General Meeting – April 20 2020


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


April 20, 2020

On-line meeting.

Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Nicole DesRoches, Daniel Buckles, Jason Kania, Janice Seline, J.P Unger, David McNicoll, Erwin Dreessen, Sheila Perry

The meeting commenced at 7:15 pm.

  1. Adoption of the agenda

The proposed agenda was agreed upon, moved by David, seconded by Janice.

  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the March 16, 2020 meeting (for approval)

Moved by Nicole, seconded by Jason. Carried.

b. Treasurer’s report

Paul reported on two grant applications from which we may get funding, one led by Ecology Ottawa to the Ottawa Community Foundation, the other our own to the City of Ottawa. These may be our only sources of revenue this year, other than membership fees, as the annual plant sale in which we usually participate has been cancelled this year due to the Covid emergency. Janice suggested a fundraising drive to seek donations would likely be successful if needed.

Because of the current difficulty in meeting in person, Paul asked if it would be appropriate to make payments by etransfer rather than by cheque as has been our practice. Members agreed that he should investigate whether this was doable under our current two signature arrangement with the bank.

c. Webmaster’s report

Paul reported on and thanked Jason for the considerable amount of work that went into fixing a number of problems that caused our site to go offline as a result of the most recent WordPress mandatory upgrade.

d. Association reports

Paul and Daniel reported on a meeting of the Peoples Official Plan held on April 3 to finalize mobilization plans ahead of the May 11 Joint Meeting of Planning and Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committees at which the urban boundary issue will be discussed. A summary of the results of the meeting can be found here.

3. Policy instruments

a. Preparation for the Joint Meeting of Planning and Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committees on May 11

i. Outreach to Community Associations

In recognition that, in addition to the voices of the various members of the Peoples Official Plan collective, Councillors would more likely be moved by voices from their own wards, we set out to engage community associations to have them communicate directly to their ward councillor that they oppose urban expansion, that they understand that this might mean more density for their neighbourhood but that this is a trade-off they are willing to accept. A <sample letter> was prepared and <distributed> directly to CAs from a mailing list that had been compiled by the GA and other POP members. This letter will be presented to CA representatives at the April 22 General meeting of the Federation of Citizens’ Associations, where we will seek the FCA’s endorsement.  It was also distributed through our new Ottawa Climate Solutions listserve.

ii. Joint Collective letter to Mayor and Council

As part of our general plan, Ecology Ottawa took the lead in preparing a <joint letter> to Mayor and Council and collecting signatures from all participants in the POP collective.

iii. Online Rally May 8  

Ecology Ottawa is also taking the lead on the online rally that is planned for May 8, which will feature a number of speakers, including Dianne Saxe, the former Environment Commissioner of Ontario, and the current GA Chair. The joint letter to Mayor and Council and a petition to Hold the Line with 4000 signatures will be formally transferred to the Mayor and Council as part of the rally.

b. Expansion Land Criteria, April 16 e-meeting

The City has invited the builders/community stakeholders group, which includes the GA, to comment on the latest version of the criteria that will be used to evaluate land parcels for inclusion in an expanded urban area, should an expansion be approved. A draft was circulated and the issues we are focused on are the recognition of wildlife corridors, which was the result of the settlement of a previous GA appeal, the protection of agricultural land, which the PPS 2020 leaves potentially vulnerable.

4. Threats

a. Rural Greenspace

i. Goulbourn Provincially Significant Wetlands: Five appeals have been received from landowners regarding the recognition in the Goulbourn PSW in the Official Plan. They are on both sides of the issue: some who dispute that their land is part of the PSW, others who want the OP designation extended to cover their lands (only about half of the PSW was so designated in the OP), which the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources mapping no longer identifies as part of the PSW.

b. Major urban greenspace

Nothing to report.

c. Other greenspace

i. Community Gardens

The Ontario government, in its Covid-19 emergency measures, has identified Community gardens as a leisure and recreation activity, and therefore part of the shutdown. Many local community groups, including Just Foods, a member of our coalition, consider them rather as essential services, providing food the members of the community. They are petitioning the government to reverse course on this issue and are looking for allies. Members present agreed to join our voices to this request.

The Meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.