FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Cumberland candidates make bold environmental pledges on planning, transportation and campaign finance reform
September 18, 2020
(OTTAWA) – In the run-up to the Cumberland ward by-election on October 5, Ecology Ottawa has released the results of an environmental priorities survey, shared with all candidates on August 28. The 11-question survey focused on pressing environmental issues including climate change, transportation and nature protection. All candidates were asked to answer “yes” or “no” questions and provided an explanation for their responses if they desired. Six of ten candidates completed the survey.
“Electing a strong environmental leader for Cumberland ward is extremely important – both for the ward itself, but also for helping shape the direction of council as a whole,” stated Robb Barnes, Executive Director at Ecology Ottawa. “This survey is designed to help Cumberland voters make an informed choice in this by-election.”
The survey results show candidates making bold environmental pledges across a range of areas. Notably:
- half of respondents committed to reducing and eliminating single family zoning in Ottawa as part of the effort to shift to more climate-friendly land use planning;
- half of respondents committed to studying road pricing options with a view to implementing them in this Term of Council;
- five out of six candidates committed to working to eliminate mandatory parking requirements in Ottawa, a move which would enhance sustainable land use; and
- a majority of candidates committed to repurposing the city’s costly road budget to more sustainable uses .
“We also would like to note that all respondents refused to accept corporate and union donations during their campaign,” continued Mr. Barnes. “Because councillors’ decisions have a major impact on Ottawa’s environment, it is critical that councillors retain their independence and stop taking campaign contributions from people directly connected to the development industry.”
Cumberland by election debate:
POUR DIFFUSION IMMÉDIATE: Les candidats de Cumberland prennent des engagements environnementaux audacieux sur la planification, les transports et la réforme du financement des campagnes
COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE
18 septembre 2020
(OTTAWA) – À l’approche de l’élection partielle du quartier de Cumberland le 5 octobre, Écologie Ottawa a publié les résultats d’un sondage sur les priorités environnementales, partagée avec tous les candidats le 28 août. Le sondage à 11 questions s’est concentré sur des questions environnementales urgentes tels que le changement climatique, le transport et la protection de la nature. Tous les candidats ont été invités à répondre aux questions par un «oui» ou un «non» et ont fourni une explication de leurs réponses s’ils le désiraient. Six des dix candidats ont répondu au sondage.
«Il est extrêmement important d’élire un leader environnemental fort pour le quartier de Cumberland – à la fois pour le quartier lui-même, mais aussi pour aider à façonner l’orientation du conseil dans son ensemble», a déclaré Robb Barnes, Directeur exécutif d’Écologie Ottawa. «Ce sondage est conçu pour aider les électeurs de Cumberland à faire un choix éclairé lors de cette élection partielle.»
Les résultats du sondage montrent que les candidats prennent des engagements environnementaux audacieux dans un large éventail de domaines. Notamment:
- la moitié des répondants se sont engagés à réduire et à éliminer le zonage unifamilial à Ottawa dans le cadre des efforts visant à passer à un aménagement du territoire plus respectueux du climat;
- la moitié des répondants se sont engagés à étudier les options de tarification routière en vue de les mettre en œuvre au cours de ce mandat;
- cinq candidats sur six se sont engagés à travailler pour éliminer les exigences de stationnement obligatoire à Ottawa, une mesure qui améliorerait l’utilisation durable des terres; et
- une majorité de candidats se sont engagés à réaffecter le budget routier coûteux de la ville à des usages plus durables.
«Nous tenons également à noter que tous les répondants ont refusé d’accepter les dons des entreprises et des syndicats pendant leur campagne», a poursuivi M. Barnes. «Parce que les décisions des conseillers ont un impact majeur sur l’environnement d’Ottawa, il est essentiel que les conseillers conservent leur indépendance et cessent de recevoir des contributions électorales de personnes directement liées à l’industrie du développement.»
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The full questions included in the survey are below:
1. Planning decisions have a major impact on Ottawa’s environment, determining our climate performance, access to transit and active transportation, and the protection of trees and greenspace. To make progress on these issues, we need councillors to vote with the public interest in mind. However, many Ottawa councillors elected in 2018 received campaign contributions from people directly connected to the development industry. Meanwhile, cities like Toronto have banned corporate and union campaign donations to improve transparency and accountability and reduce the influence of special interests in municipal politics.
Will you refuse to accept corporate and union donations during this election period?
Renewable City, a program for climate action and the renewable energy transition
1. There is a strong inverse correlation, observed in cities around the world, between urban density and per capita carbon pollution. In other words, higher population densities are arguably the most important element to any municipal plan to tackle the climate crisis. Cities have been responding to the threat of climate change, as well as various social challenges, by eliminating single family residential zoning. This type of zoning remains common in all wards in Ottawa, even after the city has declared a climate emergency. In suburban areas, the City of Ottawa mandates that at least 30% of new homes are built as single-family, or single-detached.
If elected, will you work to reduce and eliminate “R1,” or single-family, zoning in Ottawa?
2. Energy Evolution is the City of Ottawa’s flagship climate program – a collection of initiatives designed to shift our city towards full decarbonization by 2050. Unfortunately, this small program is constantly at risk of budget pressures. Earlier this summer, the city treasurer proposed reallocating 80% of Energy Evolution’s $2.5 million 2020 budget allotment to other uses.
If elected, will you commit to protecting funding for Energy Evolution, and ensuring that all elements of this program are delivered in a timely manner?
3. Development of Ottawa’s new Official Plan, and related master plans, has begun and will conclude during this term of council. The Official Plan sets the ground rules that can make it easier or virtually impossible for cities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions—from transportation patterns and sprawl, to housing densities and unit sizes, to options for local renewable energy production, to the services, amenities, and greenspaces residents can access within walking distance. Official Plans and Master Plans developed with climate change in mind deliver powerful benefits that make neighbourhoods healthier, safer, and more livable.
If elected, will you support and work for a new Official Plan that makes low-carbon development a top priority, in a way that delivers healthier, safer, more livable 15-minute neighbourhoods for your constituents?
Active City, a program for active and sustainable transportation
1. Cities around the world are experimenting with congestion pricing on roads to tackle traffic congestion, reduce air pollution, lower carbon pollution and generate much-needed revenues for alternatives to the car, namely transit and active transportation.
If elected, will you encourage the City of Ottawa to study road pricing options with a view to implementing them in this Term of Council?
2. Vast swaths of land in Ottawa are dedicated to parking, and often go under-used, wasting valuable land and imposing numerous environmental costs on our city (e.g., worsened flooding, toxic run-off, entrenched car-dependency, etc.). Edmonton has recently moved to ban minimum parking requirements on new developments city-wide. Instead, developers, homeowners and businesses are now able to decide how much on-site parking to provide on their properties, rather than providing a minimum number of parking stalls.
If elected, will you work to eliminate mandatory minimum parking requirements in Ottawa?
3. In the City of Ottawa’s 2020 budget (released in November 2019), $66.2 million was dedicated to road growth projects. The city continues to spend enormous amounts on new roads, road widening and road expansion projects despite strong evidence of the phenomenon of “induced demand” – that is, that new roads generate additional demand, and do nothing to alleviate congestion.
If elected, will you work to re-purpose the city’s road budget to more sustainable uses (e.g., climate action, active transportation, transit, green infrastructure) and challenge city staff claims that ignore the phenomenon of induced demand?
4. Each year, dozens of drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are killed on Ottawa’s streets. These tragic deaths are avoidable; cities around the world have been adopting “Vision Zero,” a road safety program that aims to eliminate severe injury and death on streets. This means slower speeds, more separation between road users, and a well-funded action plan with clear, measurable targets. The City of Ottawa has not yet embraced Vision Zero. Instead, the city’s new Road Safety Action Plan aims to reduce deaths by 20% over four years, and accepts that 110 deaths over the 2020-2024 period are inevitable.
If elected, will you commit to implementing Vision Zero in Ottawa?
Living City, a program to protect Ottawa’s trees, water, greenspace and biodiversity
1. The City of Ottawa adopted the Urban Forest Management Plan in 2017, a comprehensive suite of policies, plans and by-laws to strengthen and restore Ottawa’s tree canopy. By strengthening our tree canopy, we will make our city more livable, vibrant and resilient. Over the past three years, the Urban Forest Management Plan has been at risk from ongoing budget pressures and implementation delays.
If elected, will you commit to protecting our urban forest by investing in the Urban Forest Management Plan, implementing all improvements made and committing to a 40% canopy cover target per neighbourhood?
2. We are in a biodiversity crisis worldwide, and Canada is no exception. Cities are moving to adopt strong urban biodiversity plans that seek to address the many impacts that come with concentrated human settlement patterns. The City of Ottawa has various biodiversity protection policies, but no systematic way of monitoring and reviewing local biodiversity.
If elected, will you commit to making the City of Ottawa a biodiversity champion by implementing a monitoring and review protocol?
3. With climate change, Ottawa is facing more severe weather impacts, including floods, heat waves and damaging storms. Green infrastructure – the living and built systems that slow down, soak up and filter water (e.g., bioswales, permeable pavements, trees, rain gardens, ran barrels) – are a key tool in making cities healthier, more biodiverse and more resilient to climate shocks. However, the city of Ottawa has not yet moved beyond the pilot phase and adopted a city-wide green infrastructure strategy.
If elected, will you commit to systematically scaling up the development of green infrastructure city-wide?