General Meeting – 29 June 2000

Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital

Minutes of Meeting of June 29, 2000

Present: Barbara Barr, Erwin Dreessen, Deborah Ironside, Shelley Parlow, Amy Kempster, Mike Lascelles, Albert Dugal, Jim Harvey, Al Crosby, Stan Rosenbaum, Bill Royds, Sol Shuster

Documents circulated: 1) Corrected Minutes of April 19, 2000 meeting, 2) Agenda for meeting, 3) Sheet on Federal Environmental Assessment of Findlay Creek Project (prepared by Mike Lascelles), 4) City document re rezoning and Official Plan Amendment of 121 Clearview Ave., 5) Map of proposed project at 121 Clearview, 6) Updated version of Brochure.

1. Approval of Agenda. After introductions the agenda was discussed. It was agreed to discuss the Leitrim wetland as the first urgent item. Erwin suggested administration items such as regular meeting time, by-laws etc. were urgent matters and should be placed on the Agenda. After some discussion it was agreed to place them immediately after the urgent matters. The items of Poets’ Pathway, Centretown Trees Committee and Greenbelt update were added under urgent items. Also added under new business was 1870 Alta Vista. Moved by Barbara Barr and seconded by Erwin Dreessen that the revised Agenda be accepted. Carried.

2. (shown as 3. in original Agenda) Approval of circulated minutes.  Moved by Barbara Barr and seconded by Al Crosby that the corrected minutes be approved.  Carried.

3. (shown as 4. in original Agenda) Urgent items:

a) (originally third item)  Leitrim wetlands. Albert Dugal gave some history of this issue and answered some questions from other  members. There was a tentative agreement by a member of the Field Naturalists (Mike Murphy) in 1991 to the wetland definition now in the Regional Official Plan, as perhaps the best deal available.   This agreement by the Field Naturalists was later retracted. The Ministry of Natural Resources was supportive of a more extensive area but later changed their attitude. With regard to the possible contamination from the nearby landfill area, he noted that the testing and monitoring re the movement of contamination from the site showed some evidence of dioxanes near Albion Road (and near the proposed development on the other side of Albion Road). Extraction wells were put in, in 1992, but he felt there was evidence that some of the plume of contaminated ground-water was already beyond the extraction well at that time. There is also some question of water table draw-down and the maintenance over time of the wall around the proposed stormwater pond to contain it, and the cost of maintenance of this over time. There also seemed to be some confusion about the number of homes to be serviced by the proposed services which have been brought forward.

Chair Shelley Parlow asked what were the relevant actions for the Greenspace Alliance to undertake, particularly with regard to possible thank-you letter to councillors opposed, whether to join “Friends of the Leitrim Wetlands” and countering Councillor Stewart’s column. The possibility of sending a letter to the transition board was also raised.

Mike Lascelles and Jim Harvey spoke about the federal environmental screening being done by the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans, since a permit under the Fisheries Act is required. This started Feb. 3 and covers what is called the “Findley Creek project.”

The actions which can be taken are:

  1. review the documents in the public registry and assess them;
  2. submit comments after this review;
  3. express public concern about the environmental effects;
  4. petition the Minister to allow the public to review the screening report;
  5. petition the Minister & his colleagues to refer the project  to a panel review, in light of the uncertainty and public concern about the environmental effects of the project.

During the discussion of possible actions Bill Royds drew attention to an amendment to the Regional Official Plan which went through Planning and Environment Committee to the effect that an environmental assessment would be required of any development within a certain distance of any contaminated land. He suggested that Council, in passing this, be asked to add an amendment that this would apply to the Leitrim development lands for which servicing was being advanced. Al Crosby moved and Sol Shuster seconded that Bill Royds be asked to draft a letter from the Greenspace Alliance to this effect. Carried.  It was felt that the first of the next actions suggested by Mike Lascelles would be best accomplished by more knowledgeable persons so that the best strategy for the Greenspace Alliance would be to join the proposed “Friends of the Leitrim Wetlands. ” It was agreed to do so and Bill Royds was asked to act as our liaison. Amy Kempster moved and Bill Royds seconded that a letter be sent to the Transition Board suggesting deferring approval until Federal Environmental Assessment is complete and also on the grounds of prudence. Carried. As well, Bill Royds was asked to write a letter to the News to counter Councillor Stewart’s arguments.

b) 121 Clearview (part of NOSS site #0702). Amy Kempster explained this development which could mean loss of some woodland due to a land swap. Barbara Barr moved and Amy Kempster seconded that the draft letter as modified (Barbara read the changes) be sent to the city planner. Carried.

c) rezoning of 3170 Conroy Road (marsh adjacent to Greenboro Turtlehead Nature area) from light industrial to residential. Barbara suggested that a short letter be sent to the city re this to keep marsh if possible and that housing was inappropriate due to railway yards. Erwin moved that the Alliance send such a letter and Amy seconded the motion. Carried. Amy to draft the letter.

d) Montfort woods. Al Crosby brought the group up to date on this issue. A teleconference will be conducted by the OMB on July 6. Several possible parcels of land are being offered by the NCC for Montfort woods, but the outcome is not known at present. Some misquiet was expressed if the Moffatt Farm was the parcel involved.

e) Poet’s Pathway. Manley’s reply was quite favourable, so now a more flushed out proposal is required. A short letter to Manley to thank him for his interest and to indicate that a more detailed proposal will be forthcoming was suggested. Erwin moved seconded by Barbara that a working group composed of Bill, Erwin, and Brian Gifford work on this as a summer project and eventually involve a broad group of communities and the Canadian League of Poets, and that meantime the short letter noted above be drafted by Shelly and sent. Carried. It was suggested that the NCC’s Pathway Pan be consulted by the group to assist in their work.

f) Centretown Citizens’ Community Association Tree Committee: Debra Ironside reported on the work of this group. This has included promoting tree planting on Queensway exits; greening school yards and generally encouraging preservation of and addition to the tree stock of the downtown. She noted the tree inventory initiative by the city which assists communities in inventorying their trees.

g) Greenbelt update: Nepean has recently been reviewing its zoning of the Greenbelt. Sol expressed the opinion that because the Regional Official Plan was not that protective in certain areas the working group with community representatives was constrained. The difficulty is those areas designated as employment areas, particularly the Agriculture Canada land opposite the Nepean Sportsplex . While the Nepean Planner did agree to drop the word “industry” from the definition of Greenbelt Employment, it made little difference as the definition would still allow for the development of a large public or private R&D complex. It was suggested that the GACC should become involved when the new city of Ottawa OP is developed.

Since the hour was late it was agreed not to complete the rest of the Agenda. The next meeting was set for July 27, and administration matters are to be discussed by the executive later in August.