General Meeting – 29 May 2017


Greenspace Watch

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West, K1Y 2Y3


May 29, 2017

Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Erwin Dreessen, Bruce Lindsay, Amy Steele, Nicole DesRoches, Varvara Lobanova (note taker), John Almstedt, Sol Shuster

Guest: Ole Hendrickson

Regrets: Jason Kania, David McNicoll, Lorne Peterson, Juan Pedro Unger

The meeting started at 8:15 p.m., following the AGM.

1. Adoption of the agenda

An amended agenda was adopted.

2. Administrative items

a. Responsibilities of new directors

Vice-chair: Erwin nominates Nicole, Amy seconded, all agreed.

Bruce will continue as Membership chair.

Jason Kania will continue as web master.

Paul will take on duties of the Treasurer in addition to being Chair.

Varvara will continue as recording Secretary.

b. Minutes of the April 24, 2017 General Meeting

Varvara moved to approve the minutes as circulated, Erwin seconded, all agreed.

c. Webmaster’s report

Erwin reported that volunteers are making tremendous progress on the updates to the website. All volunteers now have access and there are 5 active members working on the project. Some major sections remain to be tackled. New current content is required.

Ideally website content should be tablet and smart phone friendly, but we’re not there yet. Cost remains a deterrent. We would like to improve the look of the website and make it easier to navigate.

Action: Erwin will write up a protocol on how to create new content.

f. Volunteer report

Ben Christy joined us as a new volunteer and drafted the 2016-17 annual report.

3. New Action items:

a. Near Surface Radioactive Waste Disposal

On behalf of Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area, Ole presented slides on Radioactive Wastes at Chalk River Laboratories. The issue is that after 70 years of operation the decommissioned facilities at Chalk River are releasing radioactive waste into creeks that feed into Perch Lake which feeds into the Ottawa River. Most of the waste is low level radioactivity and long lived.

A 2014 comprehensive decommissioning plan called for storage; all leaking equipment is considered to be in storage. In 2015 the Harper government signed an agreement to speed up the waste disposal target to within 6 years.

Canadian Nuclear Laboratories prepared an Environmental Impact Statement, dated March 2017. Comparable sites in Sweden use better and more expensive technology to contain radioactive waste.

Conclusion: The current proposal is based on the wrong technology and pursues the wrong objective, doesn’t match the standard. The choice of location is bad, the process is broken and the wrong proponent is in place (AECL should be the project proponent).

So far the group has had good success in getting media attention on the Quebec side, raising public awareness. EIS/Public consultation is open until August 2017. Concerned Citizens of Renfrew County and Area are asking for our support and to encourage public comments on their website, addressed to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission.

Nicole proposed to leverage the legal status of the Ottawa River; it has been under federal jurisdiction ever since an 1870 law. Action: We will take this on as one of our initiatives, the strategy is to be discussed at the next meeting. Requesting Ole to collaborate on formulating it.

b. Collaboration with Regional, Leitrim Homeowners Greenspace Guide

Regional Group has asked for our help on a Leitrim Homeowners Greenspace Guide. We received a draft prepared by their consultant. All agreed to move ahead with this project. Action: Paul to find volunteers to work on reviewing and editing the draft.

c. Ontario Environment Network Renewal

Bruce moved to renew our membership in the OEN, Nicole seconded. All agreed to renew and pay $40 fee. Action: Paul to renew.

d. 100inaday proposal, Synapcity, June 3

Someone offered to prepare, in the name of GA, at her own expense, a “Tree Cemetery” with a message “don’t let all these trees die”. All agreed not to proceed.

4. Report on previous action items

a. NCC trails public consultation, Gatineau Park

Nicole attended on our behalf. NCC is proposing to meld unofficial pathways and official pathways in sensitive areas, will be working to redo the maps within the next 5 years, emphasis on providing more education. The challenge is moving from recreation to conservation. The original mandate of the park was recreation. Everyone present at the consultation was supportive of the idea. There will be more shared pathways in summer. NCC is looking at their species at risk that continue to be threatened. NCC will eliminate all the trails in the northern part of the park, as well as trails that crisscross repeatedly. NCC is getting rid of some official trails and making some official that are now unofficial.

b. FCA Governance Committee with City staff, May 10

Erwin attended. The dialogue was interrupted last year with the reorg that took place. The dust has settled, we now have a designated person to talk to. They presented their new platform, everything has completely changed. Eventually it is expected to be better, easier to find information on one topic. There will be an events calendar launched. It is still a work in progress.

Some info was given about reorganization but more detail was provided at the FCA meeting on May 17. Nick Stow did tell Erwin that the Natural Systems group now reports to the Director of Planning instead of to the Development Review Director. Action: Erwin will circulate the slides of Stephen Willis’ presentation on May 17 when he receives them.

c. CEF Advisory Council meeting, May 11

Paul attended for the Coalition to Protect the Farm, along with Leslie Maitland. This is an advisory group that advises the Minister on heritage issues. He proposed that greenspace and scientific aspects should be considered in the heritage description of the farm.

d. Invitation to protest East end landfill project

Paul had circulated the letter. There is consensus that we should add our voice. Action: Paul to draft a letter of support.

e. KNL stormwater strategy options


f. Jane’s Walk

A walk on May 7 led by Paul, on “the Farm and the Ottawa Hospital,” was well attended: 15 people came out. Much discussion ensued, everyone was up in arms, lots of good comments.

Pete Anderson led another walk on the Farm, on May 6.

g. Significant Woodlands Policy meeting #2

Took place this afternoon, Paul attended. There is now a work plan and revised terms of reference. Paul will circulate documents from the working group. Erwin will update the website. The appeals of OPA 179 are on hold until the outcome of this working group.

h. GA response to Building Common Ground, federal Environmental Assessment Act review

A response, prepared by David, was submitted on May 3 and published on our web site.

i. FCA General Meeting, May 17

Erwin attended on behalf of GA and reported that, apart from Stephen Willis’ presentation (see item 4-b above), not much of relevance to the GA was discussed.

j. Baseline/Woodroffe SWM pond

Paul attended. The City presented good arguments, seemed attentive to concerns of local residents, about 30 of whom were in attendance. The purpose of the proposed pond is to capture run-off from other creeks and let water settle before it goes into the Pinecrest Creek. The work is also a requirement under the LRT project.

There appears to be no role for the GA.

k. City mapping agreement

Serge Latino who did mapping for the March 15 FCA meeting, accompanied Paul to a meeting with Nick Stow. Nick is very interested in this project but has no budget, offered us the use of their latest aerial photography and proposes we split the responsibility between the urban and rural sections. Nick gave Paul his data in good faith. Translation from photography to maps would be done by Serge.

We need funding for a two-month employment to work on this project. Action: Paul to look for funding.

Paul suggested to defer the rest of the agenda due to the lateness of the hour. All agreed.

The meeting adjourned at 9:45 PM.

The next meeting date is to be confirmed but likely on June 26, at the Hintonburg CC, starting at 7:15 p.m.

Deferred items:

5. Upcoming

a. Sustainable Transportation Equity Summit, September 22

b. Urban Forest Management Plan rescheduled to June 20 Environment Committee meeting

c. Significant Woodland Policy meeting #3

6. Information items

a. Beaverbrook Tree Inventory

b. OMB reform announcement

c. NCC Plan for Canada’s Capital, May 9

d. NCC Environment Strategy, June 7