Ottawa’s New Official Plan by Shirley Dolan

Shirley Dolan
Shirley Dolan

The final draft of Ottawa’s New Official Plan is rumored to be scheduled for release on August 20, 2021.  I say rumored because their public engagement page displays only vague hints regarding release of documents and public consultation. The New Official Plan | Engage Ottawa

There are lots and lots and lots of documents to wade through on the Engage Ottawa site for the New Official Plan but its in the fine print in a document called Energy Evolution: Ottawa’s Community Energy Transition Strategy that we find some disturbing details that emanate from the Climate Change Master Plan. The Energy Evolution Strategy (EES) was released and approved during the height of the pandemic (October 2020) when people were worrying about COVID. The EES and supporting documents are buried in the Council and Committee Meeting portal Energy Evolution final report | Energy Evolution: Ottawa’s Community Energy Transition Strategy | Engage Ottawa. The people I have spoken to in rural Ottawa, since I discovered the documents by chance in late April 2021, had never heard of it nor had they heard of the City’s plan to construct more than 700 wind turbines on Ottawa farm fields.

I will hazard a guess that not many people know that Ottawa is planning to go all-electric with the power to be supplied by approximately 710 large scale turbines, 36 square kilometres of solar panels, and 122 large shipping containers of lithium batteries (EES – pages 68-69).

I posed the following question to staff when I learned that Ottawa intends to have only electric vehicles by 2040:

“Once the city moves to an all-electric fleet of vehicles for police, ambulance, and fire, what
happens in an emergency when the power grid goes down for a few days or longer?”

The response from staff:

“Hydro Ottawa is the City’s regulator for all things electrical and servicing capacity. The City plans for the electrification of our facilities and infrastructure, but Hydro Ottawa is responsible for the servicing and emergency reserves.”

Recalling the ice storm of 1998 and living in a rural area, this does not give me a warm and cozy feeling – pun intended!

Its worth noting that the world’s largest and most successful automaker, Japan’s Toyota, is warning against making all autos electric.  Although Toyota was the first to produce a hybrid twenty years ago, they understand that the world is not ready to support an all-electric auto fleet. GM, America’s largest auto manufacturer, about half the size of Toyota, announced they will phase out internal combustion vehicles by 2025. Toyota (and Honda) have made no such promise. Sean Hanley, the sales and marketing boss of Toyota Australia predicts “We simply cannot achieve carbon neutrality by only producing electric vehicles, especially as more than half the electricity generated by 2040 will still be powered by fossil fuels.” Obviously, the City did not consult with the largest auto manufacturer when making their plans to go all electric by 2040.

If you live in Ottawa and think that industrial wind turbines are NOT a good solution for Ottawa, let your councillor know before it’s TOO LATE! Mayor and City Councillors | City of Ottawa