December 18, 2020 newsletter from Rawlson King, City Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe.
(Le français suivra)
Before my office closes for the holidays, I wanted to share some final updates of the year. And what a year it has been! Of course, you can still reach out by email, and we will be sure to address your concerns when we return to the (virtual) office on January 4th. If you have an urgent request, you can call 3-1-1, or fill out a service request at www.ottawa.ca/311. My staff and I would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season, and we look forward to all that 2021 will bring.
Year End Review
Free Transit on New Years Eve
This year, OC Transpo, in partnership with MADD Ottawa and Safer Roads Ottawa, will once again be offering no-charge service on New Year’s Eve after 8 pm. This annual partnership is to help prevent residents from drinking and driving, and it’s been a proven success for many years.
This decision to offer no-charge service on New Year’s Eve was made in consultation with Ottawa Public Health (OPH). The risks associated with impaired driving remain prevalent, and by offering no-charge transit with mandatory masks and other safety precautions we can help reduce impaired driving while maintaining a safer transit system.
RRCRC FOOD BANK SCHEDULE for the Holiday Season
Wednesday Dec. 23rd – OPEN 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Friday Dec. 25th – CLOSED
Wednesday Dec. 30th – CLOSED
The Food Bank will return to its normal service hours on Wednesday January 6th 2021
On December 9, 2020 Health Canada authorized the first COVID-19 vaccine in Canada, made by Pfiezer-BioNTech. Several other vaccines are currently at various stages of regulatory approval by Health Canada. As part of Phase One of Ontario’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program, the Ottawa Hospital (TOH) will be participating in the COVID-19 vaccine readiness program in collaboration with the Public Health Agency of Canada and Pfizer- BioNTech. The first COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Canada on Monday December 14, and a Personal Support Worker (PSW) was the first resident of Ottawa to receive the vaccine on Tuesday, December 15. Health care workers providing care at 10 Ottawa long-term care homes have been selected to receive the initial doses of COVID-19 vaccine to arrive in Ottawa.
The City of Ottawa's COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Task Force continues work on a plan for vaccine distribution as it awaits further details from the provincial and federal governments.
OPH has launched a COVID-19 Vaccine page at OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVID19Vaccine with information on the Ottawa context, how the vaccine works, as well as precautions and considerations for residents to be aware of.
Mental Health through the Holidays
As the holidays approach, it’s so important to check in with ourselves and our loved ones to see how things are going and to make sure we are using good coping skills to support our mental health.
For some, this can mean getting back to good habits like getting enough sleep, being more active and eating well or developing new habits such as mindfulness to add to your coping tool kit. For others, this can mean checking in with some of the many local supports and professionals to talk about our mental health and ways to manage through these challenges.
OPH would like to remind everyone that the holidays are a time for caring about one another and there are resources available to help.
- The Walk-in Counselling Clinic at (613) 755-2277 offers free in person sessions as well as video or phone counselling sessions in English, French, Arabic, Somali, Spanish, Mandarin and Cantonese at a variety of locations.
- The Counselling Connect service in Ottawa offers free access to a same-day or next-day phone or video counselling session.
- If you need immediate help, call the Distress Centre Ottawa and Region 24/7 at (613) 238-3311 in English or Tel-Aide Outaouais at (613) 741-6433 in French.
Showing Support for those Isolated or Living Alone
The holidays can be a difficult time for many members of our community who are isolated or living alone. The efforts to reduce COVID-19 transmission might make this year especially challenging. A member of our community who lives alone has recommended that we show our connectedness from our homes. On December 25th at 8:00pm, we are inviting everyone to flip their lights on and off for one minute and make some noise to show members of our community that they are not alone or isolated during the holidays!
Respite centre to stay warm and open over the holidays
At the Bernard Grandmaître respite centre, at 309 McArthur Road, full service will be operated from December 21 to December 24, and from December 28 to December 31, daily from 9:30 am to 4 pm. No showers will be available on December 28 and the centre will be closed Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
COVID-19 Resilience Stream funding
At a special council meeting on Friday morning, council approved a working list of projects to be fully funded by our federal and provincial partners. This is the first round of infrastructure-designated recovery money expected from higher levels of government in the coming years. The criteria for projects to be eligible under this funding stream was very narrow, the most significant one being that the projects had to be complete by December 31st, 2021. As part of this funding, Ward 13 will see upgrades to two community facilities (St-Laurent Complex and Overbrook Community Centre) that will improve the sustainability and usability of those buildings, including new LED lighting and high-performance windows. Our office has submitted a list of other projects to staff for prioritization, and we continue to proactively monitor all COVID-19 recovery programs.
The City is Listening!
The Winter Maintenance Quality Standards Review Project page has been live on Engage Ottawa, https://engage.ottawa.ca/wmqs, since November 17 and many residents have already taken the opportunity to ask a question.
Our Engage Ottawa site has a tool to answer questions about the project. Those looking to provide feedback on the proposed changes to the Winter Maintenance Quality Standards will have that opportunity in January through the virtual workshops and the online survey. If you have current, specific, winter maintenance concerns, please submit a service request online so that the City is able to track your inquiry and follow-up.
The City’s winter maintenance quality standards (WMQS) dictate when staff and equipment are mobilized to begin clearing the streets, sidewalks and winter cycling network to keep drivers, pedestrians and cyclists safe. The current WMQS were adopted in 2003 and a great deal has changed since then. City policies and plans have evolved, and there are many new and improved transportation options; this has resulted in a shift away from single drivers in vehicles to increased use of public and active transportation (walking, biking, roller blading, etc.).
Between now and early 2021, the WMQS Project Team will be reviewing and developing new options for winter maintenance and they want to hear from you! For more information on the WMQS Review Project and ways to get involved please visit engage.ottawa.ca/wmqs
Learn to Skate
The City’s COVID-modified Learn to Skate programs will take to the ice in January at 10 indoor arenas and the outdoor Lansdowne Skating Court.
The full listing of group or private skating lessons for the young and young-at-heart is online at Join.ottawa.ca.
Some of the class offerings include:
- Just You and Me for new skaters ages 3 to 6 years with parent accompaniment
- Kinder Gliders for ages 4 to 5 years
- Junior Gliders for ages 6 to 12 years
- Senior Gliders for ages 8 to 12 years
- Teen Beginner and Intermediate for ages 13 to 17 years
- Adult Beginner and Intermediate for ages 18 years and older
- Private skating lessons for all ages 4 years and up
Classes have been modified with COVID-19 safety protocols and have a limit of 25 skaters on the ice, including coaches. The “Just You and Me” program requires adult accompaniment on the ice for the child for the duration of the program.
What happens to your recycling?!
What you put in your black and blue bin is processed right here in Ottawa, on Sheffield Road. Revenue generated from selling the materials help offset the costs of the program. Check it out yourself: What happens to my recycling?
Holiday season schedule changes
The City of Ottawa reminds residents of the following schedule changes for the holiday season, between Thursday, December 24 and Saturday, January 2.
Highway 174 – The following Highway 174 ramps will close for Stage 2 LRT work:
- The eastbound Blair Road off-ramp will close on Thursday, December 17 from 10 pm to 5 am and again on Friday, December 18 from 11 pm to 7 am.
- The eastbound off-ramp at Montreal Road will close on Thursday, December 17 from 10 pm to 5 am and again on Friday, December 18 from 11 pm to 7 am.
- The eastbound on-ramp from southbound Montreal Road will close on Thursday, December 17 from 10 pm to 5 am and again on Friday, December 18 from 11 pm to 7 am.