General Meeting – February 20, 2023


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


February 20, 2023

On-line meeting


Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Nicole DesRoches, Jason Kania, Iola Price, David McNicoll, Arto Kiklilkian, Janice Seline, Erwin Dreessen

The meeting commenced at 7:00 pm.

  1.  Adoption of the agenda

The proposed agenda was agreed upon. Moved by Erwin, seconded by Iola.

  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the January 16, 2023 meeting (for approval)

Moved by Nicole, seconded by David. Carried.

b. Association reports

The GA participated in the Forum sur la Table de concertation environnementale de l’est d’Ottawa put on by the francophone network of Sustainable Eastern Ontario. It went well enough that they will proceed with establishing this Table de concertation, with the GA as a member. The Mississippi and Madawaska Land Trust contacted us to elicit our support for a video they are producing to promote local greenspaces, to which we agreed pending further contact from them..

 c. Status of GA priorities

This is a new standing agenda item to report on progress made towards achieving our agreed priorities for 2023. We first discussed the process for reporting on this work and made further strides in identifying leads for each of the priority areas. We then reported on progress made regarding our first priority: improving the currency and comprehensiveness of the content on our website, in particular the status of the advocacy campaigns in which we are engaged. The first action planned for this priority was to apply for a grant to the Community Services Recovery Fund. We reviewed the grant application and discussed the scope and conduct of the project. With a few changes made as a result of this discussion, the grant application was submitted by the deadline. Grant awards will be announced in April. We hope to attract a current member, or recruit a new one, as volunteer leader of this initiative.  

d. Treasurer’s report:

Paul requested a motion to be reimbursed for payment of the annual subscription to Zoom, in the amount of $226.00. Moved by Nicole, seconded by Jason. Carried.

  1. Policy instruments

a. Bill C-23, Protection for National Historic Sites, including the Central Experimental Farm

The GA, following Heritage Ottawa’s lead, signed on to the National Trust letter supporting improvements to legislation to protect National Historic Sites, including the Central Experimental Farm

b. City budget 2023

The GA participated in the drafting and was a co-signer to the open letter on the City’s 2023 budget sent by the POP Coalition to Mayor and Council on January 31.

c. City of Ottawa Governance Report 2023

The GA participated in the drafting and was a co-signer to the open letter on the City’s proposed public advisory committees sent by the POP Coalition to Mayor and Council on February

d. TMP 2023

It has been agreed that a workshop on the Transportation Master Plan, sponsored by the POP and led by the FCA, will be held ahead of the Transportation Committee and City Council meetings at which key mid-course decisions will be made early in 2023.

e. City Resiliency Policy, Natural Environment and Parklands

The GA participated in a workshop held by the City on February 14 concerning key actions that could be taken to bolster the resiliency of trees, greenspace and parklands in the context of expected climate shocks. A very good session and well attended. Slides will be posted.

  1. Threats and opportunities

a. Rural greenspace

Nothing to report.

b. Major urban greenspace

i. An information session was held on February 9 concerning the site plan application for Phases 3 and 4 of the new campus of the Ottawa Hospital. Slides will be posted.

ii. Sir George Etienne Cartier consultation: The latest phase of online consultation on this plan closed on February 19, ending Phase 2 of the five phases of the review. The next opportunity for public input will be in fall 2023. Many of our members submitted comments online and some members attended the open house held last week. There is general unease about some of the elements being considered at this time and concern that the NCC team does not fully appreciate the extensive use, engagement and deep knowledge of the local community in relation to this valued greenspace. Preserving the natural setting and features of this Park has been our main position, along with highlighting the cultural heritage of the area.

iii. Access to Gatineau Park: We had an extensive discussion on the accessibility to Gatineau Park for pedestrians and walkers. With plans currently being made regarding parkway access restrictions for the next summer season, now is the time to try to redress the balance between cyclists and pedestrians. While fully supportive of efforts to promote active transportation in the park over vehicular traffic, our view is that measures need to be taken to make the Park more accessible and welcoming for walkers. We decided to dig deeper into this and to develop a position that we would communicate to partners and to the NCC.

c. Other greenspace

i. Paul provided an update on the court case the GA has been following regarding recourse for the loss of distinctive trees. The court involves a homeowner who has sued a developer for having destroyed a distinctive tree on their property, in defiance of the Tree Conservation Bylaw and the Site Plan Agreement, according to which the tree was to be preserved.

ii. Development application, 2504 White Street, Orleans

Paul provided an update on this development application, involving the potential loss of a large number of tree on a 2 acre lot. The owner of a wooded 2 acre lot wants to sever part for his residence and have 24 townhouses built on the remainder.

The Meeting adjourned at 9:20 p.m.