Committee approves investments in climate priorities, water services and waste diversion

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal lime green stripe are in the foreground with " Environment and Climate Change Committee update" in the centre.

The City’s Environment and Climate Change Committee today approved its portion of Draft Budget 2024(link is external), including investments that support a green and resilient city by preparing for more extreme weather, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and protecting greenspace, trees and waterways. This budget also invests in core services that residents rely on every day, such as water services and waste collection. 

The City would continue to commit $5 million annually to implement the Climate Change Master Plan, supporting efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance climate resiliency. This base funding complements more than $278 million in new investments, across all committees and citywide, that prioritize the environment and advance the City’s climate change objectives.  

Investments that will strengthen Ottawa’s resilience to climate impacts include: 

  • $21.7 million to build resiliency to power outages at the Robert O. Pickard Environmental Centre wastewater treatment facility 

  • $3 million to continue developing a coordinated approach to wet weather flow management within the urban area and reduce flood risks  

  • $3 million to implement energy conservation measures in City facilities 

  • $1.7 million for tree planting​ 

The draft budget commits $252.7 million in capital investments towards the City’s drinking water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure, including: 

  • $77 million to ensure a continued supply of quality drinking water, including renewal of water purification plants 

  • $81 million to safely convey and treat wastewater, including renewal of pumping stations 

  • $66 million to safely manage and convey stormwater, including renewal of drainage culverts 

The City would continue to invest in sustainable waste management, including: 

  • $4.5 million to continue developing and implementing the Solid Waste Master Plan and related projects 

  • $28 million to support operations and improvements at the Trail Waste Facility landfill, including expanding its gas collection system 

The Committee received the Draft Solid Waste Master Plan(link is external), which sets out proposed actions to sustainably manage waste over the next 30 years and extend the life of the Trail Road landfill by approximately 14 years. These actions include: 

  • Reducing waste, reusing and recycling 

  • Diverting 30 per cent of waste to private landfills 

  • Expanding the landfill within its existing footprint 

  • Banning industrial and commercial waste from the landfill 

The City would also explore long-term solutions, such as anaerobic digestion for organic waste, waste-to-energy incineration to reduce waste going to the landfill, and mixed waste processing to mechanically separate divertible materials from collected garbage. Following this report, the City will begin a third round of public engagement to support the development of the final waste plan, to be brought to Council in Q2 2024. 

To help extend the life of the City’s landfill, the Committee approved beginning the environmental assessment process required by the Province to permit the expansion of the landfill(link is external) within existing property boundaries. Between the approval process and construction, this process can take anywhere from 10 to 15 years. Beginning as soon as possible would ensure waste can be managed without interruption for Ottawa residents and give the City more time to plan its next waste disposal solution. 

The Committee approved an amendment to the Tree Protection By-law(link is external) to reduce the size of protected trees in the suburban area to match that of trees in the inner urban area, resulting in consistent tree rules across the urban area. Effective February 1, 2024, a permit would be required to remove trees measuring 30 centimetres or more in diameter in the suburban area. Previously, the by-law set the diameter limit for suburban trees at 50 centimetres, while those in the inner urban area were set at 30 centimetres.  

The Committee approved the guiding principles and review framework for the water, wastewater and stormwater rate structure(link is external), aimed at creating a more equitable, transparent and efficient billing system for water services. As part of the review, staff would develop a stormwater rate that is calculated based on impervious surface area, which directly affects the amount, quality and rate of stormwater runoff. The City would consult with the public and stakeholders, develop a revised rate structure and report back with final recommendations before Q2 2025.  

The Committee received a special presentation announcing the winners of the City’s Rain Ready Ottawa contest. This contest encouraged residents to redirect their downspouts or install rainwater collection systems to help protect Ottawa’s creeks and rivers and build resiliency to climate change. Hersha Malkani won the first prize of a professionally installed rain garden, and Dan and Megan Monafu won the second prize of a custom rain ready landscaping plan. Visit Rain Ready Ottawa to learn more about the program and how you can take action on your property to reduce the harmful impacts of rainwater runoff. 

Items approved at this meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, December 6. 

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