February 2024


Happy Family Day, fellow Ottawans.

Image Credit: C. Bonasia

After staying closed last year for the first time in its history, the Rideau Canal Skateway is now open for skating for the third time this season. It had opened previously in January for a few days, then closed as warm weather returned. It then was then opened again yesterday—Feb. 18—and closed for the night after snow squalls, before reopening around noon today. This year’s Skateway access is largely thanks to valiant efforts by the National Capital Commission (NCC) to find new ways of attaining the required ice thickness in spite of warming conditions due to climate change.

If you manage to make your way onto the ice today you’ll find that many others have too, despite the variable conditions warned about by the NCC (the ice really is a bit choppy, so do take care!).

That all being said, there is another bout of warm weather in the forecast for the middle of the week. If you look for it, you might see signs of the warm front approaching; today’s clear blue skies are typical of weather defined by cold air masses that hold very little moisture in the air. Because warmer air holds more water and rises above colder air, the leading edge of the oncoming warm air mass will slide up over the outer edge of the cold air mass we feel down on the ground. You may be able to notice when this starts to happen as the water in the warm air condenses above the cold air, taking the form of wispy cirrus clouds in the upper atmosphere. Warmer temperatures and precipitation are then likely to follow.

Usually, that is.

Image Credit: C. Bonasia

Stories from the PEN!

And now on to the Stories from the PEN, where you can read articles by individuals and organizations stepping up to engage in issues affecting our local communities.

Photo Credit: C. Bonasia

From the Archives

By: Hayley Copan

In the February 2001 edition of the Peace and Environment News, a contribution by Nancy Ingram featured landmine survivor Song Kosal and her endeavour to inform people about the effects of war on children. Song was only four years old when she lost her leg to a landmine while working with her mother in the Thai-Cambodia border town of Boval. With millions of landmines still hidden in the ground following the war, Song began to share her story with those around her through conferences and campaigns. Dedicated to raising awareness about this issue, she launched the Youth Against War Campaign on December 2nd, 1998. It proved to be an essential tool in involving youth in decision making, as well as helping those in countries like Canada “understand what it would be like to live in a [place] where their next step could be their last”.

You can read the full article, as well as more from the February 2001 edition, in our archives.

Other News

  • Whether you are interested in affordable housing, provincial politics, or the transition to clean energy, the following is kind of important: Enbridge Gas is taking the Ontario Energy Board to court after a decision that would shift the responsibility for paying to install natural gas in new housing onto housing developers to provide an incentive for builders “to choose the most cost-effective, energy-efficient choice.” The decision sparked backlash from Ontario Energy Minister Todd Smith; but if Enbridge gets its way, new homebuyers will foot the bill for the installation through amortized payments over the next few decades, even if shifting to alternative energy sources becomes cheaper in the future (which by all accounts, it will be). In effect, homeowners will be stuck paying useless infrastructure, while the developers making the decision will have no financial responsibility.

  • The City of Ottawa’s Finance and Corporate Services Committee confirmed that community gardens will continue to receive free insurance coverage for the upcoming 2024-2025 period. Read Just Food’s update about the decision here.

  • The City has released a new Online Property Tax and Assessment Look-Up Tool. Residents can now look up properties of interest and the tool will show the property’s assessment value and property taxation details for both the current and previous year. Read about it here.

Photo Credit: C. Bonasia

—Christopher Bonasia, PEN editor

PERC appreciates all of our readers for giving us this chance to connect with members of our community, and we love being able to provide you with a forum to discuss pressing environmental and social justice issues.

But we also rely on your support to make this happen. If you are interested in helping our organization continue to use storytelling and networking to help individuals, non-profits, and community groups work locally for a greener and more peaceful world, please consider making a donation to the Peace and Environment Resource Centre. You can find out more on our website, or by using this link.

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