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May 27th - Update to Council shows increasing use of green bins in Ottawa

More Ottawa residents have been using green bins to divert organic waste from the landfill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. City Council received a report today that outlines how recent policy changes to the green bin program have helped shift behaviours.

The City started allowing plastic bag liners and dog waste in green bins in July 2019 to help make them cleaner and more convenient, addressing the main barriers to use that residents had identified. Staff launched a communications and outreach plan at the same time to promote the program. In 2020, the number of households setting out a green bin increased by eight per cent over 2018, and the City collected 15 per cent more organic, leaf and yard waste than in 2019.

To make it easier for residents in apartment buildings to use a green bin, the City introduced a new collection contract for multi-residential properties, eliminating the need to bring bins to the curb. The change resulted in an additional 37 per cent of these buildings using green bins.

This information was collected during the pandemic, which has caused a significant shift in behaviours and waste trends. Staff will follow up with another update at least one year after the pandemic ends.

Council received an update on the City’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts and, as of today, the City anticipates reaching 60 per cent of adults in Ottawa with at least one dose. Ottawa has administered more than 553,000 total doses to date, and the pace of vaccination has increased with more than 67,000 doses administered last week – the highest weekly total to date. The Province is anticipated to add the ability to book appointments for second doses shortly.

Bookings expanded over the weekend to those 12 and older. To help meet the demand, the City is adding the St-Laurent Complex to its list of community clinics and will add more clinics if supply increases such that it exceeds the capacity to administer doses at existing sites. In June, the City anticipates it will receive more than 250,000 total doses. While the Province continues to deliver more vaccines, eligibility has also expanded, squeezing appointment availability at the City’s community clinics. Residents are reminded they can also connect directly with more than 100 pharmacies across Ottawa receiving vaccines from the Province. For more information about vaccinations, please visit our COVID-19 webpage.

Council approved a Montreal Road Community Improvement Plan application to support a $17-million investment in an auto dealership that would help rejuvenate the corridor and create economic activity and jobs in Vanier. Increased property taxes for the redeveloped site are anticipated to deliver more than $970,000 in additional net tax revenue to the City in the first 10 years, and more than $5 million in the subsequent decade, for a total of approximately $6 million. Council committed those revenues to fund affordable or social housing initiatives across the city.

The Ottawa Paramedic Service responded to 132,530 calls in 2020 and met all Council-approved and legislated response time targets for emergency calls. Council received the service’s annual report, which explains that offload delays at hospital emergency rooms continued to be a challenge in 2020. Paramedics spent 46,095 hours waiting to transfer patients to local hospitals.

This lost time is valued at $6.6 million for the year, or 55 full-time staff. To address the resulting demand, the service is hiring more staff, expanding community paramedic care, using strategically placed response units, diverting patients from emergency rooms and conducting proactive home visits.

This is the first year the service has reported a decrease in response volume since 2013. The 7.2 per cent decrease from 2019 is attributed to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, but while the service responded to fewer calls, it faced new challenges due to the pandemic. These included supply chain interruptions, a shortage of personal protective equipment, new measures for infection prevention and control, symptom screening and the need to continuously adapt to a rapidly changing situation.

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