General Meeting – 20 March 2008

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital
Minutes of General Monthly Meeting of March 20, 2008

Members present: Carol Gudz (Chair), Chris Szpak (minute taker), Hugh Carter, Barry George, Amy Kempster, Joseph Potvin, Sol Shuster.

Regrets: Cheryl Doran, Erwin Dreessen, Bill Royds.

The meeting commenced at 7:15 p.m.

1. Welcome and Introductions.

2. Adoption of the Agenda:
Hugh C. moved and seconded by Amy K. to adopt the Agenda as amended. Carried.

3. Approval of the Minutes of the February General Meeting:
Chris S. moved and seconded by Joseph P. to approve the minutes as amended of the 21 February 2008 General Meeting. Carried.

4. Business Arising:
a) Website communications: Ron Rancourt is to place a disclaimer on the website regarding individual comments and opinions. Members felt that there should be a general statement on the website regarding the Alliance’s approach to communicating with the outside world, both as an organization and as individual members – i.e., “ How we communicate”.

Action: Carol G. will draft a statement on the Alliance’s communication protocol.

b) French name change: with no intervention received from the general membership regarding the proposed change of the Alliance’s French name, Joseph P. moved and Barry G. seconded to amend the Alliance’s by-laws, Article I(2), by changing the Alliance’s French name from “Alliance pour les espaces verts dans la capitale nationale” to “ Alliance pour les espaces verts dans la capitale du Canada”. Carried.

c) Gatineau Park: Sol S. reported on a meeting with the Minister responsible for the NCC, Lawrence Cannon, which was held together with other concerned organizations (CREDDO, CPAWS) to discuss the freezing of development in Gatineau park. The Minister will take this issue into account when responding to the Panel report, most likely this Spring.

A regional plan is also being developed by the regional government of the MRC des collines de l’Outaouais, which includes Chelsea and La Peche as well as a few other municipalities.

Further action regarding the issue include a meeting with the NCC’s CEO on March 20, the preparation of a newsletter, coordinating with other like minded groups, and meeting with local community associations.

d) Wildlife Festival: Barry G. will organize the Alliance’s stand at the festival and coordinate the volunteers.

e) NCC Urban Lands Study: Amy K. reported on a tour of urban lands given by the NCC for the Study’s Consultative Committee. The study is due for 2010.

f) NCC Board Meeting: Hugh C. will be making a presentation to the NCC Board Meeting (April 3) on behalf of concerned residents regarding a possible development in the Greenbelt. Members present gave suggestions regarding the presentation.

g) Zoning letter to the NCC: Amy K. reported. It was agreed that the Alliance should continue to press the issue of protecting greenspace and environmentally significant lands with appropriate zoning designations. It was suggested that community associations should be approached to check greenspace zoning in their respective communities. Some simple guidelines could be given on the website for interested parties on how to go about doing this.

5. Membership Report:
Nothing to report.

6. Treasurer’s Report:
Sol S. moved and Joseph P. seconded to approve the payments of $30 for renewing the Alliance’s annual membership of the Federation of Community Associations (FCA). Carried.

7. Leitrim Wetland:
Sol S. gave a short update on the latest developments. He reported that the South Nation Conservation Authority has been collecting some data on the out-flow from the wetland and that the judicial review regarding the OMB’s decision to approved Phase 2 of the Findlay Creek development is to be in June.

8. Official Plan Review:
Amy K. reported that a number of issues were coming up within the context of the Official Plan review, including the NCC’s plans for the Southern Corridor and proposals for the future of the rural areas (a number of studies have been recently released). An Official Plan review committee was re-established to monitor the review process with Amy K. and Chris S. as lead.

9. Parc Ecologique:
J. Potvin reported on the Parc Ecologique initiative. He will be preparing a presentation for the NCC Board Meeting for the Alliance. As well, he is hoping to set up meetings with the City’s Economic Development Committee to discuss the initiative.

On another topic, he brought forward alternative ideas entertained by a developer in Chelsea that would incorporate food farming with residential development in rural areas. It was agreed that the Alliance should encourage and support such initiatives that implement development with proper regard to the environment and the preservation of greenspace.

10. Announcements:
a) Ottawa River Cleanup: the Champlain Park Community Association will be participating in the annual Ottawa River in May and are now looking for volunteers.

11. Adjournment:
The meeting was adjourned at 10:15 PM.

Next Meeting scheduled for : 17 April 2008.