Special Meeting – August 15 2019

Special Meeting – August 15, 2019  Hintonburg Community Centre

People’s Official Plan for Ottawa’s Climate Emergency


Meeting Goals tonight:

  • Review Ottawa’s 5 “Big Moves”, release in draft by City Staff August 12
  • Review and highlight any deficiencies in light of our own policy papers
  • Discuss how to engage with Planning Committee and Staff. at August 22 meeting of Planning Committee

Big Move #1 – Growth

  • 150,000 new homes needed in period.  City is looking at several figures:  50, 60, and 70% of new housing to come from intensification versus green/brown fields.  If 70%, no expansion outside urban boundary.  60% will need some.  50% much more expansion outside boundary.
  • We support the 70% target as this will intensify without destroying needed green space and environmental services. Also best way to reduce GHG.
  • If at 70%, the remaining 30% would come from 2000 hectares of vacant space (urban suburbs) already zoned. Not sure if they will go for 70%.  Might be middle ground of 60%, which we would oppose.
  • Can we ask the city to demand of developers to have transit in place before houses are sold? Legal challenge to this?
  • Affordable housing is becoming a critical issue now with high housing costs like in Hintonburg. West Ottawa.
  • The strategy linking growth to GHG emissions targets is weak.

Big Move #2 – Mobility

  • Not moving fast enough if looking at 2046.  Move further, move faster.
  • City is looking into whether they are heading towards their goal of 50% car/50% public & active transportation by 2031.
  • LRT linking to Gatineau.
  • Positive that the city is going to review Park & Rides parking lots.  Should these parking lots be used for other reasons (housing) instead of parking cars?
  • Providing early rapid transit in new communities.  Need to set the trend before people get used to using their cars in these communities.
  • Have to be careful of loopholes where suburban neighbourhoods can avoid implemeting complete streets if residents want their lawns and cars.
  • Parking fees need to pay for something other than parking – active transportation.
  • Public Transit rates have risen 80% while parking rates frozen since 2008. Not acceptable.
  • Electric bikes and scooters might be a great way to link with new LRT.
  • After Stage 2 LRT, 90% of residents will be within 5km of transit. This distance is bikable.
  • There is an issue of equity with disabled residents and how prioritizing vehicles has sent us in the wrong direction.
  • Clearing of sidewalks and cycle lanes needs to be a priority to have a truly active transportation network.  The focus has always been on roads for vehicles first.
  • Every budget cycle we need to push for better transit.  This is the most important time.
  • Rural transit and active transportation needs solutions. (Didn’t have time to mention but Innisfil, ON and Moncton, NB have used taxis and Uber in different ways to boost rural transit use)

Big Move #3 – Urban Design

  • Climate Change Master Plan is a good thing.
  • The city needs staff that have the responsibility of climate change (like Transportation Dept)
  • City has had a mission plan statement for urban design, but they have never reviewed or tested to see if they are aligning with the goals laid out in this document.

Big Move #4 – Climate, Energy, & Public Health

  • We don’t disagree with any of the policy directions in this section, just how it is arranged/organized.
  • Needs section needs rethinking as there are too many different subjects!  While they are all related (which is a good thing), the policy directions need to be better organized and thought out. in relation to the other big moves.
  • Public Health should be an expected outcome instead of part of the big move – the city cannot invest in healthcare.
  • Energy Efficiency would be a good direction, but limited scope available to the City.
  • Consider call to limit fossil fuel network expansion (as it will be phased out in coming decades anyway)
  • Waste management issues, a key driver of GHG, is not explicitly addressed in the Big Moves (organics in landfills).

Big Move #5 – Economic Development

  • Go further, go faster yet again
  • Disagree with city’s direction with choosing to base the economy on Global Linkages. They should focus on local and regional linkages – supply chains, markets, etc.
  • Big move call for efforts to overcome a land use model of the segregating living communities from working communities. Move towards live, work, play. But doesn’t go far enough in permitting options for integration of work into living communities.
  • Option of permitting and infrastructure and designation of “employment lands” where small villages and outer urban areas support work centres and office hubs where workers can do work remotely. The “we work” model of decentralized workstations. Federal government is open to this. Would also benefit from permitting/encouraging high speed internet connections in villages and outer urban employment lands.
  • Roland flagged worry about having companies chewing up valuable land inside these areas and increasing property values for other land-extensive businesses.
  • Aim for modest growth with YOW(airport) instead of significant growth as is planned.  We do not see the link that this airport is a major engine of Global growth in our city.  Also, the global trend for air travel is to flatten in coming years due to climate change imperatives. Furthermore, the area surrounding the airport has many land use restrictions due to noise and flight paths, etc, so is not prime land for intensification. Why make this a centre piece?
  • Recent policy change with city where urban residents can grow and sell their food if soil testing is done.
  • Food growth needs to be looked at differently compared to other industries. Does not have the downsides of industry.
  • Need to acknowledge that the separation between rural and urban is not so sharp in the case of food production potentials. Incorrect to assume food is only rural, or urban agriculture has no linkage to rural areas. These work together.
  • City wants to focus on Knowledge Industry.  It has higher salaries.  Service industry, lower.  This will work against live, work, play design as communities will again be segregated socio-economically.
  • City is choosing to focus High Impact building projects on tourism while ignoring the needs of local residents.  No mention of energy efficiency and climate change or affordable housing as prime candidates for high impact city building projects (City capital projects).

Decisions and Follow Up:

  • The POP for Ottawa’s Climate Emergency may not need to produce a final “plan” as an alternative or parallel Official Plan, IF we are successful at getting the City’s OP to go further and faster with respect to the climate emergency and ecological breakdown. The POP process is first and foremost a vehicle for dialogue among like-minded organizations and opportunity to develop our thinking and build consensus around key messages.
  • The August 22 meeting of Planning Committee launches a 3 month formal consultation period around the City’s “5 Big Moves for the Official Plan”, a document that contains many ideas we generally agree with. Consequently, we can use the August 22 to express encouragement, while also framing where and why the City needs to go further and faster.
  • Any and all can present at the August 22 Planning Committee meeting. Register with the Committee Coordinator by calling Melody Duffenais 613-580-2424, ext. 20113. Commitments to present came from: Paul (Move 1 and 4); Trevor (Move 2); Daniel (Move 4 & 5); Moe (Food security). Others to confirm if able to pitch in (Roland, Move 3; Aaron, Energy; Bike Ottawa Move 2). Advise Daniel or Paul if you plan to speak to a topic (for documentation). Share your speaking points, if you wish.
  • Key cross-cutting messages are that the OP needs to work with all the other relevant planning processes (UFMP, Transportation, etc.) and that the implementation and budgeting processes are where most of the consequential decisions will be made. Nevertheless, the OP needs to have the language needed to legally support detailed policies and programs.
  • It will help if presenters make passing reference during verbal and written presentations to the POP process as it shows that citizens are engaged in dialogue across organizations, and are developing consensus and collective as well as individual views on key issues.
  • Leads should submit the POP working policy papers to the City by August 22, sent to Duffenais@ottawa.ca (Planning Committee Coordinator) and to Marc.Desjardins@ottawa.ca (Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Coordinator).
  • After August 22, we should meet again (perhaps virtually) to discuss and develop a plan for ongoing engagement to amplify messages during the public consultation process. Let’s organize this as soon as we have information from the City regarding how they plan to organize the public consultation during this next period. We will want to engage media and mobilize people in other organizations and community groups, including the equity and social inclusion groups.
  • It will help if presenters make reference to the need for a good public engagement process going forward, to rebuild trust between the public, organized groups, Staff and Councillors. How to avoid things going off the rails, as they have in the past.