General Meeting – 18 December 2002

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital

Monthly Meeting of December 18, 2002

7:30 pm, Festival Boardroom, City Hall


Attending: Erwin Dreessen, Barbara Barr, Amy Kempster, Arthur Mathewson, Sara Gagné, Juan Pedro Unger, Connie Molineux, Bill Royds

Guests: Chris Busby, Hakan Sahin, Segun Orimoloye, Cindy Chen, Anne Downes, Ron Tolmie

Documents: Revised proposed agenda

Further items were added to the agenda, which was then approved by consent.

The November minutes were not yet available. Approval of the Nov. Minutes was deferred to the next meeting.


The news release on the year-end report was sent to all local politicians and media. JP will post the news release to the list.

Christmas cards were designed and produced by JP with Sara’s help, for a total cost including envelopes and stamps of about $40 for 100 cards. Most have been distributed.

Arthur will distribute the remaining cards at Ottawa City hall, Bill will do those for Gatineau’s.

The issue of a new Chair was not discussed at the last meeting. Erwin explained that the role of Chair includes drafting agendas and chairing meetings, drafting and editing submissions & correspondence, compiling the year-end report, serving as representative on the Federation of Community Associations (FCA), coordinating action items, ensuring decisions and mandate are adhered to and providing leadership in development of the organization. He said that 85% of his volunteer time was devoted to the duties of Chair and being involved in some of its committees and that he works at it from 8 pm to midnight most evenings. He noted that we need more long-term volunteers to assume director positions and responsibilities. Amy noted that having Co-Chairs could be an option. Bill will chair the February meeting.


Amy moved and JP seconded to accept Carrie Buchanan, Ron Harshman, Diane Holmes, Arthur Mathewson (as an individual) and Marie Keasey as members. Carried


7:59 pm
Our domain name expires January 31, 2003. The acronym “gacc” is not recognizable. Two alternatives are: and Amy moved and J.P. seconded that we adopt as our new domain name and that we pay $40.00 + GST to do so. Bill noted that the list address will therefore change to although the old address will still work for a month following the expiration date. Bill will renew our domain name before it expires and send out a clear announcement explaining the change of the list address in February.

8:10 pm
Only Board members present had read the draft response posted to the list on December 15. Erwin described the December 2 meeting hosted by Greenprint and Jamie Laidlaw where the survey was presented. No amendments to the proposed response were suggested. Erwin will send in the response to the survey.

8:15 pm
Chris Busby presented the issue of Natural Environment Area “A” and “B” lands to be developed (see for more information). Some of these lands are inside the urban boundary but the boundary would be expanded to include more of the area; an Official Plan Amendment would be required. The development is at the concept plan stage. The developer is Urbandale (André Lambert; their lawyer is Doug Kelly). Chris and Ron Tolmie propose a land swap to preserve these environmentally significant lands and the maintenance of the current urban boundary so the City can eventually buy NEA “A” and NEA “B” lands. Several large public meetings have already been held but more help is needed to raise awareness and promote the alternative proposal. It was suggested to send letters to the Kanata Kourier, to collect petitions, to consult the new Development Approvals Handbook, and to approach the Environmental and Ottawa Forests Advisory Committees. Clr. Munter should be asked to act as mediator between the community and Urbandale and the proposal should be written up in detail; informal pressure is key now. Erwin noted that the Greenspace Alliance is only effective to the extent that its members act, that we should connect with the Kanata Environmental Network, that we could use the mailing list to keep people informed, and that we could help with an intervention before Planning & Development Committee. It was also suggested that the Goulborn Environmental Advisory Group might be a useful ally. Amy suggested we bring the issue to FCA’s attention at its next meeting. Amy will meet with Chris Busby to investigate the issue further.

9:05 pm
In a recent decision on an appeal by Minto, the OMB has ruled that if the city wants to preserve land, it should buy it. Ref. OMB Decision No. 1697, December 12, 2002, PLO10979, 6 pp. Decision delivered by Member Makuch. Amy and Erwin will read the decision and report on its implications.

9:18 pm
Albert Dugal wrote a further letter concerning the complexing of several wetlands in the Leitrim area. Barbara proposed we should write as well to encourage MoE to act. Bill noted that complexing includes Sawmill Creek and that we need to combine both issues.

To raise awareness about proceeding development, Sara and J.P. proposed a press release and other publicity materials for this issue. The importance of coordinating our efforts with the Friends of Leitrim Wetlands and the Sierra Club was emphasized. To that end, Heather Hamilton should be offered help with the brochure she is to develop.

Barbara will draft a letter. Sara and J.P. will discuss further ways of increasing awareness of this issue and ask Heather Hamilton if she needs help.

9:30 pm
Amy suggested that we have at least two mailing lists: one for actual members of the Greenspace Alliance, where position briefs, presentations, etc., could be circulated for comments and approvals by the membership before they are presented as statements from the group; the other one would be a more open list for a wide range of information, announcements and commentary, like we currently use the “”. Additional mailing lists could serve particular purposes (committees, issues, other). Around the table, all those present agreed that this was a good proposal. It was noted that the Greenspace Alliance does not normally operate by way of a ‘full membership’ vote, as the Board is empowered to act for the organization. There was some discussion on who is a “member;” most agreed that this means paying individuals and organizations, with a ‘grace period’ for those who had earlier been paying members but were late in renewing.
Issues related to implementation and practices were deferred to the next meeting.

Barb will provide Bill with the most current list of members, and Bill will prepare a ‘members’ mailing list.

Bill will prepare a brief description of the protocol to be followed for moderating a mailing list, and a brief description of who is included on each mailing list.


The Committee is adapting Hakan’s design to incorporate the current content of our website. Some discussion took place on the software to be used, with mention of their features and cost. The matter was referred to the committee to work out. The website will need all new content to conform to an established style, meaning that documents forwarded for posting will have to indicate which is the title, the subheading, the text body, etc.; a ‘style sheet’ will be established as the website is completed, so everyone can know how to prepare documents in such a way as to minimize the work of incorporating them to the website. The Internet Committee will sort out what software will be ultimately used for establishing and maintaining the website, and define the style sheet(s) for future content submissions.

Interest and support has been expressed by various institutions, including the City of Ottawa, for this project, and some have asked for a reprise of the the presentation made during the International Writers’ Festival. The walkabout in the Southern Corridor will be rescheduled in January.

The City of Ottawa has recently published this document, which is intended to facilitate citizens’ understanding of, and involvement in, the process for approving development projects. Barbara and Amy will review and prepare comments on the handbook.

This city advisory committee no longer reports to the Planning and Development Committee, but to the Environmental Services Committee. Discussion took place as to what this means, with some voicing concern that this may be a way for the city to get rid of input that could somehow obstruct or make difficult some development approvals. A brief discussion on the role and possible future of the city’s advisory committees took place. Barb informed that a former EAC member had prepared a guide to indicators of quality of life, for use in the new official plan; it is not known if this will be used or somehow incorporated in the new official plan. Bill suggested that the Greenspace Alliance ask the city to make comments on environmental implications of development proposals a requirement in staff reports, similar to financial implications. With wide support around the table, Bill agreed to draft a motion, which will then be forwarded to the city. A motion to that effect was moved by Barbara, seconded by Amy, and carried.

Bill will draft a letter requesting that a review of environmental implications of a development proposal be a mandatory prerequisite in staff reports on development applications.

Congratulations were voiced to the team, led by Chris, that prepared the Greenspace Alliance’s submission to the city on this issue. Barb spoke at the meeting of the city’s Corporate Services Committee, mostly on the removal of authorization for acquisition of environmental lands. City Council has deferred to its January 7th meeting consideration of that item. Barb volunteered to speak again on behalf of the group. The Kanata Lakes group will try to make a presentation, too. The Ottawa Forests Advisory Committee has also been very active on this issue. On behalf of OFAC, Arthur asked that people contact their Councillor on the issue, identify environmentally significant sites that could be on the market, and send detailed information (exact location, type of land, size, zoning, etc.) to Iola Price (co-chair of OFAC) at

The long-awaited study is out. It describes things that will be done, and includes a watershed study. The NCC and the Airport Authority apparently plan to sell headwaters that maintain the creek. The main thrust of the study is that stormwater plans would have to respect creek headwater drainage.

10:22 pm
The meeting adjourned by consent.


[to come]

The next meeting of the Greenspace Alliance will be held on January 22, 2003 at 7:30 p.m. in the Honeywell Room of City Hall.