Capital Ward Bulletin: Upcoming Consultations, COVID updates and Winter Weather Info

Latest COVID Updates

With the surge of Omicron cases and the return to in-person schooling, we know that a lot of residents are worried about their physical and mental health during the pandemic. Here’s what everyone can continue to do to decrease the risk of COVID-19 transmission in schools and child care is:  

  • get vaccinated; and
  • stay home when sick.

Ottawa Public Health and partners continue to focus on increasing vaccination rates among students, children and school staff. There are many available vaccine appointments for people who have not yet been able to receive their vaccine. Please book your child’s first or second dose as soon as they are eligible. And for parents, if you haven’t done so already, it’s not too late to book your vaccine appointments as well. OPH will be returning to offer school-based immunization clinics for people of all ages facing more barriers to vaccination and people will be notified of these opportunities in their neighbourhoods.

For children aged five to 11, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends an eight-week interval between first and second doses, as evidence shows this schedule produces a stronger and longer-lasting immune response. However, a shorter interval of no less than 21-days has been shown to be safe and effective. Parents who wish to book their child at a shorter interval have the option to do so by calling the provincial booking line at 1-833-943-3900 or dropping into a community clinic. People will be given a second dose at a shorter interval in our clinics with informed consent.

For people who may find it easier to drop-in for a vaccine, Ottawa Public Health is expanding drop-in capacity at community COVID-19 vaccination clinics to everyone eligible—whether for first, second or booster doses. OPH will provide daily updates on specific clinic availability on their social media platforms to show where wait times are likely to be the shortest. To reduce the likelihood of line-ups, booking an appointment is still encouraged.

You can stay up-to-date on the latest COVID news by visiting Ottawa Public Health’s website.

Clementine Towers Food Pantry

Last October, Heron Park resident Cathy Hamilton started organizing a small food pantry to help her neighbours who are struggling with the need of food. At a time when so many need some extra help, we commend Cathy for taking this initiative.

If you can help, either with a donation of food (canned food, or fresh vegetables or fruits) or a monetary donation, please email her at [email protected].

Ottawa Board of Health Virtual Briefing

The Ottawa Board of Health will be holding a public briefing via Zoom on Monday January 24 at 3:00 pm.

You can download the agenda here.

If you wish to speak at this meeting, please contact Diane Blais at 613-580-2424, ext. 28091 or [email protected] by 9:00 am on Monday. You may submit written comments to Diane by noon on Monday.

You can watch the briefing live on Ottawa Public Health’s YouTube channel.

Fight for a City Free of Developer Influence

Throughout Capital Ward and across our city, we’ve seen the effects of undue influence that developers can have. This manifests in many ways - urban boundary expansion with increased speculation occurs, trees might be an afterthought, planning guidelines may get shuffled aside and political donations.

Throughout this term of council, we have been making suggestions to curtail development industry influence. We presented and passed a motion at Council on the revolving door between the industry and staff and examining the potential of a cooling off period, while trying to bring more balance to city-planning.

In February, our office is hosting a Town Hall meeting on developer influence. If you’re interested, please join me, Councillor Catherine McKenney and others as we discuss the issue and its broader implications for the city. The meeting will occur on Thursday, February 24th from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. For more information, visit our website at www.shawnmenard.ca/townhall.

Bank and Riverside Development Update

There will be a second consultation on the proposed two-tower development for the Southwest corner of the intersection of Bank Street and Riverside Drive on Tuesday January 25. Community members will be presented with the changes made to the proposal since the last consultation and will be given an opportunity to provide further feedback.

The applicant has reduced proposed heights after initial feedback. Other modifications have been made to the proposal, but there is still more to be desired here. If you can’t make the meeting, you can watch it on the Capital Ward YouTube channel.

Development Consultation for 1400 Bank Street

On Wednesday February 9 from 7:00 to 8:30 pm, our office is hosting a public consultation on a proposal for a high-rise mixed use apartment building at the corner of Bank Street and Belanger Avenue. This proposal seeks to amend not only the current zoning for the lot, but also the Official Plan (via the Bank Street South Secondary Plan). Visit our website for more information or to RSVP for the event.

Active Transportation Survey

As part of the update to the Transportation Master Plan, the city would like your input on potential pedestrian and bicycling infrastructure projects. You can complete the survey here.

The Future of Queen Elizabeth Drive and Colonel By Drive

Parkways for People are holding their third public event on Canal Parkways to discuss visions for Queen Elizabeth Driveway and Colonel By Drive as public spaces.

I will be participating in the event, along with NCC CEO Tobi Nussbaum, Councillors Catherine McKenney and Mathieu Fleury, MP Yasir Naqvi, and MPP Joel Harden. The event will be moderated by Lucy van Oldenbarneveld.

For more information, or to register, click here.

Free Transit Survey

The Ottawa Transit Riders are looking for feedback on residents’ experience with free transit during December. If you took transit last month, you can take the survey here.

Your Capital Ward

Photo by Bob Irvine

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…of tell us if you’d rather not have your name shared.

New Concord Street North Pedestrian Light

As part of the upcoming re-development of Greenfield Avenue, there has been much discussion with residents and staff about the intersection of Concord Street North and Greenfield. Currently, there is a pedestrian crossover (PXO) to help residents cross Greenfield. Unfortunately, many in the community have witnessed drivers not respecting the PXO, and not giving pedestrians the opportunity to cross.

We have been having many discussions with city staff to try to find a better solution, and we’re happy to say that staff have decided to upgrade the intersection from a PXO to an “Intersection Pedestrian Signal” (IPS). An IPS will provide the full red-yellow-green traffic lights for cars going in both directions along Greenfield, and giving pedestrians a proper walk signal.

This type of traffic signal is much clearer than a PXO, and drivers are much more likely to stop at a red light than a PXO’s flashing yellow light.

An IPS is not the same as a full traffic signal, though. Vehicle traffic on Concord will still have a stop sign, just as they do, now. So they will not have to wait for the IPS to change, though they will benefit when it does. This is the same type of system that was recently implemented on Colonel By at Seneca.

City Prepares Residential Vacant Unit Tax for 2023

The city is planning to implement a Residential Vacant Unit Tax (VUT) in 2023 based upon the occupancy status of a residential property. The proposed framework states that a residential property that is not the owner’s principal address and is vacant for more than 184 days during the calendar year could be subject to the new vacancy tax.

The VUT is designed to motivate homeowners to occupy or rent their properties, helping to address the affordable housing crisis. Further, the net revenue collected from this tax is expected to support the City’s affordable housing initiatives. Once implemented, the vacancy tax will be calculated using a one percent tax rate applied to the property’s MPAC assessed value.

We campaigned on the implementation of a VUT, and have worked hard with staff, residents and other councillors on this issue. We are very happy to see it implemented, and we thank everyone for their work on this.

To read more on the VUT, please visit our website.

Sunnyside Library Hours

Due to staffing issues relating to pandemic, the library has had to reduce its hours of service. The modified hours of operations for the Sunnyside branch are:

  • Monday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Tuesday: 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm
  • Thursday: 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm
  • Friday: 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm
  • Saturday:  10:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Sunday: Closed

For more information, please visit the Ottawa Public Library website.

JHS Update

The John Howard Society has provided the community with an update on the development at 289 Carling Avenue, and we’d like to share it with you. The development continues to progress and is currently in good shape.

  • The brick work on the outside is going really well and with the unseasonably warm weather we had they were able to work really quickly.
  • On the upper floor all the drywall is complete and the first coat of paint.
  • Next week or the week after they will begin working on the flooring for the second floor.
  • On the ground floor they are working on framing and drywall.
  • The remainder of the glass for the curtain wall is expected mid-February.
  • The Modulars are scheduled to be delivered mid-February as well.

The developer has also submitted a request to close Bell Street again in order to install the modulars section on the podium. At the time of writing this, that request has not been approved by the city. If it is approved, Bell is expected to be closed for approximately three weeks.

OAP Benches

As part of its Older Adult Plan (OAP), the city has been implementing more benches in parks and along streets to make the city more welcoming, accessible and enjoyable for all residents. As part of this plan, we are happy to announce that new a bench was installed as part of the 2021 OAP bench program. The bench is located on Bélanger Avenue between Clementine Boulevard and Bank Street.

Ottawa Fire Services is Excited to Introduce Virtual Station Tours!

The Ottawa Fire Services (OFS) has some good news for parents. They have launched two virtual station tours for kids (and even some adults) to watch over and over again.

OFS have partnered with a local videographer to create two high-quality virtual station tours. The first is a tour of Fire Station 53 located in Orleans—a composite station which has both full-time and volunteer Firefighters. The second is of Fire Station 73 in Vars, which is a volunteer Firefighter station only. There is great footage of some of their trucks, their equipment and some excellent fire safety messages.

The videos are also very educational. The virtual station tours are in English with French subtitles and are available on the OFS YouTube channel.

Psychology Lecture

The Department of Psychology at Carleton University invites you to the third annual Psychology Let’s Talk Lecture on Thursday, January 27, at 2:30 p.m. over Zoom. The topic of this lecture will be Identifying the gaps in efforts to end mental health stigma by Tina Montreuil of McGill University. Registration is available online: https://carleton.ca/psychology/cu-events/3rd-annual-psychology-lets-talk-lecture/.

Winter Weather Info

As we experience more extreme winter weather, it is important residents understand what it means for the city to declare a Significant Weather Event.

What is a “Significant Weather Event”?

A “Significant Weather Event” (SWE) is defined as an approaching or occurring weather hazard with the potential to pose a significant danger to users of the highways within a municipality. Weather Hazards are determined by Environment Canada as meeting the criteria for the issuance of an alert under its Public Weather Alerting Program(link is external).

This declaration suspends the Maintenance Quality Standards (MQS) timelines required for our city to meet our winter maintenance objectives. This declaration will remain in place until the city formally declares the Significant Weather Event has ended. Once an event has ended, standard timelines for winter maintenance activities will begin.

Why would we need to declare a Significant Weather Event?

The intent of a declaration is to notify the public that due to the forecasted or current weather conditions, caution is to be exercised when travelling on the city’s sidewalks, pathways, roads and the winter cycling network, and that it will take longer than usual to restore them to the expected condition.

How will I know the city has declared a Significant Weather Event?

When a Significant Weather Event has been declared, the city will:

  • Inform Council
  • Post a notice on Ottawa.ca/winter
  • Send a PSA to media
  • Provide an update on the City’s Social Media accounts including Twitter and Facebook
  • Update the voice recording residents hear while calling 3-1-1 with notice of the event
    • Residents do not need to speak to a call centre agent in order to hear the recording

When the event has ended, the city will also post/share the notice indicating the Significant Weather Event has been lifted using the same tools.

What should a resident do when they see the city has declared a Significant Weather Event?

The city will declare a Significant Weather Event when there is an occurring or expected weather hazard with the potential to pose a significant danger to users of our city’s sidewalks, pathways, roads and the winter cycling network. During such an event, residents are encouraged to limit travel to only essential trips outside of their home. Those who cannot are reminded to exercise caution based on the conditions of the transportation network, and to offer our snow clearing vehicles space to do their jobs.

During a Significant Weather Event, winter operations will continue. The city will continue to clear and treat the sidewalks, pathways, roads and winter cycling network—they just won’t complete the work within the Maintenance Quality Standards timelines.

Residents should sign up for Winter Weather Parking Ban e-Alerts to be alerted to an upcoming parking ban. A winter weather parking ban may be called at any time during the winter, including during a Significant Weather Event.

During a Significant Weather Event, all available resources will be deployed, and the city will be asking residents to refrain from calling 3-1-1 or creating a service request for anything other than an emergency. 

For any additional questions about the Significant Weather Event, please visit the city’s winter maintenance website.

Be a Hydrant Hero this winter! 

The city’s Hydrant Hero program has now begun this winter season! Last year, many of Ottawa’s hydrant heroes shared a photo of their cleared hydrant to receive their official Hydrant Hero certificate. Henry and Dylan are just two of last year’s recipients. 

The City of Ottawa’s Water Services maintains more than 23,000 fire hydrants throughout the winter months, ensuring they are in operation for firefighters in the event of a fire. 

To help, the city is encouraging you to be hydrant heroes and keep your local hydrant clear of snow. Clearing 1.5 metres around a hydrant maintains access for our firefighters and keeps you, your family and your community safe. 

Children and youth who participate will receive an electronic Hydrant Hero certificate. Youth volunteers can also participate in this program to get their community involvement hours.  

Visit www.ottawa.ca/hydranthero to request your electronic Hydrant Hero certificate, share your photo, or to request confirmation of community service hours. To assist in promoting this great program, we’ve provided the attached graphics, photos of local hydrant heroes, and a promotional Hydrant Hero poster. 

City Implements Reservation System for its Four Outdoor Refrigerated Rinks

To facilitate the implementation of new capacity restrictions for outdoor recreation amenities, the city is re-introducing the online reservation system for peak times to book free 45-minute skating spots at its four outdoor refrigerated rinks.

Residents will be able to book reservations at ottawa.ca/skating for the following peak times:

  • City Hall Rink of Dreams: 11:00 am to 11:00 pm daily
  • Jim Tubman Chevrolet Rink of Dreams: 10:00 am to 10:00 pm weekends, 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm weekdays
  • Lansdowne Park Skating Court: 9:00 am to 9:00 pm weekends, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm weekdays (hours subject to change)
  • Ben Franklin Place Skating Rink, 9:00 am to 9:00 pm weekends, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm weekdays (hours subject to change)

Skating is available without reservations on a drop-in basis outside the non-peak times listed above

Refrigerated rink openings are weather-dependent, so be sure to check ottawa.ca before arriving for your reserved skating time. Reservations can be made up to two days in advance with new spots opening at 6 pm daily. A maximum of four skaters can be booked on each reservation. Those who have made a reservation must show a copy of their confirmation email upon entry, either on a mobile device or on a printed-out paper.

All outdoor refrigerated rinks will continue with capacity limits based on the number of individuals who can maintain physical distancing of two metres. The capacity limit is posted on site.

Reservations are not required for the more than 265 natural ice rinks in neighbourhoods across the City, but capacity limits and distancing requirements apply.

Update on Sledding Conditions and Safety Tips

The city suggests that everyone should take the following safety precautions, including observing hill conditions and wearing a helmet.

Sled only at hills designated for sledding. While other hills and large snowbanks are enticing to sledders, they possess hazards that could cause injuries. In addition, some non-sanctioned hills may have protective measures, but these do not make them safe sledding areas. The City has a list of its sanctioned sledding hills on ottawa.ca.

Always wear a CSA-certified helmet to protect yourself. In addition, allow safe spacing—around 15 metres—between you and the other sleds going down the hill.

Additional safety tips:

  • Children should be accompanied by a parent or guardian
  • Sled only during daylight. If you are out at night, don’t slide unless the hill is well lit
  • Always sit or kneel facing forward on the sled
  • Walk up the side of the hill, not the middle
  • Keep your hands, arms and legs inside the sled to prevent injury
  • Alert (shout) if you observe another slider headed for danger
  • Do not leave sleds or other obstacles on the hill
  • Construction of snow jumps and other obstacles is not permitted

Please always pay attention to the conditions on the hill. Packed snow, precipitation and fluctuations in temperature can create icy conditions on the hill, resulting in increased speeds and reduced ability to control and stop your sled safely. Sledding is a high-risk activity. Sled at your own risk.

Snow Moles 2022

The 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 Audit. Your answers will be part of a 2022 Winter Walking in Ottawa: Snow Mole Report shared with the City of Ottawa for a better understanding of the safety of winter walking in Ottawa.

You can be a snow mole:

  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. Send photos to [email protected]
  3. Complete the questionnaire online or drop off/mail it to: The Council on Aging of Ottawa (815 St. Laurent Blvd #217, Ottawa, ON K1K 3A7).

Complete questionnaire online

Download paper questionnaire

You can also download their 2021 Report.

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  • Shawn Menard
    Shawn Menard
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    published this page in News & Updates 2022-01-20 16:06:46 -0500

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