The following is in response to Ecology Ottawa’s survey of candidates.
#1. Over the last term of council, initiatives to address climate change have been delayed, under-staffed and under-financed. 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?
Yes. When elected, I will support making climate action a Term of Council Priority. Climate change is real, it is happening and it is impacting our residents. Council needs to ensure that all investments we make in infrastructure are resilient to our changing climate.
#2. The City of Ottawa reports on community-wide climate emissions once every through the Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan. This infrequent reporting makes tracking progress toward our climate goals very difficult, and is far behind the standard set by leading cities such as Edmonton and Montreal. If elected, will you commit to increasing the frequency of the City’s community-wide emissions reporting to at least once per year?
Yes. Given that government decision-making must be evidence-based, annual community-wide emissions reporting data is necessary to determine focus and prioritization. Policy and operational decisions pertaining to the City of Ottawa’s climate goals need to be made on analysis supported by the data produced from the Air Quality and Climate Change Action Management Plan.
#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?
#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?
Yes. A new Official Plan is a great opportunity for people in our community to have their say and leave their mark on the future vision of Alta Vista and the city of Ottawa. As such, we need to draw on the creativity and expertise of our residents, non-profits and the private sector to anticipate future needs in the plans we make today. This includes a growing population, demand for affordable housing, land use pressures, transportation and a changing climate.
#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 (for council candidates) / city-wide (for mayoral candidates)?
(YES) Alta Vista is a community where people live, work and play – it is not simply a transportation corridor to bring people from the south to the downtown core. As councillor I will champion safe cycling and pedestrian routes and support strategies to leverage the new LRT to bring new riders to public transportation. Personal automobiles and delivery vehicles are not simply disappearing but they are changing and changing quickly. The largest auto manufacturers in the world are actively transitioning to ‘personal mobility’ companies as autonomous and electric vehicles are going to change the future of personal transportation. The city needs to be making infrastructure investments that will make sense 40 years from now, not just for the next 5.
#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?
(NO) The City of Ottawa’s $3.1 billon investment in light rail transit (LRT) infrastructure underscores the city’s commitment to smart transportation policy. Given that the LRT is not yet in-service, I favour completing the analysis regarding the efficacy of the City’s current plan for connectivity within 600 metres of transit hubs.
#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 (for council candidates) / city-wide (for mayoral candidates)?
Yes. I commit to ensuring that for all new and retrofit transportation infrastructure projects, a coherent, cost-effective and smart complete streets approach be used in those projects, ensuring that the end-results works for all, and that pedestrian and cycling needs are an integral and foundational part of those projects. In Alta Vista Ward, a lot of basic infrastructure is either missing or is incomplete, such as sidewalks that end unexpectedly or cycling lanes that are unconnected to a coherent and/or existing network. I will work to ensure that a more thoughtful and cohesive approach to complete streets be implemented in Alta Vista to create a transportation network that works for all.
#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?
Yes. I would be interested in learning more about the best practices, lessons learned and investments required to implementing a Vision Zero policy for Ottawa.
#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?
Yes. I commit to supporting the adoption of a strong Urban Forest Management Plan for the City of Ottawa. Ottawa is recognized as a “green city” due to its parks, green spaces and forest canopy. We need to work to ensure that the city’s green canopy is not only maintained but strengthened through the cooperation, participation and commitment of all sectors of government (federal, provincial and the city), educational institutions, private sector organisations, stakeholders and citizens towards it.
#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?
Yes. When elected, I will work to ensure all street resurfacing and new road construction integrate green infrastructure —wherever possible. Tying the complete street approach to new and updated road and transportation infrastructure and green co-development objectives will not only enhance the landscape and environment that we live in, but also support environmental development objectives for the city.
#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?
Yes. I will commit to prioritizing greenspace preservation as part of the planning process. Green urban development and transportation infrastructure expansion projects can go hand-in-hand in enhancing the environmental footprint of the city. I would support the development and implementation of guidelines and bylaws that would oblige developers to implement enhanced greening measures of the local landscape in new and redevelopment projects. For example, when new subdivisions or commercial developments are planned for, we should ensure that these new development plans not only replace but enhance the green canopy and ensure a minimum proportion of land for public green space. In Alta Vista for example, we should ensure that development plans for Elmvale Acres shopping centre and for the new Timbercreek development are obliged to implement a physical environmental plan that will prioritize an enhanced greening of the local landscape and enhanced public park spaces.
#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?
Yes. When elected, I will join the mayors of over 100 Quebec municipalities in opposing the development of a permanent radioactive waste facility alongside the Ottawa River, upstream from Ottawa.
#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?
Yes. Yes however, the City’s decision to amend its green waste management contract must allow an opportunity for Orgaworld to deliver on its commitment and for the City of Ottawa, including the City of Ottawa’s auditor general, to potentially evaluate results.
#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?
No. In my experience, successful issue-based and social change public education campaigns are not solely reliant on expending resources in this way. We can find other ways to work with partners and stakeholders to amplify our messaging to encourage increased recycling and composting behaviour. Think along the lines of a high school or post-secondary social marketing challenge that would take on and implement this initiative as an example.
Understanding the barriers to citizens adopting waste prevention, recycling and green bin programs need to be assessed first. Additionally, understanding what areas of the city have a higher or lower adoption rate may assist in targeting messaging to improve diversion rates amongst residents. For example, what policies need to be implemented to address why Ottawans living in condos and apartment buildings should not be mandated to recycle and waste separation at source. We can better work with developers in their planning for new residential developments and with existing community associations to further implement better waste diversion practices.
#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?
Yes. I agree with discussing the development of an updated evidence-based, waste management strategy to increase Ottawa’s waste diversion rates, that would encourage the adoption of best practices and create an affordable action plan that would put the city on the path towards the ideal of 65% waste diversion target.