General Meeting – 23 February 2015


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting

February 23, 2015

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

Members present: Erwin Dreessen (chair and notetaker), Amy Steele, Iola Price, and Donna DuBreuil

Regrets: Sol Shuster, Bruce Lindsay, Judy Makin, Nicole DesRoches, David McNicoll, Juan Pedro Unger, and Jason Kania

The meeting commenced at 7:20 p.m.

1. Agenda

A modified agenda was agreed upon.

2. Administrative items

a. Minutes of January 26, 2015: Iola moved, seconded by Erwin, to adopt the revised Minutes as circulated. Agreed. (*)

b. Treasurer’s report:

– Amy moved, seconded by Iola, to pay Erwin $42.94 for various printing costs. Agreed. (*)

– For the competition for funds from the Healthy Transportation Coalition, Iola will formulate a proposal for dog-strangling vine removal from pathways in Trillium Woods.

c. Membership report:

– Amy moved, seconded by Donna, to accept the membership of Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association (represented by Karen Wright, President). Agreed. (*)

– Bruce sent in a report, concluding that a PayPal option is not practical for the Alliance at this time.

d. Annual Report and AGM:

– Sol was unanimously nominated to prepare a first draft of the Annual Report by culling the Minutes of meetings starting May 29, 2014. Erwin volunteered to develop it further after that.

– Erwin proposed, unless other initiatives come forward, to confine the next AGM (May 25) to a brief business meeting.

e. Participation in the Wildlife expo event on March 2 at City Hall will proceed, with Amy and Erwin the only volunteers so far.

f. Amy brought forward a suggestion for informal educational lectures that would encourage support for wetlands, forests and grasslands.

3. Action updates

a. Letter about the Memorial to victims of communism: The letter was sent and posted to the List and web site on February 22.

b. Central Experimental Farm encroachment: Heritage Ottawa and Clarke Topp met with Ottawa Hospital on February 9. (Clarke was the soil scientist who coordinated the research fields on the Farm.) Dr. Kitts appears wedded to the 60-acre site. A meeting with Heritage Ottawa and others to plan further steps is expected soon.

c. Ottawa Environment Committee: 9 of 10 members of the Committee were visited prior to the Committee’s first meeting. On February 17 our final brief and interventions on the meeting schedule, the budget and the Terms of Reference were delivered. We will await to see if the Committee succeeds in amending its Terms of Reference, especially re the reference to the Choosing Our Future reports.

d. Protocol for Wildlife Protection during Construction: Our comments were submitted on February 16 and posted to the List and web site. The deadline for comments to staff is March 6.

e. Taggart-Miller landfill proposal at Carlsbad Springs: We did not succeed in sending in a comment. However, some members of the Conservation Committee of the OF-NC worked closely with the residents opposing the project and the Club was able to submit a letter.

f. Letter to MMAH about the Municipal Elections Act: This letter has yet to be written.

4. OMB Appeal of OPA 150: Update

Erwin reported that the City’s Legal Services have not responded to our offer to settle our appeal. The City did distribute a long list of OPA 150 Items that it wishes to come into force. Items not listed would go forward to the hearing. A report is coming to Planning Committee on March 10. A pre-hearing conference is scheduled for April 7-10.

A dominant theme of the hearings will clearly be building heights. Another will be Sunset Lakes’ appeal of the country lot subdivision policy and village boundaries. The new policy on Complete Streets would come into force but the right-of-way on Main Street would go forward to the hearing. The rationale for many other appeals that would go forward is often difficult to understand, e.g., the Preamble to section 2.5.4 (Strategy for Parks and Leisure Areas).

Erwin obtained some submissions made to the November 8, 2013 Planning Committee meeting and found that the letter from GOHBA promised a more detailed list of issues later.

Action: Erwin will ask for that more detailed list of issues from GOHBA. Further, he’ll ask for a meeting with Councillors Nussbaum and Brockington after the staff report is tabled but before the Planning Committee meeting to discuss the lack of response to our offer, the rationale for scoping of the hearing and the matter of transparency of the process.

5. Brief reports / updates

a. OF-NC Conservation Committee meeting of Feb 2: Erwin had to miss this meeting which “re-established” the Committee but had submitted a list of issues on the Alliance’s agenda that may be of common concern. Chair Owen Clarkin will be primarily occupied by the biothon at Constance Bay (August 2014-2015). Other members will follow up on a Snapping Turtle problem and mowing issues at Mud Lake. Ian Whyte would work with us on the road through Stony Swamp issue.

b. FCA meeting of Feb 11: Brief presentations by Linda Hoad, Jay Baltz, Erwin, Beata Myhill and Murray Chown were well received. Erwin’s presentation on zoning for open spaces was posted to the List and web site the following day.

c. Habitat Management in the Greenbelt (Eva Katic, at Fletcher Gardens), Feb 18: Eva described her role at the NCC as responsible for natural resources and land management. She made several references to research on “Valued Natural Ecosystems and Habitats” that started in 2007 and identified 27 such areas. (A Genivar report with the same name surfaced in late 2013; it described 10 areas in the Greenbelt and 11 in the NCC’s Urban Lands.) Inventories of Greenbelt land west of the Rideau River have been completed using an ecological rank classification system. Eva held up the restoration of Pinhey Sand Dune as the ideal way to work with a community. Other 2015 projects for which she hopes to attract volunteers are about Monarch Butterfly habitat, and bird monitoring in Mer Bleue; with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority she is doing work in Black Rapids Creek. Finally, Eva noted that 250-word abstracts of every report done by or for the NCC since 1962 are now available.

Erwin will follow up with Eva on several of these points.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

The next meeting will be on March 23, 2015, starting at 7:15 p.m. at the Hintonburg CC.

(*) As no quorum was achieved, this item will need to be confirmed at the next meeting.