First ARAC meeting for this Term of Council

This Thursday, February 5th is the date of the first Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee meeting of this term of Council.  It also marks my first meeting as Chair.  This meeting will be held at City Hall at 9:30am but one of the agenda items will likely mean that this will be the last ARAC meeting at City Hall.  Following the Governance Report that I discussed back in December, we will be discussing meeting locations for future meetings.  Essentially, we are looking at moving all meetings to Ben Franklin Place in Centrepointe.  This location is geographically central to all wards in the City, thus offering an accessible location for rural residents.  It also has ample free parking.  This change in location will come into effect in time for the March meeting of ARAC.

Also on the agenda for the February 5th ARAC meeting will be the approval of naming the North Gower Bowling Alley after Gerry Lines, commemorating a future Manotick park in memory of Lela Scharf, confirming appointments to the Manotick Business Improvement Area, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, the South Nation Conservation Authority and the rural panel of the Committee of Adjustment, as well as some minor reports on two municipal drains.

Manotick Secondary Plan: Heritage in the Core

In last week’s column, I focused on soliciting feedback on the vacant land use designations within Manotick’s Secondary Plan.  However, that was the only item of importance I touched on during the meeting I hosted on Thursday, January 22nd.  This week, I’d like to gauge your opinions on heritage designations within Manotick.  While we have several buildings designated, such as Dickinson House, Watson’s Mill, Miller’s Oven and about a half dozen other properties within the village core, there are just over 70 properties on the Heritage Reference List.

The City of Ottawa’s Heritage Reference List identifies potentially significant buildings that staff can refer to when development applications come forward in order to assess whether or not a building merits further investigation and possible protection or designation.  During the 1997 developing of the Manotick Secondary Plan, the 70 or so properties mentioned above were added to the list.  While the list might highlight the potential heritage value of a building, it doesn’t do a whole lot to protect a building.  Consider that if a demolition permit was sought for the old Manotick Tea Room building, or the building that houses Allure, the permit could be issued and the building torn down without the community having any real say whether it gets torn down, protected or otherwise.  That brings me to the Heritage Register.

The City of Ottawa’s Heritage Register provides a form of protection that the Reference List lacks.  If a property is listed on the Register and a demolition permit is sought, the City has 60 days to decide whether or not the building warrants designation.  Those 60 days gives the City time to do their due diligence on designation and for the community to be made aware and take part in the process.  It doesn’t mean that the property owner can’t renovate or make changes to the property; it just helps to ensure that the property won’t simply disappear in a matter of hours.  In Manotick, the house at the northwest corner of Bridge Street and Manotick Main Street was added to the Register last year.

While I don’t believe all 70+ buildings listed on the Heritage Reference List are worthy of protection, I do believe many of them should be at least given that 60-day reprieve so that we don’t lose our history through demolition.  My question to you is, would you support shifting some of the properties onto the Heritage Register so that due diligence can be given in the event that a demolition permit is sought?  Further, are there any specific properties that you would wish to see on the Heritage Register?

In addition to the Allure Spa building and the former Manotick Team Room, Reference List buildings include: 5545 Ann Street (formerly Lindsay & McCaffrey); 5544 Manotick Main Street (The Mill Tavern); 5549 Manotick Main Street (known as Sonny’s Garage); 1136 Tighe Street (My Toy Shop); 1136 Mill Street (Mill Street Florist).  For the full list, please refer to the Manotick Community Profile (Pages 17 & 18) at ottawa.ca/manotickplan. 

A common goal we all share is the protection of our historic communities.  Preserving our heritage is key to protecting our villages.  I want to thank you for the feedback so far from last week’s column and I look forward to further feedback on this topic.

Free Family Day Event at Goulbourn Museum

Family Day at Goulbourn Museum will feature an array of free activities for all ages. Families can pose for a fun keepsake in the photo booth, get creative at the craft station, play games, win prizes, and pretend to be pioneers in the Museum’s replica village shop.

If weather permits there will also be outdoor games and activities as well as roasting marshmallows around the fire pit.  The Family Day festivities take place Monday, February 16th from 10:00am to 3:00pm. All ages are welcome, admission is free and so are the hot chocolate and Tim Bits!

The Goulbourn Museum is located at 2064 Huntley Road, just south of Stittsville, at Stanley’s Corners. For more information, visit www.goulbournmuseum.ca or call 613-831-2393 or join Goulbourn Museum on Facebook for regular updates.

Summer Student Recruitment

Students interested in summer employment with the City of Ottawa are encouraged to apply for available positions through ottawa.ca. The 2015 Summer Student Employment Campaign will be open from February 2 to February 27, 2015.

This program offers students great opportunity to gain valuable work experience and insight into today’s workforce, discover a career path, showcase skills and enhance academic goals. For more information including eligibility criteria and other requirements, visit ottawa.ca.

My ServiceOttawa is improving residents’ online experience

Ottawa residents now have the ability to view, print and pay their property tax bill and water and sewer bill online at Ottawa.ca through My ServiceOttawa. By creating a My ServiceOttawa account, residents can securely access and customize online City services and information that matter most to them 24 hours a day, including:

  • Paying bills online or setting up preauthorized payments
  • Viewing account summaries, bill history and last payment information
  • Changing your mailing address
  • Viewing a personalized garbage and recycling calendar
  • Viewing the status of service requests

Once the account is created, all that is required to view, print and pay bills online is your water account number and balance on the last bill, or property tax roll number and access code. Set up an account today by going to ottawa.ca and selecting the My ServiceOttawa button at the top of the web page.

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If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491.