The Glebe Community Sustainability Plan Workshop – A Recap
Ottawa Biosphere Eco-City (OBEC) is an organization dedicated to pursuing an "environmentally sustainable City that support a high quality of life, now and for future generations", by fostering a partnership with "stakeholders by sharing ideas, knowledge, and experience". As such, on September 25th OBEC hosted a Glebe Community Sustainability Workshop at the Glebe Community Centre. Organizers solicited participants to share ideas for sustainability goals and projects for the neighbourhood.
Issues of discussion from the more than a dozen participants ranged widely from sidewalk accessibility to road services to hospital zoning to diversity to neighbourhood design. One theme of focus was the issue of unaffordability of living in the Glebe and the difficulty of living there without a pre-established career. One participant expressed concern about the increase of gentrification to accommodate an aging population that will leave behind much empty space. It was suggested that gentrification would be more favourable for Ottawa's more suburban communities.
OBEC Interns Sabrina Guvenc and Julia Derue further solicited discussion from participants about what they love about the Glebe and how to incorporate the benefits of Glebe living with sustainability. Participants identified the proximity of the Glebe to the downtown working core and to all community settings. Though one participant was left wondering if the work structure change of the pandemic might make the Glebe community less centered around the downtown core.
Participants offered a range of specific ideas for fostering more sustainability in the Glebe. Ideas included more farmer's markets, more community gardens, salt on sidewalks during winter, more green bins in apartments, more implementation of the Access for Ontarians with Disability Act, more recreation centers, more public washrooms, and free or affordable transit. There was also agreement on the need to consider the Indigenous lifestyle in more development decisions.
The workshop was a positive and constructive experience for all involved. We at the Ottawa Peace and Environment Resource Center and Eastern Sustainable Ontario Network look forward to participating in whichever conversation around sustainability that OBEC starts next.