Minutes of the AGM, 29 May 2014

                                             GREENSPACE ALLIANCE OF CANADA’S CAPITAL

                                                                 Greenspace Watch

                                                              Annual General Meeting

                                                                    May 29, 2014

                                                         Hintonburg Community Centre

                                                          1064 Wellington Street West

                                                                       K1Y 2Y3


Members present: Erwin Dreessen (chair), Amy Kempster, Jason Kania, Elina Elnione (note taker), Nicole DesRoches (note taker), Juan Pedro Unger, Ian Whyte, David McNicoll, Lorne Peterson, Iola Price

Guests present: Eric Jones, Gert Dreessen, Sylvia Bogasis, Michael Bordt, Prue Thomson, Anthony Keith

Regrets: Daniel Buckles, Judy Makin, Ken McRae, Bettina Henkelman, Sol Shuster, Howard Powles, Al Crosby, the CCCA Trees & Greenspace committee


The meeting commenced at 7:20 p.m.

1. Adoption of agenda

Agenda adopted as proposed.

2. Administration items

a. Minutes of 2013 AGM

David moved, seconded by Lorne, to approve the Minutes of the 2013 AGM as circulated and posted. Approved.

3. Ottawa Tree Canopy Project

Eric Jones made a presentation about the Ottawa Tree Canopy Project that estimates tree canopy cover within Ottawa’s urban boundary (slides attached – 1.3 MB).

Reason for the study: The 2003 Official Plan sets a target for 30% tree canopy target. Other documents mention various figures for the existing tree canopy. If there is a target, we should know what the existing tree canopy coverage is.

Data used: the study is based on 2005 and 2011 aerial photos. The gathered data were mapped on city, ward and neighbourhood boundaries.

Methodology: GIS software was used to select only the urban area of Ottawa excluding the Greenbelt. A regular grid was overlaid on the urban area with 100 meter distance between the points with a total of over 40,000 points. In addition, some random points were created. 19 volunteers were trained in order to allocate all points in one of 5 categories (tree, other vegetation, impervious surface, bare soil or water). For quality assessment purposes 5% of the points classified by the volunteers were re-evaluated by the study leaders.

The results revealed, over the whole study area: 22% Tree, 31% Other vegetation, 37% Impervious Surface, 9% Bare soil, and 1% Water. 1/4 of the neighbourhoods had 30% or more tree cover while

1/3 had less than 20% tree cover. Results for urban wards:

The main advantages of this methodology:

Relatively low cost and the methodology is repeatable since grid points are geo-referenced.

The overall goal: to measure the value of our Urban Forest. “Need to have” vs “Nice to have.”

4. Membership Report

Jason moved, seconded by Ian, to approve Michael Bordt and Prue Thomson as new members. Agreed.

5. Treasurer Report

Amy had agreed to be treasurer a year ago but due to personal reasons Erwin acted as Treasurer. He presented a financial report, confirming that Janice Seline’s plant sale was our most important fundraiser. Ian moved, seconded by Amy, to accept the Financial Report. Agreed.

6. Annual Report

Copies of the Annual Report were distributed and it will be posted to the web site soon. Erwin provided some highlights. The year started on a high note with the June discussion panel with the participation of the City, NCC and Nature Conservancy of Canada on the topic of eco-connectivity within an urban context. The City’s work would feed into the review of the Official Plan, as per the January 2012 Terms of Settlement of our urban boundary appeal.

We participated in every phase of “Building a Liveable Ottawa” but on this and other files, the state of public engagement has been very poor.

Other City of Ottawa files we engaged in:

– Redevelopment of former CFB Rockcliffe, with thanks to Al Crosby

– Widening of Old Richmond Road

– Wildlife Strategy, with thanks to Donna DuBreuil

– Development Charges review, with special thanks to Amy.


The NCC Greenbelt Master Plan Review was concluded. The Plan adopts a very green vision despite the continuing pressure to break up the Greenbelt. Positive: in agreement with the Airport Authority, a thickening of the linkage in the South was achieved; Leitrim Wetland was re-incorporated; certain areas were specifically designated as Linkages. Negative: the South March Highlands were left out; of the City’s 30 road projects, only 5 were rejected.


We provided extensive comments on a draft Provincial Policy Statement. MMAH tabled two white papers, one on land use and the OMB, and one on the development charges regime. We responded to all their questions.


Between October 2013 and March 2014 we created 8 news events, 4 with news releases, but there has been no pick-up by media. We applied for a capacity grant from MEC to improve our communications , including a letter writing tool on the Internet, but it was not successful. We will apply again in the Fall. Ian suggested we try the Trillium Foundation.

Juan Pedro, seconded by Iola Price, moved to accept the Annual Report. Agreed.

7. Elections of Chairs and Directors

Erwin and Nicole agreed to continue as co-chairs. Juan Pedro, Jason Kania, Amy Kempster and Sol Shuster agreed to continue as Directors.

Ian Whyte, seconded by Iola Price, moved to accept all as the new Board members. Agreed.

8. Future directions

Directions proposed include:

– Campaign for a site alteration by-law
– Campaign for better tree protection
– Symposium on road ecology
– Education session for Councillors, post-election
– Cooperation with other environmental groups is important.

Ongoing files include:

– Broadening of membership
– Advocacy for better access to City documents
– OPA 150 appeals
– NCC Urban Lands Master Plan/Poet’s Pathway @Southern Corridor
– Former CFB Rockliffe Community Design Plan and implementation
The meeting adjourned at 9:03 p.m.