General Meeting – 26 June 2017


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


June 26, 2017

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Erwin Dreessen (note taker), Amy Steele, Iola Price, Juan Pedro Unger

Regrets: Jason Kania, Bruce Lindsay, David McNicoll, Varvara Lobanova, Nicole DesRoches

The meeting commenced at 7:16 p.m.

1. Adoption of the Agenda

A modified agenda was agreed upon.

2. Administrative items

a. Minutes of May 29, 2017: Erwin moved, seconded by Amy, to adopt the Minutes as amended. Agreed.

b. Treasurer’s report: Erwin moved, seconded by Amy, to pay Paul back for room rental to December ($84.60). Agreed. A cheque for OEN membership renewal was also signed. Janice Seline has reported that the May 14 plant sale proceeds look healthy and will be handed to Paul in July.

c. Webmaster’s report: A comment was made last month that our web site ought to be mobile-friendly. Paul demonstrated that visiting the site on a smartphone is quite comparable to the desktop experience. A visit on Tablet is likely similar.

d. Volunteer report: Following the March 15 FCA meeting, Dennys Cooper contacted us and met with Paul and Serge Latino. He has agreed to collect data on urban greenspaces complementary to Serge’s mapping based on the City’s 2014 aerial photo series.

e. Annual Report distribution and translation: Paul has forwarded the Annual Report to all members of Council, senior staff at the NCC and the City and some developer agents with whom we have worked in the past year. He received several suggestions for further distribution, including lists, staff, and media. He will arrange for translation.

f. Draft AGM Minutes of May 29, 2017: Erwin read out revised draft Minutes of our AGM and then moved, seconded by Amy, to approve them for distribution. Agreed.

3. New action items

a. Review of NCC Environmental Strategy: Amy attended the stakeholders workshop on June 6 and Erwin attended the public session on the 7th. The full scope of the NCC’s activities and involvement in the community is looked at in this Environmental Strategy update. Points made by Amy and Erwin include the need to protect all woodlots, needed improvements to the NCC’s revamped web site, and the hunger to see action on implementation of the Greenbelt Master Plan. Action: Sol Shuster or Paul to contact the new Greenbelt manager, Eva Kostic.

b. LRT extension to Kanata: We sent in a comment to staff on June 23, expressing preference for Option 8 (which is also staff’s preference), as it would have the least negative impact on greenspace. It would use the 417 corridor.

c. LRT Extension, Bayshore to Moodie; Light Maintenance & Storage Facility: Paul attended the June 13 stakeholder meeting (slides – 1.5 MB). We sent in a comment, expressing preference for Option 2 as the location of the LMS facility, next to Corkstown Road north of the 416 Highway, as it would avoid losing a sizable woodlot that is much enjoyed by the local community. (The consultant prefers Option 1.)

d. Conservation Authorities Act review and policy paper: The new documents are available on the web site. Comments on the legislative changes (part of Bill 139) are due July 31 (EBR Notice 013-0561). Some of our earlier comments (Oct 2015, Sep 2016) appear heeded, others not. Action: Paul will prepare comments, with help from Iola.

e. Barrhaven South urban expansion area: Erwin attended a public meeting on June 22 and received some clarification on the swap of land proposed in the Community Design Plan for “Area 7”, at variance from the OMB Decision of June 2012. Action: Erwin will pursue the legal basis for such adjustment of the urban boundary and whether the blocks of land involved have equivalent development potential. Another puzzle is how Area 7-a, which in staff’s report on urban boundary expansion areas was excluded due to an “active pit,” came to be approved as developable.

f. Follow-up letter re Chaudière Islands: In light of the government’s June 21 announcement about a new use for the former US Embassy, it was agreed to write a follow-up letter, re-iterating our view that the Chaudière and Albert islands should be returned to their natural state as much as possible. Action: Erwin to draft.

4. Report on previous action items

a. Near Surface Disposal Project, Chalk River: Deadline for comment on the Environmental Assessment Report is in August. Action: Paul will follow up with Ole Hendrickson.

b. Collaboration with Regional Group on a Leitrim Homeowners’ Greenspace Guide: Several members gave input on the consultant’s draft and these comments has been conveyed to Regional’s project manager.

c. Urban Forest Management Plan: Paul spoke at Environment Committee on June 20. All intervenors, including the Greater Ottawa Homebuilders Association, spoke in favour. The item carried unanimously; Council endorsement is expected on June 28. A budget has been allocated and action is under way in the first year, namely for a tree canopy study.

d. KNL stormwater strategy options: Paul drafted a comment pointing out the drawbacks of two options under consideration and proposing a third option that would not require diversion of 150 ha of the Shirley’s Brook Watershed, yet also not require a large stormwater pond that would destroy part of Trillium Woods. Action: Paul will circulate his write-up to Board members and others for comment.

e. Significant Woodlands policy: The Working Group had its third meeting on June 19. They are using a federal methodology for detailed identification of ecological services. Action: Paul will share workplan, revised terms of reference and methodology for publication on the web site.

f. Baseline/Woodroffe SWP pond: This item was also on the agenda of Environment Committee on June 20 and took up 1 1/2 hours of its time. In the end it was approved with one dissent and a direction to staff requiring an explanatory note to Council before its vote on the matter.

g. FCA Annual General Meeting: Erwin attend the FCA’s AGM on June 15 on behalf of the Alliance. Featured speaker Marc Denhez spoke about Ontario’s planning system — its history and outstanding issues. He postulated that the province has yet to come to grips with defining the criteria underlying planning and development decisions. Chronic uncertainty is Conundrum No. 1. No. 2 is the fact that any developer limiting himself to an as-of-right development “will go broke” because upzoning is built into the price of the land.

Sheila Perry was elected President and Alex Cullen Vice-President, plus 12 other members of the Executive. Membership stands at about 40. David Jeanes of Heritage Ottawa attended; it may become a third ‘city-wide’ member, in addition to the Alliance and Citizens for Safe Cycling (new name: Bike Ottawa).

5. Upcoming

a. Sustainable Transportation Equity Summit, September 22: We will not make a presentation.

6. Information items

a. OMB reform: Bill 139 was introduced on May 30 (EBR #013-0590). Deadline for comments is August 14. Action: Erwin will prepare an analysis of the part of the Bill dealing with OMB reform.

b. NCC Plan for Canada’s Capital: The Plan was presented to the public on May 9. Find it and two associated documents here. Action: Paul will try to find a volunteer to summarize the greenspace aspects of the Plan.

The meeting adjourned at 9:23 p.m.

The next meeting will be held on Monday, July 24, 2017 at 7:15 p.m. at the Hintonburg CC.