General Meeting – 23 January 2015


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting

January 26, 2015

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

Members present:

Erwin Dreessen (chair and notetaker), John McDonnell, Nicole DesRoches, David McNicoll, Iola Price, Judy Makin, and Jason Kania

Regrets: Sol Shuster, Bruce Lindsay, Amy Steele, Juan Pedro Unger

The meeting commenced at 7:20 p.m.

1. Agenda

A modified agenda was agreed upon.

2. Administrative items

a. Minutes of December 15: Nicole moved, seconded by Iola, to adopt the revised Minutes as circulated. Agreed.

b. Action updates

– It was confirmed to send out the letter protesting the location of a memorial to victims of communism as last circulated.

– We are now a “member” of the Ontario Environmental Network, but noted that many listings (of “non-members”) are very much out of date.

Encroachment of the Experimental Farm: A conference call/meeting was held on January 19. Heritage Ottawa and Clarke Topp will meet with Ottawa Hospital CEO Kitts next month.

c. Treasurer’s report: Nicole, seconded by Iola, moved that (a) $30.00 be paid to the FCA for our annual membership; (b) $234.36 be paid to Erwin for (i) the OEN fee, $40, and (ii) the PO Box fee, $194.36. Agreed.

d. Membership report

Judy moved, seconded by Jason, to accept the membership of the Healthy Transportation Coalition, represented by Trevor Haché. Agreed.

Access to the new membership roster on the web site is restricted to Jason, Bruce, Erwin and Nicole.

3. Road Ecology – working with CPAWS-OV

John, who is Executive Director of CPAWS-Ottawa Valley Chapter, explained that the Chapter’s focus on road ecology began as part of the Algonquin-to-Adirondacks project, when certain key linkages and risks were identified. Several projects have been undertaken, including some by David Seburn on Highway 17 and Roger Stevens Drive (County Road 6). CPAWS also commented on the Highway 5 project in Quebec. The lack of data is a common refrain.

Thanks to a grant from the Ontario Species at Risk Stewardship Fund, a Road Ecology Guidebook aimed at citizen scientists and the general public is in draft, a data base is being built and there are also plans for an app to easily report road kill or incidents to be added to the data base. John will provide members with the draft and invited comment on it. He indicated that the Chapter wants to work more closely on issues arising in the urban context and would welcome joint efforts on three road issues identified by the Alliance that are imminent: the road widening of Old Richmond Road through Stony Swamp, the widening of the Airport Parkway and Lester Road, and the widening of March Road. One lesson out of last November’s Road Ecology Symposium is that the time to invest in wildlife connectivity mitigation is when money is being allocated to work on a road. John indicated that evaluation of the efficacy of mitigation needs to be part of any plan.

As a follow-up to the Symposium, John would still like to see a local Road Ecology chapter for Eastern Ontario/West Quebec being formed.

4. Environment Committee meeting of February 17

“Draft 2” of a brief was circulated to the GA List on January 18. We agreed on a number of further amendments. Erwin noted that he had received much feedback commending the idea of reviving the 2012 Choosing Our Future reports. Judy and Iola offered help to go visit members of the Committee during the week of February 2. Erwin will post a further call for companions to the List.

5. Protocol for Wildlife Protection during Construction

We generally agreed with O-C Wildlife Centre’s positive assessment of the draft Protocol (posted to the List and web site on January 12) but noted that use of the words “where possible” holds the potential for a giant loophole for the protection of wildlife that is not on an endangered species list. Erwin will draft some comments and circulate them to Board members before the February 8 deadline.

6. Taggart-Miller landfill proposal at Carlsbad Springs

We received some guidance from the DumpThisDump2 group on how to approach the nearly 4,000 pages of documentation. Nicole will look at the material in hope of providing some comments before the February 20 deadline.

7. Letter to MMAH about the Municipal Elections Act

It was agreed to send in a letter to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing making three points about the Municipal Elections Act: prohibit union and corporate contributions; permit electoral reform; and clarify and report on voting for “none of the above.”

8. OMB Appeal of OPA 150: Update

We responded to Legal Services’ intent to dismiss our appeal. The appeal of the prohibition of future country lot subdivisions stands. The City seeks to dismiss the appeal of the Complete Streets policy as well as the amendments to Schedules L1/2/3 (related to natural linkages). This will come to Committee and Council in February. A pre-hearing conference is expected in early April.

9. Brief reports / updates

a. FCA meeting of January 7: Erwin pointed to the excellent presentation prepared by the FCA Executive to introduce Councillors to the organization. Unfortunately, only four Councillors attended in person.

b. Public meeting about the O-Train Extension – January 13: This meeting offered remarkably little information about environmental considerations. It is headed for Council in June and Ministerial approval by year-end.

c. Healthy Transportation Coalition meeting – January 22: Members agreed to reciprocal membership with the Greenspace Alliance. No fees will be exchanged. An AGM is planned for April, when members will decide on the allocation of 50% of the Coalition’s assets to members’ projects.

d. NCENN meeting – January 23: Representatives of 20 groups met in the new location, the West End Well. Each explained what they saw ahead in 2015.

e. Airport Parkway/Lester Road widening: We are now part of the Public Consultation Group.

f. Sir John A. Macdonald linear park – Queen’s U report: The report will be revised before publication and include the responses sent in by Alliance members.

g. Kanata North: The trial on charges for illegal tree cutting will take place on February 5. Discussions about the Community Design Plan are ongoing. By latest word the “S20” forest would not be considered significant. However, MNR may designate certain lands as Category 2 habitat for Blanding’s Turtles; all the streams will be Category 1 habitat. The loss of Bobolinks is to be compensated. The rail tracks on the eastern edge of the land have been removed.

h. Carp Hills: The Huntley Highlands group has secured a partnership with the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust, providing a vehicle for donations of land and funds under a separate account.

10. Other business

Nicole and Erwin will seek advice from Kristina Inrig on how to increase our chances for a next application to Mountain Equipment Coop (March 10 deadline).

The meeting adjourned at 9:24 p.m.

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