General Meeting – 28 February 2012

Greenspace Watch
Meeting of February 28, 2012
RA Fieldhouse


Members present: Amy Kempster (chair), Erwin Dreessen (note taker), Elina Elnione, Jason Kania, Sol ShusterMembers present: Amy Kempster (chair), Erwin Dreessen (note taker), Elina Elnione, Jason Kania, Sol Shuster

Regrets: Alicia Reckzin

The meeting commenced at 7:25 p.m.

The agenda was approved by consensus with the addition of three items under Other Business.

Minutes of January24, 2012
Erwin moved, seconded by Jason, to approve the Minutes as circulated with the correction that the attachment has two pages. Agreed.

Business Arising
– 471 Sangeet Place: Elina reported that the case for protection did not appear very strong. Tree cutting in the rural area is unregulated. She will write a short comment in response to the inquiry received.
– November resolution on GHG: Has yet to be sent (Amy).

OMB updates
a) Country Lot Estates Decision appeal: Erwin moved, seconded by Jason, to make representation to Divisional Court, with copy to counsel for the other Parties, that we do not wish to participate in the court proceeding regarding Cavanagh’s appeal of the OMB’s Decision that confirmed the moratorium on country lot estates. Agreed. Amy to write.

b) Flewellyn Decision: Certain wording has yet to be finalized. In the mean time, the City is drafting terms of reference for the first of three mandated studies, on Cumulative Effects. A wetland re-evaluation and an Aggregates study are to follow. Ken McRae gave excellent feedback on the draft Terms, as did Amy for the Alliance. Ken has deep historical knowledge of the Goulbourn Wetlands area.

c) Urban Boundary: A settlement was reached with the City ensuring linkage studies would be done before 2014 and the Alliance withdrew from the Phase 2A hearing (on methodology) on the first day; the Alliance continued to monitor the rest of the hearing and was invited to make further comments with regard to the interpretation of the Phase 1 Decision (how many hectares?). The hearing ended on February 22, after 13 days. Moments later, Erwin was informed that the City will seek a clarification or review of the Panel’s apparent interpretation of its Phase 1 Decision that the Ordered 850 ha is on top of 163 ha in the Fernbank area. This is what we asked the City to do in our letter of February 17. Formal approval of the move by Planning Committee is expected in a few weeks.

Other reports
a) Urban Natural Features status report: Jason received feedback on the draft he had circulated.

b) Heritage trees: A proposal by three community associations for a by-law listing “The Champlain Oaks” as a natural feature of heritage value is expected to be approved soon by the associations’ boards. The Alliance could lend its support after that. A question was raised whether there are any remnant bur oaks on the Quebec side as there were historically.

c) Choosing Our Future reports: Amy suggested that section 5.4 of the Sustainability & Resilience Plan (pp. 62-67) — Protect and Restore Green and Natural Systems — will be of most direct interest.

d) Greenbelt Master Plan review: The Greenbelt Coalition’s Agriculture Working group has met to update the Agriculture-related section of the Coalition’s September 2010 Position Paper. The Canadian Organic Growers Association (COG) have asked to join the Coalition. In addition, George Bushell from the Gloucester Allotment Gardens and Moe Moe Garahan and Jason Garlough from Just Food (which includes the Community Gardening Network) have joined as Resource Persons. A delegation also met with NCC officials and was given a PowerPoint presentation on its Agriculture Strategy also seen by the NCC Board of Directors. While those attending were impressed with the new strategy, as with many other elements of the NCC’s proposal (e.g. on Partnerships), actions to date do not appear to match the words.

A Coalition meeting will be called in a few weeks.

The NCC’s next Public Advisory Committee meeting will be in April or May, followed by public consultation sessions.

e) Horizon 2067: the workshops on February 21 and 22 were well attended, including by Alliance supporters. Liberation of the Chaudière Falls and creation of an Aboriginal Centre on Victoria Island was heard persistently as priorities in both sessions, as was mention of the need to embrace the South March Highlands.

Other business
a) Our AGM: It was decided to hold the AGM in early or late May. The value of featuring a speaker was recognized but it was felt better to aim for that as a stand-alone event. The upcoming AGM will be strictly business: (i) Annual Report — Erwin will start a draft; (ii) Financial report — the year-end will be March 31; (iii) Election of Chair and Directors — Board members present will stand again. Commitments were made to contact various potential directors.

b) Highway 5 protest at Gatineau Park: Beyond personal presence, no immediate action is foreseen.

c) EIS Guidelines review: Ann MacPherson of the City has circulated a draft revision of the City’s Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines. Elina will examine the document and Sol will forward it to others as well. (Deadline is March 31.)

d) GA List moderators’ role: Sol stated his opposition to having e-mails blocked because a moderator did not feel that an e-mail was within the Alliance’s objectives. There was also a question of time-sensitive material being held up because a moderator was otherwise occupied. Erwin explained that any filtering by moderators is almost exclusively to redirect replies intended for the originator only. Rejections are very rarely on other grounds such as scope relative to the Alliance’s objective — “The objective of the Organization shall be the preservation and enhancement of greenspace and environmentally sensitive natural spaces in Canada’s national capital area, whether publicly or privately owned.” (Art. III 1.) Jason will look into the feasibility of having two lists — one unmoderated, the other as at present, with the choice up to the person posting.

Jason and Erwin will meet to discuss a list of tasks related to the web site and the listserv that could be taken on by volunteers assisting Jason.

e) Documents disappearing from the City’s web site: The case in point is the 2003 Environmental Strategy. Sol will confirm that older documents are being taken off and write to the City.

f) Beechwood Cemetery protected view: The owner of 222 Beechwood Avenue wishes to build a highrise which skirts the protected viewshed from Poet’s Hill and the Tommy Douglas Pavillion. It would be very much in the foreground, thus likely ruining the view. Councillor Fleury has called a public meeting for March 7 at 6:30 p.m., Ecole élémentaire publique Le Trillium, 135 Alice Street. Erwin will attend.

g) Ecology Ottawa: Amy will invite Graham Saul for lunch or coffee; Sol and Erwin will join them. They will explore opportunities for collaboration. Amy noted that the objectives of the Ottawa Valley chapter of CPAWS also have much in common with those of the Alliance.

h) Cell towers: Further to Juan Pedro Unger’s posting to the GA List of February 25, Sol moved, seconded by Elina, that Council will be advised it should exercise its authority regarding land use for the erection of cell towers. Agreed. Erwin will write on the Alliance’s behalf.

i) New federal Not For Profit Act: This Act came into force last September, replacing Part II of the Canada Corporations Act. Iola Price has advised that non-profit groups have to take certain action in two successive AGMs and has offered help. Erwin will bring forward what is required at the March meeting.

j) Sol noted an opportunity to participate in the Eco Expo at the RA Centre, April 21-22. More information to follow.

The meeting adjourned at 10:29 p.m.

Next meeting will be Tuesday, March 27, 2012, 7:15 p.m. at the RA Fieldhouse.