An East End Sustainability Communiqué to the Mayor of Ottawa and the President of the NCC.
1 June 2010 – Version 3
Sustainability for an urban-rural community is the potential for long-term maintenance and enhancement of wellbeing, which in turn depends on good governance and the health of the economy, the community, and the ecosystem.
The undersigned leaders and citizens of the east end of Ottawa would like to offer our perspective regarding sustainability and the “Choosing our Future” Project of the city and the NCC. As decisions and directions will have far reaching consequences for the east end we consider it important to participate in the process and ensure that our voice is heard and considered.
What does sustainability mean to the east end?
- We view sustainability as the ability and capacity to continue to have a healthy and vibrant community with a good quality of life.
- Our sustainability aspirations rests on a clear understanding of what we care about and what we wish to sustain. What we need to do to maintain this? What decisions should be made now to plan for the future?
Who are we? Do we have a unique identity?
- We are a community bounded by the Green belt, the Ottawa River, Petrie Island, Mer Bleue watershed area, forest and rural communities.
- We are an urban, peri-urban and rural living space.
- We are primarily a diverse community of families (over 35,000) and related services.
- To a large extent, we work elsewhere, in the west end, Gatineau or Ottawa center.
- We rely heavily on transportation to reach our places of employment.
What do we care about?
- Our quality of life, safety and well-being of our families and community.
- To live locally to the greatest extent possible.
- A clean, safe and healthy environment.
- To have a healthy and prosperous economy.
- An efficient and affordable transportation network.
- Local jobs to the maximum extent possible.
- Exercising voice on development where we are most affected.
What sustainability principles do we advocate?
- A Social Responsibility principle: This is the primary principle from which all planning and development should be based. To us this means integrity in governance, economic sustainability, environmental responsibility and community benefit.
- A Livelihood principle: We desire a community of jobs, recreation, education, healthcare, services, housing and policing.
- A Livability principle: This means a community with high quality of air, water, with green spaces, a community that is congestion and pollution free. We want to be able to swim in the Ottawa River at Petrie Island.
- An Environmental principle: This means a clean and healthy environment in harmony with our geography. This means a sense of space and connection to nature. This means respecting an obligation for stewardship to land use, air and water quality. This means protection of the green belt.
- A Locality principle: We desire to live local to the maximum extent possible. This means planning which encourages and creates local jobs, local food sources, local services (health, education, retail, governance)
- A Balance principle: We assert that there is a limit to all development and steady state planning goals. Bigger and more is not necessarily more desirable. Development that creates social problems, and contributes to increasing congestion and pollution is undesirable. Casinos or large professional sports stadiums or complexes are not consistent with our lifestyle aspirations.
- A Voice and participatory principle: This means that decisions should be made by the people most affected by them. The community wants real influence regarding development planning and activity affecting the east end.
- An Integrity principle: This means contract tendering, bidding and procurement practices which are transparent open and fair.
- A Transportation principle: In the east end, commuter traffic density trends are growing and are unacceptable. We need alternate and green multi modal transit approaches. We need mass transit that is less expensive than automobile traffic. We need alternate transportation lanes for bicycles and slow speed vehicles within the community.
What are our priorities?
When funding is being allocated and planning priorities established:
- We want the region and the city to put people first in its planning and development regarding our community.
- We want a significant voice in all the actions and decisions that affect us.
- We want the final say in land use and economic development decisions.
- We want environmentally and socially responsible decisions related to transportation, economic development, quality of life and recreation in the east end.
Our specific current 2010 development priorities include:
- Priority of reducing commuter vehicle traffic through long term commuter alternate transportation solutions that involve light rail.
- Lobbying of the federal government for relocating jobs into the east end and consideration of tele-commuting strategies.
- A community strategy for extensive local food markets.
- Improvement of Ottawa River water quality along Petrie Island.
- The beautification of St Joseph Blvd.
We will seek dialogue and the endorsement and input of all east end levels of political government, community associations, the chamber of commerce, local business and private citizens.
To participate or to add your name and affiliation to the endorsement list, please contact:
Tel: 613.841.9216 Cell: 613.866.2503