February 11, 2022 newsletter from Rawlson King, City Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe.
As the ongoing demonstration enters its third week, please read my updated statement. I continue to advise residents not to enter the downtown core and surrounding area unless absolutely necessary. At this time, many amenities and services remain closed or unavailable. The Main and Rideau public library branches as well as the City Hall Client Service Centre continue to be closed until further notice. Additionally, the vaccination clinic at the University of Ottawa Minto Sports Complex will remain closed until Tuesday, February 15. Further, all bus routes with service downtown are expected to remain on detour, until service can be reliably returned to downtown streets. Residents who need to travel in and out of the downtown core should use O-Train Line 1.
Following last week’s approval by the Transportation Committee for a plan to implement citywide road safety measures in 2022, the item was subsequently brought forward to Council and additionally approved. In keeping on the topic of transportation, residents may be interested to attend the Transportation Master Plan Open House on February 15th at 6:30pm. Full details on how to register and participate can be found in this newsletter. Finally, residents will be happy to hear that the NCC has confirmed that they anticipate installing a new pedestrian bridge at the end of Blasdell avenue this summer. My office has kept in communication with the NCC on this issue since the bridge was removed due to safety concerns last summer and this latest update is most welcome news.
Updated Statement on the Ongoing Demonstration
The challenge that besets Ottawa is unprecedented. Over the past two weeks, this so-called "demonstration" rapidly transformed into an illegal occupation which has completely disrupted the lives of our residents and businesses, holding the City hostage.
While neither local or senior governments can give instruction to police, it does set the legislative framework for police action. Consequently, I am pleased that the Premier declared a State of Emergency in Ontario today to give police more tools and resources to stop this illegal occupation. The Government of Ontario has indicated that there will be severe consequences for those involved in this illegal occupation and that there will be operational support to strengthen the tools and resources necessary to restore public order.
The Premier will convene cabinet to enact orders to address the illegal occupation that make it illegal and punishable to block and impede the movement of goods, people, and services along with critical infrastructure.
The City of Ottawa today also sought an appearance before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for purposes of obtaining an injunction in respect of the by-law violations arising out of the ongoing illegal occupation.
This action is an effort to restrain the observed widespread disregard by many of those involved in the demonstration for the rule of law and for municipal by-laws enacted to promote the health, safety, and well-being of residents and visitors and to enhance the economic, social and environmental well-being of the municipality. It is intended to be supplementary to the measures announced earlier today by the Province of Ontario to address the protests occurring in Ottawa and other jurisdictions.
As part of ongoing efforts to minimize the impact to directly affected residents and businesses, the Ottawa Police Service will continue a major deployment of police officers in the downtown neighbourhoods, expand and harden perimeter of the demonstration "red" zone, enhance its intelligence operations and investigations and increase its enforcement activities. The primary focus of each of these measures will be on the unlawful behaviour connected to the ongoing occupation. This is where an additional requested resources requested from senior levels of government will be applied.
I personally welcome these actions and continue to ask the Police Service to take appropriate action to end the occupation. Though I am prohibited to give operational direction to the Police, I continue to emphasize my expectation to Police Service Command, as a member of Police Services Board, that illegal occupiers and organizers be informed in no uncertain terms that behavior leading to breach of peace will not be tolerated. I have made inquiries to Police Command concerning occupier de-escalation and removal, along with inquiries concerning asking for a clear process for ending the occupation.
This week Council undertook action to call on both the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada to provide all necessary financial and logistical supports required to bring the protest to an end and allow the City of Ottawa to return to normal. The City made a request for 1,800 additional officers to aid in the restoration of public order and community well-being. Working with colleagues, I introduced a successful motion seeking permission from the Province to recover demonstration-related policing costs from any persons deemed responsible for such costs. I also successfully introduced a motion to condemn the racism, antisemitism and discrimination respectively experienced by the Black, Jewish, Muslim, racialized and members of the two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex (2SLGBTQI+) communities.
Council also supported:
- Requiring staff to advise Council on the status of enforcement activities related to the demonstration, including number of vehicles towed, and numbers and nature of tickets issued.
- To remove vehicles illegally parked in residential areas and addressing ongoing impacts of continued by-law violations by these individuals.
- Petitioning the federal government to assume responsibility for public safety and security within the Parliamentary Precinct and to commit to an increased level of support of the Ottawa Police Service.
- Asking for an independent evaluation of the response to the demonstration.
- Requesting both the provincial and federal governments fund supports for Ottawa businesses, employees and community social support agencies impacted by the protest.
- Seeking increases to noise, idling, use and care of roads and open-air fire by-law set fines to $1,000.
- Amending the existing idling by-law to allow idling in occupied vehicles only when the temperature outside is less than -15 C including the windchill within the protest area.
- Holding daily media availabilities for the duration of the truck convoy occupation.
I along with other Council members are looking forward to the rapid conclusion of this illegal occupation and will continue to encourage the Police Service to implement actions to see the removal of the illegal occupation from the downtown core and other protestor encampments around the City as quickly as possible. I continue to work in conjunction with community members, social services and community organizations and businesses to address community concerns and will continue to echo the sentiments of residents to underline the message that our City won't continue to be held hostage by unlawful occupiers.
My office continues to relay relevant resident concerns and intelligence to the Police Service that impact Rideau-Rockcliffe Ward. Hate motivated incidents should be reported to 613-236-1222 x 5015. Criminal offences can be directly reported at 613-236-1222 x 7300.
Traffic and downtown service impacts will continue over the weekend
The City advises residents traffic and service impacts will continue over the weekend. The downtown core will continue to experience most of the traffic impacts. The number of protesters and vehicles is expected to increase. Residents are advised to avoid non-essential travel in the area.
Traffic impacts remain fluid – stay informed
Demonstrators may mobilize their efforts outside the downtown core. As a result, additional roadways across the city may experience traffic delays and disruptions, with details changing on short notice. Residents can continue to check our online traffic map and the City of Ottawa’s traffic Twitter account for up-to-date information on traffic delays and disruptions due to the demonstrations.
Here is latest information on downtown City services and facilities – including closures, delays and cancellations:
Ottawa Public Library branches
The Ottawa Public Library’s Main and Rideau branches will remain closed.
Ottawa City Hall and its amenities will remain closed for public access.
These amenities include:
- Rink of Dreams
- Underground municipal parking lot
Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 vaccination clinics
Ottawa Public Health’s (OPH) Lowertown Vaccine Hub, located at the Jules Morin Fieldhouse on 400 Clarence Street East, will be open on Saturday.
The vaccination clinic at the University of Ottawa Minto Sports Complex will remain closed until Tuesday, February 15.
Those who had appointments at the impacted locations can take advantage of available drop-in offerings at other community clinics or rebook their appointment. Visit Ottawa Public Health's Vaccine Page for more vaccination clinic information.
Delayed resumption of the City Hall Client Service Centre
The City has delayed resumption of its appointments for in-person counter service at its City Hall location until further notice. The Client Service Centre at Ben Franklin Place – 101 Centrepoint Drive – will be open for in-person services by appointment only – for both Service Ottawa and Building Code Services.
Appointments for the Ben Franklin Place Client Service can be made through the online booking tool on ottawa.ca. People without internet access can reserve at time by calling 3-1-1 and choose option #6.
Visit ottawa.ca for the list of in-person service offerings. Residents can still take advantage of the convenience of accessing services on online. Building Code Services will continue to support application submissions by mail and electronically at [email protected].
Impacts on OC Transpo
All bus routes with service downtown are expected to remain on detour, until service can be reliably returned to downtown streets. Residents who need to travel in and out of the downtown core should use O-Train Line 1. Currently, Rideau Station can only be accessed through the William Street entrance.
Stay up to date on the latest transit information by visiting octranspo.com/alerts, calling 613-560-5000 or following OC Transpo’s Twitter account. Para Transpo customers can call OC Transpo and a staff member will help book a trip.
With the demonstration situation remaining very fluid, the City has contingencies in place for any accumulating snow. The City intends to keep focus on pedestrian and emergency access routes through the area, clearing and treating sidewalks and facilitating the safe movement of emergency vehicles, where possible. Due to the demonstration, however, the City has encountered operational constraints which have made accessing the areas in close proximity to the Parliamentary precinct difficult.”
We do not anticipate impacts to snow clearing operations in other parts of the city.
Waste and recycling collection
At this time, the City is not anticipating an impact to residential waste collection as a result of the demonstration. Residents can stay informed of curbside collection delays by signing up to receive notifications through the Ottawa Collection Calendar app; download the mobile app or register for email updates by entering your address and clicking on “Get a reminder!”.
Street-side receptacles and litter are being addressed where access permits.
Council approves plan to improve road safety for all users
Council today approved a plan to implement citywide road safety measures in 2022, building on projects completed in 2021. The City increased its investment in the safety of road users in the 2022 budget, spending $44.3 million this year compared to $37.1 million in 2021. Of those total investments towards road safety initiatives and programs, $7.2 million will fund measures identified in the Road Safety Action Plan.
The City would continue ongoing projects and begin new initiatives that focus on vulnerable road users, rural skewed intersections, high cycling volume intersections and high-risk behaviour among drivers. Road users would see more pedestrian crossovers and automated speed cameras near schools, safety enhancements for cycling infrastructure, and new protected left turn signals. The City would continue to develop a motorcycle safety strategy and to do outreach to educate and inform residents about road safety.
Transportation Master Plan Open House - February 15th, 2022
The City of Ottawa has launched Phase 3 of its consultation on the Transportation Master Plan. During this phase of engagement, the public is invited to provide input on the close to 70 proposed transportation-related policies to be included in Part 1 of the TMP and use our online engagement tools to provide feedback on the pedestrian and cycling projects that are proposed for implementation from 2023 onwards. The deadline for input has been extended to February 18th, 2022, though we encourage you to provide feedback as soon as you can.
Residents are also invited to take part in an Open House on February 15th at 6:30 p.m. focusing on the proposed policies. This is an opportunity to learn more about the TMP policies and take part in a question-and-answer session. Those interested in attending can register here.
Residents are strongly encouraged to submit their questions ahead of time. You can submit your questions here.
UPDATE: Blasdell Avenue Pedestrian Bridge
In the last update, residents were notified that geotechnical work would be completed as it was necessary to verify the soil conditions in order to finalize the position of the bridge on either side of the creek. This work was recently completed and additionally, the NCC has confirmed that the new bridge will be a prefabricated weathering steel bridge, with a galvanized anti-slip steel decking, measuring 20 metres long, and 3 metres wide. I am happy to say that with the current timeline, the NCC hopes to have the new bridge in place by this summer. Residents can get full details and read all about the new bridge on the project webpage.