Environment committee votes to end Plasco deal

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Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen

The city’s environment committee voted Tuesday to formally terminate Ottawa’s contract with Plasco — a crucial first step in severing ties with the homegrown clean-tech company, which filed for creditor protection last week.

The committee also voted to give city manager Kent Kirkpatrick the necessary authority to terminate the lease for Plasco’s Trail Road demonstration facility and to develop a plan for finding a replacement technology to deal with Ottawa’s residual residential waste.

But some councillors and members of the public urged the city not to rush into anything and instead fully explore other options to increase the city’s diversion rates, such as increased uptake of the green bin program, especially in apartment and condo buildings.

“I don’t want to rush this. I don’t think we need to rush this,” said Rideau-Goulbourn Coun. Scott Moffatt.

Although it has raised more than $300 million over the years, Plasco was unable to secure financing for its commercial plant by Dec. 31, missing its third and final deadline under a 20-year contract with the city that would have paid the company $9.1 million a year to take as much as 300 tonnes of garbage a day.

Green bins still only used in 15% of apartment, condos, city says

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Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen

Nearly five years after it was introduced, the green bin organics recycling program is available in only 15 per cent of apartment buildings and townhouse complexes in Ottawa.

The city provided bins to all single-family dwellings served by curb-side garbage collection in of advance of the program’s 2010 launch. But multi-unit apartment and condominium buildings, as well as some townhouse complexes — where residents bring garbage and recyclables to a central location for containerized pickup — have proven much more difficult because the city requires the co-operation of property managers, condo boards or residents to drive the program.

That could explain why only 198 of the roughly 1,300 eligible buildings and townhouse complexes have green bins today, according to Marilyn Journeaux, manager of Ottawa’s solid waste services department.

Green bin service is available to every building in the city. Property managers or condo board representatives can call 311 and arrange for a waste inspector to visit the property and work out a plan for pickup.

“One of the barriers to apartment buildings is we literally have to work one-on-one with each building to figure out a solution to implementing the program in the building,” Journeaux said.

“It’s not a one-size-fits-all package.”

The revelation that green bin use in apartments and condos is so low comes at a time when both Mayor Jim Watson and environment committee chair David Chernushenko say the city must do a better job promoting the use of organics recycling, particularly in multi-unit buildings, as part of a broader strategy to boost diversion rates and prolong the life of the city’s Trail Road landfill.

“It’s disappointing it’s that low,” Chernushenko said, adding he’d like to get a better understanding of the logistical challenges many buildings owners face.

Paint it Up! mural program reduces graffiti through art

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City of Ottawa

If there is a wall in your neighbourhood that keeps falling victim to graffiti vandalism, the City of Ottawa and Crime Prevention Ottawa invite you to Paint it Up!

Now in its sixth year, the Paint it Up! program offers funding for community groups and at-risk youth to create murals in areas of the city that are experiencing high rates of graffiti vandalism. The program is one component of the City’s Graffiti Management Strategy.

Since its inception in 2010, the program has involved over 800 youth, ranging in age from 12 to 22 years, working on 43 projects across the city supported by an average project grant of $5,000. Outdoor murals have proven to be effective in managing graffiti vandalism, supporting arts and culture, contributing to economic development and providing youth engagement opportunities.

Applications for the 2015 Paint It Up! program are available on the Crime Prevention Ottawa website or by calling 3-1-1. The deadline for applications is March 27th at 4 p.m.

For more information about the Paint it Up! program and how to apply, applicants are encouraged to register for a public information session by calling 3-1-1 or e-mailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Information sessions will be held on the following dates:

Monday, February 23
1:30 to 3 p.m.
Festival Boardroom, City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue, West

Tuesday, February 24
5:30 to 7 p.m.
Workshop 2, Overbrook Community Centre, 33 Quill Street