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.

Column: December 7, 2018

Council to consider report on cannabis retail stores on December 13 – A report providing options on retail cannabis stores in Ottawa was tabled at the City Council meeting on December 5. Council will be considering this report at a Special Council Meeting scheduled for Thursday, December 13 at Ottawa City Hall. Public delegations will be received at this meeting. Any residents interested in speaking to Council as whole as a public delegation can complete a form at the meeting or can contact Tara Anderson at tara.anderson1@ottawa.ca, 613-580-2424 ext. 27156 in advance. I strongly recommend residents READ THE REPORT. This report provides the options and consequences of opting-out of the Province of Ontario’s regime for private cannabis retail stores. It includes information on crime-related consequences, economic development opportunities and public health considerations, and summarizes the results of public input on retail stores. The report also outlines the key facets of the Province’s retail cannabis regime that will be regulated by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO), the role of municipalities within that regime and potential mechanisms for providing feedback to the AGCO. Finally, the report provides an update on the City of Ottawa’s actions to prepare for and address the implementation of cannabis legalization.The staff recommendation contained in the Report, which has been table and which Council will be considering on December 13, notes that staff is recommending Council agree to have private cannabis retail stores in Ottawa – that is, that City Council not “opt out” of the provincial regulatory regime, for the following reasons:

- the anticipated negative consequences of allowing the illicit cannabis market to flourish if there is an absence of a legal retail option for recreational cannabis users;

- the potential economic development opportunities and impacts of having private retail cannabis stores in Ottawa;

- the public health benefits related to the quality of legal cannabis product and the education and support that can be provided at the point of sale in a retail store model; and

- the public input received in favour of having cannabis retail stores, and for cannabis consumers in particular, in favour of shopping at retail stores

Get your Christmas tree from our volunteer firefighters – The volunteer firefighters of Station 84 are providing locally sourced Christmas trees. If you’re still in need of a tree for your home, please consider support our volunteer firefighters and get your tree from them. Drop by the Public Works Building at the corner of March and the 417, between 9am and 4pm on December 8, 9, 15 and 16.West Carleton Legion holding Christmas fun – On Saturday, December 8 the Legion in Constance Bay is holding a Sandhill Seniors Christmas Party. Turkey dinner by Harriet, entertainment by Simon Clarke “A Touch of Class.” Check at the bar to see if any tickets are available. Seniors club members $15, non-members $20. Please bring an item for the food bank. Then on Sunday, December 9, the Legion is hosting a Children’s Christmas Party, from 12:30pm to 3pm. Bring your little ones for a visit with Santa! There will be lunch, cookie decorating and crafts. Santa will arrive around 2:15pm with something for all the kids! Parents, please sneak a $10 wrapped gift to the bartender for Santa to hand out to your kids.

MY ANNUAL CHRISTMAS FOOD DRIVE for the West Carleton Food Access Centre is ongoing until December 21! Residents can drop off non-perishable food 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.

MY COLLECTION FOR SAVVY SECONDS. My ward office is also collecting new socks and new underwear (must be packaged) for Savvy Seconds. Residents can drop off donations of all sizes Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.