General Meeting – 26 November 2003

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital

DRAFT Minutes of the General Meeting of November 26, 2003

Billings Room, City Hall


Members: Bill Royds (meeting chair), Chris Szpak (minute taker), Barbara Barr, Bill Grant, Amy Kempster, David McNicoll, Juan-Pedro Unger, Svetlana Venetsky

Non-members: Josee Emmerson, Diane Maudling, Ertugrut Sahin

The meeting was called to order at 7:37 p.m.


1.    Approval of the Agenda:

Motion: B. Barr moved, seconded by A. Kempster to accept the agenda as amended.  Carried.

The agenda was amended with the addition of the following items:

  • Appeal of the Official Plan
  • Letter of appreciation to Cynthia Levesque and Bruce Findlay
  • City corporate governance
  • Good Forestry Practices
  • Wildlife festival
  • Newsletter
  • Urban Planning (NCC) ??
  • Experimental farm

2.      Approval of Minutes:

Motion: B. Barr moved and J.P. Unger seconded the approval of the 22 October 2003 meeting minutes. Carried.

3.       Treasurer’s and Membership Report:

The Treasurer presented an invoice from Open Concept, responsible for maintaining the Greenspace website ($42.80 a year); and $48 for the renewal of the domain name.

Motion: B. Barr moved and A. Kempster seconded to approve this expenditure.  Carried.

Motion: A. Kempster moved and J.P. Unger seconded to approve to reimburse B. Barr $20.38 for AGM refreshments and some office supplies.  Carried.

4.      Carson Grove Presentation:

J. Emmerson and D. Maudlin from a community group to prevent the expansion of public housing into Carson Grove woods, gave a presentation of the situation and made a plea for Alliance support. In the discussion that followed, a number of questions were raised that needed further clarification: it was not clear who presently owns the Grove; if the expansion plans were for the entire Grove, or for just a fringe part of it; and was it deemed already by the OMB to be protected. It was suggested that the community group contact the relevant planner to find out the current state of affairs.

Motion: B. Barr moved and A. Kempster seconded that the Alliance send a comment to PDC to express the Alliance’s concern that Carson Grove and its trees should be protected in line with stated policies in the Official Plan. Carried.

B. Royds to send a comment to PDC

5.      Revision of By-laws:

The Ministry of Industry is ready to accept the Alliance’s application for federal incorporation on condition that it drop Article VIII (4) which allows for Board decisions to be decided by e-mail.  There was some concern that the dropping of the provision would hinder the flexibility of the Alliance to respond quickly to issues as they come up in-between meetings.  Nevertheless, the majority felt that the provision could be sacrificed for the benefit of a quick acceptance of incorporation, and that the Alliance could still manage to perform its functions. It is possible for a provision governing e-mail decisions to be drafted that could be sent at a later date to the Ministry as an amendment to the approved by-laws.

Motion: C. Szpak moved and B. Barr seconded to delete Article VIII(4) of the by-laws. Carried with one dissenting vote.

6.      2901 Lester Road:

Comments by the Alliance were sent to PDC on the zoning and subdivision of lands at 2901 Lester Road.  The site is an environmentally important area in that it is one of the headwaters of Sawmill Creek. The comments noted that to change the current zoning from Open Space to Residential and so allow development was contrary to the precepts of the Official Plan and Provincial Policy Statement. PDC presented a report to Council approving the subdivision, but it was not clear if the Alliance’s comments were taken into account.

B. Royds to investigate the possibility of an appeal.

7.      NTREE Workshop:

NTREE is organizing a workshop on urban sprawl, brownfields and greenspace to be held in Ottawa, 30 January 2004.  The Alliance has been asked to participate.

Motion: C. Szpak moved and B. Barr seconded to establish a committee comprising C. Szpak, J.P. Unger and S. Venetsky to identify the nature of the Alliance’s participation in the workshop and prepare whatever materials are necessary.  Carried.

Committee will look into participation.

8.      Leitrim:

A two-day Community Design Study for the Leitrim area is to be held 1-2 December, 2003.  B. Barr stated that she would attend and the meeting agreed that the following points be raised if the opportunity presented itself (it was not clear how the study was to be conducted):

  • The wetlands should be properly mapped to their actual extents and be considered for complexing
  • DFO needs to be involved with the Remer subdivision
  • The peat should be tested to see how it filters contaminants
  • The preservation of rare plants and animal

B. Barr to attend community study. B. Royds to write to Minister about complexing the wetlands.

The DFO has approved the developer’s (Tartan) proposed stormwater system; however, the Algonquin nation on whose traditional tribal land Leitrim is located, are appealing the decision, claiming that they had not been properly consulted (section 35 of the Constitution). It is doubtful, how far this initiative can go without expensive legal intervention.

B. Barr reported on an initiative to produce and distribute postcards on a large scale to have people sign and send them in to the Minister (????) regarding their concerns about the Leitrim development. There was some question as to who would bear the costs involved.  It was made clear that no official request or commitment had been made to, or on the part of the Alliance to pay for any of this activity.

9.      Appeal of the Official Plan:

It was agreed that there were a number of areas in the Official Plan that could be appealed by the Alliance.  Given the fact that an appeal had to be formally registered by 9 December 2004, and that the Alliance was not yet officially incorporated (an unincorporated group cannot appeal), it was not clear how best to proceed in ensuring that the Alliance’s issues were properly addressed.  One way was to have its concerns incorporated into an appeal to be made by the FCA.

Motion: A. Kempster moved and C. Szpak seconded to establish a committee comprising B. Barr, A. Kempster and C. Szpak to identify issues in the OP to be appealed; draft an appeal; and determine the appropriate way to make that appeal.  Carried.

Committee to draft and submit an appeal.

10.   South Gloucester Land Trust:

The Alliance has been exploring the possibility with the Forest Advisory Committee of establishing a land trust for the South Gloucester Lands (where exactly are they???) with the participation of their current owner.

What is to find a volunteer, who has expertise in this type of endeavour, to assist in the process.

B. Royds will continue to investigate.

11.    Letter of Thanks:

Motion: B. Barr moved and A. Kempster seconded to approve a letter thanking Cynthia Levesque and Bruce Findlay for their presentations at the AGM in October.  Carried.

B. Royds to write letter.

12.    City Corporate Governance:

A Staff report on the corporate governance of the city, including the re­ organization of committees, was brought before Council, apparently without any public consultation. The meeting felt that the re-organization might limit public consultation, and that a number of committees, such as the Agriculture Committee, would be cut to the detriment […]

Motion: A. Kempster moved and C. Szpak seconded to write a letter to Council requesting that the Committee, when dealing with the re-organization of committees, allow public delegations to make presentations on the issue.  Carried.

B. Royds to write letter.

13.     Christmas Cards:

Motion: C. Szpak moved and A. Kempster seconded that Christmas cards be prepared and sent to city councillors, MPs, and others, as was done last year.  Carried.

J.P. Unger to prepare and send cards.

14.    Letter of Introduction to New Councillors:

Item will be considered at a later date.

15.    Drainage Act Issues:

The current provincial Drainage Act allows drainage of wetlands for agricultural purposes.  The danger is that wetlands can be drained under this act, and later be zoned for development.  A way needs to be found to close this loophole, as well as having mandatory environmental assessments done when drainage is considered.  It was felt that a sympathetic MLA such as Phil McNeely, could be contacted to pursue this issue further.

J.P. Unger to contact the MLA.

16.    Good Forestry Practices:

Motion: B. Barr moved and C. Szpak seconded that a comment in Support of the Good Forestry Practices by-law be submitted to Council.  Carried.

B. Barr to prepare comment.

17.      Wildlife Festival:

Motion: A. Kempster moved and J.P. Unger seconded that the Alliance be represented at the Wildlife Festival to be held at Carlingwood Mall, April 2-4, 2004.  Carried.

J.P. Unger to attend.

18.      Newsletter:

Motion: A. Kempster moved and S. Venetsky seconded to produce an Alliance newsletter on a monthly basis with 2-3 articles on issues of Current interest to the Alliance.  Carried

J.P. Unger to prepare Newsletter.

19.      NCC Urban Plan:

The NCC is asking for representatives to be part of their urban planning – ???? My notes do not explain what this was about – help ???

20.     Experimental Farm:

After a review of the Farm’s future status, it was reported that the government will continue to use the Farm for agricultural research, especially looking at the progress of agricultural lands in an urban environment.

21.     Adjournment of the Meeting:

Motion: B. Barr moved and C. Szpak seconded to adjourn the Meeting. Carried.

Meeting was adjourned at 10:30 p.m.


DFO      Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans

FCA       Federation of Citizen Associations

NTREE   National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy

OP         Official Plan of the City

PDC       City Planning and Development Committee