General Meeting – 16 January 2002

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital

Meeting of January 16, 2002

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


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

Regrets: Albert Dugal

Documents available: revised Proposed Agenda; list of possible topics for a National Urban Forest Conference of October 2002.





The revised agenda included Action items on NCC and EAC Workshop; further items added under Updates: Quarry Forest and Woodlot at Scott Street. Amy moved and Arthur seconded approval of Agenda as amended. Carried.



Two typographical errors on page 1 to be changed (names). Barbara moved and Juan Pedro seconded approval of Minutes as amended. Carried.



LEITRIM: letter to Min. Dhaliwal sent out (posted Dec. 18).

ENVIRONMENTAL ADV. COMM. WORKPLAN: Barbara presented on Dec. 13 (report posted Jan. 7).

HERON/ WALKLEY PLAN OF SUBDIVISION: letter to planner Charron sent & posted Dec. 16.

VOLUNTEER FAIR AT U OF OTTAWA: Application made, awaiting confirmation that we have a table. Descriptions of volunteer opportunities still welcome.

HOME DEPOT AT BANK: SouthKeys/Greenboro was too far away to qualify for notification. Erwin wrote to the consultant (Novatech), so far without response. (Post-meeting note: see posting of Jan. 20.)

DEVELOPMENT PROCESS HANDBOOK: The outline was posted, some comments were received, but they came too late to be incorporated in this round. Awaiting a first draft text.

LISTSERV: A clear message about the new mailing addresses has yet to be posted. Subscribers should also be reminded that the list includes both members and friends.












Erwin will post a message to that effect.


Juan Pedro has assembled a media tree and put together a press release template with instructions. JP will send documents electronically to other Board members for comment.



Post office box to be renewed for $77.04, Seasons Greeting ad in the Pembina Institute’s magazine cost $37.45. Barbara moved and Arthur seconded payment of these two expenses. Carried. Barbara reported a balance of approximately $600.
Amy moved and Mary seconded acceptance of Divya Raman as a student member. Carried.
Amy moved and Barbara seconded acceptance of Divya as Board member and Secretary of the Greenspace Alliance. Carried.

New Business / Action Items



To avoid conflict with the Urban Forum talk on rural areas, and after consideration of alternatives, it was decided to start the Feb. 13 meeting at 9 p.m. and plan on a 45 min meeting. A suggestion to have regular meetings on Saturday mornings found no takers. Erwin will post an announcement about the change in meeting time.


8h05 Stewardship Guidelines: Erwin is awaiting expressions of interest and availability, as per posting of Jan. 13.
First semi-annual meeting of NCC Board of Directors with local interest groups: As per posting of Jan. 13, this meeting is tentatively scheduled for April 24. It was agreed to try to do a 15-min. presentation on the Poets’ Pathway project. An earlier opportunity for showing this presentation will be at the Env. Adv. Cee. workshop (see below). The Heritage Advisory Committee should also be contacted for support. Graphics would be helpful; it was suggested Dean Jones be contacted. The communities adjacent to the Path should also be contacted. The presentation will be reviewed at our April meeting on the 17th. Bill will lead the preparation of this presentation, with help from Juan and Erwin.(Who will contact Dean Jones?)

Erwin will contact Guy Legeault & Carolynn Quinn of Heritage Ottawa.

Amy will draft a letter to the community associations and institutions identified along the Path.

8h30 First meeting of the Troika (M. Beaudry & the 2 Mayors) with the NCC Board of Directors: It was generally agreed that this is a positive development, but that it does have its dangers because there is no public protocol on the agenda and on the advice the Mayors will give the Board. There was considerable debate on what could be done to influence the agenda, including writing of an open letter to Mayor Chiarelli reminding him of his environmental commitments. A motion to draft a “green” manifesto that would be signed by as many organizations as possible was eventually set aside when concerns arose about effectiveness, timing and the possibility that proposing greenspace as a priority could be divisive.



Mary explained that the workshop has three objectives: 1) connect the new EAC with local environment groups throughout the city, 2) share information, and 3) focus on the Official Plan and associated Master Plans. There will be plenary sessions and themed break-out groups. The GACC could present the Poets’ Pathway at one such group. Other themes planned include solid waste, air, and sustainable transportation. It was suggested that resourcing of environmental management at the City be added. Arthur noted that the Ottawa Forests Advisory Committee is planning a similar event later in the year. Mary will post a notice on the workshop.



E-mail involving Lynn Bricker, Daniel Brunton, Christine Hanrahan, Nicole DesRoches and Bill (on which others were copied) confirmed existence of documentation on environmental aspects of all three islands being considered for a new interprovincial bridge: Kettle, Upper and Lower Duck, and Petrie. Bill advised that the Conservation Committee of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists Club is likely to regard environmental assessment of any such project on as a major issue to become involved in. No GACC action at this time.



The City’s severe Budget shortfall is making headlines (e.g., The Citizen, Dec. 22). It was agreed that now is a good time to again lobby Council to freeze expenditures on piped infrastructure for Leitrim development. Transport Canada’s Area-wide Risk Assessment and Min. Dhaliwal’s recent letter announcing that he is seeking the advice of the Ministers of Health and Environment make it easier to convince local politicians that the EA is about more than fish in Findlay Creek and that waiting for the screening report is prudent. First point of contact will be Clr. Alex Munter.

Mike Lascelles and Heather Hamilton (Canadian Biodiversity Institute) have asked for financial or in kind contributions, to complement $4,000 obtained from the Bronfman Foundation for an information sheet to be inserted in newspapers to increase public awareness. ECOS and the Sierra Club have already committed contributions. Bill moved and Amy seconded that the GACC donate $50. Carried.

Letters need to be sent to the Ministers of Health and Environment as a follow up to our letter to Min. Dhaliwal.

Barbara will work with the Friends of Leitrim on this project. Erwin will lead approach to Clr. Munter and others.

Erwin will convey the msg to Mike.

Barbara will draft letters to Mins. of Health and Environment.



Other points to be checked when the draft Budget is released on Feb. 13 include: land acquisition program, the cash-in-lieu-of-parkland account, and allocations for maintenance of existing green spaces including parks and for environmental management. (Who will do this?)



This US Trust is a well-established organization with projects in urban areas (see mail file). Should be investigated further. Erwin will add this as a Volunteer Opportunity.

Brief Reports / Updates / Deferrals





Bill reported that members are working on software to have a working calendar so that people can submit items to it (potentially open to any group); also a more flexible website with frames and a table of contents on the left side of each page. <> will soon be accessible directly (still hosted by flora – Russell McOrmond). The domain name reservation and maintenance fee are to be renewed. Amy moved and Barbara seconded payment of $53.50 for this renewal. Carried.
10h05 MOFFATT FARM (Next OMB hearing March 5)
The Coalition was well represented by a friend-lawyer at the OMB pre- hearing of Dec. 19; both specific and general issues were raised. They are prepared to pay for future work. The Rideau Valley Conservation Authority raised objections to the proponent’s slope study. Next pre-hearing is scheduled for March 4 & 5; if necessary, hearings to start on April 29 and last 6 weeks. Meanwhile, Clr. Stewart sent a staff report back, arguing that the proponents’ studies are no substitute for a secondary policy plan. Report now expected to go to Planning Committee on Feb. 28.



The Coalition has deposited a petition with 13,702 signatures with the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (Office of the Auditor General of Canada). Pressure on the Quebec government will continue. The DFO screening report is expected in the next few months, to be followed by public consultation. The Coalition’s Coordinating Committee is having a Sunday morning meeting on Jan. 20; David McNicoll will represent the GACC.


QUARRY FOREST (OMB Hearing Feb. 11)

Yesterday was the deadline for parties to exchange witness reports. The QF Preservation Committee’s binder is in the Corporate Resource Centre. Hearing is to start on Feb. 11 and last a week. Albert Dugal will be a witness. Juan Pedro’s argument will be on general principles and issues of safety. Barbara and Amy will prepare for GACC participation.



A NOS-type study is on file with the City. The Westboro and Hampton Park CA’s will fight this based on traffic impact. Amy will convey information to Arthur to see if OFAC can help.
10h20 Barbara moved adjournment.



City Official Plan: Charting a Course – Discussion (Post-meeting note: see postings of Jan. 23, 25 and 28 for an intervention at Planning Committee on the 24th… with results!)


– Acknowledgement of receipt of our Dec. 18 letter to Min. Dhaliwal on Leamy Lake – reply forthcoming (Jan. 11, 2002).

– Return Holiday Greetings from Clr. Michel Bellemare and MNA Benoît Pelletier.

– Notice that Ms. Gail Taylor, a Director General at Industry Canada, has been appointed CEO of the Ontario Municipal Board and the Board of Negotiation with the Provincial Ministry of the Attorney General (Dec. 17, 2002).

– Page from Encompass Magazine (Dec. 2001, Pembrina Institute) containing our Season’s Greetings.

– Excerpts from The Trust for Public Land – Conserving Land for People ( ) including sections on Urban Conservation and the Green Cities Initiative.

– ISUMA, vol. 2, no. 4, Winter 2001, special issue on Climate Change. Available on-line at .

– The EOBM News – Excerpts from the Eastern Ontario Biodiversity Museum Almanack, vol. 3, no. 4, Autumn 2001. E-mail .

– Ron Eade, “Northern Comfort – Take a bite out of winter with chili and pea soup,”, The Citizen, Jan. 16, 2002, C1,3 – way to go Arthur, anything to get the Ottawa Forests Advisory Committee in the paper! Ed.

– Carolynne Wheeler, “The education of Bob Chiarelli – new City of Ottawa – First year in review,” The Citizen, Jan. 14, 2002, C1,2, and City Councillors’ report cards, C3 (see also explanatory note, Jan. 16, A2). Notably absent from the Citizen’s assessment is the Mayor’s performance on his environmental promises. Ed.

– G&M editorial, “The economic beating of a butterfly’s wings,” The Globe & Mail, Jan. 8, 2002, A12, and letters to the Editor from Douglas Campbell (Jan. 9) and James Faught (Jan. 15). Quotes a NAFTA environmental commission report as asserting: “We stand on the edge of a global cataclysm.”

– David L. Greene, “U.S. set to weaken Clean Air Act,”, The Citizen, Dec. 24, 2001, C17 (from the Baltimore Sun) – Pres. Bush to announce that coal-burning power plants can by-pass some anti-pollution rules.

– Citizen editorial, “Two cities + three waterways = one idea,”, The Citizen, Dec. 22, 2001, B6. Wishes that the similarities in the logos for Ottawa and Gatineau may forebode commonality of thinking… about the new bridge, on public transit, & tourism marketing.

– Bev Wake, “Residents worry new Kanata development will hurt city – Proposed Minto plan would reduce greenspace along Carp Ridge, residents insist,” The Citizen, Dec. 21., 2001. The land is an 18.5 acre site at Goulbourn Forced Road and Terry Fox Drive a Natural Environment “A” site) and a 67-acre parcel north of Terry Fox Drive and east of Second Line Road that is currently zoned for 40-48% open space. Minto is going to the OMB, on the grounds that the City has not dealt with its proposal within 90 days. The City has offered to buy the land, but not at a “best use” price (if it were zoned as proposed by Minto). Clr. Munter sees not only environmental issues at stake, but also the very ability of cities to decide on zoning.

– Richard Starnes, “Public school board embarks on property-selling spree – More than $7.5M raised from sales, but funds won’t go toward programs,” The Citizen, Dec. 16, 2001, A10. Nine schools, the former OBE HQ and two parcels of land have been or are about to come on the market. (The two parcels are 8 ha at McCarthy & Cahill – sold to Minto; and 6 acres at 1512 Walkley Road – sold, buyer not yet revealed.)

– Zev Singer, “Beach plan moves forward despite water worries,” The Citizen, Dec. 15, 2001, H5. Plans continue for the opening of a public beach at Petrie Island. Planning & Development Committee decided this week to go ahead with the project. Public consultations are to be held “in the first two months of the new year.” A report indicated the water would often not be fit for swimming. Clr. Munter and most Councillors support development of the island. He and Clr. Stavinga successfully put forward motions to ensure that the assessments called for in the report are carried out. Clrs. Kreling and McNeely, the leading backers of the project, say the pollution at Petrie is no worse than at Westboro and Britannia. How’s that for a winning argument! Ed.

– Kelly Egan, “Gillies Grove rescued from development – Renowned Arnprior forest transferred to conservation group after 10-year fight,” The Citizen, Dec. 14, 2001, E3. The Nature Conservancy of Canada has purchased the 23-ha white pine forest. Residents raised almost $500,000 (incl. $100,000 from Ontario’s MNR) from 700 donors to purchase the land from the English Oblates of Eastern Ontario, having formed the Land Preservation Society of the Ottawa Valley and connected with the Nature Conservancy in 1993. There is a stewardship agreement and a management plan will have to be drawn up, much of it relying on volunteers. The Grove will be formally dedicated next spring. (For an extensive earlier piece on Gillies Grove, see Barbara Sibbald in The Citizen of Jan. 23, 2000, pages C9-11.)

The next meeting of the GACC is on February 13, 2002, at 9:00 p.m., in the Honeywell Room.