General Meeting – 24 November 2014


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting

November 24, 2014

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

Members present:

Erwin Dreessen (chair and notetaker), Nicole DesRoches, Bruce Lindsay, Amy Steele, David McNicoll, Sol Shuster, Jason Kania, Ian Whyte

Regrets: Juan Pedro Unger

The meeting commenced at 7:15 p.m.

1. Agenda

The agenda was adopted as circulated, except for the addition of a few items.

2. Administrative items

a. Minutes of October 27, 2014

Bruce moved, seconded by Nicole, to approve the Minutes of October 27 as circulated. Agreed.

b. Action updates

– post-election letters to all winning candidates were sent out on November 13; two replies were received and all was published on the web site.

– Iola Price has collected site alteration by-laws of eight Ontario municipalities.

– suggestions for improved transparency of NCC Board decisions were sent on November 3 and received with thanks by CEO Mark Kristmanson who forwarded them to Kay Stanley, chair of the Governance Committee.

– the letter to the Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing about OMB reform has yet to be sent. It was agreed that it could be sent without circulating a draft as it would simply repeat what we said on January 8 in response to questions from the Ministry.

– there continues to be a possibility that the Ottawa Eco-Talent Network will find a candidate to perform the analysis comparing municipal policies on country lot subdivisions.

c. Treasurer’s report

Erwin provided the current cash and bank balance and invited a discussion on whether the advertising expense related to our municipal election initiative had been worth it. It was felt that it may have had little effect (no donations were received) and that preparing editorial text may be a better way to achieve news coverage. Controversy motivates journalists to write articles; there were no generally perceived environmental controversies in this election.

d. Membership/volunteer report

Bruce tabled a set of recommendations related to membership and donations (attached), requesting that we discuss them at the next meeting.

Sol and Erwin met with a new Lecturer at the Carleton University School of Architecture who is looking for an innovative urban sustainable development project for his studio of 14 graduate students. They suggested South March Highlands, Leitrim Wetland or Cumberland areas but the City is suggesting they come up with ideas for developing Kanata Town Centre.

e. Liaison with the OF-NC’s Conservation Committee: It was confirmed that Erwin would henceforth be the liaison from the Alliance to this Committee. Ian is also a member.

f. No volunteer has been identified so far to ensure a presence at the December 9 Wildlife Speakers event at Centrepoint.

g. Christmas cheer: Various members will bring cookies and drink at the next monthly meeting.

3. NCC: Greenbelt + Urban Lands “Management Recommendations” study

Sol, Amy, Erwin and Judy Makin met on November 24 for one hour with various NCC staff members. They were provided with copies of the deck about implementation of the Greenbelt Master Plan (3.4 MB, report + slides) that had been used at the November 19 Board of Directors meeting. The 279 actions identified in the Plan have been narrowed down to seven priorities. A Public Advisory Committee will begin to meet in the Spring. Other issues discussed were the road widening project through Stony Swamp, issues around the re-incorporation of Leitrim Wetland in the Greenbelt, and the potential diversion of Shirley’s Brook to Watts Creek. Various follow-up actions will be undertaken.

David had spent some time on the March 2013 Genivar report on “Management Recommendations for the Valued Natural Ecosystems and Habitats of the Greenbelt and Urban Lands.” He suggested that reference to IUCN standards was laudable and that detailed information about specific areas could be useful. Certain urban areas, in particular, should be looked into more closely.

At the meeting with staff it had become clear that the approved Master Plan for the Greenbelt is authoritative, while this report is not. The same holds for the Urban Lands Master Plan, which is expected to be approved mid-next year.

4. Central Experimental Farm encroachment

Juan Pedro, via email, advised that he has drafted a communication to Friends of the Farm, Heritage Ottawa and Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association, with the hope to meet soon to discuss strategy.

David had noticed a full-page ad in the weekend’s Citizen, promoting development of a “Lotus building” as a keystone project for a Botanic Garden on 34 acres north of the Fletcher Wildlife Garden. The ad asserts that this site has now been allotted to Canadensis (Canadian Botanical Garden Society) by Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada.

5. Parkways

Nicole, Amy and Erwin have sent in personal responses to the Queen’s University students’ survey about re-imagining the John A. Macdonald Parkway. No word was received on whether a collective response from the Alliance would still be helpful.

Erwin obtained this afternoon from the NCC a DVD of the October 16 lecture by Robert Fishman about the history of parkways. He’ll make it available to others. The Queen’s U students were present at that lecture.

6. Ottawa Water Forum

Sol moved, seconded by Jason, that the Alliance offer its support to Ecology Ottawa’s proposed Water Forum, including the protection of wetlands and consideration of rational pricing as Kitchener has done for storm water management. Agreed.

7. Brief report / updates

a. Sol, Erwin, Clarke Topp and Albert Dugal met on October 29 with City and South Nation Conservation staff about the development of the Remer and Idone lands on the south side of Leitrim Wetland. They expect to meet with Regional group in the very near future.

b. Erwin and Iola attended the November 5 monthly FCA meeting. Guest speaker was Joanne Chianello. Councillors-elect Leiper and Nussbaum attended. Among other items, Joanne drew attention to the upcoming Governance report and the statutory review of ward boundaries; that there are about 11 votes against corporate donations now; and about 13 who are willing to discuss electoral reform. She is puzzled by the role of citizen advisory or mixed volunteer/elected bodies and intends to write about it soon. Bob Brocklebank innocently asked if there was any sign that staff might put options before Councillors instead of the customary single recommendation. Iola announced that the Province intends to re-introduce an Invasive Species Act.

c. Nicole attended Westeinde’s consultation on the Isles (Domtar) project on November 13 in Hull. Approval was sought for the overall look of the project on the north shore. It was deemed a good plan and has been approved by Gatineau Council. Five of the heritage buildings will be kept (1 is to be demolished). There was some Aboriginal presence at the consultation but nothing like the massive delegation at Planning Committee in Ottawa on October 2. Note 1: Under Quebec law, because Westeinde purchased the land at a low price it must now bear the cost of decontamination. Note 2: the hydro companies’ planned refurbishment of the power plants will take up less space, therefore would leave more of the Falls visible.

8. Other business

Erwin noted that he expects to meet with Graham Saul on December 10. He also mentioned that from time to time the Alliance is contacted by others for advice. In April, after meeting resistance from the Ministry, a resident of Cambridge sought advice on filing a Part II Order request regarding a Master Services Plan. This month Erwin provided advice and contacts for an OMB appeal of a proposal to develop part of the Burnt Lands alvar in Lanark County.

9. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 9:10 p.m.

The next meeting will be on December 15, 2014 starting at 7:15 p.m. at the Hintonburg CC.