General Meeting – 27 March 2017


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


March 27, 2017

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Erwin Dreessen, Bruce Lindsay, Greg Elliott, Jason Kania, Matthew Le Blanc (notetaker), David McNicoll, Juan Pedro Unger, Sol Shuster

Regrets: Iola Price, Amy Steele

The meeting commenced at 7:18 PM.

1. Adoption of the Agenda

A modified agenda was agreed upon.

2. Administrative Items

a. Minutes of the February 27, 2017 meeting. Matthew moved, seconded by Erwin, to adopt the Minutes of February 27, 2017 as circulated. Agreed.

b. Membership Report:

  • Bruce reported on membership renewals and donations.

c. Treasurer’s Report:

  • Jason moves, seconded by Erwin, to pay Jason back for the website hosting fee ($240.90).

  • All agreed to pay Paul back for the Oct 15 FCA meeting refreshments ($99.05) and photocopying ($21.99) (total: $121.04)

d. Webmaster’s Report:

  • Erwin reports that he has found two volunteers interested in helping with the migration of content from the old website. He has prepared a 2-page protocol and has a 1-hour training session planned for April 3rd. Additional volunteer offers are pending.

3. New Action Items

a. Defining Natural Assets, Smart Prosperity Institute, March 31. The Institute (based at uOttawa) has issued a discussion paper regarding the definition of municipal natural assets. The goal is to develop a framework for accounting/taking advantage of natural features as municipal infrastructure. The group is looking for feedback. The potential for meaningful collaboration could be in the development of an inventory of natural assets for ongoing greenspace monitoring. Paul notes the importance of a typology of greenspace status to help prioritize particular areas. Bruce and J.P. note that proximity or attachment to a community and that a map should define neighbourhoods according to their community is a protective measure in itself and that a map should define neighbourhoods according to their community. This FCA map shows the territories of most Community Associations. Action: Paul will revise his draft feedback based on these suggestions and submit it to Smart Prosperity by March 31.

b. Poet’s Pathway Strategy/Moodie Drive LRT Extension. The Merivale-Woodroffe corridor, a key link in the Poet’s Pathway, is currently owned by the NCC but was slated to be transferred to the City because the LRT maintenance shed was supposed to be built there. However, LRT Phase 2 now proposes building a light maintenance shed at the Moodie Drive terminal. At a public meeting on March 22, 8 potential sites were shown to have been reduced to 3: 1) north of the 417, 2) south of the 417, or 3) in a woodlot between the medical supplies building and a school. In principle , the Merivale-Woodroffe corridor remains for sale. The City may yet buy it in order to reserve the location for a future maintenance facility. The GA’s position is that the corridor, as a green link, is vital greenspace for the area. We hope to have the Pathway recognized by Canadian Heritage as a commemorative project, which would empower the NCC to keep it. Action: Paul and Erwin will meet with Jane Moore on April 11 to put together a presentation for Canadian Heritage.

c. Parks Summit, April 22. Parks People, a Toronto-based group dedicated to improving parks, has partnered with Ecology Ottawa to organize a Parks Summit. This summit will be a gathering of people involved in parks to outline, who is who in this community; what links can be established; and what information can be exchanged.

An opportunity for networking, the summit will involve keynote speakers, a breakout activity, and potentially conclude in a parks declaration and a next potential summit. It is being held on April 22, from 1–5 PM at the Maker’s Space North in Ottawa. The GA is co-sponsoring and will have a table at the event. Action: We will post the invitation to the GA List.

d. Development Charges Review. Erwin reports that he wrote to the FCA Executive, Trevor Haché and the GA’s Board on March 20 concerning the development charges bylaw update. Only 2 appeals remain unresolved. Currently, all deliberations are taking place behind closed doors and away from the public.

The issue is that regular taxpayers are subsidizing the developers and the non-transparency only compounds the negative implications of an issue that is vital to the city. At Planning Committee on May 9, City staff is expected to come forward with an update to the development charges by-law. Erwin and Paul agree that this is a governance and not a greenspace issue and therefore GA ought not to lead. However, it may be time to once again speak out on non-transparency.

e. Significant Woodlands Working Group. The Significant Woodlands policy has been adopted by Council and is under appeal. Council required that a study group of stakeholders be formed to work out transition measures and other implementation issues.

Nick Stow is leading the formation of the working group, to which the GA is expected to be invited. Erwin notes that the purpose of the working group needs to be clarified to focus on the peri-urban areas where pre-emptive woodland cutting should be prevented.

4. Report on Previous Action Items

a. Loss of greenspace at Stanley Park in New Edinburgh. Paul received the detailed tree removal and restoration plans. Action: The GA will continue to monitor.

b. March 15 FCA Meeting, Greenspace survey. Serge Latino’s maps were very well received at the meeting as a basis for monitoring greenspace at a community level. The Greenspace survey focused on whether greenspace is a priority for the various Community Associations. The majority of respondents ranked parks ahead of natural areas and canopy cover. The most important channel of communication was between the Association and their Councillor. Two potential courses of action include neighbourhood watch type reporting and the monitoring of development applications. Action: The GA will ask a few Community Associations to pilot this monitoring approach. The GA would produce community maps with greenspace information that would be part of a set of guidelines for communities to monitor greenspace in their areas.

c. KNL Kanata Highlands Official Plan Amendment and Zoning Bylaw Amendment, February 28. Due to a small error in the consolidation of the official plan and zoning maps, a residential zoning was applied to an area that on Schedule B is still an urban natural feature. The error was not corrected. At the next opportunity for an OPA, the change will be made. Meanwhile, zoning is accepted as trumping the official plan, which is contrary to how Ontario planning is supposed to work.

d. Welcome letter to Stephen Willis. Action: Paul will send it this week.

e. Stewardship and Conservation visioning meeting report, February 28. The Stewardship and Conservation Plan for Ottawa was discussed at the meeting in regards to enhancing protection statuses in the area. It focused on public or corporate ownership in a protective sense and how groups can purchase properties to apply protection status. The meeting explored how to move ahead, what are the acquisition targets and methods for protection, and ultimately how to achieve long-term conservation. Specifically, how to develop and implement programs/grants for conservation and how to coordinate a long-term program.

f. Meeting with Regional Group re: Remer/Idone lands, March 1. Paul reports that the meeting was generally positive. He and Erwin went over each of the points raised in our submission of 6 September 2016, as well as concerns raised by Albert Dugal and Iola who could not attend. Erwin notes that City staff worked diligently to leverage the requirement for an Environmental Management Plan for the Idone lands (added in 2012 following OPA 76) into improved protection of Leitrim Wetland on the Remer lands. Regional is now proceeding with meeting the 2006 Conditions of Plan of Subdivision for Remer and is expected to come forward soon with a submission regarding Idone.

g. Planning Advisory Committee proposal. The GA/FCA proposal is now in the hands of Councillors and the Clerk. Stephen Willis has signalled his interest for involvement. At Council on March 8, the decision was deferred to a Council meeting in Q4 2017. Meanwhile, three Councillors are to work with staff to bring forward recommendations on proposed composition, mandate and Terms of Reference for a PAC. Dialogue remains open.

5. Upcoming Items

a. Healthy Transportation Coalition, March 28 – on road tolls. A few GA members will be attending.

b. Eastern Ontario Green Plan, April 6. Paul will be attending the meeting which is being held at the Sustainability Development Centre in Ottawa.

c. NCC Urbanism Lab: Getting youth involved, April 6.

d. FCA Transportation Workshop, April 8. The “Building a New Transportation Master Plan for Ottawa,” event will be held at Tom Brown Area in Ottawa from 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM.

e. Wildlife Speaker Series, April 6. This event will be “A Celebration of Canada’s Wildlife,” at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa at 6PM. The GA will have a table. Bruce and Erwin will be attending.

6. Information Items

a. CEF – neighborhood and other opposition to selected site. Paul met with the community. There is still a possibility that the hospital backslides to Field 1. This will remain an issue until the deal is signed and locked in.

b. Goulbourn Wetlands complex appeal. The appeal by Cavanagh Ltd. has been withdrawn.

c. Karen Howard, Progressive-Conservative candidate for the nomination of the provincial seat in Ottawa South. Ms. Howard has asked for the GA’s endorsement. While the GA does not endorse political candidates, we are interested to hear her environmental platform. This is a potential new strategy for other political candidates in terms of approach and accountability.

d. Urban Forest Management Plan. Consultations Phase 2 has been produced. The staff report is not yet available but is expected to be on the agenda of Environment Committee on May 16.

The meeting adjourned at 9:27 PM.

The next meeting will be on April 24, 2017 at the Hintonburg CC, starting at 7:15 PM.