General Meeting – October 23, 2017


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


October 23, 2017

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3


Members Present: Paul Johanis (chair), Erwin Dreessen, Amy Steele, Bruce Lindsay, David McNicoll, Juan Pedro Unger, Donna DuBreuil, Kate MacNeil, Van Nguyen

Guest: Ben Christy (note taker)

Regrets: Jason Kania

The meeting commenced at 7:15pm

1. Adoption of the agenda

A modified agenda was agreed upon.

2. Administrative Items

a. Minutes of the September 25, 2017 meeting: Erwin provided revisions which Paul incorporated into the minutes. Erwin moved, seconded by Bruce, to accept the revised minutes as final. Carried.

b. Membership report: Two membership renewals were received and two new members signed up at the Ecofest event. Erwin moved, seconded by Amy to accept Mary-Sue Haliburton and Anna Bogic as new members. Varvara Lobanova has decided to step down as board member but will continue as member.

c. Treasurer’s report: Paul provided the receipt for the copies of the book “Blooms”, which were gifted to the volunteers who worked on content transfer, for a total of $110.00 (as agreed at our August meeting).

d. Webmaster’s report: Jason will be migrating the new site to an upgraded server and decommissioning the old server on November 1st. Erwin reported that there are only a few files left on the website that need to be checked.

e. Volunteer report: Our attendance at Eco-fest led us to find new volunteers.

3. New action items

a. KNL storm water management options: Our outside experts has reviewed and responded to our position paper on storm water management options for the KNL lands. They suggested that although our comments were suitable we should refrain from being as technical, and to instead simply challenge to the City of Ottawa and the developer to come up with a solution that would protect both Trillium Woods and Beaverbrook Pond greenspace, while avoiding the diversion of Shirley’s Brook. It was agreed to proceed with making our position publicly known via an open letter to the proponent, the City, and to also involve the NCC as it is an important downstream riparian land owner. We will send the letter first, then go public via our website, social media and traditional media. Action: Within the next month, Paul will draft the letter to the City, developer and NCC.

b. Public Meeting Ottawa Airport Master Plan, October 11th: Bruce attended, reporting that it was a general information meeting with very few members of the public present. There were some minor changes to the plan and they were looking at trying to implement more greenspace on the western corner of the airport. This is not an urgent matter since nothing is going to happen with this for 20-30 years, however, decisions regarding the realignment of Leitrim Road are based around this plan.

c. Gatineau Park Master Plan renewal public consultation, October 19th and October 26th: Amy attended, reporting that the consultation had a fair number of attendees. The NCC has posted a public survey on their website that will be active until November 14th. Action: Paul will post a link to the survey to the GA list.

d. Shirley’s Brook and Watts Creek floodplain mapping, October 25th: Both Paul and Erwin plan to attend. We see this as an opportunity that connects to our work on KNL.

e. City of Ottawa 2018 Budget Consultation Tool: Paul introduced the idea of using the online tool, which the City of Ottawa claims is intended to help citizens understand how tax dollars are spent. The tool gets citizens to allocate their tax dollars by evaluating certain trade-offs between public services. After discussion, it was agreed that this was not likely to be an effective means of communicating our priorities to the City. Erwin suggested that we could possibly start a longer term project on city budgeting to see what the city has been doing with taxpayers’ money for the last 5-10 years. However, this was seen as an overly broad and daunting task. It was decided instead to draft a letter to the City with a more powerful message based on the idea of trade-offs between current priorities, emphasizing greenspace and environmental priorities. Action: JP will draft a letter to the City of Ottawa.

f. Shea Woods: Erwin proposed that we should recognize the acquisition of Shea Woods by the City and encourage other similar steps to preserve greenspace in the future. Paul has already tweeted support.  Action: Paul will send a letter to Planning Committee today.

Report on previous action items

a. Leitrim Road Realignment and Widening Environmental Assessment Public Consultation: Paul wrote to the city planner stating that GA favors option 11 and feels that its lower ranking by the consultants is weakly supported. They replied outlining its rationale for selecting option 7, giving as a plus that the realigned road would be crossing the narrowest part of the Greenbelt, which from the point of view of fragmentation is a negative in our view. Donna expressed her concerns regarding the City of Ottawa’s poor record in providing safe passage for wildlife in road redevelopments.

b. Overall Benefit Permit, Regional Group, Kanata Highlands: Erin O’Connor responded stating that Regional Group is working with the conservation authority and doing everything by the book. Regional Group is willing to meet with us in late October, early November to discuss our concerns.

c. Goulbourn wetlands boundary updates: We have yet to receive a response from Councillor Qadri regarding a meeting to discuss our concerns about the delay in confirming and making official the new boundaries.

d. Kanata LRT extension PCG, September 21st: We haven’t received the minutes and slides that were supposed to have been sent to us.

e. Heritage Tree Event, Champlain Oaks, September 27: Paul and Erwin attended. Paul spoke a few words at the gathering, including the recitation of a poem about oak trees.

f. Eco-fest, October 12th: Paul attended. There were 50-60 organizations present, and over 100 people stopped at our stand. The event resulted in 2 new members, a new volunteer and 2 new subscribers. We also conducted a poll on the popularity of songs about nature and the environment in preparation of the song circle planned for our 20th anniversary celebration.

g. LRT extension to Moodie Drive: Donna and Kate reported on a meeting with the NCC last week where they discussed their concerns with the wetland located on the old Nortel location that will be redeveloped as the new HQ for DND. It was agreed that the GA could play a reinforcing role in supporting the local community and other organizations regarding the restoration of the wetland and protection for wildlife. Paul reported on information received about the restoration of that wetland as part of compensation for wetland loss as a result of the widening of old Richmond Road through the Greenbelt. Action: Paul and Donna to exchange notes about the wetland restoration plans.

5. Upcoming 

a. Beyond 2036 Sounding Board, October 26th: The City has established a “sounding board”, comprising about 50 individuals from a broad spectrum of interests and organizations, with a mandate to receive and provide commentary on the preparatory work setting the scene for the next revision of the Official Plan. Paul has been invited to be part of the sounding board and will attend its first meeting on October 26.

b. GA 20th anniversary celebration: Paul reported that 40 attendees have confirmed. There will be a welcome ceremony led by a local indigenous person, a few speeches, followed by beverages and cake (baked in house using local ingredients) and a song circle. Paul and David will be among the musicians who will play during the song circle. The board approved the purchase of wine to be served at the event. Expenses will be partially offset through donations made by attendees.

6. Information items

a. City Building Forum, October 17th: Paul and Erwin attended, reporting that there wasn’t much valuable information given. However, we were able to speak with Stephen Willis and secure a commitment to meet with him in November.

b. OBEC Habitat Workshop, October 28th: Erwin planned to attend this workshop.

c. Storm water management tour: There will be a public three-hour bus tour on October 28 that will visit various storm water management sites around the city. Van indicated an interest in participating.

Meeting adjourned at 9:25pm

Next meeting will be on November 27th at 7:15 pm.