General Meeting – August 28, 2017


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


August 28, 2017

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

Members Present: Paul Johanis (chair), Erwin Dreessen, Amy Steele, Bruce Lindsay, David McNicoll, Jason Kania, Iola Price

Guest: Ben Christy (note taker)

Regrets: Juan Pedro Unger

The meeting commenced at 7:25pm

 1. Adoption of the agenda

A modified agenda was agreed upon.

2. Administrative items

a.Minutes of the June 26, 2017: Erwin moved, seconded by Bruce to adopt the Minutes as circulated. Agreed.

b. Membership report: Bruce reported on renewals.

c. Treasurer’s report: Erwin moved, seconded by Jason, to make a $200 donation to the Poets’ Pathway. Agreed.

d. Webmaster’s report – content maintenance strategy: It was decided that Paul will take on the role of web editor and that he should be made a moderator for the GA listserve so that he can approve his own posts. Paul encouraged everyone to make suggestions on what new items should be reported. Action: Jason will make Paul a moderator.

e. Volunteer report: Erwin commented on the outstanding work by the three volunteers tasked with migrating web content from the old website to the new one. Erwin has written recommendations for them but asked for input on how else we can thank them. It was decided that a book such as the recently published “Blooms” about the ornamental gardens at the Central Experimental Farm would make a suitable gift, accompanied by a certificate signed by the GA Board members. Action: Paul will provide a book and certificate to be given to the volunteers.

3. New Action Items

a. Leitrim Road Realignment and Widening Environmental Assessment Public Consultation: GA has been invited by the City of Ottawa to participate in a Public Consultation Group. The first meeting is tentatively scheduled for September 13th at the Fred Barrett Arena from 6:30 to 8:30pm. Erwin suggested that someone attend and provide comments based on the email from Albert Dugal stating that a point of concern could be the area on the west side of Albion Road and north of Leitrim Road. Action: Paul will attend the meeting on September 13th.

b. Greenspace inventory and mapping project funding application: Paul submitted a funding application to TD Friends of the Environment Foundation. Nick Stow provided a letter confirming that the City of Ottawa was partnering with us on the project, meaning we are eligible for funding. The letter also said the City of Ottawa will assist with the project by supplying a digital land cover map, accompanying GIS database, and technical advice.

Serge Latino has given his commitment to work on the project. Denys Cooper, who is an ex-director at IRAP, has volunteered to work on the data, while Serge will work on the mapping. The plan is to create the basic data infrastructure needed for the project, before deciding on expanding the scope of the data to be collected. The funding request is $5000, most of it for compensation. If approved, it is proposed to hire Serge on a full-time basis for a 10-week period to complete the mapping part of the project.  Action: We will proceed with the plan once we find out in September if funding has been approved.

c. CPAWS-OV contact: John McDonnell of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society – Ottawa Chapter has contacted us seeking to reestablish relations between our organizations. Action: Paul will meet with them to re-establish contact.

d. Healthy Transportation Coalition membership renewal: A misunderstanding resulted in us being asked to renew our membership even though there is a reciprocal agreement in place whereby the Healthy Transportation Coalition and Greenspace Alliance would become members of each other’s organizations without fee. It was concluded that while their mandate is somewhat peripheral to GA’s, membership should be maintained on the basis of this reciprocal arrangement. Action: Paul to contact Trevor Haché to sort out the membership fee question.

e. Hydro One transmission corridor clear-cut: Hydro One has started clearing vegetation for its transmission corridors. Councillor Marianne Wilkinson and the Beaverbrook Community Association will put together a public meeting on the subject. The Ottawa Field Naturalists Club has also taken up the subject at our request. They wish to determine what kind of vegetation is being cut down, as well as what natural regrowth will occur, before taking a position. GA wishes to determine whether or not there will be any unintended consequences, and if Hydro One has any specific plans for rehabilitation or if they are letting regrowth happen randomly. Action: Paul to monitor when this public meeting is scheduled and arrange for someone to attend.

f. Ecology Ottawa’s 10th Anniversary Celebration: Eco Fest will be held on October 12th. They plan to have 1,200 people in attendance. We have been asked if we wish to partner on this event. Paul suggested connections should be maintained with Ecology Ottawa. He also reported that Ecology Ottawa’s position on the radioactive waste disposal proposal at Chalk River remains unanswered. Action: Paul will inquire if there will be opportunities for us to set up a table at the event.

g. New application for Permit to Take Water at Leitrim Wetland: Taggart has applied for a permit to take water for the construction of a storm water pond. This could potentially lead to lowering groundwater levels by 2-3 meters which could have significant impacts on wetlands in other locations, in particular the nearby Provincially Significant Wetland. Erwin expressed his doubts that Taggart would acknowledge any comments made by the GA given our history with them. Action: Paul to submit a comment on behalf of the GA. Iola may submit comments before the September 2nd deadline

h. OP amendment and zoning bylaw change re: Central Experimental Farm: The GA holds the position that although the zoning change isn’t a major issue for us, we should submit a comment in order to be present on the file. The deadline to comment is September 15th. Erwin has sent in a note to city planner Sean Moore and forwarded it to Leslie Maitland of the Coalition to Protect the Farm. Action: Paul to submit a comment on behalf of the GA. Iola may also submit comments.

i. Federal EA: GA is pleased to see that the Fisheries Act will again include protections for fish habitat. However, two points of concern remain. The recommendation to convert the Environmental Assessment Agency to a quasi-judicial board has been rejected, and the protection of navigable waters has not been restored as per the former Navigable Waters Protection Act. Action: These points will be raised in our Submission on the Discussion Paper of Federal Environmental and Regulatory Reviews, to be submitted by Paul on behalf of the GA.

4. Report on previous action items:

a. Ontario Wetland Conservation Strategy: Paul reported on some correspondence from Ontario Nature. It provided a summary evaluation the province’s final strategy issued on July 20, which is published on our web site.

b. Bill 139 on planning matters: Paul reported that he had submitted our input before the deadline; it is published on the web site. The submission had been prepared by Erwin, with extensive consultation with outside organizations.

c. Radioactive waste disposal facility at Chalk River: Paul reported that our submission had been made to the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and an acknowledgment received; it is published on our web site.

d. Chaudière Falls letter: A second letter to the Prime Minister following the announcement on the future use of the former US Embassy building as an indigenous center has not yet been sent but Paul reported that we replied to an email from Douglas Cardinal on the same subject stating our position that the industrial site on the Chaudière Islands should be restored as much as possible to green space. We gave them permission to link to our initial letter to the Prime Minister on their website.

e. With the changes just announced to split the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs, it was agreed that it might be wise to write to Carolynn Bennett in her new role as Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs.

f. KNL: Paul has sent our comments on storm water management solutions to outside experts for review.

g. Site alteration by-law (Sept 25 deadline): On August 14, the City made an annotated draft by-law available on its site and provided stakeholders with additional information. GA feels that the lack of a permit system may be enough to oppose this. Action: Erwin will draft suggestions and circulate them before the deadline.

5. Upcoming

a. Sustainable Transportation Equity Summit, September 22: We will not be participating.

Due to lack of time, it was agreed to defer the Information Items. Paul will supply brief updates on these items by email, to be included with these Minutes.

The meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

The next meeting will be held on Monday, September 25 starting at 7:15 at the Hintonburg Community Centre.

6. Information items (updated later)

a. Follow up on Ottawa Mountain Biking Association proposal in Chapel Hill: We have been invited to a walkabout of the trail system organized by local residents. It is located in a city owned Environmental Protection zoned greenspace with access from Forestglen Park.

b. Re-activation of NCC appeal of 2003 OP re: Rochester Field: We have been invited to a meeting at City Hall with City staff and NCC representatives to discuss new developments in this longstanding appeal by the NCC against the 2003 Official Plan, in which we are recognized as a party.

c. Poets’ Pathway: The Mayor, poets and other artists will be attending an unveiling of the 14th and last plaque on September 9 at the City’s Archive Building on Woodroffe Avenue.

d. David and Judy Makin Trail Naming Ceremony Sept 15: Greenpace Alliance member Judy Makin will have a trail named after her and her late husband, in recognition for their many years of community engagement and leadership. We have been invited to attend.