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: November 23, 2017

7th Annual West Carleton-March Food Drive

My annual Christmas food drive for the West Carleton Food Access Centre (WCFAC) kicks off on Monday, November 27. Residents can drop off non-perishable food items to the ward office (5670 Carp Road) Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm. Collection will continue until December 22. Donated items will be used by WCFAC to prepare Christmas hampers for needy families in Ward 5. Specific items needed are canned fruit, canned ham, canned tomatoes, peanut butter, cereal and jam. Please, no expired products.

West Carleton Outdoor Hockey League

Registration is now open for the 2017-2018 season for the West Carleton Outdoor Hockey League. Kids from ages 5 to 15 are welcome to join, regardless of previous hockey experience. The league consists of teams from Dunrobin, Carp, Fitzroy Harbour, Kinburn and Constance Bay. It is a much less competitive league and only runs when the outdoor ice is frozen. For more information and to register visit www.dunrobincommunity.com.

On a related note, the Dunrobin Community Center is looking for a candidate maintain the ice rink at 1151 Thomas A. Dolan Pkwy. If interested, contact Greg Patacairk at gpatacairk@gmail.com for details.

Get help clearing snow

The Snow Go and Snow Go Assist Programs can assist eligible residents with snow removal this winter as follows:

  • The Snow Go Program provides a matching service for seniors and people with disabilities looking to hire an individual or contractor to clear snow from private driveways and walkways. Participants in this program are responsible for paying the individual or contractor removing the snow.
  • The Snow Go Assist Program provides financial assistance to eligible low-income seniors or persons with disabilities looking to hire an individual or contractor to clear snow from private driveways and walkways. Approved participants may be reimbursed for 50% of the cost of snow clearing per event, up to a seasonal maximum of $250. Rural applicants who have excessively high cost of snow removal, as defined by staff, are eligible up to 50% of the cost of snow clearing for their private driveways and walkways per event, up to a maximum of $450 per season.

The Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre is the agency assigned to assist eligible residents in our ward with obtaining these services. They can be contacted at: Dee Machum, machum@wocrc.ca, 613-591-3686, ext. 315.

Column: December 15, 2016

Rural Shopper’s Bus

I’d like to remind West Carleton residents that you have a convenient way to get into town for shopping, appointments and more. OC Transpo operates Route 203 on Wednesdays. It is free to ride and is a fully accessible bus. It travels from Dunrobin and Carp to Stittsville, Kanata Centrum, Bayshore, Lincoln Fields and Carlingwood shopping centres. On the afternoon return trip it visits the same stops in reverse order. For more information visit octranspo.com/routes/rural_shoppers_bus.

Snowmobile Safety

Every winter we hear stories of accidents and mishaps on our snowmobile trails. The Ottawa Police note that snowmobiling accidents and fatalities often involve alcohol, unsafe ice, excessive speed and riding outside trails. Please consider these safety precautions when heading out on the trails:

  • Machines should be carefully checked before heading out,
  • Snowmobiles should have all required permits and insurance,
  • Proper gear should be worn including an approved helmet,
  • Always ride with a partner,
  • Stay on approved trails and do not trespass,
  • The maximum speed on trails is 50 km/h and 20km/h where posted,
  • Plan routes and advise someone of travel plans and arrival times,
  • Carry a cell phone and GPS,
  • When riding across ice, wear a floatation device or a floater suit,
  • Watch out for obstacles on trails such as trees, branches, trail washouts and snow banks,
  • Pedestrians and snowmobilers should be respectful of each other and share the trails,
  • Snowmobilers should slow down when passing pedestrians,
  • Pedestrians should move off to the side of the trail to allow snowmobiles to pass by safely, and
  • Dogs must be leashed at all times while on the trails (as stipulated in The Animal Care and Control By-Law No. 2003-77, dogs are never allowed to run at large when off the owner’s property).

Let’s have a fun and safe snowmobiling season!

Extending my food drive for WCFAC

I have extended my annual food drive for the West Carleton Food Access Centre (WCFAC) until December 23. WCFAC is in need of donations year-round, and especially at this time of year as they prepare Christmas hampers for needy families in our community. If you can help, please drop off non-perishable items at my ward office at 5670 Carp Road, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.

Column: December 10, 2015

Turtle fencing on March & Upper Dwyer Hill Roads

My office has received a few inquires about fencing installed along part of the road at the intersection of March Road and Upper Dwyer Hill Road. This fencing is required as mitigation and compensation for the surrounding wetland habitat as per the Provincial Endangered Species Act. The City of Ottawa must comply with the Act and has no choice in the matter.

When traffic lights at the March and Upper Dwyer Hill Roads intersection were installed, the City was required to complete a Species at Risk Study in the area before any work could take place at the intersection. The study identified the area as a wetland habitat for endangered species. As a result the City of Ottawa, as per Provincial law, had to install turtle fencing to comply with the Endangered Species Act. The budget for this fencing was $700,000, and unfortunately no funding came from the province.

“In My Neighbourhood” online tool

In My Neighbourhood (maps.ottawa.ca/imn/desktop.htm) is a useful online tool that offers a quick way for residents to locate schools, libraries, parks, recreation facilities, community services, events, land development applications and more within a geographic neighbourhood. The interactive map shows details such as building outlines and address numbers, landscape features, property lines, roads and parks tailored to the address they have entered.

“Join Ottawa” web application

Join Ottawa (join.ottawa.ca) is a web application which offers an improved search experience for recreation and leisure programs. Now residents can search, view and register for a large range of services, programs and activities offered by the City, all in one place. It is also helpful in identifying programming for specific age groups.

We’re collecting non-perishable items

Please don’t forget that my ward office, at 5670 Carp Road, is accepting non-perishable food donations for the West Carleton Food Access Centre until December 19. Items needed are: peanut butter, canned soup, packaged oatmeal cookies, 100% fruit juice boxes (pure or from concentrate) and whole grain breakfast cereal. Please check expiry dates. Drop off items Monday to Friday, 8:30am-4:30pm. Thank you for your generosity!

Column: November 26, 2015

Draft City Budget 2016 tabled

On November 12, the draft City of Ottawa budget for 2016 was tabled at City Council. The draft proposes to continue investments in active transportation, affordable housing and economic development. It also caps the residential property tax change at 2 per cent and provides reasonable cost-saving measures that do not affect front-line services. The proposed tax revenue increase is 1.75 per cent for City and Police services, which translates to a 2 per cent increase for a residential property.

To provide feedback on the draft budget, residents are welcome to register as a public delegation at any of the standing committee, commission and board meetings, which are taking place through to Monday, December 7. A full listing of these public meetings is available on ottawa.ca. Residents can also provide their input via email at budget2016@ottawa.ca, on Twitter using the hashtag #ottbudget or directly to me at eli.el-chantiry@ottawa.ca. The budget will rise to City Council for consideration on Wednesday, December 9. For full information on the Draft 2016 Budget, visit ottawa.ca/budget2016.

5th annual Ward 5 Christmas food hamper drive

My Ward 5 office is once again collecting food for the West Carleton Food Access Centre from November 30 to December 19. Please drop off any non-perishable food items at my ward office, 5670 Carp Road, Monday to Friday 8:30am to 4:30pm. Items in great need by the WCFAC are: peanut butter, canned soup, packaged oatmeal cookies, 100% fruit juice boxes (pure or from concentrate) and whole grain breakfast cereal. Please be sure to check expiry dates on any goods you are bringing – expired items cannot be accepted. The residents of West Carleton-March have always come to the aid of those less fortunate and I thank you in advance for your ongoing generosity!

Free public skating

Starting on Saturday, November 28, 2015 and running until Sunday March 27, 2016, all public skating sessions held in City arenas on Saturdays and Sundays will be free again this winter, compliments of a sponsorship agreement between the City and RBC, as part of the City’s Community Champions Program. The RBC commitment to this initiative has a value of $285,000 over three years, and ends in 2016.  Residents can check public skating schedules on ottawa.ca for dates, times and locations.