I feel like in every councillor’s message I share how busy we’ve been at City Hall, but in this edition, it is especially true! After a lengthy four-day marathon session, the next stage of Lansdowne 2.0 was approved with several amendments, including two of mine that were unanimously carried (a significant increase to the affordable housing contribution and a plan for more public programming). Although the report was released at the beginning of October, the work to understand and gain several different perspectives started as far back as last spring. I took the time to really listen to residents, meet with various stakeholders including multiple meetings with City staff, the local ward Councillor, OSEG, community members in the Glebe and Old Ottawa South, and virtually attend the Let’s Talk Lansdowne 2.0 Community Forum to better understand the complexities surrounding Lansdowne 2.0.
As a council, we had to face the fact that the infrastructure the City owns (North side stands + arena) is functionally obsolete, and regardless of the final vote, Lansdowne would require investment. Anyone who has visited the TD Place Arena (formerly the Civic Centre), one of the City’s most emission-producing buildings, in recent years knows the poor state of the building and its accessibility challenges. Over the two days of 80+ delegations, we heard from many sports teams and event organizers that the venue was no longer suitable for their use, which results in a loss of revenue for the facility and for the City.
In my view, it made less financial sense to continue to pour money into Band-Aid solutions (repairs estimated to cost $12.5 M annually) and push the redevelopment project decades into the future - resulting in only a bigger price tag for Ottawa taxpayers. The analogy I've come to use is that at some point, a good mechanic will tell you not to keep investing in repairing an old car - they will tell you to buy a new one. In under a year, the project cost rose $87.5 M due to inflation and construction escalations. Imagine the project cost in 2033, 2043 or 2053? Compounded with $12.5M a year until that time. I believe that I was elected to be a decision-maker, even when those decisions are difficult and in this case, pushing the problem off for another council to deal with felt like an abdication of responsibility.
Renewal plan highlights include: a new mid-size event centre/arena built to today's environmental standards, new north-side stadium stands, two-storey retail space, two residential towers and millions allocated to the City’s affordable Housing reserve through the sale of subterranean and air rights (selling the space below ground and in the air that developers will build on).
Unfortunately, there was a fair bit of misinformation circulating about the project – which is not uncommon for a controversial file, but I want my constituents to know I paid particular attention to the finances. It was reassuring to know that Ernst and Young's experts spent over 1100 hours reviewing the financial projections. It’s also important to note that what was approved was only the next stage in the process, and the final decision will come back to council after the City’s Auditor General has conducted her own review.
I’m grateful to all those who engaged with me on their views and to my council colleagues who strengthened the plan through a myriad of motions. I’d also like to thank my staff who poured hundreds of hours into reviewing the file to ensure I was prepared to make an informed decision.
Shifting gears, I want to recognize the Navan Community Association, St. Andrews United Church, and Legion Orleans Branch 632 for planning and hosting Remembrance Day ceremonies across our community last weekend. However you observed Remembrance Day, I trust you found a moment to express appreciation for those who have dedicated and sacrificed for Canada.
To conclude, as the holidays approach, let's come together to make a positive impact in our communities. Whether it's donating to the food bank or resource centre, volunteering your time, or supporting a charitable cause, every act of kindness counts.
Here's to a safe and happy holiday season!
Renaud and Mer Bleue Road lane reductions
Starting the week of November 27, Westboro Utilities will be installing a new natural gas line that’ll impact Renaud and Mer Bleue roads.
Construction activities will occur between 9 AM and 3 PM (non-peak hours). One lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained on Renaud (from Mer Bleue to Ascender) and Mer Bleue (from Renaud to Willow Aster).
The installation is estimated to take three weeks.
Santa’s Parade of Lights 2023
Santa is ready to light up Orléans with Rudolph and his reindeer on the final Saturday in November! The Santa's Parade of Lights is set for November 25th starting at 6 pm.
The parade will begin at St. Joseph Boulevard and Youville Drive, and travel along St. Joseph Boulevard to Prestone Drive.
Visit paradeoflights.orgfor more information.
Commemorative Naming Celebration of Victor Cyr Woods
I had the pleasure of joining the family of Victor Cyr last Tuesday for an intimate unveiling of the commemorative plaque that will be installed to honour Mr. Cyr’s activism to save an urban forest located in our ward.
In 2009, due to the efforts of Mr. Cyr and then councillor Rainer Bloess, the City of Ottawa agreed to perserve the wooded area to preserve its natural beauty and protect it for future generations.
Thank you to the Cyr family for inviting me to attend; it was an honour to help recognize your cherished husband, father, grandfather and friend. I look forward to the public unveiling and celebration planned next spring.
Greater Avalon Community Association’s AGM highlights
The Greater Avalon Community Association (GACA) held its Annual General Meeting this past Monday. Presentations included highlights on the numerous community events, programs and activities that the community association offers its local neighbourhood residents.
GACA is challenged to find for more community volunteers. If you are interested in getting involved in your community, please email: email@example.com.
At the meeting, Kadija Berry was elected as the new President, taking the helm from long-standing president Rachelle Lecours. I wanted to offer my sincere gratitude to Rachelle for her years of dedication and community service. I look forward to working closely with GACA’s new President!
Pop-up COVID-19 and flu vaccine clinic
Ottawa Public Health is offering COVID-19 and flu vaccines at a pop-up clinic at Bearbrook Community Building (8720 Russell Road) on Tuesday, November 21 from 1pm-7pm.
Vaccines will be offered on a walk-in basis only and no appointments are needed.
2024 Budget: Rural Consultation
This Wednesday, November 22, I’ll be in Nepean at Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive at 7 pm (doors open at 6:30) for a hybrid budget consultation focusing on rural issues with Councillors Luloff, Darouze, and Brown. City staff will also be on hand for a presentation and to answer any questions you might have.
If you’d like to join virtually, the link to register is here: https://ow.ly/Rg4Q50PYINh
District 7 Orléans Firefighters Food Drive
On Saturday, December 2, join District 7 firefighters in a donation drive from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
They’ll be at Metro Convent Glen, Metro Fallingbrook, Metro Cumberland, Sobeys Orleans, Sobeys Trim & Innes, and FreshCo Orleans.
With a 30% increase in the need for food assistance, your support is more important than ever. The OCCRC Food Bank is a beacon of hope, providing emergency food to over 1000 individuals monthly.
They are counting on contributions to make a significant impact in the lives of our community members, especially the children, who are nearly half of those who are served by OCCRC.
How the City is gearing up for winter
As the city gears up for yet another winter season, ensuring the safety and accessibility of our roads, sidewalks, and pathways for all is a top priority. The winter maintenance program continues to evolve, update its standards, and find improvements to deploy resources more efficiently.
Reminder that crews strive to achieve an initial cleanup of residential roads within 10-16 hours from the end of a significant snow event (7 cm or more). If you have a winter maintenance related request that exceeds that timeframe, your best bet is to first call 3-1-1. My office is also more than happy to help should complications arise.
It’s also important to stay informed and be in the know of road conditions and winter parking bans when parking your car on city streets is prohibited. You can register to receive e-notifications whenever a winter weather parking ban is announced. Visit https://ow.ly/WpSW50Q8OwE to sign up.
2024 Ottawa Police Budget online consultation
The OPS wants to hear from residents and businesses about their thoughts on the 2024 Budget. Please consider completing the 2024 Draft Budget questionnaire, located at https://ow.ly/vpC050Q7oiC.
The OPS 2024 Budget is scheduled for approval by the OPSB on November 27, 2023. It will later be reviewed and scheduled for approval by Ottawa City Council on December 6, 2023.
A complete copy of the OPS’ 2024 Draft Operating and Capital Budget can be reviewed by visiting https://ow.ly/8ko450Q7ojJ.
Mayor’s 21st Annual Christmas Celebration
Come celebrate the holiday season at City Hall on Saturday, December 9 from 2 to 5 pm! Admission to this sponsored event is a donation to the Ottawa Food Bank.
Festive activities await you, including a visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus in their very own cabin, roast marshmallows over a campfire, skating on the Rink of Dreams, horse drawn wagon rides, delicious hot chocolate, and live entertainment indoors!
For more information visit ottawa.ca
Help Review Ottawa’s Heritage Register
Provincial legislative changes implemented through Bill 23 have amended the Ontario Heritage Act. As a result, the City of Ottawa is currently undertaking a review of the approximately 4,600 non-designated properties listed on the City’s municipal heritage register.
The City is interested in hearing from individuals, community associations, historical societies, and others about historic places across Ottawa that you think can contribute to telling the Ottawa story. Heritage properties can include resources such as buildings, landscapes, bridges, and barns.
Residents are encouraged to fill out the survey using this link: https://ow.ly/7Y8Y50Q7nTi
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