GREENSPACE ALLIANCE OF CANADA’S CAPITAL
MINUTES OF MEETING HELD MARCH 3, 1998
The meeting was held in the Honeywell Room of the Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carlton headquarters building at 111 Lisgar St.
The meeting began at 7:30 p.m. and ended at 9:00 p.m.
Shelley Parlow chaired. Barbara Barr recorded minutes.
Present: Bill Royds (Hunt Club Comm. Organization) Shelley Parlow (Hunt Club Corridor Protection Assoc.) Amy Kempster (Federation of Citizens’ Associations; Champlain Park Comm. Assoc.) Michael Wall (Crystal Beach/Lakeview Comm. Assoc.) Prabha Singh-Sinclair (Riverside Park Comm. Assoc.) Al Speyers (Alliance to Save Our Greenbelt) David McNicoll (Ottawa South Community Assoc.) Tom Gabor (South Keys/Greenboro Comm. Assoc.) Barbara Barr (South Keys/Greenboro Comm. Assoc.)
Regrets: Christine Hartig, Anne Bennet (Berber?)
Documents Circulated (see attached): agenda; written report from Communications Committee; draft Code of Ethics and Sanctions (dated 12/27/97); five draft items for consideration in by-laws (Gabor); fax from Hartig; February 1998 issue of Neighbours”; notice of public meeting with NCC (sponsored by Marlene Catterall, M.P. for Ottawa West/Nepean).
- Election of new chair to replace Erica Burns:
MOVED that Shelley Parlow be the new Chair (Gabor, seconded by Prabha Singh-Sinclair) APPROVED by unanimous vote.
- Agenda: The agenda was accepted after amendment to include additional announcements.
MOVED (Singh-Sinclair, Gabor) to accept Minutes of February 11, 1998. APPROVED.
MOVED (Wall, Gabor) to accept Minutes of January 27, 1998. APPROVED.
- Action Items from Previous Meetings, and 5. Update on Activities/Announcements:
(a) Announcement re: Central Experimental Farm: Bill Royds called attention to a new Federal publication, Towards a Vision for the Future: Central Experimental Farm,” and to the fact that the Farm has been designated a National Historic Site with significance as a Cultural Landscape. A Public Consultation Team currently is soliciting input from the public concerning the Farm.
(b) Follow-up re: Nortel presentation of Feb. 11. Shelley Parlow reported that she had contacted Doug Stowe subsequent to the meeting. Mr. Stowe indicated he would like a list of meeting attendees and their addresses to possibly contact people for feedback. He has communicated with his superiors and indicated that Nortel is willing to consider purchasing greenspace as a charitable donation if the Alliance puts forward a proposal and includes a list of suitable lands. Mr. Stowe indicated that such a list should not favour one community or municipality; lands across the region, as well as regionally significant” lands, should be included. Most of Nortel’s employees live in Nepean and west Kanata.
Shelley recommended that the Alliance take on as a project the creation of such a list and suggested four criteria to be used in determining suitability. Those criteria were social significance, imminence of threat, environmental significance, and location. Subsequent discussion revolved around two main themes: sources of information for identifying candidate lands, and means for land preservation and stewardship.
Suggestions and comments from attendees concerning sources of information included: a background report for the Region’s Official Plan contains a list of lands, Ottawa’s Natural and Open Spaces Study (NOSS) has a list of study sites and may have looked at many of the same criteria when selecting those sites, and the Canadian Biodiversity Institute at the Canadian Museum of Nature might have expertise which would be useful in determining biological significance.
Comments and suggestions from attendees concerning land preservation and stewardship included: if the Region set up a land trust, it could accept lands and could donate its own lands, such as Marlborough Forest, to the trust, and could promote the trust – ask Chiarelli?; maybe set up a trust for Eastern Ontario or the National Capital Region?; the Nature Conservancy of Canada is an organization that helps preserve lands (similar to the National Trust in England but national, not local, and not known for active stewardship); for ten years Ottawa accepted cash in lieu of greenspace but bought no new greenspace (accruing $1 million a year); the National Capital Commission (NCC) is being sued by some families because family-owned lands that were donated to the NCC with the expectation that they would be preserved are now being sold, (e.g. Gatineau Park); the NCC’s Greenbelt Master Plan can’t be trusted; the Region’s Official Plan needs to be changed; there is legal precedent that loss in land value due to down-zoning has to be compensated if the landowner has not agreed to the down-zoning; lands are not being zoned conservation because such zoning in rural areas would require purchase of the land; one needs to be aware at all times of the legal situation concerning lands (and may need to amend by-laws to legitimize a trust); until 1998, lands under the National Capital Act were fairly well protected since only financial transactions under $50,000 were permitted, but in 1988 the Act was changed, allowing the NCC to sell any lands at any time at any price; under the NDP an environmental assessment was required in Ontario, but the Tories under Harris overturned this requirement as soon as they got into power; the Algonquins of Golden Lake Reserve have a land claim for the entire local area; efforts ought to be directed at changing laws at the Federal and Provincial levels so lands can be protected; a relevant book about preservation is You Can’t Give It Away; Tax aspects of Ecologically Sensitive Lands” by Marc Denhez; the Greenspace Alliance would benefit from having an expert on land trusts talk to its members; and other alternatives besides trusts should be investigated because of concern that protection in perpetuity” may be impossible to obtain from governments.
ACTION: Al Speyers volunteered to ask Mr. Denhez (a local lawyer) if he would be interested in speaking to the Alliance about land trusts.
MOVED: (Kempster, Barr) that a committee be formed to look into the issue of how to prioritize greenspace for possible purchase, or preservation by other means, and that the committee bring back a preliminary report in two months. APPROVED.
ACTION: Shelley Parlow requested that people let her know if they are interested in being on the committee.
(c) Announcement re: Watts Creek Waterpark in Nepean’s Greenbelt. Michael Wall announced that Marlene Catterall (M.P. Ottawa West/Nepean) has set up a public meeting with the NCC on March 12 to discuss Greenbelt Development, Watts Creek Water Park. This follows a vote (4 to 3) on Feb. 24 by Nepean’s Planning Committee to approve an amendment to add a recreation commercial use to Zone G, pending submission of appropriate studies. The amendment will make it possible for the NCC to lease 35 acres of Greenbelt for a commercial waterpark. Michael passed out a copy of the February 1998 issue of “Neighbours,” the newsletter of the Crystal Beach/Lakeview Community Association. Al Speyers noted that the developer of Water Safari, a proposed waterpark to be built on private land, turned down an offered site in the Greenbelt for his venture.
(d) Announcement re: Southern Corridor. Bill Royds and Shelley Parlow announced that a public open house for the Hunt Club Neighbourhood Plan Study will be held on Wednesday, March 11 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Holy Family School, 245 Owl Drive. Comments will be invited on future development of seven greenspaces in the Hunt Club community. It will be important to fill out a comment sheet at the meeting.
- Review of workplan and outstanding activities: Formal discussion was deferred to a later date. Informal discussion as follows:
(a) Need a strategy to take on the NCC – this means a media campaign. Also, we need to know more about NCC strategy and about which lands they plan to sell. In addition, there are higher-level problems, notably, the Provincial Planning Act, which supports development at the expense of environmental protection. The intention of the Federal government regarding Crown Agencies and privatization is also a problem area.
(b) Need to get the Alliance better organized; need to focus energies on mission; need to set short-term priorities (defer by-laws and recruitment? start on projects now?); need to tone down Code of Ethics; need to be proactive rather than reactive concerning specific greenspaces; it is easier to coalesce people around a specific issue (waterpark in Greenbelt, Southern Corridor, Balena Park) than around general principles; need to sustain energy over time (easier to be reactive); phone-list requested by Kempster: we need someone to take this on to announce dates of meetings in advance; should we try to produce a newsletter? (Royds); should examine by-law of other organizations, such as those of Alliance To Save Our Greenbelt (detailed) and of Communities Before Cars (minimal needed to be incorporated); need to include francophones (very fond of environment, according to media strategists). ACTION: Need to have a Vision Statement available to take back to community associations (suggested by Wall).
(c) Need to re-think recruitment strategy; several people indicated that a systematic recruitment campaign should be deferred; let recruitment evolve from our activities; mail list of dates and activities to Region for distribution (Kempster); need to have credible groups and businesses; need permanent address; need membership form and to pay membership fee (Kempster suggested $30).
- Committee Reports:
(a) Communications (External) – written report circulated. Communications (Internal) – Bill Royds says he can only attend on a monthly basis, so cannot act as secretary. Barbara Barr agreed to take over this job for now. Royds will maintain the membership list and e-mail list (currently, list contains 32 people) and will do what he can for members on the mailing list.
(b) Ad Hoc Logistics Committee – no report.
(c) Membership Committee – report deferred.
(d) By-Laws Committee – no report (see e-mail draft being circulated).
- By-laws: Deferred.
- Next Meeting: Tuesday, March 24 at 7:30 p.m. at the Regional headquarters.