General Meeting – December 17, 2018


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


December 17, 2018

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3


Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Erwin Dreessen, Nicole Desroches, David McNicoll, Jason Kania, J.P. Unger

The meeting commenced at 7:20pm

  1. Adoption of the agenda

The proposed agenda was agreed upon. New items 4c.ii and 4c.iii were added under threats to other greenspace.

  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the November 26, 2018 meeting (for approval)

Erwin moved, seconded by Nicole, to adopt the minutes of the November 26 meeting as presented. Agreed.

b. Membership/Board report

Nothing to report.

c. Treasurer’s report

Nothing to report.

d. Webmaster’s report

Nothing to report.

 e. Volunteer report

Nothing to report

f. Geodata report 

Paul and Adam met with the data manager of the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study on December 6 concerning possible collaboration on greenspace inventory and mapping at the neighbourhood level. After a good exchange of information on the respective interests and capacity, we agreed to remain in communication about possible future cooperation. Paul indicated that he would be happy to give a presentation about the Greenspace Alliance mapping project to the Board of the ONS.

g. Association reports

Paul attended the FCA general meeting of December 12 and reported that no issues related to greenspace were discussed. Nicole reported on an Ottawa River watershed meeting organized by the Ottawa Riverkeeper on November 30. About 30 participants from Environment Canada, le Groupe des 7, the RCVA, the City of Ottawa and the Mayor of La Pêche attended. She reported on engineering works by Energy Ottawa to facilitate movement of eels and sturgeon upstream and downstream at the Chaudiere Falls.

  1. Policy instruments

a. Significant Woodland Policy Feedback

Paul reported on the feedback provided by the GA to final draft version of the guidelines for the implementation of this policy. As we have participated as a member of the working group tasked with the development of these guidelines, most of our input was already reflected in the final draft. However, there was a final point regarding the size threshold for woodlots in the rural area that we wished to make. Our input can be found here.

b. Preparatory meeting with Jeff Leiper re: Meeting with Stephen Willis, General Manager, Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development

Paul met with Councillor Jeff Leiper, Daniel Buckles (Big Trees of Kitchissippi, CAFES) and Heather Pearl (Champlain Park CA, FCA) to prepare for a meeting on trees and greenspace with Stephen Willis scheduled for January 9, 2019. The main themes to emerge were better enforcement of the current tree protection bylaw, key issues to be addressed in the review of the tree protection bylaw and how to better position and integrate greenspace in the next revision of the Official Plan.

c. Impact of Ontario Bill-66

We briefly discussed the provisions of Bill-66 suspending environmental protections and due process under proposed “open for business” bylaws that municipalities would be empowered to adopt. While some sections seem obscure and implications unclear at first reading, all agreed that this was potentially a very bad bill undermining environmental protections. Erwin agreed to review the Bill and provide a synopsis. The deadline for public input is January 20.

Action: Erwin to review the Bill and provide a synopsis.  

4. Threats

a. Rural greenspace

i) Goulbourn Provincially Significant Wetlands update

We had a brief discussion of the recent news coverage regarding this issue and also regarding a recent letter on the subject received at the GA email address raising a number of issues about provincial policies regarding wetlands. We agreed on what the broad terms of our response should be.

Action: Paul will respond to the letter without engaging in argument.

b. Major urban greenspace

Nothing to report.

c. Other greenspace

i. James Street tree damage by Hydro Ottawa

Local residents and community association in Centre town documented and reported severe damage done by Ottawa Hydro to mature trees along a stretch of James Street. This was posted to the GA list and elicited a lot of response. While recognizing the need to maintain clearance for overhead wires, we agreed that a better job of communication and community engagement could be done by Ottawa Hydro, along the lines of the protocol recently adopted by Hydro One and the Beaverbrook Community Association.

Action: Paul to question City staff on the extent of communication and coordination it has with Ottawa Hydro regarding such tree maintenance activity.

ii. Kanata Golf and Country Club development proposal

We have just learned of a proposal floated by Richcraft to develop the Kanata Golf and Country Club, which runs through the Kanata Lakes residential area. The golf course is accounted for as greenspace under the 60/40 (residential to greenspace) agreement entered into by the former City of Kanata in the 1980s and assumed by the City of Ottawa upon amalgamation. It is under the terms of this agreement that the KNL lands were cleared in January 2017, as the agreement covered the entire Kanata Lakes development, including Phases 7, 8 and 9 which are now in development after a 40 year hiatus. There is no way the terms of the 60/40 agreement can be met if the golf course is developed. We will strongly support the community in opposing this.

Action: Consideration will be given to filing an Access to Information request with the City on all matters relating to the 60/40 agreement, as well as going through all of our own files and correspondence to gather background on the agreement.

iii. Grant School tree removal

A news item on tree removal at this location was reported.

Action: Paul will seek additional information.


The Meeting adjourned at 8:35 p.m.