City Council Update: Council approves pilot to capture renewable energy from wastewater

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal turquoise stripe are in the foreground with " City Council update" in the centre.

On April 12, Council approved the City entering into an agreement with Theia Partners and Envari Holdings to connect a Wastewater Energy Transfer (WET) system to the City’s sewer system as a pilot program for the planned Dream LeBreton development. The development at 665 Albert Street features two high-rise residential buildings with 40 per cent affordable units. 

The WET system uses renewable energy from heat found in sewer systems as an alternative to using fossil fuels to heat and cool buildings, which is one of Ottawa's largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. This project could reduce carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by 1,100 tonnes.

For the pilot, the City would enter into an agreement allowing Theia Partners and Envari Holdings to connect to the City’s sanitary sewer and the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel. Theia and Envari will design, build and operate the WET system. The City will set a fee for a WET system design review, and an annual energy transfer fee based on the rate of flow needed to meet anticipated energy demands for Dream LeBreton. Staff will report back on results of the pilot no later than 18 months after it is implemented.   

Council received an update on year three of Ottawa’s electric kick scooter pilot and approved continuing with a fourth year of the pilot in 2023.  With a shorter season, and operating in a smaller area with fewer vehicles, there was a slight decline in ridership, but the volume of trips shows a continued demand for the program.

For the 2023 season, the City will:  

  • Allow the same two providers from 2022 to provide 900 shared e-scooters. 
  • Maintain the requirements and restrictions to address improper riding and parking.  
  • Change the fee structure to ensure sufficient resources to manage the program while keeping it revenue neutral. 
  • Work with providers to refine and improve the program. 
  • Improve ways to report and track issues or concerns. 

If the season is successful, the General Manager of Planning, Real Estate and Economic Development has the authority to continue the pilot in 2024.

Council approved a proposal to rename the Kanata Recreation Complex to the Tony Graham Recreation Complex – Kanata, as part of a corporate sponsorship. Tony Graham Automotive Group will pay the City $1 million over 10 years, or $100,000 per year, to acquire the naming rights for the complex for the term of the agreement. A portion of the sponsorship funding will be applied to launch a free weight and cardio summer membership program for youth aged 13 to 17 at City facilities, as well as to enhancing community events, programming and amenities at the site.

Council also received an update on the 2022 Road Safety Action Plan and approved the 2023 plan. Collisions were down significantly in 2021, due in part to less daily travel as a result of the pandemic. The City saw 8,127 reportable collisions in 2021 compared to an average of 13,880 per year over the five previous years. The City delivered most planned 2022 measures and the 2023 plan will continue to focus on vulnerable road users, rural areas, intersections and high-risk driver behaviours.

Council approved amendments to the Right of Way Patio By-law in advance of the 2023 patio season, notably:

  • All right-of-way patios will be permitted to stay open until 2 am, with all patios also being subject to the City’s Noise By-law. 
  • A cap will be lifted on seating permits for Café Seating patios, to permit as many tables as space allows. 
  • Reference will be added to the Tree Protection By-law to allow review of the potential impact a new patio might have on City trees.  
  • Winter maintenance provisions will be added to ensure owners maintain their spaces free of snow and ice and to prohibit using patio spaces for seasonal storage. 
  • Notification for new patio applications will be circulated only to property owners within 30 metres, rather than 90 metres, to align with noise and zoning by-law notifications. 

As part of this report, Council also approved the Urban Design Guidelines for Commercial Patios, a resource that will aid in the review of commercial patio proposals on both private property and in the right-of-way. The guidelines provide design details on subjects such as furniture, partitions and vegetation. 

Council voted not to support an application for a Community Improvement Plan program grant for a hotel near the Ottawa Airport.

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