Trees, Electric Vehicles, No More Single-Use Plastics: Mayoral Candidate Mark Sutcliffe Unveils Environmental Plan

Catherine McKenney and Bob Chiarelli, the other high-profile contenders in a 13-person race, say they will soon rethink their own climate-related positions.


If elected to the mayor’s office, Mark Sutcliffe says Ottawa can expect to see more places to charge electric vehicles and electric bikes, a million trees planted by the end of his term, and technology-based waste-to-energy solutions in place of a new landfill or expansion of the existing landfill.

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There are 26 more promises contained in the mayoral candidate’s environmental platform, and Sutcliffe said before his public launch on Wednesday that the overarching principle behind them was to “stop talking about climate change and start doing something about it.”

“The people I’ve talked to in the community are tired of talking about climate change so much and they want to see leadership and leadership that leads to results.”

It’s the first in a series of platform releases based on themes from Sutcliffe, a broadcaster and entrepreneur who jumped into the mayoral race in late June. The end result will be a complete platform, he said, along with an associated financial and tax plan.

Sutcliffe said several of the promises came from talks with Hydro Ottawa, where he was told the goals were achievable: to install 200 electric vehicle charging stations and 100 electric bicycle charging stations on a cost-recovery basis and retrofits to city buildings. the city.

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Several of the promises relate to red tape greening operations, such as the Ottawa transition‘sa gas-powered all-electric or hybrid fleet by 2030, building new urban buildings to a net-zero standard, researching the feasibility to bring district heating and cooling to city hall and provincial court with other levels of government and a promise that would start as soon as he took office: stop buying single-use plastics.

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Regarding his plan to plant a million trees (250,000 annually during the period), Sutcliffe acknowledged that it was “an enormously ambitious goal”, but said that this was what was needed. “We need to be bold and ambitious because we want a cleaner, greener city, and that’s what people expect.”

As for how it would be done, he said: “It’s going to take a lot of work. It’s going to take a lot of collaboration. We’re going to bring together the best people from across the community. There are a number of organizations that have worked in this area and we are going to make it happen.”

Mayoral candidate Bob Chiarelli.
Mayoral candidate Bob Chiarelli. Photo by ERROL MCGIHON /post media

A hot topic at City Hall is the future of Ottawa’s Trail Road Landfill, something the city is considering in its work on a new solid waste master plan. A 2021 staff report said the dump was projected to reach capacity between 2036 and 2038. On his commitment to “investigate and adopt proven technologies” by checking the box for zero emissions and waste-to-energy, rather than a new or expanded landfill, Sutcliffe said he had spoken with experts who believed it was feasible and it reflected what the community wanted to see, and that’s not another dump.

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A candidate running with a stated vision of making the city more affordable and keeping taxes as low as possible, Sutcliffe shared his perspective that some of his top promises could address climate change and also save the city money in the long run — a large-scale version of the experience people find when they invest in energy-efficient appliances or home heating. home.

He also argued that every decision in city councils needed to be viewed through a climate lens.

When asked how he would implement it, “it starts at the top … that’s why this is such an ambitious plan,” Sutcliffe said. “City staff will know if I am elected that I was elected on an aggressive and ambitious plan to address climate change. And you will know that these are the priorities of the people of Ottawa because they voted for me and they voted for this platform.

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“So it will be clear to the senior staff at city hall that there is an expectation that we have to act on all of this and that we have to start making decisions differently.”

Mayoral candidate Catherine McKenney.
Mayoral candidate Catherine McKenney. Photo by ERROL MCGIHON /post media

Catherine McKenney and Bob Chiarelli, the other highest-profile contenders in a 13-candidate mayoral racethey say they will be rethinking their own climate-related positions.

McKenney, who uses the they/them pronouns, said they will have a full platform in the coming weeks, including on weather and transportation, but his plan included “more green buildings and homes in our city, increasing green space and tree canopy, ending costly urban sprawl, protecting our farmland from development, and increasing our climate resilience,” as well as creating “safe and walkable neighborhoods with bicycles infrastructure and low-emission transit in Ottawa”.

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Chiarelli”will take important positions on the environment, climate change and transit at the right time, but not yet,” a campaign spokesman said.

Ottawans are expected to have the opportunity to hear mayoral candidates delve into these issues in a series of mayoral debates on the environment organized by a group of local organizations, including Community Partnerships for Environmental Sustainability and Ecology Ottawa. They would have seen McKenney but missed Sutcliffe and Chiarelli at the former on Tuesday night (the former had committed to a previously scheduled event, a campaign spokesman said), but Sutcliffe plans to attend a later debate and Chiarelli is committed to the debate on August 1. Events on September 30 and 28.

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