General Meeting – November 25 2019


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


November 25, 2019

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

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

Regrets: J.P. Unger

The meeting commenced at 7:00 pm. This was an online meeting, the first GA general meeting held this way.

  1. Adoption of the agenda

The proposed agenda was agreed upon.

  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the September 23 2019 meeting (for approval)

Moved by Erwin, seconded by Daniel. Carried.

b. Treasurer’s report

Paul submitted for reimbursement the fee for Greenspace Alliance’s annual corporate filing with Industry Canada ($20.00, moved by Jason, seconded by Nicole, carried), payment by cheque to the City of Ottawa for the rental of the venue for the November 15-16 workshop ($2,666.00, moved by Jason, seconded by Nicole, carried), payment by cheque to Ecology Ottawa of the additional food costs for the workshop ($537.40, moved by Nicole, seconded by Adam, carried) and reimbursement to Emilie Grenier of Ecology Ottawa for the cost of coffee for the workshop ($162.72, moved by Nicole, seconded by Jason, carried).

Paul tabled the final budget for the workshop, including revenues from grants and donations from all sources and all expenses.

  1. Policy instruments

a. Official Plan update

Paul gave an update on the workshop held on November 15 and 16 on Climate Solutions and Ottawa’s new Official plan. Some 100 people gathered for a day and a half at Bayview Yards in Ottawa to discuss the climate crisis face to face and define priority actions that must be included in the new Official Plan. The organization of the workshop was led by Daniel Buckles and Paul Johanis of the Greenspace Alliance, with significant support from Ecology Ottawa, The Energy Mix and a group of Youth Climate Ambassadors. It built on the People’s Official Plan for Ottawa’s Climate Emergency, initiated by Daniel and Paul in April, and supported strongly by Ecology Ottawa, the Federation of Citizens’ Associations, Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability (CAFES), Bike Ottawa, the Healthy Transportation Coalition, OREC, Just Food and others.

Dianne Saxe, former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, provided a recorded opening address. Her comments covered urban expansion, smart intensification, rural development, canopy cover and access to greenspace. She also provided for distribution her presentation at the recent conference of the Ontario Professional Planners Institute.

To broaden our outreach leading up to the workshop, the Youth Climate Ambassadors under the mentorship of the GA went out to meet with community associations and other groups to seek their input on the climate action we were recommending and assess how it matched their needs and realities, They met with groups in the rural area (West Carleton), the suburban area (Kanata North and Riverside South), the inner urban area (Kitchissippi) and the downtown core (Vanier), in addition to multi group meetings with a broad cross-section of community associations through events organized by the Federation of Citizens’ Associations. They compiled the results of their interviews with all of these in a report, which they delivered in a presentation to 100+ attendees of the Workshop on Climate and the Official Plan.

The outputs of the workshop include a declaration, an Executive summary, a graphic summary and full report to be published at a later date. The results of the workshop are to be communicated to City staff and elected officials ahead of the Joint Meeting of the Planning and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees on December 9 and the full Council meeting of December 11, at which the strategic directions for the new Official Plan will be finalized.         

b. Grant Application, Nature Canada conference on Natural Climate Solutions

Paul reported on a grant application he prepared and submitted on behalf of the GA, upon prior approval of the Board, regarding the organization of an Ottawa specific panel in a national conference on Natural Climate Solutions. This Nature Canada conference will be held in Ottawa on February 5 and 6. The application was made to the Ottawa Community Foundation and a response is expected before January 1.

 c. PPS review

Paul expressed concern that with all of the other ongoing activities, we have not had time to contribute the review of the Planning Policy Statement being undertaken by the provincial government. While no one was in a position to pick up this file, Erwin agreed to provide background information on the 2014 review.

  1. Threats

a. Rural Greenspace

i. Hobbs Drain Court Decision

Paul reported on a court decision on appeal against extending Hobbs Drain into the Goulbourn Provincially Significant Wetland, as was requested by a local landowner. There was some discussion regarding the appropriateness of the City even initiating and incurring costs for the study requested by landowner as the outcome was a foregone conclusion, as determined in advance by the responsible conservation authority (RVCA). It was agreed that Paul would make a submission to Council on the subject.

Action: Paul to make a submission on this decision to Council.

b, Major urban greenspace

i. Central Experimental Farm

Paul reported on a presentation he gave to the Board of Governors of the Ottawa Hospital in his role as co-chair of the Campus Engagement Group, the main public consultation and engagement body for the design and construction of the new campus of the Ottawa Hospital on a site bordering the Central Experimental Farm. Our continuing engagement in this project is to protect against any incursion into or degradation of the CEF greenspace and promote greenspace retention and incorporation in the new hospital complex. The CEG’s first report can be found here.

c. Other greenspace

i. Lions’ Park, Westboro

Paul reported briefly on a threat to a recreational greenspace in Westboro reported by a local resident. It was agreed to look into this issue and be of assistance as required.

The Meeting adjourned at 8:00 p.m.