Ecology Ottawa delegates to the Environment and Climate Change Committee on the Rain Ready Ottawa program.

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Ecology Ottawa was at the City Council’s Environment and Climate Change Committee on April 16, 2024, to talk about the Rain Ready Program. We’ve provided our delegations below and you can also watch the recording.

The Rain Ready Ottawa program offers rebates and other resources to help residents control run-off water.

Environment and Climate Change Committee - Tuesday, April 16, 2024.

Below is the text of Ecology Ottawa's delegation to the City Council’s Environment and Climate Change Committee on April 16, 2024.

Delegation: Dan Rutabingwa Gakire, Climate Program Coordinator

Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you. I’m doing so on behalf of Ecology Ottawa.

Urban flooding is an increasing threat to Ottawa residents because of climate change and our poor practices concerning suburbanization. We saw this last August when a record 77 mm of rain fell, most of it within 90 minutes, leading to numerous flooded basements, road closures, and tens of thousands of residents without power. Given the two water courses that go through Ottawa, Public Safety Canada puts it in a high-risk flood area. On top of that, We expect to get more extreme weather as our climate warms; and one of these is heavier rainfall. All these things I have mentioned indicate that flooding will only get worse for Ottawa residents. Unless we find a way to properly control run-off.

The Rain Ready program is excellent and responds to these threats by helping residents take action not only to protect their own homes but also those around them. All recommendations on this program should be taken into consideration. The Rain Ready program is right to target priority areas because this will prevent flooding of our larger watercourses. But I still believe the program should be available and accessible to everyone. If possible, offer these simple solutions to everyone regardless of whether they live in the priority areas, for free or at a discount because flooding can happen to anyone in Ottawa and basements will still flood. We also need a faster rollout of the program because again, flooding happens regularly. Investing in a faster rollout is a small investment compared to how much it will cost the city for flood damages. This would also reduce the need for the Residential Compassionate Grant. The same goes for the eLearning kit; It has tonnes of useful information that could benefit many Ottawans if it was made available and accessible to everyone. We’ve seen time and again that Ottawans want to take action. 

Controlling run-off also reduces the amount of pollutants such as salt, oils, pesticides, and fertilizers carried into our watercourses by stormwater, harming the ecosystem.

There are some inefficiencies with consultations; and costly assessments, which often lead to simple solutions anyway. Another recommendation is to allow residents to self-assess and/or make some retrofits such as rain barrels and spout diversions in Priority areas automatic. This would reduce the wait times and backlogs as seen in the report.

Thank you for your time.

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