GREENSPACE ALLIANCE OF CANADA’S CAPITAL
February 22, 2021
Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Daniel Buckles, David McNicoll, J.P Unger, Erwin Dreessen, Jason Kania, Nicole DesRoches, Janice Seline
The meeting commenced at 7:00 pm.
- Adoption of the agenda
The proposed agenda was agreed upon, with the addition of 2(b) (server rental renewal), 4b(i), letter to Minister Garneau. Moved by Jason, seconded by Nicole.
- Administrative items
a) Minutes of the January 18, 2021 meeting (for approval)
Moved by Erwin, seconded by David. Carried.
b) Treasurer’s report
Paul reported that the 12 month rental for our Post Office Box was expiring in January and that he had renewed it ahead of the expiry date. Reimbursement of $224.87 was moved by Nicole, seconded by Janice, carried; POP website expenses incurred by Daniel (e-mailbox and stock image purchase), reimbursement of $140.03 moved by Nicole, seconded by Jason, carried; renewal of FCA membership submitted by Paul, $35 etransfer was moved by Jason, seconded by Janice, carried; added item, expense incurred by Jason for renewal of our webserver contract for 12 months, reimbursement of 142.62 moved by Nicole, seconded by Daniel, carried.
- Policy instruments
a) Draft Official Plan review, New March 12 deadline
Paul presented a draft of the Greenspace Alliance comments on the greenspace related policies in the draft Official Plan, with particular reference to those dealing with protecting tree canopy and greenspace. Members offered many comments and suggestions, mostly in the direction of strengthening our response, resulting in this new version, which became part of our submission. Our comments were amalgamated with those of Ecology Ottawa, Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability, Ottawa Transit Riders and Walkable Ottawa, and reviewed and endorsed by many others. This combined document was submitted to the City on March 12.
b) Results of Urban Expansion Land selection, Joint Meeting of Planning and ARAC, January 25
In May 2020, the City adopted what they now call a hybrid scenario: a 1281 ha urban expansion, with 51% of projected growth achieved through intensification, the balance on vacant greenfields inside the urban area and new urban expansion lands. It also decided to exclude Agricultural Resource Areas as potential expansion lands. This reduced the stock of land from which to choose additions to the urban area.
The staff report on the results of its search for suitable expansion lands was considered at the January 25 Joint Meeting of Planning and Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committees. Only 1011 ha of land fully met the minimum criteria to qualify for expansion. Staff recommended adding these 1011 hectares to the urban area immediately, and setting up a study, to conclude no later than Q4 2026, on where to locate the additional 270 needed to fill their quota. They provided three general options that would be studied.
Instead Committee removed 175 ha from the recommended 1011, and reassigned them to one of the study options, the Tewin lands proposed by the Algonquins of Ontario and Taggart Investments, with a direction to include all 445 ha immediately as well, without study. Many other Algonquin communities, who had not been consulted, have now opposed this recommendation. The Greenspace Alliance, along with the other organizations under the umbrella of the Peoples’ Official Plan issued this PRESS RELEASE in protest.
c) City consultations on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan
Paul announced and provided the web coordinates for a new round of consultation being launched by the City on the Parks and Recreation Master Plan. As parks play an important role as accessible greenspace for residents, he encouraged members to participate in this consultation exercise.
a) Rural Greenspace
b) Major urban greenspace
i) Embassy Row
Daniel briefly presented information on a development application made by the NCC to build six structures suitable for embassies on vacant greenspace along the Sir John A Parkway, just north of Mechanicsville. He outlined a plan of action to oppose the application, including among other actions, a letter to Minister Marc Garneau, Minister of Global Affairs, a draft of which was circulated. Everyone supported the proposed course of action and agreed to provide comments on the draft letter urgently. It was also agreed that Daniel would lead this campaign on behalf of the Greenspace Alliance.
c) Other greenspace
i) Request for assistance re: tree removal from resident, Lanark Avenue
A resident, who found our contact information on an Internet search, contacted us concerning the potential removal of distinctive trees on his property as a result of an infill project on an adjacent property. Paul provided some initial advice to the resident and committed to find some support to assist him. The case is already at the Committee of Adjustment stage, where City forestry staff registered significant concern regarding the tree removals proposed by the proponent for this project. This is perhaps the result of the operation of the new Tree Protection by-law which came into force on January 1, 2021. An interesting test case to follow.
The Meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.