Capital Ward Bulletin: Happy Holidays!

Happy holidays! We hope everyone is able to enjoy this festive season with family and friends. This will be our last bulletin of 2022. It has been our pleasure to serve you for this past year, and we look forward to a great 2023!

Our office will be closed from December 26 to January 2. If you have an urgent need during that time, please contact Service Ottawa at [email protected], or by calling 3-1-1. Otherwise, we look forward to working with you in the new year.

New Committee Assignments

At the start of every term, committees are established and councillors assigned to each one. I am happy to say that I will be chairing the Environment and Climate Change Committee. I will also be sitting on the Transit Committee, Finance and Corporate Services Committee (formerly FEDCo), and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. These positions will help us bring important change, as well as thoughtful stewardship, of the city.

Brownfields Subsidies and CIP Review

We passed a motion at council to review the “Brownfield grants” and Community Improvement Plan (CIP) subsidies. These programs give out millions of dollars each year to corporations and developers, without clear benefit to residents. These reviews should provide budgetary relief for the city so we can focus on actual purpose-built affordable housing.

LRT Inquiry

At the end of November, Justice Hourigan released final report from the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Commission. It is a thorough and exhaustive look at the Stage 1 LRT project. There’s a lot to go through and consider, but, fundamentally, the report demonstrates that this project had significant flaws from the very outset, and the method of procuring and building the Confederation Line all but ensured that the project would be plagued by problems. This project did not prioritize the best interest of the public, and we need to seriously re-think how we conduct large-scale infrastructure projects in the future.

The report offered over 100 recommendations to improve how such projects operate, and the city must begin developing a plan to implement those recommendations. We need safe, reliable transit. We need proper oversight and transparency of infrastructure projects. We need city leadership that puts the needs of residents over political expediency or ideology.

I look forward to working with my council colleagues to implement these important findings.

Skate Drive for John Howard Ottawa

The John Howard Society of Ottawa has constructed a new building at 289 Carling (near Bronson).  The building combines offices and programming space for their Ottawa operations and 40 custom built bachelor apartments for permanent housing for people currently experiencing chronic homelessness.  Move in is planned through December 2022, perfect timing to enjoy the Canal this winter.    

Skating on the canal offers great free exercise. It benefits one’s physical and mental health. And it’s just a great way to enjoy winter in Ottawa. The John Howard Society has confirmed that there is a need for skates for the incoming residents, and so they have launched a community skate drive.

They are looking for donations of adult-sized skates: good quality, recent (10 years old or less), men’s and women’s, hockey or recreation skates. They can be dropped off at the 399 Bell St. South entrance weekdays between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm, or contact [email protected] to arrange a pick-up

Charitable donations through the John Howard of Ottawa for this project by specifying Skates for Carling Supportive Housing Residents in the “send a message” box.

OSCA Winter Programs 

The Old Ottawa South Community Association (OSCA) has a wide variety of programs for everyone! They also have lots of new exciting programs and workshops, and they're bringing back some Firehall favourite events!

You can learn more about their programs or register on their website.

Bank Street Tree Well Cover Replacement Project

In 2012, the City of Ottawa installed new trees along Bank Street from the canal to highway 417 as part of the Bank Street Renewal Project. Forestry noted the following observations during a site visit in 2020:

  • Concrete tree well covers are degrading and creating an uneven walking surface
  • Tree well covers are needed to maintain sidewalk accessibility
  • Trunks are outgrowing the tree well covers and guards
  • Electrical wires and up-lighting inside the tree guard are obstructing the growing space for the trunk
  • Tree guards support electrical boxes (Total of 36 electrical boxes)

The initial objective for this project was to restore a safe walking surface for pedestrians by replacing the degrading concrete tree well covers. The project also presents some opportunities to improve the overall health of the trees and maximize growing space by replacing wider tree guards.

The city is developing two design concepts to replace the concrete tree well covers and guards. Concept selection should be concluded by the end of the year.

Project Timeline:

  • Concept Presentation: December 2022
  • Detailed Design Completion:  March 2023
  • Procurement & Construction:  April to October 2023
  • Construction Completion: October 2023

Hydro Ottawa Riverdale Station Switchgear Replacement Project

Over the next three weeks, Hydro Ottawa will be conducting an engineering study at their Riverdale Station located at 39 Riverdale Avenue as part of the 13 kV switchgear replacement project. This work will include utility locates, borehole drilling and hydrovac excavation. Excavated areas will be promptly refilled. This work will extend over multiple days, with activities to be scheduled Monday to Friday between 7:00 am and 5:00 pm. 

While no impact to road traffic or adjacent property is expected, green space areas around the property currently open to the public may be closed where needed to facilitate this part of the project.

Further investigative work may be required in 2023, once the engineering study is complete. Construction and installation of the new switchgear is expected to begin in 2024. Further information will be provided at that time.

There are no planned power interruptions associated with this work. 

Your Capital Ward

Photo by Colleen Leighton

If you have a photo you’d like to share in an upcoming bulletin, please send it to [email protected], with the subject line Your Capital Ward. Please give us your name for attribution…or tell us if you’d rather not have your name shared.

16 Days of Action Against Gender-Based Violence

This month, we observed the 16 Days of Action Against Gender-based Violence—an important reminder commemoration as we strive to end gender-based violence and oppression.

The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence is an annual international campaign that begins on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and goes until December 10, the Human Rights Day. This campaign started in 1991 to call out and speak up on gender-based violence, and to renew our commitment to ending violence against women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ individuals.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was designated in 1999 by the United Nations General Assembly. The date of November 25 was chosen to commemorate the lives of the Mirabal sisters from the Dominican Republic who were violently assassinated in 1960. The day pays tribute to them and urges global recognition of gender-based violence.

Human Rights Day honours the date the United Nations General Assembly's adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. This document sets out fundamental human rights to be universally protected. It is a milestone in the history of human rights, and has been translated in over 500 languages, holding the Guinness World Record as the most translated document.

In Canada, we also observe the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women during the 16 Days to remember the women who were murdered during the tragic mass shooting at Polytechnique Montréal on December 6, 1989.

Get Involved with Your City!

The City of Ottawa is currently recruiting public members to serve on various Committees and Boards! 

Make a difference by becoming a volunteer member! The City could benefit greatly from your expertise and knowledge and in return, you would gain insight and knowledge of how the City works.

To be eligible, you must be a resident of the City of Ottawa and must be 18 years of age or older. Employees of the City of Ottawa are not eligible. Participants may be eligible for re-imbursement of some out-of-pocket expenses.

The City of Ottawa is committed to advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in every aspect of its work, including the appointment process and appointments to public member committees. As such the City urges Indigenous and racialized persons, persons with disabilities, and women and gender diverse persons to apply, and to include, on a voluntary basis, how their lived experience and perspectives strengthen their application in this regard.

For more information including information session dates, the online application form, and applicable deadlines: Visit ottawa.ca/committees or contact Eric Pelot at 613-580-2424, ext. 22953, (TTY: 613-580-2401) or by email at [email protected]

OC Transpo Winter Service Begins Sunday, December 25

OC Transpo winter service changes will take effect on Sunday, December 25. This winter, changes will include service adjustments on select routes, two new seasonal pilot programs, and special service for the holidays.

New winter schedules are available on octranspo.com. Before heading out, use the Travel Planner to plan your trip and to see if it has changed.

Rack & Roll Winter Pilot

This year, OC Transpo’s Rack & Roll Program will be extended year-round as a pilot on the entire bus fleet. Whether travelling to work, school, or just out enjoying Ottawa’s winter weather, we encourage customers to consider combining biking and transit with ease through the Rack & Roll year-round pilot.

OC Transpo welcomes customer feedback on this pilot program through the customer feedback form. Through the winter, OC Transpo will gather data on how the bike racks perform in winter weather to determine if an all-season program will be permanent.

Starting this December, the OC Transpo Rack & Roll practice bike rack will be moved at the beginning of each month to a new station to make it easier for cyclists to try it out in their area. Station locations will be advertised on octranspo.com.

Severe Storm Schedule Pilot

This winter, OC Transpo will implement a new Severe Storm Schedule pilot for buses on weekdays when 31 cm or more of snow is expected, or under severe weather conditions. This pilot aims to help us better provide safe and reliable bus service during severe winter storms.

  • When the Severe Storm Schedule is implemented on weekdays, bus service will be based on a Saturday schedule, with the addition of limited service early in the morning and on some weekday-only routes. Trips will be added to select routes servicing hospitals.
  • Most articulated buses will be replaced with double-decker and 40-foot buses to improve service reliability.
  • When a severe storm is forecast for the weekend, the schedule will stay the same and some bus type adjustments will be made to reduce the number of articulated buses in service.
  • Para Transpo and O-Train service levels will not be reduced when the Severe Storm Schedule is in effect, but as with any mode of transportation, OC Transpo customers should plan ahead and expect delays in severe storm conditions.

OC Transpo will communicate through regular channels a day before the Severe Storm Schedule is being implemented. Sign up for My Alerts to be notified instantly by text message or email when the Severe Storm Schedule is in effect. Use OC Transpo’s Travel Planner to see how your trip will change when the Severe Storm Schedule is in effect.

Holiday Service

A special holiday service will run from Sunday, December 25 to Friday, January 6. Check octranspo.com for information on hours of operation, frequency adjustments and schedules for bus routes and O-Train Line 1 during the holidays. Customers can get real-time schedule information, 24 hours a day, by calling (613) 560-1000 or texting 560560 plus their four-digit bus stop number or first three letters of the station name.

Para Transpo Holiday Bookings

Para Transpo will operate a holiday service on Christmas, Boxing and New Year’s Days. Regular scheduled trips are automatically cancelled, but customers may book trips for these days by using My Para Transpo or by calling (613) 560-5000 up to seven days before each holiday. Don’t forget to suspend your regular bookings if you are on vacation during the holiday season. Para Transpo customers can now text 57272 to connect with OC Transpo Customer Service Representatives for estimated arrival times, direct cancellations, or general questions.

Ride for Free on New Year’s Eve

In partnership with MADD Ottawa and Safer Roads Ottawa, OC Transpo is offering free service on buses, O-Train and Para Transpo on New Year’s Eve from 6:00 pm to 4:00 am. OC Transpo will operate a Saturday schedule, with additional service on busy routes. O-Train Line 1:00 will run until 2:00 am, after which Night bus service will run through downtown. O-Train Line 2 buses will run until 1:00 am. Para Transpo runs until 3:00 am (with last trips booked at 2:30 am). Fare gates will be open, and OC Transpo will have staff at some stations to help customers.

Transit is the best way to travel to festivities across the city. Use the Travel Planner to plan your New Year’s Eve trip.

Updates from Ottawa Public Health

As we prepare for holiday gatherings, we need to continue to assess our own level of risk and the risk for those around us to make informed decisions. Vaccination is the most effective way you can protect yourself and your loved ones from the most serious effects of respiratory illnesses. Today, the Province announced that all Ontarians aged five and over are eligible to book a bivalent booster dose starting December 21. Read more about why and when you should get a booster dose (Ontario.ca/COVIDbooster) and your flu shot (OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Flu)

Individual actions can add up to population-level protection when we use multiple layers of protection:

  • Masking: Wear a well-fitted mask in indoor public settings such as schools and child care, grocery stores, malls, music venues and museums.
  • Vaccinations: Anyone 6 months and older should stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, including a fall booster for anyone 5 years of age and older and a fall influenza vaccine. Anyone aged 5 and older can receive their COVID-19 booster and flu vaccine at the same time. Check your local pharmacy for vaccination appointments.
  • Stay home if sick: Monitor for symptoms. Stay home, even if symptoms are mild, and until you are feeling better.
  • Clean your hands: Use hand sanitizer or wash hands often.
  • Clean surfaces: Clean commonly touched surfaces frequently.
  • Gatherings: Screen for symptoms before attending or hosting a gathering and stay home if you are sick. If hosting a gathering, consider holding it outdoors or opening windows, especially if individuals will be removing masks to eat or drink. You can also encourage those with which you are gathering to be up to date on their vaccines.

The holidays can be a difficult time for many. Check in with your loved ones and neighbours. If you or someone you know is having trouble coping – there are resources to help. Learn more about local mental health and substance use resources in Ottawa at: Mental Health and Substance Use Health Resource List.

Weekly Snapshot and Dashboard

Going forward, our weekly snapshot will look a little different. We will be adding information about RSV and flu. These weekly snapshots, now titled “Respiratory Virus Snapshot”, will still be shared through OPH’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels and posted on our main COVID-19 website at OttawaPublicHealth.ca/coronavirus. An entirely new dashboard displaying information about respiratory virus activity will be featured in the snapshot. You can view the dashboard here: www.OttawaPublicHealth.ca/FluReport

Flu and Respiratory Virus season

Ottawa Public Health continues to inform the public of the levels of respiratory viruses in our community – through initiatives like our Risk Reduction webpage, Weekly Snapshot, COVID-19 Dashboard and weekly Flu Report.

Monitoring Indicators

  • Wastewater virus detection levels of COVID-19 are high and increasing
  • Wastewater virus detection levels of RSV are very high and increasing
  • Wastewater virus detection levels of Influenza are very high and increasing
  • Per cent positivity of COVID-19 is high and increasing
  • Per cent positivity of RSV is moderate and decreasing
  • Per cent positivity of Influenza is high and decreasing
  • Outbreaks due to COVID-19 are very high and increasing
  • Outbreaks due to Influenza are moderate and decreasing
  • Outbreaks due to other respiratory viruses are moderate and increasing

Key Takeaways

  • The levels of respiratory viruses circulating in our community remain high, and we’re still seeing the increase in COVID-19 wastewater and % positivity levels that we saw last week.
  • In these winter months, every single layer of protection matters that much more. These layers include wearing a well-fitted mask when needed, washing your hands, & staying home when sick...which is especially true when it comes to holiday gatherings. If you’re sick, don’t go.
  • Speaking of the holidays – now’s the time to get your flu vaccine & your COVID-19 bivalent booster. These vaccines are available in many places throughout our community. Learn more on our website: OttawaPublicHealth.ca
  • It’s always been our goal to give you as much information as we can to help you make informed decisions about your levels of risk. And so, we’ve launched a brand-new respiratory virus dashboard. This dashboard will be updated every Wednesday at 12pm, and it will be a key part of our weekly snapshot moving forward. You can view it here: www.OttawaPublicHealth.ca/FluReport

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