City Council Updates: Council approves City’s first nightlife economy action plan

A graphic with Ottawa City Hall is in the background. A vertical grey stripe and a horizontal turquoise stripe are in the foreground with " City Council update" in the centre.

Council today, May 10, 2023, approved the City’s first nightlife economy action plan to develop and promote nightlife activities and experiences between 6 pm and 6 am, and to create a more vibrant, diverse, inclusive, viable, safe and well-managed nightlife across Ottawa.

Vibrant nightlife economies improve job creation, attract talent and investment, promote and contribute to economic growth, and foster tourism and city brand building. In 2019, Ottawa’s nightlife economy accounted for more than $1.5 billion in spending almost 30 per cent of the $5.5 billion spent during daytime. In 2023, the action plan will:

  • Establish the framework for a nightlife commissioner office that will launch in 2024
  • Promote citywide and neighbourhood-by-neighbourhood participation in the nightlife economy by residents, visitors and businesses
  • Consider changes to support the nightlife economy through reviews of City by-laws, policies, procedures and services

The nightlife commissioner office will deliver additional action plan recommendations. Staff will provide an update on action-plan progress by the end of 2024.

Council approved an action plan, developed in response to OLRT Public Inquiry recommendations, and that incorporates all lessons learned and third-party reviews. The Public Inquiry made 103 recommendations, most directed at the City and its contractors, Rideau Transit Group and Rideau Transit Maintenance. The action plan lists each recommendation, the party responsible for leading the required change, actions being taken and current status.

All 103 recommendations are anticipated to be completed or substantially underway by the end of 2023. The status of each recommendation will be updated on as it is completed. Staff will provide two formal updates to the Light Rail Sub-Committee later in 2023.

Council referred the High Performance Development Standard report back to staff and directed them to bring forward an updated report to Committee following the release of the Ontario government’s guidance on this issue, expected in the Summer of 2023. This would include revised phasing timelines, resource requirements and associated amendments to the Site Plan Control By-law by no later than Q1 2024.

Council approved establishing a processing centre in Ottawa for automated speed enforcement camera infractions. Currently, infractions from Ottawa are processed through a City of Toronto processing centre, but the growth of speed camera programs in the province has compromised Toronto’s ability to process charges within 23 days, after which charges do not result in formal infractions. An Ottawa-based centre will ensure infractions are processed on time and bring in as much as $66 million – about four times more than if processing were done in Toronto, with the currently imposed processing cap of 250,000 infractions. Revenue from the infractions will support further road safety initiatives.

Council also received the 2021 and 2022 Lansdowne Annual Report. Operationally, the last two years have been challenging for Lansdowne due to COVID-19. While attendance and revenues are rising, they remain below pre-pandemic levels. The updated 2022/2023 projections show a decrease to $326 million in waterfall distributions over the 40-year period. This is higher than projections from the outset of the project, but the City is still not anticipated to receive any distributions from the partnership over the 40-year term of the agreement as OSEG is not expected to recover all the equity it has contributed to date.

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