Budget 2000

From : Barbara Barr

Sent: Saturday, January 15, 2000 17:11

To: gacc@home.com

Subject: Budget 2000 Oral Presentation

Hello Greenspace Alliance members and friends,

I gave the oral presentation for Ottawa’s “Budget 2000″ on Jan. 14. Since some councillors were not present at the public hearing, I wrote a short cover letter and faxed it and the text of the oral presentation for distribution to every councillor. Thanks very much to everyone who made helpful comments along the way. Here’s the text of the presentation.

Greenspace Alliance presentation for Budget 2000, Jan. 14, 2000.

I [Barbara Barr] am currently the Treasurer of the Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital, and am here today to speak to you on behalf of the Alliance. We submitted a short letter by fax, outlining our recommendations on funding for the NOSS and other environmental initiatives, which I trust each of you has received.

Just to remind you of who we are, the Greenspace Alliance of Canada’s Capital is an organization of individuals and organizations which was formed in the Fall of 1997 in response to concerns about the loss of Greenspace in the National Capital Area.

Regarding the proposed Budget, we are very concerned about the lack of funding for environmental initiatives, other than for tree planting. It has been said that Ottawa wants to go into this year of amalgamation in a good position for its future in the new municipality . We’d like to respectfully point out that this Budget gives the impression that Ottawa has few environmental initiatives significant enough to carry forward into the new municipality , when in fact the opposite is the case.

The Natural and Open Spaces Study, or NOSS, is a precedent-setting study of the preservation of urban lands. The study has been completed and approved, and should be implemented. We recommend that it receive funding of at least $50,000, $20,000 of which would be for capital works, such as signs and paths.

Ottawa has an award-wining C02-reduction program, which we referred to as the Clean Air Program in our letter. We should have called it the Climate Change Program, and apologize for that error. The proposed $95,000 for the program has been withdrawn in this revised Budget. It should be restored.

There is no indication in the Budget that Council wishes to initiate the important and long-overdue Integrated Pest Management Program it has approved. There should be some funding for this.

These should all be budgeted items that carry forward strategically into the new municipality as costs of Ottawa’s environmental programs.

Of course, NOSS is of greatest interest to the Greenspace Alliance. There should be support now for funding for the implementation of the NOSS. The required surveys of lands slated for preservation need to be made and management plans for them need to be developed.

We recommend that Ottawa effectively demonstrate that it has an urban land preservation program by putting that program into the budget records. Otherwise, we put ourselves in the unfortunate position of giving the impression, as we become amalgamated, that Ottawa has no land preservation

initiative worth funding. I’m sure you’ve all studied the Shortliffe Report. Think about that report all references in it to preservation of trees and wood lots and wet land issues are recommended as responsibilities of a Rural Affairs Standing Committee. Land preservation could easily become primarily a rural issue. Don’t let that happen. Fund your own program now and get it on the books when you have a chance. Put your stamp of approval on this important Ottawa program. In the Budget, give up a couple of new vehicles or some other new equipment, particularly anything having to do with information technology, for this one year.

Of course, strategy is not the only reason the NOSS should be funded for implementation. Even more important, a lot of money, effort and public participation have gone into this project over the last few years. Ottawa’s residents have every reason to expect an implemented outcome for the NOSS. There needs to be linkage between planned initiatives and implementation of those initiatives.

A statement in the Budget 2000 document itself says, “One of the lessons learned from the strategic planning exercise is that there needs to be clear linkage to implementation.” Well, now is the time to apply that learned lesson. For NOSS, budgeted funds are the link between·the completed study approved by Council and its implementation.

Another issue is the Greenway System mandated by the City’s Official Plan. its implementation is overdue. Some of the NOSS sites slated for preservation are in the proposed Greenway System, which seemed a promising step toward the formation of the Greenway System. Its not a minor issue, it’s an Official Plan issue.

Some of the lands slated for preservation were donated by private landowners. Those who donated land, or who might donate land in the future, should be made to feel assured that the lands they donated will have well planned futures.

Your own Environmental Advisory Committee is advising you to fund these environmental projects. Please listen to that advice.

Thank you.

UPDATE — January 18, 2000

Good News!

On Jan. 17, Ottawa’s Council voted to amend the budget recommended by its staff. The approved budget contains $20,000 for NOSS capital works, $30,000 for climate change (C02 reduction), and $50,000 for the new Integrated Pest Management program (IPM). Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back for our efforts on this one!