General Meeting – April 29 2019


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


April 29, 2019

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3


Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Erwin Dreessen, David McNicoll, Daniel Buckles, Jason Kania, J.P. Unger, John Almstedt

The meeting commenced at 7:20pm.

  1. Adoption of the agenda

The proposed agenda was agreed upon. Item 3f was added.


  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the March 25 2019 meeting (for approval)

Moved by Erwin, seconded by David. Carried.

b. Membership report

Nothing to report.

c. Treasurer’s report

Reimbursement to Paul for payment of the GA’s membership fee to Volunteer Ottawa ($175) and FC ($35). Moved by Erwin, seconded by Jason. Carried.

d. Webmaster’s report

Paul reported on the changes that were made on the GA website welcome page, as discussed at the last meeting: bilingual title introduced, the trillium emblem added to the GA logo and improved disposition of the breadcrumbing.

e. Volunteer report

Paul reminded everyone that our annual plant sale fundraiser was coming up on May 12, organized by GA member Janice Seline. It was agreed that a reminder notice should be posted on the GA list.

Action: Paul to post a reminder of the plant sale on May 12.

f. Geodata report

See under Association reports.

g. Association reports

Paul attended the launch of Ecology Ottawa’s Youth Climate Ambassador program on March 27 and on March 30 gave the first of four 90 minute training sessions to the initial cohort of Youth Climate Ambassadors.  He also attended a meeting of the OFNC Conservation Committee on April 11, where members expressed their appreciation for the leadership that the GA had shown in the campaign to save the Centenary Elm on Parliament Hill. This campaign also attracted the attention of Tree Fest Ottawa, a group that uses the power of images, stories and experiences to protect trees. They now feature a story on their website about the GA.  The Ottawa Neighbourhood Study greenspace mapping project held the first meeting of the working group online on April 26. The scope of the work was discussed and a general work plan was established. The GA will be part of the “local validation sub-group”.

  1. Policy instruments

a. LPASC campaign

Erwin reported on efforts to obtain mailing addresses from LeadNow so as to follow up with current supporters and expand our reach for a second letter. Various options were discussed regarding prolonging this campaign without leading to any concrete action.

b. Official Plan strategy

Paul led a discussion on how the GA plans to become involved in the development of the City’s new official plan. We are currently engaged in the FCA preparation process, with Erwin taking part in a meeting on April 10 of their OP review/Planning and Zoning Committee, ahead of the April 17 General Meeting, when an OP panel was assembled, including a representative of GOHBA, Jay Balz, Hintonburg CA , Councillor Menard and the lead City Planner on the file, Alain Miguelez. The FCA has been invited to participate in technical working groups that will deal with specific growth and intensification topics. Erwin is one of five nominees that the FCA was given the opportunity to put forward. The first meeting of these so-called policy groups is on April 30. The GA made a pitch to be invited to participate in its own right but was turned down, and redirected instead to a second engagement stream, the so-called equity and inclusion group, the first meeting of which is on May 9. Meanwhile, the City has published a series of nine discussion papers, with an invitation to provide comments by May 31; the GA has committed to the FCA to comment on three of these papers.  There is also an online survey that will be open until June 30.

There does not seem to be any concerted “environmental” stream and limited access for environmental groups to engage directly with City staff other than through vehicles designed for the general public. Paul and Daniel had had prior discussions about potentially reaching out to other environmental groups to see if we could interest them in developing a distinct environmental channel to put forward the vision of an official plan with climate change as a central unifying theme. Ecology Ottawa has already expressed an interest in exploring the possibility. It was agreed to test out the idea with a limited number of other organizations and see where this might lead.

Action: Daniel to convene an initial meeting of the “People’s Climate Change Official Plan”.

c. Settlement of GA appeal of OPA 150

The settlement agreement for the GA’s appeal of OPA 150 was approved Council approval is now required, expected on April 11.  It will formally be dealt with by LPAT by a teleconference on June 11.

[Post-meeting note: As agreed at the last meeting, we filed a motion to dismiss the only remaining appeal, on the urban expansion, without a hearing. However, a response motion filed by the appellants led us to conclude that there was no prospect for our motion to be successful. We therefore sought, and obtained, the appellants’ agreement to withdraw the motion prior the prehearing on May 22.]

d. Climate change emergency declaration by the City of Ottawa

The GA participated in the Climate emergency rally organized by Ecology Ottawa at City Hall ahead of the Environment Committee meeting on April 16 where Councillor Menard’s motion for Ottawa to declare a climate emergency was to be considered. The GA had supported the motion by issuing a call to action via the GA list on April 9. The motion was passed by a 6-2 vote and was considered by Council on April 24. A call to action was again issued on the GA list on April 18th, urging subscribers to contact their councillors to register their support for the declaration.  Council approved the motion and declared a climate emergency, with only three dissenting voices.

e. NCC Urbanism Lab, Ottawa Tree Canopy Study

Erwin reported on the tree canopy study for the entire National Capital Region, the preliminary results of which were released at the April 24 Urbanism Lab. It seems very comprehensive and authoritative, jointly produced by the NCC, the City of Ottawa and Ville de Gatineau, with broad academic support. This is one the key deliverables from the Urban Forest Management Plan. The full report and data files are supposed to be made public in the near future.

f. Ontario government environmental policy changes

David reported on a conference in which a speaker proposed that the barrage of regressive environmental policy changes being issued by the provincial government (endangered species, conservation authorities, cancelling tree planting program, gutting environmental review, repealing Far North Act) are part of a broader strategy to facilitate the expansion of resource and extractive industries in Ontario northern hinterland, the so-called Ring of Fire. He commended the publication Mining Watch as a worthy source of information on these matters.          

  1. Threats

 a. Rural greenspace

i. Chalk River

JP briefed the members on the full page ad published in the Hill Times calling on the PM and parliamentarians to halt the nuclear waste storage plans Chalk River. After seeing the quality of the ads, the members agreed to contribute $300 to their cost as part of our ongoing support of this Concerned Citizens group.

With time running out, there was no discussion of the remaining items on the agenda.

ii. Cavanagh site alteration within Goulbourn PSW

b. Major urban greenspace

i. Centenary Elm on Parliament Hill

ii. Canadensis proposal on the CEF

 c. Other greenspace

i. Earl Armstrong extension

ii. KNL Phase 9, Kizell Creek erosion

iii. Connaught Street maple loss


The Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.