Below is the public letter from nine community groups, businesses and organizations calling on the Mayor's financial commitment to climate change action in the 2018 Budget. A pdf version of the letter can also be found here.
Office of Mayor Jim Watson
110 Laurier Ave. West
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1
December 12, 2017
Dear Mayor Jim Watson,
We are local citizens’ groups, local businesses and organizations concerned with the worsening climate crisis and the world we are leaving to our young and future generations.
We first would like to recognize the strong leadership that you and the present Council have provided for the Light Rail Transit. The LRT, at $5 billion, is the greatest infrastructure project in Ottawa to date and equally, the most significant project for reducing greenhouse gas pollution we have undertaken yet. LRT is an important component needed to transition Ottawa to a smart and zero carbon economy.
But, however great, big investments in public transport will not be enough to deliver on our commitment to cut greenhouse gas pollution by 80% below 2012 levels by 2050. That is why we respectfully ask you to lend your leadership to the clean energy transition, a primary challenge facing our time. We urge you help get the City of Ottawa to commit at least $1.5 million in new funding in the 2018 budget, as well as at least two permanent full-time staff positions to work on Energy Evolution - Ottawa’s Community Energy Transition Strategy.
We are disappointed at the level of commitment seen in the current draft 2018 budget. In this draft, only $500,000 of new project funding are allocated to Energy Evolution and there are no permanent staff resources to be found. We believe that now is the time to start building a core team and a minimum level of starting capital resources for this strategic priority of Council. At the most recent United Nation climate conference, our federal government joined other governments, cities, and businesses in pledging to increase their efforts in the short term to combat climate change. As Canada’s capital and one of its largest and wealthiest cities, we hope that Ottawa will join them in doing our fair share.
This budget is an opportunity to make a more adequate investment in climate change solutions, and in the staff required to carry them out. Smart investments could yield many benefits in terms of local jobs, local energy production, substantial energy savings and cutting edge research and innovation, not least in smart city and smart grid technologies.
We urge you to take leadership and to ensure Ottawa takes bold action on this issue at this critical time.
Angela Keller-Herzog and Liz Bernstein, Focal Points for Renewable Energy and Climate Change, Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability
Janice Ashworth, General Manager, Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative
Paul Johanis, Chair, Greenspace Alliance
Robb Barnes, Executive Director, Ecology Ottawa
Andrea Harden, Energy and climate justice campaigner, Council of Canadians
Mike Gifford, Open Concept
Larry Dobson, 350 Ottawa
Mitchell Beer, President, Smarter Shift Inc. and Publisher, Energy Mix Productions
Rolly Montpellier, Co-founder, Below 2C