November 25, 2022 newsletter from Rawlson King, City Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe.
A Message from Councillor King
Last week, the Provincial Government introduced the Better Municipal Governance Act. Among the changes, the new Act would enable a “strong mayor” to pass by-laws with just one-third support of Ottawa City Council. In my view the legislation as proposed is entirely undemocratic. In Ottawa, that would mean the Mayor, if he opted to use strong mayor powers, would only need nine votes to pass by-laws related to “provincial priorities.”
Healthy democracies, in contrast, are defined by majority rule, where decisions require more than half the votes. Healthy democracy at City Hall should also be defined by local autonomy through meaningful citizen engagement and intervention in municipal decision-making.
The legislation, as proposed, would allow the Mayor not only to make decisions with a minority of the Council but also without rigorous resident input through committee delegation. The legislation does not define or proscribe "provincial priorities" apart from offering a few suggestions, such as more housing or expanded community footprints for transit-oriented development. No criteria are specified for assessing whether the reasons for the priorities are valid or sufficient.
Consequently, the legislation could give a strong mayor and a minority of Council sweeping powers in the name of advancing provincial priorities without any public input. Decisions through the new powers could also conceivably allow the adoption of a new Official Plan, amendments to the existing Official Plan, and even the repeal of an Official Plan or parts thereof. The new powers could also allow the Mayor acting with a minority of the Council to enact, amend or repeal a zoning by-law, including the comprehensive zoning by-law, and also to enact, amend or repeal any other regulatory by-law made under the authority of a statute that provides by-law making powers, such as the site plan control by-law, the community improvement plan by-law, the development charges by-law, the tree protection by-law, and the community benefits charges by-law.
While the Province has described the introduction of this legislation as “bold” and “decisive” action, I see it as a cynical and autocratic proposal designed to forcefully align City policies with ill-defined provincial priorities while eroding the traditional decision-making privileges of our municipal council and the democratic rights of our residents. The legislation is a reminder that cities are “creatures of statute” and I intend to register dissatisfaction with this proposal, not unlike the letter of opposition I submitted on behalf of Rideau-Rockcliffe residents and community associations concerning Bill 23.
Councillor King in the Community
National Housing Day - Funding Announcement
I joined local officials on National Housing Day, Nov. 23, to announce $91.85 million in combined federal and provincial funding for five housing projects that will bring an additional 272 affordable units to the City of Ottawa.
Help Santa Toy Parade
I had the opportunity to join Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and some of my Councillor colleagues on the City of Ottawa float during the Help Santa Toy Parade in downtown Ottawa on Nov. 19.
Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Conversations
In the New Year, I will be hosting in-person monthly Community Conversations in Rideau-Rockcliffe neighbourhoods during which local residents can stop by to discuss City-related matters with me and my staff and to ask City-related questions. To kick these off, I will be hosting a ward-wide meet-and-greet in December. Stay tuned for the date, time and location!
Temporary change to Bus Route #6
Recent changes to OC Transpo bus route #6 were part of a detour put in place to accommodate the road closure on Maple Lane between Glenwood and Lambton. The detour was to have been in effect from Nov. 23 to 26. My office was advised Nov. 25 that this detour has been lifted and the previous bus stops have now been reinstated. Information about stops missed and alternate stops can be found on OC Transpo’s Alerts website.
Noise Exemption Application - 78 Beechwood Avenue
The City of Ottawa has received a request for an extension to a noise exemption permit originally granted to Aecon Utilities for Nov. 11 and 12 related to the installation of commercial building gas in front of 78 Beechwood Avenue. The City has received a request to extend the noise exemption permit for two additional nights to allow the contractor to complete the work. The request is for Dec. 6, from 10 pm to 7 am, and Dec. 3, from 10 pm to 9 am. Prior to the work, the company would again notify impacted area residents and businesses as well as the Vanier BIA.
Rockcliffe Park Foundation Annual Appeal
Rockcliffe has two key community organizations that work together: the Rockcliffe Park Foundation and the Rockcliffe Park Residents Association (RPRA). The RPRA organizes and manages our community events and programs. The Foundation, as a registered charity, funds these events and programs. When you donate, you fund the Rockcliffe newsletter and RPRA events including the Speakers Program, the Heritage Walk, and the Children’s Holiday Party. Donations also support ongoing environmental and conservation programs in Rockcliffe Park including water testing at the Pond, maintenance of the sports field at RPPS and Jubilee Garden, and tree planting to preserve our maturing tree canopy. You can make a tax-deductible donation here: rockcliffeparkfoundation.org/donate
City of Ottawa News
OC Transpo Winter Service Changes
- Holiday service (Dec. 26, 2022 to Jan. 6, 2023) will operate on a reduced schedule to reflect lower ridership during the holidays.
- NEW this winter: A Severe Storm Schedule will be piloted for buses when 31 cm or more of snow is expected.
- Route 62 will be modified to bring service closer to businesses on weekends.
- Select trips on School Route 671 servicing John McCrae Secondary School will be extended to Apolune Street.
- The Rack & Roll winter pilot is happening again this winter! This time, all OC Transpo buses will be equipped with a bike rack.
Schedule and service changes
OC Transpo to launch Severe Storm Schedule
OC Transpo will be piloting a Severe Storm Schedule for buses on weekdays. It will be in effect when 31 cm or more of snow is expected. On weekdays, bus service will be based on a Saturday schedule, with limited early morning service and weekday-only routes. O-Train Line 1 and Para Transpo service will not be reduced. Please click here for more details.
Montreal Road Project Updates
Over the next two weeks (Nov. 21 to Dec. 2), work along Montreal Road will be ending as crews begin to shut down for the winter months. The following remaining work is scheduled to be completed over the next two weeks:
- North River Road – The traffic calming measures (speed humps) along the north leg of North River Road are scheduled to be constructed the week of Nov. 28. Signage and pavement markings will follow.
- Lafontaine/Montreal Road intersection – Concrete work at the intersection has been completed. Asphalt work for the cycle track on the south side of the intersection will be completed next week.
- Lafontaine to St. Laurent Boulevard – Crews are continuing installation of demarcation tiles over the next two weeks as well as driveway reinstatements.
- Side street and intersection work – The three intersections that remain closed (St-Anne, Olmstead North, Granville, Mona and de L’Église) will be finished and cleaned up by the first week of December.
Please note: The opened section of the Montreal Road cycle track between Vanier Parkway and Begin Street will be snow cleared and maintained over the winter. The cycle track east of Begin Street to St. Laurent Boulevard is not complete (missing green thermo paint, signage and bike signals) and as such is not winter maintained. This section of cycle track east of Begin Street will be opened in early summer 2023 which will mark the completion of the project.
Vacant Unit Tax letter
Check your mailboxes! An important Vacant Unit Tax letter is being sent to homeowners over the week of Nov. 28. In the New Year, you will need to submit an occupancy status declaration for your property and this letter will explain how. Learn more here: bit.ly/3TZjEeo
Winter Helmet Discount Weekend
Think ahead this winter and wear a helmet. Looking for a new one? On Saturday, Dec. 3 and Sunday, Dec. 4, select stores in Ottawa will be offering a special discount on winter helmets. Check out the stores below. Visit ottawa.ca/sledding for more information and locations of approved sledding hills. Visit Ottawa Public Health’s website for information on helmet safety, including tips for selecting the right helmet for the activity.
- Dinardo's Skis & Wheels TBC
- Foster's Sports Centre
- Kunstadt Sports
- MEC Ottawa
- Sporting Life
- Surf Side Ottawa
Browse winter activities and create an online account starting Nov. 30
The online guide will be available to view as of Nov. 21. Online registration for Winter 2023 programs will look a bit different and have a few improvements. The new system will allow you to browse and filter program offerings, create a wishlist in advance, and improve wait times on registration nights.
Winter Registration dates:
- 5 at 9 pm for swimming programs
- 7 at 9 pm for all other recreation programs
Prepare for a smooth transition:
- Confirm your contact information is up to date by checking your online account or speaking with customer service staff next time you’re in the facility.
- Subscribe to the DiscoverRec e-newsletter. You’ll receive instructions when it’s time to create or access your new account.
Whether it is winter weather parking bans, significant weather events or more, refresh your winter knowledge and learn what City of Ottawa teams do to keep everything running as smoothly as possible during the winter months: bit.ly/3OfjdLN
Ottawa Public Health News
Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches, was joined by Federal Minister of Health Jean-Yves Duclos and Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, to visit one of Ottawa Public Health’s vaccine clinics for children. To protect you, the children in our community and our loved ones, Ottawa Public Health encourages everyone eligible to get both the COVID-19 and flu vaccines: OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Flu
Layers of Protection
Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health strongly recommends using layers of protection, including the use of masks in all indoor public settings, to help combat the rise of respiratory infections, including COVID-19, Influenza and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), within the community. The Province and Ottawa Public Health recommend the following to prevent the spread of infection:
- Staying home when sick
- Wearing a well-fitted mask
- Practising personal hand hygiene
- Maintaining physical distancing and reducing physical contact with others where possible
- Avoiding contact with surfaces touched by others as much as possible
For influenza information including expanded eligibility and clinic locations, please visitOttawaPublicHealth.ca/Flu. For COVID-19 information including booking your next dose, please visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVID19Vaccine.
Neighbourhood Health & Wellness Hubs
OPH’s Neighbourhood Health & Wellness Hubs are made for the community, in the community. Residents can access health, mental health, community and social services at certain Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hub locations, including immunizations needed for school, mental health support, dental screening, Parenting in Ottawa drop-ins, as well as employment and social services. Ottawa Public Health continues to offer residents access to COVID-19 vaccination at Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hubs. Residents can also still visit a hub to speak with a Public Health Nurse about their health questions and concerns. OPH is excited to continue to offer supports for the community in familiar and convenient locations within neighbourhoods, meeting residents where they are. Consult OPH’s Neighbourhood Health and Wellness Hub web page for all locations, hours of operation and the services you can access at each.
Mental Health Resources
The last several years have been challenging and there are many people in our communities who are struggling. It's OK to not be OK. For more information and to access resources, please visit Ottawa Public Health’s Mental Health, Addictions and Substance Use Health Services and Resources webpage.
Rideau-Rockcliffe and City of Ottawa events, meetings and engagement opportunities
FIFA World Cup Viewing Parties
The Overbrook Community Centre, 33 Quill St., presents a FIFA World Cup viewing party with free food and drinks on Nov. 26, 10:30 am to 4 pm.
Join me and Councillor Stéphanie Plante Sunday, Nov. 27 at 11 am at the Rideau Sports Centre for a FIFA World Cup viewing party (Canada versus Croatia) with His Excellency Vice Skacic, the Croatian Ambassador to Canada.
Rideau Winter Trail - Public Information Session
The Rideau Winter Trail is a free recreational trail run by volunteers and is groomed for walking, cross-country skiing, fat biking and snow shoeing. It runs from Donald Street (by the Rideau Sports Centre) to Bank Street. If you would like to learn more about the Rideau Winter Trail, you are invited to attend an online virtual information session on Nov. 30 at 7:30 pm. Please RSVP by Nov. 28 to[email protected] to receive the Zoom link.
International Day of Persons with Disabilities
International Day of Persons with Disabilities is coming up on Dec. 3. Celebrate with the City of Ottawa on Dec. 1 at 10 am at a special virtual event to discuss how to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities: bit.ly/3VjEkPx Please register by 4 pm on November 30.
The Vanier Community Services Centre invites you to the 17th edition of the Snowflake Breakfast on Friday, Dec. 2, 7 to 10 am. The Snowflake Breakfast marks the launch of holiday activities in the Vanier community. The Centre is counting on your support to reach its fundraising goal of $45,000. Due to current food insecurity, increased by the pandemic and the inflation rate, the Vanier CSC is working tirelessly to meet the urgent food needs of Partage Vanier Food Bank users. The Food Bank is currently experiencing a 30 per cent increase in the number of users. Today more than ever, Partage Vanier needs your ongoing support! Tickets and breakfast boxes are available at snowflakebreakfast.com. The deadline to purchase breakfast boxes is Nov. 29 at 5 pm.
Mayor to host annual Christmas celebration at City Hall
Mayor Mark Sutcliffe will host the Mayor’s 20th Annual Christmas Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 2 to 5 pm, at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, in support of the Ottawa Food Bank. Admission to this event is with a non-perishable food donation for the Ottawa Food Bank. Please click here for more details.
OC Transpo/Loblaws Christmas Food Drive
The 38th annual OC Transpo/Loblaws Christmas Food Drive is taking place Saturday, Dec. 3 from 10 am until 5 pm at participating Loblaws, Real Canadian Superstore, Your Independent Grocer and No Frills stores across Ottawa. Look out for the big OC Transpo bus parked outside and be sure to pick up a little extra when you’re out shopping or consider making a monetary donation at the cash. Not going to the grocery store? Donate online! For every dollar donated, the Ottawa Food Bank can deliver about $5 worth of food. Let’s work together to support those in our community who are struggling this holiday season. Thank you in advance for your support. For more info or to donate online visit: OC Transpo / Loblaw Christmas Food Drive 2022 - Ottawa Food Bank
Public Consultation Session - 400 Coventry Road mixed-use development application
The City has received an application for:
- an Official Plan Amendment (to the Secondary Plan, concerning permitted height for one of the towers)
- zoning by-law amendment (to permit appropriate density and lot coverage for transit-oriented development)
- proposed redevelopment of 400 Coventry Road (the southwest corner with Belfast, backing onto Highway 417), which currently has a one-storey industrial building and attached three-storey office building, with extensive surface parking and materials storage areas.
The proposed development comprises:
- 7 towers (ranging from 18 to 30 storeys, with low- to mid-rise podiums in between)
- 1,690 residential units, with about 25% of the units larger than studios or one-bedroom units, with ground-oriented units along the podiums framing the park
- underground parking for most of the 1,120 vehicles spaces and 856 bicycles
- retail/commercial space on the ground floor fronting on Coventry
- a new local road running west off of Belfast, separating the north and south halves of the development
- a new park in the middle of the site, at the western boundary on the north side of the new local road
- greenspace and other amenity spaces on podium and tower roofs, the details of which will become available at the site plan control stage.
This is the kind of transit-oriented development density called for in the New Official Plan and in Provincial policy. A virtual public consultation meeting regarding this proposal is expected to be scheduled in December 2022. Stay tuned for details. The development applications can be reviewed on the City’s DevApps website.
Young at Art 2023 program
Help us shine a spotlight on the talented youth in your life! Ottawa’s visual artists between 12 and 19 years old can now apply for the Young at Art 2023 program. The deadline to apply is March 20. For details and the award categories please visit bit.ly/3VbKO3r.
Emergency Services News
Ottawa Police Service:
Human Rights Learning Forum
In recognition of Human Rights Day, the Ottawa Police Service invites the public to attend the 7th annual Human Rights Learning Forum onThursday, Dec. 8. This year’s forum has been organized in partnership with the United for All coalition and the Community Equity Council.
Location: Hellenic Meeting and Reception Centre, 1315 Prince of Wales Dr.
Time: 8:30 am to 3 pm.
To register and for more details, please visit ottawapolice.ca/HRLF.
Ottawa Police collecting personal hygiene products for women until Dec. 11
The Ottawa Police Service and its partners – Shoppers Drug Mart and Citron Hygiene – are once again inviting Ottawa residents to help them collect personal hygiene products for women.
Drop-off locations until Dec. 11:
- 211 Huntmar Drive,
- 3343 St. Joseph Boulevard,
- 474 Elgin Street, between 8 am and 6 pm;
- Shoppers Drug Mart 174 Bank Street,
- Shoppers Drug Mart 702 Bank Street,
- Shoppers Drug Mart 1080 Bank Street/Sunnyside,
- Shoppers Drug Mart 3781 Strandherd Drive,
- Shoppers Drug Mart 181 Greenbank Road, and
- The Citron Hygiene warehouse at 150-2855 Swansea Crescent, Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 pm.
All items collected will be delivered by Ottawa Police to local shelters, such as the Minwaashin Lodge, Youth Services Bureau, Nelson House and Cornerstone Housing. For details, please click here.
Ottawa Fire Services News:
Free Pet Window Decal
Ottawa Fire Services and the Ottawa Humane Society have teamed up to save lives by creating and distributing a simple decal. In a fire or other life-threatening emergency, the decal tells firefighters and other first responders that there are pets in a home; it tells them how many pets and what species need to be rescued. You can protect your beloved pets with this simple decal. Because of the generosity of our donors, the decals are free for the asking. You can get yours by visiting the OHS website.
Ottawa By-law and Regulatory Services:
Animals in Distress
Who to call when you find an animal in distress:
City of Ottawa Committee and Council Updates
There will be a special City Council meeting on Monday, Nov. 28 at 10 am. Council will receive a briefing in camera on the item with respect to Stage 1 of LRT: legal update and litigation overlay related to the Ottawa Light Rail Public Inquiry. The majority of the meeting will be in closed session, but residents will be able to watch the open portion of the meeting on Youtube.
Ottawa Police Services Board – Monday, Nov. 28 at 4 pm
Crime Prevention Ottawa – Monday, Nov. 28 at 5 pm
Ottawa City Council – Wednesday, Nov. 30 at 10 am
For a list of upcoming Committee and Council meetings and to access the meeting agendas, please click here. Watch or listen to meetings in progress or access the video or audio of past meetings on YouTube or on the City’s agendas and minutes web portal. Regular City Council meetings are also broadcast live on RogersTV Cable 22 and live streamed on the RogersTV website.