GREENSPACE ALLIANCE OF CANADA’S CAPITAL
May 25, 2015
Hintonburg Community Centre
1064 Wellington Street West
Members present: Erwin Dreessen (chair and notetaker), Amy Steele, Nicole DesRoches, Juan Pedro Unger, Jason Kania, David McNicoll, Donna DuBreuil, Janice Seline, Judy Makin, Paul Johanis, and Anne-Marie Hogue
Guest: Councillor Jeff Leiper
Regrets: Sol Shuster, Bruce Lindsay, Klaus Belzner, and Iola Price
The meeting commenced at 8:00 p.m.
A modified agenda was agreed upon.
2. Administrative items
a. Minutes of April 27, 2015: Nicole moved, seconded by Amy, to approve the Minutes as distributed. Agreed.
b. Treasurer’s report: Nicole moved, seconded by Amy, to repay Erwin $184.94 for printing costs, including $155.94 for the new brochure. Agreed.
3. Action updates
a. Letter to Council on Strategic Priorities: Paul agreed to draft a letter to recommend a firm allocation to the Reserve Fund for acquisition of environmentally sensitive lands and other land conservation measures.
b. OMB appeal of OPA 150: Legal Services has not yet responded to our repeat suggestions for settlement.
c. Debrief on meeting with Kristina Inrig: Sol and Erwin met with Kristina on May 13 and discussed some capacity enlargement options other than re-applying to MEC for a grant. They include the Job Creation Partnership under the EI program and internships sponsored by Environment Canada. A template for monetizing volunteer time in budget presentations is being worked on. More discussion is to follow.
4. C2UExpo Engagement Fair at Carleton U, May 28
Erwin and Amy will attend. From the wish list developed for 1125@carleton we will distill ideas some suggestions under the headings of research and public engagement.
5. NCC Annual Public Meeting
We agreed to address the NCC’s Annual Public Meeting scheduled for June 25, 6 – 9 p.m. Suggestions were to protect wooded areas along the Parkways, express impatience about implementation of the Greenbelt Master Plan, more generally express impatience with the lack of follow-up after plans are approved, and why planning is not proceeding on a watershed basis as the IUCN guidelines require.
We need a volunteer to draft questions (to be submitted) and speaking notes. Erwin will inquire about the deadline.
6. Brief reports / updates
a. Nick Stow’s presentation at Carp Memorial Hall: Nick was the featured speaker at the AGM of the Madawaski Land Trust on April 28. He reviewed Ottawa’s landscape mapping efforts and its challenges. He discussed the development of the “Ottawa Conservation and Stewardship Plan” which aims to represent on one map the priority areas for conservation as seen by the Nature Conservancy, the Conservation Authorities and the City. He suggested that for privately owned land the only option is stewardship agreements. In response to questions, Nick noted that the Conservation and Stewardship Plan had been proposed as a Term of Council strategic priority but had not made the cut, forcing him to “take the long view.” He also revealed that the delay in the LEAR review was due to the Province’s failure to document the methodology of its new soil maps.
b. Healthy Transportation Coalition AGM, April 30: No new President has been identified. The Coalition is looking forward to Transportation Week in September.
c. FCA meeting, May 14: There were presentations by Volunteer Ottawa on a program to diversify Board membership; and by a City landscape planner on the various tree programs on offer. Regarding the Trees in Trust program, a motion was passed to urge opt-out instead of opt-in for the replacement of City trees in front of private properties.
Next meetings are scheduled for June 4 (AGM, at City Hall; with a panel on transportation including Councillor Egli, Vivi Chi, and John Manconi, moderated by Klaus Beltzner), September 9 (Lowertown), October 6 (Greenspace Alliance at Hintonburg CC), November 2 (in Manotick) and December date t.b.d in Overbrook.
d. Ecology Ottawa volunteers meeting with Windmill, May 19: Jeff Westeinde and Graham Saul hosted a 2-hour dialogue, much of which centred on the relation with Algonquin First Nations and Grandfather Commanda’s Vision for the lands around the Chaudière Falls. The dialogue is to be continued. Participants were invited to submit issues or questions for further discussion. Erwin will circulate the suggestions he submitted.
e. NCENN meeting, May 22: The theme was Shared Services. The West End Well will soon house a Sustainable Capacity Centre, an initiative of Sustainable Eastern Ontario. The Ottawa Eco-Talent Network will be housed there as well. Among several other presentations was Peter Blanchard’s, the driver of GoodWorks.ca, founded in 2001; it posts both paid and volunteer opportunities.
7. Other business
a. Parsnip soup: Following an information item about the City’s plans to combat Wild Parsnip (at ARAC, May 7), the GA List is seeing a solid discussion about alternatives to herbicide spraying. Erwin will propose Meg Sears’ suggestion for a Parsnip Soup Kitchen in an upcoming conversation with Graham Saul.
b. The NCC’s appeal of the 2003 Official Plan: In light of media reports about settlement of the Rochester Field component, Erwin inquired about the status of this appeal which is in suspended mediation. The Board replied that it had received no new information.
c. Réserve faunique: Nicole reported that the Province had decided to create a Réserve faunique stretching from East of Gatineau to Plaisance’s parc nationale, some 2,000 ha, mostly consisting of wetland.
d. Trillium grants: David received notice that three local groups had received Trillium grants over three years, totaling over $570,000: Ottawa Riverkeeper ($225K), Sustainable Eastern Ontario ($180K) and Ottawa Eco-Talent Network ($165.7K).
e. Biodiversity report: David signaled the appearance of a State of Ontario Biodiversity 2015 report by the Ontario Biodiversity Council.
f. Eastern Whip-poor-will protection plan: Paul reported that a draft protection plan for this Threatened Species is being circulated for comment.
8. LEAR review
We agreed that the composition and voting power of the Advisory Committee as decided by Council is not acceptable. There should be no representation from the development industry, and an academic from a Geography department and a representative from the Canadian Organic Growers (Ottawa chapter) would be good additions. We agreed that maximizing the amount of agricultural land is in the long term best interest of Ottawa and that Provincial policy should be more protective of agricultural resources. Proceedings of the Advisory Committee should be made public. The media should be encouraged to cover this story. Juan Pedro volunteered to articulate these concerns.
The meeting adjourned at 9:45 p.m. The next meeting will be on June 22, 2015, starting at 7:15 p.m. at the Hintonburg CC.