General Meeting – 21 November 2001

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital

Meeting of November 21, 2001

7:30 p.m., Honeywell Room, new City Hall


Attending: Barbara Barr, Erwin Dreessen, Amy Kempster, Arthur Mathewson, Bill Royds, Juan Pedro Unger

Guests: Kate Heartfield, Dan Whetung, Theresa Hensen

Regrets: Albert Dugal

Documents available: revised Proposed Agenda; Minutes of September 26 and October 17, 2001; revised “Priorities-Options-Thrusts” discussion page (Erwin); revised “Provocative Questions” discussion page (Erwin); “Draft Communications Strategy” (Juan Pedro); “Year in Review” (from 2001 A.G.M., as revised & posted); GACC brochure (bilingual); membership application forms.

A round of introductions was held.

Several items had been added to the proposed agenda since the e-mailed version, and more were added at the meeting. Arthur moved and Bill seconded approval of the agenda as amended. Carried.
It was mutually agreed that Bill Royds will serve as Vice-Chair, Barbara Barr as Treasurer, Amy Kempster as Vice-Chair, Development, and Juan Pedro Unger as Vice-Chair, Communications. The position of Secretary is vacant. Barbara agreed to prepare, as time allows, draft minutes for Erwin to edit and format. Barbara will also keep track of memberships.Arthur moved and Amy seconded that a resolution, read by Barbara naming Erwin Dreessen, Bill Royds, and Barbara Barr as signing officers, be adopted. Carried. A copy of the resolution, required by the Province of Ontario Savings Office, to be attached to the file copy of the minutes.
It was agreed to plan for meeting dates of Wednesdays Jan 16, Feb 13, Mar 13, Apr 17, May 15 and Jun 12. (Upcoming meeting date is Dec 12.) Erwin to reserve rooms.
Arthur moved and Barbara seconded approval of the Minutes of September 26 and October 17 (General Meeting) as circulated and posted. Carried.
Business Arising – LEITRIM
No letter has been sent yet to Fisheries and Oceans to request delaying completion of the Environmental Assessment screening report until the results of the new Risk Assessment for the landfill site initiated by Transport Canada are known. Representatives of the Friends of the Leitrim Wetlands will be meeting with MPP John Baird this Saturday; the Risk Assessment is with respect to provincial laws. Bill to get info. about expected time line for TC’s Risk Assessment, reassess GACC action after meeting with Baird, and draft a letter if appropriate.
Barbara reported approximately $750 in the treasury.Barbara moved and Amy seconded that the Greenspace Alliance accept the membership applications of Stan Rosenbaum and Joyce Wright. Carried.A low-cost “Season’s Greetings” ad has been submitted to “EnCompass”, an environmental magazine produced by the Pembina Institute (see Mail file). OPRIG-Ottawa sent a letter thanking us for our participation in their environmental awareness event on October 31 in the Byward Market. English and French versions of the Brochure have been prepared; the e-mail address will have to be changed from and some formatting remains to be done. Erwin, Amy, and Barbara attended the Nov. 12 meeting of the Sierra Club where they informed attendees about the Greenspace Alliance and its activities. Bill is continuing to improve our website, most recently by a revised listing of member and allied groups. Barbara to ensure Bill has Joyce’s e-mail address (Stan is already on the listserv)
Post-meeting note: Barbara provided Bill with the names of the few still missing member organizations.
8h07 PRIORITIES FOR 2001-2002
Erwin offered a <“Priorities-Options-Thrusts – Ends and Means” list> and “Provocative Questions” to help in the discussion, noting the idea for a discussion group on ecological planning suggested by Gail Stewart and others. After thoughtful discussion, the following was generally agreed upon:The amalgamated Official Plan will have to be given priority in our dealings with City Council. For specific development issues, there should be a strong community lead, otherwise the role of the Greenspace Alliance should be limited to advice and concentrate on lands owned by the NCC or zoned Institutional.

The Provincial Policy Statement review and perhaps the Ontario Municipal Act review were seen as a priority involving Queen’s Park. There was mixed opinion about the merits of joining with others to abolish the Ontario Municipal Board.

With respect to dealings with the NCC, we should make our position clear to the Troika of Chair of NCC and Mayors of Ottawa Gatineau that will begin meeting in January. When the NCC consults with interest groups in April, we should use that occasion to promote the Poets’ Pathway. But our priority should be to change the Treasury Board policy on land disposal – beginning with a visit to MP M. Bélanger.

The Poets’ Pathway and the Ottawa Land Trust will be priority projects; Bill wondered if we could aim to have these projects referenced in the Official Plan.

Regarding the other projects: Rather than aiming for a manual on How-to-save-your-greenspace at this time, we will work with the City on the handbook it is preparing about the Development Approvals Process (the consultant has already interviewed Barbara).

Work by the Friends of the Earth on the Greenmap is nearly complete, but there is as yet no funding to maintain it.

There is a solid group working on a RiverKeeper project for the Ottawa River.

There is an immediate opportunity for comment on Maintenance Policies and Practices as part of the City’s current series of open houses involving service levels for maintaining roads, sidewalks, parks, and trees (see Mail file).

The website needs to be improved. The listserv has so much e-mail, few people likely read all of it. Ideas discussed included surveying the listserv to try to learn how to serve people better and to be more effective (postings to self-selected subgroups on specific issues?) and asking people if monthly meetings are being held at the right time of day, time, and place.

Regarding alliances, Amy reported that Greenprint will continue to function in an educational role.

Juan Pedro tabled a detailed communications strategy, and briefly explained its various aspects. The two major divisions are internal and external communications. Strategies for each were proposed. Although the Greenspace Alliance has been involved in numerous activities over the last few years, external communications to make the media and the community aware of those activities have been minimal and measures to correct that are detailed in the proposal. Juan Pedro is developing a media tree and directory of contacts. Juan Pedro will make the plan available for posting and welcomes comments.
The registration process for notification of development proposals is predicated on geographically narrowly defined groups and does not work well for an issue-based group such as ours. It was agreed that we would register and suggest selection criteria such as proposals that affect the Greenway Systems of the former Ottawa, Nepean and Gloucester, any NOSS site, any undeveloped NCC-owned land, and any land in or adjacent to Natural Areas A and B. Erwin to contact Françoise Jessop
Discussion centred around sending holiday greetings to members of Ottawa City Council and others (Mayor and Councillors of the new Gatineau, NCC Directors, local MPPs, local MPs, and to members of City Advisory Committees. Various options were considered. The year-end report would not be sent out at the same time. The Board would further deal with the matter. Juan Pedro and others to follow up.
Arthur, a member of the Committee, reported that the Committee had held its first two meetings, appeared to be composed of people who can work well as a team, and had prepared the required Work Plan for submission to Council’s Environmental Services Committee. The Work Plan shows three categories of objectives (Long term, Official Plan, and Outreach) with specific activities proposed to fulfill each objective. Examples of activities are taking an inventory, reviewing old Official Plans with a view to increasing the targeted forest cover, organizing a get-together with groups with similar interests, and focussing an outreach effort on schools. Councillor Clive Doucet has participated; staff member assigned is Craig Huff.
Erwin reported that Councillor Stewart had reported to his community association that, with approval of the Citizens’ Coalition, she had had an extensive discussion in the Mayor’s office on a compromise which would see as much acreage developed on the Farm as would be saved in Montfort Woods, while the remainder of the Farm would be preserved.
Erwin reported that at least 500 people turned up on a rainy November 10th to protest the golf course. The Coalition had also met with PQ Minister Simard (responsible for the Outaouais) who appears ill-disposed towards Loto-Québec tactics.
Erwin reported that a very instructive walkabout had been held on November 17th. It was led by Ron Jack of Delcan, the lead consultant, and was attended by about 30 people. Quentin Bristow representing the GACC at the PAC.
Amy moved adjournment.


– Thank-you letter from the Enviro-Action Working Group of OPIRG-Ottawa (Christine Parton at the University of Ottawa) for our participation at their awareness event in the Market on October 31. There may well be other common ground between OPIRG and the GACC. The group’s e-mail address is

– Two excerpts from the Pembina Institute web site – About the Institute and their Goals and Approach. . (We sent Season’s Greetings to the readers of its magazine.)

– Two mailings from Mike Nickerson of the 7th Generation Initiative, dated October 23 and November 15. It seems Mike will concentrate on writing a book and paying the bills in the next little while. The second mailing covered a copy of <Progress Bulletin #2 October 2001> of the Environment and Sustainable Development Indicators (ESDI) Initiative, part of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy – web . Write to Lise Bélanger, to receive the bulletin electronically. For more information on the Initiative, contact Carolyn Cahill at .

– City of Ottawa, Trail Waste Facility Landfill Optimization/Expansion Environmental Assessment – invitation for a Public Open House in Barrhaven on November 27. See the draft EA/EPA document at your nearest Client Service Centre or at any Public Library. Deadline for comments is December 14. For more information contact Dave Ryan at , phone 580-2424 ext 25106.

– An invitation to Alex Munter’s Charity Soirée, “Celebrating 10 years in office,”at the Empire Grill on Clarence Street on December 3.

– Friends of the Farm – 2001-2002 Program of Events.

– City of Ottawa, Community Partnership Minor Capital Program… for minor capital improvements to parks and recreation facilities; deadlines on May 1 and September 1; must result in fixed assets. Up to $7,500 or 50% of total cost on City property; up to $7,500 or 1/3 of the total cost on school board or other public property. Contact People Services at 580-2424 ext 23169 or 23799.

– Contribuez financièrement (déductible d’impôts) ou donnez de votre temps… to win an injunction against construction of the autoroute McConnell-Laramée in Hull until proper hearings are held. Contact < or call 771-7523.

– Poster – Urban Forum lecture of 14 November (posted to gacc on Nov 9).

– “City drafting ‘important’ new blueprint for growth” by Ken Gray, The Ottawa Citizen, Nov 21, 2001, C1. Ned Lathrop’s report is to be presented to Council on December 12.

– On the NCC’s photo-trickery: The Ottawa Citizen‘s editorial, Nov 21, 2001, C4. On the same page, Randall Denley’s column, “A Goofy little photo lie,” with reference to Guy “Laflimflamme”…

– Oak Ridges Moraine protection: In a letter to the Globe & Mail, Nov 20, 2001, A18, Diane Shears warns that the Minister, by decree, can repeal any part or all of the protection plan.

– November 9 media ad for open houses on city roads, sidewalks, trees and parks maintenance, as well as on new directions for recreation and culture programs & services. Dates: Nov 19 to Dec 4. Or write to , noting in the subject box <maintenance levels> or <recreation and culture>. For more information, contact Alain Gonthier at 580-2424 ext 21197 (maintenance) or Marlynne Ferguson at 724-4122 ext 23630 (rec & cult).

– “Soaring, uplifting tales from the Wild Bird Care Centre,” by Dave Brown, The Ottawa Citizen, Nov 13, 2001, D5.

– “Shaping Ottawa – A conscientious developer,” by Susan Lightstone, The Ottawa Citizen, Nov 10, 2001, I1. About the Canada Lands Company (CLC) and vice-president Jim Lynes. CLC made $175 million for the feds last year, but at CLC “Profit is equal to social responsibility and sensible planning.” The Company has 12 employees in Ottawa. CLC will acquire the Rockcliffe Air Base and begin planning for it “in earnest” next spring.

– “Farm to pay for ruining eagle habitat,” by Kate Jaimet, The Ottawa Citizen, Nov 9, 2001, A10. A farm company near Simcoe is fined $6,250 under the Ontario Endangered Species Act for destroying a grove of trees that contained a bald eagle’s nest.

– “Outspoken Alberta ecologist wins $1-million award,” by Martin Mittelstaedt, The Globe & Mail, Nov 6, 2001, A11. About David Schindler’s winning the Herzberg gold medal for science and engineering. Prof. Schindler is with the University of Alberta.

– Point of View – The Algonquins – “Barrière Lake reserve threatens blockades over funding dispute,” by Kate Heartfield, The Ottawa Citizen, Oct 25, 2001, B4. The first nation is unhappy about a resource management plan unravelling again but protests this summer in Ottawa went nowhere. The community is “only a tank of gas away from the national capital region,” near Maniwaki.

– E-mail from Quentin Bristow including an article by Susan Lightstone, “Shaping Ottawa – Panel calls for more flexible zoning,”, The Ottawa Citizen, Oct 20, 2001, I9. The panel consisted of David McGuinty (NRTEE), Dennis Jacobs (CoO) and Pamela Sweet (FoTenn Consultants).

– “There’s no room for cars in our little patch of paradise,” by Jane Keeler, The Ottawa Citizen, Oct 16, 2001, D4. Lyrical description of the allotment gardens in the Alta Vista Corridor, which have existed for 30 years.

– “Meadow ruling mowed down – Woman convicted of growing wildflowers in Chelsea wins appeal in Quebec court,” The Ottawa Citizen, Oct 17, 2001, C12. Chelsea rescinded the long grass section of its nuisance bylaw in June.

– Review of Bjorn Lomborg’s “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” by Andrew Nikiforuk, The Globe & Mail, Oct 6, 2001, D4. Calls Lomborg’s “litany” “dangerously inaccurate.”

– PEN, October and November 2001 issues.

The next meeting of the GACC is on December 12, at 7:30 p.m., in the Honeywell Room.