Residents gathered in Vanier to discuss what all levels of government can do to help shape the city's and Canada’s approach to action on climate change.
The town hall meeting at the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre was organized by Ecology Ottawa and included federal Canada Climate Action consultants on July 11, who met with residents to discuss what type of changes that can be made in the city as well as across Canada to take action on climate change.
It was the second last climate consultation for the Ottawa area's federal ridings, and aside from residents the evening included three city councillors from the east end of the city — Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury, Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum and Beacon Hill-Cyrville Coun. Tim Tierney.
The original format for the evening meeting was for residents to tackle one question out of four concerning climate change, however more residents than chairs came out to the event, leading to the consultants to change the format of tables discussing all the questions, or at least more than one.
Robb Barnes, managing director of Ecology Ottawa, said he was impressed by the large turnout for the evening that addressed four questions concerning climate change.
Barnes explained the goal of the evening was an opportunity for residents to have their say in what mattered most to them about the topic.
“This is a really important piece to the process, and something that we really hope the federal government will pay attention to and we are confident it will work,” Barnes told the crowd.
The plan is to compile the responses to the questions and submit them to the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna.
The four questions discussed were:
* What are the solutions to reducing greenhouse gases that you would like to see governments, businesses and communities to implement?
* What are your ideas to both grow the economy and jobs while reducing emissions?
* What are some ideas to promote innovation and new technologies in the effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
* What can Canada do to better adapt to impacts of climate change and support affected communities, including indigenous communities?
In the end, according to Ecology Ottawa, the five most common concerns were to end subsidies to fossil fuels, have smarter urban planning, tax drivers and have lower public transit costs, new building codes that promote green energy and add carbon pricing.
Many of the residents also called for long-term planning as an essential part of how to make climate change effective.
“The format didn’t put restrictions on the level of government and looked at the barriers,” Coun. Fleury said. “To me the spirit of the evening was about collaboration and all levels of government working together.”
Fleury added that he felt that leadership on the issue would need to tie into concrete projects.
The evening was co-hosted by the Lowertown Community Association, Action Sandy Hill, Vanier Community Association, New Edinburgh Community Alliance and Local Eco-Action Families.