Justice for Abdirahman
The need for alternatives to police-led emergency responses in Ottawa is clear. The brutal killing of Ottawa resident Abdirahman Abdi is one example of a situation where a non-police led intervention would likely have led to a different outcome.
On Tuesday October 20th, 2020, Ottawa received the verdict—the Ottawa Police Service officer charged with manslaughter, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon in the death of Abdirahman Abdi: Not Guilty on all 3 charges. It is rare to see law enforcement held to account and it is further evidence that we need alternatives to police-led emergency response calls.
The Justice for Abdirahman Coalition will be holding a press conference Tuesday October 20th at 5pm at 55 Hilda and this Thursday to discuss the verdict.
Council Motion for Police Reform
Councillors Menard and McKenney have brought forward a motion to Ottawa City Council that seeks changes to emergency responses in Ottawa. The motion that calls on the Ottawa Police Services Board to undertake a public consultation and report outlining potential alternative models of community safety response. You can read the motion in full here.
Notice has been given for this motion and it will be debated and voted on at the October 28th meeting of city council. Help us show that this motion coming before council has public support by adding your name to the petition.
Hydro Issues in Heron Park
Heron Park and Billings Bridge have been experiencing a lot of problems with their hydro service in recent months. We have been working with Hydro Ottawa to identify the problems and find proper solutions.
The current power supply for this area comes from the Hydro Ottawa substation located at Riverdale and Main Street. The root cause of the problem isn’t at the substation, but along the supply line.
Hydro Ottawa is looking at creating redundancy in this area, which will entail connecting a powerline to a second substation. The main powerline to Heron Park has seen a lot of issues, so adding a second line would provide greater flexibility and contingency options in case of power outages.
Several small outages in the area have been caused by animals (including birds and squirrels), so Hydro Ottawa will be installing more animal guards in the coming months.
They will also look at doing additional reliability inspections in the area, in order to identify any potential failures. Hydro Ottawa would also like to encourage large building owners to get regular inspections of third-party equipment (vaults) to help avoid disruptions but also prevent future safety hazards.
With all these measures, we hope to see marked improvement in the hydro delivery and reliability in Heron Park.
Upcoming Public Consultations
There are a number of important public consultations in the coming weeks. Please consider attending any or all of them:
South Central Budget Consultation
Thursday October 22 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm
We are happy to host this event along with Councillors Diane Deans, Riley Brockington and Jean Cloutier. There will be a presentation by the city finance department, followed by an opportunity to ask questions to the councillors.
Register for Zoom event here.
Tuesday October 27 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm
The urban councillors will be hosting our yearly budget consultation, BudgetSpeak, this year is more focused on affordable housing. This event will include a presentation of the 2021 draft municipal budget by City staff, a panel discussion featuring experts in affordable housing, and the opportunity to gather with other residents to share your ideas on how the municipal budget can make safe, affordable housing a priority in 2021 and beyond.
To participate, please register at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0pdOCurDwtHdD9s75AUuVtwvJnUntk21BE
Bank Street in the Glebe: Height and Character Study Consultation
Wednesday October 28 from 7:00 to 9:00 pm
City staff will be hosting a final public consultation for the Bank Street in the Glebe Height Character Study, presenting their work to set new zoning regulations for Bank Street, as well as parts of Chamberlain and Isabella.
The meeting will be held online using Zoom using this URL: https://zoom.us/j/93489096828?pwd=eEVndm14NzRBN1lTdGl5NXlpYkdWUT09
Check Out Scale Model of What Bank Street Could Look Like and City Planning Recommendations
Drop by to view the 3D model next week: Richard Corbeil, a member of the Glebe Community Association Planning Committee, has built a scale model based on draft recommendations from the City of Ottawa’s Bank Street in the Glebe: Height and Character Study. The intent is to give residents and business owners a clearer sense of how Bank Street could develop, and how this redevelopment might transition to neighbouring streets. Drop by the “pop-up” space at 796 Bank Street (Sylvan Learning, between Third and Fourth) at any of the following times next week:
Monday, October 26, from 10:30 am to1:30 pm and 3:30 to 7:00 pm
Tuesday, October 27, from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm and 3:30 to 7:00 pm
Wednesday, October 28, from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm and 3:30 to 6:00 pm
Thursday, October 29 from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm and 3:30 to 7:00 pm
A New Highway Through the Core Jeopardizes Climate Goals and Quality of Life
The Alta Vista Transportation Corridor is a planned highway that runs east/west behind Ottawa General Hospital campus through Ottawa’s green spaces and parks. It’s been on the books since 1974, and hasn’t been built yet—but without community input, it’s poised to be included in the new Transportation Master Plan.
Building more roads encourages driving through induced demand, rather than prioritizing pedestrian, bicycle, and public transit. It will also destroy valuable green spaces, most notably Lees Field in Old Ottawa East which is right next to Springhurst Park and the Lees apartment towers.
If you share our concerns or have other input on the AVTC, please fill out this survey on the next Transportation Master Plan, which closes on October 23.
Flu Shot Clinics
Ottawa Public Health will be holding community flu clinics, for all Ottawa residents aged 6 months and older. These clinics will be held at several fixed locations across the city and are expected to open on October 29, 2020. To avoid crowding, clinics will be by appointment only, 7 days a week, including daytime and evening appointments. Appointment booking will be available on the OPH website soon.
- Notre-Dame-Des-Champs Community Hall, 3659 Navan Road, Orléans
- Ottawa Public Library-Orleans Branch, 1705 Orléans Blvd., Orléans
- Lansdowne - Horticulture Building, 1525 Princess Patricia, Downtown
- Mary Pitt Centre, 100 Constellation Dr., Nepean
- Chapman Mills Community Building, 424 Chapman Mills Drive, Barrhaven
- Eva James Memorial Centre, 65 Stonehaven Drive, Kanata
Residents can also get their flu shots at joint “OPH-community physician clinics” where there will be an opportunity for primary care providers to immunize their patients. In addition, pharmacies will be providing flu vaccine to Ottawa residents 5 years and older, including the high-dose vaccine that is publicly-funded for seniors.
For more information, please visit the Ottawa Public Health website.
Safety Improvements at Mutchmor School
With kids back in school, safety during the morning drop-off and afternoon pick-up is on a lot of people’s mind. At Mutchmor, we’ve been able to get some safety improvements on the streets around the school.
We have new thermoplast warnings on the street to alert drivers to school playgrounds. We are also implementing No-Parking restrictions in certain areas during the drop-off and pick-up times, to keep more cars away from the busy intersections full of children walking to school.
The school and the city ask that parents who are driving their children to school, park a block or two away and then walk their children to the school grounds. This will make the morning commute safer for everyone.
Ontario Active School Travel Fund
The Ontario Active School Travel Fund seeks to increase active school travel opportunities for elementary students in Ontario. Green Communities Canada is now soliciting applications for Round 3 of the Ontario Active School Travel Fund. Communities across Ontario are encouraged to apply for funding to support initiatives that are expected to have a significant and lasting impact in their communities by establishing a foundation for continuing growth in active school travel (AST). Support is available to expand and strengthen existing AST initiatives, or to help get initiatives underway in new communities.
For more information, including how to apply for funding, please visit their website.
Ottawa Public Library—Sunnyside Branch Update and Virtual Programming
On Friday October 16th, the library sent out the following message to users. We continue to push this important issue:
A letter to our Sunnyside branch customers
We hope you are keeping healthy and well. We reached out to customers throughout the pandemic, and now we want to connect specifically with you, members of the Sunnyside branch community.
We know it has been a long seven months without your local branch. When we began reopening, we planned to continue throughout the summer in hopes that all branches would open by September.
Councillor Menard has met with us repeatedly to indicate the community’s concerns on this issue. Out of the ten remaining branches that continue to be closed, Sunnyside and Orléans branches will be the next to open.
Unfortunately, the pandemic has placed pressure on our operations and our workforce. Our employees, like others, have been impacted by COVID. Some employees made the difficult decision to retire or resign, while others are temporarily unavailable for a variety of reasons. With the number of cases in our community increasing, we’re feeling the impact daily. We have fewer available employees; in fact, we have 120 fewer employees, and need 100 in order to open the remaining branches. Our biggest challenge has been the supervisory positions that we require for day-to-day operations. We depend on these roles to oversee operations that keep employees and customers healthy.
In addition, we must follow provincial COVID-19 guidelines which add more pressure to the workforce. For example, we are required to quarantine all returned materials and that means that our process is manual and no longer automated.
Because of these challenges, we had to make difficult choices about which branches to open and which to keep closed for a little while longer. Those decisions were based on several criteria such as accessibility, equity, safety and proximity to other nearby branch locations (geography). We know these criteria do not address everyone’s needs across the City.
To address the challenges we face, we are in the process of filling more than 20 of the permanent vacant positions (11 are supervisors) and we hope to have employees settled into their roles soon after. This hiring takes time, but we anticipate that we can reopen our Sunnyside branch in January 2021 with enhanced services. In the meantime, Councillor Menard has asked us to look at how we can offer some level of service, and commit to reopening sooner, with contactless service.
We have heard from many of you, and we know you miss your local branch. Employees miss you, too. They miss seeing you and connecting with you. Some employees have been reassigned to other branches – such as Main and Alta Vista – and we encourage you to visit those locations if you are able.
We want to thank you for your continued patience as we actively respond to the pandemic, and we look forward to resuming services in your community.
Please keep healthy and well.
Ottawa Public Library
The Ottawa Public Library is offering several virtual programs for all ages! Full information (with ways to search by age, subject, and language) and registration can be found here: https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/program.
Here are some programs you might be interested in:
- Fall online preschool programs – Storytime and NEW Parent-Baby Connections program.
Bank Street—Marvest Festival Update and Supporting Local Businesses
The Glebe BIA and City Folk team up to offer this great event every year. Local musicians normally fill the shops and restaurants of the Glebe with intimate concerts. Unfortunately, the pandemic means the Marvest Festival can’t continue with live, in-person performances, this year.
Instead, it’s moving online! Starting now, concerts will air every Wednesday and Friday at noon on the CityFolk website, and will remain available throughout Marvest’s seven-week run.
Please continue to support local businesses in Capital Ward. Purchase gift certificates, order take-out, and think about how local purchases can make a difference in our community during this difficult time for small businesses and their employees.
What You can do About Bike Theft
We see far too many bike thefts in Capital Ward—either the whole bike or parts of bikes. We often see these come in waves, with individuals working their way through downtown, the Glebe and Old Ottawa South and other areas. It’s a difficult thing to manage, as it tends to happen late at night when no one is around to see.
Recently, we’ve seen this occur heavily on Powell Ave, and our MPP, Joel Harden, even had locked bikes taken from his shed!
Everyone should be able to trust they can leave their bike out and it won’t be taken or tampered with, but, unfortunately, that’s not the reality.
There are a few precautions people can take to protect their bikes and other items on their porches, front steps, backyards or accessible balconies. Some are more costly than others, and some are more feasible than others.
First, invest in a good, solid lock. No lock is perfect, but some locks are better than others. “U-locks” are very good, as are a number of folding metal ones. Cable locks can be easily cut, so they’re not good as your primary lock. If you go to a reputable shop (and we have a number in Capital Ward), they can help you pick something out.
If you have a wheel with a “quick-release” (allowing for easy removal), you can have a second smaller lock to lock the wheel to the frame. In this situation, a cable lock or just a cable that loops through your tire can be sufficient. (Although these can be cut, people stealing wheels are often looking for something they can grab easily, and don’t want to bother cutting through a cable.)
Keeping your bike inside your home is likely the safest move, but I know that doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re leaving your bike outside, even if it’s in your back yard, it’s still best to lock it to a sturdy post with a good lock. Even some garages and sheds get broken into, so if you keep your bike in of those places, either ensure you have a very good lock for the door, or see if there’s a way to still lock up the bike inside.
Our local community safety officer Stephanie Lemieux is also aware of the issue. She has recommended having a motion sensor light outdoors where there is concern (not leaving a light on all the time as this doesn’t deter) and reporting the incident.
One of the best courses of action is actually speaking with neighbours so that everyone is aware and community is present on the street. Sometimes these are street involved people who instead need help from the salvation army van or other assistance through 311.
Finally, the city has created Project 529. You can register your bike at the website, so you can be contacted if it’s recovered. The website also shows some bikes that were recently recovered, and they offer some tips on bike security.
With so much construction happening in Capital Ward, we are hearing more and more reports of rats throughout the ward. Construction work can disturb their nests, forcing them to find a new place to live.
To keep rats away from your home, it’s important to clear clutter from your property, patch any cracks in your house and keep food waste out of their reach. If you suspect you have rats living at your home, you can put out bait traps or contact a plumber with a scope or pest control company.
For more information on preventing and dealing with a rat infestation, please visit the city’s website.
New provincial Restrictions Impact Some City recreation and Arts Activities
With the announcement of new provincial restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19, the city has announced the closure of fitness centres including cardio and weight rooms, the suspension of fitness classes and aquafitness, and the closure of interactive exhibits at city museums and art galleries. Team sports using city facilities will be limited to training and drills, with no scrimmages or competitive play permitted.
The impacted activities include:
- Weight and cardio rooms
- Fitness classes (including aquafitness and dance classes)
- Indoor team sports, such as hockey, volleyball, basketball, and indoor soccer
- Interactive exhibits at museums, galleries and cultural facilities
- Food vending service at city facilities
The new restrictions will not impact:
- Public skating and skating lessons
- Public swimming and swimming lessons
- Before-and-after school programs
Registration for the fall recreation and arts programs, which was postponed last week, is officially cancelled. The city is placing its attention to developing winter recreation and arts programming that is conducive to the current environment. We want to offer fun and exciting programs in the new year that help keep residents stay active, healthy and safe.
For more information on the new rules and regulations in Ottawa, visit ottawa.ca.
New Bus Stop on Sunnyside Between Leonard and Rosedale
In the last bulletin, we mentioned that the city was re-instating the bus stop near Bank and Leonard (it has been moved slightly to the east due to the new road design). We’re happy to say that the bus stop has been re-instated, and it’s already being used by residents.
We want to offer our thanks to Seniors Watch Old Ottawa South, the Old Ottawa South Community Association and the residents worked with our office and OC Transpo to get this much-needed bus stop back in the community.
Raven Road Extension at Carleton University
The new bus-only roadway will provide an important new connection for transit from Bronson Avenue to the Carleton University campus, decreasing travel times for buses on campus, and improving service reliability. These improvements will support the operation of Line 2 bus service through Carleton University during the current shutdown of O-Train Line 2, which is planned to continue until Summer 2022. Local Routes 10 and 111 will also benefit from the use of the Raven Road extension. When O-Train Line 2 reopens, the bus-only roadway will provide quicker and more reliable bus connections to Carleton Station.
Currently, all buses enter the campus at the intersection of Bronson Avenue and University Drive (opposite Sunnyside Drive), and then complete a full loop around the campus before exiting via the same intersection. The Raven Road bus-only extension provides a new second signalized access point from Bronson Avenue to the campus for buses, which will improve service reliability and eliminate the need for each bus to complete a full loop of the campus roadways. These changes will also contribute to a reduction in congestion on campus roadways, further reducing travel times for buses serving the university. This change is especially beneficial during the O-Train Line 2 shutdown, during which time there are more buses operating through the Carleton campus.
City to Hold its last Household Hazardous Waste Depot of 2020
The city’s next household hazardous waste depot will run from Wednesday, October 21 until Sunday October 25.
You will be able to dispose of household hazardous waste at the Barrhaven snow facility, at the intersection of Strandherd and Dealership drives, daily between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm. You can access the site from the Strandherd Drive exit of Highway 416.
The city has consulted with Ottawa Public Health to develop COVID-19 safety precautions for the depot. You can find the procedures online.
The city will not accept electronic waste, only household hazardous waste. You will be asked to remain in your vehicle as staff unload materials. Due to operating restrictions, staff will not be able to empty and return bins, totes, gas cans and boxes.