GREENSPACE ALLIANCE OF CANADA’S CAPITAL
April 27, 2015
Hintonburg Community Centre
1064 Wellington Street West
Members present: Erwin Dreessen (chair and notetaker), Amy Steele, Nicole DesRoches, Bruce Lindsay, Judy Makin, David McNicoll, and Jason Kania
Regrets: Iola Price, Sol Shuster, and Juan Pedro Unger
The meeting commenced at 7:21 p.m.
A modified agenda was agreed upon.
2. Administrative items
a. Minutes of March 23, 2015: Bruce moved, seconded by Nicole, to accept the revised Minutes as circulated. Agreed.
b. Treasurer’s report: Nicole moved, seconded by Bruce, to repay Erwin $49.05 for printing costs related to OMB and Airport Parkway, and to prepare a cheque for $25.00 to Nature Canada for participation in the Bird Day Fair. Agreed.
3. Action updates
a. AGM update: Amy agreed to continue on the Board. Bruce indicated that due to work pressures he would not continue on the Board but would be willing to continue administering the membership and donation roster. This was agreed. Others will continue to make inquiries about nominations.
b. Brochure update: A final amendment to the introductory/About Us text was agreed upon. A few other changes to the brochure were discussed. Nicole agreed to implement for reprint before the outreach events at the end of May.
c. Bird Day Fair: Our participation is confirmed @ $25.00. We may have to accept a sponsor logo. Andrew Haydon Park, Saturday, May 30, 10 am – 3 pm.
d. C2UExpo: We are guaranteed a table at the Engagement Fair of this <4-day conference>, May 28, 3 – 5 pm at Carleton U.
e. Central Experimental Farm encroachment: A delegation met with the Hon. Yasir Naqvi and followed up, contact was established with the Agricultural Institute of Canada and letters were sent to various other Ontario Ministers.
f. Letter to MMAH about the Municipal Elections Act: A reply from the Hon. Ted McMeekin was posted to the web site on April 1. The government intends to allow ranked ballots but not with proportional representation ( i.e., multi-member wards).
g. Follow-up on habitat management in the Greenbelt: Information received from Eva Katic: 1- The NCC’s Strategy on Invasive Species is still a work in progress; 2- The field work for Greenbelt vegetation in accord with the Ecological Land Classification System has been completed but the database has not yet been finalized; 3- Eva provided a 42-page bibliography with abstracts of reports for or by the NCC covering the years 1969 to 2011. It was posted to the web site on March 31.
h. KNL – follow-up to public meeting of March 4: A 3-page list of follow-up questions was sent to Councillor Wilkinson and planning staff but an offer to hold a round table has not yet come forward.
i. Airport Parkway-Lester Road Widening: The consultants have provided a draft Natural Heritage Existing Conditions report. It has been forwarded to various individuals including the OF-NC’s Conservation Committee. A meeting with the consultants could be set up next month.
4. Priorities of the Alliance
Erwin suggested that the discussion today be for the purpose of the section in the upcoming Annual Report that looks forward.
We discussed why the response rate from List subscribers was so low: Non-members may have been reluctant to express opinions; it was a long list; setting priorities from such a long list of worthy causes is difficult — many may have felt that the choices best be left to the core group.
Among opinions expressed, the site-alteration by-law clearly rose to the top (which includes tree protection in rural areas and strengthening protection of moderately significant urban natural areas), followed by wildlife-friendly planning (which includes the road widening issues and the Protection Protocol during Construction). There also was good support for starting afresh with a “new” Official Plan for 2019 and for protection of environmentally sensitive lands through budget allocations and other mechanisms.
5. Ottawa City Council’s Strategic Priorities
The Board had via email approved endorsing the letter from CAFES members, urging action on climate change. Bruce moved, seconded by Jason, to endorse the letter from Healthy Transportation Coalition, urging more funding for active transportation, a low-income public transit pass, and a study on user-pay for roads; agreed.
Judy agreed to draft an intervention on land conservation through budget allocations for acquisition and other methods. The letter will be sent to Council and Erwin volunteered to appear at the appropriate Standing Committee(s) when the draft Priorities come forward.
6. OMB appeal of OPA 150
A report on what happened at the pre-hearing conference of April 7-8 was posted to the List and FCA’s. We are awaiting Member Makuch’s decision of the “threshold” issues including whether the member has the power to modify the urban boundary.
On our own appeal, we agreed to press again for settlement. On the appeal of the country lot estate prohibition, there is now another window to obtain an expert comparative study report, given that the hearings will not be before the second quarter of 2016. We will continue to seek certainty about a possible appeal of the complete streets policy.
7. Brief reports / updates
a. Healthy Transportation Coalition meeting, March 26: Decisions were made on funding of three proposals ($1,500). It was agreed to send in a letter on Council priorities. Next meeting is their AGM, April 30.
b. NCENN meetings of March 27 and April 24: On March 27 the theme was sustainable leadership. On April 24 groups were invited to make presentations about upcoming issues or activities. Erwin was one of three groups who made a presentation supported by <slides>; the others were Capital Vélofest (Dick Louch) and One Planet (Laura Scrimgeour). There was a presentation about a yoga centre in Chelsea. Fifteen other representatives spoke about what they see in store the coming year. Next meeting is May 22.
c. Community Associations Forum on Environmental Sustainability (CAFES) meeting of March 28: Councillors Leiper and Chernushenko spoke about their priorities, as did MPP Yasir Naqvi and, briefly, MP Paul Dewar. Angela Keller-Herzog made a presentation on trees on boulevards. Debra Huron spoke about tree initiatives in Champlain Park. It was agreed to send a letter to Council about climate change as a priority. Next meeting may be six months from now or later.
d. Ottawa Field-Naturalists Club’s Conservation Committee meeting of April 13: Members discussed progress reports on various projects, including use of a drone in assisting in the year-long biothon in the Constance Bay area. It was decided to send a letter to Council about removing a curb in the Mud Lake area that would reduce mortality of turtle hatchlings. Next meeting is June 8.
e. Federation of Citizens’ Associations (FCA) meeting of April 14: Erwin had arranged for the local chapter of Fair Vote Canada to make a <presentation> on election reform at the municipal level (Ottawa 123 had refused to participate). There was a general sense that ranked voting and multi-member wards would be too much change at once; some expressed opposition to multi-member wards. The prospects for proportional representation on Ottawa City Council are rather dim. Next meeting is May 14.
The meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m. The next meeting will be on May 25, 2015, starting at 7:15 p.m. at the Hintonburg CC. The Annual General Meeting will be followed by a regular monthly General Meeting.