General Meeting – 25 January 2016


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting

January 25, 2016

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

Members present: Nicole DesRoches (chair), Erwin Dreessen (notetaker), Paul Johanis, Jason Kania, David McNicoll, Ian Whyte, John Almstedt, and Lorne Peterson

Guest: Alana Plomp

Regrets: Amy Steele, Sol Shuster, Iola Price and Juan Pedro Unger

The meeting commenced at 7:15 p.m.

1. Agenda

A modified agenda was agreed upon.

2. Administrative items

a. Minutes of December 21, 2015: Erwin moved, seconded by Paul, that the Minutes of December 21 be approved as circulated. Agreed.

b. Treasurer’s report: Erwin moved, seconded by John, to pay for renewal of the P.O. Box, @ $202.27. Agreed.

3. Action updates

a. Letter about the Domtar lands: CPAWS-OV is signing on; the vote among OFNC Board members is ongoing but strongly leaning towards approval.

b. Kanata Area 2 Inquiry to staff: The Inquiry will be tabled by Councillor Wilkinson at tomorrow’s Planning Committee meeting.

c. NCC and urban forest management plan: Paul attended a meeting of the task force (led by Ecology Ottawa) earlier today. Velta Tomsons met with Martha Copestake. It seems the more intense consultation we asked for comes down to having the budget for it. Councillors could be lobbied to exert pressure to allocate more money. It was noted that the Champlain Oaks project makes use of the iTree tools Erwin has urged Martha to apply city-wide.

d. – Clr. Chernushenko’s Notice of Motion: David reported that he is continuing to study the motion but that he thinks it is essentially bogus. Nicole suggested that item “c” about studying minimum energy performance standards for new buildings has merit. There was no decision to intervene when this will be discussed at Environment Committee on February 16.

e. Follow-up on NCC transparency: Erwin wrote to Dr. Kristmanson on January 20, harking back to their exchange of a year ago. He suggested especially this time that the video record of Board meetings and of the Urbanism Labs be made available on the NCC’s web site.

f. Letter about mayors of Ottawa & Gatineau serving on the NCC Board: Nicole will circulate a draft.

g. Options for celebrating 2017: Nicole will look into this further.

h. Consultation about the next Ottawa Official Plan: Erwin confirmed that a Decision on the Taggart/Walton motion (hearing of August 6, 2015) has yet to be issued. Until then it is unclear whether we’re looking at a revised OPA 150 by 2017 or the normal OP review by 2019. Only in the latter case will it make sense to pursue our efforts at starting afresh with a “new” Official Plan. The question was raised whether, in this vacuum, the Greenspace Alliance should initiate a consultation instead of waiting for the City. We could start by proposing a process.

i. Update on the letter from the Coalition for Landfill Accountability (COLA): The Coalition is sending a letter to Waste Management directly, having been rebuffed by City staff about requiring application of the Protocol to Protect Wildlife during Construction. Action: Nicole offered to make a presentation on how Quebec handles waste management.

4. New items

a. Inquiries to staff via Councillors: In addition to the Inquiry drafted by Paul on Area 2, Erwin suggested the following Inquiries: (1) What is the status of Ottawa’s Source Water Protection Plan? (2) Following passage of the revised 2014 Development Charges by-law, what settlements were reached with GOHBA, BOMA and others, and what issues have gone forward to OMB appeal? (3) What criteria does staff use to accept proposals for cash-in-lieu of parkland? Action: Erwin to investigate each a bit further and circulate a draft.

b. CEF campaign contribution: Erwin moved, seconded by Jason, to make a $200 contribution to the campaign to save the Central Experimental Farm from encroachment by The Ottawa Hospital. Agreed.

c. NCC: Big ideas for the next Plan of Canada’s Capital: It was agreed to submit the following ideas: (1) incorporate the South March Highlands and the Carp Hills into the Greenbelt; (2) return the Chaudière Islands to their natural state as much as possible; (3) create a botanical garden for native plants; (4) create more connectivity between the capital’s green spaces; (5) open up Harrington Lake and practice conservation there; (6) mow less; (7) tunnels, not bridges across the Ottawa River. Action: Erwin to answer the NCC’s request.

d. KNL: Overall benefit permit: Neil Kabesh is producing some bullets to facilitate people making comments.

e. Connecting shoreline neighbours: John suggested consideration, together with Ottawa Riverkeeper, of a Shoreline Neighbours Network that would result in a 100-km Ottawa River Trail including land and water, with public access rights-of-way to the river being the key connectors to the river/land. An example is what has been accomplished at Westboro Beach. John was encouraged to work out this proposal further.

5. Brief reports

a. NCC Urbanism Lab – January 14: The topic was effective on-line urbanism activity. Presenters were Marc-André Carigan who blogs at; Brandon Donnelly, blogger at ATC/Architect This City (Toronto), Jillian Glover, blogger at her own This City Life (Vancouver), who offered 10 tips for successful blogging; and Ottawa’s own Robert Smythe, whose blog, UrbSite, started in 2009, delves deeply into specific aspects of Ottawa’s history, with much photographic evidence.

b. Employment Lands Study meeting – January 20: This was the second stakeholder meeting about this study. Erwin posted a report on it to the GA List and web site on January 27. Key finding: Ottawa is well provisioned in Employment Lands to at least 2041. A draft report is expected in March.

c. OFNC-Conservation Committee meeting – January 21: The Committee is drafting a request to have the American Eel put on the federal Species at Risk list. Owen Clarkin reported positive experience with iNaturalist, a peer reviewed database that he will use to record the results of the year-long biothon at Constance Bay. Erwin suggested the OFNC get involved in commenting on KNL’s “overall permit” application.

d. NCENN meeting – January 22: Six groups presented their current activities: Biosphere Eco-City, Ecology Ottawa, Just Food, Safe Wings Ottawa (now part of the OFNC’s Birds Committee), Carbon 613 (Enviro-Centre) and Capital Vélo-Fest. Others offered brief updates. Erwin provided a handout suggesting to make comments on KNL’s “overall permit” application.

The meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

The next monthly meeting will be on Monday, February 22, 2016 at 7:15 p.m. in the Hintonburg CC.