General Meeting – October 25 2021


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


October 25, 2021

On-line meeting

Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Nicole DesRoches, Erwin Dreessen, Iola Price, David McNicol, J.P. Unger,

The meeting commenced at 7:00 pm.

  1. Adoption of the agenda

The proposed agenda was agreed upon. Moved by Iola, seconded by Nicole. Carried.

  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the September 27, 2021 meeting (for approval)

Moved by Erwin, seconded by Nicole. Carried.

b. Treasurer’s report: Paul reported on the $100 honorarium paid to artist Magdelene Carson for the graphic design work on the POP one pagers. He also confirmed that the grant application we sponsored in partnership with Kichi Sibi Trails was selected by the Healthy Communities Initiative for a grant award regarding the Chief Pinesi Portage project. This project will now become part of our programming and we will need to establish an appropriate governance structure to administer it. He also reminded that the annual filing with Corporations Canada was due in November and sought approval in advance to renew and pay now, seeking reimbursement later.

c. Association reports: Members continued the discussion started at the September meeting regarding the request from Parkway for People to recognize the Greenspace Alliance as a founding member of this new group. Having received additional information and the opportunity to observe some of the group’s activities all agreed to accept this invitation.

Action: Paul to report to Parkways for People that the GA agrees to be considered as a founding member.

  1. Policy instruments

a. New Official Plan

The City held an open house on September 29 on the new Official Plan. This was considered the mandatory public meeting under the Planning Act for a new official plan. There was nothing new at this meeting for anyone who had followed the development of the OP over the last two years but it was a well-run presentation and Q&A session.

The Joint meeting of Planning and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees was held on October 14. Due to the large number of public delegation (96), the meeting was extended over three days, with all public delegations completed by the end of Friday October 15, and questions to staff, motions and final decision deferred to Monday October 18. Many of these delegations were from the POP group. From CAWI (City All Women’s Initiative) early on day 1 to Just Food late on day 2, we bracketed this meeting with compelling and effective messaging that was enhanced and amplified by many other delegations. As a bonus, the last speaker, number 96, a Mr. Tim Lash gave a very eloquent talk that included a vision statement, principles, and metrics that aligned exactly with ours. The GA’s submission can be found here. In addition, GA Director Daniel Buckles made a submission representing the overall perspective of POP: notes, slides

The POP group had put forward 16 motions for amending the draft Official Plan. Thanks to extensive one on one interactions with City Councillors in the 6 weeks leading up to the meeting (through POP’s political survey), all of these motions found a sponsor and were introduced on day 3 of the meeting, most of them on the consent agenda, meaning that a sufficient consensus existed on the Joint Committee for these to be adopted without further deliberation. The list of motions and their disposition can be found here. A number of other motions were passed which built on or were congruent with our positions. Many of these had been proposed by community associations and other groups with which we had interacted as part of the POP process or were self-initiated by Councillors we had met. See the list below:

Carlington Woods protection, Brockington

Public realm additions, McKenney

Alta Vista Transportation Corridor, Menard

Low rise design guidelines, Menard

Hunt Club forest protection, Brockington

Financing, Gower

Setbacks for tree planting, Leiper

Fisher Woods protection, Brockington

Moodie station greenbelt protection, Kavanagh

Hydrologic features in Fairhaven protection, King

Public vacant land strategy, Fleury

McCarthy Woods and CEF protection, Brockington

Healthy Streets, Menard

Park minimum size, Menard

Two of our motions were referred to Council without a recommendation. (Post meeting note: Both of them were adopted by full Council vote at the October 27 Council meeting, when the final Official Plan was approved.)

While not every amendment we proposed was fully adopted, most were and at a minimum led to directions given to staff to act upon them in its future work program.   In the end, we can safely say that our activism had an impact, which both blunted developer influence and resulted in significant improvements to the Official Plan.

b. Parks and Facilities Master Plan

Paul reported on the Parks and Facilities Master Plan which was considered and approved at a Special Joint Meeting of the Community and Protective Services and Planning Committees on September 27 2021. The final version of the plan can be found here. As parks are recognized as an important component of publicly accessible greenspace in the Official Plan, the Parks and Facilities Master Plan is of particular interest to the Greenspace Alliance. For this reason, the GA made an oral submission at this meeting, making the link to the new access to greenspace standards in the draft Official Plan and in support of Just Foods request to explicitly recognize community gardens as an accepted land use in parks so that it is included in the provision ratios in park planning. This intervention can be heard starting at 2:04:34 at this link:

c. City of Ottawa Resiliency Strategy

Paul participated on behalf of the GA in a City workshop on the topic of Climate Impact on Environment, Parks and Land Use. Presentation slides can be found here.

  1. Threats

a. Rural Greenspace

b. Major urban greenspace

i. The Ottawa Hospital New Campus Development Project

A joint Meeting of the Built Heritage sub-committee and Planning Committee was held on October 1 to consider the Master Site Plan for the new campus of the Ottawa Hospital. Thanks to Erwin’s diligent work, the proceedings are fully documented on our website here as are the results of the NCC Board of Directors meeting on October 5.

Members discussed the need to keep on top of development applications as they come through for the various phases of the hospital construction project with a view to minimizing greenspace loss and avoiding encroachment on CEF lands. Perhaps even more important is following up on commitments to enact legislative protections for the Central Experimental Farm.  Erwin also noted the gap in the archival record for this issue regarding the Campus Engagement Group, co-chaired by Paul, in his capacity of Chair of the Greenspace Alliance, from 2018 to 2021 period. Paul informed all that he had retained records of all of the activities of the CEG over this period and that these would be uploaded to the GA website, thus completing the historical record.

c. Other greenspace

i. City of Ottawa request to take water from the Quebec side of the Ottawa River

Nicole and David updated members regarding the status of this request to access deeper waters on the Quebec side of the river to draw drinking water to the Lemieux Island filtration site.  While there are complicated jurisdictional issues involved, the fundamental point is that the City of Ottawa needs to address a recurring problem of slushy ice clogging current intake pipes in the winter. More background can be found here:

The Meeting adjourned at 9:03 p.m.