Ottawa, ON (November 21, 2017) – Representatives of community associations across Ottawa are calling on the Mayor and Councillors to come through with funding for action and staffing on what was to be a Term of Council Priority – Ottawa’s Renewable Energy Strategy.
Mayor Jim Watson recently announced $2million 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.
The budget ‘highlights’ state that the environment is a ‘top priority’ in a clear acknowledgement of the many residents who met with their councillors in 17 out of 23 wards last spring, and participated in pre-budget consultations this fall to urge the City of Ottawa to adopt more serious efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and work towards greenhouse gas reduction targets.
“How can you say that something is a City strategic priority if there are no permanent working staff assigned to it until 2019?” asks Angela Keller-Herzog with the Glebe Community Association. “It’s great to see plans for a Smart Energy Office that is proposed to bring together engineers and planners, but funds for staffing this office should be in the 2018 budget.” .
Liz Bernstein, President of the Lowertown Community Association and a member of CAFES said “We want the Energy Evolution strategy to be set up for success. The Mayor said $2million in his budget remarks, so we want to see $2million in new money in the budget documents.”
With little new money available and no permanent staff assigned to energy transition planning and program implementation, CAFES members fear the outcome will be more delays and insufficient action on climate change and the much-needed renewable energy strategy.
Another suggestion the group has for city staff and councillors: City staff should report to Council at least annually on Ottawa’s community and corporate greenhouse gas emissions and this data should be made available to the public and researchers on the Open Data Catalogue. If we don’t get this data, how can we know whether we are on track to meet our targets? The City’s Environment and Climate Protection Committee currently receives greenhouse gas emissions reporting only once every four years.
Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability (CAFES) was founded in 2010 and is a forum for representatives of community and residents associations to engage with the City of Ottawa on environmental issues.
For more information, contact:
Lowertown Community Association