GREENSPACE ALLIANCE OF CANADA’S CAPITAL
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD FEBRUARY 11, 1998
The meeting was held in the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton headquarters building and began at approximately 7:45 p.m. Shelley Parlow chaired. Shelley Parlow and Barbara Barr recorded minutes.
Christine Grant (Crystal Bay Comm. Assoc.)
Shelley Parlow (Hunt Club Corridor Protection Assoc.)
Nick Heisler (Westboro Beach Comm. Assoc.)
Michael Wall (Crystal Beach/Lakeview Comm. Assoc.)
Doug Stowe (Nortel) (Speaker)
Suizen Hong (Nortel) (Student)
Al Speyers (Alliance to Save Our Greenbelt)
Barbara Barr (South Keys/Greenboro Comm. Assoc.)
Tom Gabor (South Keys/Greenboro Comm. Assoc.)
Sol Schuster (Alliance to Save Our Greenbelt)
Giselle Sadik (Westboro)
Marie- Claire Douglas (McKellar)
Christine Hartig (Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre)
Donna DuBreuil (Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre)
Bryan Hawley, Amy Kempster
Minutes: No minutes were read.
Announcements and Short Items:
Erwin Dreessen distributed copies of “Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital – – By-Laws,” ‘First Draft’ dated 14 January 1998 and an attached “Notes to/Highlights of a ‘First Draft’ of the By-laws for the Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital” (submitted by Bryan Hawley and Erwin Dreessen, 14 January 1998) to those who needed them.
Guest Speaker: Doug Stowe, Environmental Program Coordinator at Nortel’s Real Estate Division
Topic: “Nortel and the Role of Greenspace at Its Carling/Moody Site”
Doug Stowe explained the plans for a $160-million expansion by Nortel at its Carling/Moody site. He made available numerous display boards to which he referred during his presentation. He explained that Nortel, a world leader in high-tech communications, has a long-time commitment to environmental leadership and stewardship. The “study area” at Carling & Moody consists of 387 acres, 87 of which are owned by Nortel and 300 are leased from the National Capital Commission. Mr. Stowe described the history of laboratory expansion plans for the site beginning with 1988. An environmental site assessment and two public sessions regarding the current expansion plan have taken place. Principles of the master plan are to protect the integrity of the surrounding Greenbelt and to minimize ecological impact during construction. Rather than destroy vegetation, Nortel transplanted trees and gave away 1200 shrubs to employees and the community. Transportation issues were considered, including ways to reduce auto travel, OC Transpo service, bicycle access, and promoting working at home (telecommuting). Potential effects on the natural environment were considered. The environmental assessment is a 650-page report that is the best compromise between economics and development and the Greenbelt. Nortel believes that consideration of the natural environment is good for business and that companies who are good corporate citizens are more apt to retain employees.
A lively discussion took place during and after the presentation. Many expressed concern that the expansion, regardless of all environmentally friendly efforts, is taking place in the Greenbelt. There was particular concern about the amount of land covered by the proposed parking lot.
Shelley Parlow asked if Nortel might consider purchasing greenspace as a charitable donation as a way to mitigate the environmental impact of the expansion and the corresponding loss of Greenbelt land for community use. Doug Stowe responded that Nortel had conducted a community relations survey of its employees asking where Nortel should put its charity dollars. (Most of Nortel’s employees have high incomes and are below 30 years of age.) The survey results favoured science and technology education, Tour de Quickie, Power Aid, and Trees for Life. He said he would be happy to pass Shelley’s suggestion to upper management/ Public Relations Dept. and suggested that the Greenspace Alliance make a list of lands for this purpose.
Urgent Greenspace Issue: Proposed Waterpark in Nepean’s Greenbelt
Michael Wall of Nepean’s Crystal Beach/Lakeview Community Association explained that the National Capital Commission (NCC) wants to lease 35 acres of NCC land on Range Road south of Carling Ave. to Carlington Aquatic Park, Inc. to develop a waterpark. The abandoned Watts Creek Sewage Plant currently occupies some of the site. It would cost $900,000 to dismantle the former sewage treatment plant. The proposed parking lot to service the waterpark would cover 14 acres of farmland. The NCC has declared that a waterpark is an appropriate use under the area’s rural landscape designation. At a public meeting in Nepean attended by approximately 80 people, a resolution opposing the waterpark passed overwhelmingly. Water Safari Parks, another developer, is planning to develop a waterpark in West Carleton near the intersection of Highway 17 and March Road.
Michael sought the help of the Greenspace Alliance to delay or prevent Nepean’s approval of a waterpark in the Greenbelt. A public meeting will be held at the Chamber of Nepean Civic Square, 101 Centrepointe Drive on February 24 at 6:00 p.m., at which time Nepean’s Planning Committee will consider amending the zoning by-law to allow a recreation commercial use for the site. Christine Hartig provided copies of an announcement of the meeting. Attendees discussed the issue and what could be done, including such actions as letter-writing, attending the meeting on Feb. 24 to make verbal presentations, lobbying Nepean’ s councillors, informing Nepean’s community associations, and getting the case for Greenbelt preservation before the public through articles in “The Clarion” newspaper . Concerns raised included the fact that the issue of commercial development within the Greenbelt has region-wide significance and that Nepean might set an unfavourable precedent fo Greenbelt preservation for other communities.
The Alliance agreed to provide a letter of support for the preservation of the Greenbelt (moved by Tom Gabor, seconded by Christine Hartig). The letter will be prepared by Tom Gabor. There was discussion that the letter could be distributed to all Nepean Councillors, all regional councillors, the NCC (Marcel Beaudry), the National Capital Liberal Caucus, and the Environmental Critics for other national parties. Michael Wall agreed to provide information about how to contact them. .
The Alliance agreed (moved by Sol Schuster, seconded by Christine Hartig) that the content of the letter should include (1) going on record that a commercial waterpark enterprise is an inappropriate use of Greenbelt lands and is incompatible with the Greenbelt Master Plan, (2) making a case for the need for more time for the public consultation, particularly to review the plans and NCC’ s policies, and (3) requesting a deferral of a final decision by the Nepean City Council pending such review and consultation .
Scheduling of Meetings:
It was agreed that the February 24 meeting of the Greenspace Alliance at the Regional headquarters be cancelled in order to make it possible for Alliance members to attend the February 24 meeting of Nepean’s Planning Committee.
The Alliance meeting scheduled for March 11 was also cancelled and a new meeting date of Tuesday, March 3 was set. There will not be a guest speaker; the meeting will deal with business issues.