March 4 Newsletter 2022

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

This week, in line with the Province of Ontario’s next phase of its reopening plan, the City removed proof of vaccination requirements for recreation and cultural facilities. While this is one step closer towards normalcy, it is completely normal to feel unsure or worried about the loosening of restrictions. Residents are reminded to wear a mask and to stay home when they are not well or experiencing symptoms. This week, the City’s Finance and Economic Development Committee approved a residential vacant unit tax to be charged on non-principal residences left vacant for more that 184 days in a year. This tax is intended to help Ottawa’s housing supply by encouraging owners to occupy, sell or rent their properties. 

March is Mois de la Francophonie and this week, the City officially kicked-off the celebrations. To mark this special occasion, the City will be hosting its annual Francophone RendezVous breakfast which can be viewed on the Mayor's Facebook page, Rogers cable 23 and the Rogers TV web site. Beginning Monday, March 7, the Carsons Grove Bookmobile stop will resume service after having to be temporarily suspended due to COVID-related staffing pressures. The week of March 18, the Rockcliffe Park library branch will undergo furniture and facility upgrades. During this time, the branch will remain open with modified services. Finally, flood control for the Rideau River has commenced in preparation for spring. Do not be alarmed if you hear blasts along the Rideau River where crews are working. 

Proof of vaccination no longer required at City-operated recreation and cultural facilities 

Following the Province of Ontario’s next phase of its reopening plan, the City will be removing the proof of vaccination requirements for the public currently in place for its recreation and cultural facilities, effective Tuesday, March 1. Mandatory masking requirements remain, in accordance with the provincial public health measures. 

While the City has lifted this proof of vaccination requirement, organizations who rent our facilities have the option to maintain this measure. Please check directly with the organizations – which include community and sports associations as well as organizing bodies. 

The provincial easing of public health measures also allows the City to lift the remaining capacity limits for theatres, performances, spectator areas for sporting events and rentals for social dancing. The return to full capacities is dependent on the availability of staff resources at each site.  

The current reservation system for drop-in activities will remain in place and walk-ins will also be accepted as space allows. By making a reservation, customers have the opportunity to secure a spot at their preferred times.  

Even though we are moving forward, we must continue to protect ourselves and those around us by: 

  • Wearing a mask 
  • Staying home when you are not well or experiencing symptoms 
  • Getting vaccinated, including boosters, at any Ottawa Public Health clinic or pharmacy. Visit the Ontario vaccine booking site and Ottawa Public Health webpages. 

Long-term care homes 

The City’s long-term care homes will continue to follow direction from the Ministry of Long-Term Care on screening requirements for entry into long-term care homes. Proof of vaccination is currently required for staff, caregivers, students, volunteers, support workers and visitors entering long-term care homes 

Committee approves tax on vacant residences 

This week, the City’s Finance and Economic Development Committee approved a residential vacant unit tax to be charged on non-principal residences left vacant for more that 184 days in a year. Requiring owners to pay one per cent of the assessed value of such units is meant to encourage them to occupy, sell or rent their properties to help increase housing supply in Ottawa. 

About 330,000 residential property owners across Ottawa would need to make an annual declaration of vacancy between January 1 and mid-March or be charged a $250 late declaration fee. The tax would be added to the final property tax bill each year, and net revenues from the tax would fund affordable housing. It is anticipated to generate about $6.6 million per year. 

If approved by Council, the City would need to seek provincial approval to designate Ottawa to levy the tax. The tax would be implemented in 2022, with the first annual declaration and billing starting in 2023. 

The Committee also received an update on the 2022 Municipal Elections, including a recommendation to offer a special mail-in ballot for the October 2022 election, as well as for any by-elections that might occur during the 2022-2026 term of Council. In light of the possibility that the pandemic may still be an issue, this process will allow electors the opportunity to vote without having to attend a voting place in-person. Voting day is Monday, October 24. 

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

March is Mois de la Francophonie  

This week, the City officially kicked-off the celebrations by proclaiming March as Francophonie Month in the City of Ottawa.   

Francophone RendezVous  

Held each year to mark Francophonie Month and the International Day of La Francophonie, we are pleased to announce that the annual Francophone RendezVous breakfast will take place in person this year.  

The City will once again host this year's RendezVous, in partnership with the Association des communautés francophones d'Ottawa (ACFO Ottawa). The RendezVous will be broadcast live at 8 am on Thursday, March 24 on the Mayor's Facebook page, Rogers cable 23 and the Rogers TV web site.   

For more information on Francophone events, please sign up to receive the electronic newsletter, Francophone events at Ottawa City Hall. 

OPL’s Rockcliffe Park branch will offer modified services during improvements from March 18 to March 25   

The Rockcliffe Park branch of Ottawa Public Library (380 Springfield) will offer modified services from Friday, March 18 to Thursday, March 24 while upgrades and improvements are being done to the furniture and facility.   

  •  Holds pick-up, Express items and a small browsing collection will be available, with these collections contained to one area of the branch   
  •  Returns will be available using external book drops  

The Rockcliffe Park branch will resume its regular service on Friday, March 25 at 2 pm.  

The branch will be refreshed with new paint, so, for their own health and safety, people with sensitivities should not enter the branch.  

Customers are encouraged and more than welcome to come before March 18 so they can stock up before we go to a modified service.  

The nearest alternative OPL branches to access Library services are:  

Please check the OPL website for information about hours and location.   

For the latest updates about current service levels at OPL, please visit our website https://biblioottawalibrary.ca/en/current-branch-services.  

Bookmobile to Resume Service at Carsons Grove Stop 

The Ottawa Public Library’s Bookmobile is pleased to be able to resume service at the Carsons Grove stop beginning Monday, March 7 after having to suspend service at the beginning of February due to COVID-related staffing pressures.  

Stop information: 

Carson Grove, 710 Carsons Road: Mondays 3:30-4:30 

(was Thursdays 3:30-4:30) 

Flood control on the Rideau River 

While it might not seem like it, winter is almost over. You may have already seen the Rideau River Flood Control Team preparing for the arrival of spring and the potential flooding that comes with it. The City and the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority team up to undertake the extensive flood prevention work. 

To prevent springtime flooding, work needs to be done over the span of one or two months before the temperatures warm up. First, the snow is cleared from the ice. This allows the crew to drill test holes and move on to the next step, which is cutting out strips of ice called keys. 

Once the keys are cut, controlled blasts and an amphibious excavation machine break the ice into smaller pieces. 

This year’s operations began at the end of January. Blasting begins February 26 and continues until the river’s flow stabilizes. Don’t be alarmed if you hear blasts along the Rideau River where crews are working. This is a normal part of their operations and occurs every year. 

Are you thinking about making a shift, moving into new living arrangement or house? Have you dreamed of a home that has closer connection to neighbours and a more supportive environment? If you are passionate about community building, cohousing may be a good fit for you. 

Ottawa Cohousing provides the tools and expertise for like-minded people to build new homes and create cohouse communities together in Ottawa. 

Cohousing combines private homes with generous communal spaces and shared resources.  

A cohouse community is formed by a group of people that have shared values and goals, including where to live and how much each resident can afford. Each household owns their own private home and co-owns the shared interior and exterior spaces. Similar in structure to a condominium but what members of a cohouse share and with whom is by the choice of the group of residents. There is intention in choosing to live together in proximity and community. 

Cohouse communities take many different shapes. For city living, they could be a collection of small multi-unit buildings, one single building, an assembly of row houses or semis, etc. 

Cohousing is an important housing option for now and for the future: 

  • Pandemic lessons: need for community supports and both shared and personal outdoor spaces. 
  • ‘Work from home’ situations increase the need for social connections at home. 
  • Housing Crisis motivates alternative housing solutions for all household types and sizes. 
  • Climate Crisis motivates shared climate change mitigation. 
  • A large cohort of aging adults seek options for Aging in Place. 

Ottawa Cohousing is focused on developing cohouse communities within the urban boundary of Ottawa efficiently, cost effectively, and with environmental integrity. Our Goal is to facilitate healthy community formation, balancing diversity with shared values, and imparting skills for successful community longevity. 

We match aspiring residents into a group with like others. We then direct our groups along two streams of engagement and development while our affiliate firm, Rosaline J. Hill Architecture Inc. leads them through the design process. 

The Ottawa Cohousing Team has comprehensive skills in coordination, management and group facilitation, and a deep knowledge of the planning, development and building industries specific to urban infill in the Ottawa region. We hold the tools needed for the success of local cohouse communities.   

Discover the possibilities https://ottawacohousing.ca 

Contact us for more information [email protected] 

Social Harvest Community Garden Info Session 

Social Harvest is hosting a hybrid info session for those interested in becoming a tenant of their community garden located at 815 St. Laurent Blvd. The info session will be held on Wednesday, March 9 at 5:45pm at 815 St. Laurent Blvd. As well as on Zoom. To register click here.  

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Address: 110 Laurier Ave W, Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1