Green infrastructure – the use of natural and built systems to slow down, soak up and filter stormwater – is an exciting area of focus for many cities around the world; Green infrastructure can be used to manage wet weather impacts in a way that enhances water quality and strengthens resilience to impacts from climate change. Ottawa has started experimenting with green infrastructure with a number of pilot programs, and has begun collecting data.
Ecology Ottawa issues this state-of-the-city report on green infrastructure in Ottawa to highlight the lessons Ottawa can learn from other jurisdictions regarding next steps on green infrastructure, discuss the policy conversation within the context of existing plans and local actors and concludes with a list of recommendations for the city to develop green infrastructure policy and climate resilience. Some policy recommendations include:
- Move beyond green infrastructure experimentation to widespread implementation, using targets and timelines to track robust implementation.
- Develop a green roofs bylaw, following the example set by the City of Toronto.
- Implement green streets at scale, using a “green standard” for street design and adequate funding for widespread implementation.
- Develop and preserve Ottawa’s urban forest using hard targets for reducing effective impervious areas and for enhancing urban forest canopy cover.
- Implement low-impact development requirements for new developments and re-developments. As part of this, the City could use runoff volume control targets to manage at least the first 25 millimetres of water on site.
- Promote on-site green infrastructure measures for homeowners through the use of a public engagement and awareness campaigns, like the one currently being piloted in the Pinecrest area.