Column: Budget 2011 and the Rideau-Goulbourn Ward

Budget 2011 was tabled Wednesday, January 19 and was received well by the majority of council.  As promised, the Mayor delivered on his campaign promise to keep taxes below 2.5%.  The proposed increase is 2.45%, with the rural increase set at 2.4%.  This increase is the lowest in recent memory.  The Draft Budget is available for viewing on the City of Ottawa's Budget 2011 page.  In early February, the appropriate Standing Committees will table their respective budgets, followed by public consultations in late February.  I will be attending two of these consultations:

  • Tuesday, February 22 at the Nepean Sportsplex, Halls A & B, and

  • Thursday, February 24 at the Osgoode Arena.  Both meetings run from 7-9pm.

There are some elements of the budget that I would like to focus on that will have an impact on the residents of Rideau-Goulbourn.  Recreation facilities are important to all residents and many people want greater access.  This budget will provide more funding for upgrades to the Goulbourn Recreation Complex, allowing them to add an additional ice surface.  Just north of Manotick, near Stonebridge and Half Moon Bay, the City will begin construction of the Barrhaven Sportsplex.  Although not directly inside the boundaries of Rideau-Goulbourn, this facility will make it much easier for our residents to access recreational facilities.  Budget 2011 also introduces a four-year freeze on all recreation fees!

One of the things that always comes up in and around Manotick is traffic.  I have always believed that extending Hunt Club in both directions is a realistic solution to some of those traffic issues.  This budget will help complete the Hunt Club extension from Hawthorne Road to the 417.  This is one big piece of the puzzle and I intend to work with Councillor Hubley on the west extension in order to connect Hunt Club and Terry Fox Drive south of Kanata.

For many transit users in Richmond, Munster, and Manotick, you have seen fare increases of 7.5% for the past three years.  The fare increase will be capped at 2.5% for 2011.  The newly formed Transit Commission will also be looking to create more efficient routes and eliminate milk runs that tend to reduce ridership.  I am currently working with the Richmond/Munster transit committee to find similar solutions on Route 283.  The idea is to make the route less cumbersome, reduce the amount of time that it spends winding through the streets and potentially increase ridership through a more efficient service.  Along with this transit committee, I will be coming to the residents of Richmond and Munster in the near future with these potential improvements.

In the coming weeks, I will use this column to highlight some other budget components.  If you have any suggestions or potential cost-saving strategies, I am more than willing to listen to your suggestions.  This is your budget and you should have a say.  Send your suggestions to

Waste Review

As I continue my own family trial of the potential waste collection changes, and having spoken to many residents on this same issue, I have found many differing opinions.  I’d like to state right now that I have no support for reduced recycling pick-up as it is completely counter-productive to waste diversion.  In order to better explain some of the potential changes and give the residents of Rideau-Goulbourn an opportunity to share their concerns, I will be hosting three public meetings.  I hope to have staff from Solid Waste at each meeting.  The meetings are as follows:

Wednesday, February 9 at 7pm – Richmond Arena

Thursday, February 10 at 7pm – Alfred Taylor Rec Centre (North Gower)

Monday, February 14 at 7pm – Former Goulbourn Town Hall

The dates and locations will be available online.  I will, of course, be at each one.  I hope that you can attend.

Watson’s Mill Time Capsule

This past Sunday, Waston’s Mill hosted a great meeting that wrapped up their year-long celebration honouring their 150th Anniversary.  It was a great event put on by Isabelle Geoffrion, Cam Trueman, and Watson’s Mill Management Inc. Board President, Bill Schaubs.  It was an honour to be a part of the time capsule which is to be buried shortly and will be unearthed in 2060, Watson Mill’s 200th Anniversary.  I will be 79 then and have already scheduled into my Blackberry.  Another honour was bestowed upon our very own living legend, Larry Ellis, for his continued volunteer work and contributions to all that is Manotick.  We also viewed a DVD highlighting the anniversary and the many events that took place at Watson’s Mill in 2010.  The DVD can be purchased by contacting Isabelle at 613-692-6455.

Manotick Shiverfest

This weekend, I have the pleasure of attending Shiverfest.  This is an event that all residents of Rideau-Goulbourn should take part in.  In this area, we are blessed with many community groups that organize great events such as the upcoming Winter Carnivals in Munster and North Gower.  This is one of those events.  From Friday night’s free family skate at the Manotick Area and game of shinny on the outdoor rink at Centennial Park to the Kiwanis pancake breakfast on Saturday morning, followed by sleigh rides and tobogganing, Shiverfest has something for everyone and is a great way to spend a fun weekend with the family.  I look forward to it and I hope to see you there!  Complete details and scheduling are listed on the Manotick Village and Community Association's Web site.

If you have any questions or concerns about the budget or the waste review, feel free to contact me at or by phone at 613-580-2491.  I also wanted to add that over the past few weeks, I have truly enjoyed meeting community groups, talking to residents and getting to know some of the people I hadn’t met before.  If at any point, you want to chat or have me come visit a group or association, I welcome the invite and look forward to a great working relationship with all of you.