General Meeting – 25 June 2003

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital

Meeting of June 25, 2003

Billings Room, City Hall



Attending:  Barbara Barr (minute taker), William Grant, Amy Kempster, Bill Royd (meeting chair), Chris Szpak, Juan Pedro Unger, Svetlana Venetsky

Documents available: Minutes of meeting of May 28, 2003; Pro bono students of Canada (J.P.), Comments on Draft Environmental Strategy (Amy); Greenspace Alliance Press Release, “One of Ottawa’s Finest Public Natural Areas Headed for Destruction” (Bill; prepared by J.P.)

Bill Royds called the meeting to order at 7:45 p.m.

1. Approval of the agenda

The agenda was amended to renumber Innes and Mer Bleu Road as Item 4d and to eliminate original Item 4d because it duplicated Item 6; to add Quarry Forest, Photo contest and newsletter, and Tulip fund raising as Items 4e through 4g; and to add Development Approvals Process, Westridge  lllB, Run/Walk report, and NCC land swap as Items 7 through 10. MOTION: Barbara moved and Chris seconded acceptance of the agenda as amended. Carried. (Note: Item 3 of the Agenda should have read Approval of the Minutes of May 28, 2003 (rather than May 27.)

2. Treasurer and Membership report and other administrative matters incorporation

Barbara reported no new membership applications since the last meeting.

Juan Pedro reported that the entire cost of the ad in the “Express” in opposition to the sale of City-owned 5309 Bank St. was paid for by the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club (see Agenda Item 4a).

Amy announced that Connie Molyneaux had resigned as a Board member because of health problems.

Before the May meeting, Chris had circulated a by-laws document for discussion, suggesting changes that would be necessary to satisfy requirements for incorporation and indicating other possible places needing changes. A completed draft of revised by-laws needs to be created by the by-laws revision committee (Chris and Bill R.). Stan had previously volunteered to read a draftg4105 and comment. Bill G. volunteered to read the discussion document and make suggestions.

Chris to e-mail new draft by-laws a minimum of 1 week before next meeting for Board approval.

3. Approval of the Minutes of May 28, 2003.

MOTION: Amy moved and J.P. seconded that approval of Item 2, November 2002 minutes, be deferred to the next meeting and that the remainder of the May 28, 2003 minutes be approved. Carried.

Barbara to finalize changes to November 2002 minutes.

4. Business arising out of the minutes

Some items arising from the May 28, 200 Minutes are immediately below. Others are numbered 4a through 4g, according to this meeting’s Agenda.

Item 3. memberships. Barbara did not have time to take any action on membership dues since the last meeting. Barbara to continue to work on member-ship reminders and invitations.

Item 4, business arising from previous minutes; 11a.  Development applications. Bill did not have time to take action on receiving development applications of interest from the City and finding volunteers to review them. Bill to develop criteria, contact City person, and try to find volunteers in community organizations.

Item 8b, BUGS Garden. No action was taken on this item since the last meeting. Bill to check on status of BUGS Garden issue and draft fetter of support if still applicable.

Item 5, Treasurer and membership report and other administrative matters – incorporation. Barbara asked Erwin to join the by-laws committee and he indicated he would be able to assist. By-laws and incorporation are Item 2 of this Agenda.

Item 6, Environmental Strategy. Amy incorporated comments from Shelley and Barbara into the draft and submitted the final product to the City. Following notice by Mr. Utz that the submission was in an unreadable format, both Bill and Amy resubmitted reformatted comments.

Item 7, Ottawa River proposals. Following discussion, the Board agreed by consensus not to submit comment on this item. Discussion points included: (1) the difficulty of critiquing a document which is so generally worded the concepts sound all right, but which probably has a hidden agenda of transporting boats around Chaudire Falls; and (2) a newspaper article indicating the displeasure of Fitzroy Harbour (Morris.Corners) residents if trucks and boats were to pass through the village.

Item 8. Leitrim. Barbara informed Heather Hamilton, who is preparing a brochure to raise public awareness, of our intent concerning mailing labels and informed Sierra Club people of Juan Pedro’s offer to assist with raising public awareness. Bill substituted for Barbara as representative to Friends of Leitrim for two weeks while Barbara was out-of-town. Leitrim is Item 5 of this Agenda.

Item 9b. Heron/Walkley. Barbara prepared a brief comment and e-mailed it to the planner. The comment must have arrived too late because it was not mentioned in the Report that went to Planning Committee.

Item 15a, Larry Pegg proposal. Bill sent the proposal to the Riverside South Community Association for their information.

4a. South Gloucester further action required

Barbara prepared comments opposing the sale of this City-owned, conservation-quality property at 5309 Bank St. and appeared before Corporate Services Committee on June 3rd. The Committee deferred making a decision until its next meeting on June 17th.

Juan Pedro took the lead in preparing an ad for the “Express” to raise awareness about the land sale. The ad was sponsored by the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club and the Greenspace Alliance. J.P. prepared a flyer and personally distributed it to residents living near the site.

Bill, Amy, and J. P.  spoke to Corporate Services Committee on June 17th in opposition to the sale. Quarry operator Tomlinson had made deals with local residents about improving their water and sewer situations, and some local residents spoke to the Committee in support of the sale. The Committee amended the staff recommendations to specify that the proceeds from the sale will go into the City’s natural lands acquisition fund and that Mr. Tomlinson will not make any environmentally damaging alterations to the site prior to a zoning change. Mr. Tomlinson has a reasonably good environmental record and has contributed funds to the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority in the past. He purchased nearby property owned by Mitch Owens under an agreement not to do anything to it for 99 years. Bill believes there is potential to work with Mr. Tomlinson with respect to preserving natural areas. Amy suggested mining as opposed to quarrying to remove the limestone. J.P. suggested that the value of the land was greatly underpriced, and that the City sold it without knowing its real value. Any follow-up with Mr. Tomlinson should involve the Conservation Committee of the Ottawa Field-Naturalists because of its background expertise with this site.

Bill to follow-up with Conservation Committee of Ottawa Field-Naturalists and attempt to work with Mr.Tomlinson.

4b. 2301 Lester Road

Barbara reported that on June 23rd she attended a public meeting in the community about the proposed Plan of Subdivision for 2301 Lester Rd., a site owned by the Canada Lands Corporation. Approval authority delegated to staff for the Plan has been lifted by the ward councillor, so the Plan will go to Planning Committee along with zoning amendments and an amendment of the former City of Gloucester’s Official Plan. The local community has been involved in the planning process. A variety of housing types is planned. Approximately 25% of the site will be greenspace, including open space along Sawmill Creek, a wetland forest at the corner of Lester Rd. and Albion Rd., and parkland. A permit for the stormwater pond (already under construction) has been obtained. Bill noted that the site is to be evaluated for the Urban Natural Areas Environmental Evaluation Study and that the Sawmill Creek Subwatershed Study recommends no net loss of permeability.

Bill and Barbara to draft submission and circulate to Board for approval.

4c. Gatineau Park Coalition

Bill attended a meeting of the Coalition for the Preservation of Gatineau Park. The initial impression that the new Charest government in Quebec was not going to fund the McDonald-Laramie Road through Gatineau Park proved not to be true. The road is one of the few road-building projects that will be funded.

Bill to attend next meeting of Coalition on July 3rd.

4d. Innes and Mer Bleu Road

Amy reported that she had submitted comment on this item and that the planner responded that the project would not require an Official Plan amendment because it had been split into two side-by-side proposals, neither of which alone exceeded the size that would trigger an O.P. amendment.

Amy to refer issue to FCA (Federation of Citizens’ Associations).

4e. Quarry Forest

Juan Pedro reported that the nearby residents have received notice that Minto intends to start blasting and that Minto wants $3,000 per house for a pre-blasting survey. J.P. offered information to the neighbourhood condominium boards which they could have used to try to get a judicial review, but they did not show interest. J.P. wrote a second time to John Moser of the City’s Planning Department and this time received a response – Minto has not yet submitted a number of engineering and other studies to the City.

4f. Photo contest and newsletter

Photo contest. Juan Pedro e-mailed a photo contest proposal to Board members. He has two volunteers and is ready to proceed with organizing the photo contest. A suggestion was made that there should be one or more professional-level judges. J.P. to continue to work on photo contest.

Newsletter. J.P. has two volunteers and is ready to proceed. Bill informed that an automated system for subscribers is possible. A focus of discussion was the frequency of the Newsletter. A suggestion was made that if a quarterly newsletter were started, “extras” could also be issued. A suggestion was made that we could contribute short articles to PERC’s newsletter (Peace and Environment News). MOTION: Chris moved and Amy seconded that the Greenspace Alliance begin with a quarterly newsletter. Carried. Those present agreed that “Capital Greenspace” would be a good name for the newsletter.

J.P. to circulate mock-up newsletter. Bill to give J.P. automated system for subscribers.

4g. Tulip fund raising

No one besides Amy has sold any tulips. The order needs to be submitted by August 1. Anyone selling tulips to submit order to Amy.

New/Action Items

5. Leitrim Report action

Fisheries and Oceans Canada has released its Environmental Assessment Screening Report of the stormwater system for the development at Leitrim. The due date for comments from the public is July 17th. Bill noted that the Species at Risk Act (SARA) is now in effect and that Environment Canada should, therefore, become a Responsible Authority, in addition to the Authority of Fisheries and Oceans Canada under the Fisheries Act. He also noted that in the Report the larger, actual, wetland area is shown rather than just the central part that has been turned over to the South Nation Conservation Authority. The stormwater system for the adjacent Remer property was not considered in the Report.

The goal is to obtain a more thorough environmental assessment called a Panel Review. The public can assist by asking for one. To raise public awareness, the Friends of the Leitrim Wetlands are still planning a brochure to be sent to the mailing lists of member organizations and other organizations with members likely to write letters.

Barbara to take lead on preparing comment. J.P. is on-call to assist with communications to raise public awareness.

6. Gatineau Park Master Plan report and workshop

Bill attended the workshop. He reported that the renewed Park Master Plan tries to diminish recreational uses and increase conservation aspects of the park. Some ideas about park use (e.g., every vehicle using the park should purchase a decal) have been suggested. The Greenspace Alliance is one of the few stakeholders from the Ontario side, and should provide some opinion.

Bill to solicit opinions by putting some possibilities before Greenspace membership.

7.  Development Approvals Process

The staff report about the Development Approvals Process – One Year Implementation Review is on the Planning and Development Committee’s agenda for tomorrow, June 26th. We submitted substantial comment about the process in February during the public consultation on this item. None of our concerns are addressed in the staff recommendations. It was agreed by consensus that Barbara would represent the Greenspace Alliance at Planning Committee.

Barbara to draft presentation and appear before Planning Committee on June 26th.

8. Westridge IIIB

Barbara reported that the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) has decided to start the hearing on the Westridge IIIB development in Stittsville over again, on the basis that the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) did not disclose some information in a timely way. This hearing has been in recess for over two years, during which time the developer has tried to get around the Board’s indication it would adhere to the larger wetland boundary elucidated by the Goulbourn Wetlands Group and supported by MNR’s wetland experts. Now the fear is that the Westwood OMB decision, also in Stittsville, in which the Board did not support the MNR’s wetland boundary, will become a precedent. The City’s lawyer will have to go to Committee and Council for direction as to the City’s role in the new hearing. The Greenspace Alliance is a participant in the Westridge IIIB hearing. Barbara is the OMB’s contact person for this issue.

Greenspace Alliance to continue to participate.

9.  Run/Walk report

Amy estimated that our share of the proceeds of the Run/Walk will be between $1,500 and $1,800. The sponsors and donors of door prizes need to be recognized on our web site. Unless we provide another person to participate in organizing this event, the future split will not be three ways (among the Sierra Club’s local chapter, the Friends of the Farm, and the Greenspace Alliance). More publicity is needed to get more participants next year. Chris volunteered to assist with organizing.

Bill to post names of sponsors and donors on web site. Amy and Chris to attend organizing meetings.

10. NCC land swap

A motion to trade NCC-owned and City-owned lands was brought forward to Corporate Services Committee without having received public notice by being posted on the Committee’s Agenda. The aspect of possible consequence primarily involves small parcels of land in the Industrial Ave., Terminal Ave. ramp, and Abbey Lane areas. Amy noted, with relief, that the trade appeared to be harmless and possibly of some benefit.


MOTION: Amy moved and Chris seconded that the meeting be adjourned. Carried. Adjournment time was 10:25 p.m.

The date and place of the next meeting have not been finalized. July 23rd is the preferred date.