In early November, the City of Ottawa released its draft budget for 2018. The GCA Environment Committee has been urging the City to make serious commitments to renewable energy in our city. With partners in the Community Associations Forum on Environmental Sustainability (CAFES), a group of likeminded associations, we issued a news release expressing concern at the budget’s level of investment in staffing and programs, and at the proposed timelines. As stated in the release,
“Mayor Jim Watson recently announced $2 million in the 2018 draft budget for the Energy Evolution strategy. But only a quarter of that money, or $500,000, is new money. And all of that new money has been earmarked for a Community Energy Innovation Fund, the terms of reference for which have not yet been drafted, let alone approved. There appear to be no resources for either a proposed Smart Energy Office or staff who would actually implement the Energy Evolution strategy.”
CAFES, including GCA’s committee co-chair Angela Keller-Herzog, and other organizations made presentations to city council’s Environment and Climate Change Committee, chaired by our Councillor David Chernushenko. However, the Committee approved the draft budget without amendment.
There is still time for you to make your voice heard at City Hall. If you believe that Ottawa needs to reduce its carbon footprint and prepare to benefit from the renewable energy economy, take a look at the CAFES release at….. And send a message to the Mayor and our Councillor. For a sample text, go to ecologyottawa.ca and select the Renewable City: Action Letter Tool.
The Light Rail Transit system is undeniably an important contribution to Ottawa’s environment and quality of life. As well, the city’s increased commitment to electric vehicle charging stations and bike/pedestrian pathways is excellent. But there are many areas in which the city is lagging – many of them low-hanging fruit. And without more action, we won’t achieve the carbon reductions we need for a healthy, liveable, sustainable environment. That’s what makes our community’s continued vigilance and action so critical.
More details can be found in this media release: Cafes Media Release