Council expands rain retrofit program, rebates for homeowners

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.

City Council on May 1, approved a permanent, expanded Rain Ready Ottawa program(link is external) to help residents manage rainfall on their properties, reduce the harmful impacts of stormwater runoff on small open watercourses and improve the health of Ottawa’s waterways.

The program offers up to $5,000 in rebates for retrofits that redirect rain and make properties more absorbent, such as rain gardens and permeable driveways. Custom home assessments will be offered to low-rise condominiums and cooperative housing within the program’s priority areas. The City will continue to offer online courses on stormwater management to all residents, provide training and certification in stormwater management to local landscapers, and install more demonstration rain gardens at City sites.

Rain Ready Ottawa will help the City meet its 50-year targets for stormwater retrofits on residential private properties. It is part of a suite of City programs that will help homeowners take action to make their properties more resilient to rainfall. Visit ottawa.ca/rain for more details.

Council approved an amendment to the City’s Official Plan to add a secondary plan for Riverside South(link is external). The secondary plan will update and replace the existing community design plan for the area with guidelines that will help deliver a transit-oriented community that is designed around both LRT and BRT (bus rapid transit). As part of the Official Plan, it will carry greater weight and enforceability than the community design plan, guiding the continued development of Riverside South.

The plan calls for the densest development around O-Train stations, with medium-density development near BRT stations and the lowest densities in areas farthest from transit. A vibrant, high-density, mixed-use and transit-oriented town centre is proposed around Limebank Station, and the plan identifies opportunities for housing and jobs, as well as a school, a large park, a community centre and a public library branch.

Council approved hiring an external consultant to study potential options to make Mooney’s Bay Park hill(link is external) safer for snow sledding. The hill was removed from the list of approved sledding hills in 2017, when it was deemed unsafe following multiple accidents and injuries. After a child tragically died while sledding on the hill in 2021, the City put more signs and fencing in place to warn of the danger and prevent sledding, as well as protective measures like padding and hay bales, but the hill is still too dangerous for sledding due to its size, slope and many collision hazards. Several reviews have shown that it cannot be reopened safely for sledding unless the hill and surrounding areas are physically altered to remove hazards. The City will allocate up to $150,000 from existing parkland funding to hire an engineering and landscape architect to assess the feasibility of altering the hill and to develop a plan to make it safe for sledding.

Until current safety issues are resolved, the City will continue to prohibit sledding and to fence off the hill to prevent access in winter. People who continue to sled on Mooney’s Bay hill face the risk of serious injury, or of injuring others. Residents can find safer places to sled nearby using the City’s interactive map of approved hills, plus tips for safer sledding at ottawa.ca/sledding.

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