Column: February 4, 2019

My work for rural residents at ROMA – From January 27 to 29, I attended the Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) annual conference in Toronto. Over 1,000 delegates from municipalities all across the province attended this year’s conference. ROMA is considered the voice of rural Ontario. This annual conference brings together rural officials from across the province to raise priorities with the provincial government, and allows rural officials to press the three government parties for solutions on issues of priority in Ontario’s rural communities. I attended this year’s conference wearing three hats: as a ROMA Board member for Zone 8, as 2nd Vice Chair of the ROMA Board of Directors, and as Chair of Ottawa’s Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee. ROMA’s Board works year round to advance rural priorities and the conference allowed the Board to continue this work. Some of the rural issues I brought forward to provincial government officials at this year’s conference included:

- I spoke with provincial government officials regarding the issue of rural broadband. I made an official request that rural broadband in Ontario be considered an essential service. In response, provincial officials agreed with this and indicated they would continue to work with the Federal government to push this issue forward.

- I made an official request to the Province of Ontario for funding for natural gas in order to be able to be this service to rural communities (such as Dunrobin Shores and Fitzroy Harbour).

- I, along with Stephen Willis (the City’s General Manager of Planning, Infrastructure & Economic Development), met with Hon. Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing. We requested a reduction in the level of red tape surrounding communal service systems in relation to building adult living communities in rural areas. In rural areas, we want to be able to build adult living communities where seniors can stay living rurally while also helping to boost rural economic development that would come with building these communities. As it stands now, there are obstacles to building these communities because of well and septic ‘red tape,’ and which ends up stalling the development of adult living communities. In our discussion, Minister Clark committed to helping reduce the red tape and indicated that rural municipalities would have options to build.

- I also brought up with Hon. Steve Clark the ongoing issue of ambulance response times in rural communities, and the problematic issue of paramedics being held up at hospitals due the lengthy time it takes to transfer patients to the hospitals. Minister Clark indicated that the province is looking at this issue closely and will be trying to remedy this issue of ‘hallway medicine.’

Fitzroy Winter Carnival – Fitzroy’s annual Winter Carnival is happening this week from February 7 to 9 at the Fitzroy Harbour Community Centre. Lots of fun activities and events for the whole family. For more event information visit fitzroyharbour.wordpress.com. Dunrobin Winter Carnival – A winter carnival is happening in Dunrobin on Sunday, February 10 from 1pm to 4pm. There will be fun for everyone inside, outside and on the ice. The carnival takes place at the community centre, 1151 Thomas A. Dolan Pkwy. Go to dunrobincommunity.com for more details.

City of Ottawa Summer Hiring Campaign – The City’s 2019 Summer Student Employment Program is now open and will be accepting online applications until March 1. Students looking for a summer job with the City can go to ottawa.ca for details on the hiring process and to complete an online application. Good luck to all!

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: February 5, 2018

Mayor for a Day Contest

Attention Ottawa students in grades 9 to 12, Mayor Jim Watson and Youth Ottawa want to make you Mayor for the Day and wants to know your ideas on how to make Ottawa an even better place to live. Students are invited to submit either an essay (max. 1,000 word) or a 5 minute video with your responses to "What are your 3 ideas to improve the City of Ottawa?" The selected applicants will be named Mayor for a Day and have the opportunity to spend time with Mayor Watson and City of Ottawa staff, learn about the Mayor's Office, and discuss their ideas. For contest rules and to enter the contest go to ottawa.ca. Good luck to all students who enter!

Summer Student Employment Program

The City of Ottawa's 2018 Summer Student Employment Program is now open and will be accepting online applications until February 28, 2018. To be eligible for the program, students must satisfy the following criteria:

  • be legally entitled to work in Canada;
  • be 16 years of age or older by the first day of summer employment (For employment with the Ottawa Public Library you must be 15 years of age or older);
  • be enrolled in a secondary or post-secondary program or institution of higher learning on a full-time basis, returning to school or graduating that same year; and
  • if a part-time student in university or college, your transcript must indicate that the course of study is leading you to a degree or diploma.

If you are interested in taking on exciting challenges and making a difference in your community, explore our summer job opportunities in a wide range of fields. Go to ottawa.ca for more information and to apply online.

Carp Creative Writing Group

Love to write? Coordinator, author Melba McGee, invites professional and hobby writers to join the Carp Creative Writing Group, to find support and encouragement for your writing. There are weekly meetings at the Carp Branch of the Ottawa Public Library on Wednesdays, 6:45-8pm. To register for this group go to the Ottawa Public Library’s website.

Register now for March Break camps

March Break camps are offered at City facilities the week of March 12 to 18. Visit ottawa.ca to reveiw many camps available and to register online. As some camps fill up quickly, don’t delay in making your choices now.

Column: February 9, 2017

Help shape services for children, their families and caregivers

The City of Ottawa is planning for the new Ontario Early Years Child and Family Centres (OEYCFCs) and wants to hear from parents, grandparents and caregivers of children six years of age and younger.

In 2018, all child and family programs funded by the province will become part of one unified system of services and supports for children ages 0 to 6 and their families. These new OEYCFC centres will offer programs and services for children, from newborn to six-year-old. Public consultations are ongoing and the remaining sessions are noted below. If you would like to attend, please register at ottawa.ca/en/early-years.

  • Sat., Feb. 11, 1-3pm, Johnny Leroux Centre, 10 Warner-Colpitts Lane (English)
  • Mon., Feb. 13, 7-9pm, Peter D. Clark Place, 255 Centrum Blvd. (English)
  • Wed., Feb. 15, 7-9pm, Peter D. Clark Place, 255 Centrum Blvd. (French)
  • Sat., Feb. 18, 10am- noon, Walter Baker Sports Centre, 100 Malvern Dr. (French)
  • Sat., Feb. 18, 1-3pm, Walter Baker Sports Centre, 100 Malvern Dr. (English)

An online survey will be available sometime in February for those who can’t attend a consultation. Additional information about OEYCFCs is available at ottawa.ca/early-years.

Seniors Community Grant Program

As part of the Action Plan for Seniors, Ontario introduced the first grants program dedicated to assisting seniors across the province by helping them enjoy a better quality of life by providing opportunities to be more socially active, volunteer and continue their learning in areas like technology and financial literacy. This grant program will make $2 million available for projects across Ontario. Applications will be accepted until March 3, 2017. Projects must not start prior to June 15, 2017 and be completed by March 31, 2018. For details email seniorscommunitygrant@ontario.ca, call 1-844-724-2017 or visit seniors.gov.on.ca/en/srsorgs/scgp.php.

Summer Student Employment Program  

Students interested in summer employment with the City of Ottawa can apply online until February 28, 2017. This is a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience and insight into today's workforce! More information including eligibility criteria and how to submit an application is provided on ottawa.ca.

March Break Activities

The City of Ottawa has lots of March Break activities available for your kids with active and interesting camps that will keep them busy all week. For more information and to register visit ottawa.ca.

Column: January 19, 2017

Healthy Eats: Seasonal cooking on a budget

Do you find it difficult to come up with healthy meals that your family will enjoy? Or do you need some tips on how to eat locally on a budget? On Thursday, January 26, from 6-8:30pm, at the Galetta Community Centre (119 Darwin St.) join Judi Varga-Toth from Deep Roots Food Hub and Courtney Fowler, Dietician from the West Carleton Family Health Team, for an evening of delicious learning. During this hands on workshop, Judi will teach you how to cook a variety of healthy, simple dishes with locally available foods. While you're eating, Courtney will take the guess work out of winter meal planning. Learn all about immune boosting foods that will help keep you healthy in the winter. Older children are welcome to join and childcare is available upon request. For more information please email info@deeprootsfoodhub.ca.

The Deep Roots Food Hub is a coalition of farmers, market gardeners, health professionals and other West Carleton residents who advocate for a healthier, more secure and sustainable food system.

Stay safe around ice

Ottawa Fire Services (OFS) are reminding residents with the thaw and freeze cycles experienced in the last couple weeks ice can be unsafe. Please be cautious and take note that ice thickness should be:

•    At least 15cm for walking or skating alone
•    20cm for skating parties or games
•    25cm for snowmobiles
•    35cm for fishing huts

As a guideline, clear blue ice is usually the strongest; white opaque or snow ice is half as strong as blue ice. Grey ice is unsafe; it indicates the presence of water. When in doubt, simply stay off the ice.

Coming soon! Summer employment recruitment

The City of Ottawa’s 2017 Summer Student Employment Program will be accepting online job applications from February 1 to February 28. This is a great opportunity for students to gain valuable work experience and insight into today's workforce.

Before submitting your application online, review the eligibility criteria and important facts and information at ottawa.ca/en/city-hall/jobs-city.

Ward 5 office support for WC Food Access Centre

I am pleased to announce that my ward office will take non-perishable food (cans and dried goods) Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm year round. Thank you in advance for continuing to help those less fortunate in our community.