Municipal Drains Explained

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There has been a lot of discussion surrounding municipal drains lately due to the proposed maintenance and upgrades to the Cranberry Creek Municipal Drain. With municipal drains being discussed, often the subject of the stormwater fee comes up as well. I would just like to take a moment and explain why the two are not entirely related.

Municipal Drains are established under the Provincial Drainage Act. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs has oversight for this piece of legislation. Through their website, they offer the following definition:

“A municipal drain is a system to move water. It is created pursuant to a bylaw passed by the local municipality. The municipality is responsible for the construction of the drainage system and future maintenance and repair. Costs may be recovered from the property owners in the watershed of the drain.

Municipal drains are identified by municipal bylaw that adopts an engineer's report. These reports contain plans, profiles and specifications defining the location, size and depth of the drain, and how costs are shared among property owners.

Most municipal drains are either ditches or closed systems, such as pipes or tiles buried in the ground. They can also include structures such as dykes or berms, pumping stations, buffer strips, grassed waterways, storm water detention ponds, culverts and bridges. Some creeks and small rivers are now considered to be municipal drains. Municipal drains are primarily located in rural agricultural areas.”

The Cranberry Creek Municipal Drain was established in 1895. The Drainage Act sets out the process for establishing a municipal drain. It is done so through a petition by those seeking improved drainage. If you are a regular reader of this column, you will have read about the Engineer’s Report that pertains to this specific drain calling for a replacement of the former pump and dyke system. Since a municipal drain is a private system established by property owners, the costs of the work on Cranberry Creek gets attributed back to the property owners within the watershed of the drain. It is important to note that, since the Cranberry Creek is already an established drain, a petition is not required for maintenance, as per Section 78 of the Act.

Some have asked whether property owners who pay for a municipal drain also pay the stormwater fee. They do. Essentially, it would be no different if you lived in a private community on private roads. Your property taxes would still pay for roads. The stormwater fee pays for roadside ditches, cross culverts and other City-owned drainage infrastructure. Whether a municipal drain was present or not, the need for stormwater infrastructure still exists. A municipal drain is not City-owned. It is established at the request of property owners, not the municipality, therefore the costs are not assessed to the taxpayer at large.

Some have referred to this as “double dipping.” It is not. The municipality provides a drainage network required for draining roads. Municipal drains are drainage ditches that exist above and beyond roadside ditches. While there are many throughout the City, they are not everywhere and, thus, not every resident pays into one. In some cases, though, municipal drains overlap with roadside ditches. That is not the norm, however.

If you happen to have any questions relating to municipal drains, please do not hesitate to contact me. On the City’s geoOttawa mapping tool, you can also locate all municipal drains within the City of Ottawa boundaries. It could be helpful for residents wishing to know if a municipal drain exists in their area.

Burn Permits Now Online!

Now that the nice weather is here, make sure you obtain a burning permit before you start to burn. Beginning this year, Open Air Fire Permits can be obtained online. Simply go to https://myservice.ottawa.ca/profile/account/login.

If you already have a myservice account, log in. If you do not have an account, follow the easy steps to create one. Online payment options include: MasterCard, Visa, American Express, Interac Online, MasterCard Debit and Visa Debit.

For the more traditionally minded, fire permits may still be acquired at any City of Ottawa Client Service Centre.

The Big Give

June 2nd is the date of the 2018 Big Give. Every year, churches across the country use this day to bless their neighbourhoods through a unified day of giving.  It is not a garage sale. They are not raising money. Everything is free. It is their way of helping those in need.

This year, Manotick’s newest church, the Manotick Community Church, will be taking part for the third time.  On the Saturday of Dickinson Days, drop by 5492 South River Drive, former Manotick Medical Centre, between 8:00am and 1:00pm.  They will also have free muffins and coffee in the morning and free hot dogs at lunch.  Most importantly, they will have a parking lot FULL of free stuff to choose from.

The MCC is also looking for donations and volunteers for this big day.  Anything from books to appliances will be accepted. Please contact rosemary@celtic.ca should you wish to help.

The Cornerstone Wesleyan Church in North Gower is also participating at their home, 6556 Prince of Wales Drive.

2018 Food Aid Day and Mayor’s Rural Expo

This annual tradition and significant fundraiser takes place this year on Friday, June 1st between 10:00am and 2:00pm at Ottawa City Hall. The event is an opportunity for urban residents to get a taste of rural Ottawa and while they are there, partake in a fundraiser BBQ cooked by THE WORKS.

The cost of the BBQ lunch is $10 and includes a burger, side and drink (debit, credit or cash will be accepted). Music will be provided by New Country 94. As always, the event will also feature the celebrity cow milking competition.

The rural tradeshow, kicking off at 10:00am, features farmers, businesses and organizations promoting unique goods and services. Booths will be located at Marion Dewar Plaza and inside City Hall at Jean Pigott Place.

Last year the event raised $106,000 in support of Food Aid; a program run by the Ottawa Food Bank to purchase and process beef from local farmers. Beef adds nutritious protein to the diets of families requiring this support while boosting the domestic market for cattle.

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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. For information on Rideau-Goulbourn issues, please visit RideauGoulbourn.ca.