In the run-up to the election Ecology Ottawa asked all candidates a series of questions on important environmental issues.
Here’s how Bob Monette answered.
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).
Q: 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?
A: NO – I will commit equal prioritization because suburban communities continue to depend on automobile transportation and will continue to do so for years to come.
Q: If elected, will you work to ensure that all new roads and road renewal projects integrate Complete Streets principles?
A: YES – That is what the City has planned for by concentrating that new roads present a safe environment for cycling, pedestrians and public transit infrastructure.
Q: 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?
A: NO – I will support the continued growth level that we are facing. In fact, I will support as I have supported in the past multi-use pathways in my community such as the paving of the Ottawa River multi-use pathway, Safer Roads Ottawa as well as the Pathway Patrol.
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.
Q: 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?
Q: 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?
Q: 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?
A: NO – I support the present action plan and believe that we have to be realistic when moving forward to strive for achievable goals. At this time, I want to focus on our current goals and ensure that they are attainable.
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.
Q: 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?
A: YES – Being the first person to identify and raise the issue of the gate malfunction and having championed the Ottawa River Action Plan, we brought Federal and Provincial governments at the table supporting the policy that the City has implemented. Important to note is that before my tour of ROPEC in 2007, 100% of raw sewage was flowing into the River. Today, we stopped 80% from the flow and I will work to ensure that the remaining 20% is resolved. We must ensure that Quebec is also on board.
Q: 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?
A: YES – Having been a member of the Planning Committee for the past two terms, the City of Ottawa has taken a major role in ensuring that these measures are put in place when applications come forward to Council.
Q: 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?
A: YES – The City policy has always been to promote its drinking water and we will continue to do so. As far as 3%, we intend on continuing the present trend.
Healthy Urban Trees:
Q: 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?
A: YES – The City of Ottawa has been very aggressive with the Emerald Ash Borer infestation and in fact we have identified it as a major priority for the City and this term of Council approved an extra million dollars in funding for trees to be treated. The City has also committed to replacing trees which must be removed and I support these initiatives.
Q: 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?
A: YES – I have stated yes but it will be on condition that a full report is brought forward and all financial and environmental implications are considered before a final decision is made.
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.
Q: 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?
A: YES – I have grave concerns when it comes to putting oil pipes under our water system. Just as we have seen with infrastructure, everything deteriorates after time and we must find out the results of a deteriorated pipeline 30-40 years from now.
Q: Would you oppose the Energy East Pipeline if it was demonstrated that it threatened the health of Ottawa’s water, climate and communities?
Q: 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?