Column: June 4, 2018

MTO to commence Highway 17 bridge replacement work

The Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has notified our office that, commencing June 14, they will begin work on replacing the bridge on Highway 17 at the Mississippi River. The bridge replacement will be ongoing for the next year-and-a-half. MTO will put in place a signed detour re-routing commuters to Upper Dwyer Hill Road between Kinburn Side Road and Galetta Side Road.

As a reminder, Highway 17 is a provincially owned road and therefore MTO is responsible for the work being done. The City of Ottawa has no role in the bridge replacement work, other than to provide information to residents of the work. Questions or concerns should be directed to the MTO representative: Dan Brandao, Project Engineer, Ministry of Transportation, dan.brandao@ontario.ca, 613-545-4741.

Public Meeting on the Carp Barrens

The Friends of the Carp Hills (FCH) is holding a public meeting at the Huntley Community Centre Mess Hall at 2240 Craig Side Rd., on June 11, at 7pm to share your views on the conservation and use of the Carp Barrens on land owned by the City of Ottawa. I will be on hand along with City staff to participate and answer questions.
 
The FCH has an agreement with the City of Ottawa to maintain low-impact recreation trails for public use in the Carp Hills. The FCH has offered to host the meeting in this capacity and will publicly post feedback from the meeting on its website. In the last two years, public use of the Carp Barrens for hiking, hunting, mountain biking, dirt biking, birding, field naturalist outings, orienteering, snowshoeing, and skiing has increased substantially. Users have created and marked new trails without City authorization. The sensitive vegetation and wildlife of the area have experienced damage and disturbance. Parking on the narrow shoulder of Thomas A. Dolan Parkway creates a safety hazard. The City’s policies for its natural lands do not distinguish between more and less sensitive habitats in regulating uses. City staff will consider feedback from this meeting in a review of its management practices. If you cannot attend, send your feedback to info@carphills.com.

Volunteer at MVCA this summer

Two creeks in the City of Ottawa are the focus of this year’s City Stream Watch program, and Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) is calling for volunteers to help obtain, record and manage valuable information on the physical and biological characteristics of Poole and Cody Creeks.

The goal of City Stream Watch is to ensure creeks and streams in the City of Ottawa are respected and valued natural features of the communities through which they flow. This year’s program will run from June 11 to August 10. It offers excellent hands on experience and volunteers will receive all of the necessary training. Volunteers will work closely with experienced staff members, wading up the stream taking detailed measurements and site characteristics every 100 metres. Each group will be made up of 2-3 volunteers and 1-2 staff members. Scheduling is based on volunteer availability. Anyone looking to volunteer is encouraged to send an email to monitoring@mvc.on.ca with the following information:

  • Date(s) of availability
  • Shoe size (for hip waders)
  • Phone number

Fitzroy Concerts in the Park

I am proudly sponsoring Concerts in the Park for another season at Fitzroy Provincial Park. Concerts will take place every Thursday evening in July. This year's musical line up includes Sidewinder (July 5), Heartbeats (July 12), Eddie & The Stingrays (July 19) and Ambush (July 26). Every week, festivities begin at 6pm with a cash BBQ available courtesy of local youth groups. Concerts begin at 7pm. Attendees are reminded to bring lawn chairs and bug spray. All funds raised will go towards local youth initiatives. Donations will also be collected for CHEO.

Column: February 26, 2018

MVCA issues statement on water safety

With above seasonal daytime temperatures and several millimetres of rain forecasted over the next few days, the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA)  is advising residents to use extreme caution if venturing onto rivers and lakes as ice conditions may be unstable. General flooding is not expected at this time. However, runoff amounts may result in higher water levels in area creeks and streams and along roadside ditches. As spring approaches, parents are urged to remind their children about the dangers of playing on or near ice covered surfaces or fast flowing water. Residents in low lying areas, historically susceptible to flooding, should take the necessary precautions to protect their property, such as:

  • ensuring sump pumps are clear and in good working condition
  • removing or securing items that might float away as flows and water levels increase

Daily water levels and flows are available on the MVCA website. The MVCA flood forecasting and warning program monitors weather conditions, snowpack water content, estimates expected river flows and water levels and issues flood advisories or warnings as required. MVCA provides early warning and continuous monitoring to municipal and provincial emergency response personnel through a flood event.

11th Annual Fishing Derby in Constance Bay

Mike & Peter's 11th Annual Fishing Derby is taking place in Constance Bay, from Horseshoe Bay to the Constance Bay point, on Sunday, March 4, 7am-4pm (weather and ice conditions permitting). $20 registration fee for adults/children, and includes lunch from 11:30am-1:30pm. Pre-register at the Dunrobin LCBO or registration can also be done the day of the event at Peter Strong’s Shack the day of the Derby (marked by a pirate flag).

616 Fish & Game Club

The 616 Fish and Game Club is asking all members to weigh in if the 616 Fish and Game Club should continue to go forward (form a new executive) or fold. Please advise Ian Bottriell or Gord Johnson at 616fishandgame@gmail.com by March 1, 2018, if you are interested in leading the Club. If there is not sufficient interest by that date, the Club will fold.

Summer Student Employment Program

As a last minute reminder, students still have a couple of days (until February 28) to submit their applications for summer employment with the City of Ottawa. Go to ottawa.ca for full details and to apply online.

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!

Column: September 7, 2017

2018 Pre-Budget Consultation evening in Kinburn

West Carleton-March residents are invited to attend my 2018 Pre-Budget Consultation & Meet your City Services Night on Tuesday, September 12 at the Kinburn Community Centre. The evening will start at 6pm when residents can stop by tables displaying information on various services provided by the City of Ottawa. At 7pm, there will be short presentation on the City’s budget for 2018. We will be looking for feedback and suggestions that can be used in the drafting of the budget, before it’s tabled at Council on November 8.

If you cannot attend, but still want to provide your input, you can:

  • Email budget@ottawa.ca
  • Participate in ottawa.citizenbudget.com and submit ideas on how you would like to see your tax dollars spent
  • Tweet @ottawacity using the hash tag #ottbudget
  • Call 3-1-1

For more information on the Budget 2018, visit ottawa.ca.

Entrance fee now required at Morris Island Conservation Area

Effective Monday, October 2, 2017 Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) will begin charging a nominal entrance fee at Morris Island Conservation Area (MICA).

MICA, an environmental mecca along the Ottawa River, offers a variety of activities throughout all four seasons. The number of visitors has climbed steadily in recent years.

It should be noted that the revenue generated from charging entrance fees will be reinvested directly into the continued maintenance and development of roadways, parking areas, trails and other infrastructure within MICA.

MICA’s regular hours of operation are from dawn until dusk, seven days a week, with bathroom facilities maintained from May to October. As of October 2, when visitors enter the park they will find a pay and display machine located at the entrance to the trail. This new system will require park visitors to deposit fees (coin or credit) into a machine to receive a slip which they will then display in the windshield of their vehicle. The daily entrance rate will be $3 per vehicle. Visitors will have the option of purchasing an annual pass for $40 which also provides admittance to Purdon Conservation Area and the Mill of Kintail Conservation Area where admission is $6 per vehicle per day. The annual pass is valid for one year from date of purchase. Annual passes are available at the MVCA office in Carleton Place, or online at www.mvc.on.ca.

Column: May 25, 2017

Ongoing flood recovery efforts

As the ongoing flood recovery effort is fluid and changes daily, the best way for residents to stay informed on the latest information and services being provided is to frequently access the information on ottawa.ca. Anyone that needs assistance or has questions/concerns, can call my office 613-580-2475 or 3-1-1.

As a reminder, if your home experienced flood damage, you can apply for the Disaster Recovery Assistance for Ontarians program via www.mah.gov.on.ca/Page13760.aspx. Homeowners, tenants, small owner-operated businesses, farmers, and not-for-profit organizations are eligible to apply. Applicants can apply to be reimbursed for basic, necessary costs related to the disaster.

A gentle reminder to not empty sandbags onto the beaches as the sand may be contaminated. Please call my office and ask for help. Volunteers will be sent to assist any residents who are physically unable to bring the sandbags to the curb.

MVCA hosting public information session for flood-affected residents

On Wednesday, May 31 from 5-8pm, the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority (MVCA) will be hosting an information session for people impacted by flooding in Constance Bay and surrounding area. Affected homeowners will have the opportunity to ask questions to MVCA staff. The session will be held at the Constance Bay Community Centre, 262 Len Purcell Drive.

Also on hand at this meeting will be City staff from the Revenue Department to discuss the deferral of property taxes that has been implemented for those affected by the flood. Staff will provide detailed information on the deferral and answer questions.

Doors Open Ottawa

Explore Ottawa’s architecture during the free Doors Open Ottawa event on June 3 and 4. Doors will be open to 150 historically, culturally, and functionally significant buildings will be featured in honour of Canada’s 150th birthday! Visit ottawa.ca for a listing of participating buildings as well as an interactive map.

Tick season

My office has received word of a high number of ticks in the Kanata Highlands/Terry Fox extension areas. Residents that enjoy the outdoors in that area should be aware of this and take the necessary precautions.

Ticks are becoming more prevalent throughout the City of Ottawa and precautions should be taken to protect your family and pets from tick bites and Lyme Disease. For detailed information regarding ticks and Lyme Disease, go ottawa.ca.