When the COVID-19 pandemic hit Ottawa, we launched an initiative for safe access to Ottawa’s streets. We wanted Ottawa to follow the lead of cities around the world to re-purpose under-used streets. This situation is particularly acute in dense urban areas, where it can be difficult or impossible for residents to access basic amenities while following physical distancing guidelines.
While the mayor fought against this initiative, we were pleased to see several councillors and the NCC take serious efforts to open up safe streets for people. Capital ward councillor Shawn Menard is one of these supportive councillors, and we applaud his efforts.
We have watched with profound dismay over the past few weeks as the Glebe Business Improvement Area (BIA) has opposed Councillor Menard’s efforts. We are astonished at the lengths to which the BIA has gone to prioritize car storage and parking over public health.
For these reasons, we are now terminating the longstanding relationship between Ecology Ottawa and the Glebe BIA, anchored around the annual Great Glebe Green Garage Sale.
The Great Glebe Green Garage Sale began as a community fundraising initiative in 2008, and became an annual tradition for Ecology Ottawa and the Glebe for twelve years. Over the years, this event became the community and event hub of the annual Great Glebe Garage Sale. While our work originally focused on waste diversion and recycling, it eventually transformed into a massive community tree distribution event. This event has grown to become our largest annual community outreach initiative. It is the starting point for thousands of conversations and interactions focused on making Ottawa a greener city.
We know the Glebe BIA does not speak for all Glebe businesses. We are deeply thankful to the many that support public health, active transportation and efforts to make Ottawa a greener city. We are also profoundly thankful to the many businesses who helped make the Great Glebe Green Garage Sale such a massive success over the years.
A public letter addressed to the Glebe BIA is attached.