Photo by Blair Gable
Riverkeeper's Point of View
Ottawa River Action Plan
UPDATE AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Following public consultation sessions (held at various locations throughout the city), meetings with city staff, and a more detailed review of the 16 projects proposed in the Ottawa River Action Plan, I am pleased to provide Ottawa Riverkeeper’s recommendation on the best option to reduce combined sewer overflow’s (CSOs) and measurably improve the health of the Ottawa River. In the following brief summary I will detail the reasoning behind my selection of OPTION B. In addition, I will provide some insight into why our organization thinks options A and C are not the best long-term solutions for the city and its residents.
For background information and a more detailed review of the Ottawa River Action Plan, please read Ottawa River Action Plan: What does it mean?
Ottawa River Action Plan – Phase 1
Combined Sewer Overflow Control is one of 16 projects tabled in Phase 1 of the Ottawa River Action Plan. The city has sought public consultation through in-person meetings and an online survey, asking residents to choose from three options to reduce the number of combined sewer overflow (CSO) incidents (A, B and C). It is fantastic and commendable that the city is planning projects to reduce the amount of untreated sewage entering our river. If these projects are carried out, I can proudly stand alongside my Waterkeeper colleagues and state “our city is working to practically eliminate combined sewer overflows from entering our river!”. Addressing this issue fast-forwards the City of Ottawa past any other municipality in the region, and could serve as a nation-wide case study for eliminating combined sewer overflows. Congratulations to the City of Ottawa for tabling such a
plan. Now, it is up to each of us to ensure that the city follows through – not just on resolving CSOs, but on completing all 16 projects.
OPTION B – The best choice
Option B is not just an infrastructure investment; it’s an investment in the future of our river. By reducing the amount of pollution entering the river, we are increasing the value of the river itself. In an average rainfall year, Option B will reduce combined sewer overflow events significantly (only the really big, intense storms cannot be handled by the infrastructure proposed in this option) Option B will also allow the city to collect and treat polluted stormwater from the urban core, and for these reasons it’s my top pick. I weighed the pros and cons of each option thoughtfully and based my decision on the same three criteria used by the city in their summary of evaluation results; environmental, social and financial/economic.
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Phase 1 - Survey Results
The City of Ottawa has asked residents to participate in public consultations on CSO controls, either in-person or via an online survey
. We found the online questionnaire very challenging. Some of the questions seem out of place, some seem to be lacking in choice, and others are nearly impossible to answer without in-depth understanding or subject expertise. Based on all of the above, we expect that the online form will not yield great feedback.
To review my questionnaire and comments, please click here.
To complete the survey, please click here.
The city has asked for your input on one of 16 projects in the Ottawa River Action Plan. Don’t stop at providing your input on CSOs. Tell the city what you think of the overall plan and their methods of evaluation. Tell them you want to see follow through on all 16 projects. Tell them you need more information and want to be consulted on such a large investment of tax payers dollars. Tell them in your language what you want and what the river means to you!
Send an email now – don’t forget to CC your city councillor.
What's making the news?
Here's a selection of articles from around the watershed, and news on important river related issues. For more information, please visit the news section of our website (24 new articles).
Residents help make final decision on fixing river overflow - EMC News
Environmental Report Card Day for Council - CFRA News
Latest sewage spill shifts agenda - Ottawa Citizen
Common weed killer gives male frogs gender change - CBC News
Keefer regulator causes sewage spill — again - Ottawa Citizen
Protect water as a ‘human right’, group says - Canwest News Service
Please Welcome, Karen Maw!
We're pleased to announce that Karen Maw has joined us full-time, as Outreach Coordinator! Some of you may recognize Karen from her past volunteer work with Ottawa Riverkeeper. Since 2007, Karen has donated a minimum of one day per week, helping us with membership services, office administration and events throughout the watershed. Because of her longstanding commitment, Karen was the recipient of the 2008 Daniel Brunton Outstanding Volunteer Award.
As Outreach Coordinator, Karen is responsible for our many events and volunteers. She holds a bilingual honors degree in Environmental Studies from University of Ottawa, with a concentration in Psychology.
Please join us in welcoming Karen to the team! (email@example.com)
Looking for stocking stuffers?
The holiday season is quickly approaching! This year, consider giving your family and friends the gift of a clean river. Join the Swim Drink Fish Music Club
and enjoy unlimited access to exclusive tracks donated by artists who support clean water. Membership cards make a great gift and best of all, proceeds support the fight for swimmable fishable drinkable water. Visit our office or call to get your music club membership card today! Learn more...
Or, make a gift donation to Ottawa Riverkeeper today. Click here to give a gift membership or make a one-time donation on behalf of someone else. The gift recipient will receive all of the same benefits of membership, including our monthly enewsletter and right to vote at the Ottawa Riverkeeper AGM.
Please note: our office will be closed from Wednesday, December 23rd to Monday, January 4th.
Happy Holidays from the staff at Ottawa Riverkeeper!