Jim Watson announces his plan to continue greening the capital

OTTAWA – While highlighting investments that have been made to improve our environment, like the Ottawa River Action Plan, Jim Watson revealed today his commitments to continue greening the capital over the next four years. If re-elected, Mayor Watson would introduce innovative environmental solutions to help Ottawa reach its greenhouse gas emissions targets while saving money through energy efficiency measures.

Jim Watson reiterated his commitment to moving forward with Stage 2 of LRT, while also laying the groundwork to extend LRT to Barrhaven and Kanata-Stittsville as part of Stage 3 of LRT. These important public transit investments would ensure that we extend LRT’s environmental benefits to all fast-growing areas of the city. Mayor Watson will be making a separate announcement on how the City can build on its historic investment in green transit.

“The City of Ottawa has been making strong progress on the environment,” said Mayor Watson. “For example, the Confederation Line and Stage 2 LRT will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 200,000 tonnes annually – the single largest, municipally-driven greenhouse gas reduction in our city’s history. It will get buses and cars off our streets, and will significantly reduce air pollutants – which is why we must continue the progress.”

Jim Watson will also explore ways to strengthen energy management through conservation, recycling and innovative partnerships.

“We are striving to improve our environmental record through innovative partnerships and by looking at new ways to make our neighbourhoods greener and more inclusive,” said Jim Watson. “I believe that when you build communities with good urban planning principles and efficient land-use that supports intensification along transit corridors – it makes a big difference towards addressing issues of community liveability, affordability and also environmental sustainability.”

If he is re-elected, Jim Watson will:

  • Invest $3 million per year in energy retrofits to City facilities, with a seven to ten-year payback through energy savings, for a total investment of $12 million over the next four years
  • Grow the city’s urban tree canopy through partnership opportunities that will see an additional 500,000 trees planted over the next term of Council, with an initial focus on areas impacted by the recent tornadoes
  • Plant additional trees in City parks and public spaces across Ottawa, starting with areas impacted by the recent tornadoes
  • Expand the mandate of Hydro Ottawa, through its subsidiary Energy Ottawa, to deliver energy efficiency projects to the City and to collaborate with not-for-profit social housing providers to deliver energy retrofit
  • Explore District Energy partnerships with the federal government for City Hall and the new Central Library project
  • Implement an electric bus pilot project in Ottawa
  • Assess market opportunities to consider waste as an energy source
  • Expand waste diversion to 100 high-use City parks to include recycling, organics and pet waste collection
  • Introduce a green bin pilot project in Ottawa Community Housing units, promote diversion programs for multi-residential buildings and improve public outreach and advertising efforts with the goal of increasing diversion rates; and
  • Undertake a bylaw and zoning review to permit safe and licensed beekeeping across the city, in order to help these important pollinators to thrive in Ottawa

“To achieve progress towards our environmental goals, the City is open to new partnerships for public and private collaboration,” said Mayor Watson. “Hydro Ottawa has a strong track record of delivering innovative environmental solutions, which are not only popular with residents, but also result in long-term savings for the City. I believe that by expanding Hydro Ottawa’s mandate to look at other opportunities with not-for-profit social housing providers, we will see tangible benefits for residents living in these communities through reduced energy costs, access to capital and environmental expertise.”

Click here to read the backgrounder.