Save Our Greenspace

Ottawa Communities Fighting to Preserve Our Greenspace / Updates on the LRT Project

September 13, 2006

Thinking forward to Biodiesel, Not for Ottawa LRT

I guess people mainly think of fossil diesel first and biodiesel second when diesel is mentioned. I like to think of diesel as something we are going to be able to make from biomass, wastes, algae, etc., at some point in the future. The city's perennial problem is that it plans from the perspective of what was, and not what could well be. Who would have thought that the Swedes could have made gas from slaughter house waste?

As I see it, OC Transpo staff are the exception to the city's way of not thinking very well. EAC had a presentation from OC some months back where they outlined their plans for the future as their equipment was powered by one fuel and then another over the next 10 to 15 years as new, less heavy buses were purchased (of course, City Council blew their plans apart when it decided not to go ahead with the hybrid buses). Anyway, I was impressed with their answer to my question about their plans for after the next 15 years. They simply said they were keeping a close eye on new energy developments because they knew that new technologies would be coming along. In other words, they were not carving out a long term plan in stone, but building flexibility into their future plans.

On the contrary, LRT staff seem to be building inflexibility into the project whereas they should be building in flexibility and adaptability so that closures and retrofitting do not cost the earth. In my experience with them, senior city staff (and a good percentage of the councillors) do not believe in climate change or peak oil - the two greatest threats to the survival of the status quo. Due diligence? The Common Good? Common Sense? Fiscal Responsibility? Everything takes a back seat to the city's main job of working for the developers.
Ann Coffey

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