Ecology Ottawa Volunteer Carol Gravelle attended the all-candidates debate on the environment in Ward 17 (CAPITAL WARD) on October 15th to report back on how candidates answered questions. On election day incumbent David Chernushenko was re-elected and we look forward to seeing how he implements the plans he mentioned in his responses over the next 4 years.

Local Environment Think E - check out the info graphic ranking the issues!

On Wednesday, October 15th an all-candidates debate on the environment took place at Southminster United Church. The debate attracted an electorate eager to hear the candidates’ pitches for the upcoming municipal election.

In a full room with a mix of the seven sponsor organizations and interested citizens, the debate started on time with all candidates present including moderator, Diane McIntyre – a two time recipient of the Whitton award; incumbent David Chernushenko, and aspirants, Espoir Manirambona and Scott Blurton.

Candidates had two minutes to field questions from both the debate’s sponsors and the floor. Each were given five opportunities for rebuttal with a time of 45 seconds to either elaborate more on a point or refute their opponent’s platform. The speaking order was rotational with every candidate given an equal number of times to speak. The moderator set the tone of the debate with how important our environment is for air, food, shade, traffic and scope. Each candidate was given three minutes for their respective opening words.

Manirambona was first off the mark stating that if elected he would get to the “roots” of the economic and ecological challenges ahead. He championed worker cooperatives which serve the needs of the people, and which have seen success in place like New York.

Blurton stated his platform included five main campaign issues: youth unemployment, smart development, transportation choice, mental health and poverty reduction. He reiterated that he is the only Ward 17 candidate to stand behind a congestion fee based on the cost of road maintenance.

Chernushenko’s platform is one promising to have a 100% renewable Ottawa by 2050. He stands behind his record of reducing the city’s carbon footprint and increasing green infrastructure.

In response to a question posed by a member of the Ottawa Public Interest Research Group - Carleton, on how to reduce our carbon footprint the candidates answered in the following ways:
  • Blurton listed his three actions as: congestion based pricing based on the cost of road maintenance; the type of energy used to generate power in Ottawa and building retrofits.
  • Chernushenko stated his three measures as having all new civic buildings at LEED Design Silver and Gold standards, better urban design and building retrofits.
  • Manirambona brought forth the following three measures: food security, reducing the carbon footprint by encouraging sustainable transportation options (public transit, cycling, walking), and a gradual implementation of free transit as seen in other big cities.
Lars Wessman of the Ottawa Riverkeeper posed a question about the pressure of urban development leading to more pavement which causes storm water runoff into the local watershed.

Chernushenko said he would consider the implementation of city structure that would enable more filtration of water such as green roofs and permeable pavement, as well as more infill guidelines.

Manirambona mentioned urban development which includes peoples’ needs such as food security, social housing and the promotion of worker cooperative to give people a more democratic voice.

Blurton emphasized innovations such as his congestion fee to recoup costs. A member of Ecology Ottawa asked a question regarding the forest canopy in the ward and what steps can be taken which will not repeat the ineffective tree planting on Bank Street where trees needed to be replaced one or more times.

Manirambona pointed out that, “steps taken would be in consultation with experts such as Ecology Ottawa to go back to basics in planting trees. Also there is a need to have more urban food production.”

Blurton recalled, “the example of a dense forest canopy in the Glebe neighbourhood having come back from BC where urban trees are found everywhere. The abundant tree canopy is one of the reasons I so admire this city. Another important practice would be to ensure having a variety of tree species.”

Chernushenko replied, “one of the reasons why the Bank street trees needed replanting was because the trees were planted with insufficient infill space to have the tree grow to maturity. Reducing the amount of salt would also help in tree survival.”

Carol Gravelle is a volunteer with Ecology Ottawa

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