January Update

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Dear Friends,

Happy New Year! I hope you had a safe and restful holiday season. 

Winter is finally upon us. The City’s snow clearing crews are working 24/7 to keep the sidewalks clear when it snows and they are currently reviewing their winter procedures to improve conditions further. Please visit engage.ottawa.ca/wmqs to provide your feedback on how winter maintenance can improve.  I know that I will be strongly advocating for steps leading to parks and other spaces for people to visit and travel through to be winter maintained.

The NCC  hope to open the Rideau Canal this week for skating.  They have also opened the Queen Elizabeth Drive to pedestrians from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day.  This will give residents more space to walk, run, or even ski along the canal.

While the pandemic continues to affect our lives in many ways, the City is working with other levels of government to roll out vaccines as fast as we receive them. You can see more information about the vaccine program below. 

Please continue to wear a mask, stay home where possible, take care of the people around you, ask for help if you need it and stay warm. At least the days are getting longer! 



Catherine McKenney
City Councillor, Somerset Ward

Frequently Asked Questions on the City's COVID vaccine program 

The following questions were those most frequently asked by residents and Members of Council from January 4, 2021 to present. These FAQs will be updated regularly as new details emerge from all levels of government. 

1. When will people in Ottawa start getting vaccinated against COVID-19? 

a. The Ottawa Hospital administered the city’s first COVID-19 vaccine on December 15, 2020. Since then, thousands of vaccines have been administered in Ottawa to higher-risk populations and those that care for them in accordance with the Province’s phased approach to vaccine rollout. 

2. Who is determining who can get a COVID-19 vaccine and when? 

a. The Government of Canada is responsible for approval and procurement of COVID-19 vaccine supply. The Government of Ontario is responsible for the distribution of these vaccines across the province. The Ethical Framework for COVID-19 vaccine distribution guides how the provincial government prioritizes and distributes vaccines across Ontario. 

3. When will I be eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine, and who comes next in Ottawa? 

a. The Province has started to roll out a three-phased vaccine distribution implementation plan as follows: 

Phase 1 – Starting December 2020: Limited doses of the vaccine available for residents, essential caregivers, staff and other employees of long-term care homes, retirements homes, and other congregate settings caring for seniors at high-risk; eligible health care workers in accordance with the Ministry of Health guidance; first Nation communities and urban Indigenous populations, and adult chronic home care recipients. 

Phase 2 – Starting March 2021: Increasing stock of vaccines, available to older adults, beginning with those 80 and older, people who live and work in high-risk congregate settings (for example, shelters, community living), frontline essential workers, including first responders, teachers, food processing workers, individuals with high-risk chronic conditions and their caregivers, and other populations and communities who are at greater COVID-19 risk. 

Phase 3 – Starting August 2021: Vaccines available widely across Ontario for anyone in the general population who wants to be immunized.

To see the full document, please visit this page.

Return of the Snow Moles

Snow Moles are volunteers who report on what it’s like to walk outside on a winter day in Ottawa. Anyone can be a snow mole, but we are particularly looking for seniors and children to participate, as well as people who use mobility devices (e.g. canes, walkers, and wheelchairs).

You are invited to ensure healthy, accessible, and safe winter walking conditions in Ottawa, by becoming a Snow Mole and completing a Winter Walkability and Pedestrian Safety Audit.

Your answers will be part of a 2021 Winter Walking in Ottawa – Snow Mole Report shared with the City of Ottawa for their Winter Maintenance Quality Standards Review.

You can be a snow mole:

  • Pick a time of day when you need to go out (best after some winter weather has occurred such as a. snowfall or freezing rain), and a destination (e.g. bus stop, grocery store, school, bank, seniors centre, or library).
  • Use the Snow Mole questionnaire to audit your walk.
  • Fill out the questionnaire online (preferred) or send a completed paper copy to the COA at 217 – 815 boul. St. Laurent Blvd., Ottawa, Ontario K1K 3A7
  • Take and submit photos to [email protected] When sending pictures, include the date, time, and location the photo was taken!

Official Plan and the Growth Management Strategy

The City is currently in the process of developing a New Official Plan, a long-range planning document that provides a vision for the Ottawa's future growth. The Draft New OP was released in November and can be found on the City's website.

As part of the New OP, a Growth Management Strategy is being developed in order to direct where and how growth occurs. The second Growth Management Strategy report will be debated at Council on Wednesday, February 10 and focuses on the lands to be included in the expanded urban boundary, following the decision to provide more land for urban expansion in May 2020. This report presents options for the specific lands which will be designated for residential growth, commercial areas, and industrial uses.

I did not support the expansion of the urban boundary. With today’s report I want to ensure that the recommended area required to accommodate further growth beyond the 1011ha in Category 1 lands (270ha) that is scheduled to come back to Council in 2026 is included as revised intensification targets and that non-optimal lands are not considered that are not in proximity to transit or existing services and infrastructure. 


Coldest night of the year

Hosted by Cornerstone Housing for Women, the Coldest Night of the Year is a covid-safe, family-friendly walk to raise money for charities serving people experiencing homelessness, hurt, and hunger. Walk with us (virtually) on February 20, 2021 – there’s a place for everyone!

What features would you like to see in your parks and recreation centres?

Please provide your feedback and input to help develop its 10-year Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan. The plan will go to Community and Protective Services Committee and Council for approval in October 2021.  

The online survey is now live on Engage.Ottawa.ca until February 5, 2021.  

Ontario government legislation requires the City to develop this plan so that we can continue to request that park land is dedicated in new communities at the highest possible rate instead of the minimum provision as allowed by Planning Act. The survey asks about the type of park and recreation facilities that you and your family use and what amenities you think are important for our City parks and facilities.  

The development of the Parks and Recreation Facilities Master Plan will help meet the future needs of our growing community over the next decade. Virtual public engagement sessions are also planned in February and more information will be provided in the coming weeks.  

The one thing that the Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced is how much parks and recreation facilities mean to so many Ottawa residents and neighbourhoods. Parks and recreation facilities have proven to be important amenities that contribute to the vibrancy of our communities and the social and physical wellbeing for our residents and their families.  

These are your communities, your parks, and your recreation facilities. Have your say. Get involved. 

New Foodworks commercial kitchen; and a survey! 

FoodWorks has rented a commercial kitchen for their food social enterprise and to operate as an incubator kitchen for other food enterprises looking for an opportunity to prepare their products without having to rent a full-time space.  

They are trying to get a handle on the current market and would be very grateful if you could participate in this survey for Centretown residents.  

Winter reminder: What to do about frozen pipes 

During typical winters in Ottawa, some homes and businesses experience a frozen water service pipe that prevents water from reaching their internal plumbing. To minimize the risk of this service interruption, as many as 2,000 customers may be issued notices across the city. 

Water Services will issue these notices to drinking water customers who have previously experienced a frozen water service pipe, using a phased notification process based on increasing frost penetration depths. The notice provides customers with advance notification that their water service pipe may freeze again, information on how to avoid a frozen water service pipe (including a run water advisory), and steps to take if their water service pipe freezes. 

Customers receive different notices depending on whether previous experience indicates the risk of freezing lies on the public or private side of the property line, as this will dictate whether there is an associated cost to running water. 

As in past winters, Water Services uses Environment Canada and Weather Network data to predict frost depths and mitigate the potential risk of a frozen water service pipe. Frost monitoring begins once daily temperatures are consistently below zero degrees Celsius. 

Additional information on frozen water service pipes can be found at ottawa.ca, under the Drinking water section. 

The Centretown Buzz online

Due to the latest COVID restrictions, the Centretown Buzz comes to you only online this month.  Don’t miss the latest edition!  You can read it here: The Buzz online 

Address: 110 Laurier Ave W, Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1