GREENSPACE ALLIANCE OF CANADA’S CAPITAL
December 19, 2016
Hintonburg Community Centre
1064 Wellington Street West
Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Nicole DesRoches, Jason Kania, Erwin Dreessen (notetaker), Bruce Lindsay, David McNicoll, John Almstedt, Juan Pedro Unger
Regrets: Amy Steele, Lorne Peterson, Sol Shuster
The meeting commenced at 7:25 p.m. Christmas sweets were consumed throughout.
1. Adoption of the Agenda
A modified agenda was agreed upon.
2. Administrative items
a. Minutes of November 28, 2016: Erwin moved, seconded by David, to adopt the Minutes of November 28 as amended.
b. Membership report: Several renewals and donations were received.
3. New action items
a. Feedmill Creek rehabilitation project: Paul submitted a comment drafted by John. Additional information since then may warrant a supplemental submission. We were informed today that the draft report for the Criteria Study and the draft Class EA report are now available and that the public consultation period will be extended to January 16, 2017. Note: This project is in the proximity of OPA 76’s “Area 3,” land that is designated Developing Community (Expansion Area), ref. s. 3.12 of the Official Plan. Action: Paul will circulate the first submission to the Board. John and Paul will confer on drafting additional comment.
b. Public engagement strategy: The suspended meetings of the FCA Governance Committee with the City, the reconsideration of the newly required Public Advisory Committee and the <Settlement> of our appeal of the City’s way of providing Notice of decisions (the latter two matters a result of Bill 73) converge into a window of opportunity to upgrade the City’s public engagement practices. There will be a strategy meeting with Richard Delaney (http://iap2canada.ca/; http://www.rmdelaney.com/), who would have been our expert witness, early in the new year.
c. NCC Environmental Strategy: The NCC is renewing its 2009-2017 Strategy and has commissioned a survey apparently directed at groups. The deadline is January 4. Action: Paul will circulate the questions so that a collective response can be formulated. He will also inquire whether there are any background documents such as an evaluation of the results of the current Strategy.
d. Website/Listserv: An attempt to upgrade our machine’s software led to the discovery that our ISP’s daily backups have not been functioning as expected. Web content created after October 9 and the Archive of List postings after October 14 are irretrievably lost. Action, in order: Jason will arrange for a second backup service going forward; Jason will give Paul administrator privileges on the Sympa site; Paul will identify List postings after October 14 and re-post (without distribution) so that the mailing list Archive is restored; Erwin will attempt to recreate the web content that was lost.
4. Reports on previous action items
a. OPA 173 appeal: The outcome of the December 8 hearing was posted to the List on December 9. Paul has since been approached by the landowners about withdrawing our Part II Order request regarding location of a stormwater pond, in return for the proponent not pursuing costs. It was agreed to accede to the request on condition that conveyance to the City of what will be left of woodlot S23 be confirmed.
b. Significant Woodland policy (OPA 179): The new policy was approved at Planning Committee on December 13 (Paul made an intervention) and endorsed by Council the following day. It is recognized that very few additional woodlots in either the urban or rural area will be saved as a result of this policy. The Alliance will be invited to be part of a core group that over the next 12 months will work on revising the EIS Guidelines (which test for “no negative impact”) and reviewing the natural heritage policies of Official Plan sections 3.11 and 3.12 with an eye on integrating their application with other policies (sections 2.3.3, 2.4.1 and 2.4.5 of the Official Plan and Building Better and Smarter Suburbs directions).
c. “OPA 2016” (henceforth OPA 180): Council approved the revised population projections and amendments resulting from the Employment Lands study and LEAR review including a total of 17 amendments resulting from submissions to Planning Committee on November 22. Staff’s responses to the 94 submissions were contained in a 50-page document provided to members of Council on December 9 that has not been posted to the City’s web site. Action: Erwin will update our web site and include the document.
d. Ottawa Hospital site selection: The Coalition to Protect the Farm feels that selection of the former Sir John Carling site is a reasonable compromise. The challenge will now be to guard against undue spill-over effects such as in the widening of Prince of Wales Drive and loss of part of the Arboretum and the Ornamental Gardens.
e. GA List survey: About half of our subscribers have responded. Action: Paul will prepare an analysis, including mining of the free-format answers.
f. Federal Environmental Assessment Act review: The difficulty of commenting in the presence of arrays of experts was recognized, as was the fact that our key encounters with this law are with regard to the NCC. Action: David will prepare a 1-page comment. Paul will circulate a draft submission for a December 23 deadline.
g. Attendance at NCENN meetings: It was recognized that, along with the FCA and the OFNC’s Conservation Committee, the NCENN meetings are one of our key networking opportunities. Action: Paul will send out a proposed rotation to attend these Friday afternoon meetings.
h. Ottawa Mountain Bike Association follow-up: Paul wrote to Don Barrett relating his earlier conversation with the President of OMBA, expressing our view that, in the urban area, active use of greenspace is desirable as it improves its chances of preservation — the more users, the more constituents for its defence. However, we do not make distinctions between different types of users, as long as they are respectful of the greenspace and contribute to its maintenance.
i. KNL: The City has issued a Tree (cutting) Permit for Phases 7 and 8. We have received the Registered Subdivision Agreements and 4M Plans. Erwin and Faith Blacquière are analyzing them with an eye on follow-up questions for Lee Ann Snedden. A request to Legal Services (via Councillor Wilkinson) on the meaning of large-block Registration is still outstanding.
The informal group considering options for an Eastern Ontario Green Plan met again on December 15 and considered new information obtained from the Ministry. It seems that economic forces are driving the process, making a counterbalance highly desirable. Erwin contributed a <report> on the discussion held on June 10 that started off these series of meetings. Next meeting will be in February.
6. Information items
Bruce attended the NCC Urbanism Lab’s event of December 7 on the benefits of natural capital. The proceedings are available at http://www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca/about-ncc/capital-urbanism-lab/calendar-events/benefit-of-natural-capital. Among other topics, an NCC-David Suzuki Foundation study on the economic value of the NCC’s green spaces was presented. John pointed to the new ski trail along the Ottawa River as an example of how our natural assets can create value.
The meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m.
The next meeting will be on Monday, January 23, 2017 at 7:15 p.m. at the Hintonburg CC.