Dear Ecology Ottawa,
Thank you for providing me with your questions about the environment.
I do not believe that the yes/no questionnaire provides candidates or the general public the opportunity to engage in a meaningful dialogue on something as complex as environmental sustainability policies.
The City’s best environmental initiatives have been the result of city-wide efforts to engage residents and have been involved complex negotiations between all levels of government.
I am pleased to note that Ecology Ottawa recognizes that much has been accomplished in Ottawa over the course of the last eight years.
In this spirit, I am pleased to provide you with a high level overview of the key environmental accomplishments of the last two mandates.
I am committed to continue to working with all residents, community organizations, Council, the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada to support policies and initiatives that benefit Ottawa residents and foster environmental sustainability, in a fiscally responsible way.
Further, I will be releasing key elements of my platform in early September and I look forward to sharing my thoughts on how to maintain our environmental leadership into the next term of Council.
Jim Watson, Mayor
City of Ottawa
The Confederation Line and Stage 2 LRT will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 200,000 tonnes annually by 2048 – the single largest – municipally driven greenhouse gas reduction in the City’s history.
Municipal taxpayers are contributing over $1.9 billion to the Confederation Line and Stage 2 LRT, making this the largest taxpayer supported greenhouse gas reduction effort in the City’s history. I am committed to working closely with Council to extend LRT farther to Barrhaven and Kanata, extending the environmental benefits of LRT to all high growth areas of the City,
Ottawa River Action Plan (ORAP)
The City of Ottawa, in collaboration with the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada, has invested over $232.3 million dollars in designing and implementing the Ottawa River Action Plan, aimed at drastically reducing the discharge of combined sewer and waste water into the Ottawa River.
A key element of this plan is the construction of the Combined Sewage and Storage Tunnel, which is well underway. When fully built, the CSST will reduce the discharge of waste into the Ottawa river by over 80%.
Further, ORAP will help the City protect the environment while improving the accessibility of our beaches, and allowing residents to fully enjoy the Ottawa River watershed through activities like swimming, fishing and canoeing downstream.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
In February 2016, Council approved reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent below 2012 baseline levels by 2050.
In June 2018, the Environment and Climate Protection Committee approved reducing corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 20 per cent below 2012 baseline levels by 2024. Council unanimously approved this motion on June 27, 2018.
The City hired Sustainability Solutions Group to model and project greenhouse gas emissions. This will help determine what the City and community need to do to reach the reduction targets, and measure how well the City and the community are collectively doing to meet the targets. The first phase of this work will be brought to the Environment and Climate Protection Committee in the fall of 2018.
Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan
There are many initiatives that have been taken to support the Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan during this term of Council, including:
- The Confederation Line is expected to be operational by the end of the year;
- Approval of the Corporate Electric Vehicle Charging Station Policy;
- $1 million annual investment to reduce energy use and costs at City facilities. Overall energy intensity has significantly dropped, resulting in a decrease in greenhouse gas emissions generated at City facilities;
- Launch of the Community Energy Innovation Fund;
- Approval of the Urban Forest Management Plan;
- Planting more than 377,000 trees;
- Agreement to acquire Shea Road Woods in Stittsville.
Staff will begin the five-year review and update of the Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan in 2018. An update will come to the Environment Committee in 2019. It will include a review of the goals and objectives, propose reduction targets and outline the role of supporting initiatives, including Energy Evolution and a proposed adaptation and resiliency plan.
LED partnership between City of Ottawa and Hydro Ottawa
Council approved an innovative partnership between the City of Ottawa and Hydro Ottawa to convert 58,000 streetlights to LED technology – a program that has led to a significant reduction in energy use and will generate savings of $6 million annually when fully implemented.
In December 2017, Council approved Phase 1 of Energy Evolution, which aims to transform Ottawa into a thriving city powered by clean, renewable energy. Phase 1 delivered a baseline inventory and analysis of Ottawa’s current energy consumption and assessed opportunities for renewable energy generation. It identified more than 30 short-term actions for the next three years.
Staff secured more than $5.5 million to support Energy Evolution, including:
- $800,000 to fund community-led projects;
- $633,000 from the Hydro Ottawa dividend surplus to fund eight energy-efficiency projects, including a 150-kilowatt fast-charging station for electric vehicles and a biogas optimization study;
- $87,450 from the Municipal Energy Plan Program to cover consulting costs to develop Energy Evolution Phase 2;
- More than $4 million from the Municipal GHG Challenge Fund to repurpose Albert and Slater streets after light-rail transit is operational and to increase energy efficiency at four City facilities;
- $30,000 from Enbridge Gas Distribution and Hydro Ottawa Limited to support development of Energy Evolution Phase 2 and undertake technical analyses.
Staff are working on Phase 2 of Energy Evolution, which is expected to be completed in 2019. Phase 2 will identify actions related to energy efficiency and conservation in the building and transportation sectors, as well as examine energy from waste and energy storage.
The City is committed to sustainable environmental practices by reducing the impact of constructing and operating buildings.
The Green Building Policy requires that all newly constructed municipal buildings greater than 500 square metres must be LEED Certified. The City targets Gold certification where appropriate.
- The City has 27 LEED-certified buildings, with an additional six buildings undergoing certification;
- The Lansdowne redevelopment has Silver Plan Pre-Certification (Stage 2) under the LEED for Neighbourhood Development program with the Canada Green Building Council. It is the first Canadian project to receive full LEED Neighbourhood Development Stage 3 Built Project Silver certification with the U.S. Green Building Council, announced in 2018.
LEED-certified buildings help the City reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. Other benefits include reduced water consumption, less material used and waste generated during construction, reduced life-cycle costs, reduced utility costs and a healthier indoor environment.
Stormwater and financial planning
The City’s water, wastewater and stormwater assets are reliable, safe and in a state of good repair. This is due to the inspection, maintenance and renewal work staff have undertaken to ensure essential water services are delivered to residents, businesses and visitors.
The City has a 10-year financial plan to ensure that these assets stay in a state of good repair. The increase in stormwater rates ensures that work can be done when needed, so it does not get put off, costing more in the long run.
In the last 15 years, the City has renewed the sanitary and storm sewer networks in several neighbourhoods that experienced flooding. Since the renewals, none of the neighbourhoods experienced system-wide flooding.
The City proactively inspects and maintains assets with the highest risk of failure and the worst possible impact.
The City’s waste diversion rates are:
- City-wide overall: 44 per cent per of waste is kept out of landfill
- Blue and black box accounts for 20 per cent
- Organics accounts for 24 per cent
- Curbside collection: 49 per cent of waste picked up at curbside is kept out of landfill
- Blue and black box accounts for 21 per cent
- Organics accounts for 29 per cent
- Multi-residential buildings blue and black box accounts for 17 per cent
Staff have attended more than 25 outreach events with school boards and the University of Ottawa to promote recycling and green bin programs. There are 238 schools registered for the Green Bins in Schools program. Of participating schools, 90 per cent indicated that the program increased waste diversion within their schools.
The City promotes the green bin to residents and superintendents of apartment buildings.
More than 533,000 tonnes of organic waste have been diverted from the landfill since the start of the green bin program.
The City is piloting co-located garbage and recycling in 50 parks during the summer to determine the best way to implement this on a wider scale.
Restaurants fall into the industrial, commercial and institutional sector, which the City does not regulate. The City offers the Yellow Bag program for small businesses, which reduces the garbage they generate by focussing on blue and black box recycling and the green bin.
Increasing participation in the Green Bin program
The City negotiated a new agreement with Orgaworld to allow residents to put their organic waste in plastic bags and put dog waste in their green bins for weekly pick up next summer.
This provided an improved contract for the City and taxpayers that enhanced service and offered the best value for money. It also put the City in a better position to work towards achieving the proposed provincial waste diversion targets, as well as the proposed ban on landfill organics starting in 2022.
The City believes that changes to the green bin will lead to a greater acceptance and use of the green bin program by Ottawa residents.