General Meeting – May 31 2021


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


May 31, 2021

On-line meeting

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

Guest: Mark Blenkinsop

The meeting commenced at 8:15 pm, after the AGM.

  1. Adoption of the agenda

The proposed agenda was agreed upon.

  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the April 19, 2021 meeting (for approval)

Moved by Nicole, seconded by Jason. Carried.

b. POP website

Paul reported on the recent use of this ancillary website hosted by the GA for disseminating the POP draft Official Plan submissions. POP partners have recognized the usefulness of keeping this website active. Daniel Buckles, who has maintained the website over the last two years, will be reducing his involvement however and a new approach has been proposed going forward. Ecology Ottawa has proposed hosting the website as an extension of its own. This would require converting it from the Wix to WordPress platform along with some changes to refocus it from a forum type website to a repository of POP outputs. This redevelopment could be performed using the GA’s share of the Ottawa Community Foundation Grant supporting the POP community development. Members agreed with pursuing this course of action.

c. Association reports:

Healthy Transportation Coalition: Paul reported on a meeting with Trevor Hache and Councillor Shawn Menard on promoting the concept of Healthy Streets in the new Official Plan. Paul agreed to identify policies in the current draft OP that are consistent with this concept.

d. Virtual Plant Sale

Our annual fundraiser has traditionally been our own table at the Friends of the Farm spring plant sale, which has been cancelled for two years running as a result of the pandemic. Friends have now announced that they will be organizing a virtual plant sale as a replacement. After a quick discussion with our Fundraising Committee chair, it was agreed to pass on this opportunity.

  1. Policy instruments

 a. Draft Parks and Recreational Facilities Master Plan

The second round of consultation on this City Master Plan is now open, with a closing date of June 17 for feedback. This is of direct concern to the GA as parks are recognized as a major source of greenspace in the Official Plan.

b. Climate Resiliency Strategy

We have been invited by the City to join a new external working group being formed to help develop this policy. Members were asked to consider and to indicate their interest and availability.

  1. Threats

a. Rural Greenspace

i. Tewin Expansion

The decision on the location of urban expansion lands in January 2021 included 445 ha in south eastern Ottawa, destined to host a new suburban community dubbed Tewin by the proponents, a partnership between Taggart Investments and Algonquins of Ontario. These rural lands are covered by some agricultural lands but also woodlands and large wetland areas. Our guest at the meeting is a local resident who is very concerned about the impact of this planned expansion, a concern shared by the GA. While reversing this expansion is very unlikely in the current context, every effort should be made to limit its scope and minimize the impact on the natural features in this area. It was agreed to create a campaign focused on this goal working with local residents and others to safeguard greenspace in this area.

b. Major urban greenspace

i. Paul reported on local residents who contacted the GA to promote greenspace in the redevelopment plans for Lebreton Flats. It was agreed to further our contacts with them and connect them to other groups and residents active in the area.

c. Other greenspace

i. Erwin noted that Mud Creek Cumulative Impact Assessment has been posted for review with a comment period ending on June 28. He cites this as possibly an exemplary environmental assessment regarding protection of stream banks in the context of urban development in sensitive lands just north of Mer Bleue.

Action: Paul to review and submit comment by the deadline.

The Meeting adjourned at 9:27 p.m.