1. Water Quality at Mooney's Bay Beach
The Medical Officer of Health reports that water quality at Mooney's Bay Beach continued to be excellent in 1999 and has recommended it be open for swimming in 2000 without restriction.
RMOC's Environmental Health Branch monitors water quality at Ottawa's 3 in- town beaches 5 days a week, and takes samples from a total of 25 sites on the Ottawa and Rideau Rivers once every 2 weeks (May through August). Currently, the main indicator for assessing human health risks stemming from the use of recreational water is the level of E. Coli bacteria. E. Coli usually do not pose health risks, but this organism is considered the best single indicator of the presence of pathogenic micro-organisms from faecal contamination by warm-blooded animals, including humans. Recreational exposures to waterborne pathogenic micro-organisms increase the risk of adverse health effects such as gastroenteritis, ear, eye and skin infections, and acute respiratory illness. Persons with existing health conditions or weakened immune systems may be at higher risk. Health risks are also higher with total immersion (compared to wading), and if water is swallowed.
Mooney's Bay Beach has a pump system which brings water from the centre of the Rideau River into the beach area to improve water circulation. Mooney's Bay is also equipped with gull netting over the swimming area to deter seagulls from frequenting the beach. Both of these measures have made a positive impact on the water quality at Mooney's Bay. During the 1999 bathing season, pollutants exceeded the provincial standard on only one sampling occasion.
This compares to Westboro Beach which was closed for a total of 13 days during the 1999 season due to rainfall events and trends of poor water quality, while Britannia Beach exceeded the provincial standard 21 times.
The Health Department will continue to monitor all beaches in the Region on the same schedule as last year, and advise that if bacteriological trends indicate a problem at any of these beaches, the beach in question will be closed until such time as sample results indicate it is safe for bathing.
2. New Defibrillators for Ambulances
Council has approved funding to the Base Hospital Program of Ottawa-Carleton for the immediate purchase of new defibrillators to be used by advanced paramedics in our ambulances at a cost of $930,312 ( 25% of which will be paid for by the province).
Existing equipment has passed its serviceable lifespan and is failing. Early defibrillation is key to the survival of sudden cardiac arrest victims, and will be a significant factor in moving the survival rate of Ottawa-Carleton up to what it is in other municipalities using best practices.
The Airport Parkway Extended Traffic Impact Study (APETIS) final report will be considered by Transportation Committee on June 7th. This report will help determine when the south-bound off-ramp at Walkley Road will be constructed. For a copy of the Report, please call my office.
4. OC Transpo
a) Ridership Ridership levels for March 2000 are now in and show an increase of 5% over the same month last year. For the first quarter of 2000 we are up 4.9% over the same period in 1999. Our target is to achieve a 3% increase in public transit each year to meet projections in the Regional Official Plan and Transportation Master Plan.
b) Transitway Project In early April, Regional Police, in partnership with OC Transpo Security and Rideau Centre Security, has conducted a region-wide project directed toward youths who congregate and loiter in Transitways across the region. This 3 day project, a response to an increase in calls for service for offences such as disturbances, assaults and trespassing, resulted in 170 contacts and 12 arrests. Upon completion of the project local officers have maintained a police presence in their respective areas.
5. Rabies Reminder
With the advent of spring, residents are again reminded to avoid stray and wild animals and to have pet dogs and cats vaccinated against rabies. Although there have been no cases of raccoon rabies reported to date in Ottawa-Carleton, some outlying parts of our region are now part of the Ministry of Natural Resources' protection zone.
Raccoon rabies is a disease that is carried in an animal's saliva. People and pets can be infected through a cut or scratch from a rabid animal. Children should be reminded that infected animals can lose their fear of humans as well as displaying extreme excitement or signs of paralysis - stray or wild animals should not be approached.
In early April the Ministry announced that they will drop baits with raccoon rabies vaccine by air to protect high risk areas of rural eastern Ontario, including parts of Osgoode and Rideau Townships. It has been found that prevention programs greatly contribute to reducing the potential spread of this deadly disease.
Regular vaccination of cats and dogs against rabies is mandatory in the Region of Ottawa-Carleton. In the early 1990's, raccoon rabies in New York state led to 158 cases of rabies in cats, 36 cases in dogs and a 100-fold increase in the number of humans needing rabies immunization because of contact with rabid animals.
If you suspect that you have been exposed to the rabies virus, immediately contact the Region of Ottawa-Carleton at 560-1335. Incidents of wild animals acting strangely can also be reported the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre at 726-6965.
6. Update on Transition Board Issues
The Ottawa Transition Board has announced what the management structure of the new City of Ottawa will look like. Management team will include a City Manager and 5 senior executives responsible for the following areas: Protective and Emergency Services, People Services, Utilities and Public Works Services, Development Services, and Corporate Services. It is intended to introduce a dynamic organization that enables and empowers its people to do their jobs effectively while being open to new ideas and approaches.
The “enterprise culture” underlying the new approach intends to build on a number of accountability models to formalize a culture of citizen-centred, innovative, cost-effective, performance-based service delivery, in each and every functional area of City operations and management. It is not privatization of government service delivery, rather it requires the new City administration to apply principles similar to those used by private enterprise in looking at service delivery.
Bruce Thom, presently the City Manager for Edmonton, Alberta has been hired by the Transition Board to manage the new City. He is the 1999 winner of the top award for excellence in the field of municipal administration - the Marke Keane Award. Mr. Thom is the only Canadian to ever receive this prestigious award, which is the highest honour available to a city manager from one's peers at the international level.
7. Fire Hydrant Testing Program
The Region of Ottawa-Carleton has an ongoing maintenance program designed to ensure that our fire hydrants are in good working order. Residents in affected areas may experience reduced water pressure (intermittent as the hydrants are being tested, returned to normal once tests are complete) or red water. If your tap water is red, do not drink or do laundry - it will not harm your health, but may stain fabrics. Turn off your tap for 10 - 20 minutes which should allow work crews enough time to complete the test. Then, turning on one cold water tap for a few minutes will flush out the system.
Communities in River Ward which will be tested this year include Carlington. Residents can expect to receive a flyer a couple of weeks before testing occurs which will outline program details.
8. Development and Proposals Underway in River Ward (May 2000)
Friendship Windmill: Hog's Back Marina; no application as yet.
Central Park/Ashcroft/Clyde Avenue Holdings: Merivale Road; current status -
a) Site Plan Control Proposal -Scout St/Whitestone Dr. Ashcroft Homes proposes to construct 94 townhouses similar to existing townhouses to the east of site. Approval targeted for June 2, 2000 under delegated authority (City).
b) OMB appeal on 3rd access issue - decision issued on April 3rd concluding that a third access is not warranted but noted the position of the City in that if 80% of the subdivision is not built out by 2005 a traffic impact analysis will be required.
882 Fisher Avenue: The purpose of zoning amendment is to legalize existing two-story triplex which has been in existence for approximately 40 years. Tentatively scheduled for City Planning & Economic Development Committee - July 25, 2000.
1550 Carling Avenue, 1451-1471 Coldrey Avenue and 1463 Laperriere Avenue: Targeted date for consideration by the City Planning & Economic Development Committee is May 30, 2000.
Botanical Garden: Central Experimental Farm; current status - final overview of Ottawa Botanical Garden Society proposal “Ottawa's Botanic Garden: A Vision” has just been released. Copies are available from the Ottawa Botanical Garden Society at 291-2820 or http://www.ottawagarden.ca. This volume is the first part of the proposal being prepared for consideration by the Government of Canada. Other volumes covering finance, heritage and technical matters are in preparation.