Stormwater Update

In March and April of this year, residents were informed of the City of Ottawa’s Water, Sewer and Stormwater Rate Structure Review. Over the course of those two months, we shared much information on the matter and you were very involved in these discussions. Once again, I would like to thank everyone who contacted me, submitted comments to the City and attended the public consultation sessions. The April 7th meeting held in North Gower was attended by approximately 250 residents. Your participation and input led to the eventual delay of the report so that your comments could be properly reviewed and taken into account. Since then, staff have been compiling those comments and working with members of Council on finalizing the report and its recommendations. This report, released on Monday of this week, will be presented to the Environment Committee on Tuesday, October 18th at City Hall.

As you may recall from my March 16th column, the history on this issue is incredibly important and stems from amalgamation. Prior to amalgamation, residents across every municipality contributed to stormwater management. Some paid for it through their general taxes, some through a specific stormwater rate and others as part of their sewer bill. The transition board overseeing the implementation of the amalgamated City of Ottawa commissioned a report which provided recommendations on how an amalgamated city could assess properties for stormwater costs. That report recommended cost collection through either the general tax rate or a specific fee charged as a line item on your tax bill. In April of 2001, the Council of the day chose neither. With no explanation given in the minutes of that meeting, Council voted unanimously to shift all stormwater costs to the water and sewer rate. This meant that some residents who used to pay for it no longer did and it also meant that residents who had always been paying for it started paying more. For fifteen years, that is the system the City has been using.
 
The consultations held in the spring laid out proposals to move away from that system and create a new rate structure where those who receive a service pay for that service. The main objective was to collect $42M across the City through a new stormwater fee, shifting those costs away from the water and sewer rate budget. Of that total, $8M is the amount of money spent on stormwater maintenance in the rural area. The feedback on that proposal was met with much opposition and plenty of input. This brings us to the proposal that is before us today.
 
Here is a chart demonstrating the proposed rate structure:

More detailed information is available at Ottawa.ca.

The proposal includes a tiered approach in assessing properties for stormwater management. The tiers are based on level of service provided. For village residents on water and sewer in communities like Manotick, Richmond and Munster, you will only notice a change in how your bill is presented. There will be a moderate reduction in your bill on an average of $2/month. For property owners on private services, the proposed fee would be $4/month. This is something that you don’t currently pay and it would be paid annually on your tax bill (agricultural and forested lands will be exempt). This is down from the $6 or $7 per month proposal that was floated in the spring. The report also proposed a phasing in of the charge over four years, meaning you would not pay the full amount until 2020. The total amount collected through this charge will be $2M which will go directly toward the $8M spent annually on rural stormwater services.
 
During the consultation meetings, we also heard concerns about other matters such as infilling of ditches. When all residents contributed toward stormwater services, many of us were permitted to fill in their ditch provided it did not impede drainage. That permission was removed in 2003. As a result of what we heard, the report will recommend a review of the Ditch Alteration Policy with a view to develop a process to, once again, permit the infilling of ditches. This policy review will come to Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee in 2017.
 
You will likely hear this a few times in the coming weeks but this proposal is not perfect. There simply is no perfect way to collect fees on the basis of fairness. Each and every property contributes differently. Short of any perfect solution, we have the proposal before us. Thanks to your involvement earlier this year, the proposal is better than it was and I appreciate the way you ensured your voice was heard.
 
This report has been released a week earlier than normal so that we all have an opportunity to look at it and digest the relevant information. Please take some time, have a look at the proposal and feel free to contact me with any questions that you may have. As mentioned, you can find more information at Ottawa.ca. I sit on the Environment Committee and will be there on the 18th of October. If you’d like to address the Committee on this issue, you may do so by emailing Christopher.Zwierzchowski@ottawa.ca.

Happy 30th Birthday Manotick Messenger!

I was only five years old when Jeff Morris started printing the Manotick Messenger so I don’t really remember Manotick without it.  It has been there for many great moments in my life and I even had the opportunity to write for the Messenger when I was in high school.  My first appearance came when I was in middle school and then editor Steve Newman did a piece on me and my beer bottle collection, which consisted of approximately 700 different bottles.

Of course, the Messenger has been there during my entire political life as well from one of my first interviews in 2006 with Bev McRae this current opportunity to write a weekly column in the paper I grew up with.  The Messenger was there for my election loss in 2006 and it will be there when I say goodbye in this very column.

At a time when community newspapers are moving away from grassroots community coverage, the Manotick Messenger remains true to its commitment to this community and we are all lucky to have it.

*****

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.

The City of Ottawa wants to know what you think of its rural pathways!

In 2011, Council approved the Rural Pathways Shared Use Policy, which included a two year monitoring program and a requirement to report back this summer (2013). Part of the monitoring program includes a survey requirement where public users can have their say about their experiences.

This survey is now live and you can give your input online now.

More about Ottawa's rural pathways

The City of Ottawa has three major rural pathways that cover 65km (combined) of converted rail lines.  The pathways provide significant year-round multi-use recreational pathway links. 

  • The Prescott-Russell Pathway extends eastward from the greenbelt near Blair Road through the Village of Navan to the Prescott-Russell Trail at Canaan Road.
  • The Osgoode Pathway extends southward from Leitrim Road to Buckles Street in Osgoode Village.
  • The Ottawa-Carleton Trailway extends westward from Bells Corners near Fitzgerald Road through Kanata and Stittsville to Ashton Station Road and beyond to the Town of Carleton Place. The Ottawa-Carleton Trailway is part of the Trans Canada Trail.

What is the shared use policy?

The Rural Pathways Shared-Use Policy was approved by the City Council in February 2011 following a comprehensive study of similar pathways in other jurisdictions. Particular attention was given to pathways with a history of shared use without injuries to trail users. 

Under the policy, all motorized vehicles are prohibited on the pathways from spring to fall to provide the best environment for the pedestrians and cyclists who are the primary trail users during this period.

Snowmobiles are allowed on the pathways in the winter but are subject to restrictions, such as speed limits and curfews.

Want to learn more?

The City is reviewing the Rural Pathways Shared-Use Policy to ensure comfortable and enjoyable experiences for all pathway users. The survey results will be collected and analyzed to help the City develop appropriate policies and programming to improve experiences and interactions on the pathways.

The survey will be available from March 1 to April 15. City teams will also be on site to interview pathway users during this time.  Visit ottawa.ca/ruralpathways and ottawa.ca/sentiersruraux to tell us what you think.

If you have questions, please contact

Alex Culley
Project Officer, Transportation Demand Management
613-580-2424 ext 13199
alex.culley@ottawa.ca

In 2011 Council approved the Rural Pathways Shared Use Policy, which included a two year monitoring program with a requirement to report back in summer 2013. The monitoring program included a requirement to do surveying “to enable classification of users as well as obtaining feedback on ‘shared use’ experiences.”

Column: Dickinson Square, Richmond Development and more

The most awkward vote an elected official ever has to make is the one that pertains to his/her own salary. Be it municipal, provincial or federal elected officials, we all have to vote at one point or another on what we should make. This issue has been in the news lately with the proposed cost of living allowance to City Councillors, effective January 1, 2013.

During a debate in North Gower in the Fall of 2010, all five Rideau-Goulbourn candidates for Councillor were asked whether or not we would support/accept a pay increase during our term, if elected.  Coming from a job that paid less than half of what I would make if elected, I said no. In my effort to keep my word to the individual who asked the question, I dissented from the proposed increased at Council on February 13.  However, along with Councillor Mark Taylor, I put forward a motion that would allow me to opt out of the pay increase and remain at the same salary for the remainder of this term.  This motion was rejected at Council on a vote of 15-6.  I am now forced to accept the pay increase that I had committed not to accept.  Councillor Taylor has committed to giving the money back to the City, Councillor Peter Clark has already donated the increase to a charity of his choice.  What I want to ask of you is: where should my increase go?  It would be wrong of me to vote against the increase and then turn around and accept it, therefore should I write a cheque for the difference back to the City of Ottawa or should I donate it to a charitable or community organization?  I want to hear your thoughts on this issue.

Dickinson Square: Request for Expressions of Interest

As many of you are aware, the City of Ottawa acquired six properties in Dickinson Square in 2008.  At that time, the Manotick Mill Quarter Community Development Corporation was formed with a mandate to protect and preserve the heritage nature of Dickinson Square but also to repay the expenditure to the City of Ottawa through sale or lease of any or all of the properties.  The properties included Watson’s Mill, Dickinson House, the Carriage Shed, the Ayres Building, the Weaver’s House as well as the properties to the north, known as the Clapp and Holloway properties.  Shortly after, Watson’s Mill was sold to Watson’s Mill Manotick Inc. and further, the Holloway property was deemed unsuitable for construction.

The Requests for Expressions of Interest is the stage in the process where we seek interest in the properties.  No resolution will be determined through this process, nor will any sale.  Its purpose is to gauge interest in any or all of the properties and to make aware to any proponent the objectives of the MMQCDC in preserving the heritage qualities of the Square.  This process will conclude in April and will involve City staff meeting with proponents, providing information concerning the properties and explains the objectives for adaptive reuse and redevelopment.  As with the rezoning, much of the direction has been derived from the Manotick Secondary Plan and the visioning sessions that were conducted by the Manotick Village Community Association and Dickinson Square Heritage Management Inc.  This direction helps staff inform the proponents as to what would fit in the Square and respect the village and its history.

This issue will be discussed at the March 7 meeting that I will be hosting to discuss a variety of Manotick issues.  That meeting will take place at the Manotick Arena at 7pm.

Richmond Development

On February 13, the City hosted a meeting to discuss a development application from Caivan Developments at 6335 & 6350 Perth Street.  This meeting was well attended by many residents from Richmond and I want to thank them for their attendance and comments during this meeting.  Many of the comments made were consistent with the comments heard during the Community Design Plan process for Richmond.  Issues such as drainage, communal well systems and sewer services were key issues raised.  These are outstanding concerns from the CDP process and as per Council direction in 2010, must be resolved prior to any development outside the current serviceable area in Richmond. Other comments included transportation issues as well as parks and recreation.  As soon as possible, we’ll make comments heard at the meeting available to the public. More information about this application can be found at www.ottawa.ca/devapps.  Please provide any comments on this proposed development to myself or to Cheryl.McWilliams@ottawa.ca.

North Gower Cooperative Nursery School

Straying from the usual dance and silent auction, this year the NGCNS will present their first ever Casino Royale & Silent Auction at the Alfred Taylor Recreation Centre in North Gower on Saturday, February 23.  The evening will include black jack, poker, martinis and some appetizers provided by AJ’s Catering as well as The Whalesbone Oyster House.  The Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be yours truly so come on out and enjoy a great night all the while supporting the Nursery School.  Doors open at 8:00pm and tickets are available at Roxy’s Salon in North Gower, Kit & Kaboodles in Manotick and from any NGCNS parent at a cost of $15.  Tickets will also be available at the door.  For more information, please visit www.ngcns.com.

And now a message from Watson’s Mill…

Watson’s Mill Presents…Manotick Files De-Classified

On Wednesday February 27 at 7:00 pm, local resident and man-about-town, Rich McDonald will open the de-classified files on Manotick’s political past. If there is one thing Rich knows, its politics. He served as a municipal councillor in the Ottawa area for 24 years and was the Chair of a number of municipal committees including: Planning, Recreation, and Transportation. He has seen it all and through first-hand accounts, he will reveal what really went on when Manotick Main Street got its first traffic light. It’s time the public hear the real stories of the village from the construction of the public library to the icy reaction of Manotick’s first Recreation centre.  Rich was there for it all and he is not afraid to tell the back stories behind them all.

Watson’s Mill Presents … is a community lecture series offered to the public as a way of educating, entertaining and creating a conversation. The village of Manotick has large number of interesting and knowledgeable residents with engaging stories to tell and on the last Wednesday of each month we have the opportunity to hear them speak. Admission is $2 for Watson Mill Members and $5 for General Public, in support of Watson’s Mill programming.  Call for more details: 613-692-6455.

*****

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.

Capital Region Resource Recovery Centre intervenor funding available to community groups

Community groups interested in receiving intervenor funding to provide technical expertise to assist with the peer review of the Environmental Assessment process for the Capital Region Resource Recovery Centre, are requested to submit proposals to the City of Ottawa.

A copy of the Application Form can be obtained by contacting Grace.O’Keefe@ottawa.ca or at (613) 580-2424 ext 13147.

The Ministry of the Environment has approved Terms of Reference for Taggart Miller to undertake an Environmental Assessment for the construction of a Resource Recovery Centre which includes both a waste diversion facility and a landfill. The location of a site for this centre will be determined through the Environmental Assessment process.

In order to assist community groups to participate in the peer review of the Environmental Assessment, Ottawa City Council has allocated a maximum of $50,000 in total for interested organizations to obtain technical expertise on the issue.

The completed application form is due by Friday, March 22, 2013 and must include the following:

  • Community group name
  • Group leader and contact information
  • Group mandate information
  • A list with 50 group member names, addresses and signatures indicating they support the application
  • A detailed list of technical experts (engineers, geologists, lawyers, surface water experts, etc.) and estimated costs the group plans to hire with the funds.

How Munster residents should handle upcoming fire hydrant testing

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that the City of Ottawa would be testing fire hydrants throughout the village of Munster. That work was rescheduled and will now occur on November 16, 2012 between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Testing ensures that hydrants are working well and verifies their flow capacity, facilitating future upgrades to the Munster-Hamlet drinking water pumping station.

Read More

What's going on at City Hall? Week of April 9

The following meetings are scheduled for the week of April 9, 2012 at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, unless otherwise noted. Please note that Monday, April 9th is Easter Monday and City programs, services and facilities are on a holiday schedule.
Read More