Have your say about Coach Houses

The City of Ottawa is looking to get the public's input on coach houses. Before I give you the details of this process, I'd like to provide some thoughts that I have on the matter. While I want to encourage you to submit comments, I want to ensure that you are aware of an aspect of the proposed recommendations that I do not support. Neatly tucked into page 11 of the report is the following sentence: A Coach House dwelling unit is not permitted on a lot serviced by a private well and septic system. I take exception to that as I feel the ideal location for this type of development is in the rural area on properties zoned AG.

As you cannot get a severance in the AG zone, the ability to build a coach house would be a welcome change. Consider that in-law suites are permitted and the only real difference between an in-law suite and a coach house is that a coach house is detached. My feeling is that, essentially, we should be able to apply to the same conditions to coach houses as we do to in-law suites. Since this is a draft report, there is time to make changes and I encourage you to submit comments if you have any. As Chair of Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee, I have committed to work with staff to ensure that we find a way to permit coach house in all areas of the city, not just urban zones.

City of Ottawa is asking for residents to give input on new Zoning By-Law for coach houses

City seeks input on proposal recommending Coach Houses

The City will change Ottawa’s Official Plan and Zoning By-Law to permit the development of coach houses in neighbourhoods. Residents have until Monday, February 29th to pose questions and leave comments on a new proposal outlining how these buildings will be introduced into residential communities.

Coach houses are self-contained living units that are proposed to be on the same grounds as a detached or semi-detached home. They offer a gentle form of intensification, introducing more dwellings into established neighbourhoods while maintaining the character of those neighbourhoods. While the change is in response to provincial requirements set out in the Planning Act, coach houses are in line with Ottawa’s stated goal of providing a diverse supply of housing.

The draft document outlining the proposed guiding principles and draft recommendations is available for review and comment at ottawa.ca/coachhouses.

North Gower Country Kickup

The Annual North Gower Cooperative Nursery School fundraiser is back. Come out to the Alfred Taylor Recreation Centre on Saturday, February 20th and take in one of our great local talents, Brea Lawrenson. If you aren’t familiar with Brea Lawrenson, please visit brealawrenson.com or, better yet, just come out and hear her live.  We have had the pleasure of having her perform at our Rural Expo before and she is incredible.

The evening will also include a fantastic silent auction with over 100 items donated by local businesses. Tickets for the event are $30 and are available at countrykickup.com.  Doors open at 8:00pm. I will be taking on MC duties again this year and I hope to see you there!

Free Exercise Program for Adults 65+

Better Strength, Better Balance! is a fall prevention exercise and education program for people aged 65+. It is funded by Champlain Local Health Integration Network through Pinecrest-Queensway Community Health Centre, and is a collaborative effort between Ottawa Public Health and Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services.

This is a beginner level program for those wishing to improve their strength and balance. Strong muscles, strong bones and better balance will make you more mobile and less likely to fall.

You are strong enough to participate safely if you can do ALL of the following:

  • stand on one foot for two seconds
  • stand for 20 minutes (e.g., in a grocery line)
  • walk one block (100 metres or 325 feet) without becoming out of breath and needing to sit down
  • walk up 10 stairs

Better Strength, Better Balance! classes are unsuitable for people who are very active. Participants attend class twice a week for 12 weeks. Classes are progressive, become increasingly difficult over the 12 weeks. Participants practice exercises at home and review the provided health information related to preventing falls. A variety of simple equipment is used, including bean bags, cones, stretch bands, and balls.

The program is offered in the winter, spring and fall:

  • April 4 to June 24, 2016
  • September 19 to December 9, 2016

First time participants can register for the next available session at any time.

Returning participants can register after these dates:

  • Spring 2016 registration begins February 29, 2016
  • Fall 2016 registration begins August 15, 2016

To register or for more information please call Ottawa Public Health at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580-9656) or visit www.ottawa.ca/seniors for the schedule.

Munster Winter Carnival

The 2016 edition of the Munster Winter Carnival is on this weekend! Come out to the Munster Community Centre on Friday, February 19th for a bonfire and skating on the outdoor rink. Opening ceremonies will take place at 7:00pm followed by Movie Night featuring the smash hit Minions. The fun continues on Saturday beginning with a pancake breakfast at the Munster United Church at 8:30am followed by games and activities throughout at the day at the Community Centre and at the Elementary School.  More details are available at munsteronline.ca.

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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.