General Meeting – June 25, 2018


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


June 25, 2018

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Erwin Dreessen, Jason Kania,

Guests: Yasmine Belharakat, Lauriane Long-Raymond, Amanda Allnutt

Regrets: Nicole DesRoches, J.P. Unger

The meeting commenced at: 7:20pm


  1. Adoption of the agenda

A modified agenda was agreed upon.

  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the May 28, 2018 meeting (for approval)

Paul circulated a revised version of the minutes. Erwin moved, seconded by Jason, to adopt the revised minutes. Agreed.

b. Membership/Board report

Paul reported that many membership renewals had been received in the past month. Only a few past due renewals need follow up.

c. Treasurer’s report

Paul reported on the receipt of membership dues during the month and also of the proceeds of the annual plant sale, which once again provided a sizeable contribution to our budget. Many thanks to GA member Janice Seline for leading this fundraising activity, and also to plant donors and helpers who make it possible: Albert Dugal, Erwin and Gert Dreessen, Chris Woodward, Mike Mack, Iola Price, Barbara Dytnerska and Amy Steele.  Erwin moved, seconded by Jason, to pay our annual membership fee for the Ontario Environment Network ($40), the rental fee for the meeting space for our meetings at the Hintonburg Community Centre through to December 2018 ($108) and to proceed with our pledge of $250 towards the Kilmorie Heritage Fund.

d. Webmaster’s report

More details were provided by Paul and Erwin on the “Page not found” errors on our website. These occur when library items or hyperlinks to other pages on our website contain our IP address rather than the name of our website. Jason committed to look into making a bulk change to update all such links at once. (Update: Subsequently, Jason developed and ran a small program that corrected the error, which seems to have cleared up the problem.)

e. Volunteer report

Brittney Bourdages, who has been working on our Geodata project, has accepted a job out of town and is no longer available to us. Amanda indicated that she knew someone who may be able to take up this file.

f. Geodata report 

Nothing to report.

g. Association reports

FCA – Erwin and Paul attended the FCA Annual General Meeting on June 20. They reported on an excellent panel discussion on the theme of getting media attention to community issues. Jon Willing, who covers City Hall for Postmedia, and Erin McCracken, who covers the southern part of Ottawa for Community Voice, made informative presentations and provided insightful answers to the many questions asked by participants in the Q & A session that followed. Erwin reported that in the second half of the AGM, the entire current executive was re-elected.

  1. Policy instruments

a. Urban Tree Bylaw Review

Paul reported that he had submitted comments to the City on behalf of the GA regarding this review. We are pleased to see that the issue of the protection of trees in the peri-urban area is included within the scope of the review. As regards the details of the bylaw, the GA stands behind the proposed amendments developed by a group of community organizations and presented by Daniel Buckles at the May meeting of the GA. Paul also reported on a new web based tree mapping application developed and deployed by the same group, which permits users to report and map trees lost to disease, development or other causes. The Lost Trees of Ottawa site can be found at this address.

b. 2018 Municipal Election Strategy

Amanda presented a draft of the questionnaire that we would be sending to all candidates for City Council ahead of the 2018 Ottawa municipal elections. It is structured around specific policy items related to greenspace that we know will be on the agenda for the new terms of council. For each topic, the questions probe how familiar the respondents are with the item, how important it is to them and what their position would be when it comes for consideration by Council. There was support for the approach and agreement on the topics selected. However, there were  a number of questions and suggestions for how to word the questions on what position the candidate would take on the issues when it comes up for consideration by Council.

Action: Amanda to refine the wording of the questions and finalize the questionnaire. Jake and Amanda to coordinate the conduct of the survey once all candidates have declared, deadline July 27.

  1. Threats

a. Rural greenspace

i. 6700 Hazeldean Road

Ken McCrea reported by email to the GA that Cavanagh has undertaken significant site alteration over a large area of woodland and wetlands at this location west of Stittsville. There was little information about what this development would be but it seems to be laid out like a rural subdivision. The City moratorium on such subdivisions, introduced in OPA76, was made permanent in OPA 150. Paul wondered whether this was not an illegal development. Erwin suggested that this could be either one of the rural subdivisions that were “grandfathered in”  when OPA 150 was adopted, or it could be the development that was exempted from the proscription of new rural subdivisions (Official Plan, s. 3.7.2, policy 8; this section is no longer under appeal). It was agreed that this should be verified.

Action: Erwin to verify if the property is Cavanagh’s. (Postscript: 6700 Hazeldean is indeed one of the exempted properties.)”

b. Major urban greenspace

i. Eastern Sub-watersheds Stormwater Management Retrofit Study

The City of Ottawa is inviting comments on the Eastern Sub-watersheds Stormwater Management Retrofit Study. The purpose of the study is to identify a stormwater management retrofit plan that will mitigate the water quality, erosion and flooding impacts of existing development within the subwatersheds of Bilberry, Taylor and Voyageur Creeks, and the urbanized areas of the Green’s Creek subwatershed. The proposed retrofit plan provides a strategy to help mitigate the impacts of uncontrolled runoff from areas in the east end of the city that have little or no stormwater management. The Online Information Session can be viewed at this link. Deadline for comments is July 13.

ii. Wesley Clover Zoning Bylaw application

According to new information received from the developer, the Zoning application submitted seeks to add permitted uses to align with uses that are already occurring on the site, in accordance with their lease with the NCC. No new facilities or construction is currently planned, and none could be without NCC approval. We will contact all parties involved to validate that they share a common understanding of the application.

Action: Paul to write to the NCC, City planners and Wesley Clover

iii. Leitrim Rd, widening and realignment update

After the City approval of the EA for this post-2031 transportation project, the GA wrote to the CEO of the NCC, expressing its concerns regarding the route selected for the realignment. We have received a detailed response from Dr Kristmanson indicating that the NCC has not signed off on this proposed realignment and will not until its concerns are fully addressed.

c. Other greenspace

i. 3930 Riverside Drive, development application

Paul attended the public information session on June 11. The proposed development is on 20 acres and includes a retirement home, a private school (new home of the Westboro Academy), some residential and a retail strip along Hunt Club, with two proposed car dealerships (access from within the development). The single access to the development would be from Riverside Drive, 370 metres north of the Hunt Club intersection. The main concern of residents was traffic and road access, given the existing congestion on Riverside Drive and Hunt Club. The proposal for car dealerships at that location was particularly not well received.  As part of the approval, 5 of the 20 acres, fronting the Rideau River, would be ceded to the city and rezoned as EP. This would provide a green link along the river, joining up to a naturalized storm water facility to the north, and extending towards the riverfront greenspace adjoining McCarthy Woods and meadow. It was agreed not to oppose the development generally, to support the transfer to the City of the 5 acre riverfront parcel and to advocate for alternative retail uses rather than car dealerships.

Action:  Paul to communicate this position to the City planners.

ii. 2175 Prince of Wales Drive

It was agreed to support the local community in opposition to this application to permit a car dealership on this riverfront parcel (kitty corner across the river from 3930 Riverside Drive).

Action: Paul to communicate this position to the City planners.

iii. South March Highlands Urban Expansion Area (Area 2)

Paul attended the information session on May 29. Richcraft presented its latest concept plan for development on the site. Adjustments were made in response to the feedback provided at the previous information session. In particular, the plan now reflects updated flood plain mapping for this reach of the Carp River. Also, a naturalized storm water management facility has been expanded to handle runoff from another development east of Terry Fox Drive, which corresponds partly to a suggestion made by the GA at the previous information session. As regards other greenspace issues, rather than a sports field type park, a treed linear park is planned along the base of the South March Highlands ridge. In compensation for building on or near Blanding’s Turtle and Bobolink habitat, a large rural parcel across the Carp River from the development will be ceded to the City and maintained as protected habitat. This is probably as good a result as can be obtained in the face of the imperative of developing this parcel. However, there was talk at the session of expanding the engineered naturalization of the Carp River seen south of Richardson Road to this site as well, and that would be an even better outcome if it could be realized.

iv. Barrhaven South Urban Expansion Area (Area 7)

Council approved the CDP for this urban expansion area. While there was little potential for conserving or expanding greenspace at this location, we are still concerned that the City approved a land swap, bring a developable rural parcel into the urban boundary and swapping out an urban parcel that was not developable until late in the timeframes of the Official Plan (before 2031). We are of the view that changes to the urban boundary can only be made as a result of a comprehensive review as per the Planning Act. We made a submission in this regard. The idea of using this case as a test of the new Local Planning Appeal Tribunal was raised but no decision made on it.

Meeting adjourned at: 9:30 P.M.