City of Ottawa presents plans for managing Wild Parsnip

Before getting into the bulk of my column, I just wanted to provide an update to residents in Richmond on the state of 74 Colonel Murray Street, a residence that, unfortunately, was lost due to fire last fall.  The site has now become a bit of an eyesore generating some concern in the community.  I just wanted to assure residents that the City of Ottawa will not allow the property to remain in its current state and will be cleaning it up if the site remains untouched as of May 15th.

On to more positive news, the annual Rural Expo & Food Aid Day BBQ returns to City Hall on Thursday, June 4th. The day will feature a great display of rural flavor on the front steps of City Hall, a pancake breakfast and a delicious lunch from The WORKS all in support of the Ottawa Food Bank. The Rural Expo helps urban residents learn more about what rural Ottawa has to offer. If your organization wishes to participate in the Rural Expo, please contact the Rural Affairs Office at or 613-580-2424 x28352.

Summer has finally arrived and, with it, a number of great reasons to be outside.  This Saturday, the Manotick Kiwanis Club will be out in full force for their annual spring clean-up.  The following weekend, Watson’s Mill opens for the season. Activities will begin on Saturday at 10:00am, and the Season Opening Ceremony is scheduled to start at 11:30am featuring a full schedule of activities for the upcoming summer season. The ceremony will be followed by a community barbeque. The Manotick Farmers’ Market will also launch that morning and the Mill opening also marks the return of the Carriage Shed Book Sale.

A new season is set to begin at Dickinson House as well.  You are invited to come & celebrate spring and Queen Victoria’s Birthday at Dickinson House on Monday, May 18, 2015 at 2:00pm. There will be cake and lemonade and an opportunity to see the special exhibit of 2015, “Tableware in Times Past”.  As always, admission is free, and donations are gratefully accepted.  Also of note, a new season at the North Gower Farmers’ Market kicks off at the end of the month on May 30th.

Dickinson Days is fast approaching and so too is the annual Rural Expo & Food Aid Day BBQ at City Hall.  This year, our event is on Thursday, June 4th. The day will feature a great display of rural flavor on the front steps of City Hall, a pancake breakfast and a delicious lunch from The WORKS all in support of the Ottawa Food Bank. The Rural Expo helps urban residents learn more about what rural Ottawa has to offer. If your organization wishes to participate in the Rural Expo, please contact the Rural Affairs Office at or 613-580-2424 x28352.

Wild Parsnip

While talking about being outside, it’s also the time of year for wild parsnip. Wild parsnip is an invasive plant that is commonly found within the City of Ottawa in areas of uncultivated land, roadside ditches, nature trails, as well as on and surrounding rural and residential properties.

Wild parsnip may pose a health risk to humans. The plant sap contains chemicals that will cause skin irritation and make the skin prone to severe burning and blistering when exposed to the sun. The blisters typically occur one to two days after contact with the plant. This can result in long-term scarring of the skin.

Wild parsnip is a highly branched plant, with hollow green stems. The compound leaves are green and dense growing. The yellow flowers are in clusters of up to 20 cm across. The plant can grow to a height of 0.5 to 1.5 meters. It is a biennial plant, reproducing only by seed. When working around wild parsnip or when walking through dense vegetation, wear goggles, gloves, long pants and long-sleeved shirts. Thoroughly wash boots and gloves with soap and water before taking off your protective clothing.

Children should be reminded not to pick wild flowers. Ensure children are able to identify wild parsnip in order to avoid exposure. If you are exposed to the plant sap, wash the contaminated area(s) thoroughly as soon as possible, and seek medical attention if skin irritation occurs. For more information, visit

Our Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee is receiving an update from Public Works this week on how we are managing wild parsnip this year.  I do know we are increasing are resources when it comes to managing this invasive plant and I’ll provide more information on that next week.

Visit for more information about the weed and what the City of Ottawa is doing to help prevent it spreading.

Property Tax Deferral Program

The City of Ottawa offers two property tax deferral programs for low-income seniors and low-income people with disabilities. Eligible homeowners may apply for a full or partial deferral of annual property taxes. Application for tax deferral must be made annually to the City of Ottawa to establish eligibility or confirm continued eligibility.

You may apply for one of the following programs: Full Property Tax Deferral Program or Partial Property Tax Deferral Program. For more information, visit or call 613-580-2740.

Farm Grant Program

The City of Ottawa Farm Grant Program provides financial relief to working farmers. The grant program will assist eligible farm property owners by allowing the June final tax installment to be paid in December.

To qualify for the grant, the following conditions must be met:

  • The property must be defined by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation in the farmlands property class
  • The property must not be owned by a commercial enterprise
  • Taxes have been paid up to date before the June instalment
  • The final  tax instalment billed (mailed May) is paid in full in early December

How the program will work:

  • Penalty charges will continue
  • Notification of the amount to be paid will be communicated to you in the fall
  • The grant amount will be the equivalent of the penalty charges and fees added to your account during the deferral
  • The City will automatically calculate and apply a credit for the grant amount to your tax account; there is no application to fill out

Should you have any questions, please contact Revenue Branch from Monday to Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm (June to August 8:00am to 4:00pm) at 613-580-2444 (Transactions will be recorded for training and verification purposes). TTY: 613-580-2401.


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

Rural Association Partnership Program – Apply now for round-two funding

If you are an Ottawa organization operating rural fairs, rural farmers' markets or rural business organizations such as Chamber of Commerce and Business Improvement Areas, you may be eligible for funding of up to $7,500 through the City of Ottawa’s Rural Association Partnership Program (RAPP).

The second-round of RAPP funding is now available with applications being accepted until Friday, August 16 at 4pm.

The objectives of the RAPP are:

  • To provide project based funding that supports the main priorities for rural organizations.
  • To contribute to the City’s rural economic health by supporting projects that will assist Ottawa’s rural business organizations, fairs and farmers markets achieve sustainability and capitalize on the proximity to Ottawa’s large urban market.
  • To assist in promoting Ottawa’s rural identity to both residents and tourists.
  • To provide economic benefits to small and medium sized enterprises in Ottawa’s rural communities.
  • Assist rural communities to overcome the business development challenges associated with smaller local population base.
  • To increase the capacity for rural communities to provide a quality visitor experience.

More information, including guidelines and an application form, can be found on the Rural Association Partnership Program web page.

Prospective RAPP applicants are encouraged to contact the Rural Affairs Office at or 613-580-2424, ext. 28352 to discuss their proposal prior to submitting an application.

All Terrain Vehicles on Municipal Roads in Osgoode

As per the direction of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, the City of Ottawa Rural Affairs Office is developing regulations to allow all terrain vehicle (ATV) use on certain municipal roadways (both opened and unopened) in Osgoode Ward on a pilot project basis.

A map of the proposed trail network is available for review and comment on the Rural Connections website at

The regulations are proposed to include elements such as:

  • Year-round access to the trails for ATVs, except during spring thaw;
  • ATVs would be permitted on trails 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset;
  • Speed limits of no more than 50km/h, lower in areas where warranted;
  • Modified exhaust and/or two stroke ATV engines would be prohibited due to noise concerns;

For more information, and/or to provide feedback on the proposal, please contact the Rural Affairs Office at or 613-580-2424 x23852.

All Terrain Vehicles on Municipal Roads in Osgoode Ward 20

On October 4, 2012 the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee directed the Rural Affairs Office to develop a by-law to allow all terrain vehicle (ATV) use on certain municipal roadways (both opened and unopened) in Osgoode Ward on a pilot project basis. As part of the public consultation for this project, members of the public are invited to attend an information session to learn more and provide feedback:

Wednesday February 20, 2013
Osgoode Community Centre – Upper Hall
5660 Osgoode Main Street
7 pm to 9 pm

For more information, contact the City of Ottawa Rural Affairs Office at 613-580-2424 x28352 or

Spring 2012 Well Water Testing - Everything you need to know

Residents who are on a well should test their water regular to ensure their water supply is safe to drink. It is recommended that testing for bacteria is completed three times a year and after major plumbing work. Testing for nitrates is also recommended. In agricultural areas, residents may also wish to test for pesticides, herbicides, gasoline and solvents.
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City of Ottawa Amending Comprehensive Zoning By-law 250 of 2008

The City is considering making amendments to the Zoning By-law on various topics and properties as detailed below. Please visit to obtain more specific descriptions of the changes being proposed on each of these general topics/properties.
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Upcoming educational workshop for Growing Your Farm Profits

This Business Development for Farm Businesses (BDFB) workshop is free of charge. Coffee, refreshments and lunch are provided to you at no cost. Multiple farm team members are encouraged to attend for maximum benefit to the farming operation. There is no preparation required and you do not need to bring any materials with you to the workshop. Venue details will be communicated to registrants prior to workshop.
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Agricultural Sustainability Call for Proposals

As a catalyst for innovation, adaptation, and advancement for a profitable and sustainable agriculture and agri-business industry, the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC) issued a Call for Proposals (CFP) to encourage projects that address agricultural sustainability in Ontario.
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City Stream Watch receives support from OSF

With financial support from the Ottawa Sustainability Fund (OSF), this summer the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority will carry out restoration on vulnerable and degraded areas identified by the City Stream Watch Program. This program will engage community volunteers and showcase best management practices and projects for healthy watershed ecosystems.

The OSF enables individuals, families and companies to donate in support of programs and projects that make the City of Ottawa more sustainable.

Annual Drinking Water System reports

The 2011 Annual Drinking Water System reports confirm that Ottawa delivers safe drinking water that exceeds all expectations for meeting provincial standards and federal guidelines.

These Ontario Ministry Environment reports, including those for Carp, Munster, Richmond (Kings Park), Greely (Shadow Ridge) and Vars, are now posted online at They summarize water quality testing results for 2011 for all drinking water systems in Ottawa and include information such as the description of the water system and test results for each water quality parameter.

Ottawa Valley Farm Show

March 13, 14 and 15
Capital Exhibition Centre, 4899 Uplands Drive

The Ottawa Valley Farm Show (OVFS) will be held from March 13 to 15 at the new Capital Exhibition Centre. Sponsored by the Ottawa Valley Seed Growers Association, The OVFS is the largest annual exhibition of its kind held in Ontario east of Toronto. Of particular interest to farm families and other rural residents, the show features 300+ commercial exhibitors offering everything from machinery and equipment, to computer and financial services. For more information visit

Rideau River ice breaking set to begin February 13

Ice breaking operations, including blasting, are set to begin Monday, February 13, weather and ice conditions permitting, on the Rideau River between Rideau Falls and Hog’s Back.

The City, in partnership with the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, undertakes ice breaking operations each year to alleviate possible spring flooding in flood-prone areas. Once started, these operations will be carried out daily.

Ice breaking operations will create open water. Residents are asked to remain a reasonable distance from the river until operations are completed, and to supervise children around water.

For more information, please call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401).

Province changes rules for Livestock Compensation Program

Changes to the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program have been announced by the Province of Ontario to become effective April 1, 2012. The program provides financial assistance to producers whose livestock, poultry and honey bees have been damaged by wildlife. The Rural Affairs Office administers the program for the City of Ottawa.

Farmers wishing to make a claim in this program must now provide a Farm Business Registration number when calling 3-1-1 to report their livestock loss. Unregistered farms will no longer be eligible for the compensation program. 3-1-1 Contact Centre staff can only dispatch a Livestock Valuer to registered farms.

In addition, prior to receiving their compensation, participating farms will be required to obtain a Premises ID number from OnTrace at or 1-888-388-7223.

Please visit the Ontario Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Rural Affairs website at for information on the changes to the program. For information on processing claims visit the City’s Rural Affairs Office at or call 3-1-1.