General Meeting – 23 January 2017


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


January 23, 2017

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Erwin Dreessen, Bruce Lindsay, David McNicoll, Juan Pedro Unger, Jason Kania, Iola Price, Sol Shuster (by phone for the KNL item)

Guests: Matthew Le Blanc (notetaker), Barbara Lobanova, Velta Tomsons, Anthony Keith

Regrets: Amy Steele, Nicole DesRoches, Serge Latino

The meeting commenced at 7:20 PM. Introductions were made. Velta indicated that she is responsible for trees, greenspace and water programs at Ecology Ottawa and plans to henceforth attend our monthly meetings.

1. Adoption of the Agenda

A modified agenda was agreed upon.

2. Administrative Items

a. Minutes of December 19, 2016: Erwin moved, seconded by Bruce, to adopt the Minutes of December 19 with the proviso that Paul will add to item 4-h. Agreed.

b. Treasurer’s Report:

– Erwin moved, seconded by Bruce, that we cover the cost ($124.23) of Janice Seline’s petition. Agreed.

– Bruce moved, seconded by Iola, to renew the P.O. Box fee of $210.18. Agreed.

c. Webmaster’s Report: A new daily back-up service is now in place. Erwin has re-created part of the lost content. He noted that subscribing to the GA List via the web site appears to be malfunctioning and that the twitter feed has disappeared from the web site.

3. New Action Items

a. 2017 Plans and Priorities

Process and Management

  1. Public Engagement: The goal is to have the City of Ottawa be a national leader in public engagement practice and to recognize that more work needs to be done. See also item 4-e below. Lead: Erwin.

  1. Celebration of Greenspace Alliance’s 20th anniversary: Two options for celebrating the GA’s 20th anniversary are: a) planting 150 trees (Velta believes she could contribute seedlings); or b) a beach restoration day in conjunction with the Shoreline Neighbours project. Either would likely happen in the fall. Lead: Bruce.

  1. Social media: Paul suggested we establish a Facebook page and will lead on this. Twitter administrator remains JP, with contributions from Erwin. Action: Paul to be given access as well.

  1. Planning and Action Framework: Paul presented on this at our October meeting. It involves inventory, monitoring, education and communication steps, followed by collaboration, advocacy, campaigning and, if necessary, litigating. As a minimum, this framework will help set our agenda and allow us to be ahead of the game instead of being reactive. Networking with the community, the City and developers is crucial. Four Ottawa U students have been working on this under Paul’s direction. Monitoring the EBR website through myEBR is another mechanism. Lead: Paul.

Oversight and liaison

For each of the expansion areas below the objective is to establish relationships with the actors in order to ensure that greenspace is preserved as planned.


KNL: See below at item 2-b

Area 1 (Kanata): Paul

Area 3 & Feedmill Creek: John Almstedt

Area 6 (Stittsville): Paul

Area 7 (Barrhaven): Action: Bruce will inquire

Areas 8 & 9 (Leitrim): Paul to set up a meeting with Regional and invite members of the Leitrim Committee

Area 10 (Navan): Action: JP will inquire

Area 11 (Cardinal Creek): Action: Velta will inquire about the status

Protection and development

    1. Central Experimental Farm: Lead: Paul, with Leslie Maitland. The lead is now with Public Works. The land transfer is still pending. A heritage group not connected with Heritage Ottawa has sprung up to argue against the Sir John Carling site. Action: Erwin will contact Clive Doucet and (with Velta’s help), “Maggie.”

    1. Carp River Rehabilitation and Wetland Park: Lead: John Almstedt, with Janet Mason

    1. Urban Forest Management Plan: Lead: Paul, with Velta. The Plan will go to Environment Committee on April 28 or May 16. Stakeholders concurred about general comments on the draft Plan: 1) insufficient public consultation/stakeholder engagement; 2) no difference on the ground in the first management period, i.e., it’s a plan to make a plan; 3) the Plan is expected to be approved without a funding allocation. The next step is to lobby councillors for support and funding priorities and ultimately to make this an election issue.

    1. Eastern Ontario Green Plan: Lead: Paul. See also item 5-a below.

Watch list

  1. Area 2.

  2. Greenbelt: Implementation of the Master Plan remains obscure; despite promises, no public consultation group has been established.

  3. Chaudière Islands: The stand-off continues.

  4. Official Plan: Next comprehensive review not before 2022.

  5. Widening of Old Richmond Road through Stony Swamp: No action by the City after receipt of the NCC’s letter of February 2015.

b. KNL Lands

  1. Paul moved, seconded by Bruce, that the GA acknowledge and congratulate Janice Seline and others who did a great job on the petition, garnering 2500 names in less than two weeks! Agreed. Action: Paul will post to the GA List.

  1. The Alliance’s letter to Council and to the KNL developers (Urbandale and Richcraft), calling January 4 a day of shame for Ottawa, aims to steer the process towards the best possible conclusion: compensation lands for the greenspace lost in the long term; in the short term, continued engagement with the City and developers via communications, images of the actual clearing and whether setbacks are being respected. Sol suggested we attempt to have a meeting with the Mayor as well as continue to apply pressure on the developers, disseminating public information that will cause them to worry about what they’re doing, and ensuring them that the GA is prepared to continue to act and has strong public support. Paul suggested that the goal could be to delay the clearing until next fall. Action: Paul to request a meeting with the Mayor.

  1. With input from Faith Blacquière, Erwin has prepared a 3-page list of questions regarding storm water issues, planning, and legal issues. Along with Paul and Judy Makin, they are set to meet with staff on February 13. The goal is to hold the City accountable for their action or inaction.

c. Site alteration bylaw review: Action: Iola and Erwin will review a recently circulated draft and provide feedback to Amy MacPherson by March 3. The proposal will next be the subject of public consultation. Unfortunately, as presently drafted, the by-law will have very weak enforcement provisions.

d. Healthy Transportation Coalition, road toll event, March 28: We agreed to co-sponsor the event. A panel will discuss bringing road tolls to Ottawa. Action: Paul to contact Trevor Haché. A lead person to assist and liaison with the Coalition is t.b. identified.

4. Previous Action Items

a. Federal EAA review: David’s draft led to a truly collaborative text with input from Paul, Nicole, Erwin and John Almstedt, which was submitted on December 22. Action: Erwin to publish it on the web site.

b. NCC Environmental Strategy: Paul summarized our responses to the questionnaire and submitted them.

c. Letter about the role of mayors on the NCC Board: It was agreed to revive and revise our earlier draft letter to Minister Joly. Action: Nicole to review.

d. OPA 173 appeal: The Decision was issued on January 11. The proponents agreed not to seek costs in return for us dropping our Part II Order request.

e. Public Engagement Strategy: Paul and members of the FCA Governance Committee (including Erwin) met on January 3 with an expert on public engagement. They developed a strategy going forward, combining the Governance Committee’s suspended discussions with the City; the matter of creating a Planning Advisory Committee; and the City’s undertaking, as a result of our settlement in the OPA 173 appeal, to consult on Bill 73 implementation matters.

f. GA List subscriber survey: Action: Matthew volunteered to analyze the results.

g. Feedmill Creek Rehabilitation Project: John Almstedt has had ongoing communication on this.

5. Upcoming Items

a. Eastern Ontario Green Plan: The next meeting of this ad hoc group will be held on February 2.

b. FCA Meeting hosted by the GA – March 15: We need to provide refreshments. For agenda and structure, Paul suggested we design a workshop around the liaison/monitoring aspect of the GA’s Planning and Action Framework. Bruce suggested we could do a presentation on the KNL issue, potentially a video.

6. Information Items

a. Ottawa Conservation and Stewardship Meeting: The GA has been invited to a visioning meeting on February 22. This is an initiative, led by Nick Stow (City of Ottawa), with the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the NCC, the three conservation authorities, and Ducks Unlimited. The purpose of the meeting is to discuss certain lands in Ottawa that are top priority for conservation efforts and how to secure all the pieces of land under some conservation protection.

b. Significant Woodlands Policy appeals: Tomlinson, Taggart and the Ontario Stone and Gravel Association have appealed OPA 179. The appeals claim that the policy is overly broad in scope and overly restrictive of development compared to what the Provincial Policy Statement requires. Action: Paul to let the City know that we intend to support Council’s decision and ask that we be kept informed of developments.

c. AGM of the Canadian Committee of the International Union for Conservation of Nature: David reported that he attended the Annual General Meeting of the CCIUCN on January 19. One presentation on climate change by Frederick Beauregard-Tellier did not mention nature or biodiversity throughout the entire presentation. It is clear that the technocratic CO2 reduction side is not connected to the biodiversity side. Another presentation was by Andrew Van Iterson from the Green Budget Coalition (sponsored by 17 national environmental groups — who identified a set of priorities and applied them to the federal budget. David contended that a similar exercise applied to Ottawa would not make the City look good.

The meeting adjourned at 9:35 PM.

The next meeting will be on February 27, 2017 at the Hintonburg CC, starting at 7:15 PM.