Good morning, Kitchissippi.
In last week's newsletter, I used the phrase "hold down the fort". For many, the phrase has associations with the genocide of Indigenous persons through North American settler history and is hurtful. I apologize for that, and thank the resident who raised it with me.
Something I've very much missed for the last year have been ward forums. The team and I are now planning for one mid-May to provide the usual community/BIA updates, hopefully a presentation with OPH and open forum. We'll run that via Zoom, of course. Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks for details.
Find all the latest news about the pandemic, including special statements by Dr. Vera Etches and other officials here.
I don't have a lot of updates this week. The Provincial registration system for booking vaccinations has been hit-and-miss over the last week, but I've generally heard from residents writing to me over the past two days that the system is less glitchy. We've seen problems when the system first opened, and now when a second cohort became eligible, and we have to hope that those won't report when the next, even larger cohort becomes eligible. I've spoken at length with City staff and we simply don't have the capacity to backstop the Provincial system - it has to work.
We still don't have any details about the availability of vaccines in pharmacies in Ottawa, which is something I know we're all impatient for. The Mayor has expressed to the Premier Ottawa's desire to have access to that program.
Eligibility for the vaccine to the general population (so not various priority health care workers or people in high-risk neighbourhoods) is still as I write just for those age 75 and older. Stay tuned to my newsletter, the City of Ottawa's communications channels (including a specific vaccination newsletter) and reputable media to find out when cohorts younger than 75 will be able to book their appointments.
I'll also point out, though I'm sure many residents have seen already, that case counts are climbing fairly quickly now. As the numbers become more concerning, it's worth re-visiting the basics of pandemic control: avoid any close contact with anyone not in your household, wear masks in public, get tested if you feel sick.
Pop-up office hours March 29
I'll be hosting Zoom pop-up office hours on on March 29 from 10:30 am -12:30 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 7
The Committee of Adjustment will hear two new applications on April 7, but hearings will also resume on several contentious files. Find the details of those here.
At 507 Edison the owners are seeking to sub-divide the lot (for which prior permission was given, but expired), demolish the existing single and build two singles in its place. They're seeking variances on lot width and area, as well as side-yard setback.
At 517 Mansfield the owners are seeking to demolish the existing single and replace it with a new single and are asking for a variance to allow it to be built to 9.25m rather than the 8m maximum in the zoning by-law.
The hearings will also resume for 304 Lanark, 182/184 Clare, 57 Hutchison and 116 Bayswater.
I've also just received the decisions from the March 17 meeting. At 42(40) Byron and 215 & 217 Byron, the sub-divisions were approved for the existing semis. The applications for lot width and area variances were granted at 134 Forward, as was the severance.
Byron pedestrian re-configuration
I've a couple of hundred comments about a potential pedestrian re-configuration of Byron to accommodate pedestrians. While I'll be seeking to accomplish some level of vehicle restrictions again this year (partly to accommodate the Ottawa Farmers' Market back on Byron and partly in response to the continued need for space during the pandemic) I won't be actively seeking at this time to make that permanent. Read more here.
Dovercourt sidewalk/cycling project open house
The Dovercourt sidewalk construction project has grown a little since our 2018 open house, and now proposes some cycling infrastructure besides. We'll host a public open house to look at the changes proposed on April 8. See the details of that here.
15-minute neighbourhood public session March 30
The city is hosting a video open house on 15-minute neighbourhoods to explore how those have been used in the Official Plan. You can register for that here. I'm looking forward to reviewing that once it's posted online. One of my key pieces of feedback to the City on the draft Official Plan is that 15-minute neighbourhoods, no matter in which part of town, should be treated roughly similarly from an intensification perspective. I don't agree with an approach that sees neighbourhoods in areas like ours bear the brunt of
intensification simply based on distance from Parliament Hill. If a neighbourhood has easy, walkable access to groceries, a library, mass transit, schools, a gym etc., whether that's in Orleans or Centretown, the level of permitted intensification should be the same.
399 Winston development open house March 30
A 42-unit, seven-storey apartment building has been proposed for 399 Winston, behind the Legion. We're hosting an open house on March 30, details of which can be found here. The zoning for the assembled parcel allows this size of building, but the developer is proposing less glazing and active frontage (35% versus 50%) than the by-law allows, so is seeking the re-zoning.
Top 40 for week ending March 28, 1956
Frankie Lyman’s Why Do Fools Fall in Love was a triple winner in the Top 40 for the week ending March 28, 1956 as versions including his own with The Teenagers held steady in seventh spot, Gale Storm’s featuring a surprisingly hot sax climbed one spot from 16 to 15, and close on its heels The Diamonds’ sleepier take was catching up by jumping from 20 to 16. The doo-wop Eddie My Love also saw duelling versions chart with spare-but-sweet arrangements offered by both The Chordettes (18) and The Teen
Queens (22). That week, Les Baxter, His Chorus and Orchestra’s sparkling foxtrot Poor People of Paris inexplicably spent its third week atop the chart while below the waist Elvis Presley's monster hit Heartbreak Hotel rose to eighth spot. The King shared number 8 that week with The Platters’ own heartbreak ballad The Great Pretender on the strength of Tony Williams’ earnest vocals. Pat Boone’s temperate Tutti Frutti was still on the charts at number 25. Louis Armstrong’s offered Mack the Knife as a fun, sunny affair at number 40.
Lonely in spot 26, rocketing up from 50 the week before, Lonnie Donegan Skiffle Group hinted at an alternative direction for now ascendant American rock with his Rock Island Line. There was only a little hint in the Southern country- and folk-infused homage sound of the beast stirring across the Pond. View the entire Top 40 here.
Haviah Mighty Saturday at GCTC/Origin: TICKET GIVEAWAY
The first kitchen concert collaboration between Mechanicsville's Origin Arts and Hintonburg's Great Canadian Theatre Company will stream Saturday night featuring Polaris Prize-winning Haviah Mighty who is making significant waves in Canadian music. Haviah will be joined by visual artist Fatuma Kou and the event features guest culinary artist Habesha Restaurant. Seven ticket holders will be drawn tonight to receive a meal from Habesha ahead of the concert. This is a don't-miss event. Register here.
The GCTC has generously offered me three tickets to give away! If you write to me by 2:45 pm on Saturday (email@example.com), I'll draw from those names at 3 and send you a code to enjoy the concert for free.
Help the Goldenrod Community Garden
Support the Goldenrod Community Garden! The Garden needs money to get built and run and has applied for a Gardens for Good grant. Please support our entry by visiting here to vote for Goldenrod Community Garden. If you are over 18 and live in the US (except AZ) or Canada (except Quebec) you can vote!
Can a doughnut save Ottawa?
Doughnut Economics, a concept originated by Kate Raworth, consists of two concentric rings: a social foundation to ensure that no one is missing out on life’s essentials, and an ecological ceiling ensuring we protect the Earth. These concentric rings form the doughnut – a space where humanity can thrive. While drawn at a global scale, cities are downscaling the doughnut to meet their needs.
As Ottawa builds its next Official Plan, Doughnut Economics could lead the way to a thriving city that respects the wellbeing of its people and the planet. Ecology Ottawa and Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability (CAFES) have partnered with many Ottawa organizations, city councillors and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to host Can a Doughnut Save Ottawa? on Wednesday, March 31 from 12-1:30 pm. The online event will feature two keynote speakers, Andrew
Fanning of Doughnut Economics Action Lab and Jennifer Johana Drouin of the Amsterdam Doughnut Coalition. I'm pleased to be a co-sponsor for the event.
West End Studio Tour May 29
The West End Studio Tour will be held May 29 and 30 this year from 11-5 each day. As with the fall event, the event will be held outdoors on the artist studios' lawns/driveways with Covid precautions in place and mandatory masks. Hold the dates! The website here will be updated soon with details.
At City Hall
The Environment Committee meets on March 30, also with a very short agenda. Its substantial item will be debate over the nuclear waste facility proposed for Chalk River and the motion brought by Councillors Theresa Kavanagh and McKenney asking Council to formally oppose that. I have indicated to the councillors and to opponents that when it rises to Council I am likely to support that motion. The Committee is also being asked to replace a seat on the Environmental Stweardship Advisory Committee left by Alana Westwood with reserve member Emerson Vandenberg.
View the full committee agenda here.
On March 31, Transit Commission meets with a proposal for bus route reductions and adjustments in response to the pandemic. I've taken a first read of the document and the most affected routes will be those peak-hour commuter routes that largely serve to get commuters downtown. In our ward, the key changes would appear to be to flip the 53 and 56 to see the 53 run on Holland and 56 run on Parkdale. The 11 would also be extended to the Mackenzie King bridge. I'm pleased to see that frequency will be largely maintained for our local routes that I know are still well-used, even crowded at times.
View the full Transit Commission agenda here.
Finance and Economic Development Committee
On April 6, FEDCO meets with a relatively robust agenda. The BIAs will see their budgets approved, and there is an important report that would temporarily delegate several authorities to our municipal services corporation that now has responsibility to run the ByWard and Parkdale Markets. The Market has been running for years under a by-law that makes it difficult to provide innovative services at the Markets. With the new delegated authority, there are mulitple initiatives that Zach Dayler and the team at Ottawa Markets will be piloting this year. Stay tuned for more details on
There is also a report on the agenda on purchasing several NCC assets as well as easements and temporary interests associated with the reconstruction of Albert/Queen/Slater/Bronson.
Also of note is the City's finanical operating summary for 2020, which has been well covered in the media. Thanks to funding largely from the Province, the City wound up with an operating surplus last year.
View the full Transit Commission agenda here.
On April 7, Transportation Committee meets with a somewhat sleepy agenda. City staff will present the public bike parking strategy on which they have been consulting. The team crafting that was charged with exploring a bike share program for the city and they've wound up suggesting that if Ottawa were to go down that path that it should be a municipally-offered service. That comes with a price tag, though, and it's not immediately clear that Council would take the next steps to fund it and that funding decision is not on the table for this meeting. Councillor Shawn Menard will also ask committee to vote
on a motion that would see the Hydro wires on Hawthorne/Greefield/Main buried as part of that reconstruction project if the funding can be found.
View the full Transportation Committee agenda here.
Jasper Heffernan-Wilker shows off the new wooden bike racks he has built for Re-Cycles Community Bike Shop with his dad, Derek Heffernan, who is a volunteer head mechanic at Re-Cycles. Thanks, Kathleen, for the photo!