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.