General Meeting – 18 March 2010

Friends of the Greenspace Alliance
Meeting of March 18, 2010
Conservation Co-op, Ottawa, ON

Members present: Joseph Potvin, Janice Seline, Sol Shuster
Guests: Edelweiss D’Andrea, Mark Graham, Lisa Mibach

The meeting commenced at 7:00 p.m.

1. Welcome and introductions

2. Review and adoption of agenda

3. This Month’s Guest Strategy Sessions
a. Threatened Wetlands: Deschênes, Gatineau. Lisa Mibach spoke about the threatened wetlands and migratory birds’ nesting area in Deschênes, across the Ottawa River from Britannia. The City of Gatineau has gradually downgraded the conservation-preservation zoning, and this area is now zoned for high-density housing. There are plans by the developer Brigil to build houses in marshlands. Recently the ward councillor commented that “something big” is coming to Deschênes, suggesting that development may begin fairly soon.

Lisa has received no helpful response from any of the following:
Nature Conservancy, SARA, Environment Canada, CPAWS, Riverkeeper, Club des Ornithologues, CREDDO, EcoJustice

b. Eco Echo Environmental Campus vs Light Industrial Park: Wakefield. Mark Graham, guest, reported that in February the La Pêche council announced a proposal to assess the potential for a 100-acre light industrial park along both sides of Hwy 105 in Wakefield, Quebec, which would possibly lead to the expropriation of 60 acres owned by Christopher Minnes. The Minnes family bought the land in 1970 as a quarry. It was surveyed in 2003 and rezoned multipurpose, which could include uses such as light industrial park or sewage treatment plant. The son and present owner wants it to be an ecological reserve and school. This land is used by Eco Echo, a registered charitable organization dedicated to green learning and sustainable living.

Suggestions were made by Friends of Greenspace members as to what might be done to steer the council away from expropriation. It is recognized that there is a need for employment in the region, as well as a need for preservation. A demographic study would help to know the needs. One might rally sympathetic associations, such as the cottagers. Or one could collaborate on a light industry plan that would include ecologically sound and agriculturally suitable light industry, such as food processing, cheese-making, farmers’ market.

4. Approval of minutes from recent meetings – it was recommended that the minutes be circulated prior to meetings so that approval will be easier.

5. Approval of the 2009 Annual Report – brought forward to next month.

6. New location for FGA meetings – Brief discussion of arrangements and suitability. It was agreed that Conservation Co-op is an excellent venue and that Edelweiss will reserve the large room for meetings.

7. Joseph reported on his initiative GreenMyCapital / MaCapitalVerte [Was “Greenspace Wardens”]. It was recommended that the initiative be promoted at the CAFES group. A good source of information is the Neighbourhood Studies on the City of Ottawa website, which tracks census information.

8. FGA will participate in the Wildlife Festival (27-28 March). Plans were discussed.

9. EcoStewardship Fair Plan (24 April). Plans were discussed.

10. The Rare and Unusual Plant Sale is 9 May, at the Experimental Farm. Janice will lead.

11. Plan & Personnel for Content Update & Review for GA/FGA website – Joseph reported that the website needs a makeover and a content manager.

12. Terry Fox Extension – Cheryl presented the issues. See also coverage on the websites of the Sierra Club of Canada , Riverkeeper. It will be difficult to stop the construction, but there is good momentum.

13. City of Ottawa Wildlife (Mammals) Strategy – Sol and Cheryl will attend a meeting in April.

14. Leitrim Wetland Update – Sol Shuster reported that Linda McCaffrey (EcoJustice) will sign a letter tomorrow to withdraw our appeal. A letter will be sent to Linda thanking her for her work on this action.

15. Greenbelt Coalition Update – Sol reported that the NCC has held three open houses on the Vision, which were not well attended, not much promoted. There is a public consensus on the value of the Greenbelt.

16. Update on Developments in National Capital Region Public Transit – Joseph reported.

17. Treasurer’s Report – Janice reported.

18. New Business – there was no new business.

19. Adjournment at 9:53 p.m