Column: Changes to Blue Box Program leads to greater waste diversion

Another busy week at City Hall and in Rideau-Goulbourn.  Here’s a recap on two big announcements and an extremely unique Saturday around this large ward. We had the pleasure to announce a reduction in the length of the water ban, we approved the City of Ottawa’s Rink of Dreams, which will be built in conjunction with the Sens Foundation and Hockey Canada, and with school trustee John Curry, we were happy to see the planting of new trees at St. Philip Catholic School in Richmond as a part of the City of Ottawa’s Community Tree Planting Grant program for 2011.  The biggest announcement was saved for the end of the week and will go a long way to help reduce the impact of bi-weekly garbage pickup, which begins November 2012.

Expanded Blue Box Program
Last Friday morning, as Vice Chair of the Environment Committee, I had the pleasure to help announce a change in our Blue Box program alongside Committee Chair Maria McRae, Councillor Steve Desroches, and Mayor Jim Watson at Moncion’s Independent Grocer in Riverside South.  Announced was the fact that the City of Ottawa will now accept all plastics in its Blue Box program.  The reason we made the announcement at Moncion’s is because of the amount of items packaged in plastic at our grocery stores.  From clamshell packages that hold fruits and vegetables and plastic containers that case roasted chicken and baked goods to individual yogurt cups, plantings trays and plastic egg cartons, all of these items were previously not accepted in our recycling program.  Each and every one of these items can now be put in your blue box.  In fact, all plastics containing the number 1 through 7 are now permitted in the blue box.  The only two plastics not allowed are bags and styrofoam.  Next time you are in the grocery store, take a look around at how many items come in this type of packaging.  This is a giant step in reducing our dependence on landfills.  This will also heavily reduce the impact of bi-weekly garbage pickup in November 2012.  The most important fact is that this change is effective immediately meaning when you put your blue box out next, all of these items can now be included.

Water Ban Update
As you all may know by now, another big water ban announcement came last week.  When we initially announced the water ban, it was scheduled to last until mid-August.  Last Wednesday, we announced that the ban will now end on July 15 at the latest.  Construction continues to be well ahead of schedule with all pieces of the pipe now installed.  The next step is installing the parts that join to the existing lines which will take place in the coming days.  There were further backup lines that were being constructed as well and they, too, are now in place and providing more reliability to the water supply.  July 15 is the latest this water ban will last and staff continues to work on measures to reduce the impact as the warmer weather begins to arrive.

On another note, the tanker truck is now back at the Manotick Arena with non-potable water for any residents affected by the ban.  It was heavily used on Saturday and I’d like to thank the volunteer firefighters for helping many people get the water to their homes in the Village Walk.  Conveniently, the firefighters were at the Arena as a part of Manotick Safety Awareness Day.  Stay tuned for updates on the water ban in the coming days and weeks by visiting my website or by following me on Twitter.

A Day in the Life…
Saturday was a day full of events in Rideau-Goulbourn and beyond.  Seeing as I don’t want to bore you with all of the details, I’ll just give you a quick rundown of my day.  Starting at the North Gower Farmers Market, I then did some lawn bowling at the Goulbourn Lawn Bowling Club, cut the ribbon at the brand new Jabulani Winery near Munster, got handcuffed by our Community Police Officer Peter Jeon at Manotick’s Safety Awareness Day, cut through a Chevy Lumina with the help of the Manotick Firefighters, held a 60-pound alligator in my arms at Doug Thompson’s Picnic in the Park and then went to a women’s personal safety workshop in North Gower where I was put in the role of the victim, getting choked from behind in order to learn the various techniques to break free.  There are so many things that go on in Rideau-Goulbourn and we are lucky to be able to do so much in our many great rural communities.  On a personal note, I’d like to thank the Manotick Fire Department for allowing me to try my hand at extrication.  I developed a whole new level of respect for our volunteer firefighters when I got in full gear on Saturday.  What amazed me was the intense heat that you feel when you are working with the equipment on.  There’s a good story from my experience that involves me on a gurney hooked up to a blood pressure monitor but it seems I’m running out of words in my column for this week, darn!  Let’s just say that we have great first responders in the City of Ottawa and I’m happy they were able to take part in our first Safety Awareness Day in Manotick


If you would like to know any information about these issues or just want to chat about the trials and tribulations of your Councillor, feel free to contact me at or by phone at 613-580-2491.

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