Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Gotta Go! Campaign Looks For Budget Relief

- February 17th, 2015

The Raging Grannies sing to the environment committee at City Hall today.

The Gotta Go! campaign has been trying to convince the city to provide more public toilets in recent years. With LRT around the corner, the group wants washrooms built into stations. If council members don’t want to listen, well, now they have no choice. The campaign is using the draft 2015 budget process to speak directly to politicians.

Two delegations were at the environment committee today talking about the public washroom issue. Actually, one delegation, the Raging Grannies, argued in song. Here are the lyrics:

Gotta Go!
(Tune: Be Prepared, the Boy Scouts’ Marching Song)

Gotta Go! No use telling me to wait
When I know what it soon will be too late
Gotta find the nearest possible depot
Can’t just tell my personal river not to flow.

Gotta go! Whether pee or dreaded poo
Where to go? When the world is watching you
It isn’t just the tourists who must find a better way
Though Ottawa’s the capital, we live here every day
If you build it we will come — and there’s the woe!
Gotta go!

Need to pee! When we take the LRT
It’s the key in the park and ride, you see
Our city will step up and lead the line
When we see the handy toilet on the sign

It’s not smart to put the horse before the cart
Have a heart so we know before we start
Building great attractions and a transportation line
Without the comfort stations that most civil states define
It’s an urgency emergency, you see –
Gotta pee!

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at

Dwindling Water Revenues Support Water Efficiency

- February 5th, 2015

Here’s an example of what the city is up against on the depleting water revenues, and it’s something Mayor Jim Watson touched on yesterday.

In the 2015 draft rate budget, the city proposes to spend $582,000 in each year through 2018 on “water efficiency.”

The explanation:

This project’s goal is to establish initiatives by which the City can develop effective water efficiency programs to provide water demand management tools. The benefits are effective use of resources, better managed programs that provide reliable information to managers that delay or eliminate the need to expand system capacity solely based on demand criteria. Examples of methods and initiatives include; Public awareness programs such as distribution of water efficiency kits (aerators, showerheads etc), and large volume user program.

This, conceivably, is good for ratepayers and the city. For ratepayers, save water, save money. And if there’s less water flowing through the pipes and purification plant, the city’s saving money. Problem is, when ratepayers are saving money, the city isn’t making money.

Got all that?

This is why a base charge on your water bill is one likely answer. And what about time-of-use water billing? The city can now see when you’re using water thanks to new wireless technology.

Interesting to note, less than a year ago, some months before the election, those two measures weren’t being pursued.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at

Ottawa River Swallowed A Lot Of Filth This Year

- November 20th, 2014

So far in 2014, 546,620 cubic metres of guck have run into the river from the city’s combined sewers, according to the city’s tracking of the individual overflows.

There’s a smaller window of time that’s a “reporting period” for combined sewer overflows. It’s April 15 to Nov. 15. During that period, the city registered 533,160 cubic metres of diluted sewage (1 cubic metre = 1,000 litres) going into the river over the course of 22 “events.”

Blame it, in part, on one very wet day: June 24. That’s when 324,030 cubic metres of sewage spilled from the sewers during a downpour.

You can see the link above for the volumes the city recorded in previous years. So yeah, not a particularly good year for the river in 2014 when it comes to volume, but the number of overflow events decreased significantly.

Can’t do anything about Mother Nature.

You can, however, do something about the infrastructure and that’s where the city hopes to get the feds to contribute money to a downtown sewer tunnel. The province and city have committed funds already.

This story reminds me that the city apparently needs to hear from the feds by Dec. 1 if it wants to get the work done before the Canada 150th celebrations in 2017. Time’s ticking.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Garbage Tree At Petrie Island

- October 23rd, 2014


Orléans Coun. Bob Monette sent me this picture of him checking out a tree that fell at Petrie Island recently.

Check out the garbage hanging from the bottom.

Peculiar findings of garbage at Petrie have been documented before and it’s still shocking when the evidence of a former dump surfaces from time to time.

The dump on a portion of Petrie closed about 50 years ago.

I was talking to Monette for this election-related garbage story and he made the point about how important it is that the city avoids opening a new landfill. “Just because you cover the garbage doesn’t mean it goes away,” he said.

There’s your proof.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at

Morning Twitter Snark

- October 20th, 2014

A bit of morning snark for you to start your week.

Apparently a remark Kitchissippi incumbent Katherine Hobbs made about being disappointed in the environment committee has been eating at her colleague, Rideau-Goulbourn incumbent Scott Moffatt.

Moffatt, if you didn’t already know, is the vice-chairman of the environment committee.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at