Environment at centre of mayoral debate
October 11th at the Moore Farm, the Regroupement des acteurs en environnement de l’Outaouais organized a pre-electorial soirée to discuss environment with four of the five mayoral candidates. Ms Goneau was not able to participate, due to a last minute emergency.
This fall, the 25 organizations comprised in the Regroupement, shared a survey on the environmental preoccupations of the Outaouais population, in preparation for the November 5th election. The 430 respondents gave priority to the six following themes: public transportation, land-use planning, biodiversity protection, waste management, water quality and green spaces In Aylmer, some 105 participants in the survey have expressed a desire to see some changes in land-use planning, public transportation and green spaces. It was no great surprise that half of the respondents gave priority to the limitation of urban sprawl and to the conservation of green spaces in the sector.
With respect to urban sprawl, all the candidates present emphasized the importance of densification to avoid encroachment upon Gatineau’s natural environments. Clément Bélanger pointed out the need to consult the population when the time comes to choose a project for the city centre, regarding the refitting of grounds not used optimally.
As far as the management of waste is concerned, the problem was discussed specifically regarding food waste. Denis Tassé, who has worked 45 years in the food sector, mentioned it was paramount to involve businesses in the redistribution of unsold food to local food banks. He suggested to do an awareness-campaign and to accompany social enterprises working to transform this food.
In terms of the protection of biodiversity, the incumbent mayor echoed the announcement done two days prior, regarding his commitment to acquire the remainder of the Forêt Boucher grounds, and to work with the Foundation to acquire the management of this territory, while investing one million dollars for the enhancement of the urban forest in Gatineau.
The issue regarding the pouring of waste into the Ottawa River, which resulted in numerous closings of the Des Cèdres Parc Beach this summer, was discussed during the gathering. Rémi Bergeron proposed the exertion of pressures on Federal and Provincial levels of government, in order to obtain necessary investments in the conversion of networks of aqueducts and sewers.
When it came to green spaces, the solutions put forth were concerned with the planting of trees by children, students and perhaps by the homeless, as stated by the Bélanger and Bergeron candidates. Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin evoqued the “Complete Street” theme, which includes cars, bicycles, pedestrians and green spaces, stating that the concept should become a systematic municipal practice in Gatineau. Denis Tassé expressed the importance of limiting tree cutting in the city.
The complete video of the meeting is available on the Facebook page of the Conseil régional de l’environnement et du développement durable de l’Outaouais (CREDDO).