General meeting – May 25, 2020


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


May 25, 2020

On-line meeting.



Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Nicole DesRoches, Jason Kania, Adam Caldwell, Janice Seline, David McNicoll, Erwin Dreessen,

The meeting commenced at 7:15 pm.

  1. Adoption of the agenda

The proposed agenda was agreed upon, moved by Jason, seconded by Janice.

  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the April 20, 2020 meeting (for approval)

Moved by Erwin, seconded by David. Carried.

b. Treasurer’s report

Paul reported that the grant applications by Ecology Ottawa to the Ottawa Community Foundation was approved. The GA is expected to receive $3229 as a share of this grant over 2 years to support the continued animation of the Peoples Official Plan process. Paul also reported that the bank has confirmed that etransfer payments cannot not be implemented because of the two signature expenditure approval requirement on our account. As we wish to maintain this requirement, is was suggested that we use regular mail to obtain the second signature on cheques and to deliver them to payees. This will be tried for an outstanding reimbursement to Jason.     

  1. Policy instruments

a. Official Plan update

At the April 22 general meeting of the Federation of Citizens’ Associations, the GA presented a proposal to have CA representatives write directly to their councillors in support of holding the line on urban expansion, even if this meant more intensification in their local areas.  This received the FCA’s endorsement and a draft model letter was sent to all members for customization as required. .

 The online rally to Hold the Line organized by Ecology Ottawa took place on May 8 and was attended by 500+ participants. Dianne Saxe, the former Environment Commissioner of Ontario, and the current GA Chair spoke at the rally, among others. The joint letter to Mayor and Council signed by POP coalition organizational members and a petition to Hold the Line with 4000 signatures was transferred to the Mayor and Council as part of the rally.

At the marathon May 11, May 12 and May 19 Joint Meeting of Planning and ARAC, an urban expansion of 1650 hectares was approved, with Councillor Leiper the sole vote in opposition. This despite 43 in-person delegations opposed vs 41 landowner and allied delegations for, 64% of written submissions opposed versus 8% for and a survey conducted by reputable pollster EKOS finding 52% of Ottawa residents opposed. The proposed expansion was subsequently reduced to 1281 ha at the May 27 Council meeting, on a motion from Councillor Menard.         

  1. Threats

a. Rural Greenspace

b. Major urban greenspace

i. Jock River floodplain and other development proposals in Barrhaven

Over the last few months, a number of major development applications in south Barrhaven, including one involving a major alteration of the Jock River floodplain, have been making their way through the City planning system, many with apparent irregularities. Several pose risks to major greenspace. New issues are discovered unexpectedly, piecemeal, one at a time, and it is difficult to get an overall picture of the land use transformation that all of these together represent. It was agreed to devote an entire future meeting of the GA to this specific topic so as to put together a greenspace protection and preservation position that covers the entire area.

c. Other greenspace

i. More tree removals have been reported by residents in Lower town, Centre town and along Scott Street in Wellington Village. We try to connect the resident with the appropriate City services to ensure that protection and preservation required by city policy and bylaws is exercised but often too late. Tree loss continues unabated in Ottawa.

The Meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.