This fall, City Hall has been pre-occupied with large issues that will affect our city for years and decades to come. Throughout October and November, we continued our work on the Lansdowne 2.0 proposal. We showed that the buildings were not end of life as had been claimed and that the so-called “cost of doing nothing” argument was misleading. Make no mistake, this is a deal for the city which contains a high amount of risk and will see taxpayers pay $656 million (at least) in debt payments over the next 40 years in addition to up-front costs paid in part through the sale of public land and air rights. It would also mean the brand new J-Block of small retail and the Goodlife would be torn down, the 2014 sledding hill/berm would be removed at a cost of $8 million and other sunk costs such as the recent $23 million in repairs to the Civic Centre Roof for which the city would maintain loan repayments, even after the building is torn down. It is exceptionally poor planning.
While we’re disappointed that the deal took next steps and passed 16-9 at Council, we were able to make some improvements to the plan, including: securing more funding for affordable housing, setting priorities to preserve and enhance the public realm, and laying the foundation for a proper transportation strategy to get to and through the park. CTV has a good write-up that includes many of the improvements that we worked towards.
From there, we launched right into budget deliberations. I have some suggestions to improve the budget on transit, housing, climate resiliency, park improvements and other areas. There are concerns with the large amount of debt (it has quadrupled since 2011 to nearly $4 billion) the city has taken on for P3 projects and the raiding of reserves to achieve artificially low rates. We are currently meeting with staff and other councillors to discuss needed improvements.
If you want to learn more about the budget process, you can visit engage.ottawa.ca/city-budget-2024.
But while we’re working on these big issues, we’re also focused on delivering the smaller improvements locally. These issues won’t always get big headlines, but whether its improving snow clearing or improving our parks or slowing traffic on our streets, these measures improve quality of life on a daily basis.
Flora Footbridge stairs
We have good news about the stairs on the Flora Footbridge. After years of discussion, staff have agreed with us to clear the stairs on the bridge this winter, giving pedestrians improved access to the bridge over the canal. This is a pilot project this winter, and staff will also be clearing stairs on the Corktown Footbridge in Centretown. We are very happy about this. Maintaining stairs and keeping access to public spaces is what a winter city like Ottawa should be doing. This is one of those seemingly small measures that will make many people’s lives this winter easier.
Drummond and Echo accessible curb cut
Speaking of accessibility, we also have good news about a new connection along Echo Drive. After repeated requests, staff have agreed to put in a curb cut on the Echo Drive sidewalk where the pathway connects to Drummond (right beside the Immaculate Field). This will let people with strollers, riding or rolling on Echo to safely and more easily access the neighbourhood.
The Mutchmor Rink is returning for another winter. At the time that this is published, we expect that the boards will already be up in preparation. We would like to thank everyone who has worked to make this happen, including community members, school representatives and city staff. We also want to thank GNAG and the volunteers who will be maintaining the ice. Our office will be contributing monetary support to keep this loved neighbourhood amenity running this winter.
Grande Allée Park
We are hopeful that Grande Allée Park in Old Ottawa East will open to the public in spring. There are some tasks still to be completed—including the installation of lighting and hydro service, heritage entrance feature installation, site furnishings and softscape landscaping work—and this work is dependent on weather and site conditions.
There was also an error in the wording on the sign, so it had to be removed. It will be re-installed, with correct wording, as part of the remaining work.
Riverview Park Community Association Christmas Caroling Event
The RPCA is once again teaming up with the Blair Court Community House Food Bank to organize a Christmas Caroling event on Friday, 15 December at 7:00 pm at Balena Park (on Devon Street).
This event is a great opportunity for neighbours to meet each other, share in some good cheer for the Holiday Season and collect food items for the Food Bank.
Please bring food donations for the Blair Court Community House Food Bank.
OC Transpo route review
A few weeks ago, OC Transpo released the preliminary findings and recommendations for the city’s bus route review. The bus route review was launched in January 2023 as part of OC Transpo’s five-year roadmap. This bus route review was used to:
- Examine and confirm service planning principles
- Prepare for the opening of O-Train Lines 2 and 4
- Determine a network design that meets the evolving needs of our customers
- Customer consultations and feedback has been an important aspect and informed the bus route review. Multilingual surveys received 8,200 responses. Multiple open houses were also held across the city both virtually and in-person. Major employers and post-secondary institutions were consulted. Feedback from OC Transpo employees was also captured. All the feedback received was summarized in the As We Heard it Report. Bus route changes are detailed in a report to Transit Commission here.
After an initial review of the proposed changes, our office had a number of concerns, including service to Carleton University, the elimination of route 5 in Old Ottawa South, service in Heron Park and service in Greystone Village.
After hearing from residents and speaking with OC Transpo, staff have made some improvements to their recommendations. These include:
- Maintaining access to Carleton via route 111.
- Replacing the service of route 5 from Billings Bridge to downtown with route 18.
- Keeping and extending service along route 10 all the way through Rideau Centre, downtown and to Greystone Village.
- Routes 41 and 292 will service Heron Park via Clementine.
At the time of writing this, we do not have updated route maps, but will post them to our website once we have them.
You can also visit www.octranspo.com/en/news/article/bus-route-review/ to remain up-to-date on the issue.
We will keep pushing for improved transit service for Capital Ward and for the city as a whole.
In memory of Chris Stoney
Two years ago, we lost a member of the Capital Ward community. Chris Stoney was an active member of the ward, involved in many community initiatives, including as a fierce critic of the Lansdowne Park deal.
Chris was faculty in Carleton’s School of Public Policy and Administration from 2003 to his untimely death in December 2021. He was also an excellent scholar authoring/co-authoring 42 scholarly articles and 10 books. I took classes with Chris as a master’s student, he was a friend and mentor to me personally.
In tribute to Chris’s work, friends and colleagues created The Christopher Stoney Student Experience Fund to help faculty and instructors in the SPPA offer more experiential learning opportunities and improve the quality of the student experience.
Tuesday November 28 is Giving Tuesday and all donations made through Carleton’s FutureFunder website will be matched dollar-for-dollar by the university.
Please consider giving, if you are able.
Ike Awgu Memorial Scholarship
You can also consider giving to the Ike Awgu Memorial Scholarship.
At the age of 19, as a role model, Ike Awgu brought idealism, vigor, and common sense to the Ottawa municipal electorate in 2002. In doing so, he garnished more than 5000 votes, including a great many who had not voted before. Ike went on to make an impact through his weekly editorial work at the Ottawa Sun Newspaper and regular contributions to The Globe and mail and Huffington Post.
At 39 years of age, with his passing, the prominence of youth voices will be reawakened and supported in two major ways: To seek out and sponsor youth participation that promotes good outcomes for the public; and to establish the annual Ike Awgu Memorial Scholarship at Carleton University.
You can visit the FutureFunder website to donate.
Bank Street construction
Work continues on Bank Street near Billings Bridge. Bell Canada had been in the process of re-constructing maintenance holes. Two holes have been completed and we expect a third to be completed in the coming weeks.
This work is part of a multi-year project with different stages and while we work with city staff to minimize the impacts, significant traffic congestion and delays should be expected during this project. To find more information on the project, please visit the website.
Rideau Canal Cultural Landscape Study
There is no question that the Rideau Canal is one of the most iconic symbols of our city. There is also no question that it is a source of recreation, transportation, history and more for both residents and visitors. So, how can the caretakers of both the canal and the land that surrounds it ensure that the Rideau Canal continues to be a valuable resource for generations to come? That’s the question being asked by the City of Ottawa, the National Capital Commission and Parks Canada through the Rideau Canal Cultural Landscape Study.
The National Capital Commission (NCC), Parks Canada and the City of Ottawa have engaged Matrix Heritage to produce a cultural landscape study of the northern section of the Ottawa corridor of the Rideau Canal, from the Ottawa Locks through to Hog’s Back Locks, that outlines its heritage values and character-defining elements.
In addition, pop-up information kiosks will be located at Minto Recreation Complex at 3500 Cambrian Road, Nepean on November 18th from 11am to 3 pm and Lansdowne farmer's market on November 26th.
For more information or to complete the survey, visit engage.ottawa.ca/rideaucanal
Assaulted Women’s Helpline
November is Women Abuse Prevention Month. Escaping domestic abuse can be difficult, but not everyone understands what it's like.
For over 35 years, the Assaulted Women’s Helpline has served as a free, anonymous and confidential 24-hour telephone and TTY crisis telephone line to all women in the province of Ontario who have experienced any form of abuse.
They provide crisis counselling, safety planning, emotional support, information and referrals accessible seven days a week, 365 days a year. They work in tandem with community partners and sister agencies towards bridging gaps in service and identifying emerging issues or trends relevant to the women we work with.
Deaf and hard of hearing services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Assaulted Women’s Helpline has a TTY line available at 1-866-863-7868
Survivors of abuse or domestic violence may sometimes face the same issue: abuse thrives in isolation.
The Helpline strives to educate the public about the need for deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing services. The safe and strictly confidential services that the Helpline offers to deaf survivors through the tele-typewriter relay is another resource women can rely on.
Learn more about the helpline and other resources, you can visit their website.
GO Capital Artistic Swimming—2024 Winter Recreational Registration
GO Capital Artistic Swimming is a not-for-profit, volunteer-board run artistic swimming club dedicated to providing opportunities for all athletes who love the water, to train, compete and be active for life. They offer programs ranging from recreation to a high performance, national competitive stream and everything in between.
Registration is now open for the 2024 winter season. For more information, visit www.gocapitalsynchro.ca.
Your Capital Ward
Photo by Steve Gurman
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.
Your city, your ideas: City of Ottawa Service Reviews
Do you have ideas on how the City of Ottawa can improve our services and save money to reinvest into other priorities?
The city is conducting service reviews and we want to harness the incredible wisdom of people like you, who live in Ottawa and who contribute to our beautiful city every day. The goal is to put any savings that are found from the service reviews towards the Term of Council priorities. These priorities are focused on making our city an even better place to live, learn, work and play.
The priorities are focused on creating an Ottawa that:
- Has affordable housing and is more liveable for all (fall 2023)
- Is more connected with reliable, safe and accessible mobility options (winter 2024)
- Is green and resilient (spring 2024)
- Has a diversified and prosperous economy (summer 2024)
Protect yourself against the flu and COVID-19 by getting your vaccines
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) recommends that everyone 6 months and older get the annual flu vaccine and the updated XBB 1.5-containing COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. Flu and COVID-19 vaccines are particularly recommended for people at high risk of severe illness from flu and/or COVID-19 as well as health care workers and first responders.
Effective October 30, 2023, flu vaccines and the updated COVID-19 vaccines are available for all residents.
There are many options for getting your flu and updated COVID-19 vaccine:
- Visit your nearest pharmacy (pharmacies continue to be the main point of access for flu vaccines).
- Check with your regular health care provider to see if they offer the vaccines.
- Visit an OPH Community Clinic to get your vaccines.
- Visit an OPH Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hub, if you face barriers to access, for vaccines on a walk-in basisCOVID-19 vaccine appointments at OPH Community Clinics can be booked through the Ontario COVID-19 vaccination portal or by calling the Provincial Vaccine Contact Centre at 1-833-943-3900 (TTY: 1-866-797-0007).
Flu vaccine appointments at OPH Community Clinics can be booked through the Ottawa Public Health website.
OPH wants to remind Ottawa residents that there are simple and effective ways to help protect yourself, your families and our communities against respiratory illness. Some people in our community are at a higher risk of severe illness. Minor symptoms for one person could be a life-threatening illness for another.
Using the following layers of protection helps keep everyone safe:
- Washing your hands (or using hand sanitizer) often and avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
- Disinfecting high-touch surfaces in your home and workplace.
- Staying home when you are sick.
- Wearing a mask:
- To protect yourself from viral respiratory illnesses;
- To protect others at higher risk of severe respiratory illness from getting sick; and
- When you’re recovering from illness.
- Staying up to date on your vaccines.
By-law Reviews web page launch
The new By-law Reviews web page has been launched on ottawa.ca by the Public Policy Development Service in the Emergency and Protective Services department.
This web page provides key information to the public about the City’s by-law reviews, including a schedule of ongoing or anticipated by-law reviews, high level updates on their status, and information about engagement opportunities and key contacts.
The web page will be maintained and updated by the Public Policy Development Service with input from other Departments. Updates will occur on a quarterly basis, or more frequently as required, to ensure information remains accurate and current.
Emerging Community Needs application is now open
The Emerging Community Needs funding stream of Community Funding is now open for applications.
Emerging Community Needs funding provides one-time funding for initiatives or activities that address a specific emerging need in a community (local priority neighbourhoods or community of common bond) and contribute to community capacity building, well-being, and resiliency. For the purpose of this funding, emerging needs are defined as newly formed or prominent.
- Deadline for application: Thursday, December 7, 2023
- Funding available: $500,000
- Applicants will be advised of the results no later than December 20, 2023
For more information and to apply, please email [email protected].
Community Emergency Preparedness Grant
The Ontario Government has invested $5 million in a new grant program aimed at helping community groups purchase critical supplies and equipment, as well as deliver training and services to improve local emergency preparedness and response: Community Emergency Preparedness Grant
The grant is open to registered charities and not-for-profit corporations that have an emergency preparedness and response component to their mandate. Successful applicants will be able to purchase items such as sand bagging machines, generators, drones and radios (among other items) that range from $5,000 to $50,000.
Applications close on November 30, 2023.