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.

Manotick Town Hall Meeting and Other November Updates from Rideau-Goulbourn

To begin this week, I would like to offer my condolences to the family of Mitch Owens on behalf of the residents of Rideau-Goulbourn and the City of Ottawa. Unfortunately, I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Owens but I’m sure many reading this column knew him from his time representing the City of Gloucester as Councillor, Deputy Reeve and Mayor from 1966 until 1991.  It takes a special person to serve 25 years in public office, not to mention the countless other jobs that Mr. Owens had in his 95 years. He will be missed.

Manotick Town Hall Meeting

Last week, we had a great turnout at the Mid-Term Town Hall meeting. I’d very much like to thank everyone for taking the time to attend. While most of our meetings end before 9 p.m., many attendees stayed closer to 10 p.m. and some after. We discussed many items but the one that garnered the most attention was David Bartlett Park. The next steps in our discussion about shared uses of the park will include the formation of a working group. This was a suggestion made during the meeting and one that I am happy to implement. I look forward to continuing this conversation with all interested parties. By the discussion at the meeting, that’s a lot of interested parties.

Richmond Forcemain Improvements

In my November 1st Stittsville News column, I announced that the contract for the Richmond Forcemain improvements and upgrades had been awarded to Robert Excavating and that work would commence imminently. Three weeks removed from that time, nearby residents will have noticed that the contractor has mobilized and construction has begun.

Users of the lagoon trail system will have already noticed an impact as the trail and parkland behind homes along Dallaire Crescent has been closed. Further, the parking lot off of Eagleson, near Barnsdale Road, has also been closed. We have been working on any concerns that have been brought forward as a result of project startup. Streets in the construction zone will be monitored daily for construction debris as required.

The Project Manager on this file, Danny Palermo, has been providing me with weekly updates on construction. I will be relaying that information to nearby residents via email. If you would like to receive such updates, please send me an email and let me know.

Remembrance Park

In recent weeks, the successful bidder on the Remembrance Park project, DB Contracting, began mobilizing on the site of the future Remembrance Park. Between now and the winter shutdown, the contractor will be working on site preparation and the installation of the hard infrastructure, such as the garden walls and the armour stone walls. In April, the work will reconvene in earnest with the target opening of the park slated for July 1st, 2017.

This park will be a great addition to the village and specifically, the cenotaph. This project couldn’t have been done without the work of the community and the initial acquisition of the property by my predecessor, Glenn Brooks. The now-defunct Manotick Mill Quarter Community Development Corporation saw the transfer of this property from the Corporation’s oversight to the City’s Parks & Recreation Department. The efforts of the Remembrance Park Organizing Committee have led us to this point and the community is grateful for their work.

New Year’s Eve Celebrations at City Hall

Countdown to the New Year and kick off the Ottawa 2017 festivities during an energizing and momentum-building event! Join the fun on December 31st, 2016, for this early-evening, family-friendly celebration that will include the lighting of a spectacular cauldron at Ottawa City Hall. The sparking of this special landmark will cue hundreds of Ottawa-area students to form a human chain, connecting young people from diverse backgrounds and weaving a line of youthful optimism through downtown Ottawa streets.

The evening will be crowned by a musical show and fireworks on Parliament Hill. The Ottawa 2017 Bureau is working closely with the school Boards and indigenous community to recruit the participating students. For more info on the spectacular Ottawa 2017 programming and to learn how to get involved, visit the http://www.ottawa2017.ca/! Check the online calendar often as we keep adding new events!

Mixing it up

The West Ottawa Ladies Chorus (WOLC) is presenting a Kaleidoscope of colourful tones to celebrate the season of winter and Christmas. A Christmas Kaleidoscope will delight the audience and please everyone's taste in music. The chorus works diligently to blend soprano, second soprano and first and second alto to a seamless sound. Under the direction of Robert Dueck, the WOLC strives for the highest standards from the top ranges to the lowest notes. Blending notes, like colours creates patterns of sound – a kaleidoscope.

This season, the audience will experience colourful tunes from spiritual to jazz to rag to show tunes. Although the concert is a celebration of Christmas, it is also a celebration of winter and will appeal to all cultures. The WOLC is committed to giving back to the community and visits several senior's residences to take the gift of music to those who may not be able to attend a public performance.

A Christmas Kaleidoscope by the WOLC will be performed on Saturday, December 3rd at 7:00pm at St. Paul's Anglican Church, 20 Young Rd., Kanata and on Sunday December 4th at 2:30 pm at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 1817 Richardson Side Rd., Carp. Tickets will be available soon. For more details contact westottawaladieschorus@gmail.com.

Isle in the River Theatre Company

From November 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://itrtheatre.com/ or by calling 613-800-1165 or e-mailing tickets@itrtheatre.com.

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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.