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.

ARAC, Green Bin Contract Update & Cranberry Creek Municipal Drain Court of Revision

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From time to time, the publish date of the Messenger does not always align well with our Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee meeting schedule. As a result, I am not always able to provide advance notice of the meeting agenda through this forum. Our Thursday, April 5th meeting at Ben Franklin Place falls into that category. Agenda items for this meeting include:

  • Official Plan and Zoning By-Law Amendment for 6341 Perth Street
  • Official Plan and Zoning By-Law Amendment for 5471, 5575, 5613 Boundary Road
  •  Site Alteration By-Law

The Boundary Road item is to approve the zoning for a Provincially approved waste management site. This site would include facilities for recovery and recycling of waste as well as a landfill area. The applicant, Taggart/Miller Group, received Provincial approval for the facility in June 2017 from then Environment Minister Glenn Murray. Following Provincial approval, the applicant then must seek the proper zoning approvals from the host municipality.

The item for 6341 Perth Street is a recommendation to partially approve an Official Plan Amendment and Zoning By-Law Amendment that would allow the previously stalled Hyde Park Development, now known as Samara Square, to move forward. The original plan called for the entire property to be served by a private water system. Under the current proposal, the property would be split into multiple parcels serviced by the one water system. Since that is not permitted under City policy, the applicant was required to seek an Official Plan Amendment. Due to the unique nature of this property and its stage of development, staff are recommending approval. Future phases to the north are still to be sorted out, as is the property ownership for the existing Hyde Park homes.

The Site Alteration By-Law is something that will have an impact across rural Ottawa. The intent of the by-law, aside from amalgamating several existing by-laws into one, is to prevent land manipulation such as tree clearing and soil stripping for the purposes of large scale development. This is something that could occur in and around the urban boundary so as to make land better suited for growth, rather than agricultural purposes. The by-law does include exemptions for agricultural uses and managed woodlots. However, some concerns still exist that the by-law is too open for interpretation and that property owners may not have a clear picture of what is and is not permitted. I expect a number of delegations on the matter at our meeting and a healthy discussion.

ARAC will also consider a one-time contribution in support of Farm and Food Care and their Breakfast on the Farm event, scheduled for September 8th in North Gower. For more information about Farm and Food Care, please visit farmfoodcareon.org.

Green Bin Contract Update

For as long as there has been a green bin program at the City of Ottawa there have been residents asking the City to make it easier for them to use the green bin. While many of us have inventive ways to keep the mess to a minimum or use the Bag to Earth paper bags, there are many more who will not use the bin because of the mess. Among other things, that is why the City has been working on a revised contract with Orgaworld Canada.

After several years of legal wrangling and being stuck in a lengthy arbitration process, staff have been able to have a good dialogue with Orgaworld and have come up with a solution; allowing residents to put their organic waste in plastic bags, which will be screened out at the Orgaworld plant. For those residents who want a green bin with less mess and odour, this will certainly help.

This change, however, does come with a cost. Adding plastic bags and dog feces to the green bin program will cost 15 cents a month per household. The green bin program is paid for out of the property tax base and not the separate garbage fee on your tax bill. As a result, this will not increase your collection fee. The City will build the additional cost into the annual budget.

While this change has been greeted with mixed reactions among residents, I see it as a positive step to increasing participation in the green bin program and ensuring that we can extend the life of our Trail Road landfill. Trail Road’s lifespan is currently set to expire in 2043. I am not interested to opening a new landfill and this change will help buy even more time. In the coming years, though, the City will need to get serious about our post-Trail Road plans. It has been three years since the Plasco saga ended and we cannot waste time in planning for the future.

Cranberry Creek Municipal Drain Court of Revision

For anyone assessed on the Cranberry Creek Municipal Drain, we have scheduled the Court of Revision meeting for Monday, April 23rd at the Alfred Taylor Recreation Centre in North Gower. The meeting will begin at 7:00pm. With the Engineer’s Report approved at Council last week, this is the meeting to consider appeals to the assessments in Schedule A of the report. Anyone subject to an assessment should receive notice of this meeting. Notices were mailed out on March 29th.

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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.

ARAC & Additional Infrastructure Improvements

Photo from the ward:  This photo was submitted to the MVCA's 'Going to the Dogs' photo contest. Dude, a 3 year old Bernese Mountain Dog, loves David Bartlett Park, especially in the winter!

Photo from the ward: This photo was submitted to the MVCA's 'Going to the Dogs' photo contest. Dude, a 3 year old Bernese Mountain Dog, loves David Bartlett Park, especially in the winter!

To begin this week, I would like to thank residents for taking the time to attend the open house last week for the proposed roundabout at the intersection of Barnsdale Road & Prince of Wales Drive. The feedback was quite positive to the rationale and design. Construction is tentatively scheduled to start in 2019 pending budget approval. Staff will now move to detailed design. For more information, please visit www.rideaugoulbourn.ca/barnsdaleroundabout. Any comments may be sent to Kunjan Ghimire via email at Kunjan.Ghimire@ottawa.ca or by phone at 613-580-2424, ext. 21685.

While at the open house, many residents also asked about the intersection of Prince of Wales and Bankfield Road. You may recall that I had been working on a plan for 2018 to implement turning lanes on Bankfield Road. Through further discussion and examination, staff have come back with a more comprehensive plan that also brings in the required upgrades to the First Line Road and Bankfield Road intersection. The plan is still being finalized and I will share that when it is available. What we are now looking at are new turning lanes in all directions at Prince of Wales and Bankfield in addition to signalization of the First Line Road intersection. Staff are currently working toward a spring 2019 timeline for construction.

Previously, the City approved plans for a roundabout at Prince of Wales and Bankfield as well as a realignment of First Line Road into a new roundabout 300m south of Bankfield on Prince of Wales. While still the plan for the future, it simply is not affordable in the short term. Through the next Development Charge By-Law review, staff will recommend these projects for inclusion in that by-law so that all future development in Manotick is paying into the plans for those improvements.

Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee

The March 1st meeting of the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee has only two items on the agenda. Both affect Rideau-Goulbourn. The main item will be the Engineer’s Report on the Cranberry Creek Municipal Drain, in North Gower and Kars. The second item is an amendment to the Zoning By-Law for the Caivan development at 6350 Perth Street in Richmond. That report just fixes the various zoning boundaries within the development to align with the blocks and lots within Phase 1 of the subdivision.

The Cranberry Creek Municipal Drain item dates back to 2012 and beyond. After a very wet spring in 2012, landowners on this Municipal Drain (MD) raised concerns about the maintenance of it. As of approximately 1991, the MD actually lacked a pump and dyke system that allowed it to operate as per the approved Engineer’s Report. In essence, the MD has not been properly functioning since that time.

The drain itself was originally constructed in 1895 but the pump and dyke were installed following an updated Engineer’s Report in 1969. That system remained in place for over two decades but it was considered insufficient based on the volume of water it could handle. An updated report in 1991 recommended upgrades to the pump and dyke at that time but it was not accepted by Rideau Township and the landowners at that time. As mentioned above, the matter resurfaced nearly six years ago leading to our current report.

In September 2014, the City appointed Robinson Consultants to update the Engineer’s Report and bring forward a plan to have the MD function as was intended and also to clean it out to its original depths. This report brings that forward. Landowners assessed by this MD received the Engineer’s Report in recent weeks which outlines the proposed works as well as the assessment values. Being a significant watershed, there are many properties affected by these drainage works.

While the Cranberry Creek MD Engineer’s Report comes to our Committee for approval, it is actually the Drainage Act that outlines the process. I understand that the assessments can create undue burden on affected landowners and I have committed to doing what I can to find some financial assistance to lower those assessments. That work will likely continue right through into April when this matter returns for the Court of Revision process.

The purpose of the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee meeting will be to discuss the Engineer’s Report. Andy Robinson, Drainage Engineer, will be presenting to the Committee. For those wishing to appeal assessments, that opportunity comes during the Court of Revision, which is scheduled for Monday, April 23rd at the Alfred Taylor Recreation Centre in North Gower.

The Thursday, March 1st meeting of ARAC takes place at 10:00am at Ben Franklin Place.

2018 Additional Infrastructure Improvements

During the 2018 Budget deliberations, City Council was made aware of a $10M surplus, which was then directed to infrastructure renewal. At the Finance & Economic Development Committee of February 5th, staff brought forward a report on how the $10M would be spent in 2018. I am pleased to report that nearly $2M of that amount will be spent in Rideau-Goulbourn.

Approved at the February 14th meeting of City Council, the report includes pavement preservation projects on Eagleson Road (Perth to Brophy), Old Richmond Road (Fallowfield to Hope Side Road) and Dwyer Hill Road (Fallowfield to Highway 7).  The report also includes the resurfacing of Potter Drive and the portion of Barnsdale Road, between Moodie Drive and Twin Elm Road. On that, I have asked staff to take a second look and determine whether it would be more beneficial to resurface a portion of Barnsdale Road east of Moodie Drive instead. They are currently looking into that.

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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.