General Meeting – 15 May 2008

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital
Minutes of General Monthly Meeting of May 15, 2008
Champlain Field House, 149 Cowley Avenue

Members present: Cheryl Doran (Chair), Theresa Jobateh (Minutes Taker), Erwin Dreessen, Carol Gudz, Chris Szpak, Amy Kempster, Bill Royds, Barry George, Daphne McCree.

Regrets: Sol Shuster, Joseph Potvin, Hugh Carter, and Janice Seline.

The meeting commenced at 7:15 p.m.

1. Welcome and Introductions

2. Adoption of Agenda
Carol moved to adopt the agenda with a few additions under new business. Chris seconded.

3. Approval of Minutes from April 17, 2008
Motion: Theresa moved for the approval of the Minutes as amended. Erwin seconded.

4. Update on Poet’s Pathway
Bill provided an update on the Poet’s Pathway project, the proposed logo and an up-coming fundraiser concert at Bell Street United Church, featuring music and poetry by local artists. (See also Treasurer’s report). There was discussion around the “Murmurs” concept where visitors to the pathway would call a telephone number that is posted at various locations to obtain information and hear readings of related poems. There was also discussion around the need to incorporate the Poets’ Pathway Committee and then register it as a charity so they can issue charitable receipts.

5. Business arising from the Minutes of April 17, 2008
a) MOU that concluded the April 24-25 OMB mediation about the NCC’s appeal of the 2003 Official Plan
Erwin provided an update on the NCC’s appeal of the 2003 Official Plan, outlining a Memorandum of Understanding.
Motion: Bill moved that the Alliance agree to the MOU presented by Erwin. Amy seconded. There were no objections.

b) OFNC Conservation Award
Cheryl informed the group of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club Conservation Award for Club members to Erwin Dreessen. She and Erwin attended the April 27th awards event.

c) EcoFair – deferred

d) Earth Day / Gatineau Park – deferred

e) Plant Sale
On behalf of Janice, Erwin updated the group on the successful Friends of the Farm plant sale fundraiser. The Alliance raised approximately $800. The group joined Erwin in extending special thanks to Albert Dugal for his contributions.

f) Display Boards – deferred to next meeting

g) Kanata West
Carol and Erwin provided an update. There will be a 3rd party review of the development plan. On June 24, Planning and Environment Committee will meet to discuss terms of reference that will be open for public review. There was discussion on the errors found by the Auditor General and others.

6. Membership report
Cheryl reported on behalf of Janice Seline that there was no recent activity.

7. Treasurer’s Report
Amy provided an update on the account balances.

Motion: Amy moved that the Alliance advance the Poets’ Pathway committee $200 to enable them to host a fundraiser concert, with the understanding that the amount is to be paid back from receipts. Erwin seconded.

8. Leitrim Update
Erwin updated the group on the May 14th hearing on the motion to dismiss our leave to appeal the permit to take water (PTTW). A decision is expected in about four weeks. Linda of the Environmental Law Clinic made an offer on May 15th to work with the developer’s experts. It was declined. There was to be a Judicial Review of the OMB decision in June but the court wants to delay again and the developer is employing stalling tactics.. We are still awaiting disclosure of hydrogeological data.

9. Discussion Items
a) Official Plan
Amy informed the group of the upcoming public meeting May 31 at Confederation High School. She encouraged other GA members to attend. Agenda items will include the staff proposals on rural strategy for growth.

Action: Amy will send a notice to the Alliance mailing list.

Chris commented that he and Amy would have a report on the 2008 OP ready for Alliance review at the end of the month.

b) Greenbelt and the Airport Parkway Master Plan
Cheryl provided an update on her meetings with people in government and her efforts stressing the position to preserve the Greenbelt. Federal ministers each have their roles to play. As each department has departmental staff that look at development plans from different angles, it’s sometimes difficult for one Minister to dictate to another Minister their wishes. This is becoming quite clear when looking at environmental issues on other federal lands.

As a result various department and agencies will conduct new studies of each area of concern. The GA supports additional studies and will continue to provide comment whenever possible.

c) GA – Transportation position
Cheryl led discussions on the position that the Alliance should consider taking while focusing on green space issues and endangered species. Barry and Cheryl will update the document on the Alliance’s position, have it ready for review by May 21st and circulate it to the Board for approval.

d) Fernbank (PEC), Goulbourn (ARAC)
Fernbank: Bill provided an update on the provincially significant wetlands near Stittsville that is being developed “piecemeal”. There is nothing to report because it has already gone through the PEC (Planning and Environment Committee)

Goulbourn: Cheryl informed the group that the ARAC (Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee) is planning to hire an engineer to do a preliminary report on the drainage issue. She was not given time to speak at the meeting and will follow up with the Clerk, Councillor Jellett and the meeting coordinator as to why.

e) Toronto Zoo
Cheryl mentioned recently seeing an interesting and motivating presentation on the benefits of wetlands, especially building new wetlands. The PPS states the importance of wetlands and their value to ecosystems. There was a discussion about a suggestion to add to the OP the opportunity for the city to create wetlands in new places. For example, utility corridors, school yards ….

10. New Business
a) Eden Park
Cheryl provided an update to the group on the recent clear-cut of an old forest woodlot by Richcraft in this Orleans subdivision. The 24 hectares was part of land identified as a significant woodlot (UNA 97) in the Official Plan and the action was against recommendations from the city. OFGAC is working on a response for the media.

b) City of Ottawa Development Applications web site
Cheryl will write a letter of congratulations to the City for putting development applications and supporting documents online. This service covers applications from March 8th forward.

c) Environmental Integrity Statement
Bill is a member of the City committee mandated to review the criteria for “Environmental Impact Statements”, which are required by the Official Plan for any proposed development in or adjacent to environmental features.
The problem is that Environmental Impact could also mean additions to greenhouse gasses, and many other things. His proposal is to rename the report “Environmental Integrity Statement” since the Planning Act’s Provincial Policy Statement uses these words. This could make these EIS reports easier to defend (or attack) at the OMB.

d) Spratt Road / Trinity
Amy led the discussion on this item. She suggested this subject is more for the FCA than the Alliance if they wish to follow up or comment on the big box store issues. She has the documents related to this issue and offered to give them to other Alliance members or Manotick members of FAC.

11. Adjournment
The meeting was adjourned at 10:24 PM.

Next meeting : June 19, 2008

Final version created July 1, 2008.