General Meeting – 20 July 2006

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital
Meeting Minutes for July 20, 2006

Location: In Champlain Park outside the Field House

In attendance:
Members: Carol Gudz (chair), Daphne McCree, Amy Kempster, Bill Royds, Chantal Vicha, Thomas Kapler, Theresa Jobateh (till 8:30 p.m.) and Erwin Dreessen (notetakers)
Guest: Yavuz Zeybek
Regrets: Janice Seline

The meeting was called to order at 7:40 p.m.

1. Several items were added to the agenda, which was then approved by consensus.

2. Minutes of June 15, 2006:

Item 7a) should read: “Bill needs to step down as chair due to returning to work full time and family needs. He gave his official notice now, 30 days ahead of the next meeting. Carol expressed interest in taking over the
meeting/administrative tasks involved in the Chair position.” Erwin then moved and Bill seconded approval of the Minutes as amended. Approved.

3. Appointment of Acting Chair:

Bill moved and Daphne seconded that Carol become Interim Chair. Approved.

4. Communications Committee report:

Chantal reported that a meeting on July 6 had identified four priorities: 1- renewal of the web site; 2- a press kit and media contacts; 3 – an event, something small but powerful (“major small”); 4- dissemination of information via a newsletter. Fundraising and recruitment priorities of the Alliance would be realized through these objectives. The next meeting is called for July 25 at 7 p.m. at the Bridgehead Coffee shop, 282 Elgin.

5. Website:

Thomas reported on meeting with Ron Rancourt about renewal of the web site and some suggested principles. Drupal software would be used to organize content and make it easier to post. Postings to the e-mail list would be incorporated in a private blog. Items would be classified both by subject and geographically.

6. Linking communities and greenspaces:

Thomas suggested that part of the web site could be devoted to an ecological inventory, using the information produced by the recent Urban Natural Areas reports and others (such as the NOS Study), and offering a forum for public participation in caring for the greenspace. He distributed a preliminary description of the idea. It was recognized that this was an ambitious project with long term value for both the City (as per an objective of the Greenspace Masterplan) and the public. Treatment of a first site, Hampton Park, is in an advanced state of development as part of a university course he is taking.

ACTION: Thomas will present a more formal proposal at the next meeting.

7. Funding submissions:

Erwin reported that it had been suggested to him to apply for a grant under the Community Environmental Projects Program. While the initial thought was to revive a 2003 application for a Poets’ Pathway “monument” at the entrance to McCarthy Woods, it became apparent that the full project cost would be in the order of $20,000 – too much for this program. Thomas then suggested to proposed instead an initial set of five panels at selected greenspaces around the city, explaining the ecological (including social) value of the site. This idea is complementary to the previous one about linking communities and greenspaces.

ACTION (M/S by Erwin/Theresa): On behalf of the Alliance, Thomas will try to get an application in to the City by tommorrow. Thomas will lead the further development of this project, assisted by Bill.

8. Official Plan and Zoning Amendments, and Community Design Plan:

– Bill reported that in OPA #44 (implementing the South Nepean Community Design Plan), a woodlot, rated of moderate significance, will be preserved.

– Development of a Fernbank Community Design Plan (which includes the Del/Brookfield/Westpark lands) is starting up. No action by the Alliance was proposed.

– The appeal period for rezoning of 1501 Bank Street (now all woodlot) ends July 26; a member of the local community had contacted the Alliance and was invited to attend today’s meeting but there was no follow-up. No action by the Alliance was proposed.

9. Leitrim:

A lawyer for the Sierra Club is preparing an appeal of the Plan of Subdivision for “Phase 2″ of the Tartan development. Bill had been in a teleconference about the matter and had agreed to seek approval for the Alliance co-signing the appeal provided the Sierra Club would take the lead. M/S by Bill/Erwin that the Alliance join in the appeal. Approved.

10. Treasurer’s Report:

Amy undertook to send a report by e-mail.

11. Poets’ Pathway:

Erwin reported that:

– Discussions have taken place to see the Poets’ Pathway project qualified as eligible for the new Sustainability Fund, an “advised fund” under the umbrella of the Community Foundation of Ottawa, initiated with $10,000 from the City at the recommendation of the Environmental Advisory Committee; this has long term potential. In the short term, a grant application for the Poet’s Hill project at Beechwood will be submitted to the Foundation in September.

– Janice Kennedy of The Ottawa Citizen has interviewed Steven Artelle, Erwin & Thomas, and Bill, and was also put in contact with John Sankey. A 2-page article on the Poets’ Pathway will appear in a weekend edition of the paper late July or early August.

– Official opening of Poet’s Hill at Beechwood will be on Wednesday, September 13, 2006. More details to follow.

– Erwin is leading an initiative to ensure that the view of Parliament Hill from the Poet’s Hill site is protected in the Official Plan and Zoning By-laws. In the process he learned that a citizen- (more typically developer-) initiated OPA today carries an $8,995.00 fee; plus, the applicant has to vouch for covering up to $10,000 in costs if Council approves the Amendment and it is appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board. As this is beyond all reason, the Poet’s Hill Committee, as advised by staff, will approach Councillors Legendre and Bédard to see if they would sponsor a Motion to have the protection of this View noted as of City interest and to direct staff to include the initiative in next year’s work program.

12. OP Appeal – OMB Environment Hearing follow-up:

Erwin reported that the written versions of oral Decisions of May 9-10 are now available (Decisions ## 1754 and 1755). Deborah Irwin has been assigned to reach an agreement with the Alliance and the Ottawa-Carleton Home Builders’ Association on a definition of “adverse impact” from development in land designated as Rural Natural Feature. These discussions are progressing well. A Decision regarding the need for an Environmental Impact Statement for development adjacent to a RNF remains expected.

13. Carp River Floodplain/Kanata West:

Carol reported that:

– Her appeal of the rezoning of “325 Didsbury”(Taggart/Loblaw) is very close to settlement; it will guarantee that nothing will be built in what is currently defined as the floodplain.

– The Carp River Coalition has filed a Part II Order Request with the Minister of Environment regarding the recently posted Notices of Completion of Class Environmental Assessments. Ottawa RiverKeeper and others have also filed Requests. The Coalition and others have been careful to scope their Requests so as not to impede short-term construction plans (which do not affect the floodplain). Discussions are under way with members of the Kanata West Owners’ Group Inc. about ways of extending the proposed Restoration work to the rural reach of the River, past the Village of Carp.

– A “Letter Writing Social” is planned, to generate letters of support for the Request. Details to follow.

14. Coalition for NCC Renewal:

Erwin reported for Sol Shuster that, at the request of the Coalition, NCC staff, for the first time ever, has produced three GIS-based maps and lists of properties on the NCC’s books that are not part of the “National Interest Land Mass” (NILM). This information will shortly be available on the NCC’s web site. Minister Cannon’s office has indicated that a review panel with a defined mandate will be nominated likely in September. The Coalition is preparing position papers on Gatineau Park, the Greenbelt, other Greenspaces, and Governance.

15. OP Appeal – Country Lot Subdivision policies:

Amy reported that she is preparing the Alliance’s appeal, with assistance from the FCA (Linda Hoad and Bob Brocklebank). There will be a pre-hearing just before the start of the Urban Boundaries Hearing that starts September 5. The City’s Leslie Paterson will likely be subpoenaed. Recent reports on Vacant Rural Land and the Land Use Survey provide evidence for the argument that C.L. subdivisions should be prohibited. The City has engaged Murray Chown to defend Council’s decision, against the recommendation by staff, to continue to allow them.

16. Appointment of Directors:

Erwin moved and Amy seconded that Chantal Vicha and Thomas Kapler be appointed as Directors of the Alliance. Approved.

The meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m. as it was getting dark and the bugs started to bite.