Column: February 11, 2019

Tabling of the City of Ottawa’s 2019 Draft Budget

The City’s draft budget for 2019 was tabled at the City Council meeting on February 6. Some of the city-wide highlights include:

- Capping the residential property tax increase at three per cent. This will enable the City to spend an additional $9.8 million on roads and other municipal infrastructure, such as sidewalks, buildings and bridges. This will close the infrastructure gap within the next five years;

- $42.7 million for Ottawa’s rural communities, including $21.6 million to resurface and upgrade roads and $12 million for culverts to manage stormwater;

- Planning to reforest areas hit by the 2018 tornadoes, with $1.49 million being spent annually to plant 500,000 trees and regenerate Ottawa’s forest cover across rural, suburban and urban communities;

- Increasing funding to $50,000 for ward-led traffic calming projects across the city;

- $340 million on roads, bridges, buildings, watermains, sewers and transit infrastructure;

- $70.8 million for winter operations, an increase of $2.4 million;- Funding for 14 new paramedics, with associated equipment, to improve rural service delivery and improve response times across the city;

- Investing $15 million to build more affordable housing for residents; and

- $7.8 million for OC Transpo to buy additional buses. It also commits $3.4 million in 2019, and $5.1 million on an annual basis thereafter, to expand transit service. The budget proposes $55.2 million to replace 79 old buses and $22.4 million to refurbish buses

Ward 5 specific highlights of Budget 2019 include:

- $4 million to design and build 47 culverts;

- $2 million to retrofit, rehabilitate and replace components of communal well drinking systems, including the Carp Well System;

- $1.8 million for road surface treatments;

- $1.6 million to renew the Fitzroy Harbour Bridge;

- $820,000 to resurface roads;

- $620,000 to renew the Ritchie Side Road Bridge;

- $605,000 to preserve roads;

- $180,000 to renew the Kilmaurs Road Bridge;

- $125,000 to upgrade gravel roads;

- $560,000 to replace and repair:

- Septic system at Fire Station 45 and Paramedic Post – March

- Windows at Fire Station 61 and Paramedic Post – Kinburn

- Windows at Fire Station 66

- Flooring at the Fitzroy Harbour Community Centre and Ottawa Public Library – Fitzroy Harbour

- Roof of the main building at Pinhey Estate

- Ridge roof of the West Carleton Fire Training Building

- $38,000 for fitness equipment for Langstaff Park

- $10,000 for safety netting for the baseball diamond at Fitzroy Harbour

This proposed spending plan will be considered by all standing committees, boards and commissions, and then by Council on March 6. Residents can engage in this process by:

- Registering as a public delegation at a budget review meeting of any committee, board or commission, and make a five-minute presentation, at meetings being held between February 14 and March 5. A list of upcoming meetings is available at ottawa.ca/budget;

- Contacting our City Councillor to express your views;

- Emailing budget@ottawa.ca;

- Tweeting @ottawacity using the hashtag #ottbudget; and

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

Column: January 28, 2019

2019 Pre-Budget Meeting & Meet Your City Services Night – On Thursday, January 24 I held my 2019 Pre-Budget Consultation & Meet Your City Services Night in Kinburn. I want to thank the residents that attended and engaged in this important process. As well, my thanks to the city staff who were on hand to meet with residents one-on-one to discuss the services they provide on a daily basis – Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Police, Ottawa Public Health, By-Law, Planning & Infrastructure, Para Transpo and Roads. This was a great opportunity for residents to have more personal discussions with the City of Ottawa departments that most impact our daily lives in Ward 5.

The next step in the 2019 budget process is the tabling of the budget at a City Council meeting on February 6, 2019. Following the tabling, residents can attend or register as a public delegation at Standing Committees, Board or Commission meetings where the budget will be reviewed and discussed by Councillors and Board members at City Hall (meetings are being held between February 12 and March 4). If you want to attend or register as a public delegation go to ottawa.ca for the schedule of meetings and information on the registration process.

Other ways you can have your say on Budget 2019 include:

- Submitting your ideas to me directly at eli.el-chantiry@ottawa.ca
- Emailing budget@ottawa.ca
- Tweeting @ottawacity using the hash tag #ottbudget
- Calling in your commends to 3-1-1

New location for free well water testing – MacEwen Gas located, at 1794 Dunrobin Road, is now accepting private well water samples every Tuesday during regular business hours (5:30am – 11pm). As well, residents can pick up water sampling bottles at the gas bar during normal business hours (Mon-Fri 5:30am-11pm, Sat 6am-11pm, and Sun 7am-10pm). This new location is replacing the previous location that was stationed at Dunrobin Meats & Grocery. For a complete list of all of the well water drop off locations in the City go to ottawa.ca.

Winterlude at the Diefenbunker – Beat the cold at the Diefenbunker during their annual Winterlude at the Bunker. The dates are Friday, February 1 – Monday, February 18 and the cost is included in the price of admission. Try your hand at being a secret agent as you complete a scavenger hunt, search for and solve clues, and determine the identity of a rogue agent in this remarkable 100,000 square foot underground bunker. Once your mission is complete, the entire family is welcome to enjoy hot chocolate and coding activities in the cafeteria. For more details go to diefenbunker.ca.

Fitzroy Winter Carnival – Mark your calendars! The Fitzroy Harbour Winter Carnival is happening February 7, 8 and 9. For the latest details on events visit fitzroyharbour.wordpress.com in the coming days to get all the latest event details.

Column: January 21, 2019

REMINDER: Public Budget Meeting & Meet Your City Services Night – West Carleton-March residents are invited to attend my 2019 Pre-Budget Consultation & Meet Your City Services Night on Thursday, January 24, 2019. It is being held at the Kinburn Community Centre at 3045 Kinburn Side Rd.

The evening starts at 6pm when residents can stop by tables displaying information on various important services provided by the City of Ottawa. At 7pm, the City Budget portion of the evening begins. This is the time for you, the residents and taxpayers of Ottawa, to have your say by providing feedback and suggestions that will be used in assisting with the drafting of the budget document before it’s tabled at City Council on Wednesday, February 6. The final 2019 Budget will be approved at the City Council meeting on March 6, 2019. Light refreshments will be served – I hope to see many of you there!

If you cannot attend my budget consultation meeting, you can still provide your input by:

- Submitting your ideas to me directly at eli.el-chantiry@ottawa.ca
- Emailing budget@ottawa.ca
- Attending other Councillor-led budget meetings over the coming weeks (visit ottawa.ca for the meetings schedule)
- Tweeting @ottawacity using the hash tag #ottbudget
- Calling in your commends to 3-1-1
- Attending and/or registering as a public delegation at Standing Committee, Board and Commission meetings where the 2019 Budget will be reviewed (meetings being held between February 12 and March 4). Information on meeting dates and how to register as delegation can be found on the City of Ottawa website.

Hockey Day in Corkery – On Saturday, January 26, Hockey Day in Corkery is happening. There's a new format this year with a 4 on 4 hockey tournament. The event runs from 10am to 6pm at the Corkery Community Centre rink, 3447 Old Almonte Rd. Players must be 13 years of age and older. Admission is $10 per person, and includes chili, treats, coffee and hot chocolate. For full tournament details, including registering to play is found on www.corkerycommunity.ca. (Anyone wishing to bring a pot of chili can sign up to do so as well via the Association’s website.)

The Diefenbunker: Valentines for Veterans – The Diefenbunker invites families to join them in making handmade Valentines for the brave men and women who served our country. The Diefenbunker has partnered with The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre to create these tokens of affection for its residents. Attend the Diefenbunker on these upcoming Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4:30pm: January 26, January 27, February 2, February 3, February 9 and February 10. Included in the cost of admission. For more details go to www.diefenbunker.ca.

23rd Annual Diefenbooker Race – On Saturday, May 4, walk, run or bike with the community during the 23rd Annual Diefenbooker Race. Early bird registrations is now open on www.diefenbookerclassic.ncf.ca. Register before March 23 for discounts. The proceeds of this event support literacy in the Ward 5 community.

Column: December 17, 2018

My Christmas Food Drive – It’s the final week of my Christmas Food Drive for the West Carleton Food Access Centre. You have until December 21 to drop off non-perishable items to the ward office (5670 Carp Rd.), Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. Items needed are canned fruit, canned stew, tomato paste, dish soap, laundry soap and packaged chocolate chip cookies. Please, no expired products. I am also collecting new socks and new underwear (must be packaged) for Savvy Seconds. Residents can drop off donations of all sizes to my ward office.

Blue Christmas Service – St. Paul’s Anglican Church at 1118 Thomas A. Dolan Parkway, is holding a Blue Christmas Service on Thursday, December 20 at 8pm. St. Paul’s is holding the service for anyone who might not be in the Christmas spirit this year because of the tornado but who may still want to mark the season. It will be a somber observance of hope in this midst of distress. All are welcome to attend. Quyon Ferry – This is a reminder to residents that the Quyon Ferry’s last day of operation for the season is Friday, December 21, and will run until 8pm.

City Council has approved cannabis retail stores in Ottawa – At a special City Council meeting held on December 13, Council as a whole approved cannabis retails stores in Ottawa. City of Ottawa will permit retail cannabis stores beginning April 1, 2019. Council heard presentations from nine members of the public. This is in addition to 23,000 responses to an online survey conducted earlier this fall. The responses to the online survey and a random sample telephone survey generally supported permitted retail cannabis stores in Ottawa. Public input indicates that residents want stores with appropriate controls and protections to minimize the impacts on the community.

The General Manager of the Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department will develop the City’s formal responses to store applications made to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission. Responses will require the agreement of the Ward Councillor. Mayor Watson will advocate with the Ontario government for greater municipal planning authority over retail cannabis stores, including for the right to increase the distance between stores and to regulate and license private cannabis retail stores. City staff will report on the impact of the legalization of recreational cannabis on City services in late 2019.

As new issues emerge, the City will consult with residents and provide additional reports and recommendations to Council as required.Permitting retail cannabis stores will help reduce the black market and provide consumers access to safer products in a highly regulated environment. The City will spend less resources shutting down illegal sellers, and receive additional funding from the Ontario Cannabis Legalization Implementation Fund to offset the costs related to the legalization of recreational cannabis. Cannabis retailers will also create economic and employment opportunities in the city, including spinoff benefits for other sectors.

2019 budget directions approved – City Council has approved guidelines for the development of the 2019 draft City of Ottawa budget. The City’s 2019 draft operating and capital budgets will be tabled at Council on February 6, 2019, with public meetings to follow. Detailed information, including dates of all standing committee meetings and public consultations, will be available on ottawa.ca in the near future.