Looking back at 2016

With 2017 and Canada’s 150th year-long birthday celebration merely days away, it’s time to look back at 2016 for a year in review. The past twelve months were busy with many issues directly impacting rural Ottawa. It was also a year for progress on several files and increased planning on many more.

2016 was a year of progress. More of Rideau-Goulbourn’s roads saw improvements with varying degrees of upgrades conducted on Bridge Street, Royal York Street, Ottawa Street, Moodie Drive, Mackey Road and Flewellyn Road. The village of Kars finally saw the end of construction on Rideau Valley Drive South and the end result was a main street that actually feels like a village main street. We reached a conclusion in our efforts to protect and promote Dickinson Square as a heritage district with the retention of the Carriage Shed and Dickinson House in City ownership. We also began construction on the new Remembrance Park on Dickinson Street, a beautiful addition to the Square. In North Gower, the Alfred Taylor Recreation Centre was the recipient of a new canteen building and new play equipment.

2016 was a year of controversy. City Council had many issues before it that were polarizing. In April, we brought forward a Vehicle-For-Hire By-Law creating a new policy in which ridesharing companies like Uber could legally operate within the City of Ottawa. At the same time, we loosened some of the regulations on the taxi industry recognizing the fact that, over the years, the industry had become over-regulated. In October, Council instituted a new Water, Sewer and Stormwater Rate Structure creating a system where the water and sewer rate budget can be managed in a more predictable manner with the aim of avoiding large rate hikes in the future. The new structure also balanced cost recovery of stormwater services across the City imposing a new fee on approximately 45,000 properties and lowering the fee on others. Earlier this month, Council approved an update to the Land Evaluation & Area Review which saw several changes to land designations, altering some from General Rural to Agricultural Resource Area and vice versa. Last, but not least this year, the City’s Public Library Board proposed a site for the future home of the Central Library. The new home is proposed to be at 557 Wellington Street, approximately 1.2 km west of the existing home at 120 Metcalfe.

2016 was also a year for community collaboration. The Remembrance Park became a reality thanks to the hard work of local residents and various community organizations, including the Manotick Legion. The preservation of Dickinson Square wouldn’t have been possible without Dickinson Square Heritage Management Inc., a group that represents over a dozen local organizations. The Manotick Arena Expansion is inching closer to construction thanks to groups like the Manotick Culture, Parks & Recreation Association. Community groups in Richmond have all come together to start planning the village’s bicentennial celebrations in 2018. Community organizations are what make our communities ever greater. My job would be impossible without them for which I am grateful. Whether it’s Burritt’s Rapids, Ashton, Fallowfield Village or any community in between, the countless local organizations work in partnership with my office, each other and the City to the benefit of all of us and that was never more obvious to me than in these past twelve months.

I hope that everyone had a pleasant Christmas and I wish you all a Happy New Year. See you in 2017!

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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.

2017 Draft Budget and Future Projects in Rideau-Goulbourn

The 2017 Draft Budget was tabled on November 9, 2016. As part of the pre-budget consultation process, Councillors conducted information sessions from mid-September to mid-October, providing information on the municipal budget process to residents and getting views and ideas on the priorities for this draft budget. With the 2017 Draft Budget tabled, there are still opportunities for residents to offer comments and input before the final Budget goes to Council for consideration on Wednesday, December 14th.  Information on the 2017 Budget is available at Ottawa.ca/budget2017 and you can submit comments via email at budget@ottawa.ca.

The draft budget includes a predictable 2% increase in keeping with the previous three budgets. It takes into account recent changes in the bureaucracy at City Hall that created an annual operating savings of approximately $18M. It features more money for roads, snow maintenance and parks. It also features the introduction of a low income transit pass.

In Rideau-Goulbourn, residents can expect to see a continuation of our commitment to infrastructure renewal with the resurfacing of William McEwen Drive, Shea Road and Bleeks Road. Outside of the ward, Prince of Wales Drive will also be resurfaced between Strandherd Drive and Hunt Club Road. The hard surfacing of Mackey Road will be completed this summer and pavement preservation treatment projects will take place along McCordick Road (South of Mackey Road), Third Line Road and Harnett Road. The City will also be microsurfacing Donnelly Drive between Merlyn Wilson and the City of Ottawa boundary, just west of Burritt’s Rapids. Residents on the north end of Long Island in Manotick will see the renewal of the McLean Bridge near the entrance to David Bartlett Park.

When it comes to sidewalks and cycling projects, the Federal Government has provided some funding that will go toward improving cycling in the rural area in the form of paved shoulders. These projects are not yet determined. There is also federal money that will be spent on exploring opportunities to improve cycling along Bridge Street. The primary focus will be the two bridges. With bridge reconstruction still several years away, planning now will feed into that work down the road. The 2017 Budget also identifies upgrades to the Beaverwood sidewalk, between Manotick Main Street and Ann Street. This will bring the sidewalk up to current standards.

There are several Parks & Recreation projects around the ward as well including two previously funded projects; the Manotick Arena expansion and the Remembrance Park in Dickinson Square. There is also design and construction on two parks in Richmond; King’s Grant Park and a new park on Nixon Farm Drive which will be named Sarah McCarthy Park. These two were also partially funded and announced in the 2016 Budget. In addition to the expansion at the Manotick Arena, there will also be lifecycle works completed at the same time in the form of roof replacement, septic system decommissioning, fire alarm system replacement and new flooring. Design work will also begin on replacing play structure equipment in Blue Rock Park in Kars and Richmond Lions Park.

As mentioned earlier, more information on the budget is available at www.ottawa.ca/budget2017. Please don’t hesitate to contact me should you have any questions.

Snow Go Program

Need help clearing your driveway and/or walkway during the winter? The Snow Go Program can help you. This program is divided into two parts to match your individual needs to the appropriate service. The two programs are as follows:

The Snow Go Program provides a matching service for seniors and people with disabilities looking to hire an individual or contractor to clear snow from private driveways and walkways. Residents who participate in this program are responsible for paying the individual or contractor removing the snow.

The Snow Go Assist Program provides financial assistance to eligible low-income seniors or persons with disabilities looking to hire an individual or contractor to clear snow from private driveways and walkways.  Approved participants may be reimbursed for 50% of the cost of snow clearing per event, up to a seasonal maximum of $250. Rural applicants, who pay excessively high costs for snow removal, as defined by staff, are eligible up to 50% of the cost of snow clearing for their private driveways and walkways per event, up to a maximum of $450 per term.

Check ottawa.ca/snowgo to find the agency that services your neighbourhood.

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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.

Plasco and Roads

With summer somewhat drawing to a close, I just want to remind you of a couple items.  On September 12th, there will be a public meeting at the Richmond Arena, beginning at 6:30pm.  This meeting will be an opportunity for Mattamy Homes to present their plans for either side of Ottawa Street in the Western Development Lands. Their current proposal calls for 1100 units, which will include singles and towns.  Please mark your calendars and come out to ask questions and provide comments on this development proposal.

A week later, it's the Richmond Fair! Hoping for some great weather once again and I hope to see many familiar faces over the course of the weekend. As usual, I will be at my booth for the majority of the weekend.  I believe I spent nearly thirty hours at last year's Fair so there will be plenty of opportunity to chat and provide comments on local issues in and around Richmond.  Looking forward to another great Fair!

August is quickly becoming a big month for events in Manotick.  A Taste of Manotick was, once again, an overwhelming success and it was followed up by this past weekend’s Soap Box Derby/Picnic in the Park event.  The 3rd Annual Soap Box Derby was bigger and better than the previous events and has become a tremendous family event.  The smiles on the kids’ faces were bright and ever apparent and two big kids, myself and Pierre Poilievre, had a lot fun in our 2012 rematch.  The good news is that Pierre did not crash into the Legion this year while the bad news is that he did not win.  All of this bodes well for the 2014 Soap Box Derby as Pierre and I are now tied 1-1.  Of course, I’m fairly certain that only Pierre and I actually care about who wins.

Congratulations to the Manotick Village & Community Association for a successful Picnic in the Park and Soap Box Derby event.  Thank you to Allan Haan, Klaus Beltzner and the entire MVCA Board for bringing such a great event to the streets of Manotick.  It is these types of events that create a community.

Plasco

Last week at Environment Committee, Plasco’s CEO Rod Bryden asked for an extension to his funding deadline to December 31, 2014.  As approved in December 2011, this project is scheduled to be fully operational by March 31, 2016.  The extension request is only on the funding deadline and does not affect the operational deadline.  For this reason, staff supported the extension as it creates no financial impact to the City of Ottawa.

At this committee meeting, I put forward a motion stating that should Plasco not achieve its funding targets that City of Ottawa staff immediately commence a Request for Expressions of Interest to find alternative technology that will allow for the lengthening of the life of the Trail Road Landfill.  If Plasco works, the lifespan moves beyond 2070 but if it doesn’t, we are back to 2035.  There are other technologies that should be explored and while similar technology is not much further advanced than Plasco is today, we shouldn’t waste any more time should Plasco fail.  This motion was approved by Committee and goes to Council on August 28th.

Manotick Main Street/Bridge Street Intersection

Many people are now aware of the recent changes made at the intersection of Manotick Main Street and Bridge Street.  These changes are the result of nearly two years of correspondence and public input from residents of Manotick.  I received several requests to implement a “Right Turn Only” lane at this intersection in the northbound lanes of Main Street.  I looked into it at that time and it was determined that the straight through lane would be overloaded unless left turns were restricted.

On March 7th of this year, I hosted a public meeting at the Manotick Arena with 117 residents in attendance.  At that meeting, I presented the proposed changes for input before moving forward.  My presentation included the “Right Turn Only” lane and the “No Left Turn” onto Maple Avenue.  The left turn restriction was implemented as traffic counts show only 10 cars per peak hour make that turn and the restriction allows for free flowing movements in the straight through lane and the right turn lane. This proposal received near unanimous support with only one resident being opposed at the meeting.

As you now know, this was implemented almost entirely consistent with the proposal I put forward in March.  The one difference is the “No Right on Red”.  I have asked staff to review this element and report back to me.  The way I see it is that we have always gone through this intersection without the red light restriction and the accident rate is relatively low.  I’ll provide an update on this as soon as possible.

Road safety a top priority as children return to school

As students head back to school this fall, the City of Ottawa, the Ottawa Police Service, and Ottawa Public Health remind all road users to be extra attentive to the rules of the road and speed limits, especially in construction zones, school zones and around school buses.

Ottawa Police Service will also be focusing on back to school road safety education and enforcement in the coming weeks.  Safer roads also mean more active and healthy children who feel safe getting back and forth from school by walking or cycling.

This back-to-school initiative is part of the Safer Roads Ottawa Program, a partnership between Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Public Health, and the Public Works Department. This initiative has been put in place to prevent road deaths and serious injuries in the City of Ottawa, through culture change, community engagement, and development of a sustainable safe transportation environment.

The City will continue to see major construction and renewal in the fall months and will provide mobility options to residents. For more information about how the construction will affect residents, visit ottawa.ca

ROSSS Walk of Care

Join Rural Ottawa South Support Services on Saturday, September 7th for their Annual Walk of Care fundraising event.  This event will include a 5km walk along the Osgoode Multi-Use Pathway from 9:00am to 1:00pm, a BBQ, prizes and entertainment.  Come out and support your parents, grandparents, seniors and adults with physical disabilities as ROSSS raises funds to provide programs and services to help these individuals remain in their homes, living independently.  For more information, please visit rosss.ca or call 613-692-4697.

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

Bridge Street delays this weekend and...Christmas?

This weekend, November 17 & 18, expect delays on Bridge Street as there will be lane reductions between Dickinson Street and Manotick Main Street. The construction will involve hooking up the Orchard View on the Rideau building to City services which will require a road cut. This work is taking place on a weekend so as to not disrupt weekday traffic flow. There will be an Ottawa Police officer directing traffic at Bridge & Main during the peak traffic hours on Saturday and Sunday. I appreciate your patience and understanding throughout the duration of construction this weekend.

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