Column: January 11, 2018

My communications game plan

With this being my last column to be delivered to your doorstep, I thought it important to provide you with my communications game plan going forward. Please note that the strategy noted below may change over the coming months as I get feedback from staff and the community on the best ways to notify residents of important ward and city news.
I will be continuing my weekly column after the paper closes, but will only be publishing it via my website and social media accounts. This means there will be no hard copy delivery in your mail each week. I looked into doing mail outs to residents, but the cost is prohibitive.

I know there is a segment of the West Carleton community that appreciates having the physical paper delivered every week and, for some, the move to a digital format may be an issue. I have already met with the City’s Corporate Communications Department to request assistance with communications to these residents. We are working on a solution and will let you know in the coming few months.

Starting the week of January 15, my strategy will be as follows:

  • My column will be posted every Monday on www.eliel-chantiry.ca (the first column being posted on January 15)
  • A hard copy of the latest column will be posted on the bulletin board at my ward office. Residents wanting their own hard copy can stop by my ward office and my staff will gladly print off a copy
  • My column will be posted every Monday on my social media accounts. Please follow me on Twitter (@Eli_ElChantiry) and subscribe to my Councillor Facebook Page (facebook.com/Ward5Ottawa)
  • I will also continue my monthly e-newsletter. If you haven’t already done so, sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox. Either email ward5@ottawa.ca and ask to be added to the mailing list, or complete the sign up form on my website’s home page
  • Any community groups who want help promoting their events going forward, can send event details to ward5@ottawa.ca and we’ll make sure to include it under the “Ward Events” section of my website and post it on my social media accounts

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to all of the staff at the West Carleton Review for their excellent coverage of news and events in Ward 5, and I wish them all the best in their future endeavours.

Column: January 4, 2018

Happy New Year!

My wife Maha and I want to wish you a safe and Happy New Year!

I would like to thank residents who generously donated to my Christmas food drive in December. The many contributions received helped the West Carleton Food Access Centre fulfill the demand during the holiday season. Please remember, WCFAC are in need of non-perishable food donations year-round and will gratefully accept your donations at any time. They are located at the West Carleton Community Complex, 5670 Carp Road.

Nominate an Outstanding Young Farmer for 2018

Ontario’s Outstanding Young Farmers Program (OOYF) is designed to recognize farmers and farm couples who exemplify excellence in their profession. Anyone can nominate a young farmer/farm couple for the regional recognition award and title of Ontario's Outstanding Young Farmer as long as they meet the following program eligibility requirements:

  • Must be between the ages of 18 and 39
  • Be farm operators
  • Derive a minimum of two-thirds of their income from farming

Nominations are due by January 15th, 2018 and are available at www.oyfontario.ca/nominations.html.

Safety first on snowmobile trails

Every winter we hear stories of accidents and mishaps on our snowmobile trails. Please consider these safety precautions when heading out on the trails:

  • Machines should be carefully checked before heading out,
  • Snowmobiles should have all required permits and insurance,
  • Proper gear should be worn including an approved helmet,
  • Always ride with a partner,
  • Stay on approved trails and do not trespass,
  • The maximum speed on trails is 50 km/h and 20 km/h where posted,
  • Plan routes and advise someone of travel plans and arrival times,
  • Carry a cell phone and GPS,
  • When riding across ice, wear a floatation device or a floater suit,
  • Watch out for obstacles on trails such as trees, branches, trail washouts and snow banks,
  • Pedestrians and snowmobilers should be respectful of each other and share the trails,
  • Snowmobilers should slow down when passing pedestrians,
  • Pedestrians should move off to the side of the trail to allow snowmobiles to pass by safely, and
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times while on the trails (as stipulated in The Animal Care and Control By-Law No. 2003-77, dogs are never allowed to run at large when off the owner’s property).

For information on our trails, visit the West Carleton Snowmobile Association's website at wcstai.com.

Column: December 28, 2017

Schedule change to City service during holiday season

There will be a number of schedule changes to city services until Tuesday, January 2, 2018. Some changes of note:

  • There will be no curbside green bin, recycling, garbage or bulky item collection on New Year's Day. New Year’s Day pick-up will take place on Tuesday, January 2. Collection will be delayed by one day for the remainder of the week. For curbside collection inquiries, refer to the collection calendar tool on ottawa.ca.
  • Christmas trees will be collected on your regular scheduled collection day. Please remove all decorations. Christmas trees in plastic bags will not be collected.
  • The Client Service Centre, located at the West Carleton Community Complex, will be closed Wednesday, January 3, 2018.

Visit ottawa.ca for a complete listing of changes and closures during the holidays.

Don’t forget to recycle and compost

Your green, black and blue bins are ready to meet all your holiday recycling needs. Turkey carcass and other food scraps like peelings, shells, cores and bones, all belong in the green bin. It’s also ideal for soiled paper plates and cold fireplace ashes. You can use discarded paper gift wrapping to wrap your food waste or to line your green bin. Your black box can be used to get rid of empty cardboard boxes and used paper wrapping, while the blue box can handle your plastics and glass.

Stay informed by signing up to my monthly e-newsletter

With the closing of the West Carleton Review (their last edition will be January 11, 2018), it will be important for West Carleton residents to stay informed by signing up to receive my monthly e-newsletter. This is a great way to stay informed on the latest ward and city news. If you haven’t already done so, please sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox. Either email ward5@ottawa.ca and ask to be added to the mailing list, or complete the sign up form on my website’s home page.

Winter Zumba Fitness

Kick your New Year off to a great start with winter Zumba Fitness. Running for twelve sessions (January 10, 2018 to March 28, 2018) at St. Paul’s Church Hall on Thomas Dolan Parkway in Dunrobin. Sessions are from 6:30-7:30pm for a fee of $84. Contact Instructor Emma Venes to register or for more information at zumbazinemma@gmail.com.

Column: December 21, 2017

Budget 2018

On December 13, City Council approved the budget for 2018. It caps the residential property tax increase at 2%, increases transit fares by 2.5%, increases most recreation fees by 2% and increases the annual garbage fee by $2. For a rural home with an assessed value of $404,000 the increase is about $62.

Council received an update from City Treasurer Marian Simulik, with the latest tax revenue information for the year. The City expects it will end 2017 with a surplus, due in part to $10 million in greater than expected assessment growth. Council voted to use the $10 million to renew additional infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks, bike lanes and buildings. Council will approve the allocation of this spending in early 2018.

In total, the City will have an operating budget of $3.4 billion in 2018 and a capital budget of $739 million. Some of budget highlights that will be of interest to Ward 5 residents are:

  • $2.3 million more for winter operations, totalling $68.3 million
  • $600,000 to repair potholes, bringing the total for asphalt repairs to $8 million
  • $5.6 million more to resurface roads, a 17% increase, totalling $39.2 million
  • 14 new paramedics and one additional emergency response vehicle, adding to the 36 paramedics hired in this term of Council
  • $12 million to renew the City’s rural infrastructure, including more than $8 million to rehabilitate bridges and bridge culverts
  • $520,000 for Peter Robinson Road Bridge (located in Carp)
  • $3.1 million to reconstruct and upgrade roads in the rural area, including renewing guiderails

Ottawa City Council also approved the 2018 Ottawa Police Service Operating and Capital Budgets. This budget adds 25 new officers to their complement in 2018 and completes a three-year 75 officer hiring plan. That is on top of hiring to replace retirements and other departures. Those new officers will be directed to Frontline, Traffic Unit, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Section. The budget also includes a hiring forecast of 30 new officers every year between 2019 to 2021.

Merry Christmas!

My wife Maha and I would like to wish you a happy Christmas season. As you celebrate the season please remember – do not drink and drive.

A special thanks in advance to our emergency services personnel – volunteer firefighters, paramedics and police. This is an especially busy time of year for them and many of them work through the holidays, away from their own families, to ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.

Column: December 14, 2017

MVCA extends financial relief deadline for flood victims

At the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) Board of Directors meeting on December 6, the Board voted in favour of extending its decision to provide financial relief to 2017 flood victims. Initially this was to end on December 31, 2017, but due to a large number of applications received, there was concern not everyone affected has had the opportunity to submit. The deadline has been extended to August 31, 2018.

In May 2017, the MVCA Board approved to reduce fees by 50% to permits received in relation to reconstruction/repair of residences and charge $25 for alteration of shorelines that have been impacted by the flood of 2017 along the Ottawa River. The reduction applies to current landowner applications only. For landowners looking for more information, contact MVCA head office at 613-253-0006.

A Ward 5 “Snow Angel” recognized for his efforts

On December 6 at Ottawa City Hall, a handful of residents from across the City were honoured at the annual Snow Angel Recognition Ceremony. The Snow Angel Program recognizes residents who volunteer their time to assist older adults and people with disabilities with snow removal.

At this year’s ceremony, Ward 5 resident Kevin Rees was recognized for helping a couple of his neighbours with their snow clearing needs. I have heard from many folks in his community that Kevin has always been one to step up and help his friends and neighbours. His small act of kindness has had a big impact on those that needed his help. Thanks to Kevin for stepping up and helping his neighbours.

Budget 2018

As of the writing of this column, the City’s Budget for 2018 has not yet been approved and will only be finalized at the City Council meeting held on Wednesday, December 13. For those interested in reviewing the final budget to confirm how it will impact you in the coming year, I recommend visiting ottawa.ca after December 13, where detailed information on Budget 2018 will be posted.

My West Carleton-March Food Drive ending soon

Next week is the last week of my Christmas food drive for the West Carleton Food Access Centre. Please consider dropping off non-perishable food by December 22 to my ward office (5670 Carp Road) Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm. Thank you for all the generous donations thus far!