Budget 2020: Focus on flooding, residents to pay more for water, waste collection

OTTAWA – Protecting waterways, reducing the risk of flooding and effectively distributing drinking water to homes and businesses are key investments for Draft Budget 2020, Ottawa’s standing committee on Environmental Protection, water and Waste Management said earlier today (Nov. 19).

“The city’s standing committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management considered its portions of the draft budget, including a $249-million capital investment to renew and grow water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure that delivers essential services to residents, businesses and visitors,” city staff released in a statement today. “An additional $4 million would go towards the Wet Weather Infrastructure Master Plan to manage sewer capacity and reduce the risk of property flooding.”

Environmental initiatives would see a $5.1-million investment, including $3 million to conserve energy in city facilities and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and to update the Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan. An additional $6.6 million would go towards protecting air and land at the Trail Waste Facility, for the second phase of capping and to expand the landfill’s gas collection system.

Residents would see increases to their water bills and waste collection fees. Starting April 1, a household that consumes the average amount of water, wastewater and stormwater per year (180 cubic meters) would pay an additional $36 per year. Starting Jan. 1, a single-family household would pay an additional $8 for curbside waste collection, for a total of $96. A multi-residential household would pay an additional $13.50, or $56.50 in total.

The city would continue to prioritize environmental stewardship during this Term of Council. The Commitctee considered the proposed priorities that fall under its mandate. Efforts over the next three years include reducing the city’s carbon footprint, maintaining drinking water quality, reviewing the Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan, implementing recommendations from the declaration of a climate emergency and the Urban Forest Management Plan, and creating a solid waste master plan for the next 30 years.

The committee recommended council approve amendments to the Water By-law and offer a new service to property owners who want the city to install or service large water meters between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. This off-hours work would cost $350, and the city would continue to install and service large water meters during regular hours at no cost to property owners.

Regular items from today’s meeting requiring City Council approval will go to council on Wednesday, Nov. 27. The committee’s portion of the draft budget will go to Council on Wednesday, Dec. 11.