General Meeting – 23 April 2014

GREENSPACE ALLIANCE OF CANADA’S CAPITAL

Greenspace Watch

General Meeting

April 23, 2014

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

Members present: Erwin Dreessen (chair), Jason Kania, Sol Shuster, Elina Elnione (note taker), Nicole DesRoches, Judy Makin, Lorne Peterson

Guests: Adam Smith, Nick Stow, Faith Blacquière, Anna Hercz, Michael Bordt, Donna DuBreuil, Kate MacNeill, Bruce Lindsay

Regrets: Amy Kempster, Ian Whyte, Juan Pedro Unger

 

The meeting commenced at 7:20 p.m.

1. Adoption of the agenda

The Agenda was adopted as proposed.

2. Administration items

a. Minutes of March 27, 2013

Elina moved, seconded by Jason, to approve the Minutes of March 27 as circulated. Approved.

b. Action items from the Minutes

List serve – outstanding issue: How to add the 67 postings distributed during Sympa’s service outing to the archive.

c. Treasurer’s report

Jason moved, seconded by Nicole, to pay Erwin $174.02 for printing of brochures and forms. Approved.

d. Membership report

Sol moved, seconded by Nicole, to accept the membership of Bruce Lindsay. Approved.

e. Priorities for 2014/2015

Erwin will post the list of potential Future Directions to the GA List.

3. Ottawa Bird Count

Adam made a presentation (4 MB) about the Ottawa Bird Count organization and their research. Starting in 2007, they have trained 135 volunteers who have made 27,000 observations during the breeding season, from almost 1,000 observations points in Ottawa. One of the main benefits of a bird count study is that birds indicate the general health of the environment and thus, knowing the changing numbers of bird populations gives us indications of the quality of our ecological system. Based on the data about existing neighbourhoods they can predict the density of bird habitat in planned development areas. The data can also be useful to consultants and the City in the context of Environmental Impact Studies. Future extensions of their work include the study of migratory birds. There will be a workshop on birds in the South March Highlands on May 10.

4. Protection of Urban Natural Areas

Nick made a presentation about urban natural features. He presented a database that was created during the Urban Natural Areas Environmental Evaluation Study (UNAEES). The UNAEES identified natural features in the urban area regardless of planning status, ownership or landowner intentions. A total of 193 natural areas, including woodlands, wetlands and valleylands, were identified (see map – 2 MB, updated to September 2013). Field investigations were carried out in 2003 and 2005 at 177 of these natural areas. The environmental evaluation of the 177 urban natural areas examined in the field was conducted by applying nine criteria developed through the study. The application of these criteria resulted in an overall high, moderate or low rating being assigned to each natural area.

Nick argued that all of the natural areas have some form of protection: 93% (1613 ha) are protected by EP or OS zoning while the other 7% are in leisure or institutional lands (see spreadsheet – xls file). 14 properties were identified for acquisition by the City in order to ensure environmental protection. Unfortunately, often they are isolated features surrounded by development and robust ecological features arguably will never be there. Small natural pockets are hard to capture and practical challenges are immense.

The Planning Act requires 5% of development land to be allocated to parks. The City argues that they cannot impose conditions on developers unless the land has constraints. In rare cases the City can prohibit development outside ‘constraint areas’. Concentration on transit, Transit Oriented Development (TOD) and intensification are arguably the most important steps the City has taken to protect the environment.

There is a recognition that we don’t like the look of our suburbs. How do you incorporate more trees? The Parks department does not favour passive parks.

Sensitive Environmental Lands Stewardship Framework (SELSF)

SELSF has yet to be endorsed by senior management and would then have to included in the list of Priorities by the new Council. Staff has to make a business case for natural protection:

1) identify the drivers

2) components (data collection, partnerships)

3) outcomes (long term objectives, mid-term goals)

An array of actions falls under this framework, including connecting natural heritage features, the Water Environment Strategy, a climate change adaptation plan.

Components:

  • environmental data collection (different standards are a challenge)
  • Sensitive Environmental Land Inventory
  • Sensitive Environmental Land Stewardship Fund

The 2011 aerial photographs were to first to be used to generate data on land cover. This will be done again with the Spring 2014 photos.

A big part of this will be partnerships to make sure efforts are complementary (NCC, Nature Conservation, developers etc.)

Anticipated next steps:

  • Staff white paper – to establish the scope of framework
  • Stakeholder meeting in early June, by invitation (the Alliance will be invited)

5. Road ecology symposium

Donna, Sol, Erwin and Trevor Haché met on April 22 to start planning for this event.

6. Brief Reports

a. Community Conversation, April 4: Erwin will post his exchanges with Elisabeth Kristjansson, re Ottawa Neighbourhood study (neighbourhoodstudy.ca) to the GA List.

b. FCA meeting, April 8: included a presentation by DumpthisDump2.

c. NCENNetwork meeting, April 14: concerned the new federal Not-for-profit Corporations Act.

d. Eric Zeemering lecture, April 22: the title of his new book is “Collaborative Strategies for Sustainable Cities.” His lecture, sponsored by the Centre on Governance, uOttawa, dealt mostly with his findings in a study of Baltimore. During his 4-month stay in Ottawa he conducted some 30 interviews. Based on his observations he will try to answer three questions: 1) Can local social forces contribute to strategy for and governance of sustainability? 2) Do the provincial governments provide an institutional framework for urban sustainability? and 3) what is the role of the NCC and the federal government in urban sustainability?

7. Other business

a. Jane’s Walk, May 4: Ben Glossop (Poets’ Pathway) will lead a walk in Overbrook; Owen Clarkin and Bettina Henkelman will lead a “Trees in the Glebe” walk.

b. Erwin sent comments to Gravel Watch Ontario on their draft input to the Province’s response to the Standing Committee report on the review of the Aggregate Resources Act, and forwarded them to the Board on April 18.

9. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 9:49p.m.

 

Next meeting will be at the Hintonburg CC on Thursday, May 29, 2014, following the AGM.