Committee hears plans for ByWard Market revitalization

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal blue stripe are in the foreground with with "Finance and Corporate Services Committee update" in the centre.

The Finance and Corporate Services Committee heard on June 6 about proposed improvements to the ByWard Market, including a new governance model, a potential special area levy and an update to the City’s ByWard Market Public Realm Plan.

After exploring options to improve ByWard Market management, programming and operations, a single district governance and operating model was selected as the preferred approach to revitalize the area. The ByWard Market District Authority will use the existing Municipal Services Corporation legal structure, with a new Board of Governors, expanded operating mandate and new branding. The new authority will be responsible for:

  • Maintaining the streetscape and public areas
  • Enhancing the resident and visitor experience through public realm enhancements, installations, animation, branding and pageantry
  • Supporting and advocating for property, small-business and entrepreneurial interests
  • Hosting special events and activities
  • Advocating for investment within the operating boundaries of the ByWard and Parkdale markets
  • Undertaking initiatives that improve community safety and well-being

A new special area levy for properties within the authority’s operational boundary would also be considered for the ByWard Market, to support the new authority’s work. The community would vote on whether they support the levy.

The ByWard Market Public Realm Plan update outlined the following projects for 2023 as the City gears up for the ByWard Market’s 200th anniversary in 2027:

  • The design of ByWard Market Square as a flexible street (between George and York streets)
  • The design of William Street as a pedestrian-only space (between George and York streets)
  • A design exercise for a York Street plaza (between Sussex Drive and ByWard Market Square)
  • A recommendation to Council on redeveloping the municipal parking garage at 70 Clarence Street

The Committee received the 2023 Operating and Capital Budget Q1 status report. The tax-supported deficit was driven by winter weather as total snowfall was significantly higher than the five-year average, freezing-rain hours were 59 per cent higher than the five-year average, and there was a 15 per cent increase in freeze-thaw cycles compared to the five-year average That resulted in higher winter operations expenditures than anticipated. These expenditures have been mitigated through savings across other City departments to reduce the overall deficit.

The City ended the first quarter of 2023 with a $12.3-million deficit for tax-supported programs, while rate-supported services like water, sewer and stormwater ended with a $1.2-million deficit. The Q2 status report will provide a clearer indication on the overall year-end position and will include a forecast for the rest of 2023.

The Committee received the Procurement Year in Review, which details the use of delegated authority for all contracts exceeding $25,000. Of the $978.4 million awarded under delegation of authority, $864.5 million were awarded using a competitive solicitation process. When adjusted to account for contracts where the only option was to award a specific supplier, 95 per cent of purchases were competitive.

City procurement strongly supports the local economy, with 86 per cent of purchased goods and services in 2022 being from the local community. City procurement also encourages sustainability in all procurement decisions and 99.5 per cent of all procurements awarded in 2022 included sustainability criteria.

Items from this meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, June 14, 2023.

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