Council Approves Next Steps on Lansdowne 2.0
Last week, city council approved the business and financial plan, and $332.6M in debt authority regarding the re-development of Lansdowne Park. This comes less than ten years after the last multi-million-dollar re-development of Lansdowne was completed. Unfortunately, it was approved without public consultation, despite explicit direction from council in July 2021.
Despite assurances that the deal is “revenue neutral” for the city—meaning it won’t cost taxpayers anything—the deal is based, in part, on a financing plan call “tax uplift financing” which will require tax-supported debt to pay for the improvements and development at the park. We have an explainer video on our website you can watch.
Thankfully, we were able to make some improvements to the original plan proposed. Together with Councillor McKenney, we directed staff to embark on a public consultation strategy, covering the overall concept plan, the rezoning application for the proposed skyscrapers, and the improvements to the urban park and public realm. This will also include a full explanation of the proposed business model, including the selling off of public land and air rights.
We were able to pass a motion improving the transportation planning around the site, including directing staff to plan for low- or no-cost shuttle service on Bank Street, review parking requirements for the proposed residential developments, devise mitigation measures to improve transportation through the site, and, importantly, work with OSEG on a Traffic Impact Study, supported by consultation with the Glebe Community Association, the Glebe BIA and the surrounding community associations.
We were also able to amend the plan, directing staff to explore different massing and heights for the three proposed skyscrapers and explore making the green roof of the event centre accessible, and we supported a motion to ensure that any development plans adhere to the new Official Plan.
These accomplishments wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the three surrounding community associations—Glebe Community Association, Old Ottawa South Community Association and Old Ottawa East Community Association. Representatives from each association put in many hours advocating for improvements to the plan.
We also had many residents give delegations at the committee meeting, write to council members, and write op-eds and letters-to-the-editor in local papers. Two thousand two hundred and fifty people signed a petition asking for Council to seek public feedback before getting to this stage. Your help and support during this is greatly appreciated.
Over the city election period (October 2022), the city will be doing online engagement that can be found on the Engage Ottawa website.
We will need a committed group of people to ensure City Hall gets this right. We will have a chance to improve, accept or decline some of the aspects of the proposed re-development of Lansdowne. The work we do in the coming months and year will be incredibly important.
Townhall on Community Benefits Agreements
Councillor Shawn Menard in concert with the Heron Park Community Association, and the Ottawa Community Benefits Network, is hosting a Townhall on Community Benefits Agreements
Rawlson King, Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe
Kumsa Baker, Campaigns Manager for the Toronto Community Benefits Network
Join us to find out:
- What is a Community Benefits Agreement?
- What benefits can be achieved from a Community Benefits Agreement?
- A Community Benefits Agreement for Confederation Heights: The Case and a Vision
- A Coalition to Advocate for and Build a Community Benefits Agreement
- What you can do
Old Railway Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge Update
The old railway bridge over the Rideau River that’s been converted to an active transportation crossing is nearing the end of its lifecycle. The questions we face are: do we repair it or replace it?, and how best can we preserve the heritage aspects of the bridge?
News of this project came as a surprise to many in the community, as well as to our office, and there were concerns that there was a rush to demolish and replace the bridge.
We have been able to come together with city staff, local communities and other concerned councillors to ensure that whatever decisions are made for this crossing, no action is taken without proper consultation with—and consideration of—the many residents who rely on this bridge.
There are a number of steps in this process before any decisions are finalized, and staff have agreed to strike a working group with community representatives at the beginning of this project.
Environmental and other assessments will be performed in 2022 and 2023. During this time, there will also be public consultations. The detailed design will be developed in 2023 and 2024, with construction expected to begin in 2025 and completed in 2026.
There is much work to be done, and we will continue working with the local communities throughout this project.
You can download the city staff presentation from our website.
Old Ottawa East Community Centre and Forecourt Park Consultation
The city recently held an online consultation on the plans for Forecourt Park a new Old Ottawa East Community Centre (OOECC) in the Greystone development. For those interested, the plans are available for download on our website.
The OOECC and Forecourt Park EngageOttawa website has been updated with the post-Zoom consultation feedback form. If you have additional questions or feedback on the proposed design of the new OOECC, its fire lane or Forecourt Park, you can submit feedback and questions through the website.
Speed Limit Changes
Last week, we brought a report to Transportation Committee to implement new residential area speed zones in the areas of Dow’s Lake, and Heron Park and Brookfield Gardens. On Wednesday, these speed zones were given final approval at City Council. The speed zones will lower the speed limit to 30 km/h on all residential streets in these neighbourhoods.
With these zones approved, staff will begin work on changing all speed limit signs. This won’t happen right away, especially as crews are still dealing with the aftermath of the storm, but expect to see these changes in the coming months.
With the upcoming road work on Frobisher and Lycée, the speed limit on those streets will also be reduced to 30 km/h. This aligns with a city policy we helped implement this term of council.
With these changes, all residential areas of Capital Ward will have 30 km/h speed limits. Lowering speed limits to 30 km/h has proven to increase safety and reduce collisions, and we’ve already seen traffic speed reductions with lowered speed limits.
With these changes and other traffic calming measures we are implementing, we’re seeing speeds dropping and safety improving.
Banks Street Active Transportation and Transit Study
Back in December, we directed staff to provide scope for a project to study transit and active transportation along Bank Street in the Glebe, including considerations for a pilot project. This is to serve as a complement to the new Secondary Plan recently adopted for Bank Street.
Bank Street transportation has been a problem for our community for years, and we need to make improvements to ensure that Bank Street serves the needs of the community, businesses along Bank Street and Lansdowne.
At the May 30 Transportation Committee meeting, transportation staff presented a report that provided a scope for the project and directs city staff to include this project in the 2023 budget. We’re very happy to say that the report was approved by the committee and then given final approval this week by City Council.
Much of the work that will be done on this project will be public consultations. We will be working closely with city staff, the Glebe Community Association and the Glebe BIA throughout this process to make sure we get transportation right on Bank Street.
Civic Hospital Motions
Also at the May meeting, the Transportation Committee approved the Statement of Work for the Environmental Assessment study for the Ottawa Hospital Connection to the Dow’s Lake LRT Station. This is an important measure. The plan for the new Civic Hospital was approved without a transportation study.
Because of the effect the new hospital will have on residents in the local communities, as well as across the city, we were able to pass a motion to include local community associations and other community groups as participants in the Public Consultation Group and in individual stakeholder meetings.
Input from residents will help the city make the best possible decisions about transit and transportation to the new hospital.
As part of the 2022 Older Adult Plan (OAP), the city will be installing 15 to 20 new benches across the city. This is a very popular program, as there is a distinct need for more places to sit throughout our neighbourhoods. These benches will help make our neighbourhoods more accessible and comfortable for all residents.
Locations for these benches is being finalized by staff, and four locations are being considered in Capital Ward: Bronson at Madawaska, Bank at Echo, Main Street between Oblats and Springhurst, and Riverside Drive between the Rail Corridor and Smyth.
We will provide an update when a final decision has been made.
Some Progress on Climate Change Financing—Much More Needed
At the June 7 Finance and Economic Development Committee meeting, we saw progress on two items related to climate change financing that we’d raised back in the fall of 2020. The first item pertains to a motion we passed recommending that the next Long-Range Financial Plan look into better funding strategies for Energy Evolution projects that would generate income or savings for the city. In fall 2021, we passed another motion directing staff to allocate $1M in one-time funding through the annual capital close review, should the Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer determine there were sufficient funds. As of June 7, staff have identified the funding source which was made available through the closure of capital projects to go toward funding the Climate Change Master Plan to catalyze emission reductions, support ongoing climate adaptation work and leverage federal funding.
The second item pertains to the city divesting from fossil fuels. A motion we passed in 2020 asked staff to consider divesting funds in the $200M Endowment Fund associated with the restructuring of Hydro Ottawa. In order to have the authority to make independent decisions on investments, the city maintained that they needed authority under the Prudent Investor Standard. The benefits of moving to a prudent investor regime include increased risk adjusted returns, additional investment expertise through a specialized Municipal Investment Board, portfolio diversification for better risk management, Environmental, Social and Governance expertise, and cost efficiencies. This report recommends Council pass a by-law to adopt the Prudent Investor Standard to be under the control and management of a Municipal Investment Board with an Outsourced Chief Investment Officer acting as an agent for the Board.
The decisions will go to Council on June 22 and represent incremental but concrete steps toward achieving our climate change commitments.
RedBlacks and Canada Day Fly-Overs
There will be multiple RCAF fly-overs over central Ottawa in the coming weeks.
On Friday, June 17, there will be a fly-over at approximately 7:30 pm for the RedBlacks home opener at Lansdowne Park.
On Canada Day, there will be two fly-overs by the RCAF Snowbirds. The first will occur between 11:45 am and 12:30 pm, and the second will be between 3:30 pm and 4:00 pm.
Modifications to Spring Tree Planting Operations
Specific to Parks Maintenance and Forestry, tree planting operations have been temporarily suspended as crews focus their efforts on storm clean-up. The spring tree planting season generally occurs between May 1 and June 30.
Unfortunately, this means that the 27 trees that were supposed to planted in Central Park this spring won’t be…but, don’t worry, they will get planted in the fall.
Spongy Moth Information
Did you know? Spongy moth can feed on over 300 plant species and can defoliate an entire tree! Trees will usually flush out a second set of leaves later in the summer. You can help by watering your trees during periods of dry weather. More: https://bit.ly/36SK3HU
Committee Moves to Improve Accountability for Vacant Property Owners
The city’s Community and Protective Services Committee approved a new by-law that would hold property owners accountable for managing their vacant buildings and lands through a new permit system.
The Vacant Property By-law would require owners of properties unoccupied for 120 consecutive days to obtain a permit and to follow regulations for identifying, managing and visiting their sites. The city could then better mitigate common problems with vacant properties, including improper maintenance, garbage, graffiti, vandalism, and unauthorized access. It would also help prevent demolition by neglect as the city could identify problems with vacant buildings before they are damaged beyond repair.
Annual permits would cost just over $1,700, and the fees would fund two new full-time positions to enforce and administer the by-law. Exemptions would be included to accommodate snowbirds, travelling workers and vacation properties. The city would waive the permit fee for two years on compassionate grounds, for instance if an owner was in care or a property was vacant due to a catastrophic event.
Parkland Dedication By-law Review and Replacement: Online Information Session
Please join the Parkland Dedication By-law Review and Replacement project team for an online information session to present the staff recommendations for the new Parkland Dedication By-law.
The staff recommendations presented at this information session are the same recommendations that will be presented to Planning Committee on June 23 and Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee on June 30.
Date: Thursday, June 16
Time: 6:30 – 8:00 pm
Format: Zoom webinar in English with simultaneous translation
Register here at ottawa-ca.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_iKNZac6QSLW3F6ooA84tgA
This information session will be held in a webinar format and will provide an overview of:
- Why the project is taking place
- Project scope
- Stakeholder input
- Staff recommendations
- How you can participate at the Committee meeting
Staff will present the recommendations and participants can enter questions for the project team’s response.
Special Curbside Collection of Tree Debris Winding Down as of Friday, June 24
The city advises residents to place their organic storm debris at the curb for special collection before Friday, June 24.
Before next Friday, residents who still have tree and other organic debris remaining on their properties should take advantage of this special pick up—ensuring this material is placed near the curb but clear from the roadway, sidewalks or fire hydrants. Wherever possible, residents are encouraged to bundle organic waste from fallen or damaged trees to facilitate collection.
Again, residents are asked to be patient; dedicated crews are making multiple passes to remove this debris from curbsides.
Weekly collection of leaf and yard waste is ongoing; this remains a good option for disposing of smaller tree and brush debris. After June 24, any remaining brush, branches, or other tree remnants will need to be properly sized, bundled or bagged for weekly leaf and yard waste collection:
- Branches can be bundled and tied using twine or other organic material.
- Individual branches should be less than 10 centimetres (4 inches) in diameter.
- Bundles must be less than 1.2 metres (four feet) in length and 60 centimetres (two feet) in width
- Smaller twigs and brush can be bagged in paper leaf and yard waste bags.
The city also continues to accept larger, organic storm-related waste free-of-charge at Trail Road Waste Facility, located at 4475 Trail Road, until Saturday, June 25. For location and hours and operation, visit ottawa.ca.
Damaged or Fallen Private Trees on Residential Property
The city has been removing and clearing fallen city-owned trees on residential properties. However, private trees on residential properties are the responsibility of the homeowner.
The homeowner can check with their insurance company or broker to see if their coverage will cover the costs for a tree-removal company.
For vulnerable residents—such as seniors or persons with disabilities—cleanup assistance is available through Samaritan’s Purse, a non-profit organization that has partnered with the City of Ottawa. They can help those residents to cut and bring tree and brush debris to the curb for the City’s special collection before June 24. The contact number for the Samaritan’s Purse is 1-844-547-2663.