Making Ottawa the greenest capital in the world

McKennaCatherine_LibBy Catherine McKenna
MP, Ottawa Centre

The city of Ottawa is known for many things: Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal and landmarks like the Chateau Laurier. I’m proud of what we’re known for, but I want us to be known for something more. I want Ottawa to be known as the greenest capital city in the world.

To visitors and residents alike, Ottawa is seen as a multicultural, diverse city with something for everyone. From our bustling economy, to our world-class universities, to our large number of lakes, rivers and forests, we are lucky to live here.

More and more, Ottawa is becoming a leader in environmental sustainability. Organizations in our city are finding innovative ways to turn a profit while being environmentally sustainable. Through Budget 2017, the federal government is standing behind projects and organizations like the ones here in Ottawa.

These initiatives are making Ottawa and Canada a better place to live, to work and play. Here are a few examples:

Ottawa Community Housing provides homes to approximately 32,000 tenants across the city and doing so in an environmentally sustainable way. Last year, they retrofitted lighting fixtures which cut their energy bills by close to $200,000. Solar panels generated close to $300,000 from clean electricity. OCH is leading by example showing that it’s possible to reduce your carbon footprint while saving money and making homes more affordable. The recent federal budget committed $182 million to develop and implement new building codes to retrofit existing buildings and build new net-zero buildings. This investment will allow buildings across the country to become as environmentally friendly as OCH.

In 2013, Beau’s Brewery was the first Canadian brewery to be certified as a B Corp, meaning they meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance. Two of their delivery trucks run on green fuel sources. Their electricity is powered by green energy. And their beer labels are made from 100% recycled paper. Budget 2017 will help support organizations to operate with minimal carbon footprints through its $21.9 billion investment over eleven years in green infrastructure. This money will go towards initiatives that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, deliver clean air and safe drinking water, and promote renewable power. Ottawa is home to over 200 clean-tech companies. Over three years, $1.4 billion in new financing will be deployed to help companies like these grow.

The new LRT here in Ottawa will reduce greenhouse gases by 155 tonnes, and eliminate 450,000 annual trips on the Sir John A Macdonald Parkway. By the end of construction, 70 percent of Ottawans will live within five kilometres of an LRT station. In partnership with the provinces and territories, the federal government is investing $20.1 billion over 11 years in transportations projects like this across the country.

As we green our infrastructure, support sustainable businesses and improve our public transit, there are no limits to the success we can achieve. I want to urge us to push further, to aim higher, and to make Ottawa the greenest capital city in the world. Budget 2017 also includes $300 million over eleven years for a Smart Cities Challenge Fund. This is a challenge to Canadian cities to develop ambitious plans to improve the quality of life for urban residents, through better city planning and by implementing greener buildings, smart roads and energy systems, and advanced digital connectivity for homes and businesses.

I am confident that Ottawa is a strong contender. We are already on our way to becoming the greenest capital. Reaching this goal takes commitment from every single person – citizens, community leaders, businesses, and governments. I look forward to continuing to work with everyone to make this a reality.

Contact information:

107 Catherine Street
Ottawa, Ontario K2P 0P4
Tel.: 613-946-8682
Fax: 613-946-8680
Twitter: @CMcKennaOttawa

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Filed in: Political Pages

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