General Meeting – July 31 2023


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


July 31, 2023

On-line meeting

Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Nicole DesRoches, Iola Price, Erwin Dreessen, Jason Kania        

  1. Adoption of the agenda

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

  1. Administrative items

a) Minutes of May 29, 2023 meeting (for approval)

Moved by Erwin, seconded by Jason. Carried.

b) Association reports

Paul reported on the Foire Ecologique held by the Réseau francophone des organisations environnementales de la Capitale nationale on July 9 at Parc Riverain. The GA had a table and interacted with members of the public and groups with which we have had little or no previous contact, further building out our network. He also informed the group that the arrangements for a commemorative tree in memory of Amy Kempster have been finalized. Planting should occur in the fall near the Champlain Park fieldhouse.

c) Treasurer’s report

Paul reported that the annual plant sale netted $1191, now deposited to our account. Many thanks to member Janice Seline for her tireless work organizing this annual fundraiser. He also reported that the first slice of the grant money from the Community Services Recovery Fund has been received.

  1. Policy instruments

Despite being in a supposedly slow period in the middle of summer, the GA has been very active, on its own or in partnership with POP members, on many policy files. Completed activities include providing comments and making submissions on the following:

<Right of Way bylaw update>, completed

<Infrastructure Master Plan>, completed

<Urban Forest Management Plan update>, completed

<Federal Radioactive Waste Policy>, completed

Rural Woodlands Ottawa/Boisé Est <Letter to Mayor>

Ongoing activities include:

PPS review response, deadline August 4

Wildlife Strategy review, initial meeting with City staff and other stakeholders June 21

Low Rise Development Guidelines review and comment

<Initial input re:2024 Budget process> provided, with follow up expected

DC Bylaw update, initial meeting with City staff

Regarding the PPS review response, members reviewed and commented on the draft text that Paul and Erwin had prepared regarding a new provincial proposal to allow urban expansions to occur outside of comprehensive reviews of the Official Plan. Rather than fighting for a dysfunctional status quo, it was agreed to support one off urban expansions, subject to strict conditions regarding the protection of agricultural land and greenspace, the timely provision of infrastructure, both utilities and transportation, and assurance that growth pays for growth through appropriate development charges.

  1. Threats and opportunities

a) Rural greenspace

i. Final NSDF submission

The final hearing for the Near Surface Disposal Facility for nuclear wastes at Chalk River is scheduled for August 10 2023, expressly for the purpose of allowing affected First Nations to present their concerns regarding the proposal. In response to CNSC’s refusal told this hearing in person, the FNs have organize an in person gathering where their briefs will be presented live, with Commissioners observing online. The GA has been invited, and will attend, this in person gathering.

b) Major urban greenspace

i. Enbridge Gas Compressor facility in Rockcliffe Park

Iola provided background information on Enbridge’s plan to expand and relocate an existing pumping/compression station on the eastern fringe of Rockcliffe Park, abutting Manor Park. The proposed location is unacceptable to the local community, imperiling the long fought for Mile Circle area. An alternative site, an underused NCC work yard nearby, seems to be an obvious solution and it was agreed to support this option in any further communication with the NCC on this matter.

ii. Developments proposal for 1081 Carling Avenue

A development application for two apartment towers at the corner of Parkdale and Carling Avenue, immediately adjacent to the Central Experimental Farm, has come to our attention. The shading they would produce would render unusable a large section of research fields on the Central Experimental Farm. The whole point of Protecting the Farm during the Ottawa Hospital siting controversy was to preserve the research fields, and thus the research mission of the CEF, which is the only long term guarantor of the preservation of the Farm, one of our most valuable urban green spaces. Approving these applications would undo all of this work.

It was agreed that we should mount a strong defense against this proposal as currently constituted by working with the heritage and scientific community through the Protect the Farm coalition and through POP and the broader environmental community. The application will be considered by Planning Committee on August 16th.

iii. Second annual Chief Pinesi Day, July 1 2023

Last year, the GA partnered with Kichi Sibi Trails to revitalize and promote a new walking trail retracing an ancient portage bypassing the Rideau Falls. The new trail was named in honour of Chief Pierre Louis Constant Pinesi, who led the Algonquin nations in this area at the time of settlement in the early 19th century. It was inaugurated on July 1 2022 and it was agreed with the Pikwakanagan First Nation that this should be an annual event. The GA was present at the second annual Chief Pinesi Day on July 1. It was a well-attended gathering at New Edinburgh Park, with speakers, drumming and dancing, and walking tours on offer. The trail markers and the striking mural we sponsored on the field house have fared well over the winter. We hope this will be a lasting feature of the community landscape.

c) Other greenspace

Nothing to report

The Meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.