City to eliminate single-use plastics, give away royal swans

OTTAWA – The city will develop a plan to eliminate single-use and foamed plastics in city programs and services where there is an environmentally responsible alternative.

A motion approved by council today also directs staff to review all policies, programs and practices with respect to using green materials, green procurement and circular economy principles. The City will examine the feasibility of eliminating discretionary single-use and foamed plastics in all contracted services, and present alternatives to the current pouring-rights contract with Coca Cola when the minimum sales volume commitment is fulfilled. The city will also refresh its public education about tap water to dispel the misconception that bottled water is of higher quality.

In other city council news today (June 26), council approved an investment plan for the city’s $15-million affordable housing contribution, approved in Budget 2019 and the recently announced $17.7-million federal/provincial investment to address housing affordability under the new Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative.

The combined funding promises more than $32 million for the development of affordable housing in Ottawa over the next three years.

 Council received a report highlighting accomplishments under the city’s previous energy conservation plan. Since 2015, the city has reduced its total corporate energy use by 6.7 per cent, despite the number and size of city facilities growing by five per cent.

 The report also included a four-year plan to continue to reduce energy consumption at city facilities. The city will convert more lighting to LED, add more facilities to the building automation system and use new technologies to help conserve energy. Council approved an eight-year payback period to repay the initial cost of these measures through energy savings. This will allow the city to prioritize more comprehensive initiatives aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, helping achieve its goal to reduce emissions by 80 per cent from 2012 levels by 2050. 

Council received the annual report of Hydro Ottawa. 

Council received annual reports from Ottawa Fire Services and the Ottawa Paramedic Service. Despite increasing call volumes, both services continue to meet standards for response times.

Twenty-two temporary staff in By-law and Regulatory Services and the Public Policy and Development Branch will be made permanent following Council approval. These positions, which will continue to be funded by revenue, will help By-law and Regulatory Services manage the 14.5-per-cent increase in requests for service since 2011.

Council approved a consolidated Smoking and Vaping By-law to ensure a broad range of smoke-free and vape-free places in Ottawa, along with related amendments to the Transit By-law and the Right of Way Patio By-law. Smoking and vaping tobacco, cannabis and all other substances will be prohibited in all areas where smoking tobacco and using water pipes is currently prohibited, including enclosed public places and workplaces, City parks and beaches, public transit buses and properties, restaurant patios, school and hospital grounds, and common areas of multi-residential buildings.

Council approved adding 2,337 properties to the City’s Heritage Register. At the direction of council, staff inventoried all properties across Ottawa with cultural heritage value or interest.

 A comprehensive and up-to-date heritage register, which is required by the Ontario Heritage Act, provides easily accessible information about cultural heritage properties to property owners and other stakeholders. The only impact of adding a non-designated property to the register is that the property owner must provide 60 days’ notice of proposed demolition. Council also approved discontinuing the Heritage Reference List, which was out of date and not publicly available.

The city’s five swans, four of which are descendants of swans gifted by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in 1967, will be housed at Parc Safari following council approval. Parc Safari has been housing and caring for the swans during the winters since 2015, as their previous winter facility was no longer safe. This will give the swans round-the-clock oversight of their health.

Council received Crime Prevention Ottawa’s annual report for 2018. The Time for Change gang intervention program has supported 108 individuals over the past five years. Crime Prevention Ottawa has also supported professional development for youth and funded research about violent weapons crimes in Ottawa.

To help reduce erosion and improve water quality, particularly at Petrie Island Beach, council approved a stormwater management retrofit plan for the Eastern Subwatersheds. Over the next five years, staff will remediate high-priority erosion sites, promote stormwater management measures property owners can implement on their properties, install demonstration rain gardens and investigate the sources of E. coli that affect Petrie Island Beach.