Yesterday afternoon, the Premier announced an apparently stronger set of measures to reduce the spread of Covid-19 including the extension of the stay-at-home order by two weeks, prohibitions against gatherings, the closure of playgrounds and outdoor recreational amenity areas, new police powers, an interprovincial travel ban and stepped-up workplace enforcement. He stopped shy, however, of stopping residential construction work.
The full announcement is here.
I am expecting that it will take a couple of days to get a full handle on the new set of restrictions but a few things appear clear. While police are now empowered to stop residents and demand identification and reason for having left home in order to enforce the stay-at-home order, they have said in a release they will not do so randomly. You can read that release here.
Police have said it will take a couple of days to determine how the inter-provincial travel ban that starts Monday will work across the bridges. Going to essential work or a medical appointment will be allowed, and officials including the Mayor have said that travelling to take care of a loved one should be treated with understanding. Shopping, travelling for recreation or going to the cottage is likely to be treated as non-essential, however.
The closure of recreational amenities is in effect starting today. Credible media are using social media to distribute the regulations as I write. Outdoor parks and recreation areas are open to walk through only, and play structures and equipment, sports facilities including baseball diamonds, soccer fields and basketball courts are closed, as are portions of parks containing fitness equipment as well as picnic tables. Outdoor skate parks and tennis/pickleball courts are closed. Park benches are still allowed to be used, as are dog parks, but residents
must keep 2m distance from others not in their household (or one person who lives alone who is bubbled with the household members) when using those. Watch the City's channels for more details over the course of today or tomorrow.
All outdoor gatherings except with members of your household or including one bubbled person who lives alone and caregivers are also now prohibited. Religious services are now capped at 10 people starting Monday, and capacity limits in essential retail stores still open have been reduced.
Several pharmacies in Kitchissippi have been added to the list of those already providing the Astra-Zeneca vaccine to residents 55+. These include the Westboro Pharmasave, the pharmacy at the Superstore on Richmond, and the Shoppers at Westgate. Visit the Province's pharmacy vaccination page here for a full list of Ottawa-area stores participating.
Find all the latest news about the pandemic, including special statements by Dr. Vera Etches and other officials here.
Pop-up office hours April 20
I'll be hosting Zoom pop-up office hours on on Tuesday, April 20 from 3-5 pm. Send me an email for the link to join us one-on-one with no appointment during those hours to chat about whatever's on your mind.
Committee of Adjustment April 21
The Committee of Adjustment will hear one application in our ward on April 21. Find the details of that here.
I've now received the decisions from prior agendas as well. The Committee refused the variances and request to sever for 182 Clare, a semi that has already been constructed with a slightly larger footprint than the previous structure. It also refused the variances for a low-rise apartment building at 116 Bayswater, noting a significant reduction in lot width from what Council recently approved in the new R4 zoning among other concerns. It also refused the variances for the coach house at 57 Hutchison, noting that there are ways to
construct a coach house within the zoning. The Committee approved the variances for the long semis at 304 Lanark. It refused the variance for greater height for a new single 517 Mansfield noting that there are multiple examples of building within the height limit allowed by the zoning, and that owner preference isn't sufficient grounds for a variance. At 507 Edison, it approved the sub-division and variances to build two detached dwellings.
979 Wellington re-design open house
The proposal to re-develop the 979 Wellington block (between Garland and Hilda) has undergone a re-design. It is now proposed as a squatter 12-storey building. We'll be hosting an open house to look at that on April 19. See more details here.
SJAM open this weekend
The NCC has again opened the SJAM Parkway this weekend for recreational use by walkers, runners and cyclists. My request of cyclists would be, where a roadway has been closed to cars, to please leave the adjacent pathways for the use of those on foot if you can.
Join my Run For Women team!
I'm really pleased to join the annual Run For Women 5k/10k event, this year as a team captain. Consider joining my 5k run/walk team, WalkABitRunABit, here or making a donation. The proceeds will go directly to The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre's women's mental health program that is doing such critical work across the city right here in our ward. The event, of course, is virtual and participants will take part any time between July 4-11.
At City Hall
Ottawa Board of Health
On Monday, the Ottawa Board of Health will meet with an agenda made up largely of year-end items, including its 2020 annual report. It will also receive an emergeny preparedness report, and, of course, an update from Dr. Etches on the current pandemic situation.
View the full Board of Health agenda here.
On Wednesday, April 21, the Transit Commission will meet with an agenda that includes receiving OC's performance report and defining its evaluation criteria.
View the full Transit Commission agenda here.
On Thursday, April 22, Planning Committee meets to consider applications for properties in College, Capital, Alta Vista and Barrhaven. You can see those on the agenda here.
More significantly, at the conclusion of that meeting Planning Committee will stay and become a joint meeting with the Community and Protective Services Committee to look at the implementing by-laws for the short-term rental (Air BnB etc.) policies adopted in 2019. As a quick re-cap, these rules will largely prohibit short-term rentals except of an owner's primary residence with various registration requirements to facilitate enforcement. Read the full proposed by-law here.
Finance and Economic Development Committee
On Friday, April 23, FEDCO will meet with an agenda currently comprised of a single item, the setting of the 2021 tax ratios and associated items.
Read that item on the committee's agenda here.
I was sorry earlier this week to see that the Ministry of Transportation has painted over the rhinos painted by Christopher Griffin on the Bayswater/417 underpass. They were a delight to nearby residents like these folks who were visiting last weekend. I've followed up when Griffin's work was previously removed from underpasses elsewhere in the city and know that MTO is obdurate on the matter, so wasn't surprised that they covered these. My thanks go to our MPP Joel Harden, though, whose office tried to forestall this.