No time to celebrate

Photo credit: Wikipedia commons

This past weekend, we were planning to write you about good news from city hall. Last Wednesday, Ottawa joined hundreds of cities across Canada in declaring a climate emergency. We were elated that our municipal leaders voted overwhelmingly to show leadership on the climate crisis, and we wanted to spread the word. 

Recent events have overshadowed this jubilant mood. Over the weekend, flooding devastated homes and communities all over the Ottawa area. As we write this, area dams are buckling under the force of water, and the Ottawa River has yet to crest. Lives are being interrupted and thrown into disarrayAnd after the third year in a row of extreme weather disasters, Ottawans are wrestling with a sense of climate anxiety that no longer feels distant or abstract. 

During the debate around council’s climate emergency declaration, some councillors had asked if climate change was a “real” emergency – on par with crises like opiate addiction, homelessness and violence in our streets. The answer – sadly – is all too obvious now. Climate change is undeniably a real emergency, and its impacts will be felt even more deeply in the years to come. It’s not yet clear if spring flooding will be a disastrous new normal for our city. But it’s clear that climate change poses more than a single threat, and can upend the status quo with alarming speed and violence.   

This is why tackling climate change is the most urgent issue of our time.Action in cities like Ottawa, which are directly or indirectly responsible for half of Canadian emissions, is critical. Council’s declaration of climate emergency is a positive step, and is more than symbolic. In fact, it moves forward at least five critical elements. Click here to read more abouthow this declaration moves the needle on important issues like climate equity, resiliency, and aligning Ottawa’s emissions goals with scientific requirements

As Councillor Shawn Menard noted last week, Ottawa is still at the beginning stages of responding to the climate crisis. Now, we must demand that council be bold in its plan for change. Put simply, we have 11 years to do three big things. We must dramatically change how we heat, cool and electrify our buildings. We must dramatically reduce emissions from how we move around our city. Finally, we must plan the future development of our city in a way that makes the first and second goals easier to accomplish.

There are so many opportunities to tackle these big challenges in the months and years ahead – from putting a stop to wasteful urban sprawl, to making our streets safer for pedestrians and cyclists, to creating a green jobs boom by retrofitting our buildings. There’s still time to tackle the climate crisis while building a better city, but we must act now. 

In the meantime, we urge you to help our friends and neighbours who are most in need at this critical time. Click here to find out about how you can volunteer to help

Explainer: What Does the Climate Emergency Resolution Mean for Ottawa?

On Wednesday, April 24th, City Council passed a resolution declaring Climate Emergency in Ottawa, and in doing so joined numerous other Canadian municipalities in committing to climate action in our community with renewed vigour and determination. Though the motion wasn’t passed unanimously, as was the case in other municipalities (Ottawa’s motion was opposed by three councillors) this resolution signals a shift in city council: from an era of slow-footed movement on climate, to one of rapid, rigorous change for the better. A new era heralded by this motion, the upcoming release of  Energy Evolution Phase 2, and the development of a climate resiliency plan, will be one in which we begin to tackle climate change with the kind of scale and attention the crisis truly requires.

There are five main aspects of the resolution that we at Ecology Ottawa are really enthusiastic about, because the climate emergency declaration is not purely symbolic. These five critical elements (as we see them) are as follows:

  1. It fast-tracks work on renewable energy and energy conservation programs, as well as technical analysis. This comes at a cost of $250,000, which is $100,000 more than the City spent on its flagship Energy Evolution program in the last municipal budget.

  2. It incorporates an “equity and inclusion” lens into climate planning. For the first time, Ottawa will now need to think proactively about how our most vulnerable residents are impacted by climate change.

  3. It calls on the city to incorporate climate change as a Term of Council Priority. Over the next few months, council will debate its policy priorities for the duration of its term. It is critical that climate change be included as a major priority, and that concrete policy measures and funding flow from this prioritization.  

  4. It calls on the city to issue a climate resiliency strategy. A resilience plan, where Ottawa outlines how it will cope with climate impacts and risks, is something the city has been promising since at least 2011. One more push to get this strategy out the door is welcome and useful.

  5. It calls on the city to analyze how our municipal emissions reduction targets line up with IPCC requirements for limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Currently, Ottawa’s emission targets are based on provincial targets rather than on scientific evidence. It’s highly likely that the findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will require us to act more urgently and ambitiously.

 

The above are the highlights of the resolution: the overall themes, and those few things that we really take heart, and find meaning in when we study the declaration. If you’re eager to learn a bit more about the resolution and really “dig into the weeds” with us, keep reading, because we’re here to break down the resolution for you. Over the following paragraphs, we’ll take you through each of the motion’s 8 points, and hopefully provide you with a deeper understanding of the city’s undertaking with their declaration of “climate emergency.”  

We’ve chosen to leave the preamble, or “Background” and “Whereas” sections of the resolution out of our review, as they don’t really require much explanation. What you can read below is a clause-by-clause dissection of the implications of the resolution, made easy to understand, and wrap your brain around.

Each clause, lifted directly from the text, is in bold lettering, and is followed by a paragraph of explanation. 

BE IT RESOLVED THAT Council officially declare a climate emergency for the purposes of naming, framing, and deepening our commitment to protecting our economy, our ecosystems, and our community from climate change;

First off, it should be noted that the use of the term “emergency” in this first point does not mean that passing of this motion puts into effect a “state of emergency” in the formal sense. Instead, use of the term “emergency” is intended, like the above text says  “for the purposes of naming, framing, and deepening our commitment”. This differs from a formal state of emergency like that declared by Mayor Watson on April 25th, 2019 which put into effect emergency measures and funding in order to rapidly take action to prevent and mitigate flood damage along the Ottawa River.

 

THAT COUNCIL establish a Council Sponsors Group comprised of representatives from the Standing Committees on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management, Planning Committee, Transportation Committee, Transit Commission and the Councillor Liaison of Environment Stewardship Advisory Committee;

A Council Sponsors’ Group is an ad-hoc committee comprised of councillors sitting on a variety of official city committees (like the Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management which approved the climate emergency motion before it went to Council.) In this Council Sponsors Group, these councillors, representing a wide array of municipal concerns, will gather to informally discuss how to embed a climate change lens in decisions that are made by Committees which wouldn’t otherwise consider environment and climate.

 

THAT COUNCIL direct City staff to include the following in the review and update of the AQCCMP:

  • An analysis of how the AQCCMP’s long term target to reduce GHG emissions 80% below 2012 levels by 2050 compares to the IPCC’s targets for limiting global warming to 1.5 ºC
  • Midterm (2030) corporate and community GHG emission reduction targets
  • Climate Change mitigation and adaptation priorities for next five years (2019-2024) to embed climate change considerations across all elements of City business;

Last updated in 2014, the AQCCMP is Ottawa’s Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan: a lengthy document that aims to lay out a framework for climate mitigation and adaptation over the next 20 years in the city of Ottawa. The document is being revisited this year, and with the passing of this motion (specifically the above points), the city has committed to including in the 2019 review a comparison with how our greenhouse gas reduction targets compare with those laid out by the UN IPCC* recent report on 1.5C.  It was in this report (issued last November) that we found out that in order to limit warming to 1.5C and keep the planet (mostly) liveable, we’ll have to reduce our emissions by as much as 107% by 2050, and get on that pathway within the next 12 years. The above points also commit city staff to developing “midpoint targets” for both the City of Ottawa’s emissions, as well as our community emissions- allowing us to see where we’ll have to be by 2030 if we’re going to hit our current reduction targets of 80% reductions by 2050. The third point above is exciting because it’s requiring the city to consider mitigation and adaptation measures in all city business, taking care to develop priority actions for the next five years.

*UN IPCC= United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

THAT COUNCIL direct City staff to include the following in the Energy Evolution Final Report:

  • Status update of Energy Evolution Phase 1 actions
  • New concrete actions and resource implications (staff and financial) to achieve GHG emission reduction targets
  • Use an equity and inclusion lens in the prioritization of actions
  • Funding and savings options for the City when implementing emission reductions;

Energy Evolution is the City of Ottawa’s renewable energy strategy: designed to help the city manage energy consumption, and promote renewable energy. Initially received by council in 2017, “Phase 2” of the strategy is being released at the end of 2019. With the motion passing, City staff will have to ensure future Energy Evolution documentation will include progress updates on any actions proposed by Energy Evolution Phase 1, and develop new innovations to reduce our citywide greenhouse gas reduction target of 80% by 2050. This clause also includes language about “equity and inclusion” as it pertains to climate change- something we don’t always see from the City, and something that is a very welcome and very necessary addition. We know that the effects of climate change are felt most acutely by marginalized peoples, lower income communities, children, and the elderly. We’re excited to see that the city is taking seriously the fact that it’s those vulnerable people who must be protected and prioritized in any environment and climate policy.

 

THAT COUNCIL direct City staff to report back, within the 2019 calendar year, on a spending plan for the Hydro Ottawa Dividends Surplus that would help reduce community and corporate GHG emissions beyond the scope of the City’s current climate targets while also saving money;

Simply put: They city needs to plan for money it makes by investing in energy efficiency measures and renewable energy (Hydro Ottawa Dividends Surplus) to be dedicated and diverted toward greenhouse gas reduction measures that will take us beyond the scope of our current reduction target of 80% by 2050.

 

THAT COUNCIL direct City staff to complete a vulnerability assessment and develop a climate resiliency strategy to reduce the impacts of a changing climate;

Development of a climate adaptation plan or “resiliency strategy” is something that was actually Mandated by AQCCMP back in 2011, but as of today, has yet to surface. We’re excited that the City of Ottawa is finally beginning to get this particular show on the road, as we are already beginning to feel the effects of climate change within our city. Last years’ intense heat waves and tornado, and the flooding we’re currently experiencing, are evidence to the need for a climate resiliency strategy for our community– to ensure that we know what to expect in coming decades, and that we’re prepared for dealing with potential disaster.

 

THAT COUNCIL recognize climate change as a strategic priority in the City’s strategic plan and accompanying budget directions for the remaining Term of Council;

In past years, council has devoted funding and resources towards those few issues it deems to be Term of Council “Strategic Priorities” (usually about 8 main priorities are set per term.) With this point in the motion we’re hoping to see an as-of-yet unprecedented amount of funding and resource allocation go towards climate change issues and solutions.

 

THAT COUNCIL work with senior levels of government to accelerate ambition and action to meet the urgency of climate change and provide additional resources for municipalities and the public to reduce their GHG emissions and build resiliency to climate impacts.

This final piece of the motion, though it might look like nothing more than flowery language, is actually of importance in setting the tone for climate action from the City going forward. Within this one sentence it’s made clear that Council stand up to provincial and federal governments, demanding stronger climate action, and support from them. So much of what we do at a municipal level is determined by funding we receive from senior levels of government, and it is only if we have their financial support that we’ll succeed in our ambitions.  

 

The City of Ottawa’s Climate Emergency Motion is by no means the be-all-and-end-all of they City’s municipal climate policy. In so many ways it is only the beginning– the tip of the municipal climate policy iceberg, but still, it has such potential for impact. Cities in Canada are responsible for approximately 50% of all emissions across the country. If Ottawa, and other cities like it who have declared Climate Emergency live up to the responsibilities they lay out in motions like the one passed by our Council on the 24th, we have a very real chance of building the sort of healthy, vibrant, adaptive, and resilient city that we’ll need if we’re to weather the many storms we have yet to face. This past week has made us confident in the City’s commitment, and even more confident in the peoples’ commitment: after all, none of this would have happened without the voices of thousands of Ottawans coming together to demand this action of our representatives. We hope you draw as much strength from this motion being passed as we do, Ottawa, and that with this change, you feel empowered to take further action to defend our community, and to defend our climate.

 

Ecology Ottawa’s work is funded by contributions from members of the Ottawa community. To support the work of Ecology Ottawa, and initiates like our push for a Climate Emergency Declaration, consider donating today. 

 

Victory at the Environment Committee!

April 16 was a historic day for climate action in Ottawa. The Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management voted 6-2 to declare Climate Emergency.

The day started early for Ecology Ottawa supporters! At 8:30 AM, an hour before the committee meeting started, over 200 Ottawans rallied outside City Hall to demand stronger, bolder climate action. Creative signs in hand, people of all ages arrived on foot, by bicycle, and public transit, embodying the the greener, healthier future we all fight for.

Coming together with chants of “defend our community, defend our climate!” we first heard from Ecology Ottawa Executive Director Robb Barnes about the choice between climate disasters and bold solutions that defend our climate and build a better city. Councillor Shawn Menard, the mover of the climate emergency motion, spoke not only of the details of the motion, but also the time to demand solutions from our politicians.

“For too long politicians have dithered on this issue. We’re not asking for change, we’re demanding it!” said Councillor Menard, drawing cheers and applause from the crowd.

Ainsley Skelly, a grade 12 student from Nepean High School, also spoke at the rally, addressing the audience and speaking to her experience as a young person growing up in an era of climate catastrophe, the mental and physical health affects that climate change will have on our community, and the need for rapid action from government representatives.

Following rousing speeches from Angela Keller-Herzog and Emelie Taman, the Raging Grannies lead us all in two songs, about turning down the heat, and turning up ambition in the city of Ottawa.

Those gathered outside were optimistic – it’s hard not to be when surrounded by so many people, from all walks of life, all uniting behind a single cause – however, that doesn’t mean the crowd wasn’t a ferocious one! Twice during the rally the crowd joined together in boisterous chants asking “Where’s our Mayor!?” Palpable in the air was the strong desire for Council to take a stand, declare a state of climate emergency, and finally take climate change seriously as a crisis.

Following the rally, masses of motion supporters flooded into city hall hoping to witness the Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management vote to pass the motion, but we were all disappointed to find that the room designated for the Committee meeting was too small to accommodate all of the nearly 200 motion supporters. After being told the meeting could be viewed in an overflow room, many of us filtered into the much larger, unoccupied space, somewhat confused as to why the meeting couldn’t be moved, and aggrieved upon realizing that the livestream wouldn’t include a visual feed.

Throughout the day, nearly 100 supporters stuck it out, waiting, listening, and watching through nearly 6 hours of Committee processes before the Climate Emergency Resolution was discussed.

The list of delegates speaking to the importance and necessity of the motion was long and impressive. Noteable among those addressing the Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management were Diane Beckett of Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability (CAFES), local lawyer and politician Emelie Taman, delegates from the Ottawa Transit Riders Assocation, Dr. Curtis Lavoie a physian at CHEO, and Ecology Ottawa’s Robb Barnes.

Jerry Fiori of the Ottawa Disability Coalition spoke to the issue of climate change, and the risks it poses especially to disabled Ottawans, quoting Karen Scott of the MS Society when he said “People with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) are the canaries in the climate change coal mine.” Mr Fiori went on to elaborate that rising temperatures, erratic seasons, and more extreme rain and snowfall put disabled communities at great risk of physical harm, and that a climate emergency motion is a step towards better providing for disabled Ottawans.

Also among the speakers was Chloe Rourke who took the day off work to sit through the entirety of the 8 hour meeting, and address the committee. Tearful at times, Ms Rourke spoke to the committee about disastrous consequences climate change will bear for people, citing crop failure, extreme heat, major flooding, and potential economic collapse among the reasons why the Climate Emergency Resolution is necessary for the city of Ottawa. Closing her remarks, and speaking to those Councillors skeptical of the climate crisis: Chloe Rourke somberly stated “reality is coming whether you like it or not”.

One of the last delegates to speak before Council voted on the resolution was Mia Beijer of Future Rising (the local youth organization behind Ottawa’s Friday Climate Strikes on Parliament Hill.) The sixteen year old pulled no punches, telling councilors that “debating about whether or not to declare climate emergency is ridiculous when we’re living in a climate crisis.” reminding them that “it is up to you to decide what this council’s legacy will be” finally beseeching the committee by saying “please don’t kill us, save us” in one of many moving moments in the Champlain Committee Room that afternoon.

Finally the time came for councilors to state their opinions, and cast their votes.

Throughout the committee’s discussion period was plenty of praise for the resolution itself, with comments from several of the councilors touching on the fact that the resolution is not without teeth. With it’s 8 action items it provides the city with multiple avenues through which to pursue more rigorous, ambitious, and equitable climate action.

Councillor McKenney spoke specifically to the need to ensure the city’s actions on climate need to centre vulnerable communities “when disaster happens, it’s not to us, it is to people who live in poverty […] is it the people who can least afford it.” McKenny went on to comment that the equity and inclusion pieces of the motion were the most important, that it is through these lenses that our actions must be conducted.

It should be noted that there was some pushback registered by councilors Darouze and Hubley, with Hubley stating that he believed Ottawa was already doing quite a bit more than other cities, and that the inclusion of the term “emergency” was ultimately most offputting about the motion.

When time came for the resolution to be voted on at approximately 4:30pm, it passed successfully, with votes registering 6 – 2 in favour, and a burst of (prohibited) applause from the gallery. Among those who supported the motion were Councilors Menard, McKenney, Elgli, Cloutier, Brockington, and Moffatt, with Councilors Hubley and Darouze being the only two to reject the resolution.

The next step in the resolution’s path to adoption is the full City Council vote, taking place next Wednesday, April 24th at 10:00am in City Hall. It is incredibly important that over the next week we demonstrate to our representatives the neccessity of this resolution, and our desire for meaningful climate action from city hall. Before next Wednesday we need you to call, email, or tweet at your councilor, asking them to support the resolution. It’s only by hearing from you, the constituents, that council will know that they have our support in declaring Climate Emergency. Finally, join us once again on Wednesday, April 24th in the morning to stand together in support of our city, our community, and our climate.

To read the Climate Emergency Resolution, motioned by Councillor Shawn Menard, and passed on April 16th by the Standing Committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management click here (the resolution beings on page 5)

To contact your councilor ahead of next Wednesday’s full council vote on the Resolution, click here for their contact information.

Extinction Rebellion is planning rally at 9:30 AM next Wednesday, before the council vote. Join them.

Call your Councillor to Support the Climate Emergency Declaration

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On April 16, the Environment Committee voted 6-2 to declare a Climate Emergency and propose bold actions to safeguard Ottawa’s neighbourhoods and ecosystems. This motion will now go to City Council on April 24. Help us build support for this motion by contacting your councillor and Mayor and asking them to vote in support of this motion. Whether you speak to a staffer or leave a voicemail, your direct call lets them know what their constituents care about climate action.

Below are all councillors and their phone number. Please consider calling both the Mayor and your councillor. Your advocacy is critical to the outcome of the vote.

Tell us here how the phone call went. 

  • Mayor Jim Watson – 613-580-2496
  • Matthew Luloff (Orleans) – 613-580-2471
  • Laura Dudas (Innes) – 613-580-2472
  • Jan Harder (Barrhaven) – 613-580-2473
  • Jenna Sudds (Kanata North) – 613-580-2474
  • Eli El-Chantiry (West Carleton-March) – 613-580-2475
  • Glen Gower (Stittsville) – 613-580-2476
  • Theresa Kavanagh (Bay) – 613-580-2477
  • Rick Chiarelli (College) – 613-580-2478
  • Keith Egli (Knoxdale-Merivale) – 613-580-2479
  • Diane Deans (Gloucester-Southgate) – 613-580-2480
  • Tim Tierney (Beacon Hill-Cyrville) – 613-580-2481
  • Matthieu Fleury (Rideau-Vanier) – 613-580-2482
  • Catherine McKenney (Somerset) – 613-580-2484
  • Jeff Leiper (Kitchisippi) – 613-580-2485
  • Riley Brockington (River) – 613-580-2486
  • Shawn Menard (Capital) – 613-580-2487
  • Jean Cloutier (Alta Vista) – 613-580-2488
  • Stephen Blais (Cumberland) – 613-580-2489
  • George Darouze (Osgoode) – 613-580-2490
  • Scott Moffatt (Rideau-Goulbourn) – 613-580-2491
  • Carol Anne Meehan (Gloucester-South Nepean) – 613-580-2751
  • Allan Hubley (Kanata South) – 613-580-2752

Not sure what to say? Here’s a sample script and some suggesting talking points.

Hi, my name is _________, and I am a resident in ________ Ward. I am calling because as an Ottawa resident, I am very concerned about climate change. We’ve seen the climate impacts from tornadoes, heat waves, floods and erratic winter. Globally and right here in Ottawa, children are on strike demanding stronger, bolder climate actions. I want to see Ottawa as a city do its part to combat the climate crisis and build a better city with vibrant, healthy communities that are resilient to a changing climate. I would like to see [councillor name/Mayor Watson] vote in favour of the Climate Emergency motion coming to Council on April 24 and support Ottawa’s future efforts to fight climate change. Will you commit to doing so?

  • Climate change is already happening in Ottawa, with the tornadoes and heat waves last summer, or erratic freeze-thaw cycles this winter. We cannot afford not to act. 
  • There is huge momentum building among cities across Canada to not only declare their commitment to climate change, but to also build a better city that’s energy efficient, well connected by sustainable modes of transportation, and resilient in a changing climate.
  • Will you commit to voting yes on the April 24 motion to declare climate emergency?

Tell us here how the phone call went.

2019 Tree Giveaway Events

This year Ecology Ottawa is distributing 12,000 native tree seedlings free of charge to Ottawa area residents in efforts to re-plant our urban tree canopy. We are doing this because Ottawa’s urban tree canopy is under threat. Since 2008, the emerald ash borer has killed 25% of Ottawa’s trees. In addition to this, climate change, invasive pests, expanding urbanization and infill construction are also major threats to trees. We need to re-plant and keep planting to stay on top of the threats!

At all of the events listed below, our team of dedicated volunteers and staff will be handing out tree seedlings on a first-come, first-serve basis, so check the list of events frequently for one near you:

April

May

June

July

August

September

  • September 1 (9am – 3pm): Ottawa Farmers Market (Lansdowne Park)
  • September 6 (6pm-8pm): Rock the Block
  • September 7 (11am-6pm): Forest Valley Food Truck Rally
  • September 7 (11am-3pm): Annual Fall Festival – Hunt Club Riverside Park Community Centre
  • September 21 (9am-11:30am): Cleaning the Capital

October

  • October 26 (8:30am-3pm): Tree Give Away with Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton & the Lanark County Master Gardeners

Call your Councillor to Support the Climate Emergency Declaration

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On April 16, councillor Shawn Menard will table a motion to the Environment Committee declaring a Climate Emergency and proposing bold actions to safeguard Ottawa’s neighbourhoods and ecosystems. Help us build support for this motion by contacting your councillor and asking them to vote in support of this motion. Whether you speak to a staffer or leave a voicemail, your direct call lets your councillor know what their constituents care about climate action.

Below are all councillors and their phone number. The bolded councillors are on the Environment Committee, and will be directly voting on the motion on April 16. If the motion passes committee, it will go to council and be voted on by all councillors on April 24th. Your advocacy is critical to the outcome of the vote.

  • Matthew Luloff (Orleans) – 613-580-2471
  • Laura Dudas (Innes) – 613-580-2472
  • Jan Harder (Barrhaven) – 613-580-2473
  • Jenna Sudds (Kanata North) – 613-580-2474
  • Eli El-Chantiry (West Carleton-March) – 613-580-2475
  • Glen Gower (Stittsville) – 613-580-2476
  • Theresa Kavanagh (Bay) – 613-580-2477
  • Rick Chiarelli (College) – 613-580-2478
  • Keith Egli (Knoxdale-Merivale) – 613-580-2479
  • Diane Deans (Gloucester-Southgate) – 613-580-2480
  • Tim Tierney (Beacon Hill-Cyrville) – 613-580-2481
  • Matthieu Fleury (Rideau-Vanier) – 613-580-2482
  • Catherine McKenney (Somerset) – 613-580-2484
  • Jeff Leiper (Kitchisippi) – 613-580-2485
  • Riley Brockington (River) – 613-580-2486
  • Shawn Menard (Capital), Vice-Chair of the Environment Committee – 613-580-2487
  • Jean Cloutier (Alta Vista) – 613-580-2488
  • Stephen Blais (Cumberland) – 613-580-2489
  • George Darouze (Osgoode) – 613-580-2490
  • Scott Moffatt (Rideau-Goulbourn), Chair of the Environment Committee – 613-580-2491
  • Carol Anne Meehan (Gloucester-South Nepean) – 613-580-2751
  • Allan Hubley (Kanata South) – 613-580-2752

Not sure what to say? Here are some suggested talking points.

  • UN scientists, in the latest IPCC report, warned that we only have until 2030 to reverse the worst damage of climate change, and that is only 3 terms away.
  • Climate change is already happening in Ottawa, with the tornadoes and heat waves last summer, or erratic freeze-thaw cycles this winter. We cannot afford not to act. 
  • There is huge momentum building among cities across Canada to not only declare their commitment to climate change, but to also build a better city that’s energy efficient, well connected by sustainable modes of transportation, and resilient in a changing climate.
  • Will you commit to voting yes on the April 16 motion to declare climate emergency?

Tell us here how the phone call went.

ACTION ALERT: Ottawa, this is a climate emergency

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UPDATE: The motion passed the Environment Committee 6-2, and will go to City Council on Wednesday, April 24. We still need your help building support for this motion. Please call your councillor and the Mayor today!


The United Nations has made it clear – we now have 11 years to avoid catastrophic impacts to the world’s species and ecosystems. The effects are already being felt in Ottawa: record floods in 2017; tornado impacts in late 2018; summers of extreme and deadly heat; and winters with erratic freeze-thaw cycles. Momentum is building among cities like Vancouver, Halifax, Kingston and Hamilton to urgently respond to this moment of crisis and build a better city, and Ottawa has the opportunity to lead. We are calling on the City of Ottawa to declare climate emergency now.

The City of Ottawa has not yet responded adequately to the scope and scale of the climate crisis. We have a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Energy Evolution, but this has been delayed and underfunded. We have set a greenhouse gas emissions target, but have not regularly reported on our emissions. We have not produced a long-promised climate resilience plan despite tremendous damage from flooding, tornadoes, heat waves and other extreme weather events.

We are facing a climate emergency, and we need the City of Ottawa to treat this crisis with the urgency it deserves. On April 16, councillor Shawn Menard will table a motion to the Environment Committee declaring a Climate Emergency and proposing bold actions to safeguard Ottawa’s neighbourhoods and ecosystems. This is our moment to demand bolder commitment and stronger action.

Join us at the Rally for Climate Emergency on April 16, at 8:30 AM outside Ottawa City Hall.

Call your councillor and tell them to vote in favour of the climate emergency motion.

Email us if you’re interested in helping us build support for this campaign.

For more information about why this is an emergency, and what a climate emergency means, visit: 

https://ecologyottawa.ca/ottawa-this-is-a-climate-emergency/

Rain Garden Workshop

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COME TO OUR GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE AND RAIN GARDEN WORKSHOP!

You will learn more about creating a rain garden for this summer and all the benefits of rain gardens: acting as pollinator gardens for butterflies and bees, sequestering greenhouse gases, and acting as sponges soaking up and filtering rain water.

This will be a free event with snacks and beverages, open to all ages.

Come join us and bring friends and family!

WHEN: April 24, 2019 at 6:30pm – 8:30pm

WHERE: Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre
102 Greenview Ave
Garden Room
Ottawa, ON K2B 5Z6
Canada

Click here to join our Rain Garden Workshop

Join us as a Living City volunteer

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Apply now!

Are you environmentally minded, passionate about the parks and forests around you, and want to make a difference? Are you a new or committed volunteer looking to get involved with Ottawa’s local environmental organization? Then these opportunities are for YOU! 

Ecology Ottawa is a not-for-profit organization whose mandate is to make Ottawa the GREEN capital of Canada. We have recently launched the Green Infrastructure and the Tree Give Away programs, both part of our Living City campaign.

Green Infrastructure volunteer

The Green Infrastructure program has been launched to develop living systems that slow down, soak up, and filer rain water where it falls, because Ottawa will be getting more rain events at an increased volume and our sewer systems were not designed to handle all this rain.

It wishes to educate Ottawa residents about green infrastructure, and get them to implement home level adaptations such as planting trees, installing downspout redirects and splash guards. Ecology Ottawa will be going door-to-door in the community of Britannia to do so.

If you are interested please contact Héloïse at greeninfrastructure@ecologyottawa.ca

Tree Give Away volunteer

The Tree Give Away program aims to increase the scale and ecological diversity of the urban and rural tree canopy in Ottawa. This initiative aims to build a greener community in active efforts to protect, plant and promote trees in neighborhoods and green spaces. 

This year, we are distributing 12,000 local native trees to Ottawa area residents by participating in numerous events — festivals, fairs, community events or markets — starting in April, and giving away saplings to Ottawa residents across the City. 

If you are interested please contact Juliette at treeottawa@ecologyottawa.ca

If you want to make a difference fighting climate change on a local level, want to protect the environment and if you are motivated, please contact Héloïse at greeninfrastructure@ecologyottawa.ca (Green Infrastructure) or Juliette at treeottawa@ecologyottawa.ca (Tree Give Away) and join our team!

Rideau-Rockcliffe 2019 By-Election: Candidates complete responses

Button_French version

Ottawa residents in Rideau-Rockcliffe (Ward 13) is heading to the poll again on April for a by-election. Continuing our work in the municipal election in 2018, Ecology Ottawa is working to raise awareness of local environmental issues among both voters and candidates in the lead up to the by-election.

Ecology Ottawa has sent out an All-Candidates’ Survey to all 17 candidates running in this by-election. The survey includes 15 yes/no questions covering issues of local climate action (Renewable City), building safe and healthy streets (Active City), Ottawa’s greenspace and watersheds (Living City), and waste management, as well as a qualitative response about their environmental vision for Ottawa.

Here you can find candidates’ complete responses to our survey. A summary of these responses are available here.

Renewable City

1. Climate change is the challenge of our lifetimes. The United Nations tells us that time is running out – we now have 11 years to avoid catastrophic impacts to the world’s species and ecosystems. Meanwhile, the City of Ottawa has not been treating this crisis with the urgency it deserves.

If elected, will you support a climate emergency declaration, an unprecedented level of resource mobilization and policy commitments to achieve net zero emission before 2050, and annual reporting to monitor ourprogress to keep warming below 1.5 C?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES. The declaration of a climate emergency must dramatically increase the importance of the reporting and accountability of city council on the ambitious goals that Ottawa must have to truly act against climate change. Ambitious measurable targets must be set in concrete terms for GHG emissions through the shift toward sustainable modes of transportation, building retrofitting,…

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: NO.

Johan Hamels: YES. For sure, this is a no-brainer. As the capital of a G7 country thataccepted the Paris agreement, we must to do our part. All governments, businesses and citizens must work together to make this massive shift in our economy, habits and choices. It is my dream for Ottawa to reach zero child poverty and zero greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, I want that the next 25-year Official Plan, sets this as a goal and, immediately establishes a clear path of incremental steps.

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES. The city must take this threat seriously and put the necessary steps and policies in place to mitigate and reduce the impacts of climate change as well, the city must track and report on its progress in a meaningful way.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. Declaring climate change as an emergency is a core part of my environmental platform, as we need all levels of government to tackle this issue in an urgent and practical way. Additionally, I would prioritize climate change and environmental concerns during the planning and development process, as well as fighting for a city-wide building retrofit program.

Jerry Kovacs: YES.

Jamie Kwong: YES. As the Nation’s Capital, we should be taking a bold leadership rolein addressing climate change. This entails making ambitious but realistic targets in reducing GHG emissions, and facilitating and empowering our businesses and residents in taking concrete actions to reduce their carbon footprint. We need to ensure that we build a city that is sustainable for our next generations. In order to do this, we must address climate change in a variety of manners.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES. The wellbeing of all residents is at stake, I intent to urge the city and my colleagues to take concrete actions towards climate resilience.

Chris Penton: YES. I am not a fan of the word of emergency. Evokes the wrong reaction. I would commit to looking at policy commitments towards achieving a net zero emission before 2050.

Sheila Perry: YES.

Penny Thompson: –

2. Over the last term of council, initiatives to address climate change have been delayed, understaffed and underfinanced. It’s even unclear whether city-wide emissions have been rising or falling over the past six years. Meanwhile, some spending on city infrastructure (e.g., road expansions) is impeding or negating progress from climate investments made under the environment portfolio. At the federal level, the government has mandated a new climate lens assessment for its infrastructure funding program, Investing in Canada.

If elected, will you make climate action a Term of Council Priority, increase funding and staffing commitments commensurate with this prioritization, and mandate a climate lens for the City’s assessment for all infrastructure investments?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES. The climate lens on all city reporting should be front and centerin the context of a climate emergency.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: NO.

Johan Hamels: YES. Fully YES! And let’s start with the new library. New buildings with a design life of 50 to 100 years, must be designed and built as zero-energy structures. The city of Varennes provides a wonderful example; they mobilized citizens allowing them to co-invest in their library to make it a zero-energy building. We can do that here and make Ottawa’s new library the first zero energy library in a G7 capital.

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES. Climate change is serious and impacts us all (we have all experienced the +40c summer temperatures of 2018 and the wild fluctuations in temperature this winter). Placing a climate lens on all infrastructure investments will contribute to building the right infrastructure that will help us move to a low-carbon city.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. Yes. Applying a climate lens to decision making is essential, and I would not hesitate to make it a Term of Council Priority or fund it as necessary.

Jerry Kovacs: YES. I’m committed to this mandate in order shape the future of our city with sustainable development and to proactively consult with our community and groups like Ecology Ottawa, in order to benefit from your expertise in supporting the environment and mitigating climate change. 

Jamie Kwong: YES. Coming from a small business and non-profit sector background, I would ensure that our residents’ tax dollars are spent in the most effective and efficient way. With climate change as a pressing issue, we need to examine how budget items might address multiple priority areas concurrently, such as affordable, reliable and accessible public transit and maximizing this investments to have a greater impact on climate change factors such as reducing GHG emissions. Thus, investing in areas that address multiple priorities. Also, we should be looking into external funding options outside tax revenue for funding innovative, climate change programs through, for example, intergovernmental partnerships.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES.

Chris Penton: YES. I share the need for improved infrastructure for climate change efforts. I am not prepared commit staff and new funds, as this would just be misguided on my part.

Sheila Perry: YES.

Penny Thompson: –

3. Climate change is accelerating, and cities around the world are rushing to adapt to the impacts of severe weather, flooding and invasive species. The City of Ottawa has committed to developing a Climate Adaptation Plan but hasn’t yet delivered.

If elected, will you commit to ensuring the release and initial implementation of a Climate Adaptation Plan within the next term of council?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES. It should simply be an integral part of the Official Plan review.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: NO.

Johan Hamels: YES. With events like the tornado’s last September, or the floods in spring, our city should understand and plan for these extreme weather events that –sadly – will happen more often. The statistics from the past are not reflective for what will happen in the coming 25 to 50 years. Preventing impact and planned adaptation is always cheaper in the long term, waiting for when the worst happens and then pay. If we do not act on this file our insurance costs will grow dramatically. Over the last 10 years the Canadian insurance industry has paid out more for water damage than for fire damage, they will penalize cities that do not prepare and mitigate against extreme weather events.

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES.

Jerry Kovacs: YES. City staff are working hard to deliver on climate priorities and I will continue to ensure that we can achieve this goal.

Jamie Kwong: YES. As a leader in the business community, I know that results are only possible when plans clearly identify the vision, goals, actions and deliverables. That is when you get things done and accomplish big things. I would be eager to work with council colleagues and residents on creating a Climate Adaptation Plan that has ambitious yet doable goals and actions to guide everyone in Ottawa in making our city a leader in climate change action.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES.

Chris Penton: YES. This is imperative.

Sheila Perry: YES.

Penny Thompson: –

4. Development of Ottawa’s next Official Plan will begin in January 2019 and conclude during the next 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 developed with climate change in mind deliver powerful benefits that make neighbourhoods healthier, safer, and more liveable.

If elected, will you support and work for a revised Official Plan that makes low-carbon development a top priority, in a way that delivers healthier, safer, more liveable neighbourhoods for your constituents?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES. Climate change is already all over the discussion papers presented for the opening of the official plan review. But it is not enough. Stronger stance on specific actions must be clearly stated in the plan: ambitious transportation shift, green building standard, strict city boundaries to end urban sprawl,…

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: NO.

Johan Hamels: YES. When the Official Plan development process was announced in city hall, I made two comments: -At the launch only official and consultants were given the floor. The dreams from the diverse reality of our city was not exposed. This was missed chance to present an inclusive process -The only question presented that day related to our economic relationship with Toronto and Montreal. Certainly, that is an important aspect; but a 25-year planning process must include much more. A true planning process with the realities of the 21st century in mind, would start with setting and expressing at least these two goals: reaching zero child poverty and zero greenhouse gas emission. That has an impact in how we allow development, services and infrastructure to be build and organised. Every 5 years our standards should be tightened, so that new development continually gets us closer to our goals.

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES. Healthier, safer, and more livable neighbourhoods is acornerstone on my priorities. Healthy built environment principles that include good neighbourhood design, affordable quality housing, natural environments, good transportation networks and accessible and affordable healthy food should be the norm in the planning of our city.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. Addressing climate change in the city’s Official Plan will shape the way we handle this crucial decade. It is part of my platform and I will do everything within my power to make it happen.

Jerry Kovacs: YES. Absolutely! We can encourage sustainable development along with the creation of green space and parks in new developments that contribute to growing vibrant communities and improving the livability and health of all residents. 

Jamie Kwong: YES. This Official Plan sets forth how the city develops and grows for the next 25 years. This Official Plan needs to be one that makes the quality of life better for our next generations. We have models of best practices locally, nationally and internationally which we can draw upon. However, to make the policies in the Official Plan a success in practice, it needs to ensure that the community’s feedback, for example on coming up with solutions to improve livability, is incorporated into it. The policies need to be informed by the communities. The residents of each neighbourhood are the experts of these areas. By ensuring community engagement and consultation throughout the Official Plan’s conception and implementation, how its policies play out in practice will have a greater chance of success and community support.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES.

Chris Penton: YES. This is one of my platform pieces. Sustainable development. Walkable neighbourhoods with thoughtful planning. low-carbon should be a natural offshoot of a well-planned neighbourhood.

Sheila Perry: YES. The Official Plan review provides an excellent opportunity to engage us all in planning for the future of Ottawa. A key component is the TMP and planning for connected neighbourhoods that invite walking, cycling and transit that is reliable.

Penny Thompson: –

Active City

1. Evidence from numerous studies of “induced demand” shows that widening highways and building new roads does nothing to alleviate traffic congestion. Instead, new roads and new lanes are quickly filled up with cars. Congestion is only relieved through investment in alternative forms of travel – by bike, by foot and by public transit.

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 your ward?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: NO.

Johan Hamels: YES. In ward 13 we have a good testcase for this problem of traffic. The Wateridge on the old military base north from the Monfort Hospital, is an opportunity to plan and invest in alternative forms of transportation. If we don’t, the whole Beechwood area will be swamped by additional commuter traffic. OC Transpo must invest in fast, regular and comfortable connections to the Blair and St-Laurent LRT stations. Why not make the right lane on St-Laurent Boulevard, between Montreal Road and St-Laurent Shopping center, a bus lane? During rush hours or permanently. At the same time, the cycling infrastructure on the Hemlock-Beechwood corridor will need more then seasonal paint.

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES. The evidence is clear on ‘induced demand’, yet the city continues to invest more in the widening of roads while providing token funding to truely improve other forms of mobility. Another cornerstone of my priorities is the improved reliability and safety of public transit. As well as improving the reliability of transit, we must make the whole system, from the time you leave your home and walk to the bus stop to the time you get to your place of work as seamless and as desirable as possible. This means that sidewalks must be designed and maintained for pedestrians to be walkable at anytime of year – thus iducing an increase in ridership compared to other modes. Bike paths must be developed in a responsible manner, given that the wholistic infrastructure is not yet in place and older modes will need to be maintained.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. Absolutely. A key part of my transportation platform is developing a cycling strategy that includes for bike lanes, bike racks, and bike sharing. I have also been circulating a petition calling for a transit fare freeze, as our single fare is currently one of the highest in North America.

Jerry Kovacs: YES. I’m also committed to implementing a “Free Fare Transit Zone” within the downtown core, to encourage movement between LeBreton Flats, the Rideau Centre, University of Ottawa and St. Laurent Mall, by Light Rail Transit (LRT).  This will encourage more ridership, and provide affordable access for residents who are going to the new central library.

Jamie Kwong: YES. We need to make it easier, more affordable, and more viable for residents to choose the most environmentally-friendly option for transportation, where possible. That means, people are often doing an informal and sometimes impromptu cost-benefit analysis when making a decision, for example when they choose to use their cars instead of taking another mode of transportation. We need to make the ‘greener’ options more attractive. And that means, for example with public transit, it has to be more reliable, affordable and convenient to make it a viable option.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES. I also intent to advocate for Electric Buses for OC Transpo. If we could immediately switch to an all-electric fleet, we would see Total Fleet Savings of $50 million a year on our current fleet of almost 1,000 buses!

Chris Penton: NO. All modes of transport must be treated equally. The automobile should not be vilified, rather managed. There are ways of helping all modes get around the ward without having to choose one over the other.

Sheila Perry: YES. We need to invest in better and more reliable transit. This is essential in order to attract ridership and to commit to making personal habits/routines more active than the use of the car/vehicles.

Penny Thompson: –

2. Upon completion, the City of Ottawa’s light rail transit (LRT) network will bring 70% of the population to within five kilometres of a light rail station. It will be easier than ever for Ottawans to travel to and from their target destinations using sustainable transportation options, but only if the City prioritizes shared mobility services and pedestrian, cycling and transit connectivity near transit hubs.

Currently, the City of Ottawa only plans for connectivity within 600 metres of transit hubs. If elected, will you commit to widening this connectivity planning radius to five kilometres?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: NO.

Johan Hamels: YES. The 600 meter a lollypop! We need a fully baked plan to make the LRT the ‘alternative of choice’ for most in our city. Only with good services and infrastructure to and from the LRT stations, will we be able to create a shift in our habits. We all know that waiting until everyone of use makes that individual choice, will keep the LRT underused. New transit habits happen when current and future users are offered easy access. The example of the Wateridge project in Rideau-Rockcliffe makes this clear. We must fully utilize the massive investment we have made in the LRT. It must be optimized!

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES. For example, in Ward 13, the new Wateridge development will see 10,000 new residents living in that area over the next 10-20 years. There needs to be a wholistic connectivity plan that goes beyond 600 metres from Blair station in order to reach this large impact development.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. We are making a huge investment in out city’s future with this project and it should improve transit for as many Ottawans as possible.

Jerry Kovacs: YES.

Jamie Kwong: YES.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES. Public transit accessibility, affordability and reliability are essential to increase ridership

Chris Penton: YES. Certainly something I am willing to look at, as a large number of ward 13 residents live well away from the LRT.

Sheila Perry: YES. Connecting neighbourhoods is a priority.

Penny Thompson: –

3. The City of Ottawa adopted a complete streets policy in 2013 and an implementation plan in 2015. Now, all new roads must be built to be accessible to all ages, users and abilities – including pedestrians, cyclists and transit users – rather than just car drivers. However, evidence shows that the policy alone is not sufficient to create complete streets. Councillor leadership is vital to ensure streets are as “complete” as possible and follow through on priority pedestrian and cycling projects identified in the Transportation Master Plan.

If elected, will you commit to ensuring that complete streets and priority pedestrian and cycling projects are built in your ward?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES. Good design for walking, cycling and public transport is also essential for building better neighbourhoods. However, in the complete street design, I would add the requirement to also be thoughtful to residents who do not have other choices other than to rely on their cars today. Long lasting sustainable change can only come when everybody is on board. See more details in my post.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: NO.

Johan Hamels: YES. I support the complete street policy. Although, we need to ensure that new complete streets designs are not detriment of greenspace. Our streets should be more than a concrete and asphalt world. For that reason, the city should not exclude other options to support and advance active transport. Sometimes, mark and design cycling routes through low traffic streets could be considered as a good alternative to cycle lanes on main streets. Similarly, which streets do we do first? Why was the McArthur street bike lane build, while Donald street gives direct access to the pedestrian and cycling bridge over the Rideau river?

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES. I fully support this approach while ensuring that all elements make sense for a specific project and are designed appropriately.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. Ensuring that all forms of active transportation are protected, developed, and made easier year-round will definitely be a priority for my office.

Jerry Kovacs: YES. As an avid cyclist and pedestrian, I know the value and importance of complete streets in common-sense city planning! 

Jamie Kwong: YES. We need to ensure that changes to the main streets towards making it a ‘complete street’ need to fit the character / physical landscape of the street in question. As the former Executive Director of the Vanier Business Improvement Area and involved in the discussions when Beechwood Avenue underwent changes to becoming more of a ‘complete street’, I’ve had the chance to hear how the various stakeholders (local businesses and residents) of Beechwood Avenue experienced the changes. It is imperative to listen to the local residents on their feedback to incorporate it into any changes and document their feedback on the implementation of the complete streets policy. Currently, you’d be hard pressed to find pedestrians, cyclists, transit users, and / or motorists to find the changes made over the last two years towards making it a ‘complete street’ improved their experience of Beechwood Avenue as being more accessible and safe. We need to be open to seeing how policies like the Complete Street Policy and its corresponding changes play out in reality. For changes to making main streets more aligned with ‘complete streets’ policy, by taking a more iterative approach, making more incremental changes and taking the lessons learned to re-adjust when needed may be the best approach to achieving the overall goal – safe and accessible streets for everyone.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES. It’s essential for urban vitality/economic growth.

Chris Penton: YES. I look at this from a health and environment angle as much as economic development.

Sheila Perry: YES.

Penny Thompson: –

4. Between 2010 and 2014, 148 people died on Ottawa’s streets. These deaths were entirely avoidable – they were a by-product of the way we have designed our streets. Toronto and Edmonton have embraced a “Vision Zero” approach to road design, that considers all traffic deaths and serious injuries preventable. A Vision Zero policy involves design changes (i.e. reducing speeds and separating road users), funding for these changes and public reporting on progress.

If elected, will you commit to adopting a Vision Zero policy for Ottawa?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: YES.

Johan Hamels: YES. As a parent who motivated my children to cycle to school, I can only say yes to a Vision Zero policy. During my youth there was a parent’s movement called “End the children killing” that fought to protect their children’s cycling commute to and from school. Here in Canada there is little habit of cycling to school, but more people are choosing active transportation, and this will demand different street design. Safety of all street users is my priority. To bring an end to the killings on our streets by car – people accidents, we need a vision (and implementation) that pushes to redesign and reshape the road infrastructure. Similarly, we need a cultural change. We all are pedestrians, car drivers, cyclist and bus users. No one is just a car driver, everyone will benefit from these changes, that is my message.

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. Pedestrians and cyclists should be safe no matter where or when they are commuting.

Jerry Kovacs: YES. As someone who walks and cycles every day during the spring, summer and fall, we need to fight for the safety of everyone especially the most vulnerable road users. 

Jamie Kwong: YES. Ottawa needs to be a leader in creating a culture change, that such fatalities and injuries resulting from traffic accidents are preventable. Improving road design can be more of the measures for preventing fatalities on the roads.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES.

Chris Penton: YES. Of course.

Sheila Perry: YES.

Penny Thompson: –

Living City

1. In 2017, the City of Ottawa adopted a strong Urban Forest Management Plan designed to safeguard and strengthen Ottawa’s tree canopy. The plan contains a 20-year action plan that requires sustained attention and investment.

If elected, will you commit to fully implementing and fully funding the Urban Forest Management Plan?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: NO.

Johan Hamels: YES. Due to the Ash Bore disease, Ottawa has lost over 30% of its urban forest canopy. We must replant these trees and fully fund the Urban Forest Management Plan. It will make the city cooler, more humane and liveable. We must prioritize trees. This must be considered part of our climate change plans.

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. Stronger and more proactive enforcement of the City’s urban forest policies and by-laws are essential to protecting our already diminishing urban tree canopy.

Jerry Kovacs: YES. We need to ensure the protection of our trees and canopy, throughout Ward 13 where our urban forest is most vulnerable to future development.

Jamie Kwong: YES.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES.

Chris Penton: YES. Again, I am reluctant to get into talk of funding. I support the UFMP.

Sheila Perry: YES.

Penny Thompson: –

2. Flooding and severe weather events are happening in Ottawa more frequently than in the past. It’s more important than ever that the City adapt to climate change by systematically scaling up development of green infrastructure – living and built systems designed to slow down, soak up, and filter rainwater, such as trees, rain gardens and permeable pavements. The City has the policy tools to do this, but remains at the pilot phase and has not moved to wide-scale implementation.

If elected, will you work to ensure that all street resurfacing and new road construction integrate green infrastructure wherever possible?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: NO.

Johan Hamels: YES. The city should use a Low Impact Development policy when negotiating with developers or when building its own infrastructure. Storm water management demands more focus on rain gardens, permeable pavements and parking lots, and green roofs. Those tools should not be just bargaining chips with developers, but standard practice when allowing new developments. The need for sufficient green space as a tool in a Low Impact Development policy, also has its impact in the design and the implementation of complete streets. This should also be considered an insurance cost mitigation strategy, for both the city and developers. Insurance companies will be very interested in what the city does in this regard as they are suffering seriously from the rapid increase in water damage claims.

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES. I recently traveled to Winnipeg, and they have many lovely treelined streets and boulevards. I fully support more trees being included in streetscapes where appropriate.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. I have been working for the advancement of green technology and infrastructure for many years now and will bring that prioritization to City Hall.

Jerry Kovacs: YES.

Jamie Kwong: YES.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES.

Chris Penton: YES.

Sheila Perry: YES. This is essential to attract pedestrians, cyclists and to reduce traffic.

Penny Thompson: –

3. Urban greenspace is a precious commodity. Yet sprawling development patterns, infill developments, and road widenings regularly threaten our trees, greenspace and biodiversity.

If elected, will you commit to prioritizing greenspace preservation as part of the planning process?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: YES.

Johan Hamels: YES. Many people chose to come to Ottawa because of the green space all around it. But, most of the green space belongs to the NCC. The city has fewer parks and greenspace than it should have. Currently the city takes “Cash in Lieu of Greenspace”, and the money is used by councilors on what they feel fit. It would be better to put that money in a fund that allows the city to buy urban and rural sites from developers. My rule would be “No Net loss” in greenspace.

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. We are already losing tree canopy and need to take action to stop the loss of our urban green spaces. City planning should always prioritize and protect green space.

Jerry Kovacs: YES. Absolutely! I’m committed to green space preservation and have been encouraging all residents of Rideau-Rockliffe Ward to plant Local Ontario Wildflowers that I have been handing out!

Jamie Kwong: YES.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES. I will commit to it as it is not only important for me but also a priority to a very large number of residents I have met.

Chris Penton: YES. Back to my sustainable development platform piece. We cannot reject all development. But, it must be managed.

Sheila Perry: YES.

Penny Thompson: –

4. Canadian Nuclear Laboratories is proposing a permanent radioactive waste facility alongside the Ottawa River, upstream from Ottawa. Mayors of over 100 Quebec municipalities have banded together to oppose this proposal, citing a serious risk to drinking water from the Ottawa River.

If elected, will you join them in opposing this dangerous nuclear waste dump?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES. I answered yes, only because there was no choice other than yes or no. I am very concerned about nuclear waste and our reliance on nuclear energy. However I do not know enough about radioactive waste facilities to answer this question at this point.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: YES.

Johan Hamels: YES. We should not allow this waste facility to be built there. This is a huge risk to the watershed.

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES. I am not willing to take the risk with our drinking water.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. Ottawa’s drinking water is depended on the Ottawa River, and nuclear waste should be nowhere near it.

Jerry Kovacs: YES. As a lawyer who has taught and practiced environmental law, this matter is a provincial issue. I will use my expertise and influence as your city councillor to purse this effectively at all levels of government. 

Jamie Kwong: YES.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES.

Chris Penton: YES.

Sheila Perry: YES. More information will be helpful to adequately deal with this issue.

Penny Thompson: –

Waste Management

1. In March 2018, City Council changed its contract with Orgaworld to allow dog waste and other organics to be placed in green bins using non-compostable plastic bag liners. There’s no evidence that allowing plastics will encourage more people to compost. But the new rules will produce a new stream of unnecessary plastic waste that will complicate the disposal process and deliver lower-quality compost.

If elected, will you support rescinding the decision to allow non-compostable plastic bag liners and dog waste in the green bin program?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: NO.

Johan Hamels: YES. At a time when the world is recognizing that we have to wean ourselves off of our plastic habit, the City is encouraging its use to up within its diversion of organic waste. This practice has been shown to: a) significantly increase other contaminants in the organics waste stream, b) significantly reduce the quality of resultant compost, c) distributes plastic particulate into the environment, d) continues to delude the public into believing that everything can be easily and cost effectively composted or recycled when this is not the case, e) increase odors and leachate associated with anaerobic digestion occurring in the bags which increases impacts during transport and at the processing facility. On the flip side, many years ago the printing industry switched to more environmentally friendly inks and they are tonnes of flyers and other paper wastes that have a very depressed recycling market and which can be safely composted. It would be both more economical and environmentally responsible to encourage people to use waste papers to line their counter top bins and to wrap wastes before placing into the green bin. No mess, no odors, and few flies because of reduced odours.

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES. As there are alternatives available, and prices continue to fall, we should not be using plastic bin liners but demanding that the alternatives are more accessible from suppliers.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. We need a much more thorough overhaul of our waste management program, and this was not a helpful step in that direction.

Jerry Kovacs: YES.

Jamie Kwong: YES. In the end, we want to encourage residents to make green decisions. We need to ask ourselves as council, how can we facilitate to adoption of greener lifestyle behaviours? What are best-practices of waste management? Decisions, such as these, are only good and sound when they are evidence-based. What are the Pros? What are the Cons? What is the Cost? What is the Benefit? If these questions cannot be answered using objective measures, decisions are then based on what?

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES.

Chris Penton: YES. This decision made no sense to me.

Sheila Perry: YES. The use of plastic material in the green bin goes against our efforts to reduce and eliminate the use of plastic material. We need to know the implications of any changes that affect our contract with Orgaworld.

Penny Thompson: –

2. Ottawa’s 44% waste recycling rate is the lowest of all major cities in Ontario, well below leading municipalities like York Region at 65%, Halton Region at 56%, and Toronto at 51%. That’s partly because Ottawa only spends 50¢ per household per year to promote the program and educate residents.

If elected, will you support tripling the level of funding for promotion and education for waste prevention, recycling, and green bin programs to at least $1.50 per household per year, a level closer to the average for large municipalities in Ontario?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES. With a particular focus on waste prevention.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: NO.

Johan Hamels: YES. The city should choose well the programs it will organize public education programs for. Waste and waste management is one that needs continuous public education. It is well known within the waste sector that you have to repeatedly tell people what to do and how to do it when it comes to diversion. A main reason for this is the fact that different cities run different programs, we must continually educate newcomers; containers may have a recycling symbol on them that are not part of the city’s program; plastics themselves are constantly evolving and the processors have to adapt their equipment or send those to the landfill.

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. We cannot expect a program to succeed if we do not invest in it, and we need to prioritize this program in a serious way to make it successful.

Jerry Kovacs: YES. We need to increase spending, and also ensure that it is effectively spent on educating and engaging our community in adopting best practices to encourage recycling, green bin programs and waste prevention. 

Jamie Kwong: YES. We can do better at recycling, for sure! Education and promotion are important aspects to improving our recycling program.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES.

Chris Penton: NO. We are behind on such an easy option. Sad. I’d like to see what strategies the other regions mentioned are using and find a cost effective way to implement them in Ottawa. Best to learn more.

Sheila Perry: YES. Ottawa should set a target to improve and challenge other municipalities.

Penny Thompson: –

3. Ottawa’s 2011 waste management plan is out of date and irrelevant. The City has made no effort to update the plan, though the poor performance of its recycling and green bin programs falls far short of the 65% waste diversion rate in York Region, the leading municipality in the province.

If elected, will you support the development of a new waste management strategy and waste diversion action plan that follow best practices and set a 65% waste diversion target for Ottawa?

Kasia Adamiec: YES.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: YES.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: NO.

Johan Hamels: YES. Good to have a waste diversion rate goal growing over time. Otherwise, it is also a reality that most products today are not yet designed with the aim of recycling at the end of their use. We all now that the first “R” in the waste management means “REDUSE”. The concept of a circular economy (products become the material for new products again and again) is at its first baby steps. Diverting waste, which later in the process ends up back on the landfill, makes citizens cynical. Secondly the City can do a better work to improve its own diversion rate associated with its construction, demolition and renovation work, or with its procurement practices. Therefore, I would suggest at a minimum that the City needs to hold itself to account for its own practices and residential programs, and work with the province (which has regulatory control and jurisdiction) to improve diversion by the private sector.

Peter Heyck: YES.

Miklos Horvath: YES. We should always set targets and aim to achieve them!

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: YES. York has been successful because they have made their program easy to use. There are many municipalities in Ontario that are innovating in waste management and I hope to bring those best practices to Ottawa.

Jerry Kovacs: YES.

Jamie Kwong: YES.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: YES.

Chris Penton: YES.

Sheila Perry: YES.

Penny Thompson: –

Your vision for Ottawa

If elected, what steps will you take to make Ottawa a leader on environmental issues during this term of council?

Kasia Adamiec: I certainly champion green initiatives like introducing composting programs in high rises and condos.

Idris Ben-Tahir: –

Marc Dorgeville: I will work to have city council declare a climate emergency, by which ambitious changes are set as measurable targets, with an “official” plan established to meet those targets and sufficient reporting on those targets put in place.

Bruce Anthony Faulkner: This I will discuss in a debate or forum if there is one coming up.

Johan Hamels: To become the Green Capital City and show environmental leadership, I propose the following three steps. The first step will be to set ambitious goals, with a path of immediate and intermediate steps. Zero child poverty and zero greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 should be the key targets of the next Official Plan. This is a vision for our community that can be build by our citizens and city together. Improving Lives Together! The second step is to make new neighbourhoods (the Rideau-Rockcliffe example of the Wateridge development and other sub-urban neighbourhoods) in such fashion that they become an example of sustainable transport, providing a real alternative to car use. Public transport connections, safe cycle routes and walkable distances to services and shops, have to be on the checklist of every development. The third step has to be to start building the infrastructure and buy equipment for 2050. Zero energy buildings should become the aim for all new developments such as the new library. Lower energy use and renewable energy production on site must be minimum requirements for all new City constructions. Similar for new equipment and vehicles, a growing number should be running on responsible energy sources (Electricity or hydrogen). Aiming for these bold goals, should be supported by a broad consultation with citizens. Together with schools, civic organisation and businesses, a broad public information effort should be set up. Why not being so bold to offer citizens the opportunity to participate – through citizens cooperatives – into renewable energy production and energy saving investments in some of the projects, as has been done in other places already? Let’s make building our Green Capital City a movement of all of us.

Peter Heyck: My priority would be immediately to introduce a motion at Ottawa city council to ban single use plastics for businesses with 10 or more employees. I would specify that there be a one year grace period to allow affected businesses to phase out single use plastics and introduce alternatives. Businesses not complying with the bylaw would be subject to fines.

Miklos Horvath: One of my cornerstone priorities is to improve transit to offer an attractive low-carbon alternative. Doing so would increase ridership, reduce the number of cars on the road and decrease harmful greenhouse gases. Ensuring sustainable developments are planned with a healthy built environment ethos allowing for walkable communities, energy efficient buildings and accesibility to efficient transit is paramount. As Councillor I would advocate for a ban on single use plastics and plastic bottles and work with likeminded councillors to make this achievable.

Peter Jan Karwacki: –

Rawlson King: I support a ban on single use plastics, push for a city-wide building retrofit program, and prioritize climate change and environmental concerns in all decision making, particularly during the planning and development process.

Jerry Kovacs: As your Councillor, my most important job is to listen to you – our neighbours and residents. And as your Councillor, the most valuable resource I can provide is my time. We’re growing a vibrant community together in Rideau-Rockliffe Ward and I’m thrilled by the amount of local wildflower seeds we’re planting with your help as part of my environmental commitment and leadership for Ottawa during this campaign. These seeds will beautify our neighbourhoods and gardens for years to come! By implementing a free fare zone on transit through the downtown core between LeBreton Flats and St. Laurent Mall, we will encourage ridership and increase affordable access of core city services – especially the new central library. This concept will be a key agenda item that I pursue with my fellow Councillors and OC Transpo over the course of my term. I studied, practiced and taught environmental law, and possess a knowledge of municipal land use and planning from my experience in the legal department of an Ontario municipal corporation. This expertise will be invaluable to the residents of Rideau-Rockliffe Ward as I fight for sustainable and affordable development with environmental priorities. We need to work together, with experience and passion to grow a vibrant community together! 

Jamie Kwong: First, I would take an active role in championing the development and implementation of Ottawa’s Climate Change Action Plan. This plan should have bold goals and targets in addressing both climate adaptation and climate mitigation. To attain these goals, we must review what are the best-practices to see how we might as a city create actionable policies and practices. To create a city that makes progress on climate change, we need to facilitate and empower residents and businesses both with the information needed to make greener decisions, as well as the opportunities to make greener choices. And it is at the city-level where we can make a significant impact. We must be leaders in demonstrating innovative green leadership, for example by retrofitting city-owned buildings with greener initiatives (e.g. green roofs, LED lighting). Second, I would champion improvements in how the city manages waste and improve its recycling program. Having worked with the business community for over 7 years, a serious concern was that it is often the case that businesses, for example, only recycle paper. We can do better. Also, apartment buildings don’t have a green bin program. I would examine how we can do better in addressing these areas.Third, we must use an ‘environmental’ lens when making decisions for the city, as our decisions that we make today that impact the sustainability of our city over the next generations. I would champion that when decisions are made at council, they are made with such considerations in mind.

Maurice Lamirande: –

Patrick Mayangi: –

Oriana Ngabirano: As a Public Relations Strategist, I am aware of the importance of engaging residents to achieve concrete results. Apart from advocating for and supporting the different measures mentioned, I intend to vulgarize certain terms and concepts used when talking about climate change and turn them into concrete actions and results for residents.

Chris Penton: Listen and learn. Listen to all groups – Ecology Ottawa, Healthy Transportation, Community Associations, City staff, fellow Councillors, Riverkeeper. I know my issues fairly well, but am not arrogant enough to fly in on day one and throw my weight around. In time, my influence will be felt. In proper time.

Sheila Perry: Our Official Plan review is an opportunity to properly plan for neighbourhood connectivity, housing that supports Ottawa as a Liveable City, and to place a priority for transit links in the region of Ottawa and Gatineau. Healthy neighbourhoods in Ottawa must include access to local parks, community gardens and opportunities to reduce Greenhouse gases and improve air quality in our city.

Penny Thompson: I support and believe in creating a Renewable City, we need to set an example and recognize climate change at all levels of government. We have a responsibility to reduce community greenhouse activities. We need to not only talk the talk, but we need to walk the walk in terms of our own actions, policies and governance. The sooner we do so, the better. We can no longer deny that we are facing a climate crisis and it is time that all levels of government work together to address. We see it with yearly flooding of the Rideau River. New Edinburgh has a flood zone which is watched by the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA). I supported the engineering study which was commissioned to model the Rideau River water flow. If elected, I would work collaboratively with the RVCA and the NCC to alter the floodplain in order to prevent future floods and focus on “an ounce of prevention” strategy by encouraging green programs such as the OCH solar plan and the electric car charging station throughout the city. During my tenure as Chair (2013) and Vice-Chair (2014) of the Environmental Stewardship Advisory Committee (ESAC), I saw the importance in advocating for a living and an active City. I am pleased that during that tenue we saved 3 forests or “Urban Natural Features.” I also am a strong supporter of the Transportation Master Plan with the integrated cycling networks. I want to see the expansion of this system and we need to rethink pathway snow clearing so as to create pedestrian and cyclist priority systems, in addition to the road networks. I fully support a Complete Streets policy as it is my belief that the future is active, public and alternative modes of transportation for our City. It is our responsibility to have a vision of the future; implementing smart and safe bike routes connected throughout the City, sidewalks that are walkable and accessible to all, and public transportation facilities that are efficient, completely safe and affordable to taxpayers. I was the Manor Park Community Association (MPCA) President when we negotiated the East West Bikeway along Hemlock Road. I have seen first-hand the benefits of that route. It is a paradigm shift, and it’s a Smart City approach. A Living City is a vibrant city, having a Forest Management Strategy is a key step for the city and residents to understand the importance of preserving and furthering the growth and development of our trees and forests. I am committed to championing, preserving, and increasing usable greenspace and trees in our urban core, suburbs and rural regions. I also think that it is important that we re-evaluate Waste Management, as 60% of Ontario waste comes from the commercial sector and we need to ensure that sustainable end markets are developed and enhanced to promote increased participation and buy-in. I support the Ministry of Ontario’s waste diversion strategy. All levels of government need to work together to develop new initiatives and approaches to improve diversion and increase sustainability including promoting and driving new technologies. The Ontario government commitment to banning organic waste from landfills is an important step forward to reduce waste destined for landfills. I acknowledge that this presents a unique challenge for multi-residential developments and the commercial sectors, but we must find solutions to build on participation in an efficient and costeffective way. Better education for our residents and better access to the 3R’s are great strategies to move beyond its initial mandate and develop new approaches and regulations to drive increased participation without burdening the taxpayer and business sector with significant or unnecessary cost burdens. Complete PDF.