Windmill Option Signed for Hog's Back Park
Parks Canada and the NCC have given the Friendship Windmill Corporation a three year option to get approvals from federal and municipal governments that will allow them to construct a windmill at Mooney's Bay. This agreement was based on the Windmill proponent's claim that the vast majority of people attending the public meeting in November of 1999 were in support of the proposal. The fact is that most supporters who were present that evening were brought in from other areas of the City, and were already involved with the project - and many local residents with valid concerns were not even given an opportunity to speak. It does not bode well for the future of this project, on any site, when organizers feel the need to “railroad” a host community and misinterpret input from public consultation. I continue to follow this matter closely. The City has not yet received an application from the Windmill Corporation.
Community Resource Centre Opportunity
Community Resource Centres are partnerships between residents and agencies that provide support services at the local level, promoting social, economic, physical, mental and environmental health. When service re-alignment taxed municipal budgets in the late 1990's, the Region recognized CRC's as our best investment for supporting individuals and families that may need help. In Ottawa, 13 different CRC's serve geographic areas from the downtown to West Carleton, Kars and Cumberland.
Unfortunately, the communities of Hunt Club and Riverside Park do not fall into any of these catchment areas at this time, although the need for services had been identified and prioritized by the former Regional government. Capital and operating dollars were simply not available to acquire a new centre at that time. However, some funding was provided for youth programs and sessions on immigration, social assistance, consumer protection, parenting, and so on.
I am pleased to report that an opportunity now exists to build on the groundwork of the South Ottawa Gloucester Community Resource Action Team, and create a CRC for our communities. If you are interested in working with me in an advisory role for this, the final leg, of the lengthy process to bring a CRC to Hunt Club-Riverside, I would appreciate hearing from you. While experience would be an asset, perhaps the most important quality is caring about our community and its most vulnerable residents. Please give me a call at 580-2486 for more information, or to become involved.
Francophonie Games at Terry Fox - Mooney's Bay
With overlap from three popular events this summer - the Francophonie Games, the Hope Volleyball Tournament and the Lebanese Festival - the City it preparing to take measures to protect Riverside Park residents from parking, noise and other event-related issues during a three week period in July.
Together with the Riverside Park Community and Recreation Association, I have organized a public information meeting with representatives of these events and City regulatory staff. This forum will allow residents to ask questions and give direction on measures they would like taken to mitigate impacts on their community.
All are invited - May 2nd, Riverside United Church (Riverside Drive just south of Walkley intersection, at 7 p.m.
Conservation Ontario, the collective voice of the province's 38 conservation authorities, has submitted a discussion paper to the Walkerton Inquiry. This paper shows how proper watershed management could have prevented the pollution of the aquifer by managing water as a unit. Please let me know if you would like to receive a copy of this document.
While the tragedy in the Walkerton community may seem remote from our city, residents in the Village of Richmond were recently directed by the Medical Officer of Health to boil water after the failure of chlorination devices at their communal system. An investigation is underway by City staff to identify what happened and ensure that communal wells are protected in the future.
The City of Ottawa is also working with area conservation authorities to develop a well inspection program after the Eastern Ontario Water Management Study showed that proper inspection of wells during construction can help prevent pollution of aquifers.
Smart Growth Summit
The Mayor has announced a major conference in June to address the issue of managing growth in our City. As part of this process, Council also endorsed the establishment of an Advisory Group composed of key stakeholders as a means of securing input on the substantive elements of the Summit endeavour.
Councillors are asked to identify community leaders who would like to have their names submitted as advisors to this process. Please let me know if you are interested.
Update on Ottawa Economy
The Ottawa Partnership (TOP) has reported on a study that looks at tax revenues flowing to the Ontario and Federal Governments from job creation generated by our city's red-hot economy. The study has found:
44,800 new jobs were created over the 1998 - 2000 period, generating $824M in new annual tax revenue (90% of which flows to senior governments).
this growth has resulted in an immediate and unfunded $250M need for municipal road and transit infrastructure.
for the longer term, Ottawa's capital funding shortfall is estimated at $100M annually over the next 20 years (equivalent to one-time 13% property tax increase based on 2001 revenue).
If we want to sustain Ottawa's momentum in job creation, quality of life and existing tax revenue streams, a timely investment by all levels of government - specifically federal and provincial - is recommended to address this infrastructure challenge.
Rural Component in our new City
While Ottawa may be best known as a high tech or government town, it also boasts the largest agricultural economy of any major city in Canada. A new report puts agricultural revenue in our city at greater than that of Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary combined.
Ninety percent of the land within the new City boundaries is rural. There are working farms in every one of the 11 municipalities comprising the new City. In recent years, these farms have experienced double the rate of growth of those in the rest of Eastern Ontario. In 1996, for example, farm gate sales measured more than $136M, with an additional $1.94M in sales by businesses that dealt with farmers. Ottawa's farms are dominated by beef and diary operations, as well as thriving horse and specialty crop sectors. Directly and indirectly, they employ over 10,000 people.
In recognition that agriculture is an essential part of our new economy, City Council has taken an important first step by establishing a permanent standing committee on agricultural and rural issues.
Advisory Committees for New City
In March, Council decided to create 16 committees to advise Council in the following areas: Equity and Diversity; Accessibility; French Language Services; Youth Cabinet; Poverty Issues; Arts; Seniors; Parks and Recreation; Environment; LACAC; Mobility Issues; Agriculture and Rural Affairs; Cycling; Ottawa Forests; Health and Social Services; and Heritage.
Positions for each of these groups will be advertised in the weekly and daily newspapers in April, and interested residents are encouraged to apply.
Light Rail Pilot Project - Update
In August of this year (after the Francophonie Games, but before Carleton University academic year begins) we will launch the first passenger rail service in North America that is designed for one-person operation in the cab. We are also the first North American rail company using Bombardier Talent trains. In April, the first 30 candidates will be selected to begin training for the position of light rail operator.
Preliminary construction work is already underway at the Greenboro, Confederation, Carleton, Carling and Bayview stations. Because this is a pilot project, stations are very basic in design with concrete platforms and unheated shelters. They will be fully accessible, however, and the platforms will have extensions to the train doors. Full attention has been paid to security. All stations will be well lit and equipped with emergency and pay phones, security cameras, and a PA system on the platform that can be addressed from the control centre, security dispatch or train operators' radios. Contractors are aiming to complete all outstanding station work by August 5th.
Fares for light rail will be fully integrated with the OC Transpo fare structure. Passes, transfers and cash (but not tickets) will be accepted. The trains will operate on an honour fare system with roving fare inspectors checking for compliance, since rail operators will work in a separate cab. Cash fares will be paid on board via an electronically operated fare box that issues a transfer.
Land Exchange at Hunt Club Rd./Riverside Dr. - Update
A report will be considered by Corporate Services Committee on April 17th regarding the land swap between the City and adjacent property owner. The benefit of this land exchange will be to locate a park next to the Quinterra/Riverwood community instead of the Hunt Club Bridge (with commercial/office dividing the two). This land exchange is at nominal cost ($1.00) and does not represent revenue or expense to the City. Independent real estate appraisals on both parcels indicate that land values are similar.
The City of Ottawa has been collecting monies from local developers within the Uplands/Riverside area on a per unit charge to be used for the implementation of these recreation facilities.
Transitway Wins Award
The Transitway, built by the Region and now owned by the City, has won an award for Canadian Public Works Project of the Century. Our unique bus-based rapid transit system has the lowest per capita capital cost and the highest ridership of any rapid transit system in North America. It has proven that even low density urban centres like Ottawa can offer effective and affordable rapid transit.
After months of consultation and discussion, the time is nearing for a decision on the by-law to ban smoking in public places in the new City of Ottawa. This includes all restaurants, bars, bingo halls etc. I feel it is appropriate to report back to you on my reasoning and position before the vote is taken by Council. The following comments embody advice taken from residents on this important issue.
Concerns expressed can be grouped into 3 categories: dire consequences for businesses; infringes on personal freedoms; and, attempts to legislate morality. Supporters say that it promotes health for all, including the personal freedoms of non-smokers, at the expense of none.
I remain concerned about the short-term effect on businesses, although those who have voluntarily become non-smoking (McDonald's, Tim Horton's) have not seen a decline. Movie theatres also bounced back after smoking was banned and are now more popular than ever. Many new patrons will likely choose to visit smoke-free establishments and make up for business lost to Hull or elsewhere.
I do not believe that government is legislating morality in passing this by-law - it is merely clarifying a long-held basic tenet of our society and its laws: the obligation of all of us not to do damage to our neighbour, whether figuratively or literally. If all smokers had consideration for the Golden Rule, they would show concern and consideration for fellow patrons, and not smoke indoors in public places. This by-law just requires people to do what they should be doing in the first place.
With regard to personal freedoms, no one denies smokers their right to their habit, it is the non-smoker who is denied a right to air free of second-hand smoke. Smokers remain free to indulge, just not in a way that endangers those around them.
I would like to thank all those who took time to contact me on this important issue. Thanks as well to the Ottawa-Carleton Council on Smoking and Health and its member agencies who have been involved in this debate since 1978 - working to educate the public, and City Council, on the very serious health dangers from second-hand smoke. Their website has received more than 10,000 hits, and polled support for the ban at 81%. They have received over 600 e-mails, with support at 4:1.
My own consultation closely mirrors these findings, although I want to say that my position has not been reached as a result of counting hands. On the contrary, I am convinced that this is a step to protect and encourage public health, and one that the vast majority of the public is now ready and willing to take.
I intend to vote in favour of the 100% smoke free by-law on April 25th.
River Ward Development Proposals - April 2001
1. Moffatt Farm: Prince of Wales Dr./Falaise: current status - DCR Phoenix has submitted Official Plan, Zoning Amendment and Draft Plan of Subdivision applications to the City. Planner Doug Bridgewater is reviewing the material, and awaiting further studies. Once all necessary information has been received, a formal circulation and consultation process will begin. As outlined in earlier reports, the NCC has offered this to DCR Phoenix in exchange for land encompassing the Montfort Woods. Public consultation is integral to land use changes.
2. Central Park/Ashcroft/Clyde Avenue Holdings: 1241 Clyde Ave. (former DOC lands); current status - An appeal on the Draft Plan of Subdivision was dismissed at the OMB. Council approved a zoning bylaw March 28 that suggests about 160 homes - ranging in density from singles to townhouses - on this 3.8-hectare site.
3. 300 Central Park Dr. (fronting on Merivale Road) Ashcroft-Clyde Avenue Holdings has submitted a Zoning Amendment Application and Site Plan Control Proposal to the City for this site. A public Open House was held at the Ashcroft Sales Centre April 3 to review these applications. The proposal is to rezone two high density residential zones and a leisure linkage zone that surround an existing employment centre zone, to a single new employment centre zoning. The site plan proposal would encompass all of the new employment centre zone and would allow the construction of a high-rise apartment tower, an office building and three freestanding retail/restaurant uses. A three-storey parking structure would link the apartment building and office building. Both applications are expected to be considered by Planning Committee in late May.
4. 1280 Merivale Rd. (Central Park near Caldwell): A Site Plan Control Proposal has been submitted to the City suggesting 113 townhomes with private roads for this 1.8-hectare site. Staff is not prepared to support the plan as it has been proposed, and the developer has not yet submitted revisions.
5. 110 Central Park Dr. (next to park) Ashcroft/Clyde Avenue Holdings has submitted a site plan proposing two 10-storey apartment towers and one four-storey retirement building for this site. Combined, there would be a total of 224 units, with a 144-space underground parking garage and 102 above-ground parking spaces. The site is presently zoned to allow medium and high density residential uses. Comments on the proposal should be sent to City planner Patrick Legault by April 20.
6. 1057 Merivale Road (south of Shillington) - The applicant is proposing to demolish a repair garage and convenience store presently located on the site and replace the structures with a four-storey, 36-unit rooming house. The proposal includes 26 parking spaces. Zoning is in place for this development.
12. 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 rezoning is required. A departmental recommendation is expected shortly. This project will receive funding from the Homelessness Initiatives Fund.