General Meeting – September 23 2019


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


September 23, 2019

Hintonburg Community Centre

1064 Wellington Street West

K1Y 2Y3


Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), David McNicoll, Daniel Buckles, JP Unger, John Almstedt, Iola Price

Regrets: Jason Kania, Nicole DesRoches., Erwin Dreessen

Guests: Dan Wilcock

Special Guests: Youth Climate Ambassadors Jessica Tan, Kevin Mason, Shyanne Matone, Gabrielle Richards, Sarah Fox, Kate Strathlee and Tao Orion (remote access)

The meeting commenced at 7:15 pm.

The first part of the meeting was given over to a presentation and discussion on the workshop on Climate Solutions and the Official Plan, which we will be holding on November 15 and 16 with the help of the cohort of young people assigned to the Greenspace Alliance under Ecology Ottawa’s Youth Climate Ambassador program.

Paul gave an overview of the purpose of the workshop, the process leading up to it and the role of the YCAs. In the lead up to the workshop, the YCAs will participate in a series of outreach meetings with community associations in each of the four planning contexts identified for the new OP (rural, outer urban, inner urban, downtown core) to share with them the Key Climate action messages that have emerged from the People’s Official Plan process and obtain their feedback. The results of this consultation will then be fed as input to the mid-November workshop.  Members present were invited to share their views on these messages and any other advice they had for the YCAs. While generally supportive of the messages presented, members identified opportunities for urban food production, adaptation measures to weather extremes and events, and energy production as additional topics of interest for consultation. The importance of narrative and storytelling was also highlighted as an important part of communications about climate action, not just technical language and targets.

The formal agenda was addressed starting at 8:15

  1. Adoption of the agenda

The proposed agenda was agreed upon, with item 3d) moved to be the first order of business.

  1. Administrative items

a. Minutes of the August 26 2019 meeting (for approval)

Moved by Iola, seconded by David. Carried.

 b. Treasurer’s report

Paul submitted for reimbursement the first major expense under the MOU with Ecology Ottawa for the Youth Climate Ambassador program, a deposit for the rental of the venue for the November 15-16 workshop, in the amount of $762.16. Moved by Daniel, seconded by Iola.

c. Geodata report

Iola provided a report on the Ottawa Neighbourhood Study Greenspace mapping project online meeting of September 19.

d. Association reports

Paul reported on the Planning and Zoning Committee meeting of September 11, at which he solicited the help of the FCA to recruit community associations willing to meet with Youth Climate Ambassadors in advance of the November workshop on Climate Solutions and the Official Plan. This was supported by the Committee and will be added to the agenda of the September 18 general meeting of the FCA.

  1. Policy instruments

a. Official Plan update

Paul gave an overview of the People’s Official Plan activities over the period of September to December 2019. A meeting of the POP group is planned for October 1, outreach meetings with community associations will be held over the month of October, Ecology Ottawa will launch a “hold the line” petition to advocate for not expanding the urban boundary in the new Official Plan, we will hold a mid-November workshop on Climate Solutions and the Official Plan, and an event will be organized in support of “hold the line” ahead of the joint Planning/ARAC meeting of December 12.          

b. Tree Conservation By-law

A joint submission, by way of a public petition with 376 signatures, was sent to the City on August 29. It was agreed to update this with any additional signatures received since then and to resubmit to the City.

Action: Daniel to update the petition and advise as to how and when to resubmit to the City.

c. Gatineau OP consultation

 The City of Gatineau is undertaking a series of consultation meetings on its equivalent of the Official Plan with dates in various locations all through October. This would be a good opportunity to learn more about planning issues and concerns on the Quebec side of our region.

d. Proposal for a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in Ottawa-Gatineau

Dan Wilcock gave a presentation on UNESCO Biosphere Reserves and on the possibility of submitting Ottawa-Gatineau as a candidate for recognition as such. He identified the many features and characteristics of the region that commend themselves for consideration, discussed the different options for delineating the region for this purpose (including the core area only, the full municipal boundaries of both cities, the entire watershed), and described how this would be a multi-year process with some considerable effort required for preparing the application. Members were generally supportive of the initiative and offered to make its network for seeking assistance and input to the process. In addition, Paul made reference to a Nature Canada conference planned for early February in Ottawa where this idea could be floated for reaction.

Action: Dan to send his presentation slides for posting with the minutes.

The Meeting adjourned at 9:30.