A look back at 2015

Happy New Year! Another year has come and gone, my fifth as your Councillor.  Before we look ahead to 2016, I’d like to dedicate this column to 2015 and provide a bit of a year in review.

Across the City of Ottawa, the major files in 2015 were LRT, the Central Library, Arts Court and, unfortunately, the ugly Uber vs. Taxi debate.  The light rail project is progressing nicely with the rail yard being constructed on Belfast Road, the tunnel works nearing substantial completion and funding being committed for Stage 2 by the Provincial and Federal Governments.  Stage 2 will see LRT extended to Orleans, Riverside South, Bayshore and Baseline Station by 2023.  The Ottawa Public Library Board is moving forward with plans for a new central library, the Arts Court construction is well underway and the City is also working on updating our taxi by-laws in an effort to bridge the gap between the old and the new.  The taxi discussion will likely see much more prominence in 2016.

One major change in 2015 involves the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee.  As Chair, I was pleased to oversee the move of our regular meetings from City Hall to Ben Franklin Place.  This move has resulted in an attendance increase with more rural residents coming out to our monthly meetings.  ARAC may also choose to host evening meetings or meetings in rural communities as we did with the December 10th meeting in Manotick to deal with the Manotick Secondary Plan.

Prominent agenda items that were dealt with last year at Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee included: the Land Evaluation & Area Review process, which is back underway; changes to how development charges were being applied in Richmond and Manotick with regard to future servicing connections; and the Wild Parsnip Management Plan. One of the more eventful ARAC days happened to be the meeting of April 2nd during which my son decided that would be an ideal time to make his arrival to the world.  Big thanks to Councillor George Darouze for filling in as Chair in my unexpected absence. Shortly after the meeting ended, my 8 pound, 15 ounce son, Hayden William Moffatt, was born.

As mentioned, the Manotick Secondary Plan review, after nearly two years of work, went before the ARAC and received unanimous approval.  Throughout 2015, we hosted meetings on the review as well as meetings dealing with local traffic issues and vacant lands within Manotick. All of this culminated in a path forward for the community that was widely supported and will rise to Council at the end of the month.

Other Manotick items in 2015 included the new dock at the boat launch next to the Library, the sale of the Ayres Building to Rural Ottawa South Support Services, and the opening of the Peppermint Spa in the Weaver’s House, another prominent Dickinson Square property.  Minto came forward with some changes that allowed them to offer a greater variety of homes in their Mahogany community.  While those changes slightly increased the density in their first phase, the overall unit count remains the same.

Roads continue to be the number one issue throughout Rideau-Goulbourn. In 2015 Long Island Road and Century Road West were resurfaced and microsurfacing was completed on Pollock Road.  In the case of Long Island Road, we managed to widen the surface slightly and provided painted lines, narrowing the travel lanes in order to provide a delineated line between where cars travel and where pedestrians can walk.  Similarly, Century Road West, between Fourth Line Road and McCordick Road, was also widening to allow for 1.5m paved shoulders making it safer for cyclists. Various other infrastructure improvements were carried out over the course of the summer including culvert replacements on Shea Road & Eagleson Road as well as bridge repairs on Mansfield Road.

The 2015 and 2016 Budgets were both approved in the same calendar year.  For Rideau-Goulbourn, much of the funding commitments involved infrastructure projects, such as the ones mentioned above and a number of road projects for 2016 as well.  Also included in these budgets were upgrades to the Richmond and Manotick Arenas.  The Richmond Arena, in what seemed to be the project that would never end, received a new roof while the Manotick Arena is slated for an expansion that will add new change rooms and more community space on the second level.  The latter project was boosted by an $880,000 grant from the Federal Government’s Canada 150th infrastructure program, thanks to our MP, Pierre Poilievre. The 2016 Budget includes upgrades to the Alfred Taylor Recreation Facility, in North Gower, in the form of a play structure replacement and a canteen replacement.

Speaking of North Gower, there were two commemorative namings that came forward last year.  The North Gower Bowling Alley was renamed in honour of former North Gower Recreation Association President, Gerry Lines.  Mr. Lines was instrumental in the development of recreation facilities in the village.  Toward the end of the year, a second commemorative naming was brought forward by the volunteer firefighters in North Gower. This application calls for the naming of the Fire Hall in honour of 50-year volunteer, Allen Sadler.  This naming will move forward this year as it is still in the public consultation period.

Other 2015 issues in the Goulbourn area that dominated my weekly column included the ongoing preliminary works on the Richmond Forcemain upgrade and modification project, potential growth in the village of Munster, upgrades to the hydro network in the Ashton/Munster area to improve service issues, and the out-of-the-blue change to Canada Post mail delivery in Munster.  Development was relatively stagnant in 2015 but a new development was approved in south Stittsville and the Caivan development in Richmond is still progressing. The 1100 home Mattamy application in Richmond is still pending approval as I continue to work with Mattamy on that application.

As usual, there were also many great events throughout Rideau-Goulbourn that wouldn’t be possible without the help of so many amazing community organizations and dedicated volunteers.  Events such as Manotick Shiverfest, Canada Day in the Gower, Christmas in the Gower, the 50th Annual Kars Dog Show, Dickinson Days, Taste of Manotick, the Manotick Soap Box Derby, the Richmond Fair, the Hollerado/Manotick Arena expansion fundraising concerts as well as all of the winter carnivals and summer events make Rideau-Goulbourn a fantastic place to live. In addition to these many local events in the ward, Ottawa played host to the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and was also named as host of the 2017 Roar of the Rings and the 2017 Juno Awards.  Look for more exciting 2017 events to be announced this year.

In closing, I just want to send everyone best wishes for 2016 and I look forward to another exciting year of representing our communities on Council.  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.