Message from Ecology Ottawa: Are you #GenerationClimate?

19 02 2019

Please see this message from Ecology Ottawa


I’m writing to you today to let you know about a new program we’re launching at Ecology Ottawa that I’m incredibly excited about. Throughout the entirety of 2019, and into 2020 we’ll be training and mentoring 40 young people from all across the city of Ottawa to be Youth Climate Ambassadors.

The program is being executed with help from our amazing community partner organizations: Just Food, OREC, Healthy Transportation Coalition, The Ottawa Greenspace Alliance, Climate Action Network Canada, the Peace and Environment Resource Centre, and Sustainable Eastern Ontario. Throughout each Youth Ambassador’s time in the program, they’ll be exposed to teachings from each of these amazing organizations, with an additional in-depth mentorship lasting 20 hours to round out our ambassadors’ knowledge of local climate action.

To kick-off the Youth Climate Ambassadors program we’re hosting our launch event “Generation Climate” at the Shaw Centre on March 27th. The event, taking place from 7:00 to 9:30 is open to people of all ages, and exists to showcase how young people in Ottawa are already taking action on climate and making big changes in our city. With this event we’re hoping to excite and inspire young folks from our community to get involved, and mobilize to build a city we can be proud of.

Will you join us at our launch event “Generation Climate” on March 27th? Click here to RSVP!

Interested in becoming one of our Youth Climate Ambassadors?Learn more about the program and apply here. Our first cohort meets for training on March 30th and 31st!


Lauren, Robb, Vi, Catherine, Velta, and the whole Ecology Ottawa Team

P.S.Our friends at OREC are starting up a new member-driven co-operative based in Ottawa. For a limited time, interested individuals can invest in local energy efficiency projects through CoEnergy. Go to for more details.

Je vous écris aujourd’hui pour vous faire part d’un nouveau programme que nous introduisons à Écologie Ottawa qui m’excite beaucoup. À travers toute l’année 2019, et jusqu’en 2020, nous ferons la formation et le mentorat de 40 jeunes venant de partout à Ottawa (Jeunes Ambassadeurs pour le Climat).

Nous administrerons le programme avec l’aide de nos excellents organismes communautaires avec lesquels nous travaillons en partenariat : Just Food, le CÉRO, Healthy Transportation Coalition, Ottawa Greenpeace Alliance, CAN-Rac, le Centre de ressources pour la paix et l’environnement, et Sustainable Eastern Ontario.  Durant la période d’affectation de chaque Ambassadeur au programme, ils profiteront de l’enseignement de ces organismes fantastiques, et ils recevront 20 heures additionnelles de mentorat en profondeur pour augmenter leurs connaissances des enjeux climatiques locaux.

Pour introduire le programme de Jeunes ambassadeurs pour le climat, nous organisons notre évènement de lancement ‘Génération du climat’ au Centre Shaw, le 27 marsL’évènement, qui se tiendra entre 19h et 21h30 est ouvert aux gens de tout âge, et veut démontrer comment les jeunes de la ville d’Ottawa s’activent déjà en matière de climat et comment ils apportent des améliorations majeures à notre ville. Nous espérons, par cet évènement, exciter et inspirer les jeunes de notre communauté à s’impliquer et à se mobiliser pour construire une ville de laquelle nous serons fiers.

Nous vous invitons à vous joindre à nous pour notre évènement de lancement ‘Génération du climat’, le 27 mars. Cliquez ICI pour accepter notre invitation.

Êtes-vous intéressés à devenir un Jeune ambassadeur pour le climat? Apprenez à mieux connaitre le programme et faites une demande ici. Notre premier groupe de participants se rencontrera les 30 et 31 mars pour la formation.


Lauren, Robb, Vi, Catherine, Velta et toute l’équipe d’Écologie Ottawa

P.S. Nos amis à OREC lancent une nouvelle coopérative basée à Ottawa et dirigé par ses membres. CoÉnergie encourage les gens à diversifier leur portefeuille sans nuire à la planète, et à apporter un changement positif dans leur communauté. Visitez pour en apprendre plus.


Elmdale Public School BookFest 2019: February 22 and 23

25 01 2019

BookFest, Elmdale Public School’s iconic annual second-hand book sale, is an opportunity to find a great read while supporting a good cause. With more than 25,000 titles there’s something for everyone, all at very low prices (cash only).

Complete with raffles and a bake sale. BookFest 2019 will take place in Elmdale Public School’s gymnasium (49 Iona St. – enter from Java St.) on Fri., Feb. 22, 9:00am to 9:00pm, and on Sat., Feb. 23, 9:00am to 4:00pm. For more information email:


Dovercourt Outdoor Rink

17 01 2019

Please see the attached poster seeking volunteers for the Dovercourt outdoor rink.

dovercourt volunteers flyer 2017-2018

Wickedly Westboro Village

22 10 2018

Please see this from the WBIA:

FREE! A family and dog friendly Halloween event along Richmond Road – where jack-o-lanterns decorate the sidewalks, and businesses hand out goodies to trick-or-treat’ers. Kids can pick up their official Westboro Village trick-or-treat back pack at Winston Square, play the Marble Mansion for prizes, then walk down Richmond – trick or treating at various participating businesses. Dovercourt’s Bouncy Castle will be at Avenues Garage, then everyone can close the event with a movie under the stars presented by Capital Pop-Up Cinema – Beetlejuice. (there will be heating fans, hot cocoa and cider, too!) – Bring your camping chair!

See here for additional information.


Clare Gardens Park: Fall Clean-Up

15 10 2018

Clare Gardens Park’s Fall Clean-Up

Saturday, October 20th, 2018 @ 10:00 am till noon (Rain date: October 21st)

It’s that time of year.  The WCA and the Volunteer Gardeners of Clare Gardens Park are hosting the park’s autumn clean-up.

We’ll bring rubber gloves and large garden bags. We’d appreciate if you could bring a broom, a wheelbarrow, pruners, a rake and or a shovel.

Hear the park news and ask questions. Tell us if you have any park-related concerns. We welcome your feedback.

Bring your families and meet your neighbours! Refreshments and goodies will be provided.

See you in the park!

Organized by:

The Volunteer Gardeners of Clare Gardens Park


The Westboro Community Association

FallCleanupOct2018portrait draft

Westboro residents come together against over-intensification in their community

12 10 2018

Westboro residents come together against over-intensification in their community

Over recent years, many Westboro residents have approached the Community Association expressing concern about overly intensive triplex development in our neighbourhoods.  This development has been well outside the limits of existing R3 zoning for three-unit dwellings, and is characterized by eliminating virtually all green space and squeezing two triplexes onto single lots previously occupied by modest single-family homes.

Prompted to action when multiple triplexes were proposed on their streets, groups of neighbours on Edison, Roosevelt and nearby Cole Avenues launched a campaign to urge the City to find a more suitable intensification solution that would maintain the character of Westboro neighbourhoods. By creating an email group (SaveWestboro) and pounding the pavement delivering flyers, this small group of residents brought together over 100 of their Westboro neighbours to join them in their campaign.

Their strategy worked. On Wednesday, Ottawa City Council passed a motion by Kitchissippi Councillor Jeff Leiper to enact an “Interim Control Bylaw” that will prevent developers from getting approval for triplexes that are too big for the lots, that don’t meet the requirements of the R3 zoning, and that require approval of “minor variances” by the Committee of Adjustment. The Bylaw will be in place for one year, while the City conducts a study about the suitability and compatibility of triplexes in this area.

For more information on this neighbourhood initiative, please contact the organizers

You can make a difference too.  Join us at our AGM- Your Community Association needs you!

The success of the SaveWestboro community group shows how a small group of neighbours can make a big difference.  You can make a difference too. Join us at our Annual General Meeting this Tuesday, October 16 at Churchill Seniors Centre (agenda attached below) and hear about the work we do.  Your Community Association needs new members who can bring their talents to our community.

What can you bring to your community?  You can serve on our board of directors or you can work on ad hoc projects. We need people to fill our executive positions. We need people to plan our social and cultural activities, to manage our website, and to liaise with the Westboro business association. Do you have a specific skill? We would love to create a pool of professionals such as lawyers, engineers, communications specialists, technical experts, designers or architects on whom we can call periodically as resource persons to review documents or help draft a response to a particular project.

What can you get from your community involvement?  The chance to meet your neighbours. The chance to connect with other community associations, the city, and nonprofit organizations on the issues that matter to you. Work on projects related to the environment, housing, our built heritage and transportation. Or simply work with others on your street to solve a local problem.

Please plan to attend the AGM.  Membership is only $10 ($20/family).  If you can’t attend, you can download a membership application at the following URL:

Questions or interest in becoming a board member or community resource person? Email us or  or

WestboroCommunityAssociationagendaAGM Egan: Infill or outcast? When old neighbourhoods grow newer, boxier via demolition

4 10 2018

Egan: Infill or outcast? When old neighbourhoods grow newer, boxier via


Of all the issues not getting much traction in the municipal election — and it was a lifeless affair even before multiple tornadoes literally sucked the air out of the city — there is an explosive sleeper: infill and intensification.

In any mature neighbourhood in Ottawa, older houses are being torn down and replaced by boxier replacements that are bigger, tend to have a hard-edged “massive” profile, eat away at green space, remove large trees, put cars right by the sidewalk, and replace small starter homes with million-dollar showcases of glass and stone.

Some of it is all to the good, of course. The housing stock improves, it helps stop urban sprawl, and it creates homes in a style that better suits modern living and a buyer’s market. It is also an owner’s unstoppable right.

But, undeniably, it creates deep division. There was a fascinating hearing in late September before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (the old OMB) that crystallizes much of the friction being writ large across the city’s core, one case of more than 8,000 units of central intensification in a five-year stretch ending in 2017.

A group of residents on Broadway Avenue in the Glebe is upset with a plan to tear down 21 Broadway — a traditional 2.5-storey brick house — and replace it with a larger, modern home with a flat roof. The main issue under the rules microscope? The house is set forward in such a way that its facade does not line up with the foundations of its neighbours, giving it a smaller yard with diminished greenery.

On paper, it hardly seems earth-shattering, but the proposal has set off an emotional debate about property rights, our attachment to the look and feel of our neighbourhoods and the unspoken — or non-existent — duty for individuals to maintain the era-look of new builds or additions.

”I don’t really understand why all this happened and it became such a hatred-filled environment,” said Hassan Moghadam, 48, an oral surgeon who bought the $1-million house with his wife, Litsa Karamanos, and plans to tear it down. “Over a house?”

Maghadam is so perplexed by the opposition, the transplanted Iranian wondered aloud if there was discrimination at play. He says he arrived in 1976 “with nothing,” stayed at the Salvation Army, wore secondhand clothes and made a life for himself by “working my butt off.”

“Basically, what I felt like is they’re telling me ‘You can’t live on this street,’ right?” (He performs surgery at The Ottawa Hospital, the Montfort, teaches at McGill and uOttawa and has volunteered at the Ottawa Mission.)

Guided by the family’s wish-list, he says he hired high-end professionals to design and site the house, leaving details such as setbacks and “non-conforming rights” to the experts, who designed within the allowable envelope.

Bernie Sander, 66, has lived at No. 25 for more than 30 years. He led a group of residents so passionate about preserving the century-old streetscape that they scraped together almost $30,000 to fight the plan. After a one-day hearing, they lost, and badly.

“We met afterwards on the street and kind of had a group hug,” he said the next day. “If anything, as neighbours, it has brought us closer.”

It is frightening how complicated these issues can get. At the LPAT hearing, each side had a lawyer and the proponent had a professional planner equipped with a binder two inches thick and at least five visual boards on easels. (We endured several minutes on what constitutes a “bay window” and definitions of “character” and “attributes.”)

This is a drawing of proposed house at 21 Broadway in the Glebe. OTTWP

Mostly, it comes down to how the city sets the infill rules. “So how has the city done?” asks Coun. David Chernushenko, whose ward includes Broadway. “Pretty badly.”

The problem, in a nutshell: The city is trying to establish a legal framework that forces infill to be in character with the existing street, something that defies easy regulation. According to its Mature Neighbourhoods Bylaw, the core message is “Your street gives you your rules.” And this is the principle that Sander and others felt was being violated by a house that has no big front porch, is set closer to the street, has a full third floor, and doesn’t blend in completely with a strip of century-old homes with mature trees.

“There is nothing about the proposed full three-storey house with its main front wall situated well forward of the houses on the adjoining lots that ‘fits into, respects, and reinforces the established character’ of the Broadway Avenue streetscape,” he wrote in his objection, quoting the bylaw itself.

On the stand, Sander went further. “Why move to a neighbourhood when nobody likes what you’re doing?”

There is much in those words. The hearing was told Karamanos has been shouted at for seeking a minor variance that allows a portion of the front to slightly protrude (about a metre) beyond the permitted setback. And, indeed, several Broadway residents wondered aloud why the new owners want to live on a traditional Glebe street, but don’t want to live in a traditional Glebe house.

Forget the niggly rules for a moment. The dispute is intriguing for the way it exposes the emotional attachment people have to their neighbourhoods, their streets, their homes, the house across the street — the visual comfort that contributes to our deep sense of place. “This is bigger than just lower Broadway,” Sander said.

Broadway resident Andrew Milne, 46, addressed this when he referenced the big trees on many front yards and the impressive open-sided porches that allow views up and down the street. In other words, by its design, the street connects people.

The digital marketing specialist called it “super frustrating” that it has thrown well-meaning people into an adversarial situation where the spirit of the bylaw seems to have been trampled.

“How does (the house) fit? How is it embraced by the neighbourhood? How does it fit into the style of change?”

Indeed, Moghadam picked up on that theme of houses changing neighbourhoods, but from the opposite perspective.

“Now it’s just not a little neighbourhood thing,” he says, adding that opponents have consistently misrepresented the size of the house at 6,000 square feet, when it is actually about 3,400, minus the basement. “Now the entire Glebe has put a pinata on you and says ‘You’re that a–hole who wants to build a monster home.’”

2013-17 Residential intensification

The counter-argument, of course, is that the city sets out zoning and building rules that guide new construction and all Moghadam is doing is following the rules — including asking for minor variances that are perfectly within his rights. What else, really, can we expect property owners to do — survey the neighbours for their architectural taste?

(He went further, in fact, saying he spent $7,000 to have coffee and cookie sessions with the neighbours (planners, lawyers included) to explain the design, which he says respects the surroundings with its use of brick, stone and copper.)

“If you’re telling me you don’t like something, I don’t have to follow your wishes. It’s my house.” He says he isn’t going to be “bullied” by the opposition and wants set an example to his three children to stand up for their rights.

Kitchissippi Coun. Jeff Leiper has dealt with infill issues since the day he was elected. We spoke of Carleton Avenue in Champlain Park, a street in my neighbourhood, where at least 40 new homes have been constructed in a 500-metre strip. Most are boxy duplexes that replaced much smaller houses.

How, one wonders, would anyone assess the “character” of the street, when it has undergone a wholesale remake in the past 10 years? In other words, when the previous character was put in a dumpster and trucked away.

“I don’t think we’re doing a very good job at that,” Leiper said, when asked about preserving balance between new and old.

“The size of the infills is changing the character of our neighbourhoods. Our neighbourhoods don’t look the same. They’re losing their charm.”

Little wonder that residents are frustrated: The province is encouraging intensification, the official plans are permitting it, variances are being given out like candy, and yet the city is writing bylaws with reassuring guidelines like “respect and reinforce” the character of the street. Huh?

“So what we see in Kitchissippi ward,” said Leiper, who works on infill issues every day, “is small homes, big lots, lots of demand, demand for suburban-style square footage, and developers seeking to maximize all those elements.”

Leiper laments the loss of trees, the “permeable” space, the urban forest — even the view of the sky — all given way to maximize the living space and economic value.

“Your street give you your rules,” the city says. Not really. The law does, the lawyers do.

To contact Kelly Egan, please call 613-726-5896 or email

Egan: Infill or outcast? When old neighbourhoods grow newer, boxier via demolition


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