1. Development Proposal Imminent for Moffatt Farm
A deal has been signed that will propose development of greenspace in Carleton Heights known as The Moffatt Farm. Located off Prince of Wales Drive across from Carleton Heights School, the site is presently owned by the NCC. While the deal has yet to earn Treasury Board approval, an NCC official says a portion of the land will almost certainly be handed over to DCR Phoenix, a local development company.
The Moffatt Farm site is being considered as an exchange for preserving the environmentally sensitive area of Montfort Woods. Should the deal go through, any change to current land uses will be subject to a full municipal rezoning and site plan application process.
While I strongly support the preservation of environmentally sensitive greenspace like the Montfort Woods, the question of exchanging it for greenspace in our community needs to be approached with caution. The Moffatt Farm site has its own unique characteristics, a tradition of public use for passive recreation and dogwalking, not to mention a waterfront location on Mooney's Bay that also needs special environmental consideration.
As well, we must consider what form of rezoning could be appropriate for this site. Given the former regional mandate to infill within the Greenbelt, it is unreasonable to think that sites like Moffatt Farm should not ever be considered for new homes. But how many homes would be appropriate? And what other amenities like parks and open areas would be required by the community? What kind of traffic impact would there be? These issues will all be looked at during an extensive public consultation process.
School enrollment is another issue. Carleton Heights School has suffered from under-enrollment in recent years. More homes, and therefore more families with children, may be enough to keep this school from any future closing lists.
No official proposal has been submitted to the city. We do not know any firm details about what this development could look like, or the possible impact it could have on the community. If and when the applications are received, an extensive notification and consultation process with the community will get underway.
I will continue to monitor the situation and keep you apprised of any new information.
2. Smoking Policy in New City
One of the first major issues that the new City Council will consider is the No-Smoking in Public Places and Workplaces By-law. In 2000, No-Smoking Bylaws were passed in Nepean, Kanata, Ottawa, Gloucester and Rideau Township, to take effect in May of 2001. It is crucial that these by-laws be harmonized as soon as possible throughout the new City of Ottawa to create a level playing field for businesses, prevent enforcement problems, and protect the health of each and every citizen.
The Medical Officer of Health has recommended the City implement a no smoking by-law that prevents smoking in all public places and work places with no allowances for designated smoking rooms. This would include restaurants, bars, billiard halls, bowling alleys, bingo halls and casinos. We are advised that allowing designated smoking rooms is unfair to small businesses that cannot afford them. We are also told that smoking rooms provide inadequate ventilation and do not protect workers, guests of smokers, or children who are brought inside by parents.
Second-hand smoke is the most common and harmful form of indoor air pollution, containing tar, nicotine and other cancer-causing chemicals. Nicotine can be found in the blood of non-smokers from 2 to 40 hours after exposure to second-hand smoke.
Nine public consultation sessions were arranged in January to allow time for people to address questions prior to the matter appearing before Council. These sessions were intended to inform and educate citizens and to ensure a fair process.
If you would like to receive a copy of the staff report (when available) please contact my office.
3. Intersection Safety Review -Baseline at Merivale - Update
Synectics Transportation Consultants has released the final safety audit report for the Baseline and Merivale intersection. You may recall that this project was undertaken as a result of State Farm Insurance's identification of this intersection being in the top five for claims against it in Ontario.
Staff at the City have initiated the implementation of the short term recommendations in the report where possible, and will address the remaining items in the spring when appropriate weather conditions prevail. Long term recommendations are being reviewed and assessed by operations and engineering for cost, geometric and land implications.
4. Quality of Life Indicators - New City of Ottawa Baseline Report
The first report on sustainability undertaken for the new City of Ottawa, prepared by Jacques Whitford Environment Limited is now available. It presents information on the existing conditions and quality of life in the City and is intended to provide a baseline of data for the purpose of reporting on the City's sustainability over time.
Indicators of sustainability are selected quantitative or qualitative measures that allow us to gain better insight into the community's health and quality of life. The report includes biophysical, social and economic indicators supported by relevant facts, quantifiable data, geographically-based statistics, charts, graphs and/or important observations as they pertain to the new City of Ottawa.
By periodically re-evaluating and comparing this data, the City will demonstrate ongoing commitment to maintaining sustainability and improving our quality of life, and to reporting on our progress towards this goal.
Please let me know if you would like a copy of this document.
5. OC Transpo - Ridership Climb Continues
In November 2000, ridership was up 6.5% over November 1999, with revenues 0.7% ($59,000) over budget. Year to date revenues are $1.8 million above budget.
6. New Ottawa Public Library
Eleven local library systems have merged to become the fourth largest public library system in Canada, with 33 branches and a bookmobile serving 750,000 people in a geographic area spanning 2,700 square kilometres. For now, residents can continue business as usual at their local branches with the added bonus of being able to return and borrow materials at any location. A system-wide library card, standardized hours, an integrated database and harmonized policies are all being worked on.
Barbara Clubb, former head of the old Ottawa library has been appointed City Librarian by the Ottawa Transition Board.
For more information visit the web site at: http://www.library.ottawa.on.ca.
7. Development and Proposals Underway in River Ward (Jan. 2001)
1. Central Park/Ashcroft/Clyde Avenue Holdings: 1241 Clyde Ave. (former DOC lands); current status - The plan was appealed to the OMB and a hearing date is yet to be scheduled.
2. 1132 Merivale Road - vacant lot at the corner of Merivale and Mayview Ave; current status - Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation have negotiated an Agreement of Purchase and Sale and have submitted a site plan proposal for this property. They are looking to build 13 two, three and four-bedroom townhouses and stacked townhouse rental units. This property is currently zoned R5A which permits apartment and townhouse buildings. No re-zoning is required.
Committee of Adjustment Hearings
1. Carlington Heights Ltd. is applying to convert portions of two apartment buildings at 1435 and 1455 Morisset Ave. to add five new units. This would increase number of units to 102.
1. Budget for New City
The “2000 to 2003 Business Plan & Draft Budget Estimates” document will be tabled on February 14th at Council. Initial public consultation on the new City's first Budget will include distribution of information to various facilities as well as the City's web site. The 2001 Operating Budget will be reviewed from February 15 - March 5, when Standing Committees will begin their reviews. Council review and adoption is scheduled for April 11th.
The 2001 Capital Budget will be tabled on March 14th, with consultation lasting until the end of the month, followed by Committee review throughout April and adoption by Council on April 25th.
Reports dealing with Financing Methods for Municipal Services (Area Rating, Assets and Liabilities, Phase-in) and Capital Works in Progress are also available and will be reviewed and adopted by Council.
2. OC Transpo
(a) December Ridership: December fig ures show an increase of 7.12% over the same month in 1999, bringing our an nual ridership increase to 7% (+80 mil lion riders). As far as the bottom line is concerned, revenues in December were $670,000 above those budgeted for the month, bringing year end in at $2,470,000 above budget.
(b) New Buses Purchased: Council has approved the purchase of 48 new buses for 2001, 30 low-floor articulated and 18 low-floor standards. These will re place some of the Orion articulated buses, increase the active fleet to ac commodate growing ridership, and al low us to increase low-floor service including critical Transitway and cross- town routes. Cost not to exceed $27 million, including applicable taxes. Next year's plan calls for an increase in the overall fleet size from 880 to 893, and an increase in articulated buses in the fleet from 115 to 145. (The need to proceed with replacements is signifi cant. There are still 170 buses over 18 years of age and 32 over 25 years of age in the fleet. Industry standard for useful bus life is 18 years.)
3. Council Ups Budgets
City council went on a bit of a spending spree during a special meeting of Council January 24th. The majority of council voted to increase their staff and office budgets, creating a $1.6 million increase for the new city's budget. This breaks down to $187,500 for each councillor, and $750,000 for the Mayor. I voted against the increases for two reasons: First, I believe increasing anyone's budget is premature. We are barely a month into the operation of the new city. We do not know what workloads will be, and while I have had more issues to deal with because of the amalgamation of city and regional responsibilities, it is still unclear what staff I will need to help me handle the extra work.
Secondly, council was not given adequate opportunity to consult with the community on this issue. By calling a special meeting to deal with the matter, only six hours notice was required for the agenda. Councillors did not receive the report detailing this item until the morning of the meeting. I believe this circumvented the public process.
The bottom line is I don't think this was the right time, or the right way, to deal with our budgets. I will give it more consideration - and time - before deciding how best to proceed.
4. Old Look For New Coat
Ottawa's new coat of arms was the subject of much debate at our last council meeting. Council opted to discard the Transition Board recommended design in favour of the former City of Ottawa's coat of arms, which features a lumberjack and military officer, as well as the motto “Ottawa, Advance! - En Avant.”
The general consensus was that the old coat of arms better reflects Ottawa's rich history and diverse culture than the Transition Board version of a shield and globe with the Latin phrase, “Unitas Prosperitas.”
City staff must first consult with the Chief Herald of Canada before the change is implemented.
5. Red Light Cameras Reduce Infractions
Initial statistics suggest that fewer motorists are running red lights following the installation of cameras at Ottawa intersections. November 20-December 20 figures show that, on average, a combined total of three vehicles per day were clearly caught on film at the two local intersections equipped with cameras. Owners were subsequently issued with offence notices. An independent evaluation of the results is being undertaken to determine the program's overall effectiveness of the program.
6. Biosolids Management Plan - update underway
Biosolids are generated as a byproduct of processing municipal sewage, septage and industrial discharges at the City's wastewater treatment plant. Solids removed from sewage during the physical treatment of wastewater are combined with solids removed during biological treatment, then stabilized in digesters where organic matter is destroyed and pathogens reduced. Stabilization occurs when anaerobic bacteria break down organic matter to methane gas and carbon dioxide - producing a dark, nutrient-rich material called biosolids.
Currently, half the biosolids produced are spread on agricultural land as fertilizer supplement and half are used as cover material at a landfill site. A comprehensive review of these practices is underway, which will include identification and assessment of alternative technologies and the establishment of a long-term biosolids management strategy that incorporates stakeholder input.
I attended a public open house/workshop on January 16th in the village of Manotick. Land application as fertilizer appears to be popular with the agriculture sector, while rural residents are concerned with health and safety. For more information on this subject, please contact the City's Biosolids Information line at 580-2424, ext. 23257.
7. Rideau Canal Management Plan
Parks Canada, an agency of the Department of Canadian Heritage, is currently reviewing its management plan for the Rideau Canal, and inviting public comment.
The purpose of the management plan is to provide a strategic guide for the management of this national historic site. Priorities include ensuring commemorative integrity, protecting the natural values of the Canal, creating a guide for appropriate public use of the canal, and ensuring the application of cultural resource management principles and practice.
If you wish to have a copy of the draft plan, visit their web site, http://www.parkscanada.pch.gc.ca
Send an e-mail at: RideauCanal_info@pch.gc.ca, or telephone 1-800-230-0016.
8. Goals and Dreams for Caldwell Kids
Kudos to the National Hockey League Players Association, the Ottawa Police Youth Centre and Christie Lake Camp volunteers for putting together a program to buy hockey equipment for local kids. Former players Mike Garner and Kris King joined Rob Zamuner and Jason York from the Ottawa Senators in handing out skates, sticks and other equipment to 120 local children and youth who might not otherwise have an opportunity to participate in the sport of hockey.
The City of Ottawa is a proud partner in this program and is pleased to see recreational activities expand to involve those from all income levels.
9. Carlington Police Centre
Carlington's Neighbourhood Police Officers have developed a workplan to assess options for effective community service following the closure of the Westgate Community Police Centre last fall. One option, of course, is to re-open in a new location. The Police have asked for some leeway in assessing other options that they feel might provide a better level of service to our neighbourhood. This will be carried out with guidance from a working group comprised of key stakeholders from Carlington and the surrounding area. Consultation sessions with the public will be advertised.
If you would like to participate or be kept informed, please let me know.
10. Homelessness Initiatives Fund
Last fall, the RMOC put out a call for proposals seeking projects to address homelessness using funds provided from Regional housing reserves and the provincial government. In addition, this year the federal government announced funding of $17.1 million to be spent before March 2003.
Two agencies in River Ward to receive funding include: 1132 Merivale Road, $364,000 for the construction of 13 two, three and four-bedroom townhouses and stacked townhouse rental units. (see development proposals report, page 5 ); and a Carlington Community and Health Services project identified as “A Reason to Stay” which will receive $46,000 for two years to fund one half-time salary to work with 50 individuals identified at risk of being homeless.
In another joint effort between federal and municipal governments, 15 Ottawa homeless families were moved out of emergency shelters and motel rooms and into vacant homes on CFB Rockcliffe. By mid-February, up to 35 more homes will be opened up to serve as emergency housing for more homeless families. The federal government has given permission to make good use of these surplus houses, and the City of Ottawa has furnished them with stoves, refrigerators, beds and cooking utensils where necessary. The community has donated appliances, furniture and money. Donations can be made by phoning 724-4199, ext. 23761.
11. Development and Proposals Underway in River Ward - Feb. 2001
1. Central Park/Ashcroft/Clyde Avenue Holdings: 1241 Clyde Ave. (former DOC lands); current status - The draft plan of subdivision was appealed to the OMB. A dismissal hearing for the appeal is expected in March. A zoning amendment application calls for about 150 homes - ranging in density from singles to townhouses - on this 3.8-hectare site. Planning committee will consider the zoning amendment Feb. 22nd.
2. Central Park, corner of Caldwell and Merivale: A site plan control proposal that was submitted in January is currently on hold pending submission of hydro plans.
3. Moffatt Farm (Prince of Wales Drive) as outlined in the January report, NCC officials have indicated an agreement was signed in October with DCR Phoenix for 50 acres of the property, conditional on re-zoning and an official plan amendment. Once the zoning and site plan proposals have been filed with the city, a full consultation process will begin.
4. 1132 Merivale Road: vacant lot at the corner of Merivale and Mayview Avenue; current status - Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation has applied to build 13 two, three and four-bedroom townhouses and stacked townhouse rental units. No re-zoning is required. The city's Director of Planning has final approval over the site plan. This project will receive funding from the Homelessness Initiatives Fund (please see above).
If you would like more information on these, or any other matters of municipal interest, do not hesitate to contact my office. My assistants, Bonnie Conlon and Jan Malek would be pleased to help you if I am not available. Both my old regional phone number 560-1223 and my new city phone number 580-2486 will get you directly into my office.
I look forward to your comments and direction in the coming years.