Column: June 13, 2019

State of emergency lifted

As of June 12, Mayor Watson terminated the state of emergency, which was declared on April 25 in response to flooding along the Ottawa River. The City’s emergency operations centre remains in operation while the flood response and recovery are ongoing. The City of Ottawa continues to assist residents and businesses return to a state of normalcy following the flooding. The City has implemented a demobilization guide to oversee ongoing work in the following areas:

• Debris Management
• Infrastructure services
• Building Code services
• Well water testing

Keep up-to-date with latest flood information through www.ottawa.ca and the City’s “2019 Spring Flood” Facebook group page.

Ward 5 resident receives City Builder Award

At the City Council meeting on June 12, Ward 5 resident Janet Mason was presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award. While working over 30 years in management positions within the defence and technology industries, Janet Mason has always found time for the environment. In the last several years, she has volunteered for several environmental groups and initiatives. She helped co-found the Friends of the Carp Hill and led the development of the recreation trail system. She still chairs the volunteer organization, as she does with the Friends of the Carp River. Her commitment to the environment does not end there. For the past five years, Ms. Mason has sat on the board of directors for the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority. She has spent the last five months as chair, representing the City of Ottawa. She has served as the Chair of the Ottawa Stewardship Council and sat on the boards of the Mississippi Madawaska Land Trust and the Macnamara Field Naturalists’ Club. She remains a champion for environmental issues facing Ottawa’s west end. Congratulations to Janet!

West Carleton Garden Club - Garden Tour

The West Carleton Garden Club is hosting a Garden Tour of nine local gardens on Saturday, June 15 from 10am to 4pm. Tickets are $20 and proceeds will go towards the purchase of a garden bench for Carp Memorial Hall. The tour will include a diverse variety of gardens in and around the Carp area: large and a small suburban properties, some larger acreages, a community garden, the garden of a commercial business and also, KIN Vineyards. A Victorian tea will be served at the Huntley Mess Hall. More information including where to buy tickets can be found on the Garden Club’s website at www.wcgc.ca.

Column: June 6, 2019

Urgent call for volunteers

On Saturday, June 8 and Sunday, June 9, volunteers of all abilities, age 12 and over, are urgently needed for sandbag and debris removal at flood-affected properties in West Carleton-March. Work will take place between 9am and 7pm both days. If you are able to help, please report to the Volunteer Registration Centre located at the Constance and Buckham’s Bay Community Centre, 262 Len Purcell Drive. Registration is from 9am to 4:30pm. There will be a shuttle bus option from the Innovation Park & Ride (1321-3043 Innovation Drive). The first bus departs at 8:30am and the last bus leaves at 4pm.Volunteers will be supplied with gloves and may be required to lift up to 22kg/50lbs. Comfortable, weather-appropriate clothing with long sleeves, pants and boots is recommended. Clothing may get dirty, wet or damaged. Volunteers may bring food. Water and snacks will be provided. Volunteers under 18 need a parent or legal guardian to sign their registration forms and must be supervised by an adult on site. Updates about the daily need for volunteers will be made through www.ottawa.ca and the City’s social media channels. During the weekdays there is no City-led volunteer management on site. Anyone wanting to volunteer on weekdays before this coming weekend should register directly with Samaritan’s Purse online at www.samaritanspurse.ca or by calling 1-844-547-2664.2019

Wild Parsnip Strategy

Wild Parsnip is an invasive plant that is increasingly common 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 may cause skin and eye irritation and make the skin prone to burning and blistering when exposed to the sun. The City's Wild Parsnip Program for this season has begun and will end in October. Similar to past years, the goal is to reduce the growth of wild parsnip in areas city-wide along rural and suburban roadsides. The 2019 Strategy consists of using Clearview Herbicide (PCP #29752, containing aminopyralid and metsulfuron-methyl) and Gateway adjuvant (PCP# 31470, containing mineral oil – paraffin base [adjuvants], surfactant blend) under the Pest Control Products Act (Canada). The City's Public Works and Environmental Services Department has been proactively mapping out wild parsnip infestation levels across the city along roadsides, parkland and pathways. The strategy includes monitoring, mapping, the use of herbicides, mowing and evaluation. To notify the public of the herbicide application, “Notice of Herbicide Use” advertisements appeared in local newspapers on May 13. Also, given the large number of public access points for parks, signs will continue to be posted every 100 m. Similar to last year, rural residents who do not wish to have the roadside adjacent to their property sprayed have been given the option to “OPT OUT” of the Wild Parsnip program. The best way to avoid contact with Wild Parsnip is to become familiar with what the plant looks like. Visit ottawa.ca for more information on this plant.

Carp stormwater pond maintenance

A dry pond stormwater facility located on Juanita Avenue in Carp requires landscaping maintenance. The City plans to go in and grub out some willows that are growing in the bottom of the facility. They have coordinated with the Forestry Department to confirm that this planned maintenance would not conflict with their reforestation activities. Once the work is completed, staff will be able to repair a concrete headwall that has been damaged. The work is estimated commence in coming few weeks.

Column: May 30, 2019

Special collection of waste & hazardous waste

As of the writing of this column, the City of Ottawa began a special garbage collection schedule in flood-affected areas. Some collection will take place daily, seven days a week. To help with collection and disposal, flood-related debris should be separated by residents into five categories:

  • Household Trash and bagged debris, including material from demolition and construction, will be collected daily. Blue, black and green bins will be collected according to the regular schedule.

  • Appliances such as air conditioners, water heaters, washers/dryers, stoves, freezers and refrigerators will be collected Monday to Friday. Food should be removed and the doors should be removed or secured shut.

  • Electronics such as computers, stereos, TVs and any other device with a cord will be collected Monday to Friday.

  • Vegetative debris, such as logs, large tree limbs and pressure treated wood, will be collected regularly from the roadside.

  • Household hazardous waste collection will be on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Household hazardous waste must not be included with your garbage. Any leaking containers should be placed in a secure container or be double-bagged and labeled with the contents.

Please note: given that I write this column a full week before it’s published in the paper, I strongly suggest residents always check www.ottawa.ca for the latest and most up-to-date information regarding flooding matters and the services the City of Ottawa is providing.

Temporary Road Closure - Upper Dwyer Hill Rd.

In my last column in the May 16 edition of Your Community Voice, I noted that Upper Dwyer Hill Road, between Vaughan Side Road and Carroll Side Road, was closed due to an emergency culvert replacement, and that the closure would remain in effect for at least a few weeks until the new culvert can be installed. As an update, the road still remains closed. The new culvert has been ordered and is scheduled to be delivered by the end of this month. This is a large culvert with an unusual size and unique dimensions. A new culvert has been ordered and is being fabricated. Upper Dwyer Hill Road is expected to reopen by the end of the first week of June, barring any unforeseen delays including weather.

Column: May 23, 2019

Seeking formal investigations into flooding

At the City Council meeting on May 22, I put forward a motion where I've directed Mayor Watson to ask for a formal investigation by the Federal and Provincial governments into flooding in Ottawa in 2019 and 2017. My motion passed. The Mayor will be sending out a formal letter soon. I will provide updates on this initiative as I know more.

Province’s internal task force on flooding

On May 13, Premier Doug Ford and Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski announced the provincial government’s commitment to ensure better planning and reduce the impacts to residents due to flooding. In a press release, Premier Ford stated: "…‘I want to assure the people of Ontario that we are taking action to better plan for and reduce the impacts of flooding,’ said Premier Doug Ford. ‘We will start by creating an internal task force that will hear directly from people in flood zones about how we can all work together to protect their property and keep them safe.’” The press release went on to indicate that the task force would be consulting with municipal, Indigenous and industry leaders to discuss how to prepare for floods and respond to them when they happen, with “engagement sessions” being held in Muskoka on May 17, Pembroke on May 23 and Ottawa on May 24. Even though the press release indicated they’d be consulting with municipalities at these sessions, in reality these meetings were closed door sessions and, in fact, no one reached out to the City of Ottawa to invite representatives to have a seat at the table at the May 24 meeting. I thought it was wrong to exclude having municipal representatives in attendance. Given that our region is one of the hardest-hit areas, I felt our involvement in the session would be an integral part to any discussions.

After working on this for that past several days, I’m pleased to report both Mayor Watson and I have been invited to attend the province’s internal task force meeting on May 24. I’m very appreciative to MPP Yakabuski and Premier Ford for agreeing to open the door to us and allowing us to be part of the discussions. Going into this meeting, we haven’t been provided any notes or agenda nor a list of the participants attending. However, I will make sure to keep residents updated on the outcome of this meeting if there is any important details and information I can share. Stay tuned!

Special collection of waste & hazardous waste

Starting Saturday, May 25, the City will begin a special garbage collection schedule in flood-affected areas. Some collection will take place daily, seven days a week. To help with collection and disposal, flood-related debris should be separated by residents into five categories:I

  • Household Trash and bagged debris, including material from demolition and construction, will be collected daily. Blue, black and green bins will be collected according to the regular schedule.

  • Appliances such as air conditioners, water heaters, washers/dryers, stoves, freezers and refrigerators will be collected Monday to Friday. Food should be removed and the doors should be removed or secured shut.

  • Electronics such as computers, stereos, TVs and any other device with a cord will be collected Monday to Friday.

  • Vegetative debris, such as logs, large tree limbs and pressure treated wood, will be collected regularly from the roadside.

  • Household hazardous waste collection will be on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Household hazardous waste must not be included with your garbage. Any leaking containers should be placed in a secure container or be double-bagged and labeled with the contents.

Additional information about sandbag collection will be made next week. Residents are urged to leave sandbag walls intact until flood waters recede significantly, and to not include sandbags with their garbage at this time.

Column: May 16, 2019

Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs has initiated the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians Program for the City of Ottawa, ‎which may provide financial assistance to residents affected by the flooding. Information about the program is available at www.Ontario.ca/DisasterAssistance to help individuals, small owner-operated businesses, farms and not-for-profit organizations cover emergency expenses and repair or replace essential property following a natural disaster.

Fees waived by ESA

The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) has waived reconnection fees in regard to the restoration of electrical services in flood damaged areas. For any residents who have already paid this fee, a full refund will be provided through ESA’s customer service centre at 1-877-372-7233.

Deferral of tax bills & help with plans to rebuild

On May 8, City Council approved giving more time to property owners affected by flooding to pay their 2019 property taxes. The final payment for property taxes this year is due on Thursday, June 20. Council is extending that due date to Thursday, December 5 for owners whose dwellings were flooded. Go to ottawa.ca for more information. Council also approved a motion to help residents in the flooded areas rebuild without needing to pay building fees or obtaining minor variances.

Canadian Red Cross help

Homeowners that have been directly impacted by spring flooding may receive financial aid from the Red Cross to help meet their immediate needs. Affected residents, where this is their primary residence, may receive up to $600 to help meet their immediate needs. To receive this assistance, impacted households need to be registered with the Red Cross. To register:

• Call: 1-800-863-6582
• Online at redcross.ca
• In-person at designated community centres (Red Cross Services)

Full details of assistance available can be found at redcross.ca/gethelp. Only one registration per household. Funds will be provided through e-transfer or a prepaid cash card.

Temporary road closure - Upper Dwyer Hill Road

On May 8, Upper Dwyer Hill Road, between Vaughan Side Road and Carroll Side Road, was closed due to an emergency culvert replacement. The road closure will be remain in effect for at least the next couple of weeks until the new culvert can be installed. Detour signage is in place.