Good morning, Kitchissippi.
I'll be back in the office on Monday with thanks to my staff for holding down the fort while I took a March break, and I'm looking forward to rounding that off this weekend with the great weather in store.
Among others, I read two standout books over the break available from the Ottawa Public Library. Ashley Mears' Very Important People: Status and Beauty in the Global Party Circuit was a fascinating, extremely readable look at the economics of the club scene and the patriarchy and racism that underpins its particular manifestation of capitalism; a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing book, for sure. The second was Merlin Sheldrake's Entangled Lives: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures. Somewhat in the vein of Peter Wohlleben's The Hidden Life of Trees, Sheldrake digs deep into the connections between fungus, human culture, and our evolving understanding of organisms and ecosystems, with some science-y cautions about Wohlleben's assertions of a "Wood Wide Web".
Find all the latest news about the pandemic, including special statements by Dr. Vera Etches and other officials here.
During the week I sent notice that we are now in the "red zone" of provincial restrictions due to worsening case indicators. The only update I have this morning is that beginning on March 22, people in the general population who are 75+ will be able to book vaccine appointments, an expansion from the 80+ who have been eligible to date. You can read more about vaccine eligibility here.
Premier Doug Ford has also announced that more pharmacies across the province will be able to provide the AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone 60+, something that has been offered until now in a limited number of jurisdictions as a pilot. I don't have any details this morning on when or how that will be available, but am looking forward to being able to provide details when those are available.
The City has made available an updated Frequently Asked Questions document about vaccinations that I've post here. The neighbourhood map of covid cases and rates has also been updated to include February numbers. I'm grateful to see that our ward continues to have relatively low case counts. View that here.
Pop-up office hours March 24
I'll be hosting Zoom pop-up office hours on on March 24 from 2-4. 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.
Official Plan public sessions March 24 and 30
The City has scheduled a Q&A session on the new Official Plan on March 24 for which I'd encourage everyone to register here. There will also be a session on 15-minute neighbourhoods to explore how those have been used in the Official Plan. You can register for that here.
I've provided some first feedback to the City that some residents may be interested in. It's technical, but rather than simply send it to them and leave it at that, I thought it might be helpful for those of you doing a deep dive into the draft to have on hand. You can find that here.
I would note that City staff have provided a somewhat opaque but still useful memo to councillors in response to some of the early feedback. Particularly interesting is the langauge around minimum density requirements where residents and I have noted concern. Where a legitimate reading of the draft Official Plan could lead one to believe that any new development in any given area of the city must meet those new targets, which are sometimes much denser than what currently exists, planners are now telegraphing that those could be "permissive" targets. I continue to believe that we will see further clarifications over
the next few months. I've appended that staff memo to my feedback post here.
2046/2050 Scott re-submission
The approval process for 2046/2050 Scott continues as the applicant has made a third submission to the City to respond to the Urban Design Review Panel. View the details of its resubmitted design here. The UDRP general comments are found here.
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.
Lemieux Island bridge dogs and construction impacts
The renovation of the Prince of Wales bridge into a pedestrian/cycling connection across the river will see some tree removal starting in April. Councillor Catherine McKenney and I have also received a high level look at the construction this year through next when it re-opens in the spring. Because of the way the work is proposed to be staged, the informal dog park will be inaccessible during construction. I'm committed through my office to try to find some alternative if possible since I know that water access is greatly appreciated by many owners.
Cannabis store proposed for 1262 1/2 Wellington
A company called True North Cannabis Co. has applied for a licence from the Province to operate a cannabis retailer at 1262 1/2 Wellington Street West. I apologize for not getting that into the previous newsletter. The comment period is open until March 23. You can see the details of that here. I have already received the City's feedback form and it has noted to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario that the store is within 150m of another store (literally next door), contrary to the
Roosevelt bridge demolition mid-May
The pedestrian/cycling bridge across the Transitway will be demolished in mid-May as part of the LRT construction. A signed detour will be in place directing people to cross the Transitway either at Churchill or the crossing at the SJAM parkway. Workman and the path on the south side will remain open. A few months ago I communicated my expectation to the City that Workman (while extremely low traffic it doesn't have sidewalks) will be made safe, and hope to be able to pass on details of that in the coming weeks.
Gender and equity strategy released
The City has released its gender and equity strategy following earlier consultations, focused on housing, safety, gender inclusivity and equitable representation in the workforce. Read more here. It will be presented a joint meeting on March 23 of the Accessbility Advisory Committee and the French Language Services Advisory Committee (details here) before rising to the Community and Protective
Services Committee on March 26 (details here).
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.
At City Hall
Planning Committee meets on March 25 with a relatively lengthy agenda. In our ward, a tweaking of the 320 McRae/315 Tweedsmuir development is moving ahead to a vote. This development was previously approved, but with precisely "shrink-wrapped" constraints. The parklette and driveway have been proposed to be changed, so while the density and height are unchanged, they are seeking this re-zoning to proceed. While I opposed the initial application on the basis of building design and lack of affordable housing near transit, I will likely support this minor change based on feedback during our consultations on
The 18- and 16-storey towers proposed for 1619/1655 Carling Avenue will also proceed to a vote. Again, after consultations, I'm in a position to support this one, and have asked that community benefits funding be allocated to area cycling and traffic improvements, our ward affordable housing fund, and improvements to Clare Gardens Park.
Immediately adjacent to our ward, at 851 Richmond, the owners are seeking what appears to be a fairly technical amendment to permit its rooftop indoor amenity area to project above the height limit. Again, this was a strictly "shrink-wrapped" zoning and in the course of creating the final design, the rooftop area was shifted slightly throwing them out of strict conformity, thus the re-zoning ask.
There are also re-zonings sought for properties on Range Road (conversion of an embassy to low-rise apartment building), a broadening of the permitted uses in a new subdivision in the south end on Bank to include low-rise stacked terrace homes, and a second approval for the Merivale Mall development.
The Committee will also receive an accounting of the ward cash-in-lieu of parkland balances. Ours is very high, but we have not yet contributed to the re-development of Laroche Park that will dispense the bulk of it.
Read the full Planning Committee agenda here.
Community and Protective Services
The Community and Protective Services Committee meets on March 26. The sole substantive item on its agenda is the introduction of the women and gender equity strategy mentioned above. View that on the agenda here.
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.
Samuel is Kitchissippi ward's newest crossing guard as the corner of Hilson and Byron was recently warranted for one. I just missed the Ottawa Safety Council's Shari Black for a frigid morning op, but know that she'd like to pass on her appreciation for the many parents cooperating wth the school administration to park a block away and walk the final distance to Hilson school.