Media Release: Community Associations call on City of Ottawa to make Climate a Priority

For Immediate Release 

In recognition of upcoming Earth Day and on the heels of the historic provincial climate summit at which Ontario announced a cap and trade approach to pricing carbon, fourteen of Ottawa’s community associations have sent a letter to Mayor Jim Watson.  The letter calls on the City of Ottawa to also do its part making action and accountability on climate change an official city priority.

“Cities have a huge role to play,” said Pat O’Brien, Chair of the Hintonburg Community Association’s Environment Committee. “The Federation of Canadian Municipalities says cities have jurisdiction over half of the greenhouse gasses Canadians produce,” he continued, “and the City of Ottawa itself acknowledges its role in its official documents.”

The documents referred to are Ottawa’s Official Plan, renewed in 2013, and its subordinate Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan, renewed in 2014. The community associations, members of the Community Association Forum on Environmental Sustainability (CAFES), are urging the city to designate climate change as something called a “Term of Council Priority.” Liz Bernstein, President of the Lowertown Community Association explains “in the last city budget there was no money for the climate change plan, so to fund it the city needs to make it an official priority, and they’re deciding on that now; in the next week or so.”

By designating action and accountability on climate change a Term of Council Priority the issue will be eligible for part of $37.4 million that has been set aside for “priority initiatives” this fiscal year.

“We are proud that the City is doing something. We’ve got a plan,” said Pat O’Brien, “but the plan is only good if we do something with it.”

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LETTER SENT TO MAYOR JIM WATSON FOLLOWS

Community Associations Forum on Environmental Sustainability

CAFES Ottawa

April 16, 2015

Mayor Jim Watson
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario K1P 1J1
Via email: Jim.Watson@ottawa.ca

Dear Mayor Watson,

Re: Term of Council Priorities and Strategic Initiative Funding

As the City of Ottawa’s Official Plan says: “Climate change is one of the critical environmental challenges facing the world and measures to both reduce GHG emissions (mitigation) and prepare for the impacts of climate change (adaptation) need to be incorporated into all levels of City decision-making…”Municipalities are key to addressing and preparing for climate change. According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, “up to half of Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are under the direct or indirect control or influence of municipal governments.”

The Official Plan also says that “the City has made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in both corporate operations and at the community level.” We appreciate this commitment and thank and congratulate you for presiding over the renewal of the City of Ottawa’s Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan.

Given the commitments by the City and its opportunity to tackle this costly and harmful issue, it is essential that climate change be identified as a Term of Council Priority. Forward movement on climate change will then be possible for the citizens of Ottawa, including using strategic initiative funding reserved for these priorities.

Yours truly,

Pat O’Brien
Co-organizer, Community Associations Forum on Environmental Sustainability (CAFES)

CAFES Ottawa members (endorsing this letter)
•    Action Sandy Hill
•    Champlain Park Community Association
•    Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association
•    Dalhousie Community Association
•    Glebe Community Association
•    Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital
•    Heron Park Community Association
•    Hintonburg Community Association
•    Lowertown Community Association
•    New Edinburgh Community Alliance
•    Ottawa East Community Association / Sustainable Living Ottawa East
•    Riverview Park Community Association
•    Westboro Community Association
•    Westboro Beach Community Association

cc. City Councillors

NOTE: Since this letter was submitted the following groups have asked that their names be added

  • Beacon Hill Community Association
  • Glebe Annex Community Association
  • Mechanicsville Community Association
  • Old Ottawa South Community Association (OSCA)
  • Queensway Terrace North Community Association
  • Rothwell Heights Property Owners Association
  • Tucker House
  • BioRegional North America
  • Ottawa Renewable Energy Coop
  • University of Ottawa’s Office of Campus Sustainability
  • 350 Ottawa
  • Carleton Climate Commons Working Group
  • Right Bike

Categories: Climate Change, News Releases

Author:Ecology Ottawa

Volunteer driven local group dedicated to making Ottawa the green capital of Canada

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5 Comments on “Media Release: Community Associations call on City of Ottawa to make Climate a Priority”

  1. Ecology Ottawa
    April 17, 2015 at 9:25 am #

    Dear Mr. O’Brien,

    Thank you for taking the time to write.

    I share your view that sustainability and the environment should continue to be priorities for the City of Ottawa. We are making great progress on these important issues, but I know there is more work to do.

    We will of course take your feedback into consideration as we finalize our Strategic Initiatives for the term.

    Sincerely,

    Jim Watson
    Mayor
    City of Ottawa

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