Ward 14 – Somerset – Candidate Questionnaire Responses

Ecology Ottawa asked all candidates in the 2014 municipal election a series of questions on important environmental issues.

Complete Streets:

Many Ottawa streets are dangerous for cyclists and pedestrians and too many neighbourhoods lack affordable and convenient public transportation options. Badly designed streets discourage active and healthy lifestyles and limit transportation choices. In 2013, City Council adopted a Complete Streets policy that will put more emphasis on designing streets for all ages, abilities and users (pedestrians, cyclists, and transit users, as well as cars).



*indicates incumbent

If elected, will you commit to prioritizing pedestrian, cycling and affordable public transit infrastructure over automobile infrastructure in meeting the future growth in travel demand in the urban area? If elected, will you work to ensure that all new roads and road renewal projects integrate Complete Streets principles? The City’s new transportation master plan increases funding for cycling infrastructure but delays many investments for over 15 years. If elected, will you work to increase the overall level of investment and accelerate the pace of implementation?
Martin Canning  YES – As I heard through Canning Campaign Meet Ups (http://www.newottawa.ca/events), the City should focus on the basics: moving people from point A to B as efficiently as possible. The way to do this downtown is by prioritizing active and public transportation infrastructure. Also congestion, which is a significant drain on our economy and a significant health issue for children and seniors, is a serious issue downtown that I’d improve by prioritizing investments in active modes of transportation.  YES – The renewal of Somerset Ward’s streets present a unique opportunity for complete I have committed to formalize Ecology Ottawa’s active transportation audit into future road reconstruction projects in Somerset Ward, if elected. I believe that these audits are an essential tool for identifying what will make streets safe and pleasant places that efficiently transport people in the community street approaches. I have committed to formalize Ecology Ottawa’s active transportation audit into future road reconstruction projects in Somerset Ward, if elected. I believe that these audits are an essential tool for identifying what will make streets safe and pleasant places that efficiently transport people in the community.  YES – There is a clear business case – cycling infrastructure promotes economic growth, as well as a health and safety imperative – appropriate cycling infrastructure saves lives. I will consistently communicate that message at Council and around the city, if elected. (Although my support in principle is solid, with the absence of a particular initiative being noted in this question, my support for specific “investments” would be made on a case-by-case basis.)
Edward Conway YES – Pedestrian and cycle traffic is a central priority of downtown residents. Making downtown more vibrant requires strict control of automobile traffic.  YES  YES
Catherine McKenney  YES – If elected Councillor I will urge Council to invest $1M per year towards Complete Streets over and above the existing funding for complete streets during road renewal and reconstruction.  YES YES – If elected Councillor I would support accelerating the pace of investment from 15 years to the 4year term-of-council.
Thomas McVeigh  YES – On record multiple times as such  YES – No-brainer. YES – Absurdly low funding for initiatives that are shown to fund themselves in both savings and in creating higher valued business and residential districts with corresponding higher taxes.
Conor Meade YES – Absolutely. It would make zero sense to be making massive investments in the LRT, without expecting there to be fewer commuters and fewer cars on the road. As City Councillor, I will lead redevelopment plans for high-volume roads such as Metcalfe, O’Connor, and Kent, and re-imagine them as pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly streets. YES – Active transportation is the future of Ottawa, not urban sprawl and strip malls. YES – Citizen’s for Safe Cycling has unveiled a proposal for an equitable allocation of transportation funds on a per-trip basis, which would amount to $20 million for cycling infrastructure. I consider this proposal to be a bare minimum starting point.
Jeff Morrison YES – I say yes because particularly in the downtown area, transit and cycling infrastructure are woefully underfunded and investments in these areas are required more so than roads. I have stated that Queen, Albert, and Slater will be priorities once the LRT is fully in place. We also need to look at other priority projects identified in the Downtown Moves report, a report I endorse. YES – With regard to Complete Streets, I have said that a reverse onus should be placed on planning staff- i.e., start from the principle that every new street redesign is a Complete Street unless it can be demonstrated otherwise (e.g., emergency access). Again, once Slater, Albert, and Queen are freed up after LRT implementation, they should be priorities for Complete Street redesign. YES – This will require lobbying suburban and rural councillors to support acceleration, which has proven to be difficult – that is why forming stronger relationships with all councillors is a top priority. Acceleration of transportation infrastructure investment would also be aided by greater provincial/federal investment…as Director of Government Relations with the Canadian Construction Association, I spent 8 years successfully lobbying for infrastructure investment.
Sandro Provenzano  YES  YES  YES
Silviu Riley  YES  YES  YES
Denis Schryburt YES – I am a huge walker myself and find our current sidewalks in Somerset ward to be in deplorable conditions. I am also a supporter of using public transit whenever possible rather than driving. As city councillor I will push to ensure that a LRT link between the core and the City’s international airport is added to phase II of its master plan. YES – Yes, absolutely. It is a must that our roads and sidewalks are safe for all and enjoyed by all. YES – I have attended many city of Ottawa consultations and workshops on cycling infrastructure within the core, the last one being the O’Connor Street Bikeway Study. If elected, I will push to accelerate the pace on implementation of bike lanes within the city.
Curtis Tom
Lili V. Weemen  YES – Having lived a car free life, I rely heavily on public transit and OC Transpo fare has been increasing steadily. Whenever a bus stop is temporarily unavailable, city should send an SMS to all cellphone users advising of change. If we are serious about using bicycle instead of car, we need a comprehensive and safe cycling infrastructure covering the entire city, not just 2 lanes, north south and east west.  YES – Wherever practical, we should integrate complete streets principles or at least part of it. YES – We could find more creative way by involving the private sector when they redevelop some properties to accelerate the pace of implementation.

Climate Change:

About 75 percent of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions come from activities that occur in cities, and municipalities have direct or indirect control over about half of these emissions. In 2014 the City of Ottawa adopted a new Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan.



*indicates incumbent

Do you agree that human-induced climate change is an urgent issue and all levels of government have a role to play in helping to reduce community greenhouse gas emissions? If elected, will you push for the full implementation of the City of Ottawa’s Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan, including items identified in the plan for the 2015 budget? The Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan establishes the modest goal of reducing Ottawa’s greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent per capita by 2024, but leaves open a lot of space for new initiatives to emerge in the coming years. If elected, will you push for actions aimed at surpassing the current goal?
Martin Canning YES – I believe that anthropogenic climate change is one of the most complex and significant challenges of our time. It requires all levels of government to work in a coherent and comprehensive manner, but increasingly, cities are being forced to take the lead. I believe Ottawa is well positioned to meet this challenge, with the establishment of Canada’s first EcoDistrict, and growth of our new LRT system as critical first steps. YES – In partnership with other local sustainability champions, I have been at the forefront in pushing the City to develop an air quality and climate change plan. Every credible stakeholder in Ottawa involved in advancing a progressive mitigation and adaptation agenda knows me by name or reputation. I will continue my leadership in this policy area at Council. (My support for the recommended budget 2015 “investments” would depend on an analysis confirming those actions as having the greatest impact.) YES – I believe the recently approved plan is an important step in the right direction, but there is room to be more ambitious. I started the #ottghg campaign because Ottawa did not have an air quality and climate change plan in place. We now have a plan, and I look forward to working collaboratively with stakeholders to both identify opportunities to exceed the targets, as well as strengthen the City’s governance around climate change, as we were well short of meeting targets from the previous plan.
Edward Conway YES – As an economist trained in understanding how the damagefrom externalities mushroom because they are unchecked, I can easily subscribe to the fundamental principle that the atmosphere is being destroyed because we treat it as a free and unlimited resource. There is nothing incentivizing us to treat it otherwise. I am a believer in modifying incentives to control environmental damage of GHG. YES – I would do more. Whereas the 2015 budget items are only the asterisk items on the buildings and facilities list of the “Taking Action” segment of the Plan, I would support taking action on all 10 of the buildings and facilities list.  YES
Catherine McKenney  YES  YES  YES
Thomas McVeigh YES – This is a bullet list item on front page of my website. NO – I said no.  We need to do better than the plan. We said urgent didn’t we? YES – We have to do better. Not an option.
Conor Meade YES – Absolutely. One could even argue that the municipality has THE most important impact on Climate Change, since we make the decisions that have the most impact on citizens’ daily life and ecological footprints.  YES – Of course. YES – Absolutely. At this stage, we cannot hope to rely on incremental reductions in emissions to achieve our goal. We need to set our sights on new technologies (sequestration, clean energy sources, etc) which have the potential to radically disrupt the incentive to pollute.
Jeff Morrison YES – After Canada signed the Kyoto Accord, I spent several years working around federal roundtables exploring ways to reduce GHGs in the construction sector, because the evidence was clear to be on the impact of human activity on climate change.  There are many ways in which local communities can be mobilized to reduce GHGs, with the right strategy in place.  YES YES – As part of my platform, I’ve indicated 2 specific initiatives that could be implemented to reduce GHGs locally – change the city’s LEED rating system to Gold (and encourage the NCC to adopt more stringent LEED rating standards), and implement a green roof policy.
Sandro Provenzano  YES  YES  YES
Silviu Riley YES – There is no doubt that human-induced climate change is happening. It is indicated by an overwhelming amount of rigorous, peer-reviewed studies. All levels of government need to acknowledge any climate-destructive practices and counter climate-change denial. We should set and enforce standards, difficult over the short term but needed for the long term.  YES  YES
Denis Schryburt  YES  YES  YES
Curtis Tom
Lili V. Weemen YES – All three levels of government must pool their resources together to work towards achieving that goal. YES – Having enjoyed a minimalist lifestyle with a tiny carbon footprint, I do not use a fan or air conditioning and open the window in summer for fresh air.  I am for the full implementation of the City of Ottawa’s Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan. YES – There is always room for doing better!

Clean Water and Healthy Watersheds:

Every time it rains, a cocktail of contaminants (including bacteria, chemicals, fuels and heavy metals) washes off our streets and runs straight into our rivers and streams via the underground storm-sewer system. Ecology Ottawa wants the City of Ottawa to follow-through on its commitment to develop a Water Environment Strategy that improves stormwater management, invests in green infrastructure, reduces flooding, protects our streams, and makes it safer to swim and fish in our rivers.



*indicates incumbent

The City of Ottawa is developing a Water Environment Strategy that will provide a framework for action to promote clean drinking water, reduce the toxins going into our rivers, and protect communities and streams from flooding associated with severe weather. If elected, will you support the development of a strong strategy and prioritize the investments necessary to realize the strategy’s goals? The April 2014 Ontario Provincial Policy Statement (PPS) instructs planning authorities to promote green infrastructure measures (such as parklands, stormwater systems, wetlands, street trees, urban forests, natural channels, permeable surfaces, and green roofs) in order to reduce costs, protect ecosystems and adapt to extreme weather events. If elected, will you prioritize green infrastructure in addressing the City of Ottawa’s water management needs?   The production of clean water for public consumption has been falling over the past decade in Ottawa (ie., we are using less water). Between 2004 and 2013, the amount of clean water produced and used inside Ottawa fell from over 125,000 million litres to about 100,000 million litres (not including private wells). If elected will you commit to continuing this trend by prioritizing water conservation measures that reduce usage by 3 percent per year?
Martin Canning  YES – Minimizing our impact on local source water, streams, and rivers requires a holistic strategy. To be successful, this Strategy will require the City to work effectively with other levels of government and other jurisdictions, and work collaboratively with organizations like the Ottawa River Keepers. (Although my support in principle is solid, with the absence of a particular initiative being noted in this question, my support for specific “investments” would be made on a case by case basis.)  YES – In the 21st century, green infrastructure measures are essential to building strong, healthy, and efficient communities, as well as an effective way for cities to meet their water management obligations. In this respect, there should be clear linkages between future Water Environment Strategy and Forest Management Strategy, and how they influence the design and material selection of complete streets, and larger urban planning efforts.  YES – I support the 3% per year reduction target and the variety of approaches needed to achieve this goal, including education campaigns, partnerships with the development community, and incentives for landlords and tenants, etc. We must also pilot programs that make it easier for citizens to embark on water and energy efficiency retrofits of their property.
Edward Conway  YES  YES – one of my priorities is to make effective the parklandrequirement associated with downtown condo building development. Presently that green requirement is treated indifferently with cash in lieu of parks. Cash which the city uses for other purposes. I would require the 2% parkland to be translated into actual downtown parkland. The 2% parkland requirement from each condo-build would be banked by the city until 1 hectare is accumulated at which time it must be translated into a downtown park of 1 hectare.  YES
Catherine McKenney  YES  YES  YES
Thomas McVeigh  YES – Being a largely tiara city by area, I support both storm water treatment and examining contaminants introduced by farmland runoff e.g. Pesticide and too much nitrogen.  YES – Lack of permeable surfaces in the core also leads to building damage as water table gets altered and ground subsides.  NO – I checked no. Frankly, 3% reduction isn’t enough.
Conor Meade  YES – I support a comprehensive analysis of all potential hazards in our water supply, a city review of the empirical evidence on their potential health effects, and the development of a strategy to address these threats to our health and environment.
Maintain high standards of quality drinking water in Ottawa. Recognize the benefits of consuming tap water, rather than bottled thus avoiding excess waste in landfills or extra recycling costs.”
 YES – Absolutely. Ecologically sound urban spaces are crucial for improving residents’ quality of life, and building more sustainable cities.  NO – Conservation is a laudable goal. I make an effort to conserve water at home and I encourage everyone to do the same. However, in a world with a growing population and industrializing third world, conservation alone will not have a significant effect. As a policymaker I will be focused on measures that can make a real difference – i.e., better treatment facilities, and water production methods that are minimally disruptive to local ecosystems. 
Jeff Morrison  YES – I have spoken at length about the need for invest in innovative green communities and infrastructure, which includes wastewater infrastructure. The election of the Ontario Liberals will also ensure provincial investment for the Ottawa River clean-up; a top priority.  YES – As part of my platform, I have identified creating an Ottawa green roof bylaw, similar to that of the City of Toronto’s. As Director of Environment with the Canadian Construction Association in the 2000s, I was very involved in policies such as climate change adaptation for infrastructure, so I am very familiar with these concepts. Adapting natural features into the built environment is a step towards healthier communities.  YES – As Director of Environment with the Canadian Construction Association, I pushed for federal subsidies for products / tools that met lower energy and water standards (eg, low flush toilets). As a condo Board President, I had rain sensors installed in our irrigation system as a means to save water. So yes, I would support continuing efforts in this regard.
Sandro Provenzano  YES  YES  YES
Silviu Riley  YES – Ottawa’s sewer system should not overflow into the Ottawa River during heavy rain storms. This should be addressed by the Water Environment Strategy, as a way to protect our drinking water.  YES  YES
Denis Schryburt  YES – The City of Ottawa MUST also work in partnership with our neighbours in Gatineau and both the Ontario and Quebec provincial governments to ensure measures are put in place to protect our rivers from being contaminated.  YES – If elected, I will work towards ensuring that more green infrastructure measures are put in place in order to protect our ecosystems, our parklands, urban forests and street trees. I also support green roofs and more community gardens throughout the city.  YES
Curtis Tom
Lili V. Weemen  YES – Definitely reduce the amount of toxins going into our rivers.  YES – In Somerset ward we have lost too many trees over the years and a regreening campaign is necessary and I would like to see Metcalfe street converted into a grand boulevard with big trees on both sides. Encourage community gardens in summer.  YES – Landscaping using plants growing on runners with shallow roots to cover the soil preventing evaporation.

Healthy Urban Trees:



*indicates incumbent

 The Emerald Ash Borer infestation is killing millions of trees across Ottawa, including about 25 percent of the trees in the urban area. In response, organizations and individuals, including the City of Ottawa, are coming together to set the collective goal of planting a million trees in our nation’s capital as part of our contribution to Canada’s 150 birthday celebration in 2017. If elected, will you support and prioritize investments towards this goal?  The City of Ottawa has announced its intention to develop a new Forest Management Strategy. If elected, will you support the development of a strong strategy and the investments necessary to realize the strategy’s goals? 
Martin Canning  YES – One million trees is a great gift to leave for future generations. I would also support planting a variety of species adapted to the anticipated changes in Ottawa’s climate, and engage with groups like Hidden Harvest to see where these trees could contribute to local food security and urban agriculture. (Although my support in principle is solid, with the absence of a particular initiative being noted in this question, my support for specific “investments” would be made on a case by case basis.)  YES – I’d like this Strategy to reflect the role of trees in storm water management, air quality, climate change adaptation, complete streets, and the management of trees in parks, forests, or other protected areas. I’d support the amendment of City bylaws, where necessary, to advance this Strategy’s goals. (Although my support in principle is solid, with the absence of a particular initiative being noted in this question, my support for specific “investments”” would be made on a case by case basis.)
Edward Conway  YES  YES
Catherine McKenney  YES  YES
Thomas McVeigh  YES – At least. And a diverse selection so that the next infestation doesn’t have a monoculture to devastate.  YES – I am the son of a professional forester. I have a strong interest in this area.
Conor Meade  YES – I support significant and comprehensive investments to increase trees and greenery in Ottawa. Greenery improves air quality, and has a demonstrated positive effect on resident’s happiness and quality of life.  YES – I am a strong believer in the preservation and expansion of Ottawa’s green spaces for a variety of reasons: Environmental, quality of life, attractiveness for businesses and tourists.
Jeff Morrison  YES – Absolutely.  Increasing the natural environment is a proven tool to foster healthier, more livable communities.  Planting trees throughout the city may require volunteer labour, so Ecology Ottawa could and should play a leading role. I also support the efforts of my friend Sam Badach’s proposal to reuse the 600,000 tulips that are a part of the Tulip Festival each year.  YES – I will say yes, but I don’t know what exactly a city-wide Forest Management Strategy entails, so without knowing the scope or content of such a strategy, I couldn’t commit to investments that would be required to implement it.
Sandro Provenzano  YES  YES
Silviu Riley  YES – The unfortunate devastation caused to Ottawa’s trees presents an opportunity to replant trees in a way that would prevent such events in the future. I would support planting urban trees, especially ones that are indigenous to this region. My community has been effected by the Emerald Ash Borer, as we have lost quite a few shade-providing trees along our street.  YES
Denis Schryburt  YES – Absolutely. Our urban forests have taken a huge hit as we have lost millions of trees across the city to EAB alone. Trees are a crucial component in improving our air quality. A partnership between the city and a number or organizations and individuals would certainly increase our chances in reaching such a goal.  YES – If elected, I will vote in support of preventative measures that will save the grand trees we currently have, initiatives aimed at planting more trees to replace those we have lost and planting trees within new developments.
Curtis Tom
Lili V. Weemen  YES – Encourage students to volunteer their time to grow trees in the city.  YES – Old growth forest need to be protected and start thinking of having another green belt.


Proposed Oil Pipeline Threatens Ottawa Water and Communities

TransCanada wants to move more than a million barrels a day of tar sands oil through the City of Ottawa and across the World Heritage Rideau River on its way to export terminals in eastern Canada. The proposed “Energy East” pipeline puts communities and waterways in danger all along the pipeline route.



*indicates incumbent

Do you think the City of Ottawa should conduct a thorough and independent assessment of the risks and costs that the proposed Energy East pipeline poses to the health of Ottawa’s communities and water?  Would you oppose the Energy East Pipeline if it was demonstrated that it threatened the health of Ottawa’s water, climate and communities? Should the City of Ottawa intervene in the National Energy Board review of the proposed Energy East pipeline in order to ensure that the interests of the people of Ottawa are well represented? 
Martin Canning  YES – Council and residents need to be informed about the risks of spills and their potential impact on our environment, including aquifers. With an independent assessment, Council can determine appropriate next steps.  YES – TransCanada has deficiencies in its pipeline safety record, and there are serious questions about any spill response plan.  YES – The City of Ottawa is directly affected by the route of the Energy East pipeline, and should intervene before the National Energy Board and Ontario Energy Board to protect and represent Ottawa’s interests.
Edward Conway  YES  YES  YES
Catherine McKenney  YES  YES  YES
Thomas McVeigh  YES – But I would also support rejecting it without undertaking an assessment. We know the answer. Better things to spend resources on.  YES – It does. Besides, we should be doing the refining near the source and keeping as much of the economic benefit in the region damaged by the extraction.  YES
Conor Meade  YES – Absolutely. More information is always better. Regardless of anyone’s position on the pipeline, no one should object to collecting data and making a fair assessment of the potential risks.  YES – possibly. I would make a decision based on the size and likelihood of the potential threat. If the pipeline can be shown to pose a serious threat to the health of Ottawans, then it would be the duty of every Council member to oppose it.  YES – Ottawa and other municipalities on the pipeline route deserve to be a part of this process.
Jeff Morrison  YES – Absolutely.  Oil pipelines should also be located as far from populated areas as possible to reduce health risks.  YES – If there were any risks to health, then without question, opposition would need to be raised.  NO – I would say “maybe”.  I support an independent expert review of the pipeline, including the relevant EAs.  I think the city should monitor those developments and intervene if necessary, but would prefer if the experts are allowed to do their work.
Sandro Provenzano  YES  YES  YES
Silviu Riley  YES – One of my platform goals is to stop the development of the Energy East pipeline. The bitumen transported by it is dangerous to our rivers and lakes, and our drinking water. The City of Ottawa should not approve any development-related requests from TransCanada, in such a way as to block the pipeline’s passage through Ottawa.  YES – Going by examples of other pipelines, there is no way that the Energy East pipeline can be constructed to not spill. Therefore, it is unsafe, and should be opposed.  YES – It is important that concerns from the citizens of Ottawa be raised at the National Energy Board. Due to the Board’s structure, individual citizens would have to show standing and their authority to speak about the proposed development. Many will be turned down and blocked from giving their testimony. The City of Ottawa has standing and knowledgeable staff, and would be given a chance to speak. The City should be involved in the National Energy Board review.
Denis Schryburt  YES  YES  YES – Absolutely, the City of Ottawa should have a strong voice at the table to ensure that our interest are well represented and taken seriously.
Curtis Tom
Lili V. Weemen  YES – May be we need a second opinion before proceeding any further.  YES – There may be better alternatives that we have not considered yet.  YES – It is always good to voice people’s concerns.

Categories: Campaign

Author:Charles Hodgson

Acting locally on climate change


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  1. Election Reports | Ecology Ottawa - October 3, 2014

    […] Ward 14 – Somerset […]

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