Welcome to Hope and Opportunity Part 2, the City of Ottawa edition
The City of Ottawa filled a huge chunk of ‘hope’ this week with the announcement of the consortium that will build the Ottawa LRT, now being dubbed the ‘Confederation Line’. The $2.13B project is now full speed ahead to 2017 when construction will be completed and 2018 when the trains will start running. This certainly has been a long time coming, especially since the cancellation of the North-South line as part of the 2006 municipal campaign of Larry O’Brien. What has come out of that is a vibrant LRT plan with Phase I putting down tracks from Lebreton to Blair that will move commuters faster than they have moved before. Most of the construction will take place from 2015- 2017, the start of construction is at the yards where the trains will be put together and later maintained. With any cost overruns on the shoulders of the consortium, you can bet that finishing early might also mean a reward. The possibility of trains running for Canada’s 150th has been down played by the Mayor but I have a hunch that we could see Mayor Watson in 2017 (as he ends his 2nd term as Mayor?) celebrating an early and on budget LRT running through Ottawa on Canada Day.
Earlier this week I tweeted whether the running of LRT in Ottawa or the Ottawa Round table on Green House Gases (GHG) will come first. The responses I received all considered the LRT the safe bet. So here lays Ottawa’s opportunity – I am just not sure if the city wants to embrace it.
Professionally I have been involved with RFP’s for contracts in cities in Canada where a GHG Analysis is part of the RFP process. The GHG Analysis forces companies to examine the GHG effect that the proposals have on the environment and climate change. Looking into whether the City of Ottawa requires this I found no evidence of it. In the Plasco waste-to-energy plant, there is no word on the GHG effect this project would have. I know that if there was an analysis done and the result came out negative (and this is good) you can bet this would have been mentioned.
Back to the Ottawa GHG Roundtable, here is some background on this. The Ottawa Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan is ending in 2012, only a few days away. There is no plan to replace it. Earlier this year a GHG Round table was proposed to take place before the end of the year. The Chair of the City’s Environment Committee, Councillor McRae has been quoted as saying on the issue “we will provide information in due course”. Our Mayor has not provided any evidence either that he would like to see this Round table as a priority.
There is set to be a construction boom with LRT, condos and other development projects that will spring from the LRT, it is time to have our city lead the nation on GHG analysis and green construction initiatives. The start to this is a GHG Round table and recognition from the Mayor, Councillor McRae and the rest of City Council that this is important and action is needed.
You can help and add your voice to the #ottghg message by visiting http://ecologyottawa.nationbuilder.com/ghg_concerned_citizens and let @jimwatsonottawa and @councillormcrae along with your own councillor know through twitter and by calling their offices you would like a GHG Round table.
This is one opportunity that cannot slip through our hands.
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