Sad News for the Stittsville News

Stittsville News.jpg

As many of you may have heard earlier this week, Postmedia acquired a number of Metroland newspapers and subsequently announced that they would be shut down. This included the Stittsville News. I think I can speak for every resident in the Goulbourn area when I say that this is devastating news for our communities.

John Curry first acquired the Stittsville News in 1965 and has spent the last five decades pouring his heart and soul into those pages and our communities. Alongside his long-time partner in crime John Brummell, he brought our communities together and became a real ambassador for everything that is great about Goulbourn.

The two John’s were everywhere from bake sales and school graduations to municipal elections and community events. They were mainstays at the Richmond Fair each and every year. A parade wouldn’t be a Richmond parade without John Curry stationed at the corner of Perth Street and McBean Street photographing each and every float. Their contributions to our community are immeasurable. Between the two John’s, they have been writing Goulbourn’s biography for over fifty years.

Unfortunately, we are forced to move on. I have been fortunate to have this column included in the weekly Stittsville News for nearly seven years. That, too, comes to an end. I would like to thank Metroland’s Mike Stoodley for being my go to guy on submitting these columns each and every week. We also write a monthly column in the Kemptville Advance and the Carleton Place Gazette. Mike assists with those as well.

The loss of the Stittsville News will also make it more difficult for me to connect with you. As a result, I would encourage you to visit our website at and sign up for our monthly e-Newsletter. With so many changes to local newspapers, we may need to consider changing that to a bi-weekly e-Newsletter. If there are any other ways that you feel my office could improve our communications, please let me know.

In closing and on behalf of a grateful community, thank you John Curry and thank you John Brummell.


If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491. For information on Rideau-Goulbourn issues, please visit

Coach Houses and Land Evaluation and Area Review (LEAR)

To begin this week, I just wanted to correct a comment that I have made in recent weeks.  When providing background on the stormwater issue, I had said that Council made the decision to shift all stormwater costs to the water and sewer rate in April of 2001.  In fact, it was the Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee that dealt with the issue in April. They ended up deferring the matter to their July 3rd meeting and Council did not approve it until their July 11th meeting.

The report was titled “Financing Methods – Funding City Services” and included two key points that led us to the situation we are in today.  One was that the General Tax Levy “include all services formerly included in the general levies of the area municipalities except…stormwater management.” Further along in the same motion, the Committee recommended to Council that “the stormwater management and sanitary sewerage programs be totally funded from sewer surcharges.” This passed at Committee and again at Council.  Interestingly enough, Councillor Janet Stavinga actually voted against the matter at Committee.  We are only dealing with this matter today because the rest of Council did not follow her lead. If you would be interested in reading the minutes or the report for yourself, please contact my office.

For those of you who have attended one of our Mid-Term Town Hall meetings, you will know that we discuss the stormwater issue there.  Although this item has been discussed at Committee this past Tuesday, I will continue to focus on the matter at future town hall meetings. With meetings in North Gower and Munster having occurred earlier this week, our next Town Hall meeting will take place at the Christ Church in Ashton on Wednesday, November 1st followed by our rural Stittsville meeting at the Goulbourn Town Hall on Monday, November 7th.  Both meetings will begin at 7:00pm.

Coach Houses

The report on Coach Houses came before the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee on Thursday, October 6th.  Some of the recommendations contained in the report stemmed from consultations in the urban area but the ensuing recommendation had a city-wide impact.  As a result, ARAC voted to alter a recommended decrease in accessory building heights because this was not a prevalent issue in the rural area.  Further, we discussed the minimum lot size for a coach house.  The recommendation calls for a minimum lot size of 2 acres on private services.  This is something that we are reviewing and, at the very least, members of ARAC will be pursuing a decrease in that minimum to 1 acre at the October 26th meeting of Council.

The main point, however, is that the City has developed a process that will permit the addition of coach houses in the rural area and across the city.  All that is left to work out are some fine details surrounding lot sizes and permitting.  I will keep you updated on the matter in future columns.

Land Evaluation and Area Review (LEAR)

In November, the updated report on LEAR will come to both the Planning Committee and the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.  As Chair of the LEAR Working Group, this is something we have been working on for the better part of four years.  The most interested parties in this endeavour would be landowners in or adjacent to lands already designated as Agricultural Resource Area on Schedule A of the City’s Official Plan.

The Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton identified the existing Agricultural Resource Area in 1997 using a Land Evaluation and Area Review (LEAR) system. Key components of the LEAR system are soil capability for agriculture, land use and parcel size. New soils mapping and changes in land use and the size and nature of farms in the city over the last 20 years warrant re-examining and updating the existing LEAR system.  The Ontario Municipal Board has also directed the City to complete this update. 

The LEAR Working Group is finalizing the changes to the LEAR system. Recommendations on possible changes, if any, to the Agricultural Resource Area will be made and notice of changes will be sent to all affected land owners. A draft Official Plan Amendment will be advertised, circulated and presented to the Agriculture and Rural Affairs and Planning Committees in November 2016 and Council in December 2016/ January 2017.

If you have any questions on this review, please contact Bruce Finlay, Planner, at 613-580-2424, ext. 21850 or by e-mail at


If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491.

Dickinson Square, Manotick Secondary Plan and Goulbourn development updates

As some of you may already know, the Ayres Building in Dickinson Square has officially been sold.  The building had been owned by the City of Ottawa since the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority vacated the space in 2007.  Normally, I would announce the sale myself but I’m quite happy that the new owner was so excited to close the sale and announce it themselves.  After all, it isn’t about me. It was just under two weeks ago that Rural Ottawa South Support Services (ROSSS) announced that they had purchased the building, allowing them to maintain the place they’ve called home for the better part of a decade.

While the Manotick Mill Quarter Community Development Corporation, along with ROSSS, finalized the deal a couple of months ago, we were awaiting the official close of the sale, scheduled for August 6th.  As soon as all of the t’s were crossed and the i’s were dotted, ROSSS was free to dispense the good news.  We were a bit more tightly lipped this time around as many of you will recall an announcement I made in December 2013 regarding the initial sale of the Ayres Building to a Christmas store owner.  That, of course, fell through prior to the closing date so I decided to try and learn from my mistake.  In the end, everything worked out and now ROSSS can continue to serve the communities of Osgoode, Rideau and Goulbourn from right here in Manotick.

With the Ayres Building sale wrapped up, the Peppermint Spa transformation of the Weaver House well underway and the development of 1125 Clapp Lane approved, the Manotick Mill Quarter Community Development Corporation has come a long way in four years.  Of course, the work is not yet done and the City of Ottawa still retains the ownership of the Carriage Shed and Dickinson House.  Community sentiment has spoken strongly in favour of maintaining the current arrangement at these two buildings and I will continue to work toward a solution that can be supported by the community and makes the most sense going forward.  In my mind, that solution needs to make sense as much 50 years from now as it does today.  No easy task but we’ve listened to the community every step of the way and I look forward to continuing that working relationship on the two remaining, and most significant, Dickinson Square properties.

Dickinson House News

Speaking of Dickinson Square, come out and visit on August 15th and 16th as there will be demonstrations of the old time Domestic Skills of Spinning and Weaving at the House. Visitors will also be able to learn about or try their hand at the techniques citizens used to cope with laundry before the advent of the automatic washer and dryer.  The House is open from 10:00am until 5:00pm daily.  This summer’s special exhibition is Tableware in Times Past in the Coral Lindsay Memorial Hall on the third floor.  As always, admission is free, and donations toward the upkeep of the House are welcome.

Further, mark your calendars and plan to come to an old-fashioned, family oriented Barn Dance at Watson’s Mill on September 5th at 7:30 pm.  There will be live folk music featuring the Ever Hopeful String Band; easy instructions on traditional circle, square and line dances; country food and refreshments.  The Heritage Country Fair, with a full lineup of traditional Fall Fair events, will be in full swing on Saturday, September 5th, beginning at 10:00am.  For information about the events, check, call 613-692-2241 or visit the House.

Manotick Secondary Plan Update

Back to business, the website for the Secondary Plan review has now been updated.  You can visit to look at the Official Plan and Zoning By-Law Amendments resulting from the current review update.  Please provide comments by September 5th on the draft proposals.  My office will also be distributing this information via mail to all Manotick residents to ensure that everyone is aware.

Development Updates in Goulbourn

There are now two development applications in the Stittsville South expansion area.  Over the last two years, the City of Ottawa has been working on an application from several firms involving the property north of Woodside Acres and south of the Hartsmere subdivision.  That application is in the process of receiving draft approval after a lengthy process that included four public meetings.  The results from that include a restriction to vehicular traffic from the new development onto Poplarwood Road and a monitoring program on structures and wells to ensure there are no negative impacts on existing homes in Woodside Acres.

Directly to the east of that proposal is another application, this one by Tartan Homes, which has just been submitted.  This is, essentially, an extension of the previous application as the road network ties in and is key to traffic management in the area.  The main roads will filter out onto Shea Road and Fernbank Road. This property is addressed as 5970 Fernbank Road and more information on the application can be found at  As information becomes available, it will be posted at that link.  Further, there will be a public meeting scheduled to discuss this application as well.

Open Air Fire Permits

Residents are reminded that open air fires of any kind are prohibited without an Open Air Fire Permit.

An open air fire refers to the burning of untreated wood, tree limbs and branches where the flame is not wholly contained. The City’s Open Air Fire By-law prohibits the use of campfires, brush fires, burn drums, windrows and outdoor fireplaces within City limits. Barbecues are permitted.

Definitions for all these terms, and further details about Open Air Fire Permits, can be found on the City’s website,

While open air burning might seem to be harmless, it has the potential to cause visible haze, health problems, air pollution and nuisance concerns.

Even residents who possess a permit are required to call 613-580-2880 prior to burning to ensure there is not a burn ban in effect.

Substantial fines may be issued to residents who are not in possession of a valid permit or are found to be non-compliant to conditions and regulations within their permit. Fire permits are available at all Client Service Centres and Ottawa Fire Services’ Rural Administrative offices. A list of these sites, hours of operation and more information on fire permits can be found on or by calling 3-1-1.

A Taste of Manotick

While Dickinson House is providing a taste of the past on August 15th, the rest of the village will be promoting the present.  The Annual Taste of Manotick is back on Saturday, between 4:00pm and 9:00pm.  This annual showcase will take place along Manotick Main Street and into the Mews. Come out and enjoy live music, delicious samples, draws and demonstrations in the heart of the village.

Also, and you heard it here first, this is a guaranteed rain free event!  That is my guarantee and I know you can trust me on this as a recent Ipsos Reid poll ranked local politicians as the least trustworthy profession.  See you there!!


If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491.

The final mid-term town hall and Christmas events everywhere!

Since the middle of September, I have been hosting Mid-Term Town Halls throughout Rideau-Goulbourn. Originally, we scheduled ten meetings in Kars, Richmond, Burritt’s Rapids, Manotick, Fallowfield Village, Ashton, North Gower, Beckett’s Landing, Munster & Country Club Village. After all of these were announced, we added an eleventh meeting at the Goulbourn Town Hall. This Town Hall will take place on Wednesday, November 28th, from 7:00 to 9:00pm, to focus on the areas surrounding Stittsville that fall in Rideau-Goulbourn. Having already hosted ten Town Hall meetings, these have been a great opportunity to get out and speak with the communities I have the privilege to represent. Thank you to everyone who has attended the meetings held so far and I look forward to seeing more residents on the 28th.

Read More