In the run-up to the election Ecology Ottawa asked all candidates a series of questions on important environmental issues.
Here’s how David Chernushenko answered.
Also notable is his campaign call for 100% renewable energy for Ottawa by 2050.
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: 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.
Q: If elected, will you work to ensure that all new roads and road renewal projects integrate Complete Streets principles?
A: 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
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: YES – I believe we need to double the annual amount.
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?
A: 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.
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: 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).
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 – 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.
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 – 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.
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 – 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.
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 – 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.
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?
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 – Maybe. There are several processes now underway. It may be just as effective to latch on to the provincial initiative here.
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?