General Meeting – May 28, 2018


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


May 28, 2018

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Erwin Dreessen, Nicole DesRoches, David McNicoll, Jason Kania, Daniel Buckles, Debra Huron, Amy Steele, Ben Christy,

Guests: Yasmine Belharakat

Regrets: J.P. Unger, Kate Punnett

The meeting commenced at: 8:25pm

  1. Adoption of the agenda

A modified agenda was agreed upon.

  1. Administrative item

a. Minutes of the April 23, 2018 meeting (for approval)

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

b. Membership/Board report

Nothing to report.

c. Treasurer’s report

Nicole moved, seconded by Jason, to pay our annual membership fee for the FCA ($30). Also approved were the expenses for the annual general meeting, including photocopies and the book “How to Read Nature” which was a retirement gift for Amy ($56.71).

d. Webmaster’s report

Nothing to report.

e. Volunteer report

Nothing to report.

f. Geodata report 

Brittany is continuing her work on this.

 g. Association reports

FCA – Erwin attended the FCA general meeting of April 18 and reported that George Clayton was among the guests. He is a city staff member who is coordinator of the Beyond 2036 planning exercise.  Charmaine Forgie, who leads the City’s public engagement initiative, was also in attendance. The FCA annual general meeting will be held on June 20.

OFNC – Paul attended an OFNC Conservation Committee meeting on April 11 where the issue of the NCC’s excessive tree clearing at Mud Lake was discussed.

CAFES – Daniel hosted a meeting on April 19 to discuss strategies for the review of Ottawa’s urban tree conservation by-law.

  1. Policy instruments 

a. Site Alteration By-law

The Site Alteration By-law was adopted by City Council on May 9 and came into effect on May 23. The exact implications of its application are still unclear and need to be tested. We considered taking the conversion of the Immaculata High School sport field issue from natural grass to artificial turf as a possible test case.

b. Significant Woodlands Working Group, April 24

Paul was unable to attend, along with one other member, and Nick Stow will arrange to meet individually with him. We learned at the May 4 OMB pre-hearing conference that the appeal of OPA 179, by which the Significant Woodland Policy was adopted, will not be heard until 2019. As a result, the output of the Working Group will likely not be considered until the start of the new term of Council in 2019.

c. Tree Conservation Bylaw

Daniel requested our endorsement for a list of amendments to the Urban Tree Conservation Bylaw that Big Trees of Kitchissippi put together to mobilize people to think about what needs to be changed in the by-law. The amendments include reducing the minimum diameter from 50cm to 20cm for all species, revising the definition of an injured tree, changing the reasons for approval of a distinctive tree permit to be more transparent, and to revise penalties for the injury or removal of a distinctive tree without a permit. Comments must be submitted to Martha Copestake, the City forester responsible for the review, by May 31. She will put together a report and recommendation in the fall. At that time a survey will be conducted to gather feedback on the proposed amendments. Amy moved, seconded by Jason, to endorse the amendments. Agreed.

Action: Paul to send the GA’s own comments on the bylaw review to Martha Copestake before the May 31 deadline.

  1. Threats

a. Rural greenspace

i. New conservation area, Carp Hills

Ducks Unlimited Canada and the City of Ottawa have jointly acquired 400 acres of wetlands in the Carp Hills. This will ensure the protection of this area in the future.

ii. Urban expansion, pre-hearing conference, May 4

Erwin and Paul attended the OMB pre-hearing conference regarding appeals of OPA 150, 180 and more. The appeals regarding the City’s decision not to expand the urban boundary will be heard in August 2019.

iii. Chalk River

Paul reported on a plan that JP communicated to him for an open letter to the PM and party leaders to be published in a full-page newspaper ad. The cost would be between $5K and $6K. The hope is that about half of the signatories of the IAEA letter might contribute to the cost, meaning that our share would be around $300 should the request go through. Seeing as fewer members of the public read newspapers, and the cost being quite high for a small chance of success, it was felt that although we support getting this message out, we would not support this means to do so.

b. Major urban greenspace

i. New zoning application, Sir John Carling site, submission (CEF)

To allay concerns that any type of structure or facility other than a hospital will be built on the Sir John Carling site, a zoning amendment had been proposed to change the Mixed Use zoning of the parcels fronting on Carling Avenue, a legacy of the Preston/Carling Secondary Plan, to Institutional. We support this amendment.

Action: Paul to write to Planning Committee to support the amendment.

ii. Campus Engagement Group (CEF), update

Paul has been asked, and has accepted, to sit as co-chair on the Campus Engagement Group, representing the greenspace interest in the planning and design of the new hospital. This group of 20 community representatives will report directly to the hospital’s Board of Governors and be engaged throughout the planning phase, which is expected to stretch over the next three years.

iii. Wesley Clover application

Wesley Clover Parks has submitted an application to allow additional uses for the leased lands where the equestrian park and campground are located on Corkstown Road. We would not be opposed to the programming being proposed, including an expanded Forest School. However, we are concerned about the possible scale of construction in this area.

Action: Paul will draft a note to the NCC and the City.

iv. Mud Lake tree removal

The NCC was to remove some diseased trees in the Britannia Conservation Area, east of Mud Lake. Residents discovered that the NCC cut down so many trees that there are now highway sized paths in the forest, covered in mulch that will limit the possibility for any regrowth. Following the public outcry, the NCC has apologized for how this work was carried out and agreed to return the area to something like its original condition.

v. Kanata LRT EA, May 9

The environmental assessment for the extension of the LRT to Kanata has been approved. We are generally happy with the outcome.

vi. Leitrim Rd widening and realignment

The environmental assessment for this road realignment project through the Greenbelt has been approved. We were not successful in a having a route chosen that would have been less damaging to the Greenbelt.

c. Other greenspace

i. Leitrim (Remer and Idone lands)

The Regional Group has produced a brochure for new home owners in this area, describing the sensitive wetlands natural area and best practices for its protection and care. They took into account much of the feedback we provided on an earlier draft.

ii. 21 Withrow Avenue, Kilmorie

Following the Committee of Adjustment’s decision to turn down the developer’s application to proceed with four housing starts on part of the property, the City View Community Association is raising funds in an attempt to acquire the property on 21 Withrow as part of a plan to turn it into a nature and cultural centre. We agreed to pledge $250 to the Kilmorie Heritage Trust Fund.

iii. Barrhaven South Urban Expansion Area (Area 7)

The Community Design Plan for the Barrhaven South Urban Expansion Area was approved by Planning Committee on May 22.

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

An information session will be held on May 29 concerning development plans for the South March Highlands Urban Expansion Area. Action: Paul will attend.

v. 2175 Prince of Wales Drive and 3930 Riverside Drive

A development application has been submitted to build a new car dealership at 2175 Prince of Wales Drive on greenspace next to the Rideau River. An application has also been submitted for 3930 Riverside Drive for a residential development, retirement residence, hotel, two car dealerships and a private school, also on greenspace on the banks of the Rideau River.    The local community has voiced its opposition to these plans. There will be a public meeting on June 11 for 3930 Riverside Drive.  Action: Paul will attend

Meeting adjourned at: 9:30 P.M.