GREENSPACE ALLIANCE OF CANADA’S CAPITAL
March 21, 2016
Hintonburg Community Centre
1064 Wellington Street West
Members present: Nicole DesRoches (chair), Erwin Dreessen (notetaker), John Almstedt, Bruce Lindsay, Paul Johanis, Judy Makin, Jason Kania, David McNicoll, Iola Price, Juan Pedro Unger, Sol Shuster and Lorne Peterson
Guest: Elise Saint-Martin, Elisabeth Keith
Regrets: Ian Whyte and Neil Kabesh
The meeting commenced at 7:20 p.m.
A modified agenda was agreed upon.
2. To celebrate Spring, Lorne read us a poem, “Must be Spring” (1995/2016)
3. Administrative items
a. Minutes of February 22, 2016: Erwin moved, seconded by Iola, to approve the Minutes of February 22 as circulated. Agreed.
b. Membership report: Bruce moved, seconded by Judy, to accept the memberships of Debra Huron and Daniel Buckles. Agreed.
c. Web site analytics: Jason explained that the view count of pages or posts provided by WordPress should be interpreted only in a relative sense; it includes browser visits etc. A return to Google Analytics is feasible only after we have completed the transfer of content from our Drupal site.
d. Outreach/promotion opportunities: Erwin confirmed that the April 27 event hosted by Ecology Ottawa will include an opportunity to set up a table. He also informed that the organizers of Earth Day on June 9 have agreed to accept $50.00 as our fee for a table on Sparks Street. Besides promotion through our networks, ideas for contribution in kind were set-up labour and a PA system.
e. Volunteer recruitment: Several volunteers have stepped forward lately, to assist on projects through the summer. Paul will attend the reception and poster event of practicum students at Carleton on April 6. Erwin distributed some ideas for a survey of List subscribers and invited comment; a meeting with a volunteer to design the survey is planned for April 4 or 5.
4. Action updates
a. KNL – letter to Minister: A letter was sent on March 10 to Min. Bill Mauro (MNRF; cc the Premier and Ontario Nature’s Caroline Schultz) suggesting that, instead of relying on the applicant’s information only, he should use section 17(2)(d) of the Endangered Species Act before deciding on an “overall benefit” permit for KNL. The letter also urges action on a recovery strategy for Blanding’s Turtles. Erwin acknowledged the OFNC Conservation Committee’s David Seburn for helpful information. He also noted that the campaign to encourage comments on the EBR posting about KNL’s application achieved extraordinary reach with the OFNC’s help — through a blog (1,973 views; in contrast, a blog on saving the American Eel, received only 107 views), a note on Facebook (1,716 members, of whom only 1/4th are members of the Club) and an email to all Members. Action: Monitor EBR 012-6270 for updates.
b. Options for celebrating 2017: Several ideas were discussed for events that could qualify for a funding application to the City. Action: Nicole, Iola and, hopefully, others will form a Committee to flesh out options.
c. Urban Forest Management Strategy: No developments.
d. Former Domtar lands – Follow-up: Erwin had reported in detail on his and Fenja Brodo’s meeting with Scott McDougall and Catherine Laska of Windmill Developments on February 25. The conversation covered all grounds previously agreed upon. Scott promised to raise the option of a moratorium on promotion of the Kanaal units until the court challenge has run its course. David reported on the March 16 Divisional Court hearing for Leave to Appeal by Douglas Cardinal and others; the arguments centered on process and constitutional and property ownership issues. The Judge reserved his decision.
e. Inquiry response re Area 2 – Follow-up: Paul and Judy met with Councillor Eli El-Chantiry on March 4 and found strong sympathy for no development. The outcome of KNL’s overall benefit application will affect what happens in Area 2, whether the application is granted or not. In the first place the decision lies with Council on determining the extent of developable area. The Existing Conditions report will require significant changes, including a redefinition of the floodplain. Action: Look for opportunities to lobby other Councillors.
f. Inquiry re Cash-in-lieu of parkland: Erwin had distributed an information sheet with the proposed agenda. It was agreed that we develop an Inquiry for Councillor Catherine McKenney, asking for a breakdown by reason of acceptance of a CIL and by Ward. Action: Erwin.
g. Protecting the Central Experimental Farm – Update: The invitation to write letters has been distributed to the GA, FCA, SMH-CRC, CAFES and OFNC-CC lists and has been posted to OFNC’s Facebook page.
h. Ottawa River Shoreline Neighbours Network – Update: John noted that the 100 km of Ottawa River south shoreline connects 10 wards and 30 neighbourhoods. Ottawa Riverkeeper will launch a Neighbours Network this summer. Max Finkelstein plans a 2-day paddle from one end to the other. On land, the idea is to identify public access to the shore, extend the NCC trails on both sides of the River, and monitor water quality. The Greenspace Alliance may want to promote creation of a continuous path.
i. Road tolls study: We have co-signed a letter of support for a motion to study road tolls initiated by the Healthy Transportation Coalition. The matter is on Transportation Committee’s agenda of April 6. Action: Paul will circulate some points that Erwin could use to intervene at Committee.
5. Carp River Restoration monitoring program
John has been putting together maps and data about the multitude of works being implemented or planned around the Carp River between Hazeldean Road and Robertson Side Road. He suggests that the area should become a “Wetland Conservation Park” and is working on a monitoring program that citizens could engage in. Ottawa River Keeper could provide certain tools. He has been speaking with officials of the Mississippi Conservation Authority. Judy mentioned ongoing work with Ducks Unlimited.
6. OMB Decision of February 23 re OPA 150
Our letter to Council of March 12 was posted on Unpublished Ottawa and may yet result in coverage in the Metroland papers. There has been no substantive reaction from Councillors or other media. Erwin reported on exchanges between appellants and the Board to the effect that some appeals may go forward, beginning with a pre-hearing conference in late summer; he has indicated that, in that case, we would like to see our appeal go forward as well. He noted that the Employment Lands study is nearly complete and is expected to result in an Official Plan Amendment in the fall. As for the LEAR review, Phil Mount reports that significant discussions on methodology remain to be concluded, with no sign of the process being rushed.
7. Aftermath of the 2014 Development Charges By-law
In October 2015 Council agreed to a settlement with the Greater Ottawa Home Builders (GOHBA) and Building Owners Management Association (BOMA) as a result of which 1) charges on account of road building were substantially reduced (annual revenue loss $6.5 million); 2) a 2017 amendment will increase transit charges (as per Bill 73) but compensate for this by further reducing road charges in accord with reduced “standards;” 3) no new projects will be introduced in that 2017 amendment unless the appellants agree. Three Councillors dissented (Nussbaum, Chiarelli and McKenney); Councillor Nussbaum explained why in a blog post. This settlement received no media coverage whatsoever. Three other appeals have been heard, with two decisions issued. Action: Neil Kabesh to complete the research and write up the story.
8. Brief reports
Brief reports on four meetings to be appended to these Minutes.
9. Other business
a. Judy informed that the Friends of Huntley Highlands has changed its name to Friends of the Carp Hills. Their public meeting this Wednesday will highlight what has been accomplished to date.
b. The fourth and final Open House on the Community Design Plan for Area 1 (Kanata North) will be held on March 30. Paul and Judy will attend. Outstanding concerns are: 1) the stormwater pond should be located inside the development, as per city “standard practice,” not in the adjacent rural area; 2) the designation of the S20 woodlot as not significant is contestable; 3) recommendations of the Building Better Suburbs report are not fully implemented; 4) an Official Plan Amendment is premature in light of Ottawa’s 24-year supply of residential land.
The meeting adjourned at 9:35 p.m.
The next monthly meeting will be on Monday, April 25, 2016 at 7:15 p.m. in the Hintonburg CC.
a. NCENN meeting of February 26: Rebecca McQuaid presented “Evaluation 101.”
b. FCA meeting of March 3: The theme was affordable housing. A Planning Forum is still projected for May 4. The Governance Committee will again meet with staff on April 12.
c. NCC Urbanism Lab of March 16: The theme was Art in the City. Speakers were Mark Robbins (American Academy in Rome) and Dov Goldstein (Lord Cultural Resources, Toronto; the Holocaust Monument is one of their projects). Dov spoke of the expected but especially of the unexpected culture in parks, fields, reclaimed spaces. Mark spoke especially of the city transformation he helped facilitate while Dean of Architecture at Syracuse University. In discussion it was noted that cultural legacy institutions everywhere, just like universities, are branching out, collaborating with the community and diversifying their audiences.
d. OFNC-Conservation Committee meeting of March 17: The meeting primarily discussed plans for the rest of the year and the year following, including potential biothons in Marlborough Forest.