General Meeting – 13 March 2002

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital

Meeting of March 13, 2002

7:30 p.m., Honeywell Room, new City Hall


Attending: Erwin Dreessen, Amy Kempster, Barbara Barr, Juan Pedro Unger, Arthur Mathewson, Bill Royds, Mike Mack, Mary Hegan

Guest: Mila Choumilova

Regrets: Divya Raman, Albert Dugal

Documents available: revised Proposed Agenda; draft Minutes of February 13, 2002.

Introductions were held. Mila expressed interest in volunteering for web development.

The agenda was further revised, moved by Amy and seconded by Barbara. Carried.
7h36 APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF Feb. 13, 2002
Barbara moved and Arthur seconded that the Minutes of February 13 be approved as posted and circulated. Carried.
The Friends of the Jock River have indicated intent to join the Greenspace Alliance – Niel Barrington, President.
Juan Pedro presented several options for a wordless, scalable, b&w or colour logo. A general preference was agreed upon. First application will be on the T-shirts for the Run/Walk on June 2. JP will finalize the design and convey it to Amy by month-end.
(a) National Capital Wildlife Festival award – April 4. Seven attendees expressed intent to participate. Erwin will reserve a ticket for Divya.
(b) NCC Ottawa River Recreational Pathways Open House – March 20. Amy and Mary will attend.
(c) EAC Workshop – March 23. City-administrative weaknesses are being overcome. OFAC and GACC may share a table. Erwin will bring copies of the brochure, year-end review and volunteer opportunities list. Barbara will bring membership forms. Bill will check with Mary or Elaine Gibson about computer hook-up.
(d) Wildlife Awareness Event – Carlingwood Shopping Centre – April 12-14. JP is awaiting final details. Many hours to cover, but an excellent opportunity to attract seniors as members and volunteers. Amy and Mike volunteered time. JP hopes to have a foldable backdrop ready by then. JP will post a notice to recruit volunteers.
(e) Ottawa River Clean-up – April 27. Main organizer is John Almstedt, in conjunction with the annual City cleaning campaign. Amy will post information on how to participate.
(f) IDRC urban agriculture awardees presentations – March 26. Erwin will post the notice.
(g) IISD/EC workshop – World Summit on Sustainable Development – March 28. Notice was posted on March 9.
(h) The Ottawa Forests Advisory Committee is planning an evening symposium on urban forests and environmental implications of urban growth; tentative date is May 9.
New Business / Action Items
A consensus emerged to limit our intervention to background, and presentation of the Poets’ Pathway project. Until April 8 (deadline for registration) uncertainty will remain on being able to do a 15-min show. Erwin informed that the Board has its regular meeting on May 3, considers an environmental scan in spring and a strategic plan in early fall. What they hear on May 2 is to feed into this process. Erwin will draft our brief for April 8.
Bill’s PowerPoint presentation was well received. Various suggestions for further improvement were made, including: a French component, a graphic on Lampman, reduce local detail, strengthen link with the poets & their work, refer to the June 1994 tri-level Recreational Pathway report, name persons/parties we have contacted. Bill will work further with Erwin (until April 9) and JP to refine the presentation.
Our lobbying led to considerable debate at P&D Committee on March 8 on a motion to defer an $8.5M expenditure, which lost 4-5. There was discussion on what to do further before Council decision on March 27. Amy suggested to propose an amendment that no works be done until the DFO permit is received. It was suggested that Clr. McNeely be approached. Barbara will confer with the Friends on further lobbying before March 27 and post information to the list.
Barbara presented our list of concerns to P&D Committee on March 8 and posted a report of the day on March 11. It was agreed to take no further action. Bill will publish the GACC submission on the web site.
An OMB pre-conference hearing was held on March 4; reference to Montfort Woods will not be allowed. On March 27, Council is expected to confirm the 5-0 Committee vote against the proposal with few dissenters though including Clr. Legendre. A six-week hearing is expected to start on April 29.
Erwin drew attention to a collection of G&M articles on urban reform over the last few months, none of which mention the importance of having and maintaining green spaces in the urban environment (see Mail File). JP will draft a letter to the editor.
Brief Reports / Updates / Deferrals
Barbara and Erwin sent in comments on the draft site plan conditions report, without the benefit of having seen the plans. Clr. Stewart’s office let us know that a final version is awaited, “following discussions with staff of community concerns.”Post-meeting note: Clr. Stewart’s office informed us on March 19 that she had forwarded approval of revised conditions.
All documents obtained under our Access to Information request were inventoried and provided to CREDDO. (See letter from the Information Commissioner in the mail File.) More recent documents are now also being released. Casiloc presented the latest version of its plan on March 5; a public opinion poll would decide the matter. The Coalition is planning press and information events. The DFO draft screening report is expected in the next few months, to be followed by a public consultation period. There are now 34 member groups in the Coalition. A petition with 14,000 names (demanding a full-blown hearing) is about to be tabled in Parliament through the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (Office of the Auditor General of Canada).
Both OFAC and EAC have delivered comments on the Charting a Course document. Several Greenspace members participated in the discussion groups. Whether GACC should register any official comments remained undecided. Mary and Arthur will post the comments from their Committees.
Erwin reported to have been told that Messrs. Beaudry, Chiarelli and Ducharme met informally in January, will likely meet again in March and possibly have their public meeting with the NCC Board at about May 3.He also reported that he had informed Sandra Pecek of the lukewarm response to an invitation to meet on the NCC’s stewardship guidelines and that it was mutually agreed to shelve this for now.
The OMB decision after a 5-day hearing has just been received. Minto’s appeal was dismissed but the interim control by-law is to end in June. There will be a pre-hearing conference on May 27. The quarry pit is to be excluded from consideration. The decision recognizes the NOSS methodology as valid for sites outside the former Ottawa. The Q.F. Committee will stress the safety issue as a consideration. Barbara will post a report.
There is now a notice on site for rezoning from Industrial to Residential.
10h33 Adjournment, by consensus.


– E-mail from Erwin Dreessen to Patrice Leblanc (Greenprint), on behalf of the Greenspace Alliance responding to questions about needs and gaps. February 24, 2002. 2 pp.
– Letter from Erwin Dreessen to the Ontario Trillium Foundation in support of funding for a project of the Heron Park C.A. regarding Sawmill Creek. March 3, 2002.
– Letter from Christine Hanrahan of the Wildlife Festival, announcing the Greenspace Alliance’s winning of an award in the Group Category. Received March 12, 2002. Award ceremony April 4 in the Canadian Museum of Nature. For more information visit .
– Delcan, Alta Vista Transportation Corridor Environmental Assessment – Revised Study Design Document. February 2002. 46 pp. & Appendices. And: Summary of Comments on the October 2001 draft study design document. 12 pp. Transmittal letter of March 4, 2002.
– Invitation to the Ottawa River Sustainable Development workshops of February 27, 2002 (posted to the list, Feb. 16).
– Invitation to Breaking Ground – creating a greener, healthier city – Calgary, May 2 – 4. Web site is .
– Letter from the Hon. John Reid, federal Information Commissioner, detailing all the wrong and illegal turns taken by Fisheries and Oceans on our request for release of 35 documents and confirming that his Office has taken an active part in resolving our complaint. The letter concludes: “In my view, there is no lawful excuse for the poor service that F&O has provided you. I will inform F&O’s departmental officials of my disappointment over the department’s non-compliance with the Act.” February 27, 2002. 2 pp.
– David McNicoll, submission of February 28 on Moffatt Farm, with Appendices. 18 pp. (Main part was posted to the list on March 6.)
– Invitation to workshops in five cities (not Ottawa) on Building Sustainable Enterprises – Eco-efficiency – How leading companies improve their competitiveness. Web site is .
– PEN – March 2002 issue. (On p. 7, a piece on the NCC’s plans for the near-airport lands. Bill Royds is prominently quoted and identified with the G.A.)
– [collection of G & M articles on urban reform in hands of JP Unger.]
– Randall Denley, “‘People’s budget’ has no price tag,” The Citizen, March 13, 2002, B4. Says that Budget 2002 “is notable for how well it has been stage-managed. He finds it hard to argue with Clr. Cullen’s opinion that “This was not an accountability budget.”
– Kate Jaimet, “Woman’s fight inspires grocery giant to go green – Loblaw to stop selling non-organic pesticides in 2003 – Dr. Bruinsma’s environmental legacy,” The Citizen, March 13, 2002, D1.
– Brian Finch (letter to the editor), “Munster plant would improve Jock River’s health,” The Citizen, March 12, 2002, B5. Argues against Clr. Stavinga’s view that a pipeline is the best solution for this sewage problem and in favour of a tertiary, high-tech treatment plant on-site; the effluent would benefit the Jock River watershed.
– David Reevely, “School board regrets loss of nature centres,” The Citizen, March 10, 2002, A10. The Bill Mason Centre in Dunrobin and the MacSkimming Centre in Cumberland appear doomed.
– David Reevely, “Key budget decisions being made at ‘silly time’ – Tired city councillors ‘not serving the tax payer'(Brooks). And: Ken Gray, “Councillors, staff survive gruelling week – Transit a loser, roads a winner at conclusion of budget estimates,” The Citizen, March 10, 2002, A10. Clr. Brooks observes that the public delegations come too late and proposes that Council give staff general directions in June, hear from public delegations in the fall and present Council with a Budget in January. Gray’s piece declares Financial Services Director Lloyd Russell as the winner.
– David Reevely, “Airport land in view as Ex site,” The Citizen, March 9, 2002, D1. Land in question is southeast of the airport and owned by the airport authority.
– Mike Hinds (Point of view – Media diversity), “New newspaper aims to cover issues the dailies overlook,” The Citizen, March 7, 2002, C4. Describes Manufacturing Dissent, a “quasi-monthly student publication run in part out of Carleton University.” Its first issue, last September, had a 3,000 run print. For more information e-mail or call 220-2838.
– Bob Harvey (Obituary – Nicole Bruinsma), “Family doctor instrumental in Chelsea’s ban on pesticides,” The Citizen, March 4, 2002, D3. Dr. Bruinsma helped found ACRE.
– Richard Bendall (Point of view – The Environment), “Munster sewage treatment fiasco is a 10-year long city bungle,” The Citizen, March 4, 2002, D4. Reminds Mayor Chiarelli of a Council direction in 1998 to retain an independent consultant for a reassessment of the E.A.’s preferred alternative (a pipeline). Works with the Concerned Citizens group, web site .
– Clive Doucet, “Urban decay: the domino effect,” The Globe & Mail, February 25, 2002, A15. Bemoans the cities’ lack of resources to solve local problems, including providing for affordable housing. Concludes that neither the city nor the nation are on a sustainable path.
– David Boyd (Comment), “Ecology: The puck stops here – It’s not just hockey; Swedes are giving us an environmental trouncing. Let’s learn from their success,” The Globe & Mail, February 20, 2002, A17. Environmental lawyer, author of Canada vs. Sweden: An Environmental Face-Off. Explains that Sweden has a comprehensive national strategy to achieve sustainability by 2025, has implemented a carbon dioxide tax, and is moving towards full-cost pricing of environmental goods and services, among many other initiatives.

The next meeting of the GACC is on April 17, 2002, at 7:30 p.m., in the Honeywell Room.