City should buy more green vehicles for fleet, committee says

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Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen

City council’s transportation committee wants public works to buy more green vehicles, starting in 2017.

A public works “green fleet” report was on the committee’s table for approval Wednesday, but Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury wanted assurances that hybrid and electric models would be considered over conventional gas vehicles.

The committee unanimously endorsed Fleury’s proposal requiring public works to buy hybrid or electric vehicles if they fit with a department’s operations and if suitable models are available. Fleury’s motion also calls for departments to say when they won’t buy green vehicles as part of their fleet programs prior to annual budgets.

Council has already committed $500,000 from the fleet reserve in each of 2016, 2017 and 2018 to support the city’s air quality and climate-change plan. Public works has a goal of reducing the number of fuel litres consumed per 100 kilometre by a total of eight per cent between 2012 and 2020.

The city has 59 hybrid or electric vehicles in service, including four ice-resurfacing machines. Nine aerial bucket trucks with hybrid technology are on order.

City awaits new law before replacing Plasco

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The Trail Road landfill has about 27 years before it will hit capacity.

Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen

There's no urgency at city hall to find another garbage-processing technology a year after council torched a tentative deal with Plasco Energy Group because it's waiting to see how the province will refresh waste management laws.

A three-phase municipal waste plan was in the works, and council signed off on the first phase in November 2011, but work on the other two phases has been delayed. Plasco, whose technology was supposed to superheat municipal trash down to a reusable rocklike material, was a major wild card that could have altered the city's waste diversion strategy. Plasco ran a test facility in Ottawa but couldn't pay for a full commercial facility. The local company filed for creditor protection in February 2015, the same month council voted to cancel the deal.

Meanwhile, the province just finished accepting comments on a proposed Waste Free Ontario Act, which attempts to reduce garbage, particularly in product packaging.

According to the city's solid waste services manager Marilyn Journeaux, "staff will only begin to consider residual management options, which could include things such as alternative technologies and/or a new landfill, once the Act is finalized."

Ottawa sets new greenhouse gas emissions target

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Lucy Scholey, Metro

Ottawa city councillors have given the green light to the most ambitious greenhouse-gas emissions target in the capital's history.

On Wednesday, Coun. David Chernushenko’s climate protection plan won the majority of council’s approval.

The plan aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent below 2012 levels by 2050. Staff will also be directed to study the feasibility of implementing minimum energy performance standards for new buildings. 

Councillors Scott Moffatt, George Darouze and Allan Hubley dissented.

City council extends greenhouse gas reduction targets

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Norman Jack, CFRA

City councillors have voted heavily in favour of a motion that calls for an 80% reduction in Ottawa's greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

The proposal updates a program adopted just two years ago which would have seen a 20% decline by 2024.

Councillor Allan Hubley was one of three councillors who voted against the motion.

Hubley said other cities have moved far beyond Ottawa in terms of cutting carbon emissions, but this motion had nothing solid to offer.

"Here we are making plans for 2050, with nothing for 2024, so unfortunately, I cannot support this motion," Hubely told Wednesday's council meeting.

Councillor David Chernushenko said the motion is not intended to set out specific projects.

He said it's really to help focus council's efforts on the scientific evidence that we need to chop emissions sharply by mid-century.