February 4 Newsletter 2022

February 4, 2022 newsletter from Rawlson King, City Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe.

This week, the city has been subject to countless disruptions as a result of the ongoing demonstration in the downtown core. In response to this ongoing and evolving situation, please read my statement which can be found in the first item of this newsletter. As a result of the continuing demonstration, impacts will continue to be experienced into the weekend. An updated list of disruptions and impacts can be found directly following my statement. I would also like to alert residents to Bookmobile service changes within the ward. Two stops, Overbrook and Carsons Grove will be temporarily suspended starting this coming Monday due to COVID-related staffing pressures. 

This week, the City’s Transportation Committee approved a plan to improve safety for all road users. The recommendations from this week’s meeting requiring Council approval will rise to Council on Wednesday, February 9. Residents of Rockcliffe and Manor Park should be aware that the City of Ottawa Forestry Services will be commencing neighbourhood operational work in their area in the coming weeks. Forestry Services will start to dispatch City crews as well as contractors within these neighborhoods for maintenance tree work on City of Ottawa owned assets, rite of ways as well as maintained parklands. The work is anticipated to be completed within six months.  

With the month of February being Black history month, the Ottawa Public Library has an array of programming available. In working to celebrate and affirm Black Canadians, OPL is organizing educational, artistic and cultural virtual programming for everyone. Lastly, one Ottawa resident is hoping to use their talent to give back to charities in the city. If you know someone who would love a personalized message from Spider-Man to celebrate a special occasion, why not use Ottawa Spider-Man and give back to charities at the same time. Full details can be found at the end of this newsletter. 

Statement on the Ongoing Demonstration 

As a member of Police Services Board, I along with my Board colleagues continue to receive regular updates from the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) concerning this demonstration.   

As residents may know, as a municipal elected official I have no powers to legally prevent demonstrations and as an OPS Board member, it is against the law for me to give operational direction to the Police Service. Enforcement action and strategy during protests is the sole responsibility of the Police Service.   

I however have strongly stated publicly that protestors need to leave the City now and during a Special Board Meeting held last week in preparation for the protest, I emphasized my expectation to Police Service Command that demonstrators and organizers be informed in no uncertain terms that behavior leading to breach of peace should not be tolerated. 

I have heard many concerns regarding the hateful and racist acts and displays related to the demonstration. I fully agree that the demonstration and its focus is abhorrent. I said publicly that holding a protest against public health measures is absolutely outrageous in and of itself, but using it as a method to spread extremism, racism, intolerance and xenophobia is unconscionable.  

As a consequence of the racism and extremism observed at the demonstration, I worked with a community coalition led by the United Way to issue a statement of condemnation. 

The Police Service recently indicated that they had begun the process of working to end the overall demonstration and facilitate protestor departure and my expectation is that they will announce options in the near term. 

The Police Service has also emphasized to the Board that evidence is being gathered against anyone who has broken the law and that such evidence will be used in instances that lead to prosecution. 

The Police Service Board in all its engagements with Police Service Command has asked for enhanced OPS communication with residents, redeployment of neighbourhood policing and have made inquiries concerning protestor de-escalation, along with asking questions concerning the unveiling of a clear process concerning ending the demonstration.   

My office continues to relay relevant resident concerns and intelligence to the Police Service when received. I along with others Members of Council are looking forward to the rapid conclusion of this demonstration. 

Traffic and downtown service impacts will continue through the weekend 

The City advises residents traffic and service impacts will continue Friday, February 4 and throughout the weekend. The number of demonstrators is expected to increase on the weekend. 

Residents are advised to avoid non-essential travel, especially in the downtown core. 

The following services will see delays or cancellations: 

Ottawa Public Library branches 

The Ottawa Public Library’s Main and Rideau branches will remain closed until Monday, February 7. 

City Hall 

Ottawa City Hall and its amenities will remain closed for public access on Friday, February 4 and throughout the weekend. 

These amenities include: 

  • Rink of Dreams 
  • Underground municipal parking lot 

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, which was originally scheduled on Monday, February 7, until further notice.  Service Ottawa and Building Code Services appointment-holders will be contacted directly over the next couple of days. 

The Client Service Centre at Ben Franklin Place, located at 101 Centrepointe Drive, will resume appointment-based counter services for Service Ottawa and Building Code Services on Monday, February 7.  

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 a time by calling 3-1-1 and choose option #6. 

Please 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 counters will be open at the Client Service Centre at Ben Franklin Place by appointment only. Building Code Services will continue to support application submissions by mail and electronically at [email protected]. 

Ottawa Public Health COVID-19 vaccination clinics 

The following vaccination clinics will remain closed through the weekend: 

  • University of Ottawa Minto Sports Complex 
  • Lowertown Public Health Neighbourhood Vaccination Hub 

Those who had appointments for this weekend 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. 

Traffic impacts 

Many roadways across the city will experience traffic delays and disruptions. In addition, details may change on short notice and additional roads may be affected. Residents can continue to check our online traffic map for up-to-date information on traffic delays and disruptions due to the demonstrations. 

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. 

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. 

Snow clearing 

With the truck demonstration situation remaining very fluid, the City has contingencies in place for any accumulating snow – with possible small accumulations forecasted for Thursday night and Sunday. 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. 

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 app or simply register for email updates by entering an address online. 

Street-side receptacles and litter are being addressed where access permits. 

Temporary Bookmobile schedule changes beginning February 7, 2022 

Due to COVID-related staffing pressures, the Library’s Bookmobile will operate on a modified schedule beginning February 7, 2022 until further notice. 

The following Bookmobile stops in the Ward will be modified as follows: 

  • Overbrook: Temporarily suspended 
  • Carsons Grove: Temporarily suspended 

Staff will be as accommodating as possible and can help redirect reserved items to another location such as the St. Laurent or North Gloucester branches. 

Committee approves plan to improve safety for all road users 

This week, the City’s Transportation Committee 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. 

The Committee approved a Statement of Work for a study to review options for a multi-use pathway crossing to connect the Tremblay LRT Station to the Trainyards retail area, offices and a future mixed-use redevelopment. This project is part of planned transit-oriented development for the LRT station. 

Recommendations from this week’s meeting requiring Council approval will rise to Council on Wednesday, February 9. 

N.O.W. Program — Tree Pruning in Rockcliffe Park and Manor Park  

The City of Ottawa Forestry Services will be commencing neighbourhood operational work - “N.O.W” program for short in the Neighborhoods of Rockcliffe and Manor Park. In the upcoming weeks, Forestry Services will start to dispatch City crews as well as contractors within these neighborhoods for maintenance tree work on City of Ottawa owned assets, rite of ways as well as maintained parklands.  

This will be the first time the N.O.W will commence within the Rockcliffe and Manor Park neighborhoods. The work consists of but not limited to pruning and removing branches for the health of the tree, clearance of any encroaching trees on infrastructure and safety concerns such as site lines for pedestrians and vehicles. Forestry staff will be notifying residents via flyers prior to work commencing on their street. It will outline the work to be performed.  

The work is forecasted to take approximately six months and to be completed within the summer months. There are approximately 3000 trees to be pruned within these neighborhoods not including the maintained parklands. This projection is subject to weather and any other unforeseen circumstances that may require Forestry Services resources to be reallocated. 

Why does the City prune trees? 

  • to promote good health 
  • insects and disease control   
  • remove potential safety hazards 
  • for vehicle and pedestrian clearances 
  • to reduce storm damage from high winds, snow, and freezing rain 
  • for streetlights, buildings, and utilities 

Tap into your artistic talents for Black History Month with Ottawa Public Library 

Black History Month is an important opportunity for celebration, affirmation, and focused attention on the ways that Black Canadians have contributed to Canada’s history and culture. Did you know that each year there's a different theme for Black History Month? In 2022, the official theme is February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day. In honour of Black History Month, Ottawa Public Library (OPL) has organized educational, artistic and cultural virtual programming for everyone to partake in the celebration and learning.   

OPL’s online programming has something for all ages, everyone is invited to join: 

  • February 9 at 3 pm: Sound in Living Colour (Music and Painting) with Kathryn Patricia Cobbler. The Library is proposing a feast for the eyes and the ears geared for older adults to explore their creative visual talents inspired by the music a remarkable classical composer and performer from here Ottawa! While listening to atmospheric musical pieces played by Kathryn on her sublime viola, participants will learn painting techniques and paint the type of imagery they are feeling and experiencing.  
  • February 15 at 7 pm: Black History Month: Hip Hop and Graffiti. Graffiti is expressive public art that reflects the unique styles and perspectives of individual artists as it evolves with the times and imprints on our communities. This OPL workshop is an invitation to help create a collective mural and learn the basics of design, illustration, and large-scale composition. Participants will receive an explanation of the history of Hip Hop and graffiti art, followed by a Black History themed graffiti and lettering workshop. 
  • February 26 at 10 am: Black History Month: Hip Hop and Graffiti for Families! A fun way to explore hip hop and the art of graffiti together as a family. Participants will explore mural creation by learning the basics of graffiti design, illustration, and create a mural inspired by Black History Month.  

Mark your calendars for the week of February 14 to 18 when OPL’s Instagram account as well as OPL’s @opl_bpo Teen Instagram account @oplteens_adosbpo will be featuring guest posts from local Black community influencers. We encourage you to leave a comment and a like to show your support. 

For those eager to engage in Black History Month before our programming begins, we invite you to visit OPL’s Black History Month YouTube playlist to check out our recorded past events, which includes a variety of discussions with authors and a youth panel spotlighting three remarkable young Black Canadians discussing their courageous leadership projects and the challenges they had to overcome. 

Finally, OPL librarians have put together lists of recommended resources for your reading pleasure. Reading books from OPL’s collection is a great way to discover the history of Afro-Canadians' and their contributions to Canadian culture. Check out the resources and booklists in OPL’s blog post for adult, teens and kids alike. 

For inspiration and ideas anytime visit BiblioOttawaLibrary.ca. If you don’t yet have a FREE library card sign up now online. 

Personalized Video Messages From Spider-Man to Support Ottawa Charities 

One creative resident of Ottawa has started an initiative to support charities in the city. If you know someone who might appreciate a personalized message in honour of a special occasion or to simply brighten their day, look no further. 

From Ottawa Spider-Man: 

“Do you have a young one (or young at heart) that is a Spider-Man fan who would love a short personalized message from him? Birthdays, special occasions, general encouragement, morale boost for yet another round of online schooling, anything at all that you want to highlight! In exchange for a $30 donation to the Ottawa Food Bank, the Distress Centre of Ottawa & RegionSit With Me, or Freedom Dog Rescue, I will record a personalized video message for you!” 

Full details and samples of work can be found on Ottawa Spider-Man's Facebook and Instagram page. 

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