General Meeting of May 30, 2016


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting

May 30, 2016

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3

Members present: Erwin Dreessen (Chair), Bruce Lindsay, Paul Johanis, Judy Makin, David McNicoll, Iola Price, Juan Pedro Unger, Lorne Peterson

Guest: Elise Saint-Martin (notetaker)

Regrets: Nicole DesRoches, Sol Shuster, John Almstedt

The meeting commenced at 7:50 p.m.

1. Adoption of the Agenda

A modified agenda was agreed upon.

2. Administrative items

a. Minutes of April 25, 2016: Erwin moved, seconded by Bruce, to adopt the Minutes of April 25. Agreed.

b. Membership report: Bruce moved, seconded by Paul, to accept the membership of Centretown Citizens Community Association (CCCA – represented by Tom Whillans) and Susan Jolliffe. Agreed.

Judy Makin suggested that upon membership approval, a standard “welcome” message could be sent out.

c. Treasurer’s report: Iola moved, seconded by Paul, that Erwin be repaid $9.61 for printing costs related to today’s meeting.

d. CPAWS-OV membership: Erwin distributed a letter sent jointly by CPAWS-National Office and CPAWS-Ottawa Valley Chapter (John McDonnell) to federal Ministers. It retracted the suggestions about development on the former Domtar lands made in the January letter co- signed by the Alliance, CPAWS-OV and the Ottawa Field-Naturalists. There had been no consultation or advisory; the letter was brought to light by a third party via Twitter. Erwin suggested that this was a fundamental breach of trust between CPAWS-OV and the Alliance and proposed to invoke Article IV 5) of our By-laws about resignation of a member. Others expressed reservations about this approach. In the end the following motion was agreed upon:

Whereas the Alliance sent a letter dated 26 January 2016, co-signed by the Ottawa Field-Naturalists’ Club and CPAWS-OV, to federal Ministers pleading for protection of the Chaudière and Albert Islands; while on May 9, 2016, CPAWS-HQ and CPAWS-OV co-signed a letter to the same Ministers repudiating the requests made earlier, and doing so without any prior consultation with the co-signers of the January letter and referring to it as “our” (CPAWS’) letter;

Therefore, John will be requested to attend our General Meeting of July 25, 2016 and explain why CPAWS-OV signed the letter and did not notify us.

Fenja Brodo or her delegate will be invited to attend this discussion as well.

e. Promotion material for Environment Day – June 9: Action: Paul to put some materials together and also offered to translate from English to French. Bruce to update banners.

f. Meeting dates: Next monthly meetings to take place on Monday, June 27, July 25, and August 22, 2016.

3. Volunteer update

Three Ottawa U students are currently working on an analysis of OMB Decision. One Carleton U student is supporting Phil Mount about the LEAR review. Another Carleton student has produced a first draft of the subscriber survey to which Erwin has given feedback; a second draft should become available soon for other Board members to comment on. There is at least one volunteer to help with the web migration but he still needs to obtain editing privileges. Neil Kabesh is continuing to work on the Development Charges matter. A team is in the process of being formed to research a municipality’s obligation to acquire environmentally sensitive land if it wants to protect them.

4. Action updates

  1. Urban Forest Management Plan: Paul attended a stakeholders meeting on May 18 and reported the process to be quite open. Staff presented a Table of Contents of the draft report and a summary of feedback received in November. He voiced our concerns regarding the NCC’s role and the consultants’ Terms of Reference. The former was taken into account in the Plan, though a firm commitment has yet to be formalized. As for the terms of reference, their absence was reflected in the table of contents which showed a half-page devoted to indicators (e.g. measures of diversity, age distribution, tree populations, etc.) while the rest focused on process and management issues. There is no sign of early action that could build support for the cause.

5. Eastern Ontario Regional Plan

There will be a round table discussion on June 10 at the West End Well, preceding the AGM of the Ontario Environmental Network the following day. Erwin suggested that the theme could be protection of natural and agricultural areas. There could be lessons from the experience with regional plans in the Golden Horseshoe. The Greenbelt Act could be the most relevant for that. It and the other regional plans are currently undergoing their 10-year review. The government has issued an RFP to hold consultations for an Eastern Ontario plan but no news has come out of Queen’s Park to date.

Iola suggested that regulations for invasive plant species be on the agenda. JP suggested that sustainability and protection rather than growth be a focus. That is also the perspective that OEN is bringing to this issue.

6. Airport Parkway/Lester Road widening

The notice of completion of the Environmental Assessment will be on the agenda of Transportation Committee on June 1. There was no volunteer to make an appearance. We can restate our position during the 30-day review period.

7. New Issues

  1. Mooney’s Bay playground: There will be a public meeting on May 31 at the Riverside United Churches.

  2. Woodroffe-Merivale Corridor: This corridor is a key component of the Poets’ Pathway. The City is resolved to occupy up to 2/3 of the corridor to build a maintenance yard for the LRT. Erwin assisted the Committee in preparing for a meeting with the NCC on May 25. The NCC expressed strong support for the Poets’ Pathway project but noted that responsibility for commemorations now rests with Canadian Heritage. It was suggested that more sensitive design could achieve a compromise.

  3. Carlington Park proposal: Erwin provided some advice to a resident and the Carlington Community Association.

  4. Trees on Gilmour: The President of CCCA sent out a letter to Council lamenting the cutting down of trees on Gilmour and copied the Alliance.

8. Brief reports

  1. Federation of Urban Neighborhoods AGM: almost no attendance. The issue of OMB reform came up. Erwin has sent President Archie Campbell the Alliance’s submissions on this subject.
  2. Healthy Transportation Coalition AGM: No issues immediately relevant to the Alliance were discussed.
  3. FCA Governance Committee (May 17): Erwin reported a prospect for much improvement on the matter of consultation on planning matters. The City has recognized that it’s doing a poor job. A new web tool is ready to be launched but is held up by a Drupal update. Erwin raised again the inadequacies of the DevApp site and learned that it will not survive in its present form because it does not meet the standards of the Accessibility Act.

  4. FCA Monthly meeting (May 18): The City’s cap on annual tax increases to 2% was discussed. The tax dollars needed to keep up with increasing costs have dwindled over the last few years, which are putting stress on the City’s operational capacity. A number of years ago the City of Ottawa and School Boards had a reciprocal arrangement to share facilities. It appears that in recent years that has diminished. There now appears to be a lack of community space. A number of community groups felt it should be revitalized.

  5. NCC Urbanism Lab (May 18): The topic was Urban Forestry – from science to poetry. Stephen Willis noted in his introduction that in the “17 Big Ideas” consultation, urban forest issues feature very strongly.

  6. OFNC Conservation Committee Meeting (May 19): John Almstedt attended. Members were somewhat confused about all the infrastructure going in along the Carp River but warmed up to the idea of a waterfront park in Cantley.

  7. Kanata North: The proposals will be on Planning Committee’s agenda of June 28. We made a submission to staff; an appearance at Committee is optional.

9. Other business: 2018 Municipal elections: The Alliance could start thinking about seeking out candidates and advancing issues with other organization in view of the upcoming municipal elections.

10. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 9:44 p.m.