Column: ARAC and the Taxi By-Law Review

By the time you are reading this, the consultation meeting on the Water, Wastewater and Storm Water Rate Structure Review will have taken place in North Gower.  If you were unable to attend please note that there is a meeting on Thursday, April 7th at the Nepean Sportsplex at 7:00pm.  To date, the meetings have been quite well attended.  Following these meetings, please continue to contact me with your questions and opinions.  Also, stay tuned to this column for updates as the issue progresses and recommendations are developed before it gets to Environment Committee and Council.

April 15th ARAC Meeting

Due to a Special Meeting of the Community and Protective Services Committee on April 7th, the regular meeting of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee has been moved to Friday, April 15th.  The time and location are the same as usual; 10:00am at Ben Franklin Place.  Items on the agenda include the following:

  • Surplus Farm Severance Zoning Amendments for 4740 John Shaw Road, 5883 McCordick Road, 3244 Shea Road, 6096 Third Line Road
  • Flood Plain Mapping Updates: Carp River, Cardinal Creek, John Boyce MD, Osgoode Garden/Cedar Acres MD
  • Appointment of an Engineer for the Faulkner Municipal Drain
  • Court of Revision for O’Keefe Municipal Drain
  • Omnibus Amendments to the Zoning By-Law

With the Omnibus Zoning By-Law is something that is of great interest to rural farmers.  One of the amendments expands the zones in which farmers’ markets and market stands can set up in.  Prior to this amendment, stands were only permitted in commercial zones.  This issue came to a head last year when a local farm stand was refused permission to operate in a church parking lot.  This amendment fixes that and expands the use of farmers’ market to Major Institutional Zones, Community Leisure Facility Zones and Rural Commercial Zones.  Further, the specific use pertaining to a market stand is expanded to number of new areas as well including the parking lot of churches, municipal centres, arena and other recreation facilities.

An additional item in the Omnibus Zoning By-Law is floodplain mapping updates to the Richmond Marketplace property and the Richmond Nursery property.  Following further review, it was determined that the floodplain mapping was inaccurate and this amendment will reflect that.  Subsequently, the zoning will be updated to reflect the current mapping.

Due to the rescheduling of the April 7th ARAC meeting, a Special Meeting of ARAC has been scheduled for April 12th at City Hall at 9:00am to deal with one time, a surplus farm severance.  This item needs to get through Council on the 13th, therefore a special meeting is being held to ensure its timely approval.

Taxi By-Law Review

At the request of Council, city staff undertook a review of the Taxi By-Law in response to the changing marketplace as it related to the taxi industry and the developing ridesharing industry.  The results of that review will come before the aforementioned Special Meeting of the Community and Protective Services Committee on Thursday, April 7th.

The report recommends regulating Private Transportation Companies, such as Uber and Lyft, while easing up on the regulations regarding the taxi industry.  Among those recommendations are: an elimination of the credit card processing fee; reducing the taxi driver license fee to $96; waiving the accessible taxi driver license fee; eliminating taxicab vehicle standards relating to interior and trunk size, seating capacity and window tinting; and increasing the vehicle age to 10 years.  Similarly, ride sharing companies will also have a 10 year vehicle age limit and an annual license fee.  Both industries will need to provide a mandatory Police Vulnerable Sector Records Check, Statement of Driving Record and a Ministry of Transportation safety standards certificate for their vehicle(s).

There are other aspects of the recommendation that speak to the different nature of taxis vs. ride sharing companies and those are addressed in the report as well.  More information on this is available at Ottawa.ca.

Zumba MS Fundraiser

The 5th Annual Multiple Sclerosis Zumba Fundraiser on take place this Friday, April 8th at the Kars RA from 7:30pm to 8:30pm. Tickets are $10 and all proceeds go to the MS Society. Donations of $20 or more will receive tax receipts. The evening will also feature door prizes and a live auction.

Community Dance in Manotick

Interested in a fun, interactive session of dance, laughter & music? Come out on Friday, April 22nd from 7:00pm to 9:30pm at the Manotick United Church and join the Ever Hopeful Stringband and caller Pippa Hall for a family-friendly, alcohol-free evening of community dancing, including circles, squares and contras. Each dance is taught and the whole family is invited. The evening begins with a 30-minute teaching session especially for families and beginners, followed by dances that build on skills as the evening progresses. Admission is $10 and kids under the age 12 are free. For more information, please call 613-692-4576 or visit the Manotick Directory website.  The group behind this event would like to thank the City of Ottawa for its support.

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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.