General Meeting – 16 February 2006

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital
Minutes of the General Meeting of 16 February 2006

Champlain Park Field House

Chris Szpak (Chair & Secretary), John Almstedt, Erwin Dreessen, Carol Gudz, Amy Kempster, Sol Shuster.
Guests: Al Speyers.
Regrets: Janice Seline, Mik Svilans, JP Unger.

Meeting was called to order at 7:40 p.m.

1. Adoption of the Agenda:</>

The following amendments were made:

– New Business was moved to item 2 and the Agenda accordingly renumbered.
– The following items were added to New Business:
a) NCC governance
f) New Rural Affairs Committee
g) Council score card
– Item (d) under New Business would also include discussion on a retreat.

The agenda was adopted as amended

2. New Business:

(a) NCC Governance:

Participants at the meeting expressed their concern regarding the NCC’s lack of accountability to the general public. With the new federal government, it was suggested that Alliance form a committee to take advantage of the new political environment and to develop a strategy on how to advocate for more accountability from the NCC. S. Shuster agreed to take the lead on a temporary basis.

(b) Ottawa Sustainability Fund:

An Ottawa Sustainability Fund was recently established under the auspices of the Community Foundation of Ottawa and it was suggested that the Alliance should investigate ways of exploiting it. The purpose of the Fund is to “provide financial support to initiatives and organizations that enhance the sustainability of the City of Ottawa from a source other than the municipal tax base. Initiatives that enhance sustainability, for the purpose of the Fund, are defined as any initiatives that improve environmental integrity, economic stability or growth, and social well-being in the City.”

(c) Klondike Subdivision:

A “heads-up” was given on a imminent proposal for a subdivision, north of Klondike Road. This is near or in a floodplain along Shirley’s Brook and covers much of a Urban Natural Feature. There is a risk that the City and the developer will want to undo the floodplain designation specified in the Shirley’s Brook subwatershed plan.

(d) Evergreen Presentation:

Several Alliance members attended a recent presentation given by Evergreen, a charitable organization that promotes and assists community groups to develop greenspaces such as community gardens, school-greening projects, tree planting, etc. It was suggested that the Alliance should consider similar activities in context of its future directions strategy.

(e) Future Directions:

It was agreed that the Board consider a “retreat” to discuss the future directions of the Alliance particularly with regard to raising membership and encouraging more participation from the membership, as well as setting priorities of the type of activities that the Alliance should pursue.

(f) New Rural Affairs Committee:

The City is giving greater power to the Agricultural & Rural Affairs Committee. It was not clear what its role and obligations are. This will continue to be monitored.

(g) Council Score Card:

Given that there will be municipal elections in November this year, it was brought to the attention of the meeting that an initiative is being considered to develop some score card for city councillors and their voting record on environmental issues. While this could entail a great deal of work, it was agreed that the Alliance will provide what help it can.

– The Committee will develop a strategy vis-à-vis the NCC.

– The Board will develop a strategy for the Alliance.

– E. Dreessen will followup on the initiative.

3. Approval of the Minutes of the January General Meeting:

Motion: E. Dreessen moved and C. Gudz seconded the approval of the minutes of the 19 January 2006 general meeting. Carried.

4. Business Arising:

(a) O-Train Maintenance Yard:

B. Royds and E. Dreessen provided advice to a group of residents regarding the proposal to build the O-Train maintenance yard in greenspace along the Airport Parkway.

(b) Fernbank wetland:

Based on the Fernbank wetlands purchase, a letter to City Council outlining the Alliance’s concerns about the process of purchasing environmental lands and their prioritization was to have been written – no action was taken.

(c) Leitrim:

A letter was submitted to PEC supporting a submission by A. Dugal regarding Phase 4 of Leitrim which will be discussed at the PEC meeting to be held on January 24.

PEC will also meet on 28 February to discuss the Phase 2 development, A. Dugal will coordinate comments from the Alliance and others.

(d) Provincial Bill 51:

Nothing new to report. There was a question if there will be hearings regarding this Bill and, if so, when?

– E. Dreessen will draft a submission in support of A. Dugal.

– A. Kempster will follow-up on the progress of the Bill.

5. Membership Report:

It was officially noted that G. Wilson had resigned as a Director of the Alliance due to personal reasons.

6. Treasurer’s Report:

The Treasurer reported on the current status of the Alliance’s funds. It was recognized that the Alliance will need to do more fund-raising to cover its future activities.

7. Continuing Business:

(a) 5309 Bank Street:

No one was willing to take the lead in pursuing this issue, therefore it was agreed that the Alliance would drop its appeal.

(b) Poets’ Pathway:

The first fund-raising event at Beechwood raised $800. As well, $3,000 was received from the City’s Cultural Facilities Grants program. Applications are being made to the City’s Cultural Events program and the Trillium Foundation.

An ARC event will take place on May 10 which is related to the awarding of the annual Archibald Lampham prize.

Site inauguration is expected in September.

Views of Parliament Hill from the Beechwood site are not currently protected in the Official Plan. An OP amendment could be proposed before June.

(c) Country Lot Estates Appeal:

The Alliance will be involved in an OMB hearing scheduled for May 9-26 to cover a number of environmental issues in the OP. The Alliance is attempting to ensure that development in lands “adjacent” to Rural Natural Features be properly assessed for any possible negative impact on the natural feature. An Alliance attempt to improve upon a City-proposed amendment of Sec. 3.2.4 of the OP failed at PEC on February 14.

(d) Carp River Flood Plain:

A press release and conference are being prepared to raise the public’s awareness of the detrimental effects of the City’s current plan to restore the Carp river flood plain.

(f) Funding Activities:

Several new fund-raising activities were proposed including a “Pitch-In Canada” initiative to collect used cell-phones; selling tulip bulbs; and the Carleton U. charity ball.

8. Adjournment:

Meeting adjourned at 10:45 p.m.