Environmental Protection committee approves $218 million draft budget

CITY HALL – The city’s standing committee on Environmental Protection, Water and Waste Management approved its portion of the draft budget for 2021.

It includes a $218 million investment in the water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure that delivers essential services to residents, businesses and visitors.

“To help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the city would invest $3 million to conserve energy at its facilities,” city staff released in a statement today (Nov. 17). “The city projects it would save $365,000 a year from this investment, with a net payback expected in eight years.”

The city would also invest $18.7 million to protect air and land at the Trail Waste Facility, $2 million to conserve natural lands in rural areas and $1.5 million to plant trees and regenerate Ottawa’s tree canopy. These investments would complement the $2.6 million council committed in October to Energy Evolution projects.

“Starting on Friday, Jan. 1, households with curbside waste collection would pay an additional $10 per year for this service, bringing the total to $106 – the lowest fee for curbside waste collection among major Canadian municipalities,” city staff said.

Multi-residential households would pay an additional $15 per year, for a total of $71.50. About $4 from both fee increases would help fund capital investments to meet regulatory requirements and reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the Trail Waste Facility.

Starting Thursday, April 1, the average household connected to the city’s water supply would pay an additional $37 per year on their water bill. Rural households not connected would pay an additional $7 per year for their stormwater fee, which pays for culverts and stormwater facilities that help prevent flooding and reduce the amount of pollutants entering waterways.

The committee also approved amendments to the new Tree Protection Bylaw, which comes into effect on Friday, Jan. 1.

“To protect more trees, the bylaw reduces the minimum size for a tree to be considered distinctive in inner urban areas,” city staff said. “It also revises compensation requirements in cases where such trees need to be removed, to better mitigate the loss of tree canopy.”

The $700 refundable tree-planting deposit would be repealed since the city has more effective mechanisms to ensure tree replacement.

The committee approved two motions that will be considered by the Finance and Economic Development committee at its meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1. The first recommends the city’s next long-range financial plan consider raising the debt limit for Energy Evolution projects that generate income or savings to the city. The second directs staff to report by mid-2021 on barriers to achieving prudent investor status.

“If council were to approve following prudent investor standards, staff would be directed to evaluate divesting of its investments in fossil fuels,” staff said.

Recommendations from today’s meeting requiring approval will rise to council on Wednesday, Nov. 25, except for the draft budget, which council will consider on Wednesday, Dec. 9.

For more information on city programs and services, visit ottawa.ca or call 311 (TTY: 613-580-2401).