Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital
Meeting of April 23, 2003
7:30 p.m., Honeywell Room, City Hall
Attending: Barbara Barr (minute taker), Amy Kempster, Michael Mack, Connie Molyneaux, Stan Rosenbaum, Bill Royds (meeting chair), Svetlana Venetsky
Regrets: Erwin Dreessen, Chris Szpak
Documents Available: Agenda; Minutes of meeting of March 26, 2003; “Spring Cleaning the Capital” flyers (Amy)
A round of introductions was held.
1. Approval of the Agenda
The agenda was revised to add Ottawa Sports Park (Larry Pegg proposal) as item Ba and BUGS Garden as item 8b. The revised agenda was accepted by consent. Announcements were included informally.
2. Approval of the Minutes of March 26, 2003
MOTION: Barbara moved and Amy seconded approval of the minutes of the meeting of March 26, 2003. Carried. Note: Minutes of Nov. 20, 2002, have not yet been amended and approved.
3. Treasurer and Membership Report
Barbara reported the $100.00 donation cheque to the Aylmer Land Trust has been cashed, and there has been one membership renewal since the last meeting. Due to the press of other Greenspace Alliance activities, she has fallen behind in reminding members to renew annual memberships. A suggestion was made to send an e-mail to the List inviting non-members to become members. Barbara to begin sending reminder membership renewal e-mails to members and an e-mail to the List inviting member ship of non-members.
Barbara moved and Amy seconded that the membership application of Svetlana Venetsky be accepted. Carried.
4. Business arising out of the Minutes
Business arising from Feb. 23. 2003 minutes.
Item 5a – Status of donation to Aylmer Land Trust. Janet Smiley phoned Amy to thank Greenspace Alliance for our $100.00 donation to Aylmer Land Trust and to inform that although original site cannot be saved, other sites in Aylmer are at risk. ANNOUNCEMENT: A rally will be held Saturday, April 26, at 11:00 a.m. to draw attention to greenspace preservation in Aylmer. Members of Greenspace Alliance are invited to participate. Suggested meeting place to join marches from various areas to main rally site is corner of Beaujolais and Lucerne Blvd.
Item 5b – Barbara e-mailed letterhead to Bill. Decision made to put Amy’s phone number on letterhead.
Item 5c – Ottawa-Outaouais Social Forum. Both Amy and Bill contacted organizers to let them know we would not be participating.
Item 6 -Gatineau Park Coalition is item 4(1) of this agenda.
Business arising from March 23. 2003 minutes.
Item 4 – Barbara delivered signing authority documents to savings office.
Item 7 – Amy got date and time to speak about Official Plan to Planning Committee. Al followed-up with Councillor Legendre. The Official Plan Committee met on March 30 to discuss O.P. and subsequently drafted submission. Amy and Chris gave Greenspace Alliance’s presentation to Planning Committee on April. Al made individual presentation about forest cover the same evening.
Item 9 – Before Bill got letter objecting to new road to MacKenzie King estate sent to NCC Chair Marcel Beaudry, trees had been bulldozed (last week) for road.
Item 10 – Incorporation is item 4(3) of this agenda.
Item 11a – Amy has not yet contacted City re. development applications for comment. Amy has received two “heads-up” faxes from the City, one concerning Cumberland Seniors Village on North Service Road and one concerning a very large commercial development at the corner of Innes Rd. and Mer Bleue Rd. There was a problem with a notice sent by e-mail, due to use of our outdated e-mail address.
We continued to discuss ways to deal with commenting on received development applications. Ideally, we need volunteers from each major geographic area of the City (west, east, south, central) to screen development applications, visit sites, and possibly draft submissions.
Francine and Barbara have returned calls, but not yet spoken, about the Navan re-zoning application Francine has. Barbara did not have time to follow-up on the three applications she has before the due dates for comments had passed. Any comments on applications, such as re-zonings, that will automatically rise to Planning Committee will have to be made there. Barbara represented the Greenspace Alliance at Planning Committee on March 27 to support the staff recommendation to refuse five applications to expand the urban boundary. Barbara reported that Council passed the staff recommendation for the five applications on the consent agenda today, April 23.
Amy to contact City person managing reviewer list to try to get applications of interest and to update our e-mail address. Amy to write e-mail to our List and to FCA’s List re. finding geographically-based community volunteers to screen development applications for greenspace issues. Barbara to follow-up with Francine and continue to follow-up on applications she currently has.
Item 11b – Wildlife Festival. Juan Pedro set up the Greenspace Alliance exhibit and organized volunteers for Wildlife Festival at Carlingwood Mall on April 4-6. Run-Walk for Clean Air is item 6 on this agenda .
Item 12 – Urban Natural Areas Environmental Evaluation Study is item 4(4) on this agenda. Barbara sent Bill’s name, e-mail address, and telephone number, as the Greenspace Alliance’s alternate representative, to Study’s organizers.
(1) Gatineau Park Coalition
Bill reported that he has attended two meetings. Two important goals of the Coalition are (1) to lobby for either an Order from Council to put a freeze on development in Gatineau Park for three years, or to subject proposed projects in the park to the same Canadian Environmental Assessment Act process with which the national parks must comply; and (2) to get an improved status for Gatineau Park so that it has defined boundaries and is protected as a park.
Goals would include publicizing the fact that the park currently is not protected. CREDO and the local chapter of CPAWS are taking the lead roles in the Coalition. MOTION: Bill moved and Connie seconded that the Greenspace Alliance reaffirms its intent to participate in the Coalition. Carried. The consensus among those present was that the Greenspace Alliance wants to continue with support and do what we can, but we can’t promise a lot because of current commitments and responsibilities.
(2) Official Plan
Barbara reported that Council had spent much of April 23 on the Official Plan and had approved it after 7:00 p.m. Councillors Wendy Stewart and Gord Hunter voted against approval. Councillor Stewart’s explanation was that she saw nothing in this Plan that would improve the situation over the former Region’s O.P. which staff had “twisted” to permit infill at the expense of designated Open Space (i.e., Moffatt Farm). Councillor Hunter apparently gave no explanation. Some additional concerns of the Greenspace Alliance were addressed through motions prepared by staff which were approved by Council. For example, protection for both locally and provincially rare species was made clear, and the wording of some amendments adopted by Planning Committee was clarified. The staff-recommended moratorium on country estate lot subdivisions, which had been approved by Planning Committee, was substantially weakened by Council’s approval of an amendment introduced by Councillor Janet Stavinga. The O.P. now goes to the Province for approval. Staff expect it back in September.
Appeal of the approved O.P. by disgruntled developers or someone else is likely. Appeal by the Greenspace Alliance may be necessary if we want to be a Party rather than a Participant at any Ontario Municipal Board hearings of the appeal. An advantage of being a Party is that we could take part in any negotiated settlements of appeals. A disadvantage is that we likely would have to spend much time physically present at hearings. The City might recommend Party status for the Greenspace Alliance if we support the City’s position on issues like maintaining the current urban boundary.
Amy to call Tim Marc of City’s legal staff to inquire about appeal period and related issues.
As Chris was unavoidably absent, Amy reported that Chris is continuing to pursue incorporation. Chris to continue to pursue federal incorporation.
(4) Urban Natural Areas Evaluation Study
Barbara had e-mailed the membership that she had forgotten to attend the first meeting of the Public Advisory Committee on April 9, and later e-mailed the report Adrianne Sinclair had made to the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club.
Three public open houses at which members of the public may add sites to those already identified on maps prepared by the Consultants are planned: May 13, from 4-8 p.m. at the Cumberland Branch Library, May 14 from 4-8 p.m. at the John Malak Centre in Kanata, and May 21 from 3-9 p.m. in the Main Foyer of City Hall.
Comments about the Study among Greenspace Alliance members present included: (1) the first publication announcing the Study was released without input from the PAC; (2) inadequacy of consultation when open houses are scheduled in just three locations in the City; the populous central area is under-consulted; (3) staff should go to where the people are, such as shopping malls, rather than holding open houses; (4) a meeting should be held in every community; (5) community associations should be notified; (6) concern about how the selected sites will be evaluated; (7) it would be useful to know what sites have already been selected by the Consultants in advance of open houses in order to give the especially interested and informed public an opportunity to study and think about sites; and (8) lack of clarity about whether all of the sites in Document 16, produced in conjunction with the Official Plan, are potential sites.
Barbara to contact study organizers (Barb Gray and Nancy Smith) to determine whether provisional list of sites can be released, preferably electron ically, in advance of public open houses. Barbara to go on record as objecting to release of publication without input from PAC and to limited number of phase 1 public meetings. Amy to give FCA “heads up” about open houses.
(5) Renewal of Greenspace Alliance Executive
Secretary Divya Raman has resigned because she is moving out of town and Board Member and Volunteer Coordinator Sara Gagné has resigned because of ill health. NOMINATIONS: With the agreement of two new nominees, Amy nominated and Barbara seconded Michael Mack and Connie Molyneaux as Board Members of the Greenspace Alliance. Carried by a vote of all members present. Connie volunteered to become Volunteer Coordinator.
(6) Run/Walk for Clean Air volunteers
Amy has not yet found another volunteer to attend organizing meetings for the Run/Walk. Bill volunteered to try to attend the next meeting. The Greenspace Alliance is responsible for providing volunteers to register event participants at Sports 4 on Bank St. on Friday and Saturday, May 30 and 31, the two days before the event. Amanda has volunteered for part of Saturday. Amy has prepared letters to potential donees of prizes but needs assistance in delivering them. Mike volunteered.
Amy to solicit volunteers by e mailing membership. Mike to work with Amy to deliver letters soliciting donations.
(7) Selling flowers for Tulip Festival
The Tulip Festival sent the Greenspace Alliance information about fund raising by selling tulip bulbs, which Amy suggested would be an appropriate way to earn money. Participating groups keep half the funds from sales.
Attractive brochures and ordering information are supplied by the Tulip Festival. Due date for bulb orders is Sept. 1. MOTION: Amy moved and Mike seconded that the Greenspace Alliance take part in tulip bulb sales fundraising. Carried. A decision was made to order 50 of the free brochures.
Amy to order 50 brochures. Amy to coordinate activity, beginning with e mailing membership for volunteers to raise funds by selling bulbs and for interest of members in purchasing bulbs.
(8) Results of Smart Communities workshop
Several members of the Greenspace Alliance attended the Smart Communities workshop sponsored by the Ontario Federation of Naturalists, (OFN), the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club (OFNC), and the Greenspace Alliance on April 22. Bill and Amy made short presentations on behalf of the Alliance. Frank Pope and Stan Rosenbaum spoke on behalf of the OFNC. Linda Pim of OFN was the principal speaker. A useful OFN publication, “A Smart Future for Ontario. How to Protect Nature and Curb Urban Sprawl in Your Community” was distributed. MOTION: In response to a call to action from the OFN, Amy moved and Barbara seconded that the Greenspace Alliance write letters to John Manley and Janet Ecker asking them to allow a portion of the federal and provincial gasoline taxes to be used to fund public transit in municipalities. Carried.
Amy to draft letters to John Manley and Janet Ecker and circulate to Board for comment and approval.
(8a) Ottawa Sports Park (Larry Pegg proposal)
Stan reported that entrepreneur Larry Pegg, who built an ultimate frisbee park in Manotick, has an interesting proposal for a soccer field complex south of the Airport. In addition to sports fields, the proposal involves constructing a few buildings, leaving land as a protected area for plants and animals, and building a parking lot that could be used for park-and-ride during the day and for sports-field parking at night. Impediments to the proposal are (1) the Airport, which controls the land, wants to develop it as a business park; and (2) the proposed expanded route of the O-Train would go through the intended protected area. Mr. Pegg has contacted the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club to find out the natural values of the site and how not to destroy them. He has proposed a meeting with representatives from OFNC and the Greenspace Alliance to describe his proposals. It might be sensible and proactive for the Greenspace Alliance to support such a proposal if the alternative is a paved business park. Bill and Barbara volunteered to try to attend such a meeting.
Stan to set up meeting with Larry Pegg and notify Bill, Barbara, and others.
(8b) BUGS Garden
We received a request from BUGS (Bytown Urban Gardens), an organic community garden at Metcalfe and Catherine Streets, to support their effort to continue to have a garden. Development of the present site is planned, with no proposal for the future of the garden. Discussion included the fact that Official Plan policy is to support urban gardens. An unanswered question was raised as to whether the land is contaminated. MOTION: Amy moved and Barbara seconded that the Greenspace Alliance write a letter of support for an urban garden for BUGS, including the suggestion that parking lots could be turned into gardens. Bill volunteered to draft the letter.
Bill to draft letter in support of garden for BUGS and circulate to Board for comment and approval.
(9) Draft Environmental Strategy
The Draft Environmental Strategy is entering the public comment stage. Open houses will be held in various parts of the City throughout May. The consensus among those who had looked at it is that the draft document is full of nice-sounding general statements but is short on specifics. It was agreed by consensus that the Greenspace Alliance should attempt to submit comment on the greenspace aspects of the Strategy.
Amy and Barbara to examine Draft Environmental Strategy and take lead on this.
UPDATES / BRIEF REPORTS
(10) Public Participation Process
Amy reported that she had participated in the focus group as Greenspace Alliance representative. A report of the results is to be sent to participants. Amy to check on status of report.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Mike announced that the first public meeting about the Secondary Planning Study of part of Moffatt Farm will be held on May 8 at the Hellenic Community Centre on Prince of Wales Drive. The Moffatt Farm Citizens’ Coalition will meet on May 1 at the Carleton Heights Community Centre at 1665 Apeldoorn Ave. to prepare. Greenspace Alliance members are invited to attend.
ANNOUNCEMENT: Amy passed out flyers and reminded people of the “Spring Cleaning the Capital”, April 11 – May 1, and the clean-up along the Ottawa River on May 3.
Barbara moved and Mike seconded that the meeting be adjourned. Carried.
Next Meeting: May 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Honeywell Room at City Hall.