Good morning, Kitchissippi.
Things were more manageable in the office last week as we're in a period of putting a number of pressing and outstanding issues to bed. I've now read most of the growth plan and had a chance to speak with a number of stakeholders about that as it approaches a joint committee vote next week that will take as many as three days of meetings.
It's cold out there. If you're heading outside to get some essential groceries or for some distanced exercise, bundle up!
Vaccination continues in the city as a partnership between the City and health providers. We'll be successful in rapidly getting everyone vaccinated to the extent that doses of vaccine are being delivered, and it's a moving target at this point as to when the process will be finished. Starting last week, you can now track vaccination progress on the daily dashboard part of Ottawa Public Health's website, found here.
A vaccination FAQ has been prepared based on resident and councillor questions. Read that here.
Ottawa Public Health is also, as part of its regular engagement, surveying residents about vaccination efforts. Get more details and take part in the survey here.
Find all the latest news about the pandemic, including special statements by Dr. Etches and other officials 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.
Unlike City Council and its committees, threre's no easy repository of decisions for us to consult for Committee of Adjustment decisions. For a while, though, I've been seeing decisions sent directly to my office on a pretty regular basis. I'm going to try to start listing those since some of you have asked. I can't guarantee that I'll always be able to list these, but it's worth a try. In that vein, here are the most recent decisions sent to us from the January 13 meeting. These decisions can be appealed to the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, so shouldn't be considered final until that appeal period is
- At 630 Tweedsmuir, corner of Dovercourt, the variances sought to construct a semi-detached and detached were refused.
- At 375 Madison, 529 Broadhead, 688 Hillcrest, 320 Tweedsmuir, 36 Kenora and 225 Carleton, that big batch of conveyances and sub-divisions were granted for semi-detached homes either under or recently completed construction in order to establish separate ownerships for the different halves.
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 looking at a high-level 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.
Mechanicsville and Champlain Park AGMs
The Champlain Park and Mechanicsville Community Associations are holding their annual general meetings this month. Champlain Park's will be held on January 27 (details here) and Mechanicsville's on January 26 (see their FB event page here). I'll be attending both to answer questions and provide some
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.
The Great Disconnect film presentation
I'm helping support the presentation of the film The Great Disconnect and panel discussion on January 27. The Great Disconnect uncovers why, in a world seemingly more connected than ever before, people are feeling more and more socially isolated – and the true cost this has on our lives and communities. This documentary invites us to reflect on the relationships we have with those around us and raises the question: is it possible to overcome our modern culture of disconnectedness and rediscover how truly essential we are to one other? Learn more and register for the free event
Goldenrod community garden volunteers sought
The recently-approved Goldenrod community garden is seeking organizing volunteers ahead of beginning operations this spring. Please take a look at the volunteering opportunities here. Note that they are not seeking volunteer gardeners at this time.
Be a Hydrant Hero!
Ottawa Fire Services frequently asks residents who can to ensure that snow is clear in 1.5m in all directions from fire hydrants. Kids who help are eligible to get a Hydrant Hero certificate from Fire; send a photo to email@example.com to get one sent!
At City Hall
Planning Committee/Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee
The Planning Committee and Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee will hold a joint meeting beginning January 25 (we expect it to go several days) to look at which lands in the city will be added to the developable area in accordance with the plan passed this summer to expand the urban boundary. The report was released last week, and you can view the materials here. I finally finished a thorough read of that this week.
I voted against any expansion of the urban boundary in May, believing that exacerbating sprawl has unacceptable implications both for the climate and taxpayer - something I've written about from time to time (here and here).
A group of us lost that vote, and Council has determined to move ahead with an expansion of something like 1,300 net hectares. Staff have recommended a two-phase approach. In order to meet the immediate provincial requirement for a 15-year supply of land within the Council-approved framework that a bare majority of expected growth be through intensification, they have recommended the addition of around 1,000 net hectares to be added now. In 2026, the rolling requirement for a 15-year supply will see the need for an additional 270 net hectares.
To meet the immediate need through 2026, staff have proposed the addition of a number of parcels that fairly clearly meet the criteria set out by Council that new developable lands be easily serviced and within a couple of kilometers of transit. They have also recommended that we approve pre-conditions related to those that must be in place before they can be developed. They have also recommended a new "Gold Belt" around the City that will be a permanent frontier of agriculture, natural feature, resource and other lands past which urban development is proposed never to be allowed.
They have recommended three options to begin studying now for a second tranche of lands to be added in 2026. That acreage could be added by finding parcels all around the periphery of the boundary, by focusing on three expansion areas, or by adding a single parcel to add a new community. We will vote to pursue one of those options as part of this process.
That latter option is clearly geared toward adding the lands proposed by the Algonquins of Ontario in partnership with Taggart in order to build Tewin.
It is tempting for me to simply vote against the addition of any expansion lands - again. I believe, however, that the time to win that fight was in May. Council has voted to approve an expansion of developable lands and I believe my responsibility is now to vote on whether or not the approach recommended by staff is the correct one in light of that decision, even if I fundamentally disagree with it. I largely consider that staff have respected the process set out by Council with respect to mitigating the impacts of expansion by focusing on transit and servicing and am likely to vote in favour of the recommended parcels unless I hear during debate
that Council's conditions have not been adhered to.
It is less clear to me how I will vote on the 2026 option.
If we were seeking the addition of parcels that least exacerbate sprawl impacts, the Tewin proposal would probably take a back-seat to a more distributed addition. However, Algonquin ownership of that land introduces a complexity that can't be captured in an otherwise mechanistic process. Reconciliation with Indigenous people is no less a driving priority for municipal government than other levels, and where choices are within the local purview we must prioritize addressing injustice.
It will be an interesting debate.
The agenda for our Council meeting on January 27 went online last night and while I haven't done a deep dive into it, it looks like a workaday list of confirming the recommendations by our committees over the past few weeks. I don't see any headline items or suprises in there and, despite its length, it could be a quick meeting. Take a look at that here.
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. It's convoluted and, bluntly, I'll need a bunch more coffee and probably a conversation with staff before its implications are clear to me. Take a look at that and the other FEDCO agenda items here.
Have a great week, Kitchissippi, and stay warm!