This newsletter for March provides City Hall and Ward updates, along with community event listings.
Last week I was elected Chair of the Built Heritage Sub-Committee — the only urban Councillor to be named to a leadership position. In this role, I will be meeting regularly with the sub-committee to review heritage applications under the Ontario Heritage Act. I am looking forward to taking on this new role, and all its associated challenges!
Also a few weeks ago, Mayor Jim Watson and I presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Jennifer Cook Baniczky, in honour of her of outstanding volunteerism and philanthropy.
Ms. Cook Baniczky has been volunteering with the Shepherds of Good Hope for more than 35 years. She is known for her warmth, her steady demeanor, and her steadfast commitment to supporting some of Ottawa’s most vulnerable people. Her decades of acting as the Coordinator of Volunteers earned her the Shepherds of Good Hope’s “Calmer of Storms” award.
In 2015, Ms. Cook Baniczky participated in a neighbourhood group that sponsored a refugee family from Syria and helped them to settle in Ottawa. She is also a member of the Writers Union of Canada and has published several books for children and young adults. She has also donated her time reading to children at her local school and helped to build a library in West Africa. Additionally, Ms. Cook Baniczky is very involved with the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s Grandmothers to Grandmothers Campaign raising funds for sub-Saharan grandmothers bringing up their AIDS-orphaned grandchildren.
The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour, created to recognize an individual, group or organization that, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.
CITY HALL UPDATES
Reliability Of Our Transit System
I was not selected to sit on Transit Commission, but I have attended numerous times to ask about bus service, light rail and Para Transpo reliability which affects Ward 13 residents.
During my by-election campaign (held April 2019), I told residents that I would not have voted for Stage 2, which came to Council in March 2019, if I had been around the Council table. I would not have voted in favour due to lack of information and an inadequate amount of time to make an informed decision. I told the media then:
"The reality is, we have to know how we're dispensing of public money. That's the primary reason why you send a City Councillor to City Hall. We should do things right rather than just doing them quickly."
In the summer, quickly after my election, I inquired why there wasn’t online booking for Para Transpo. The inquiry ultimately lead to the creation of an online booking system this year.
I have also asked City staff on numerous occasions the “bottom-line question” most transit riders care about: When will the system reach reliability?
Due to a lack of sufficient answers to my questions concerning the problems plaguing light rail, I reached a consensus with a group of independent Councillors who will agree this month to:
1. Bring a motion to Council write a letter to the Ombudsman of Ontario requesting a full investigation into the LRT Stage 1 problems and into the LRT Stage 2 contract process.
2. Seek independent legal advice – from a law firm not associated with SNC-Lavalin – to review the terms of the warranties from the train manufacturer. I want to know when we can execute the warranty and send the trains back for a full refund.
3. Seek additional independent legal advice regarding Rideau Transit Maintenance’s contract and when and how the City may consider dissolving that agreement due to performance failure. That would allow the City to bring maintenance services in-house, as the City has with the O-Train that has been running smoothly for over 20 years.
4. Ask for hiring of a mass transit expert to advise and help design a full bus and train system that will effectively move more people by transit across the entire city.
By working with other colleagues on these questions, I believe that Council is asserting its collective responsibility to ensure the proper functionality of our transit network. I believe that managing our local transit system is one of the most fundamental tasks for our municipal government. This is why I worked to establish a Ward Council of community associations in Ward 13 to provide input on transit and transportation issues, and why my office will continue to hold regular meetings with OC Transpo management to provide continual input on bus route design and reliability.
Community Safety and Well-Being Plan
The City is inviting all residents to help shape our new Community Safety and Well-Being Plan. The plan will outline strategies and actions aimed at fostering inclusive communities, where everyone in Ottawa feels safe, and supported by a robust social safety net.
We will seek public input on crime and safety, including on the root causes of these issues, examining factors such as education, health care, food, housing, income and social and cultural expression. City staff will present the final Community Safety and Well-Being Plan report to Community and Protective Services Committee and Council in the fall of 2020.
You can find more information on the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan online.
We want to hear about the community safety and well-being issues that matter most to you. Starting on Tuesday, March 3, residents will be able to provide input through an online survey at Ottawa.ca/CSWBP. The survey will remain open until Friday, April 3.
You can also register to attend one of four in-person public-engagement sessions across the city. Space is limited, so please register early. Sessions run from 6:30 to 8:30 pm and doors open at 6 pm.
- Tuesday, March 10 – Nepean Sportsplex (Hall A), 1701 Woodroffe Avenue
- Wednesday, March 11 – Ottawa City Hall (Jean Pigott Place), 110 Laurier Avenue West
- Tuesday, March 24 – Richelieu Vanier Community Centre (Kiwanis Hall), 300 Des Pères-Blancs Avenue
- Thursday, March 26 – Kanata Recreation Complex (Hall A), 100 Charlie Rogers Place
If you can’t participate in one of these sessions, you can still provide input through the online survey starting on Tuesday, March 3.
Paint it Up! Funding Applications Available
Funding is available for outdoor mural art projects that support graffiti prevention, youth empowerment, community safety and the beautification of Ottawa neighbourhoods. Projects must contribute to a clean, safe and beautiful city by engaging neighbourhoods and youth in a constructive learning process to create murals to prevent or deter graffiti.
For more information about funding, please visit the website for the program guidelines and application form.
Applications must be postmarked, e-mailed, or received by 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 31, 2020.
March is Fraud Prevention Month
Each year, Canadians lose millions of dollars to fraud. Educating yourself on common scams is the easiest way to prevent being a victim.
“It’s hard to keep up with all the different kinds of scams,” said Sergeant Jamie Ritchie from the Ottawa Police Service Fraud Unit. “But there are steps you can take to protect yourself, regardless of the specific scenario.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. “Don’t fall for high pressure sales tactics that don’t allow you to have time to think over a decision or require you to provide personal, banking or credit card information without checking into the offer further,” advised Sgt. Ritchie.
- If you didn’t request a service, don’t accept unsolicited offers by phone or on your door step. “Do your research first to ensure you are dealing with a reputable company.”
- Do your due diligence. Check companies with the Better Business Bureau, ask for references and visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre to find out about the latest scams and where they are active. “Get quotes in writing,” adds Sgt. Ritchie.
- No government agency or legitimate business will ask you to purchase gift cards or bitcoin in order to settle an account.
- Be careful where you share your personal information and how much information you share on social media. “Identity theft is prevalent and can lead to false credit applications in your name,” says Sgt. Ritchie.
Common scams like home improvement scams, identity theft, mass marketing scams, elder fraud and on-line sales and tips to help you protect yourself, will be profiled during Fraud Prevention Month. Follow us on twitter @FraudOttawa, where we will be hosting a live Q&A session every Thursday from 11 am to 1 pm.
Don Gamble Park Playground Renewal
In 2020, the existing play equipment in Don Gamble Park will be replaced as a life-cycle renewal project.
The community is invited to provide comments and preference between Option A and Option B, as shown below.
Please provide comment to:
Ward Boundary Review Public Consultation
Public consultation for the Ward Boundary Review will occur in two rounds. The first round (March 4 – April 3, 2020) is aimed at receiving input from residents, key stakeholders and Members of Council on the City’s current ward boundaries. This round will result in an Information Report setting out new ward boundary options, which will be considered by the Finance and Economic Development Committee and Council in Q2 2020.
The consultation for Ward 13 will be held on Wednesday, March 11th, 2020, from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm at the St-Laurent Complex.
A dedicated Web site, ottawa.ca/wardboundary, will launch on March 4, 2020.
An online survey will run from March 4 until April 3, 2020 and will be available through the Engage Ottawa platform on ottawa.ca/wardboundary. Residents may also contact email@example.com with questions or comments.
Comments on 261 and 265 Columbus Avenue Development
While I understand that much of Overbrook is slated for intensification as prescribed in the Official Plan, my key concerns around this development involve: design; infrastructure service impacts; and the size and mass of the building. While I generally support the need to encourage intensification, those efforts should not be detrimental to the community. New development projects ideally should complement and not compete with the unique character of the Overbrook neighbourhood. Please read my full comments to the lead planner on the file here: https://www.rideau-rockcliffe.ca/comments_to_planner_261_and_265_columbus.
One Thousand Women – The State of Housing and Homelessness in our City
Ashbury College, along with Harmony House, and Interval House of Ottawa, are hosting a panel called One Thousand Women: The state of housing and homelessness for women in our city. CBC’s Rita Celli will moderate, plus Kaite Burkholder Harris will be the subject matter expert, as Co-Lead of Linking Leaders. One Thousand Women become homeless in Ottawa each year.
Right now, our city is experiencing a housing crisis and we have declared a housing emergency. We collectively need to discuss the issues of homelessness and lack of affordable and supportive housing – especially for women.
We know from experience, that when you give a woman a safe, permanent home, they can heal and recover. With support and a fixed address, women can access help like counseling, mental health, drug and alcohol recovery, education and work services.
March 5 – 6 pm to 8 pm.
362 Mariposa Avenue
Rockcliffe Park Speaker Series presents Rt. Hon. Beverly McLachlin
Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin will speak about her book, “Truth be Told.” Based on her recent autobiography, the former Chief Justice of Canada invites us into her legal and personal life, and reveals the hopes and doubts, and the triumphs and losses on and off the bench which have marked her journey. Wednesday March 11 at 8 pm at the Community Hall. Question and Answer period follows the talk with coffee, tea and home-made cookies.
March 11 – 8 pm to 9:30 pm.
Rockcliffe Park Community Centre, 380 Springfield Road
Manor Park Sustainability Discussions
Ottawa Biosphere Eco-City (OBEC) is a local environmental educational charity working to encourage engagement and cooperation in sustainability in communities all across Ottawa. Their goal is to engage local citizens in discussion in their communities and come up with a Community Sustainability Plan (CSP) that will inspire them to start their own sustainability projects. This event will be a workshop on Manor Park's sustainability efforts, OBEC’S 10 sustainability themes (food, transport, waste, energy, habitat, natural capital, design, health, recreation and sense of place) and an interactive discussion led by the community, to come up with tangible sustainability projects and identify leaders who will make them happen!
March 14 – 1 pm to 4 pm.
Manor Park Community Centre, 100 Thornwood Road
Tea Time Trivia
People, Words & Change is hosting Tea Time Trivia, combining the traditions of an English tea with the thrill of a trivia competition! Councillor Rawslon King will handle the hosting duties and we expect plenty of individuals to be on hand, to enjoy a sumptuous menu of tea, scones, small sandwiches, and sweets catered by the Ottawa Mission Food Services. At the same time, participants will compete in teams to answer our trivia questions, delivered by our quiz-master Andrew Thomson, Ottawa’s recent Jeopardy! success-story. At stake is a grand prize and, of course, bragging rights. Entertainment will be provided by the Ashley Thomas School of Dance.
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/tea-time-trivia-tickets-92951657911
March 21, 2020 - 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
400 McArthur Avenue