GREENSPACE ALLIANCE OF CANADA’S CAPITAL
February 22, 2016
Hintonburg Community Centre
1064 Wellington Street West
Members present: Amy Steele (chair), Erwin Dreessen (notetaker), Paul Johanis, Jason Kania, David McNicoll, Ian Whyte, Iola Price, Juan Pedro Unger and Lorne Peterson
Guest: Debra Huron
Regrets: Nicole DesRoches, Sol Shuster, Anne-Marie Hogue
The meeting commenced at 7:20 p.m.
Note: There has been a request to advice potential attendees not to attend if they are infectuous.
A modified agenda was agreed upon.
2. In memoriam Daphne McCree
A memorial gathering will take place tomorrow at Beechwood Cemetery. A notice has been posted to the web site.
3. Administrative items
a. Minutes of January 25, 2016: Erwin moved, seconded by Ian, to approve the Minutes of January 25 as amended. Agreed.
b. Treasurer’s report: Erwin moved, seconded by Iola Price, to renew our membership in the Federation of Citizens’ Associations ($30.00). Agreed.
c. GA List: It was agreed to change the status of our listserv to a closed list, effective immediately. As a result, only subscribers can submit posts and our current spam problem will be eliminated.
4. Action updates
a. KNL – Next steps: Ian noted that combining efforts by the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club and the Alliance worked out well and bears repeating. Erwin noted that there is no avenue for appeal of an “overall benefit” permit under section 17(2)(c) of the Endangered Species Act. However, under an alternative procedure (section 17(2)(d)), the Minister would commission a report from an independent expert. Action: Erwin will write to the Minister, asking to make the report public if it exists, and to also ask about Ontario’s recovery strategy for Blanding’s Turtles; Caroline Schultz (Ontario Nature) will be copied.
b. Letter about mayors on the NCC Board: A letter drafted by Nicole was agreed to. It recommends representation but no vote and better use of the Tripartite Committee to coordinate policies across the National Capital Region. Post-meeting note: The following day it was announced that Minister Joly has requested that the mayors participate but not vote in NCC Board meetings. The letter was not sent.
c. Options for celebrating 2017: An information package for civic events funding is available on the City’s web site. Events on any day of the year are now eligible, as a result of comments made at the February 4 FCA meeting. Forms will be available in the spring; deadline will be in the summer. To apply, groups need to have $2 million liability insurance, available from many sources. Action: Dream up ideas and discuss at the next meeting. Inquire re insurance with Debbie Hamilton (613-580-2424 x43615).
d. Urban Forest Management Strategy – Update & NCC follow-up: Tree Ottawa met with NCC staff and wrote a letter. Dr. Kristmanson confirmed in reply that “The NCC is collaborating with the City of Ottawa on the current development of the City’s Urban Forest Management Strategy. The NCC has recently initiated its own Tree and Forest Management Strategy” (January 29). There is no sign of an early public consultation as requested by the Task Force. Action: Paul will try to refocus the Task Force on exerting political pressure for more consultation and early action.
e. Letter on former Domtar lands – Follow-up: Erwin and Frenja Brodo will meet with a Windmill representative on February 25. Messages to be conveyed were confirmed. Action: Erwin will tweet Ministers to remind them of our letter of January 26.
f. NCC appeal of the 2003 Official Plan – Update: A letter from the OMB Planner dated January 25 reminds the appellant that this matter is still pending and requests an update before February 24. A 2008 mediation was suspended until the NCC would complete an Urban Lands Master Plan. This happened on 22 April 2015. The appeal concerns the status of Rochester Field and the Southern Corridor.
g. Lansdowne Park Heirloom Orchard: In October 2012 the Alliance made a comment about the city’s plans, in light of the presence of contaminated soil. On January 16, the Ottawa Citizen made mention of an “heirloom apple orchard.” In reply to Erwin’s request for an update from the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change, it was learned that the 2015 Annual Report required under the Certificate of Property Use is due to be published on the City’s web site by March 31, 2016. As this is the first report following completion of all construction, the Ministry expects to thoroughly check if all conditions are met, including the precautions to be taken in planting fruit or nut trees. Paul reported that in a recent stroll through Lansdowne Park no such orchard could be found.
h. Area 2 Inquiry: Staff tabled a Response to the Inquiry we drafted for Councillor Wilkinson. The response appears to have the amendment’s history backwards and confirms that, to be fair to all developers, staff cooperates with their plans for Areas 1, 2, 7, 9 and 11 even though there is a 24-year supply of residential land and there appears to have been no consideration of whether intensification targets have been met. Paul and Judy Makin expect to meet with Councillor Eli El-Chantiry to discuss the response.
i. Encroachment on the Central Experimental Farm: The battle to safeguard the Farm’s fields is engaged. The Coalition to Protect the Central Experimental Farm has the federal politicians’ attention. Now the battle must be won. The first public consultation will be held on March 7, preceded by a Public Consultation Committee meeting on March 1 which the Coalition will attend.
5. New items
a. Carleton U Community Engagement event: Erwin will attend. We discussed various amendments to the list of potential projects previously used for Ottawa U’s event.
b. Volunteer Ottawa: Erwin suggested to meet with the Executive Director to find us a recording secretary and an assistant web master but the general feeling was that it would not be worth the $175 membership fee to find volunteers through this route. Instead we should find dedicated volunteers through extended membership.
6. Brief reports
a. Erwin attended the opening of the Ottawa Resource Room in the MacOdrum Library of Carleton U on February 4. This is an important supplement to the Public Library’s Ottawa Room.
b. At the FCA meeting of February 4 the focus was on the 2017 celebrations. See above for a tangible result of comments made by attendees.
c. On February 8 John Almstedt and Erwin met with Dixon Weir and Isabelle Jasmin about the water rate structure review. They received a preview of the result of staff’s work. Their proposals will include a separate fee for stormwater. We suggested that there should be incentives to reduce the fee when surfaces are made more permeable. There will be a public consultation in March and a report to Environment Committee in April or May. A report on water theft by trucks will come to Environment Committee in April. On local waste water treatment systems, Dixon was adamant that they are uneconomical.
d. At the Healthy Transportation Coalition meeting of February 9 it was learned that the Environmental Sustainability Advisory Committee has formed three subcommittees and that they are able to arrange meetings with staff. ESAC is now also allowed to advise Transportation Committee. Some 1300 individuals have signed the petition for a Low Income Transit Pass and 37 organizations have endorsed it.
e. Peter Anderson’s talk about some aspects of the early history of the Central Experimental Farm on February 19 saw about 100 in attendance. He expects to complete his Ph.D. thesis in the summer of 2017.
The meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.
The next monthly meeting will be on Monday, March 21, 2016 at 7:15 p.m. in the Hintonburg CC.