Capital Ward Bulletin: Snow Removal, Public Consultations and the New Vacant Unit Tax

Happy 2023 and welcome to the first Capital Ward Bulletin of the new year! After a bit of a lull over the holidays, things are starting to heat up at City Hall. Here’s some news and happenings that you might be interested in.

Civic Hospital Update

The City of Ottawa has received a Site Plan Application for the Ottawa Hospital. The subject application includes both the third and fourth phase of the Master Site Plan consisting of a Central Utility Plant with electrical, heating and cooling equipment (Phase 3) and the main Hospital building (Phase 4). The main Hospital building will consist of approximately 230,000 square metres of gross floor area comprising a two-storey podium, two towers (Towers A and B) which will house the majority of the patient rooms, and a Pavilion flanking the Main Entrance. The Pavillion will consist of meeting and conference rooms, an auditorium, retail spaces, a cafeteria, and will connect to the weather-protected highline pathway across the top of the four-storey parking garage. For more information please visit: D07-12-22-0168

Residents are invited to attend a virtual public information session via zoom on February 9 at 6:30 p.m. where the applicant will present their application and answer questions. Those interested in attending can register here.

Winter Maintenance Quality Standards Update

During the recent snowfalls, dedicated crews have been out maintaining sidewalks, bike paths and roads, while we have also heard resident concerns about narrow streets, lack of parking space, blocked crosswalks and unsafe sidewalks. While winter maintenance is a difficult task and some patience is required, the city’s Winter Maintenance Quality Standards (WMQS) are due for an update and haven’t been updated since amalgamation.

Last term of council, we held a public forum on winter maintenance and saw council approve a review of the city’s WMQS. Staff are completing that review, and their report will come to council in the coming months.

We produced two reports about winter maintenance last term. Our first report is informed by city information and resident feedback from our public forum. You can find the report here.

We also conducted a survey in November 2020 about the winter maintenance of Ottawa’s active transportation network. The report from that survey can be found here.

Over the past few years, we have been able to work with staff to improve snow clearing methods in the ward, but we hope that the upcoming report on the WMQS will lead to significant improvements to snow clearing standards across the city.

Snow Removal

As you may have seen, snow removal activities have started throughout the ward over the past week. Snow removal is a planned event that requires us to physically remove snow from the side of the road and transport it to one of our snow storage facilities. Snow removal is different than snow clearing, which occurs as snow is falling or immediately after a snowfall, to move the snow from the roadway to the side of the road or to the City’s right of way.

Over the weekend and ahead of snow removal operations, residents can expect to see our teams out in the community placing temporary ‘No Parking’ signs in snowbanks along the side of the roadway to prepare for snow removal. Snow removal operations will begin Sunday evening on our arterial and collector roads and within our business districts. Residents will know it is taking place when they see temporary no parking signage in their community, and/or line-ups of large trucks with snow being blown into the boxes.

While the city is engaged in snow removal activities, residents are asked to observe the posted signage and to remove their vehicles from the roadway as per the signage—this includes vehicles with residential parking permits. Failing to do so may result in your vehicle being towed. Towed vehicles are relocated to an adjacent street where snow removal is not scheduled that day or has already been completed. Residents may call 3-1-1 for assistance in locating their vehicle.

While the operations are really exciting to watch, we do ask that all residents, and especially children, give the vehicles space to do their work. Please stay a safe distance back.

For any additional questions about snow removal, please visit the city’s winter maintenance website.

Annual Frozen Water Pipes Service Notices

The City of Ottawa provides clean drinking water to more than 950,000 residential, commercial, and industrial customers. The water is delivered through more than 3,200 kilometers of underground pipelines.

Depending on location and installation year of a water service pipe, some are not buried as deeply or properly insulated as others, meaning they are at risk of freezing at this time of year.  Approximately 2,000 Ottawa homes and businesses may be impacted by frozen water service pipes. 

How does the City determine if a property will receive a frozen water service notice?

The City relies on a model that uses the average daily mean temperature, as observed by Environment Canada, at the Ottawa International Airport to predict frost depths and mitigate the potential risk of a frozen water service pipe. Frost monitoring begins once daily temperatures are consistently below zero degrees Celsius.

Resident notification process

During typical winters in Ottawa, some homes and businesses experience a frozen water service pipe that prevents water from reaching their internal plumbing. To minimize the risk of water service interruption, as many as 2,000 customers may proactively receive Frozen Water Service Warning – Run Water Notification letters. 

The City will issue notices to customers who have previously experienced a frozen water service pipe, using a phased notification process.

The first notice will be mailed on Thursday, January 19, 2023.

The first notification will be sent to homes and businesses at imminent risk at the lowest frost depth threshold, followed by further communication as deeper frost depth level triggers are reached. The notice provides customers with advance notification about the frozen water service pipe risks, and tips and tricks on how to protect water service pipes on their property and what to do if the water service pipe freezes.

The timing of the additional notices will follow the first notice and will be determined by the cold temperatures and frost depths.

Cost of running water during an advisory for residents and businesses

If records show the service froze on the customer’s private property, it is the customer’s responsibility to cover the cost of running the water. The notice received from the City will inform them of this situation.

If records show the service froze on the City's property, and the customer has received a written notification from the City to run their water this winter, they will not be charged extra for the cost of running their water. The water bill will be calculated based on previous consumption patterns.

How to prevent frozen water service pipes?

While the City maintains the water infrastructure up to the property line, it is the homeowner’s and businesses’ responsibility to maintain their plumbing and water service pipes.  Residents and businesses can protect the water service pipes on their private property, between the property line shut-off valve and the home or business, in a variety of ways:

  • Proactively insulate pipes near exterior walls
  • Ensure the indoor air temperature is kept above eight degrees Celsius in areas that contain water service pipes, especially near the water meter
  • Visit ca for additional tips to prevent frozen water service pipes  

Ottawa’s water is world-class.  Preventative steps taken now will ensure it continues to arrive at your tap.

Help Family Displaced by Papery Fire

On Boxing Day, a fire at the corner of Bank Street and Fifth Avenue displaced 16 people. Many have found temporary accommodation, but there is one family still in need of a home. The Glebe Community Association is helping this family find an affordable two- or three-bedroom apartment for the next three to eight months while their home is being restored.

If you have any housing options to share, especially in the Glebe, Old Ottawa South or Old Ottawa East, please contact the Glebe Community Association at [email protected].

Rideau Canal Snow Cannon

If you’ve heard some construction noise around the canal, it might just have been the NCC’s snow cannon. This has been used during the night to create favourable conditions to build up more ice on the canal and let the NCC open it sooner.

The skateway will open when a 30-cm thickness of good quality ice has formed. To get there, we need about 10 to 14 consecutive days of temperatures between -10°C and -20°C.

Capital Ward Cup 2023

Join us for the return of an annual Capital Ward tradition where residents join community teams to compete in a friendly game of shinny for the Capital Ward Cup. The Capital Ward Cup was first awarded in 2008. The current Capital Ward Cup holder is the Old Ottawa South Moose, who won it in 2020. The current champs will be hosting the tournament in Old Ottawa South this year on Sunday, February 5 at 10:00 am at Windsor Park. You can RSVP to join us as a spectator, or sign up to join a local community team and play hockey for the cup, here! More information about the tournament, including the rules of play, can be found at the same link. We hope to see you there.

2023 Budget Consultations

We will be co-hosting two budget consultations in February, one with south-end councillors and one with downtown councillors.

South End Budget Consultation
Tuesday, February 7 at 6:30 pm
Heron Road Community Centre, 1480 Heron Road
In-person and online
For more information or to register, visit our website.

Downtown Budget Consultation
Wednesday, February 15 at 7:00 pm
Virtual consultation
For more information or to register, visit our website.

Greenfield Avenue, Main Street, Hawthorne Avenue et al. Reconstruction Project—Online Engagement Opportunity

The City of Ottawa has posted new drawings, design and construction information related to the Greenfield Avenue, Main Street, Hawthorne Avenue project and invites you to review and provide comments by 11:59 pm on Friday, February 10, 2023. Information can be submitted by email or phone using the contact information below. 

February 1, 2023, 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Online (Zoom) meeting
Please register to participate. 
Questions submitted in advance (before January 30) will be addressed during the meeting. You may also submit questions after the session until February 10 and the Project Team will provide responses by email.

February 8, 2023, 7:00 to 9:00 pm
In-person walkthrough/drop-in
MULTI Room—Saint Paul University
223 Main Street, Ottawa, ON

You will be able to review the design plans and related objectives, provide comments and raise any issues that have not yet been identified. Representatives from the City and the consulting team will be available to discuss the project and answer your questions, including any detailed property-specific questions you may wish to ask. Hydro Ottawa will be available at the in-person session to address any questions about the undergrounding of overhead power lines on the various sections of Greenfield Avenue, Main Street and Hawthorne Avenue, and associated connections to private property.

Parkways for People: The Future of Lansdowne

Shawn will be joining Parkways for People for a community discussion on the future of Lansdowne Park. The discussion will take place on Monday, January 30, at 7:00 pm on Zoom.

You can register at: https://futureoflansdowne.eventbrite.ca

New Vacant Unit Tax

The deadline to declare a property’s occupancy status for 2022 is March 16, 2023. Late declarations will be accepted until April 30th. In 2023, the late fee will be waived to provide additional time for residents to complete their declaration.

The mandatory declaration is primarily completed online directly in the on-line portal, through the Vacant Unit Tax home page on Ottawa.ca, or MyService Ottawa. It should take no longer than five minutes to complete.

Several options are also available to help residential property owners requiring assistance in completing the declaration, including seniors and persons with disabilities:

  • Call Revenue Services at 613-580-2444 and selecting option 3 to complete a declaration over the phone.
  • Book an in-person appointment at the Mary Pitt Centre at 100 Constellation Drive.
  • Call 613-580-2400 to contact the City using Canada Video Relay Service – which uses internet and mobile phone technologies to connect the caller with real-time sign language interpretation.

More information can be found on our website.

Your Capital Ward

Photo by Laurent Duguay

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.

Bill 109 and Bill 23

As you know, municipalities in Ontario have been subjected to a number of legislative changes as a result of the Provincial government’s  More Homes, More Choice: Ontario’s Housing Supply Action Plan that was released in 2019.  Bills 109 and 23 were introduced and passed by the province in 2022. Staff in Planning, Real Estate, and Economic Development (PRED) have worked to identify the necessary changes to our policies, procedures, and by-laws.

In an effort to keep the community informed of the impacts of the new legislation and how the city intends to implement the necessary changes a new website was created. This will be a centralized page where residents can read summaries of Bill 109 and Bill 23, review FAQs, and learn more about next steps.

Official Plan Implementation

On November 4, 2022, the Minister of Municipal Affairs approved (with 30 modifications), the new City of Ottawa Official Plan as adopted by Council in 2021. Staff will also be conducting Planning Primer education sessions to Council members and staff as well as external stakeholders and the public. The Primer has been completely revised for 2023 to reflect the approved Official Plan as well as recent changes to legislation in the Province.

The new Official Plan as approved by the Minister can be found on the Official Plan Engage Ottawa website.

New Zoning Bylaw

City staff are working to implement the policies of the Official Plan and prepare a new Comprehensive Zoning By-law. Staff will bring forward a report early this year to extend the project’s timeline by approximately six-months to account for the delay in the Official Plan’s approval, as well as the amendments made by the Ministry. Now that the Official Plan is in force and effect, staff are now preparing to launch of a series of Discussion Papers, surveys, and an updated to the review timeline.

Information on the upcoming Discussion Papers is available on the Engage Ottawa project website (engage.ottawa.ca/zoning), with additional material being posted in the coming weeks.

Next Steps and Consultations

To ensure the most up to date information is being provided to the public, PRED has organized a number of information and education sessions.

February 7 & 15—Public Planning Primer

This session is open to the public and will provide an overview of the legislative and policy basis under which land-use planning decisions are made, the way policy documents are amended and how to make a development application. Registration will be open in the coming weeks here.

March 7—Public Open House

This session is open to the public and will provide a high-level update on the city’s review of the impacts of Provincial Legislation and an overview of how the city is adapting as a result of these changes. Topics will include Bill 109, Bill 23, the Official Plan and the impact on planning related matters. Registration can be done here.

The Council on Aging of Ottawa—Snow Moles 2023

SNOW MOLES are volunteers who report on what it is like to walk outside on a winter day.

You are invited to ensure healthy, accessible, and safe winter walking conditions in Ottawa, by becoming a SNOW MOLE and completing a Winter Walkability and Pedestrian Safety Questionnaire. Your answers will be part of a 2023 Winter Walking in Ottawa: Snow Moles Report shared with the City of Ottawa for better understanding of the safety of winter walking in Ottawa.

Instructions for Age-Friendly Ottawa SNOW MOLES

  1. When you go out for an errand or a walk, please use the Snow Mole Questionnaire to note features and conditions that are “safe” (e.g., a bench cleared of snow) as well as “unsafe” (e.g., snow piled up in intersections).
  2. We encourage you to take and submit photos of both safe and unsafe features and conditions. If possible, include street signs in your photo.  Send photos to [email protected].
  3. Complete the questionnaire online coaottawa.ca/snowmoles or drop off/mail it to: The Council on Aging of Ottawa 217-815 St. Laurent Blvd., Ottawa, ON K1K 3A7.

New Left Turn Lane at Bronson and Brewer

The city has implemented a new dedicated left turn lane on Bronson southbound at Brewer Way. In addition, drivers will get a delayed left turn signal at the end of the green light phase of the light cycle.

This comes after a review of five years of collision data. During that time, there 14 left-turn collisions at the intersection.

Heron Road Community Centre—Activities for Seniors

Calling all seniors! It has largely gone unnoticed, but Heron Road Community Centre has re-opened their seniors center. It is now offering a variety of programs including bridge, euchre, cribbage, movies, trivia and more. You can find out more information here.

Economic Development Funding

The 2023 Community Economic Development (CED) Program is now open for project grant funding applications.

Registered Non-Profit Corporations with at least two years of Financial Statements are eligible to apply.

Projects must be new, or scaling-up, activity to help targeted historically under-represented populations to overcome identified impediments to their participation in Ottawa’s economy.

Funds will be awarded in April 2023 and must be expended by November 30, 2023. Projects may not commence until funds are received by program recipients.

The city will accept project applications until 4:00 pm on Friday February 24, 2023.

The following link will help to expand on applicant and project eligibility. The application form is also available through this link: https://ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/budget-finance-and-corporate-planning/funding/economic-development-funding#section-ad6161f2-e4ea-427f-8f09-b8c756e3e150

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