Communities across Canada and around the world have recognized the value of naturalizing urban spaces, and have revised their policies and bylaws to make it happen. Now, it's Ottawa's turn to do the same!
For Our Kids Ottawa/Gatineau has been advocating to change Ottawa city bylaws so that residents can replace the grass in boulevards and right-of-way areas with native plants, returning those areas to a more natural state.
Along with Ecology Ottawa and the Envirocentre, we've been working with Councillor Rawlson King to bring a motion to Ottawa City Council. The motion will be presented at the Transportation Committee meeting on May 4 by Councillor Dudas, and For Our Kids will delegate at that meeting. Read on to find out how you can support this important change.
Why is this important?
Replacing grass with plants native to the area will:
mitigate the impact of climate change by absorbing significantly more carbon and improving water retention
reduce the need to maintain grass with gas-powered mowers and improve air quality
protect biodiversity by creating much-needed habitats for pollinators and at-risk species
minimize water runoff and flooding, and
improve physical and mental health by connecting people more directly with natural environments
The changes we're proposing are in line with the City of Ottawa’s own Climate Change Master Plan, and they promote a more community approach rather than creating conflict by prompting individuals to report bylaw infractions by their neighbours.
Here's how you can help!
1) Send an email to your city councillor and Councillor Dudas to express your support of this motion. Here is a template email that you are welcome to personalize to send to your city councillor and we encourage you to share it widely.
2) Join us in speaking at the May 4th meeting to show your support of this motion. The more voices in favour, the better. Email [email protected] if you are able to delegate.
3) Share our Facebook post so that even more residents can show council that they are in support of expanding and protecting Biodiversity.
4) If you have a few minutes, help us reach out to other organizations and businesses to ask them to contact their councillors and to delegate. We have a list here (just look at the business tab)
Want to learn more? Here's an article sharing the story of one family's experience with a boulevard garden, what they've learned about Ottawa's bylaws, and why they support the proposed revisions.