GREENSPACE ALLIANCE OF CANADA’S CAPITAL
December 15, 2014
Hintonburg Community Centre
1064 Wellington Street West
Erwin Dreessen (chair and notetaker), Nicole DesRoches, Bruce Lindsay, Amy Steele, David McNicoll, Iola Price, Judy Makin, and Juan Pedro Unger
Guest: Trevor Haché
Regrets: Sol Shuster, Jason Kania
The meeting commenced at 7:20 p.m., around a table laden with Christmas cheer.
The agenda was adopted as circulated, except for the addition of a few items. Trevor’s presentation was discussed first as he had to leave.
2. Healthy Transportation Coalition
The group was formed in February 2014 and currently has 17 group and 45 individual members. It aims to serve as a table of convergence on the environmental, social and health aspects of transportation in the national capital region. The health component indicates a preference for pedestrian, cycling and public transit modes of transportation. Trillium has provided a 4-year collaborative grant that will see 5 of the organizational members receive funding to conduct a variety of activities designed to increase access to active, affordable and safe transportation choices in Ottawa through community engagement, mapping, community audits, policy development, partnership development and pop-up projects such as cargo bike sharing. Funding will build the Healthy Transportation Coalition’s capacity to address the transportation barriers that prevent people from being able to socially and economically participate in community life.
This work will focus on six neighbourhoods with low social status and poor walkability, including Bayshore and Herongate; a special issue of PEN, and an annual summit. Outside and totally separate from the Trillium grant activities, the Coalition will be involved in some advocacy such as on the City of Ottawa Budget.
Trevor suggested that the Greenspace Alliance consider joining the Coalition. Meetings are quarterly (the next one is scheduled for the evening of January 22). Membership fees for organizations are on a ‘sliding scale’ (anywhere from $0-$500 per year). See www.healthytransportation.ca for more information.
Following his presentation, Trevor responded to several questions from attendees, including: existence of software to calculate energy consumption of projects; cost effectiveness of investments in various modes of transportation; catering to an aging population; and how closely the Coalition works with Transport Action Canada (formerly Transport 2000).
3. Administrative items
a. Minutes of November 24, 2014
Bruce moved, seconded by Nicole, to approve the Minutes of November 24 as circulated. Agreed.
b. Action updates
– A response from the NCC’s CEO to our suggestions for greater transparency was posted to the List on December 4. Staff reports will henceforth be available at least three days before a Board of Directors meeting; and Minutes of Board meetings will be posted within three days of their approval. Two other suggestions are under consideration.
– A letter to the Ontario Minister of MA&H about OMB reform was sent on November 30 and posted to the List and the web site the same day.
– We were again unsuccessful in our application for a grant from MEC. There were 14 successful applications among 66 submitted. We have asked for feedback.
4. Membership report
Bruce led a long discussion on each of his proposals which he redistributed with comments received since last month. The following was agreed upon:
1- Membership renewal is due in the quarter of the year that it expires. (Expiry is on the anniversary of joining.)
2- Fees will remain the same.
3- The Membership Chair, Chairpersons and Webmaster will have access to a membership and donation roster maintained on a secure page of the GA web site.
4- Bruce will discuss further with Jason whether he can have a web email address to perform membership or donation functions so that the emails do not visibly come from or go to his personal account.
5- Membership and Donation opportunities should be made more visible on the web site — more visible than what can now be found under the Get Involved tab. The Board will be presented with a mock-up before a change is implemented.
6- Donations will be earmarked on a case-by-case basis only, such as for a specific campaign or project.
7- Group membership should be actively promoted, whether as ordinary member or as supporting (Associate). Shortlist: The 16 groups that endorsed our four municipal election propositions.
8- Bruce will explore further the feasibility of paying on-line.
On a related matter, Amy moved, seconded by David, that the Alliance join the Ontario Environmental Network ($40.00). Agreed. Action: Erwin.
5. Central Experimental Farm
Juan Pedro reported on a meeting with the Presidents of Friends of the Farm, Heritage Ottawa and Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association held December 6 at Erwin’s house. Shared concerns are the process that led to the federal government’s announcement of November 3 and the apparent absence of scientific and heritage considerations in carving off 60 acres of the Farm. The group agreed to contact concerned scientists, prepare material for publication, and pursue further conversations with the Ottawa Hospital and area politicians. The decades-long scientific experiments that are ongoing at the Farm are largely unknown to the general public. More recently, Friends of the Farm has been advised that, as a charity, it must abstain from advocacy. This presses a unique role upon groups such as the Alliance.
6. First meeting of the Environment Committee
Discussion of a possible submission was deferred to email exchanges due to lack of time.
7. Brief reports/updates
a. Road Ecology symposium, November 27-28: Erwin’s report was posted to the list and GA web site on December 6.
b. FCA meeting of December 4 (Centretown): Iola and Erwin attended as did Alex Cullen who reminded all that the Municipal Elections Act is routinely reviewed after every election. While we identified corporate contributions as an issue, no-one present volunteered to draft a letter.
c. Ecological Urbanism, December 10: Erwin attended this Urban Lab session at the NCC. Besides presentations from two visitors from Paris, France, most impressive was a presentation by Nina-Marie Lister (Ryerson) who illustrated how we have turned rivers from life forces into drains. She gave many examples of how greater resilience can be built into infrastructure and infrastructure itself can be redefined with greater respect for nature. In response to a City of Ottawa forester attending, Prof. Lister opined that we should be able to do for remnant forests what we do for wetlands (the latter having at least some policy protection).
c. Kanata North tree cut: The pre-trial conference on November 27 was not open to the public. Court will next be spoken to on February 5, 2015. On the same date, Ottawa Valley Tree Experts (the company hired by Metcalfe) had a first court appearance; its case was also put over to February 5. We further learned that CN has removed the rails along the eastern edge of the property and that the status of the forest remnant “S20” remains hotly debated between City Hall and the owner’s consultant.
8. Other business
a. Airport Parkway widening: Initiation of a 2-year environmental assessment has just been announced. Iola moved, seconded by Bruce, that Erwin request, on behalf of the Alliance, membership on the public advisory committee. Agreed.
b. Monument to the victims of communism: Iola volunteered to draft a letter to the appropriate Ministers.
The meeting adjourned at 9:31 p.m.
The next meeting will be on January 26, 2015, starting at 7:15 p.m. at the Hintonburg CC.