The City is currently considering the 2021 budget and I am listening closely to what residents are telling us.
We have heard from working parents who share one bus pass among 6 people in their household because they can’t afford more. From commuters who are turning their backs on public transit because the cost and inconvenience are both too high. From (mostly) women who can’t work because there is no affordable childcare. And from many who are counting on us to invest in services for those who have been pushed to the margins, unable to feed themselves and their families properly, and who continue to be left behind and are disproportionately affected by the COVID virus.
I have worked to introduce a transit fare freeze and to study the possibility of a sliding-scale transit pass, where low income residents pay what they can. To date, we have not successfully convinced a majority of Council to study these proposals for equity in our transit system, but we will continue to bring it to the table for debate and discussion.
I do want to take the opportunity to thank the many residents and organizations who have taken the time to share your concerns, appear before Committees and push for equitable and sustainable change in our city. Together we will continue to fight for an affordable and sustainable public transit system, along with affordable housing and well managed City services for all.
And I do hope you are all staying safe during this cool weather.
Catherine McKenney City Councillor, Somerset Ward
Public Consultation: Winter maintenance quality standards
The City Wants to Hear from You! 223.5 cm (or just over 7 feet for those who still use imperial measurements)! That’s the normal snowfall for the season in Ottawa. When that 223.5 cm starts to fall and accumulate, the City’s winter maintenance quality standards (WMQS) dictate when staff and equipment are mobilized to begin clearing the streets and sidewalks to keep drivers, pedestrians and cyclists safe.
The City’s current WMQS were adopted in 2003 and a great deal has changed since then. City policies and plans have evolved, and we have many new and improved transportation options, from the LRT to cycle tracks and more sidewalks on local streets. The result is a shift towards the increased use of public and active transportation (walking, biking, transit, roller blading, etc.).
The WMQS Project Team is also reviewing how the City can progressively plan the winter maintenance quality standards to accommodate for climate change; according to a recent study commissioned by the City and the National Capital Commission, winters could be four weeks shorter by the 2030s with far more freeze-thaw cycles between December and February, and fewer "deep freeze” events. This would have an impact on ice build-up, particularly on residential roadways, sidewalks and bike lanes. Accessibility, diversity, sustainability, safety and healthy living will also be reviewed as these weren’t considered when the current standards were drafted.
Between now and early 2021, the WMQS Project Team will be reviewing and developing new options for winter maintenance and they want to hear from you! For more information on the WMQS Review Project and ways to get involved please visitengage.ottawa.ca/wmqs
McNabb COVID Testing Centre
You asked for a walk-in site in the downtown and I am happy to announce that a COVID assessment centre is set to open at McNabb Comm Centre on Tuesday November 24th. This will provide a critical point of care for residents who live downtown and do not have access to a vehicle.More info.
This location is a corner lot with frontage on MacLaren to the north, O’Connor to the west and Gilmour to the south. The development will include 541 residential units, 339 parking spaces and a privately owned public space (POPS) comprising 40% of the lot area.
The applicant is proposing to develop this site following the Landmark Buildings policy presented in Section 18.104.22.168 of the Centretown Secondary Plan. This policy permits taller buildings than are typically allowed in this area of Centretown due to their contributions to the public realm through exemplary architecture and functional site design.
I want to hear from you. A virtual open house will be held on Thursday, November 26 from 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm. You can attend the meeting by following thisZoom link.
A design workshop will be held on Wednesday, December 2 from 6:30 pm - 8:45 pm. This interactive meeting will provide an opportunity for residents to share design ideas for the proposed development in greater depth. Pre-registration is required for this workshop. You can register by emailing [email protected].
A draft of the New Official Plan is now available for review and comment atottawa.ca/newop. On the City’s website you will find a series of short surveys, arranged by theme, to help guide your feedback depending on your areas of interest. You’re welcome to offer feedback on any or all surveys. You can send questions to[email protected].
We had over 200 people attend our annual BudgetSpeak forum on October 27th, a testament to how the online format makes meetings more accessible for a lot of people! Staff are currently working on an As We Heard It report, which will be coming out soon. It will compile feedback we received from meeting participants and insights from our panel of affordable housing experts.
Protecting our urban forest is important. Trees offer shade, beauty, homes for birds and squirrels and other wildlife, and make our City more attractive to visitors and residents.
Yet every year, our canopy is reduced.
Last winter, I introduced a by-law amendment to protect more trees. While “distinctive” trees used to be defined as 50cm diameter or more, my amendment changed that to 30cm – meaning more trees would be covered by our laws.
And a Committee recommendation coming to City Council this week will increase the fines and other penalties for illegal tree cutting.
I know that residents cherish every tree in their neighbourhood. Let’s work to increase our urban forest for the betterment of all.
The Buzz online
ReadThe Buzz onlineto get stories about the City budget, replacement plans for the five Queensway downtown overpasses, public art on Elgin St, and much more.