Ecology Ottawa asked all candidates in the 2014 municipal election a series of questions on important environmental issues.
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).
|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?|
|Scott Blurton||YES – This is a key part of my “Transportation Choice” platform. I would work with the City to develop a Congestion Pricing system to charge drivers for using roads based on their level of congestion. I would advocate using these funds to keep transit fares low, improve service and routes and reduce property taxes.||YES – In the long term. In the near-term, I would focus on the most congested and/or dangerous streets and intersections in Ottawa to ensure that we cut down on the fatalities that have happened far too frequently.||YES – I would focus on developing the pedestrian bridge at 5th and Queen Elizabeth while building support on Council for pedestrian crossings across the Rideau Canal from the Glebe into Old Ottawa South and Heron Park so that people can move from south to north and back again while feeling safe on their bikes.|
|David Chernushenko*||YES – Complete Streets policy development and implementation has been and will continue to be a top priority for me. Main Street will be redeveloped in my ward this term: a critical learning experience for all of us in terms of Complete Street design and implementation.||YES – Yes, each in their own appropriate way. There is no one-size-fits-all model, so we’ll need to try a variety of approaches||YES – I believe we need to double the annual amount.|
|Espoir Manirambona||YES – affordable public transit is key. I want transit to be free, but at a minimum we should significantly reduce fares. pedestrians should be given the highest priority as walking is the most sustainable way of getting around. Car use should phased out as quickly as possible.||YES – We should reduce the number of roads in my view but yes the ones that we have now and the ones that might be absolutely necessary should be transformed into complete streets.||YES – Big yes. once again, car use is a disaster on so many fronts and should be phased out.|
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.
|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?|
|Scott Blurton||YES – The debate has long been settled. Now is the time for action.||YES – I think this provides an opportunity to improve the economic efficiency of the city. Any released greenhouse gas emissions are waste products that don’t provide any economic benefit to the city. By cutting down on our GHGs, we can make ourselves more competitive in our energy use.||NO – Politicians have a long history of committing to targets and then doing nothing to meet them. I would focus my efforts on meeting our current target first before committing to additional targets. Furthermore, I would prefer to focus on economic prices for carbon and activities that produce GHGs such as a congestion pricing system instead of political targets.|
|David Chernushenko*||YES – I hope that public support will swing back to make it easier for those of us who get the severity of the problem to see some real action. Like congestion pricing.||YES||YES – We must aim for 80% by 2050, but that will require a major shift in opinion from my colleagues on Council and their constituents (some of mine too).|
|Espoir Manirambona||YES – And that means doing some radical things like producing only what we need, locally and in an egalitarian and sustainable way. That means developing a new economy/society that will look quite different then what we’ve had. that means a more equal distribution of economic and political power. that means wanting a radical, positive transformation of ourselves and society. getting to the real roots of our environmental challenges.||YES – My guess is its probably weak (do to city hall having been dominated by capitalists for so long) so id want to go a lot further, always tying it to democratic and social justice issues.||YES – We can do a lot better. heavily consulting with environmental groups and experts, community groups. As Naomi Klein explains in her new book “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate”, such a plan would require radically transforming ourselves, our economy and how we relate to one another and Mother Earth. We’ll need strong social movements and activist-conscious-councilors elected to only serve the public interest.|
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.
|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?|
|Scott Blurton||YES – When I first arrived in Ottawa, I was surprised by everyone I met advised not to swim in the water at Mooney’s Bay. Where I was raised, access to clean water, both for drinking and for swimming. As Councillor, I want work with a Coalition of the Green to clean up our rivers so that they become a source of pride for our community.||YES – While we are blessed by one of the world’s largest inventories of fresh water, we must still work hard to use our bounty as efficiently and sustainably as possible. Green Infrastructure provides an opportunity to make investments today that will pay dividends for decades to come.||YES – I would. There are many new techniques, innovations and technologies that allow us to use less water to accomplish the same activities that sustain our lives. As Councillor, I look forward to working with the City to investigate them.|
|David Chernushenko*||YES – I am particularly keen to promote alternative storm water management methods at the community level for new developments, both urban and suburban. Less hardened landscape, free roofs, water retaining landscaping, etc. Our pilot project on Sunnyside Avenue will be a valuable start.||YES – We are doing a poor job of requiring planting of trees along streets where there is the potential for them to become large street trees. Too great a priority is given to underground parking being allowed to go to the edge of the sidewalk.||YES – Our challenge is going to be the adoption of a pricing system which continues to encourage water conservation, while at the same time generates enough revenue to pay for delivery to every home of affordably-priced, clean water.|
|Espoir Manirambona||YES – Strongly agree, the water supply should also be free of any medications such as fluoride. I hope ecology ottawa will join the growing call for fluoridation free water. http://www.fluoridefree.ca/||YES||YES – Agreed. conserving water should be a key priority. One way to do that is to significantly reduce production/consumption of unnecessary goods and services.|
Healthy Urban Trees:
|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?|
|Scott Blurton||YES – I would but we have to diversify our tree stock here in Ottawa to insulate us from future invasive pest infestations. For too long, we’ve focused on one tree species for financial or aesthetic reasons that have left us vulnerable to pests. Nature has it right. Species diversity is the way to go.||YES – When I came to Ottawa, I was impressed by how trees and forests were integrated into the community and how these trees improved temperature control, aesthetics and the general quality of life. As Councillor, I would bring my focus to the diversity and sustainability of the FMS to ensure that Ottawa is not vulnerable to future pest infestations.|
|David Chernushenko*||YES – With city budgets at the breaking point, we are going to want to create a strong partnership with private citizens and commercial landowners to get behind a massive planting program of (sufficiently diverse) species of trees.||YES|
|Espoir Manirambona||YES – We should also have a plan to encourage organizations/households to go paperless.||YES|
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.
|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?|
|Scott Blurton||NO – I support the Mayor’s strategy to pursue special observer status at the NEB hearings and to work with the province of Ontario as their status as an intervenor on the environmental assessment due to their superior expertise in the fields of environmental assessment and natural resource development.||YES – We would also have to compare the environmental impact of the Energy East Pipeline with the environmental impact and risks from transportation of oil through Ottawa by train that would be inevitable if Energy East was not approved. I will support the safest option for Ottawa’s water, climate and communities.||NO – I agree with the Mayor. We should seek Special Observer status and work with the Province of Ottawa in their position as intervenor due to their superior expertise in the fields of environmental assessment and natural resource development.|
|David Chernushenko*||YES – Maybe. There are several processes now underway. It may be just as effective to latch on to the provincial initiative here.||YES||YES|
|Espoir Manirambona||YES – Do we really have to? id say lets save the time and money. dont have to be a rocket scientist to figure out that tar sands flowing anywhere its not suppose to is probably a bad idea :). keep it in the ground!||YES – I already do 🙂 the city of ottawa could also issue a statement declaring the growing call to shut down the tar sands and focus on producing local green energy.||YES|