Good morning, Kitchissippi.
My time was largely taken up this week with our two-day Planning Committee meeting, vaccination update briefing and City Council. Next week should involve a little less Zoom with just the FEDCO and Transportation Committee meetings described below.
We're finally getting some typical Ottawa winter weather, which means it's cold. If you see someone outside about whom you're concerned or have reason to believe may be experiencing housing or shelter issues, please give 3-1-1 a call. The City will ensure that person is checked on and offered help.
Dr. Vera Etches and our GM of emergency and protective services Anthony DiMonte provided councillors with a comprehensive update on vaccination efforts in the city that touched on provincial and national updates as well. I sent a special update out mid-week, but if you didn't catch that I've provided the materials from that briefing here.
Find all the latest news about the pandemic, including special statements by Dr. Etches and other officials here.
The poop meter trends are very encouraging and daily case rates are falling. The Province has determined that it is again safe to open Ottawa schools. It's important, though, to note that covid is still very much in the community and we continue to see dozens of people a day diagnosed with it and continued deaths every week from the virus. Please continue to respect the Province's stay-at-home order, stay distanced, and wear your masks for everyone's protection.
Byron Place/Churchill/Highcroft parkette consultation Feb. 11
The City is moving ahead with a consultation on the design of the parkette at Churchill/Byron (where the Tree of Life installation is located) that is to be slightly expanded and improved as a benefit required of the development to the south that was recently approved. That will be held virtually on February 11. There's more details here.
Churchill/Richmond development re-design
The developer has proposed modifications to the design of its proposed nine-storey on the northeast corner of Churchill/Richmond. Take a look here.
My vote on Tewin
I voted this week against focusing the expansion of our urban boundary on the lands proposed by the Algonquins of Ontario and Taggart. Since I've received a few inquiries as to why, I've posted a detailed look at that issue and my vote here.
Temporary shelter capacity at Tom Brown
Covid outbreaks are straining the city's shelter capacity. This weekend, and for possibly as long as February 8 while new facilities are being opened, the Tom Brown arena will be used to temporarily shelter new shelter referrals in addition to the role it has been successfully playing as a respite centre during the day.
Advance bus light at Parkdale/Scott
I've received a few notes from residents concerned with what looks like OC Transpo buses blowing the red at Parkdale/Scott. That intersection was recently re-built to handle buses to get those off the portion of Spencer between Parkdale and Holland, and has been re-configured with a bus-priority signal. If you look at the lights westbound on Scott, you'll see the signal heads now have an additional light: a vertical white bar. When that bar is lit (and the red light can still be on for cars), buses are able to move through the intersection. The signal is a North American standard; I think the other one I've seen in the
city is at Heron where it dekes under the Airport Parkway.
Top 40 for week ending February 2, 1985
During the week ending February 2, 1985, Foreigner's I Want to Know What Love Is rose one spot to number one. It was fitting that the ballad took the top spot that week in a list filled with generally tepid love songs and would-be rockers that missed the mark. Even Madonna's Like a Virgin was better iconoclasm than well-crafted pop. A few standout tracks were beginning their climb, however, including the banger Neutron Dance joyfully performed by the Pointer Sisters, and Tina Turner's slow-building Private Dancer with Jeff Beck on lead guitar.
Springsteen's Born in the USA continued its descent, but it was the third single from the album to chart with four more to come in 1985 as the Boss finally unlocked mainstream success. View the full Top 40 from that week here.
Burnside/SJAM "embassy row" open house February 10
The National Capital Commission has filed an application for an Official Plan amendment and zoning change to allow for an "embassy row" in the currently open space sandwiched between Burnside and the SJAM. We've set up an open house at which residents can pose questions and provide feedback to be held February 10. Details of that are here.
Committee of Adjustment
There are several Kitchissippi applications before the Committee of Adjustment at its February 3 meeting. Find the details of those here.
- At 116 Bayswater, the owner wants to construct an addition to an existing detached dwelling to allow for its conversion to a four-unit apartment building with two parking spaces at the rear of the property. They're asking for variances on lot width and area, in addition to on the side-yard setbacks
- At 850 Boyd, the owner is hoping to construct a second-floor addition over the entire existing one-storey detached dwelling that in recent years has been converted into an office building.
- At 443, 445 Dawson, the owner is seeking a severance to establish separate ownerships for the semis that were constructed.
- At 440 Roosevelt, the hearing on December 9 was ajdourned while the owner filed additional variances to build two three-storey semis. That hearing will resume as the owner is now seeking variances on height, rear-yard setback, and rear-yard area lot area.
Winter maintenance standards consultation
The City continues its study of winter maintenance standards (plowing and removing snow from roads, paths, etc.) and is inviting residents to participate in upcoming consultations. Read more here.
Community safety, police and anti-racism consultations
Three separate consultations, one on the Community Safety and Well-Being Plan, one on the City's efforts to address systemic racism, and one by the Ottawa Police Service that will shape future police response to mental health issues are or will be getting underway shortly. I consider that these are inter-related and I've combined a post on those with links to further details here.
Parks and rec master plan consultations
The City has begun consultations on its Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan. I've got more details of that here including a survey open until February 5. What is a Master Plan? Take a look at the webinar in the next item...
How does the City plan and pay for stuff?
I regularly get questions from residents about how the City is planned with all the infrastructure that it needs as it grows. On February 9, I'll be taking a high-level look at how the City is planned and infrastructure and services paid for, from the Provincial Policy Statement to shovels in the ground. I'll be highlighting who makes the decisions at each step of the way and where your advocacy is most effective. I'll use cycling infrastructure as a case study, but the material is applicable across most of what the City does. I hope you'll join me to hear the presentation with a chance to
ask your own questions. Details are here.
Cornerstone fundraising walk in Westboro
I've joined a team of walkers from Westboro including WhiskeyJack Media's Jake Naylor and Kitchissippi favourite blogger Andrea Tomkins, Katrina Coderre and Kaitlyn Stokes to walk for Cornerstone Housing for Women during the Coldest Night of the Year annual walk. The event is being sponsored by the Westboro Village BIA who will be providing suggested routes in the neighbourhood since the 2k/5k walk will be virtual this
Please consider contributing to our team's fundraising efforts by donating money to any of the five of us here. Cornerstone does critical work for women with housing needs here in Kitchissippi and right across the city.
Pollinator garden presentation
The McKellar Park Community Association invites you to join Berit Erickson for a virtual photo tour of her pollinator garden and backyard habitat gardens. She’ll share what she’s learned about pollinators, their favourite flowers, and habitat requirements. Discover how to design, plant, and maintain your own pollinator garden. The Zoom presentation will take place on February 8. Meeting opens at 7:00 pm, presentation runs from 7:30 to 9 pm. Register in advance here. For further
information on pollinator gardening, visit cornerpollinatorgarden.net.
Ottawa’s Hopewell Eating Disorder Support Centre seeks volunteers
The COVID crisis is creating a crisis in mental health that urgently needs to be addressed. The demand for support for people struggling with eating disorders is unprecedented in the 20-year history of Hopewell. To meet this increasing demand, and to expand its programming Hopewell urgently needs volunteers with relevant experience and expertise in mental health programming, to run additional sessions and provide more mentoring.
Many of the enquiries that Hopewell is fielding come from parents who are noticing changes in their children’s eating during COVID times and are concerned and anxious to determine what is normal and what are the tell-tale signs that may indicate an eating disorder. To attempt to address this widespread concern, Hopewell will be offering a online workshop for up to 500 parents and individuals on eating disorder awareness and COVID for school age children and teens. The workshop will be held as part of events across Canada recognizing Eating Disorder Awareness Week, in the first week of February. To register or find out more
At City Hall
Finance and Economic Development Committee
FEDCO meets on February 2 with a small agenda that includes approving the exploration of social procurement in our processes as well as a brownfield grant in Bay ward. There is also the transfer of some land in the South Merivale Business Park to a landowner for $1. Apparently those lands were conveyed to the City of Nepean in the early 90s with the intention of building roads on them. A re-design of the park means those roads are no longer intended to be built despite being planned for. By swapping the land back to a private owner, the City will absolve itself of the responsibility of building those roads, so comes out ahead in the
I expect the only headline coming out of the meeting will be on the discussion of the Carp Airport, where staff are proposing a re-negotiation of the City's involvement with that including options to take over control of various parts of that if its private sector owners fail to meet certain conditions. I want to thank residents who have reached out to help me better understand that issue. Take a look at that and the other FEDCO agenda items here.
The Transportation Committee meets on Wednesday with a short agenda that you can find here. The headline item will be an extension of the e-scooter pilot. Last year, I saw significant progress on the part of the scooter rental companies in addressing the twin scourges of inappropriate parking and sidewalk riding. I'm willing to continue the pilot for another year with the expectation that the companies will continue that progress.
Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee
On Thursday, February 4, the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee meets with an agenda that includes an overview of a "High Social Impact" program to incent development of affordable housing and housing for seniors. The program would help projects of this nature navigate some of the bureaucracy associated with development review and reduce certain fees. This is a city-wide program, so I expect that it will be before the Planning Committee as well in the near future. The ARAC meeting will also feature a presentation on rural broadband connectivity. View the full agenda and associated documents here.
Joint Built Heritage/Planning Committee
On Friday, February 5, a joint meeting of the Built Heritage Sub-Committee and Planning Committee will be held to consider the new design of the Chateau Laurier addition. This has had a tortured path through City Council and is currently before the Local Planning Appeals Tribunal as the subject of an ongoing battle between Heritage Ottawa and owner Larco. The proposal before us will be one that Heritage Ottawa has deemed acceptable and that would settle that outstanding litigation. With Heritage Ottawa's support, I expect that Committee will approve the new design, including with my vote. See all the materials here.