As we’re starting to get a glimpse of a return to normal life in Ottawa, the warm days of spring remind us that the climate is not what it used to be. Rain in February, snow in April, 30+ degrees in May and our city has seen more natural disasters in the last three years than we had in the previous half century. To celebrate Environment Week in Ottawa, I am proud to share a few ambitious projects that the City is undertaking to ensure our greenspace and waterways are protected for future generations:

Climate Change Master Plan: In October 2020, Council unanimously approved the Climate Change Master Plan, including Energy Evolution, an energy transition strategy for Ottawa. This aggressive plan sets the framework for Ottawa to achieve a reduction of community GHG emissions of 100% by 2050.

Electrification of transit: Electrification of transit: Once fully operational, the LRT Stage 2 alone will reduce GHG emissions by 110,000 tonnes per year. As part of a pilot project, four electric buses will be in service this fall, marking the first step towards the electrification of the OC Transpo bus fleet, which will help the City reach its 2050 goal.

LED streetlights: Hydro Ottawa has so far converted 53,000 of our city’s streetlights from traditional lamps to energy-efficient LED. This project decreased the City’s carbon dioxide emissions by a remarkable 1,200 metric tonnes every year and translates into a 55% reduction in energy consumption, equivalent to $4 million in annual savings.

Trees: In addition to my commitment to plant 500,000 trees during this term of Council, the new and strengthened Tree Protection By-law will help better preserve and protect our urban canopy.

Waste Diversion: The City has seen a significant increase in diversion of organic waste. In 2019, the City collected 9% more organic, leaf and yard waste than in 2018, and a further 15% increase was observed in 2020. We also saw a 37% increase in the number of multi-residential properties with a Green Bin program.

Greener buildings: The Ottawa Public Library and Library & Archives Canada Joint Facility will be a state-of-the-art building. Scheduled to open in 2025, it is being designed to be a Net Zero Carbon facility.  On the residential side, the new Better Homes Loan Program will provide low-interest loans to homeowners for the green retrofitting of their properties.

Water: The 17 projects that make up the Ottawa River Action Plan (ORAP) are all designed to enhance the health of the Ottawa River. The Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel (CSST), one of the most important projects of the ORAP, will greatly reduce the frequency of sewage overflows entering the Ottawa River during storms, thereby protecting our water, the fish habitat and our beaches.

Wishing you all a wonderful summer and I hope you will enjoy all the beautiful parks, paths, and beaches that Ottawa has to offer.