Councillor’s Corner: Moving ahead with e-cargo bikes in Ottawa

Kitchissippi Councillor Jeff Leiper
Coun. Leiper. Kitchissippi Times file photo.

Submitted by Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward Councillor

School is back in session and, despite the pandemic, Kitchissippi ward is returning to its busy and vibrant self. 

The new provincial rules regarding vaccine proof for higher-risk indoor settings came into effect on Sept. 22 and will help facilitate a safe and healthy environment, as we attempt to regain some sense of normalcy. If you have any questions about the new rules or need help finding a place to get vaccinated, please do not hesitate to reach out to my office. 

It has also been a busy month on council, with a couple new bylaws passed and coming into force in the next few weeks. 

The first is the introduction of a regulation structure for the tow truck industry which was recently approved in council. The legislation includes a licensing system for all participants in the industry and sets standards for pricing and the conduct of drivers, operators and vehicle storage facilities. These are incredibly important, much needed steps to ensure consumer protection. The committee also passed my motion asking staff to review the need for modifications to the “Traffic and Parking By-law” to deal with the multiple issues associated with tow trucks staging near sensitive users, which have been reported in Kitchissippi and throughout the city. 

The second major piece of legislation that has seen movement this month is the passing of the e-cargo bylaw, which provides a regulatory framework to accommodate the province’s legalization of e-cargo bikes. This bylaw will ensure that the new bikes can safely operate alongside pedestrians, drivers, cyclists and public transportation. 

Major courier companies have been exploring the prospect of using e-cargo bikes on a trial basis in the urban areas of Ottawa. The use of e-cargo bikes for commercial deliveries is an attractive prospect, as they are a zero-emission form of transportation. E-cargo bikes are also significantly quieter when compared with the larger vans and trucks currently deployed for “last-mile deliveries.”

The environmental committee met on Sept. 21 and saw the approval of a motion that would have council request that the Government of Ontario phase out gas-fired electricity by 2030 in favour of alternative generation methods. 

Additionally, a motion was approved that aims at creating more opportunities for local and sustainable energy alternatives. These motions aim to fulfill the City’s Energy Evolution strategy, which I strongly support and will vote in favour of when they come to council on Oct. 13. 

Finally, I put forth an inquiry on July 7 with Coun. McKenney regarding the large volume of illegal firework use in Ward 15 and Ottawa generally. We received a response from city staff and they did not recommend further regulatory measures at this time. However, based on the data they provided, staff determined that the increased use of fireworks was in part driven by the COVID-19 pandemic. As we start to return to normal activities, I expect that firework use will return to more acceptable levels. That being said, I do intend to work proactively with bylaw enforcement at times when fireworks are common to limit the amount of prohibited use.

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