General Meeting – January 17, 2022


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


January 17, 2022

On-line meeting


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

Guest: Natasha Jovanovic (representing Ecology Ottawa)

The meeting commenced at 7:00 pm.

  1. Adoption of the agenda

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

  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the November 22, 2021 meeting (for approval)

Moved by Iola, seconded by JP. Carried.

b. Treasurer’s report: Paul submitted re-imbursement requests for Daniel regarding POP website costs ($558.69), moved by Iola, seconded by Erwin, and for himself regarding the annual rental for the Greenspace Alliance’s P.O. Box ($230.52), moved by Erwin, seconded by JP, and the annual renewal of our Zoom account ($226), moved by David, seconded by Jason.

c. Association reports: Paul recommended that the GA renew its membership with the FCA for 2022, paying the member of $35. Moved by Daniel, seconded by Jason.

d. Discussion on priorities for 2022

Paul had distributed with the agenda some ideas regarding the priorities for the GA in 2022 so this item could be discussed by members and a set of priorities adopted. This led to a very good discussion with broad participation. The following priorities were identified:

Program and policy priorities

Greenspace and Urban Forest Master Plan:  The GA will seek to be part of the stakeholders group that will be established to assist in the development of this new Master Plan. Work on this may start as early as spring 2022.

Sub city-wide canopy targets: Council directed staff, as part of the Greenspace and Urban Forest Master Plan, to set canopy cover targets for a geography lower than the city-wide 40% target set in the Official Plan. The GA will seek to participate actively in the development of the methodology for defining the boundaries of this new geography and for setting the targets.

Parks and Recreational Master Plan: As parks are recognized as greenspace under the Official Plan, we are interested in how the access standard of 2 hectares per 1000 population in this Master Plan squares with the access to greenspace target set in the Official Plan (all residents within 400 meters of public greenspace, 800 meters of 2 public greenspaces). Also the extent to which park development puts pressure on urban natural areas and the use and recognition of community gardens and urban food production in parks, greenspaces and urban forest canopy.

Pinesi Portage project: Deliver on the approved Canada Healthy Communities Initiative grant, in partnership with Kich Sibi Trails, for the creation of a public trail along the route of a historical indigenous portage between the Ottawa and Rideau rivers at Rideau Falls.

Protect the Farm legislation: Work with CPAWS and Heritage Ottawa on new legislation to protect National Historic Sites, including the Central Experimental Farm.

Municipal Elections: Work in alliance with partners to promote the election of a more ecologically minded mayor and council, develop materials and proposals that promote greenspace and ecological issues and policy positions, for example extending the full protection of the Tree Protection By-law to suburban areas and rural villages.

Administrative priorities

Specific actions and responsibilities were identified for each of the following items:

– Better communication of GA activities on the GA list (for example re-instating the practice of circulating meeting highlights in a timely fashion.

Action: Paul to re-introduce this practice as of January 2022.

– Better logo rendering for online materials.

Action: Iola to seek assistance from a graphic designer friend to improve the logo for this purpose.

– Better, more consistent use of Twitter.

Action: JP to be added as admin to amplify our Twitter presence.

– Increasing membership, both individual and institutional.


  1. Policy instruments

a. New Official Plan

The final version of the letter  to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing on the new Official Plan, which members reviewed at the November 22 meeting, was sent on November 26.

 b. Parkland Dedication By-Law Review

The City is required to update its parkland dedication by-law, which requires cash or land from developers for parks as part of development applications. A consultation session is scheduled for February 16 (since cancelled, but further consultation sessions are expected to be held in March. More details <here>.

c. 15 Minute Neighbourhoods Report

Planning Committee received this report at its December 6 meeting. It was the September 21 staff report that we had already seen, with nothing new to note.

d. TMP Phase 3 Consultation launched

Multiple draft policies are now online and residents are invited to fill out a number surveys by a new deadline of March 31. More information <here>.

  1. Threats

a. Rural Greenspace

i. Chalk River: The consideration by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission on the proposed Near Surface Disposal Facility at Chalk River is coming to an end, with preparation for the final hearing now underway. Erwin gave an update on the milestones leading to this hearing. The CSNC report is expected on January 24 followed by a Phase 1 hearing on February 22. The deadline for makings submissions for the final hearing is April 11, with the hearing itself on May 31. In this respect, JP reported on an email received from the leaders of the groups opposing the NSDF asking us to work with Ecojustice on developing more in-depth submission on our choice of a particular aspect of the proposal. Based on what Erwin reported from his participation in webinars and information sessions on the subject, and J.P.’s experience as GA lead on the file, it was agreed that we would decline this request and to instead develop our own submission at a broader policy and political level in time for the April 11 deadline. Members made suggestions regarding what this submission could cover and who might be engaged by it. David mentioned that the federal A-G is doing a report on nuclear waste

Action: JP to so inform our correspondents on behalf of the GA.

b. Major urban greenspace

i. Paul gave an update on discussions with the NCC and the City of Ottawa regarding the Pinesi Portage trail project, which we have undertaken with Kichi Sibi Trails. Discussions with the City are going well but agreement from the NCC is slower in coming. Despite this, we have been advised by the funder (Community Foundations of Canada) to proceed with expenses that can be incurred without NCC approval, in the expectation that some kind of approval will be forthcoming. They will therefore on this basis release the first slice of funding from the grant we obtained for this purpose.

c. Other greenspace

i. Nothing to report

The Meeting adjourned at 9:00 p.m.