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.

Dickinson Square Update and Upcoming Town Halls

Our Rideau-Goulbourn Mid-Term Town Hall Series continues on Tuesday, November 15th with our Manotick meeting. As usual, we will cover a number of city-wide issues that have been making the news over the last 20 months. We’ll also focus on local issues. At our Manotick meeting, I will be focusing on a variety of issues but will specifically discuss David Bartlett Park and the Falls House.

Over the past couple of months, I have been having conversations with various community groups regarding the use of David Bartlett Park as well as the parking issues. I have been floating plans for a parking lot expansion as well as the notion of creating an on-leash area on the south end of the park abutting the Bravar Drive properties. While nothing is imminent, we’ll continue this conversation on the 15th.

For the Falls House, I will be discussing the background, the future and showing the virtual tour of the building that was filmed prior to demolition. In addition, we’ll provide updates on other goings on in and around Manotick, including some of the agricultural issues with MPAC and LEAR. These meetings are always general in nature and any topic is up for discussion. The meeting will be at the Manotick Arena beginning at 7:00pm.

After the Manotick Town Hall, we’ll be hosting a meeting at the Kars RA Centre on Wednesday, November 23 at 7:00 pm. The following, and second last meeting, will be in Richmond at the Agricultural Dining Hall on November 30th. This meeting will be a bit different as there will also be a public meeting on the Shea Road development application at 6:00 pm with our town hall to follow. As usual, we will cover a number of city-wide issues that have been making the news over the last 20 months. We’ll also focus on local issues, such as development and infrastructure projects.

Dickinson Square Update

Another topic that we’ll touch on next week is Dickinson Square. Last week, the Finance & Economic Development Committee approved my report that recommended the retention of the Carriage Shed and Dickinson House in City ownership. As many of you know, these properties were purchased alongside four other Dickinson Square properties and placed under the care of the Manotick Mill Quarter Community Development Corporation. Following the retention of the Holloway Property and the sale of the Weaver House, the Ayres Building and the Clapp Property, the MMQCDC was left with just the Carriage Shed and Dickinson House.

The approved report means that these two buildings will remain in the City’s ownership and that the MMQCDC will be dissolved. The next steps will see the City enter into long term agreements with Watson’s Mill and the Rideau Township Historical Society to occupy the buildings.  While we still have some work to do, I just want to take a moment and thank Margot Belanger and Gerald Reasbeck, who have been members of the MMQCDC with me since 2010. I would also like to thank the member groups of Dickinson Square Heritage Management Inc., who have helped advise me throughout the Dickinson Square process. Last, but not least, I’d like to thank former Councillor Glenn Brooks, who helped guide the acquisition of the Dickinson Square properties through Council.

Richmond Library PD Day Program

The Richmond library has a really exciting PD Day program planned for Friday November 18th from 2:00-4:00pm (drop-in). It’s a PD DAY Pop up Makerspace and Lego Block Party.  We will have the pop up 3D printer at the branch!  Children are invited to: 

Get Creative! Test your building ability with our Lego® challenges and participate in our Lego® scavenger hunt! Join in on our community colouring project or explore our makey-makeys and LED-throwies. Check out our 3D printer demonstration to see what you can build at our Imagine Space.

North Gower Library Turns 125!

The North Gower branch of the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) is celebrating its 125th anniversary on Monday, November 14th in style. To mark 125 years of service, the branch is inviting Library customers and the community to dress up in the style of their favourite decade, or to pull from the tickle trunk, to represent the one-and-a-quarter centuries of library services, learning and community connections.

Join your neighbours on November 14th from 7:00pm to 8:30pm to enjoy interactive activities, entertainment, a photo opportunity with Queen Elizabeth in 2D, and refreshments by Dolly Doll Bakery. OPL Board Chair Tim Tierney will join the event to say a few words from 7:30pm – 7:45pm.

The North Gower branch fosters community relationships in many ways, while acting as a catalyst for exploration and discovery. Its local flavour is cultivated by the active surrounding rural community of artists, families, farmers, local businesses and entrepreneurs. The branch has strong links to the artistic community and is the site of a monthly local art display. The recently refurbished branch features a large, colourful mural created by local artist Becky Marr-Johnson.

More information about North Gower’s 125th Anniversary is available on the OPL website. OPL’s North Gower branch is located at 6579 Fourth Line Rd, North Gower, ON K0A 2T0.

Isle in the River Theatre Company

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From November 18th to 20th and from the 25th to the 27th, ITR Theatre Company is presenting a Norm Foster Double-Double. This includes two one-act plays, My Narrator and The Death of Me, at each of the 6 performances at the Osgoode Community Centre. Tickets are available through http://www.itrtheatre.com/ or by calling 613-800-1165 or e-mailing tickets@itrtheatre.com. Tickets for the dinner theatres on November 19 and 26 are selling out quickly.

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If you have any comments about anything other than No Tractor signs, please feel free to email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491. If you really do want to know more about No Tractor signs, Google “Scott Moffatt No Tractor”.  There is plenty of material out there.