General Meeting – November 26 2018


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


November 26, 2018

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

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

Regrets: J.P Unger

The meeting commenced at: 7:20pm

  1. Adoption of the agenda

The proposed agenda was agreed upon. A new item 3d was also added concerning Term of Council priorities.

  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the October 29, 2018 meeting (for approval)

Erwin moved, seconded by Nicole, to adopt the minutes of the October 29 meeting as presented. Agreed.

b. Membership/Board report

Nothing to report.

c. Treasurer’s report

Nothing to report.

d. Webmaster’s report

Paul reported that GA member Van Nguyen has completed the changes to the website that involved re-organizing and updating content. She will now undertake the next phase of the work, involving the introduction of new functions on the home page: listing of latest updates, top five threats to greenspace and membership management. Erwin pointed out that additional work needs to be done on the French language presentation in our banner and requested that the image of a Trillium which was previous used on the site be re-introduced.

 e. Volunteer report

Paul reported that we have re-engaged with the Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement at the University of Ottawa, through which we have located volunteers in the past.

f. Geodata report 

We have learned that the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study wishes to introduce access to greenspace in its neighbourhood level analysis of health determinants. We will meet with them in early December to explore possible collaboration and mutual assistance with greenspace mapping.

 g. Association reports

Erwin reported on the FCA general meeting of November 21 which, among other things, saw a presentation by Nick Stow on the Significant Woodlands Guidelines. Paul reported on the meeting of the OFNC Conservation Committee on November 22, where a presentation by Friends of the Carp Hills on the preservation of greenspace in the face of increased recreational use of the area by mountain bikers was of particular interest to us.

  1. Policy instruments

a. 2018 Municipal Election follow- up

Paul distributed the introductory letter and survey report that was sent to all members of the new Council pursuant to the decision made at the previous general meeting. The letter can be found here, the report here.

b. Ottawa River Watershed Study Report

Paul distributed the feedback that we sent to the Environment Canada team leading the ORWS regarding its first report. It can be found here.

c. Meeting with Stephen Willis, General Manager, Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development

A the instigation of a number of environmental organizations, including the GA, a meeting has been arranged with Stephen Willis in early January, through the office of Councillor Leiper, regarding greenspace issues. This will be an opportunity to press home our priorities at the most senior staff level. A preparatory meeting will be held with Councillor Leiper on December 11.

 d. Priorities for the new term of Council

The GA contributed to the environmental priorities list prepared by the CAFES for the next term of council. While this wide ranging and exhaustive shopping list covers our issues well, the GA members felt that an alternative presentation could better ground these various priorities in a broader framework. It was suggested that tying all these various priorities to the relevant parts of section 2 of the Planning Act might be a good approach.

Action: Paul to prepare a draft priorities list arranged in accordance with the subsections of section 2 of the Planning Act for consideration.

  1. Threats

a. Rural greenspace

i. Paul reported that he would be interviewed by Laura Osman of the CBC on landowners’ concerns regarding the upcoming designation of the Goulbourn Provincially Significant Wetlands in the City’s Official Plan. We are on the record in this longstanding controversy urging the City and the Conservation Authority to protect these wetlands.

b. Major urban greenspace

i. Chapel Hill North Forest: The local community association has completed a very exhaustive report on the use of trails in the Greenbelt abutting their community by mountain bikers. This is another chapter in how to accommodate recreational use of greenspace while still preserving its ecological integrity. The report can be found here:

ii. NCC Urbanism Lab, October 30

Erwin attended this lab and reported that there were no references to the Canadensis proposal for a new, commercial, botanical garden on Agriculture Canada land between Prince of Wales and the Rideau Canal. One learned about botanical gardens in Toronto, Montreal and the Royal Ottawa Hospital here in Ottawa.

iii. Partial settlement of the NCC appeal of the 2003 Official Plan

We have received notification that the NCC has settled its appeal of the 2003 Official Plan designation as Open Space of three NCC properties: Rochester Field, part of McCarthy Woods and Meadow and the Merivale-Woodroffe corridor. The GA was recognized as a party in these proceedings. The NCC has dropped its appeal regarding Rochester Field and McCarthy Woods and Meadow, part of an agreement with the City that will see 80% of Rochester Field remain as greenspace, and all of McCarthy Woods and Meadow, including the parcel west of Riverside going down to the Rideau River, remain as Open Space. The appeal regarding the Merivale- Woodroffe corridor remains outstanding.

iv. Update on the Campus Engagement Group:

Paul gave a very brief update of the current status of this group, which he co-chairs with the Ottawa Hospital’s Chief Communications and Outreach Officer. The group has met monthly over the summer months and has developed a process and principles framework to guide their deliberations of the substantive issues they will be called up to engage once the active design phase begins.

c. Other greenspace

i. Earl Armstrong Extension EA

Paul had circulated information and greenspace concerns associated with the planned extension of Earl Armstrong Rd.  We discussed risks and options.

Action: Paul will prepare and circulate a GA position prior to the deadline for comment submission, which is November 30. (Post-meeting note: The comment can be found here.)

ii. Barrhaven LRT extension EA

Paul sought volunteers to attend the inaugural meeting of the stakeholders’ consultation group for the is EA scheduled for November 28. No one has been identified to date.

The Meeting adjourned at 9:15 p.m.