General Meeting – March 25 2019


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


March 25, 2019

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Erwin Dreessen, David McNicoll, Nicole DesRoches, Jason Kania, J.P. Unger

The meeting commenced at 7:20pm.

  1. Adoption of the agenda

The proposed agenda was agreed upon. Items 4c.iii and iv were added.

  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the February 25 2018 meeting (for approval)

Moved by Erwin, seconded by Nicole, that minutes be approved in principle, subject to Erwin’s further revisions. Carried.

b. Membership report

Nothing to report.

c. Treasurer’s report

Nothing to report

d. Webmaster‘s report

Erwin again raised three issues with the welcome page: the English only title, the trillium emblem and the disposition of the breadcrumbs.

Action: Paul committed to have these addressed before the next meeting.

e. Volunteer report

Our subscription to Volunteer Ottawa is up for renewal. It was agreed that this was a worthwhile service. Renewal moved by Erwin, seconded by Nicole. Carried.

Action: Paul will renew and pay online and seek reimbursement at the next meeting.

f. Geodata report

Nothing to report.

g. Association reports

Erwin attended the FCA general meeting of March 20. We are reminded to pay our annual FCA membership fee. He also reported on the community and local elementary school led development of the Lalande Conservation Park, in the area of the Greater Avalon CA that hosted the meeting. Paul reported on a follow up to our December 6 meeting with the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study regarding greenspace mapping project they are launching, which dovetails with our own inventory and mapping project. They are definitely proceeding with this initiative and we have been invited to be part of a working group they are setting up for the project.  Paul reported on Ecology Ottawa’s Youth Climate Ambassador program and the role that the GA will be playing in the training and mentoring of a cohort of participants. Upon reviewing the MOU covering the terms of our participation, it was agreed to sign on and commit to this program. We discussed and agreed not to contribute to funding an ad in the Hill Times proposed by the Concerned Citizens regarding the Chalk River nuclear waste facility. We discussed and agreed to endorse the CPAWS grant application for restoring and preserving natural areas in the Outaouais region, including the Boucher forest.

  1. Policy instruments

a. LPASC campaign

The letter writing campaign approved at the last meeting was conducted, led by Erwin, with the support of Debra Huron. The press release led to good local media coverage and the campaign resulted in 250+ letters being sent via the LeadNow platform to the Solicitor General of Ontario. There was no indication of any government response. It was agreed nonetheless to proceed with a second wave of letters, with the objective of widening the support beyond the Ottawa area throughout Ontario.

Action: Erwin to explore with LeadNow how to follow up with current supporters and expand our reach for a second letter.

b. Mineral Aggregates Stakeholders Group

The City has invited us to the initial meeting of a new stakeholders group to deal with the issue of land use for mineral aggregate operations in the next Official Plan. The meeting will be held on April 9, from 11:00 to 1:00, at the RVCA offices. As none of the members present were available to attend, it was agreed to post the invitation to the GA list for possible attendees.

c. Settlement of GA appeal of OPA 150, Planning Committee March 28

The settlement agreement for the GA’s appeal of OPA 150 was approved by Planning Committee. Only council approval is now required, expected on April 11. With this settlement, and the approval and settlement described in item 3d below, no Natural Systems issues remain under appeal and a hearing will not be required. (P.S. It was subsequently determined that everything would be dealt with in a teleconference with LPAT on June 11.) The urban expansion issues remain under appeal. A preconference hearing is scheduled for May 22 to deal with these and any other outstanding issues. We agreed to explore the opportunity of filing a motion to dismiss the urban expansion appeal at this prehearing.

d. Approval of the Significant Woodland Policy and guidelines

Council approved on March 6 the Significant Woodland Policy guidelines, including changes to the Policy as part of the settlement of the appeals of OPA 179. We had contributed significantly to the development of the Guidelines and supported their adoption at Committee. We were less pleased regarding the settlement, which change the age criterion in the Policy from 40 to 60 years. We have no data on the impact of this change in terms of the amount of urban woodlands that could be denied protection.

e. Submission for the Review of Ontario Endangered Species Act

We made a submission via the EBR regarding the review of the Endangered Species Act of Ontario.

f. Development charges review, update

Erwin provided an update on the Development Charges Background paper which he was able to obtain from the City. He prepared a synthesis of this very long and complex paper.

  1. Threats

 a. Rural greenspace

i. Paul gave some information on a development application from Cavanagh for a concrete batch plant on Carp Rd, near the intersection with the Richardson Side Rd, in the rural part of Ottawa. The location is in the Carp Rd Employment Corridor where there are many other similar building material production establishments. It was reported to us by a resident concerned with the impact on Huntley Creek, which runs through property. The application has already been approved by ARAC. The review of the development application shows that there are no real zoning issues and that setbacks and mitigation measures taken with respect to Huntley Creek seem to fully meet the requirements. It was agreed that there would be little advantage to making representations at Council when it considers the application.

b. Major urban greenspace

i. Centenary Elm on Parliament Hill

As agreed at the last meeting, Paul, Daniel Buckles and Debra worked together to launch a political campaign to save the elm. The campaign included a petition via the platform, which was promoted through our network and social media, a number of press releases, letters to the Minister and senior bureaucrats of PSPC and the NCC, the Speakers of the House and Senate and to members of the Parliamentary Committee on Procedure and House Affairs (PROC). There resulted quite a bit of media coverage and we obtained access to the highest placed decision makers on the file. We were invited to appear before PROC at an emergency meeting on March 21, scheduled specifically to deal with the issue of the removal of the elm. This meeting was postponed until April 2 (as it conflicted with the Opposition led overnight voting on the Budget which occurred on March 20-21). A full account of all of the action can be found on our website here.

P.S. We were not successful in saving the elm. It was cut down on April 13.

c. Other greenspace

i. The Hunt Club-Riverside development, Planning Committee March 28

We prepared a brief submission for Planning Committee on this date. The application was approved without change.

ii. Development application KNUEA (Area 1), Public meeting April 3

Paul announced this public meeting. As we had already submitted substantive <comments> on the planning application, no one will be attending.

iii. Earl Armstrong extension

Recognizing our importance as a stakeholder in projects that affect greenspace such as this one, the project team has invited us for a one on one briefing on their final a report. A date will be set in early April.

iv. Oblate lands, Main street development

It was reported to us that the Regional Group would be seeking greater heights for the residential towers in this new development, contrary to the plans worked so closely and collaboratively with the local community. While this application has no specific impact on greenspace, we are dismayed by the breach of trust shown by this developer in making this application, a developer that we have heretofore considered as one of the “good guys”.

The Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.