Ottawa, Ontario Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee

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Ottawa, Canada

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Type: Policy

Status: Ongoing

Source File: http://www.ottawa.ca/city_hall/mayor_council/advisory_committees/forests/index_en.html

Description:

Mandate
The Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee (OFGAC) provides advice and guidance to Ottawa City Council, through the Planning and Environment Committee. Its mandate is to help safeguard the environment of the City through the use of trees, forests and greenspace by:

  • Providing input into policies and budgets related to greenspace preservation and the management of urban and rural forests;
  • Recommending ways in which the City can meet its greenspace and forest related objectives as outlined in the Official Plan and other planning documents; and
  • Promoting public awareness of the role of greenspace and forests in protecting and enhancing quality of life.

Definitions
The urban forest includes individual city trees (and other vegetation) as well as woodlots and forests within the City of Ottawa.

Greenspace is protected land and water that is in its natural, undeveloped state as well as a supporting network of land in private and public ownership that has been developed only to the extent consistent with natural systems protection, recreational uses, or agricultural and forest production.

Responsibilities
The Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee shall be responsible for:

  • Providing a forum for citizens interested in forests and greenspace to raise issues and concerns;
  • Providing advice and guidance to Council, through the Planning and Environment Committee, on City policies, programs, by-laws, regulations and budgets related to forest and greenspace management;
  • Advising on areas where the introduction of trees and tree cover would be beneficial to the environment or where their removal would have a negative impact on a site or ecosystem;
  • Identifying issues that may impact on trees, tree cover or natural systems and recommending ways to minimize the impact;
  • Advising on the introduction of windbreaks, the shading of transportation corridors, the greening of streets, roads, parks and conservation areas, the preservation of tree cover, and forest management in the City;
  • Promoting and facilitating cooperation with local community groups and environmental organizations on education and other initiatives related to forest and greenspace management;
  • Conducting advocacy on behalf of issues relating to Ottawa's forests and greenspace;
  • Providing advice on the protection, management, acquisition and conservation of greenspace and other environmentally sensitive areas in Ottawa;
  • Working to reduce the burden on the City's Environmental Resources Areas Acquisition Fund by promoting partnerships with developers (in the form of land bequests and conservation development) and with other stakeholders (in the form of land trusts and conservation easements);
  • Liaising with other City of Ottawa Advisory Committees as appropriate.

Organization
The Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee shall have a citizen membership of between 9 - 15 with a minimum of one citizen appointment representing the rural community.

Both the Planning and Environment Committee and Ottawa City Council shall approve all appointments to the Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee.

In addition, the Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee shall also have in a resource, liaison and/or advisory capacity, the following:

  • 1 staff representative from the Transportation, Utilities and Public Works Department (non-voting).
  • In addition, staff resources from other branches/departments may be invited or required to attend committee meetings (i.e. the Environmental Management Unit of the Development Services Department) (non-voting).
  • A minimum of 1 member of Ottawa City Council, appointed by Council to act as a liaison (non-voting).

The process for choosing membership for the Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee will follow the approved Appointments Policy.

Lead Department/Reporting Relationship
The lead department for the Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee is the Transportation, Utilities and Public Works Department. The Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee reports through the Planning and Environment Committee to Ottawa City Council. For issues affecting rural forest areas in the City, the OFGAC will report through the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee to City Council.

Workplans and Annual Reports
The Ottawa Forests and Greenspace Advisory Committee must report annually to City Council through the Planning and Environment Committee (timing to be determined by the Chair, Advisory Committee Coordinator and City Clerk) on the activities of the Committee in the current year and on the Committee's workplan for the following year.

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