General Meeting – September 27 2021


Greenspace Watch

General Meeting


September 27, 2021

On-line meeting


Members present: Paul Johanis (chair), Nicole DesRoches, Daniel Buckles, Erwin Dreessen, Iola Price, Jason Kania,

The meeting commenced at 7:00 pm.

  1. Adoption of the agenda

The proposed agenda was agreed upon. Moved by all. Carried.

  1. Administrative items

a) Minutes of the August 23, 2021 meeting (for approval)

With one clarification by Iola to item 4.b.iv, moved by Erwin, seconded by Nicole. Carried.

b) Association reports:

Paul reported on the passing of Gary Dubreuil, spouse of Donna Dubreuil, and co-founder with her of the Ottawa-Carlton Wildlife Centre, a long time associate member of the Greenspace Alliance. We expressed sincere condolences to Donna. Members agreed to have the GA make a $50 donation to the OCWC in Gary’s memory.  Moved by Erwin, seconded by Iola.

On an invitation from CAWI, Paul attended a Climate Equity Workshop at Vincent Massey Park on September 16, where he set up the GA display and information materials and interacted with many organizations with whom we have had little contact in the past.

  1. Policy instruments

 a) New Official Plan

POP held its second workshop on September 23 with the express purpose of mobilizing attendees to make presentations at the Joint Meeting of Planning and ARAC on October 14. Around 60 participants were given practical training on how to prepare, how to register and what to expect. They subsequently collaborated in small groups sharing the messages and positions they intended to put forward. It was very well received. The POP political survey continued through September with many more councillors participating, including the co-chairs of Planning Committee and Deputy Mayor Dudas. In the end, we met with 12 councillors and established a very good rapport with all of them.  This was extremely useful in the development and sponsoring of motions ahead of the October 14 Joint Meeting. The City hosted an Open House on September 29, which was the mandatory Section 26 meeting for the new Official Plan. Not much new was learned for anyone who had followed the development of the OP but it was a well-run meeting that confirmed a few of the commitments heard in prior meetings with staff.

b) GA input for October 14 Joint meeting of Planning and ARAC

Members considered the specific policies regarding greenspace and tree canopy in the revised draft OP so as to prepare a final position for our delegation at the October Joint Meeting. It was agreed that we would reiterate our opposition to urban expansion, emphasize the importance of community engagement in local intensification and tree preservation planning, support baseline studies of access to greenspace and tree canopy against the new standards for access and call for operational support for planning and forestry staff tasked with carrying out these policies. On specific greenspace concerns, better protection for urban open space and parks was highlighted as was excluding the Natural Heritage System from consideration for urban expansion. As regards canopy protection, in addition to coverage, the importance of maintaining healthy populations of trees of various ages through under-planting was discussed.

Action: Paul to prepare the GA’s oral submission for the October 14 Joint meeting.

  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 will be held on October 1 to consider the Master Site Plan for the new campus of the Ottawa Hospital. Paul will register to speak on behalf of the Greenspace Alliance basing his comments on the written submission previously reported at the August 23 general meeting of the GA.

ii. Parkways for People

Paul gave a brief description of a new group setting up to promote more non-car use of the NCC parkways in Ottawa. They have asked us if we would agree to be a founding member of their group. Similar invitations have been sent to other lead environmental organizations in Ottawa. Members had a number of unanswered questions so we agreed to gather more information and consider the request later.

Action: Paul to obtain and circulate more information about the group.

iii. Kichi Sibi Trails

We have learned today that the Pinesi Portage project, which we co-sponsored, was selected for a grant under the Healthy Communities Initiative, managed by Community Foundations of Canada and financed by the federal government.  The GA will need to establish a governance structure for our collaboration with the Kichi Sibi Trails group to manage this grant.

iv. Embassy Row

City Council has approved the NCC application to build 5 embassy/foreign mission buildings on Mechanicsville greenspace bordering the Ottawa River Parkway.  At a minimum our advocacy helped reduce the number of buildings from 6 to 5 and increase the size of the greenspace that will be preserved. Construction is unlikely to proceed for a very long time.

c) Other greenspace

i. Besserer Park

The GA participated with Action Sandy Hill in an outdoor rally at Besserer Park, at the eastern end of Besserer Street, to oppose a developer request for a road allowance encroaching into the park to service parking spaces for a new residential multi-unit structure being erected on an adjacent lot. There was a very good turn out and Iola spoke on our behalf.

The Meeting adjourned at 8:50 p.m.