First ARAC meeting for this Term of Council

This Thursday, February 5th is the date of the first Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee meeting of this term of Council.  It also marks my first meeting as Chair.  This meeting will be held at City Hall at 9:30am but one of the agenda items will likely mean that this will be the last ARAC meeting at City Hall.  Following the Governance Report that I discussed back in December, we will be discussing meeting locations for future meetings.  Essentially, we are looking at moving all meetings to Ben Franklin Place in Centrepointe.  This location is geographically central to all wards in the City, thus offering an accessible location for rural residents.  It also has ample free parking.  This change in location will come into effect in time for the March meeting of ARAC.

Also on the agenda for the February 5th ARAC meeting will be the approval of naming the North Gower Bowling Alley after Gerry Lines, commemorating a future Manotick park in memory of Lela Scharf, confirming appointments to the Manotick Business Improvement Area, the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority, the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, the South Nation Conservation Authority and the rural panel of the Committee of Adjustment, as well as some minor reports on two municipal drains.

Manotick Secondary Plan: Heritage in the Core

In last week’s column, I focused on soliciting feedback on the vacant land use designations within Manotick’s Secondary Plan.  However, that was the only item of importance I touched on during the meeting I hosted on Thursday, January 22nd.  This week, I’d like to gauge your opinions on heritage designations within Manotick.  While we have several buildings designated, such as Dickinson House, Watson’s Mill, Miller’s Oven and about a half dozen other properties within the village core, there are just over 70 properties on the Heritage Reference List.

The City of Ottawa’s Heritage Reference List identifies potentially significant buildings that staff can refer to when development applications come forward in order to assess whether or not a building merits further investigation and possible protection or designation.  During the 1997 developing of the Manotick Secondary Plan, the 70 or so properties mentioned above were added to the list.  While the list might highlight the potential heritage value of a building, it doesn’t do a whole lot to protect a building.  Consider that if a demolition permit was sought for the old Manotick Tea Room building, or the building that houses Allure, the permit could be issued and the building torn down without the community having any real say whether it gets torn down, protected or otherwise.  That brings me to the Heritage Register.

The City of Ottawa’s Heritage Register provides a form of protection that the Reference List lacks.  If a property is listed on the Register and a demolition permit is sought, the City has 60 days to decide whether or not the building warrants designation.  Those 60 days gives the City time to do their due diligence on designation and for the community to be made aware and take part in the process.  It doesn’t mean that the property owner can’t renovate or make changes to the property; it just helps to ensure that the property won’t simply disappear in a matter of hours.  In Manotick, the house at the northwest corner of Bridge Street and Manotick Main Street was added to the Register last year.

While I don’t believe all 70+ buildings listed on the Heritage Reference List are worthy of protection, I do believe many of them should be at least given that 60-day reprieve so that we don’t lose our history through demolition.  My question to you is, would you support shifting some of the properties onto the Heritage Register so that due diligence can be given in the event that a demolition permit is sought?  Further, are there any specific properties that you would wish to see on the Heritage Register?

In addition to the Allure Spa building and the former Manotick Team Room, Reference List buildings include: 5545 Ann Street (formerly Lindsay & McCaffrey); 5544 Manotick Main Street (The Mill Tavern); 5549 Manotick Main Street (known as Sonny’s Garage); 1136 Tighe Street (My Toy Shop); 1136 Mill Street (Mill Street Florist).  For the full list, please refer to the Manotick Community Profile (Pages 17 & 18) at ottawa.ca/manotickplan. 

A common goal we all share is the protection of our historic communities.  Preserving our heritage is key to protecting our villages.  I want to thank you for the feedback so far from last week’s column and I look forward to further feedback on this topic.

Free Family Day Event at Goulbourn Museum

Family Day at Goulbourn Museum will feature an array of free activities for all ages. Families can pose for a fun keepsake in the photo booth, get creative at the craft station, play games, win prizes, and pretend to be pioneers in the Museum’s replica village shop.

If weather permits there will also be outdoor games and activities as well as roasting marshmallows around the fire pit.  The Family Day festivities take place Monday, February 16th from 10:00am to 3:00pm. All ages are welcome, admission is free and so are the hot chocolate and Tim Bits!

The Goulbourn Museum is located at 2064 Huntley Road, just south of Stittsville, at Stanley’s Corners. For more information, visit www.goulbournmuseum.ca or call 613-831-2393 or join Goulbourn Museum on Facebook for regular updates.

Summer Student Recruitment

Students interested in summer employment with the City of Ottawa are encouraged to apply for available positions through ottawa.ca. The 2015 Summer Student Employment Campaign will be open from February 2 to February 27, 2015.

This program offers students great opportunity to gain valuable work experience and insight into today’s workforce, discover a career path, showcase skills and enhance academic goals. For more information including eligibility criteria and other requirements, visit ottawa.ca.

My ServiceOttawa is improving residents’ online experience

Ottawa residents now have the ability to view, print and pay their property tax bill and water and sewer bill online at Ottawa.ca through My ServiceOttawa. By creating a My ServiceOttawa account, residents can securely access and customize online City services and information that matter most to them 24 hours a day, including:

  • Paying bills online or setting up preauthorized payments
  • Viewing account summaries, bill history and last payment information
  • Changing your mailing address
  • Viewing a personalized garbage and recycling calendar
  • Viewing the status of service requests

Once the account is created, all that is required to view, print and pay bills online is your water account number and balance on the last bill, or property tax roll number and access code. Set up an account today by going to ottawa.ca and selecting the My ServiceOttawa button at the top of the web page.

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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.

How do potholes form and what is the City of Ottawa doing about them?

The weather we've experienced in Ottawa this winter season (2013-2014) has been challenging - and not just in Ottawa, but across Canada. Since November 1, 2013 the City of Ottawa has received more than 230 cm of snow and experienced significantly colder temperatures than normal for a longer period than usual. Overall, the temperature has been below average with freeze/thaw cycles also occurring later in the season than normal. This has led to an increase in the volume and severity of potholes, as frost penetrated deeper into the ground and will take longer to rise out as it warms up.

Generally, potholes are formed when water seeps into cracks in the surface of the road which, combined with the vibration of traffic over those cracks, causes the asphalt to fail. Potholes are also created when the roadway is stressed by trucks and buses as this can cause movement of the subsurface. Once there is a weak spot, every car that travels over the area increases the depth, and, eventually, a section of the material will fail causing a pothole to form.

Current Status

The Public Works Department takes a proactive approach to maintaining potholes year round. In addition, this year there has been a substantial increase in the number of pothole service requests generated by the public. You can report a pothole by calling 3-1-1 (613-580-2400) and providing the following information: The street name and number or street name and intersection closest to where the pothole is located. Additionally, the City produced a short video about potholes and how to report them. This is shared with the public via OttCity Online.

Pothole repairs began a little earlier than usual this year - on January 13, 2014. This was caused primarily by the thaw/ freeze that occurred in late December and again in early and mid-January. Since then, crews have been repairing potholes when weather conditions are favourable. Typically, snow events are the only time that pothole repair crews are not deployed.

Number of potholes repaired and number of service requests received

Year (January 1-March 18) Number of Potholes Repaired Number of 3-1-1 Service Requests for Potholes
2014 56,075 3,330
2013 57,797 2,770
2012 43,546 1,466

Data as of March 28, 2014

In order to improve response to pothole repairs, the Public Works Department is undertaking the following initiatives:

  • Sourcing additional contracted crews to be hired on a temporary basis; currently the Department deploys 5 contracted crews. The number of new crews will depend on availability.
  • Experimenting with different types of cold patch, including one that is said to have extra bonding power.
  • Researching different products and asphalt mixes as well as best practices in order to improve operations for future years.
  • Adding 9 new hotboxes. These can be utilized with existing staff.
  • Sourcing a used grinder (smaller and mobile) for immediate purchase. This will enable staff to make more permanent repairs to the chronic pothole areas by cutting out a larger area that can be properly compacted by a roller.

The Public Works Department will continue to provide the highest level of service possible in order to address potholes throughout the year. In the meantime, please continue to report any potholes you find in your travels online through ServiceOttawa or call 3-1-1 (613-580-2400).

Why does Ottawa get so many potholes in the winter?

The City of Ottawa posted an explanation for residents about the freeze-thaw cycle that leads to potholes all over the City. Here it is, along with a video that gives residents a better idea of how crews patch these holes during the winter months:

With freeze-thaw weather cycles comes the deterioration of road surfaces and potholes.

During the thaw, the water gets down in the crevices of the road. When the freeze returns, the water expands – popping out asphalt and increasing the size of the holes, especially when vehicles drive over them.

We met with the City’s asphalt crew to learn more about how potholes are formed and how they work to repair them.

The City’s crews do their best to respond to reports of potholes. It’s a big job and last year alone 193,000 were filled.

If you spot a pothole, you can help immediately by:

  • Calling 3-1-1, 613-580-2400 (TTY: 613-580-2401)

We appreciate your help with reporting potholes to ServiceOttawa or 3-1-1 (613-580-2400) - and so will everyone who shares the road with you!

ServiceOttawa is here to help you

Service Ottawa Vision

The City of Ottawa is committed to putting the needs of Citizens first and developed a Service-Ottawa initiative that provides a one-step access to services and information. Council has identified Service Delivery a priority. Therefore Service-Ottawa was created under Service Excellence to standardize the City’s front-end service delivery.

The vision of Service-Ottawa is to achieve better outcomes for Ottawa residents and businesses by providing a consistent and positive client experience across multiple channels with a focus on Service Excellence.

Service-Ottawa: 3-1-1 Call Centre

Service-Ottawa provides three doors to access City of Ottawa services-  one is by calling 3-1-1 (613-580-2400), attending a Client Service Centre in person, or by completing a form online through Service Ottawa. Citizens can call Service-Ottawa for various services provided by the City of Ottawa. Some of these services include:

By-Law Services

Garbage and Recycling

Animals
Cats
Dogs
Other animals
Parking
Parking in Excess of Time Limits
Unauthorized Parking
Property Violations
Property Violations – Exterior
Property Violations- Interior
Apartments
Apartments- Garbage
Apartments- Blue Recycling Carts
Apartments- Recycling Grey Bins
Apartments- Recycling Yellow Bin
Curb Side Collection
Black Box- Curb Side
Blue Box- Curb Side
Christmas Tree Pick-Up
Garbage Collection- Curb Side
Garbage Collection Calendar
Order a Garbage Collection Calendar sent in the mail.
   

Roads and Transportation

Water and Environment

Maintenance
Drain Covers on Roadways
Road Maintenance
Sidewalk and Path Maintenance
Street Lighting
Parking
Parking in Excess of Time Limits
Pay& Display Machine
Unauthorized Parking
Graffiti on Private Property
Graffiti on Public Property
Vandalism

 

After contacting the Service-Ottawa call centre by dialling 3-1-1 or 613-580-2400, a Service-Ottawa call centre agent will provide information regarding municipal services, as well as a create a service request when further action is needed. If a service request number has not been created, agents will provide you with a reference number to allow you to keep track of the progress made on the issue or concern.

Service -Ottawa Gateway Online

Accessing the City Services and information received a technological upgrade, when the City launched an enhanced ottawa.ca with the new Service Ottawa gateway. This gateway allows citizens to complete over 250 different types of service requests online, using the click of a button, removing the need to call or visit a Client Service Centre.

The information entered by the citizen will be electronically generated with a tracking number and notification sent directly to the resident, and request sent to the field crew in one step.

Here are some of the top service transactions that can be completed online:

  • Report an issue with green bin collection
  • Report an unauthorized vehicle parked on private property
  • Report a vehicle that has been parked longer that the allowed time limit
  • Pay a parking ticket
  • Report a Pothole on the road
  • Register for recreation classes and activities
  • Request a garbage and recycling collection calendar to be mailed to you

Following up on Service Request

Residents will receive a request number upon completion of a service transaction online. Using this tracking reference number and their email for authentication, residents can track the status of their request and the estimated response time through the Service-Ottawa gateway on ottawa.ca.