General Meeting – 21 February 2008

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital
Minutes of General Monthly Meeting of February 21, 2008

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

Regrets: Bill Royds, Janice Seline

The meeting commenced at 7:20 p.m.

1. Welcome and Introductions.

2. Adoption of the Agenda:
C. Szpak moved and seconded by C. Gudz to adopt the Agenda as amended. Carried.

3. Approval of the Minutes of the January General Meeting:
T. Jobateh moved and seconded by C. Gudz to approve the minutes as amended of the 17 January 2008 General Meeting. Carried.

4. Business Arising:
a) Display for festivals: Mik Svilans is ready to construct a new Alliance display.

Action: (i) C. Doran will contact Mik to give him the go ahead and will ask Ron Rancourt about copying the Alliance’s website to a laptop.
(ii) B. George will put together a proposed slide show of appropriate photos to be shown on a laptop to go with the display.

b) Student volunteers: C. Doran reported that no response was received from a professor who had originally offered student volunteers to help with Alliance work.

c) NCC zoning letter: A. Kempster sent a letter to the NCC regarding the Alliance’s position on the new zoning by-law.

5. Membership Report:
T. Jobateh moved and seconded by C. Gudz to accept the membership applications of Hugh Carter and Ian Clysdale. Carried.

6. Treasurer’s Report:
A. Kempster moved and seconded by C. Szpak to approve the payments of: (a) $30 for renewing the Alliance’s annual membership of the Federation of Community Associations (FCA); (b) $30 for the annual renewal fee for federal incorporation; and (c) $25 for the Alliance’s participation in the Wildlife Festival. Carried.

7. Leitrim Wetland:
C. Doran, E. Dreessen and Albert Dugal will be meeting with provincial officials regarding the water currently being taken by the developer.

C. Doran will also be meeting with the Minister of Natural Resources later in March to discuss “environmental opportunities” in Southern Ontario, specifically to discuss species-at-risk and the protection of wetlands.

T. Jobateh recently received a letter from the Ministry of the Environment which appeared to raise concerns over the Leitrim issue. Members felt that a number of points in the letter needed further clarification.

Action: T. Jobateh, with the input of Alliance members, will prepare a response with questions to the designated Ministry official.

8. Parc Ecologigue:
J. Potvin reported on the Parc Ecologique initiative covering recent meetings with the City of Gatineau. It appears that Gatineau is prepared to give support in line with its strategic vision of becoming a “sports/recreation- minded’ city. One major issue under the initiative is to have those water ways on the Ottawa river system currently zoned for industrial use to be re-classified for multi-use – a designation that would entail a more recreation and environmentally friendly approach to the water and surrounding shore lines. The members agreed that J. Potvin has the support of the Alliance when meeting with Ottawa City councillors, the NCC and like-minded organizations regarding the initiative. He also envisages the establishment of a separate “foundation” to support the activities of sporting-recreational clubs.

9. PEC Resolution on Geotechnical Reporting Guidelines:
The meeting noted the recent PEC resolution to require that any modelling
used in planning decisions regarding geotechnical reporting must be repeatable by outside experts knowing the assumptions and data used by the proponents. Members at the meeting wanted to express their thanks to Bill Royds, who, along with Iola Price, made successful presentations to the Committee urging such a resolution.

10. Discussion Items:
a) Kanata West: E. Dreessen gave a brief update on the recent OMB hearing regarding Kanata West and the appeal of the City water resources engineer Ted Cooper.

b) Strategic Communications: C. Gudz argued that the Alliance needed to improve its strategic communications and the coordination between different Alliance initiatives.

Action: C. Gudz, B. George and JP Unger will develop a communications strategy for the Alliance.

Some concern was raised over the public comments/opinions appearing on the website – it appears that viewers could construe indiscriminate comments as representing the views of the Alliance.

Action: E. Dreessen will ask R. Rancourt to add a disclaimer.

c) French Version of the Alliance’s Name: A. Kempster moved and J. Potvin seconded the motion to change the French name of the Alliance from “Alliance pour les espaces verts dans la capitale nationale” to “ Alliance pour les espaces verts dans las capitale du Canada”. Carried

Action: as per Alliance by-laws, C. Szpak will notify the membership of the motion so that it can be officially accepted at the March General meeting.

d) Gatineau Park: S. Shuster reported on a proposed development in Gatineau Park. A strategy meeting of concerned people is to be held on how to approach the NCC and mobilize the public against the development. S. Shuster and J. Potvin will be attending.

e) Billings Bridge Wildlife Festival: volunteers are needed for manning the Alliance’s booth (March 28-30).

f) NCC Urban Lands Study: A. Kempster and C. Doran will be attending an upcoming meeting on the study to be held by the NCC.

g) NCC Workshop on Integrated Planning for Ottawa River Watershed: J. Potvin, who attended, reported that the discussion at the workshop was on a broad-themed level. It was on idea-gathering workshop and was not for specific decisions.

h) NCC Board Meeting: the NCC has invited interest groups to make presentations/proposals on their areas of concern to the Board meeting to be held March 7.

Action: J. Potvin will initiate an e-mail thread to put together a presentation for the Alliance.

i) Height of Lawn Grass: given recent cases in Toronto regarding by-laws on the height of lawn grass and weed control, some members felt that it would be worthwhile to know the City of Ottawa’s regulations on lawns.

Action: C. Gudz will investigate the City’s position.

j) Landsdowne Park: the City is asking for public input on the future of the Park.

Action: A. Kempster will write a letter stressing the need to preserve as much greenspace as possible.

11. New Business:
No new business was brought forward.

12. Adjournment:
The meeting was adjourned at 10:30 PM.