General Meeting – 18 September 2002

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital

Meeting of September 18, 2002

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


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

Guests: Hakan Sahin, Yawei Zhi, Connie Molyneaux, Louise White

Documents available: revised Proposed Agenda; draft Minutes of August 15, 2002; mock-up of Capital Greenspace newsletter “November 2002″; Quarry Forest Preservation Committee brief to City Council.

The revised agenda was approved by consent.
Erwin announced his intent to resign as Chair and from the Board.  Hopefully a new chair will step forward at the next Annual General Meeting, if not Erwin will continue for a brief period of time thereafter.
7:50 APPROVAL OF MINUTES OF August 15, 2002
Chris moved and Amy seconded approval of Minutes as distributed and posted.  Carried.
A document drafted by Amy on the NCC’s appeals of Ottawa’s Greenways System has been edited with the assistance of Janice Dowling and Erwin.  One additional section is needed, namely regarding zoning changes to NCC lands following the Natural Open Spaces Study (NOSS). Arthur will find a volunteer who will learn about NOSS, zoning, and will write the additional section.

Barbara will provide Arthur with the relevant zoning documents.

Motion: Erwin stated that the Poet’s Pathway Committee will soon bring forward a budget.  Barbara moved and Amy seconded that $210 be paid for funding of the Poet’s Pathway reading on Sept. 21.  Carried. Barbara will provide an update of the membership list for the annual report.
New Business  / Action Items
It was agreed that Erwin will chair the nominations committee.  Barbara, Divya, Amy, Bill, and JP stated their intent to continue on the Board.
Erwin proposed changing the name to Greenspace Protection Alliance of Canada’s Capital, and noted that any name change should be implemented before incorporation.  Bill highlighted that there are other Greenspace Alliances in Ontario and other places.  The consensus was to leave the name unchanged.
Survey responses indicated that most found Wednesdays still the best day for meetings, and everybody liked City Hall as the location.  There was support for reinstating a speakers program.  Meeting dates set for: 20th Nov., 18th Dec., 15th Jan., 19th Feb., 19th March, 16th Apr., 21st May, 18th June.  The December meeting will be more social in nature.

Post meeting note: Rick Menault who is responsible for room reservations at City Hall has indicated that rooms are fully booked on the 3rd Wednesdays. Rooms are available on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays.  We are able to confirm the Nov. 20th and Dec. 18th meetings.

Divya will confirm the room reservations
Consultation on the City’s Smart Growth Plan will get underway in the Sept. to Nov. time frame.

The Federation of Citizens’ Associations is having a workshop on 19th Oct..  Greenspace Alliance will participate.

The Ottawa Forests Advisory Committee is having a fall forum that will focus on the Official Plan.  The forum is set for 26th Oct in the former Vanier City Hall

The Environmental Advisory Committee is considering holding a rollup workshop in late Oct./early Nov.

Additional schedules including Schedule E on Major Recreational Pathways may only be produced if people demand it.

Comparisons with the 1997 Regional Official Plan and Environmental Chapter of the former City of Ottawa Plan would prove useful in the writing of the comments.

Post meeting note: Stan Rosenbaum has offered to lead a committee of OFNC and GACC volunteers

Amy, Chris, and Connie are prepared to work on the committee to prepare comments.
Brief Reports / Updates / Deferrals
Meetings took place with NCC and City of Ottawa Environment and Heritage staff

Reception by NCC was lukewarm but not totally discouraging.  Follow-up meeting will discuss formulating a commemorative project centered in the Southern Corridor.

The meetings with City Planners were more encouraging.  There will be an opportunity to include the project in upcoming official and arts and heritage plans.

The OMB hearing went reasonably well.  The Community’s presentation focused on safety.  We are awaiting a decision. JP will report to mailing list when the decision comes out.
Transport Canada’s Area Wide Risk Assessment came out early this week: its concluding paragraph states that there are no environmental or health hazards.

Barbara sent out a letter and information to Don Butler of the Ottawa Citizen, who responded that the Citizen cannot cover everything, and that the information has been forwarded to Randall Denley.

9:27 SAWMILL CREEK Open House, Sept. 17
The consultant was made aware of the opportunity to include the Poet’s Pathway in the proposal for an artificial wetland; the final report will come out by late Dec./early Jan.
No one from GACC was able to go to the Open House earlier today. JP will get information on the Open House and will send it to the list.
9:35 NEW EX SITE .
Open House is to be held  on 24th Sept at Gabrielle Roy Elementary School Barbara will attend
Open house is to be held on 26th Sept at the RA Centre. Albert Dugal has supplied a plant inventory, and Bruce Di Labio has provided a bird list.  Quentin Bristow is still GACC’s representative.
9:38 The report on the organization of Parks and Recreation is to be discussed at Human Services committee on Thursday
Erwin has called a meeting of the Committee on 24th September.  The proposed agenda includes redesigning of the flora website home page, integration of the mailing list and web site postings, and integration of the Greenspace Alliance newsletter that is under development.  Mary noted Greenprint’s intent to develop the Ottawa section of Ontario’s Stewardship Centre portal (see  Erwin suggested that the two efforts are complementary: the Stewardship portal would be best placed for information but, being government-financed, could never be expected to engage in advocacy; nor is advocacy in Greenprint’s mandate.
JP provided an example of a Communications Package (Quarry Forest Prevention Committee’s brief to City Council) that could be produced for other issues.
A new co-ordinator is needed soon.

Post meeting note: Sara Gagné has agreed to take on the position (Thank you Sara). A second coordinator would still be welcome.




– Letter from Lorne Peterson to Erwin Dreessen, dated August 8, 2002, enclosing two of Lorne’s writings, both published this summer.  One was in the summer issue of Alternatives Journal, published by the Faculty of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo.  His own story is about the cutting of one of the last patches of old-growth white pine in our area; another is by Ned Jacobs (son of Jane), about the errors in planning and development that have ruined cities.  The magazine can be found in Ottawa at Britton’s Smoke Shop; Mags and Fags; Wellington Street News, Herb and Spice Shop (375 Bank) and The Wheat Berry Ltd. (206 Main).

– Agenda 13 of the City of Ottawa’s Environmental Advisory Committee (15 August 2002).

– E-mails from Mike Lascelles to Barbara Barr and Erwin Dreessen, dated September 1, 2002, with Albert Dugal’s supplemental list of plants at the Hospital Woods in the Alta Vista Corridor (2 pp.); and a list of birds identified in the Corridor by Bruce Dilabio on August 10 (3 pp.).  Albert’s list included a second regionally rare species.

– Excerpts from the web site of Greenest City, , a “non-profit, community-based environmental organization committed to reducing pollution, regenerating urban life, and promoting social equity… finding locally-appropriate solutions to global environmental problems.”  The group has existed since 1996. One of its goals is to “Green and beautify our neighbourhoods.”  See their Multicultural Greening Project; for more information about this project, e-mail or call (416) 922-7626.

– “Sentier des poèts * Ottawa * Poets’ Pathway.”  Five-page handout on the project, prepared for City planners by the Poets’ Pathway Committee, September 2002.

– “Smart Growth: read “Inwards and Upwards,” by Quentin Bristow, Vistas, September 2002, p. 14.  (Posted on the web site.)

Municipal World, September 2002 (vol. 112, no. 9).


– Canadian Heritage News release, August 12, 2002.  Claudia Chowaniec is appointed to the Board of the NCC for a three-year term.

– Mitch Anderson, “There is a way to save our oceans – but is there a will?” Globe & Mail, August 14, 2002, A11.  DFO recently unveiled its Oceans Strategy, but five years after the passage of the Oceans Act, nothing much has happened.  The government has the legal means to protect our marine resources, let’s get on with it.  (Mitch Anderson is a staff biologist in the Sierra Club Legal Defence Fund in Vancouver.)

– Jake Rupert, “Wildlife Centre must let Ontario officials in – Judge orders ministry to care for animals, not kill them,” The Citizen, August 15, 2002, D3.  Centre President Donna DuBreuil says the ministry is overreacting.

– Steven Chase, “Canada, US undercutting green gains, UN study says – North American consumer culture blamed for eroding progress made on environment,” Globe & Mail, August 15, 2002, A3.  The UN study is entitled “North American Environment: A Thirty-Year State of the Environment and Policy Perspective.”  Laudable environmental successes are being overshadowed by consumption growth.

– Argument & Observation – The Environment: “Don’t let the planet go belly-up – At the world summit this month, Canada has an opportunity to do something about the link between climate change, income and sustainable development,” by David Suzuki and Gerry Barr, The Citizen, August 15, 2002, A17.

– Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs & Housing – News Release, August 16, 2002: “Minister Announces Eastern Smart Growth Panel.”  Mandate is to “provide strategic advice to the province on growth issues relevant to eastern Ontario.”  Covering 11 counties and the City of Ottawa.  Councillors Thompson and Eastman represent the latter.

– David Reevely, “Smart growth panel surprise to Ottawa – Provincially appointed body likely to focus on transportation,” The Citizen, August 17, 2002, D3.  Transportation Minister Norm Sterling is quoted as saying: “You want a mixture of people from the political level, from the business community, the agricultural community and from the industries that represent the area.”  (It seems ordinary citizens don’t figure in the equation. Ed.)

– Ken Gray, “‘Smart growth’ panel fails to include urban voice – Structure of Eastern Ontario advisory group shocks councillors,” The Citizen, August 20, 2002, B3.  A spokesman for Minister Hodgson is reported to have said that “The panel has a good balance between municipal, business and environmental groups.”  (The panel includes a Terry Murphy, from the Quinte Conservation Authority.)  Minister Sterling says the panel is looking at the big picture of Eastern Ontario and is “not sure [downtown councillors] would have an overall view of Eastern Ontario.”  Mr. Sterling is also reported to have said that growth issues such as transit and the Queensway are better discussed one-to-one between the province and the city, rather than at the panel.

– Bjorn Lomborg, “Embrace Development: Earth’s a tough mother – Antipollution budgets would be better spent raising living standards for the poor,” Globe & Mail, August 23, 2002, A13.  Reprint from today’s The Guardian.  That is the way to a cleaner planet, says this Sceptical Environmentalist.  He argues that we’re not running out of energy, to the contrary (think renewables); admits that air pollution is a problem; but reckons that the cost of Kyoto to the EU alone could provide every person in the world with the basics of life.  He concludes we need to re-emphasize sustainable development as a priority.

– Neighbourhoods: “The welcome mat is out for bad development,” by Charles Ficner, The Citizen, August 24, 2002, B7.  Expresses strong scepticism that Mayor Chiarelli and planning boss Ned Lathrop mean what they say in The Next Steps.  Their real intent appears to be to accommodate development no matter what.  He details the gentlemen’s responses to community comments on the Loblaws proposal for Westboro.  He cites language in Charting a Course that points to replacement of zoning rules by “design criteria.”  Under the guise of “Smart Growth,” he concludes, our municipal leaders are contriving to destroy the planning rule book.  (Charles Ficner is a Westboro resident and former federal government executive who writes on government and ethics.)

– Alanna Mitchell, “Aliens land, put down firm roots – In 1992, pest species were a footnote at Rio’s Earth Summit …  Now they’re a growing scourge with enormous costs,” Globe & Mail, August 24, 2002, A9.  Focuses on the Leafy spurge and ten other alien species, including Purple loosestrife and Common buckthorn.  Data sources cited. Part 1 of 3.

– Comment: “One world has to be enough – Development won’t change the planet, by David Boyd, Globe & Mail, August 24, 2002, A13.  “If everyone consumed as much as the average Canadian and produced as much garbage, we’d need at least two more Earths.”  It is a fiction that economic growth provides a path to a just and sustainable future – the gaps would just grow wider.  Overall consumption in rich countries must decrease and wealth must be redistributed from rich to poor nations.  (David R. Boyd is a senior associate with the POLARIS Project on Ecological Governance at the University of Victoria and an adjunct professor at SFU.)

– David Reevely, “Ottawa River mercury mystery probed – 284 kilograms of toxic substance believed discharged last year, instead of the usual 10 to 20,” The Citizen, August 24, 2002, D1,4.  “Faulty testing a possibility.”

– “Ottawa River a ‘legacy’,” The Citizen, August 24, 2002, D2.  Ontario’s MNR this week committed funding a Living Legacy Landmark project that will see a series of historically oriented kiosks created along the shoreline between Hawkesbury and New Liskeard.  The Ottawa River Legacy Landmark Committee is chaired by Ottawa Valley MP Len Hopkins; its final objective is to get the Ottawa River designated a Canadian Heritage River.  (One kiosk is planned to be near Brittania and may include a reference to the Poets’ Pathway. Ed.)

– Alanna Mitchell, “Canadian cod remains a tragic fish tale – The demise of once plentiful species used the world over … as example of what can happen if accords ignored,” Globe & Mail, August 26, 2002, A6.  Part 2 of 3.

– Argument & Observation – The Environment: “Beyond the promise land – The time for excuses is over: Canada can deliver on its 10-year-old pledge to make climate change a priority by ratifying the Kyoto Accord,” by Elisabeth Dowdeswell, The Citizen, August 26, 2002, A13.  “There is evidence that real emission reductions are achievable without leading to economic disaster.”  (Elisabeth Dowdeswell is a former UN executive and now adviser to the UN.)

– Alanna Mitchell, “Sudbury leads push to save planet – The city’s energy-saving ways set the pace …” Globe & Mail, August 27, 2002, A3.  The city has saved millions of dollars through increasing energy efficiency and is now building a 400 ha windfarm that will produce 50 MW or almost 1/6th of the city’s needs. Part 3 of 3.

– Comment: “Make Kyoto your legacy, Mr. Chrétien,” by Albert Koehl, Globe & Mail, August 28, 2002, A13.  (Albert Koehl is a lawyer with the Sierra Legal Defence Fund.)

– David Reevely, “Councillor drops objections to aid plan for Ex relocation – Dean gets promise of full traffic study around new fair site,” The Citizen, August 29, 2002, B8.  Potential modifications include widening of Albion Road and increased OC Transpo service.

– Your Guide to the 2002 Ottawa International Writers Festival – The Citizen’s Weekly, September 1, 2002, C8-9. (Note Sept. 21 event – Poets’ Pathway.)

– Randall Denley, “Minister should calm wildlife dispute,” The Citizen, September 2, 2002, D4.  Rookie Natural Resources Minister Jerry Ouellette “should leash his rabid staff and broker a solution to the problem.”

– Comment: “The New Economics: Overdraft at the Nature Bank – Earth summits won’t achieve sustainable development.  We need to start a real accounting for the use of natural capital,” by David McGuinty, Globe & Mail, September 4, 2002, A11.  If Kyoto comes into effect, it will monetize carbon (in the international emissions-trading market).  Emissions trading can cut Canada’s cost of complying in half.  More generally, we must develop ways to measure and track natural capital.  That is what the NRTEE is doing through its development of indicators and national accounts for natural capital.  (David McGuinty is the NRTEE’s president and CEO.)

– Letter to the editor: “Kyoto question,” by Craig McNaughton from Ottawa, Globe & Mail, September 7, 2002, A16.  Responds to the full-page message from business associations by referring to an April 2002 report by the Tellus Institute, “Bottom Line on Kyoto: The Economic Benefits of Canadian Action.”  The report predicts only positives by 2012.

– Kate Chappell, “NCC land could fetch $5.3M in land deal,” The Ottawa Business Journal, September 9, 2002.  The NCC is marketing a 17.85 acre plot on Hawthorne at the corner of Walkley Road.  Real estate experts say developers will pay $250,000 to $300,000 per acre.

– Guest Column: “Pedestrian advocate is long overdue,” by Kate Hearfield. (Kate Heartfield spent the summer writing editorials at the Citizen.)

– “Tartan one step closer to building subdivision – Federal study says Leitrim-area site meets environmental standards,” The Citizen, September 11, 2002, C7.  Transport Canada’s Area-Wide Risk Assessment study concludes there are “no impacts to human health and the environment.”  Pierre Dufresne of Tartan says “We hope to have homes sold and people moving into them this June.”

– Kelly Egan, “Canoeist lands in hot water with NCC – Commission drops fines against paddler who ventured into area reserved for motor boats,” The Citizen, September 13, 2002, F1,2.

– Dave Rogers, “Ministry’s seizure of raccoons a ‘heavy-handed overreaction’ – MNR says raid was to prevent spread of rabies; Care centre says it spells end to wildlife rehab,” The Citizen, September 13, 2002, F1,2.

– Letters to the editor, “Wildlife centre raid defied public opinion,” by Heather Hamilton, and by Ann Coffey, The Citizen, September 16, 2002, C5.  Heather says the raid is in flagrant violation of a court decision and notes that the centre has in vain requested a meeting with mayor Chiarelli for weeks.  Ann thanks the skunk who sprayed an MNR official.

– Kate Chappell, “Developer makes play to redevelop golf course – Urbandale floats idea of flattening Hunt Club for high-end homes,” The Ottawa Business Journal, September 16, 2002, pp.1,11.  Urbandale is thought to eye 1,500 luxury homes on the 225 acre property. A price of $100,000 per acre is quoted.

– Kristin Goff, “Historic Hunt Club ponders move – Urbandale Corp. offers to discuss land swap,” The Citizen, September 17, 2002, C1.  The swap would be for land in South Gloucester along Hunt Club Road at Bowesville Road.

– “Tumble Down Economics – Tax breaks make preservation profitable in other countries.  Will Canada follow suit,” Report on Business Magazine, Sept. 2002, p. 80.  Over the last 30 years, Canada has lost more than 20% of its pre-1920 heritage buildings to demolition.  Five provinces and 39 municipalities offer some assistance but interlocking federal tax credits are needed, as found in the US, the UK and Australia.

– PEN, April 2002 and September 2002 issues.

The next meeting of the Greenspace Alliance is on October 16, 2002, at 7 p.m. in the Honeywell Room at City Hall (Laurier/Lisgar).