General Meeting – October 29 2018


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


October 29, 2018

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3


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

Regrets: J.P Unger, Jason Kania

The meeting commenced at: 7:20pm


  1. Adoption of the agenda

The proposed agenda was agreed upon. It was also agreed to bring forward items regarding the approval of the 2017 AGM report and the 2018 AGM draft report. A new item 3f was also added regarding Bill-69.


  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the September 24, 2018 meeting (for approval)

Erwin moved, seconded by David, to adopt the minutes of the September 24 meeting as presented. Erwin moved, seconded by Nicole, to approve the minutes of the 2017 AGM and the draft minutes of the 2018 AGM, subject to a few additional changes. Agreed.

b. Membership/Board report

The membership of Adam Caldwell was approved on a motion by Erwin, seconded by Nicole. Having stated his willingness to sit as a Board member and supplied summary of his qualifications, again on a motion by Erwin, seconded by Nicole, it was agreed to appoint him to a vacant director position on the Board. A number of membership renewals were received in the past month.

c. Treasurer’s report

Paul submitted receipts for the donation to Free the Falls in support of a Speakers Panel, approved at the last meeting ($200), and also for the GA’s annual filing under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act ($20). Erwin moved, seconded by Nicole, to approve the re-imbursement to Paul for $220. Carried.

d. Webmaster’s report

Paul reported that GA member Van Nguyen has continued working on the changes to the website that we had previously discussed, some of which are now live on our website.

 e. Volunteer report

Paul reported that new volunteer Gabriel Albarracin has agreed to work on our GIS project. He was identified through Volunteer Ottawa.

f. Geodata report 

New volunteer Gabriel Albarracin has undertaken a review of all Urban Natural Areas identified in the 2006 Urban Natural Areas Environmental Evaluation Study against the greenspace mapping completed in Open Street Map Ottawa to identify any discrepancies.

 g. Association reports

Erwin reported on EcoGala on October 11, the Wildlife Speakers Series event on October 24 and the Free the Falls Speakers panel on October 27. In this respect, he commented on the opportunity to renew our display board, having seen newer, more lightweight options being used by other exhibitors. It was agreed to explore options for replacing our current display panels.

  1. Policy instruments

a. 2018 Municipal Election Strategy

Paul reported that 11 of the newly elected council members had completed our Municipal Election Survey and expressed the view that the new council may be more favourably disposed to greenspace issues than the last one. It was agreed to prepare a report on the stand these councillors took on specific greenspace issues in the survey and to distribute it along with an introductory letter from the GA to the new council.

Action: Paul to prepare the report and send introductory letters to the new Council.

b. Ottawa River Watershed Study Report

The Environment Canada team leading the ORWS issued its first report, with a deadline for comments submission by October 31. This led to a very good discussion by members, with many suggestions for comments, including Nicole’s discovery of the Ottawa River Act 1870, which gives the federal government exclusive jurisdictions over works on the Ottawa River.

Action: Paul to prepare and submit comments based on the members’ discussion.

 c. OPA 150+ pre-hearing conference, October 22

 Erwin and Paul gave a report on the pre-hearing conference held on October 22 by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal regarding the OPA 150 appeals. Erwin’s report can be found <here>.

d. Significant Woodland Guidelines – final draft

 Paul gave a presentation on the final draft of the Significant Woodland Policy guidelines. He explained the different criteria for designating significant woodlands in the urban and rural areas of the city. Once identified as significant, any development in or around these urban woodlands must take into account the ecological, economic and social benefits on a no net loss basis. The guidelines provide a detailed methodology for evaluating these benefits.

Action: Paul to circulate the final draft guidelines.

e. 2015-2018 Term of Council performance re: greenspace objectives

A discussion on how to evaluate Council performance on specific greenspace objectives in the 2015-18 term concluded that such a task would be very difficult and perhaps of less benefit than concentrating instead on the greenspace objectives, and measurements, it should set itself for the next term of council. It was suggested that consideration be given to organizing a forum to discuss and formulate proposals for this agenda. No specific action item was agreed upon.

 f. Bill C-69 being held up in the Senate

Erwin reported on the letter writing campaign being organized by West Coast Environmental Law Association to demand that the Senate pass Bill C-68 and Bill C-69. The generic letter and mail out is organized by province. Given that the scope of our activities straddle both Quebec and Ontario, he suggested we craft our own letter, based on WCELA’s, and send it to the Senators in both provinces. Agreed.

Action: Paul to adapt the WCELA letter and look into the means to send it to Ontario and Quebec senators.

  1. Threats

 a. Rural greenspace

i. Nothing to report

b. Major urban greenspace

i. Planning Committee, Wesley Clover Park

Paul reported on the approval by Planning Committee of the rezoning application submitted by Wesley Clover Park. We are concerned by the scale of the musical events permitted by the zoning (up to 25,000 spectators.) Individual events still need to be approved by the City on a case by case basis and we will want to monitor any such application in the future.

ii. NCC Urbanism Lab, Canadensis proposal, October 30

Erwin indicated that he planned to attend. Our concern is what impact the Canadensis proposal for a new, commercial, botanical garden on Agriculture Canada land between Prince of Wales and the Rideau Canal would have on the Central Experimental Farm, including the Arboretum and the Ornamental gardens.

c. Other greenspace

i. Nothing to report.

The Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.