GREENSPACE ALLIANCE OF CANADA’S CAPITAL
April 18, 2022
Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Nicole DesRoches, Daniel Buckles, David McNicoll, J.P. Unger, Erwin Dreessen,
The meeting commenced at 7:00 pm.
- Adoption of the agenda
The proposed agenda was agreed upon. Moved by Nicole, seconded by Erwin. Carried.
- Administrative items
a. Minutes of the March 28, 2022 meeting (for approval)
Moved by Erwin, seconded by Nicole. Carried.
b. Membership report: Paul reported applications from three new members: Karin Lynch, Arto Keklikian and Lise Broadbent. All three applications were approved. Otherwise, membership renewals were proceeding well with no outstanding fee payments for 2021-22.
c. Association reports: Paul reported that the GA was invited to an Art activism vernissage on April 3 at the Shenkman centre. It was well attended and for the first time since before the pandemic we had a table in a public place and met a lot of people with an interest in climate, environmental and greenspace matters. Erwin reported attending an interesting talk at the AGM of the Friends of Carp Hills, on which Board GA member Judy Makin sits, at which he learned of the Canadian Wildlife Federations Help the Turtles campaign (helptheturtles.ca).
d. Volunteer report: Paul reported that a volunteer who had previously worked on the greenspace mapping and inventory project for us has contacted us and is now available to continue working GIS applications for greenspace. He will be working on mapping the threats to greenspace on which we report regularly in our monthly meetings. Other volunteer assignments were discussed such as documenting and analyzing the Manor Park redevelopment project for lessons learned regarding greenspace retention and community engagement. Also, having a regular web and social media person would improve our online presence considerably.
Action: Paul to contact Volunteer Ottawa about posting these assignments.
- Policy instruments
a. Provincial election strategy
Members discussed how best to get involved in the upcoming provincial election. It was agreed that from a climate and greenspace point of view, Anything But Conservative would be the GA’s position. This would take the form of a statement on the legislative and policy failures of this government over its term and the identification of candidates behind which we would place our support and communicate it widely to our membership and subscriber list. Members considered a table showing the declared candidates in each provincial riding in the Ottawa area and made preliminary selections.
b. Municipal Election Strategy
Having previously decided to take a more active role in the upcoming municipal election by backing a slate of candidates for council and mayor, the discussion turned to organizations with which we could collaborate. As many of our usual partners are constrained by their bylaws or funding arrangements to get directly involved in this way, we need to explore other partnership options. We were contacted by a group called Climate Justice Ottawa and had recent experience with the Art in Research collective through the art activism vernissage we attended on April 3. The Parkways for People group, which we endorsed earlier this year, seem to broadening their advocacy and could be a possible partner. We know of Horizon Ottawa, and also ReImagine Ottawa, but not sure these are a good fit. It was agreed to start reaching out to these and other groups to see how we might expand our reach through a broader network of groups working to the same end.
c. Parkland Dedication By-law Review
Paul reported that he attended the information session provided by the City on this topic on March 31. A very good presentation by the consultant hired by the City to evaluate the parkland quantum that would be delivered by a status quo approach showed that it would be far short of the target of parkland per capita called for. The main recommendations to achieving a much higher quantum would be to implement a land first approach (always take land, not cash in lieu), remove the 10% cap on apartment new builds and apply the parkland dedication to all development applications, not just those subject to site plan approval. These seemed very reasonable recommendations and we should advocate for the new bylaw to adopt all of these measures.
d. High Performance Development Standards – Trees and Greenspace
Daniel gave an update on the submission made to Planning and ARAC concerning the trees and greenspace aspect of the new High Performance Development Standards for new builds. In particular, he coordinated the assembly of letters from experts in the field concerning plantings of native species for projects covered by the HPDS. These were delivered to committee as a compendium in support of our goal of having higher targets for native species in the standard.
e. Community Benefits Charge bylaw
A City workshop is scheduled for April 20, 2022
a. Rural Greenspace
i. Chalk River Near Surface Disposal Facility for nuclear waste:
JP reported that the GA submission had been sent to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission by the April 11 deadline.
ii. Quarry expansion, Burnt Lands ANSI
We posted a write up on this issue prepared by volunteer Connor Lalande to the GA list and on social media. There was nothing new about it on DevApps, the city website for development applications.
iii. Poplar Grove Golf Club
Golf courses are a type of greenspace so we follow these stories. This golf course in Edwards Ontario, east of Ottawa, has closed and is being converted to agricultural use.
iv. ACRE land trust, Chelsea
A 100 acre forest has been purchased by this land trust and it is now registered in the Repertoire des sites de conservation volontaire of the Province of Quebec.
b. Major urban greenspace
i. Pinesi portage project:
Paul reported being on CKCU’s Special Blend morning show with others to talk about the project. Future interviews are planned as well. He also reported on the failure of securing general liability insurance through the New Edinburgh Community Alliance and that he we would be testing the private market to find coverage. He also reported on contacts made with the Governor General’s office concerning her possible participation in the inauguration of the trail.
ii. Brian Coburn extension:
Paul has contacted Rachelle Lecours, the leading voice on the residents’ side, to open a dialogue on the matter. They will be meeting onsite in Orleans on May 11.
c. Other greenspace
i. Tree removal – Westwind Public School, Stittsville
We posted a write up about this tree loss on the GA list and social media, suggesting that a letter writing campaign to the school board might still be warranted to maybe forestall future such removals on school board lands. This was taken up by some readers and we have been cc’d on one very effective one.
The Meeting adjourned at 9:18 p.m.