February 15, 2013
Ottawa councillor is landscaper for a day
Greenlife staff welcomed Ottawa city councillor Scott Moffat to a day in the life. From left, Gang Liu, horticulturist; Julie Doyle, office assistant; Tina Lockett, office manager; Melissa Clark, horticulturist; Mary Stewart, nursery sales and horticulturist; Dave Johnston, operations manager; Scott Moffatt.
Ottawa city councillor Scott Moffatt now has a first-hand experience with what it is like to work in the landscape industry, after spending a day with Greenlife Wholesale Nursey in Manotick.

Each month Moffat works one day with one of the businesses in his ward. In May, he spent the day as a hands-on landscape labourer working with a crew installing plants in newly-created infill property in the Ottawa community of Westborough.  

The councillor for hire says it is a great way to learn more about his ward, Rideau-Goulbourn, its businesses and residents. An advocate of local businesses, Moffatt uses his experiences to learn what role the city can play to help promote local business and address any issues they may have with respect to their communities.

Moffatt said his day with Greenlife gave him a better understanding of the complexities of the industry. “It is not just digging a hole and planting, but it includes permits, adhering to by-law requirements, following specific requirements for the planting site and the desires of the homeowner in the planning.”

He learned that there had to be extensive planning especially when dealing with property owners. There were specific instructions about accessing the neighbour’s property relative to planting. He was not aware that was part of preparation.  

“Scott worked with the crew in the morning and enjoyed lunch with them. We provided him a packed lunch, as well as a Greenlife hat and sweater for him to keep. He worked in the afternoon at the nursery,” says Sarah Johnston, owner of Greenlife.

Moffat said he learned more than just hands-on duties during his day. “I also have a better understanding of the business nature of GreenLife Wholesale Nursery, and how Sarah Johnston realized that Ottawa area landscape and horticultural businesses needed a nursery that could provide product in large quantities at reasonable prices.”