yes  yes  yes  yes
16  Riley Brockington   yes  yes?   ?  yes
X 17  David Chernushenko   yes  yes  yes  yes?
X 19  Stephen Blais   n/a  yes  n/a  n/a
X 21  Scott Moffatt   no  yes?   ?   ?
22  Michael Qaqish   yes  yes  yes  yes

  Yes     =



  Yes?   = Conditional or Tentative Support
  ?, n/a = Unclear , No Answer
  No?    = Conditional or Tentative No Support
  No      = No Support
       1 = Support for a strong site alteration by-law, with emphasis on “strong.”
       2 = Renewed commitment to an annual allocation towards an environmental lands acquisition fund.
       3 = Standing firm in support of the prohibition against future country lot subdivisions.
       4 = The City’s Advisory Committees should be genuine bridges between the public and Council.

UPDATE – 14 Nov 2014Councillor Egli replied: “Thanks for the email. However, my support for the [site alteration] bylaw is not conditional. Perhaps I should have been clearer but I do support such a initiative. Thanks again for your efforts.

And from Councillor Chernushenko: “Thanks for this detailed note Erwin, |  I will take all of this under advisement as we head into our new four-year term, and as our respective roles become clear in mid-December.

September 14, 2014 letter to all candidates — English     Français