January 21 Newsletter 2022

January 21, 2022 newsletter from Rawlson King, City Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe.

After not having received much precipitation throughout the month of December and into early January, this week saw the city’s first significant weather event of the winter season. Residents are reminded to self-monitor when shoveling snow and not to overexert oneself. In other news related to the snow, the City has lifted the “no sledding advisory” on its sanctioned sledding hills. Parents and children are advised to exercise caution on hills and follow safety tips outlined in this newsletter. Ottawa Public Health has continued to increase capacity for those seeking a first, second and third (booster) dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Community clinics across the city have abundant appointment and drop-in capacity. The City is planning to implement a Residential Vacant Unit Tax (VUT) in 2023 based upon the occupancy status of a residential property. Not only will this encourage occupancy or rental of properties, but the net revenue collected from this tax is expected to support the City’s affordable housing initiatives.  

Residents will have the chance to take part in an Open House on February 15th at 6:30 p.m. concerning the City’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP). Those who are interested can register and submit questions in advance. In addition, the deadline to submit feedback on the TMP has been extended to February 18, 2022. Information on the TMP and how to submit feedback can be found on Engage Ottawa. The Manor Park Community Council has created an ice rink that is available for private or group rentals. The rink, located at 1805 Gaspé Avenue, has amenities such as an outdoor firepit, outdoor seating, outdoor games and equipment, and indoor washrooms. Finally, the Ottawa Public Library is once again putting on its Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest. Young writers ages 9 to 18 may submit their original and unpublished work under six categories for the chance to be published and win cash prizes. Full details can be found in the last item in this newsletter. 

COVID-19 Vaccine Capacity and Accessibility 

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) has increased capacity to better serve everyone eligible for a first, second and third (booster) dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly adults 60 years and older in the community who may have yet to receive their third (booster) dose. All OPH community clinics offer drop-ins.   

There is ample appointment and drop-in capacity at all community clinics:  

  • François Dupuis Recreation Centre (2263 Portobello Boulevard)  
  • Nepean Sportsplex Curling Rink (1701 Woodroffe Avenue)  
  • University of Ottawa - Minto Sports Complex (801 King Edward Avenue)  
  • JH Putman School (2051 Bel-Air Drive)  
  • Eva James Memorial Centre (65 Stonehaven Drive)  
  • Orleans Ruddy Family YMCA-YWCA (265 Centrum Boulevard)  

Clinic availability for drop-ins will be posted regularly on OPH’s social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter).  

Third (booster) doses of the COVID-19 vaccine continue to remain a key protective measure. Adults over 60 remain at greater risk for serious illness and complications from COVID-19. For many, their immunity is likely to have decreased and getting a third (booster) dose ensures they are as protected as possible against serious illness and complications from COVID-19. Adults aged 60 and older who have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and at least 84 days (three months) have passed since their last dose are strongly encouraged to drop-in to one of our community clinics or to contact OPH’s booking line today at 613-691-5505 to book an appointment, if preferred.   

For any disability-related accommodations, OPH also has an accessibility assessment form that can be filled out 48 hours before a COVID-19 vaccination appointment. 

City prepares Residential Vacant Unit Tax for 2023 

The City is planning to implement a Residential Vacant Unit Tax (VUT) in 2023 based upon the occupancy status of a residential property. The proposed framework states that a residential property that is not the owner’s principal address and is vacant for more than 184 days during the calendar year could be subject to the new vacancy tax. 

The VUT is designed to motivate homeowners to occupy or rent their properties, helping to address the affordable housing crisis. Further, the net revenue collected from this tax is expected to support the City’s affordable housing initiatives. Once implemented, the vacancy tax will be calculated using a one percent tax rate applied to the property’s MPAC assessed value. 

At the beginning of 2023, pending Council’s final approval in the spring of 2022, all homeowners will be required to complete a declaration based on their property’s occupancy status during the 2022 calendar year. If a property is not a principal residence, the homeowner will be required to declare whether the property was vacant, rented, or qualifies for an exemption in 2022. If the vacancy period in the calendar year exceeds 184 days, a vacancy tax will be added to the 2023 final property tax bill. Exemptions are being considered for the VUT in the following circumstances: 

  • Death of a registered owner 
  • Property owner in a hospital or long-term care facility 
  • Arm’s length sale of the property 
  • Specific court orders prohibiting occupancy, sale, or rental of the property 
  • The property was undergoing extended renovations or construction 

The City will audit declarations and properties each year. Staff will work with owners to review the accuracy of the property status and declarations. If it is proven false, the vacancy tax and penalties will apply. 

In June 2021, Council approved the initial framework for the new Residential Vacant Unit Tax. The final report (including approved rate and exemptions) and supporting by-law will be presented to Council for approval in the spring of 2022. 

Joint Release by the Ottawa Paramedic Service and the University of Ottawa Heart Institute 

As we are currently receiving more snow, we remind residents that activities linked to snow shoveling come with some risks for many people, and that medical emergencies can be prevented. This additional reminder comes as, over the course of a five-hour window during Monday’s snowstorm, Ottawa paramedics responded to eight separate emergency calls involving patients clearing snow. 

Between 1100 hrs and 1600 hrs on Monday, January 17th, paramedics responded to eight different calls for patients experiencing symptoms such as chest pain; discomfort; acute shortness of breath; cardiac palpitations; sudden onset of dizziness; weakness; and some even experienced a temporary loss of consciousness. In each case, the individuals, primarily men, were clearing snow either manually or with the use of a snowblower. The University of Ottawa Heart Institute urges residents to take caution when shoveling snow to prevent a serious cardiac event. 

Those with a family history of heart disease or known risk factors should avoid physical overexertion. If you are going to shovel snow, do so safely by following tips such as warming up, and avoid lifting the shovel too high; push the snow to the side rather than lifting it. Find more advice in the Heart Institute’s Physical Activity Guide for cardiac patients. 

Update on sledding conditions and safety tips 

With the new blanket of snow, the City has lifted the “no sledding advisory” on its sanctioned sledding hills. Everyone should take safety precautions, including observing hill conditions and wearing a helmet. 

Sled only at hills designated for sledding. While other hills and large snowbanks are enticing to sledders, they possess hazards that could cause injuries. In addition, some non-sanctioned hills may have protective measures, but these do not make them safe sledding areas. The City has a list of its sanctioned sledding hills on ottawa.ca. 

Always wear a CSA-certified helmet to protect yourself. In addition, allow safe spacing – around 15 metres -- between you and the other sleds going down the hill. 

Additional safety tips: 

  • Children should be accompanied by a parent or guardian 
  • Sled only during daylight. If you are out at night, don’t slide unless the hill is well lit 
  • Always sit or kneel facing forward on the sled 
  • Walk up the side of the hill, not the middle 
  • Keep your hands, arms and legs inside the sled to prevent injury 
  • Alert (shout) if you observe another slider headed for danger 
  • Do not leave sleds or other obstacles on the hill 
  • Construction of snow jumps and other obstacles is not permitted 

Please always pay attention to the conditions on the hill. Packed snow, precipitation and fluctuations in temperature can create icy conditions on the hill, resulting in increased speeds and reduced ability to control and stop your sled safely.. Sledding is a high-risk activity. Sled at your own risk. 

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. 

The Manor Park Community Council Presents: 

The Backyard 

Your very own, personal winter wonderland is available now for private or group rentals from Jan 10 - Feb 27, 2022. 

The Backyard includes: 

  • Your very own private, illuminated skating rink 
  • Outdoor firepit & fire wood 
  • Hockey nets, sticks & pucks 
  • Outdoor games 
  • Outdoor seating 
  • Indoor heated washrooms 
  • Rink & firepit attendant  

Daytime or evening time slots available!  

Perfect for small family gatherings, birthday parties or even date night! Treat those closest to you, to a night on the rink and some laughs around the bonfire. 

Located at 1805 Gaspé Ave in Manor Park. 

The MPCC would be thrilled to welcome you to our newest winter offering. Reserve your spot now by visiting MANORPARK.CA or at http://manorpark.ca/thebackyard 

Questions comments, please contact: Josh Cassidy, Sports Supervisor [email protected] 

Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest – 2022 

The Awesome Authors Youth Writing Contest gives young writers, between the ages of 9 and 18, the chance to win awesome cash prizes, get published and share their talent with the world! The contest starts January 10, 2022 and submissions will be accepted until February 25, 2022. There is a limit of one (1) entry per person, per category. The six categories are: short story, poetry, comic, nouvelle, poésie and bande dessinée 

This contest would not be possible without the generosity of the Friends of the Ottawa Public Library Association. 

Full contest details and information on upcoming workshops for writers can be found here. 

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