UPDATE: COVID-19 in Ottawa

I've received the following letter from Dr. Vera Etches, the City of Ottawa's Chief Medical Officer of Health:

Dear Mayor Watson and Members of Council,
I am writing to inform you that Ottawa now has one confirmed case of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).
The individual in question is a male in his forties who recently travelled to Austria. He is experiencing mild symptoms and is currently self-isolating at home. Ottawa Public Health is currently conducting the necessary follow-up with any potential close contacts.
More information will be provided at a press conference later this afternoon. A media advisory will follow with the details.
We recognize that this new development may cause heightened anxiety. We continue to encourage residents to visit and refer people to OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Coronavirus for factual, up-to-date information.
Other sources of reliable information include:
• Ottawa Public Health
o Twitter: https://twitter.com/ottawahealth
o Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ottawahealth/
o Web: https://www.ottawapublichealth.ca/coronavirus
• Ontario Ministry of Health
o Twitter: https://twitter.com/ONThealth
o Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ONThealth/
o Web: https://www.ontario.ca/page/2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov
• Health Canada / Public Health Agency of Canada
o Twitter: https://twitter.com/GovCanHealth
o Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HealthyCdns/
o Web: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
It is also important for residents to understand that coronavirus is spread through droplets, which travel a limited distance before falling to the ground. Residents can minimize their risks by:
• Washing their hands often with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available;
• Avoiding hand-to-face contact – particularly their eyes, nose, and mouth - unless they have just washed their hands;
• Covering their coughs and sneezes with a tissue or their arm, not their hands;
• Staying home if they are ill; and
• Maintaining a distance of about 2 meters or more if they encounter someone who is ill or who appears to be ill.
Please call or email if you have any questions or require additional information.
Sincerely,
Dr. Vera Etches


La Maison de la Francophonie d'Ottawa ouvre ses portes!

OTTAWA, le 31 janvier 2020 – C’est devant un impressionnant parterre de plus de 650 invités et dans une ambiance des plus festives que la Maison de la Francophonie d’Ottawa a officiellement été inaugurée hier, dans ses locaux situés dans l’ancienne école Grant, au 2720 chemin Richmond.

Se voulant un véritable phare de la francophonie ottavienne, la Maison de la Francophonie d’Ottawa est le fruit du travail inlassable de centaines de personnes des sphères communautaire, éducative, sociale et politique, qui militent depuis plus de 30 ans afin que les francophones et francophiles de l’ouest d’Ottawa puissent jouir d’un lieu multifonctionnel pour se rassembler et échanger. Aujourd’hui, tous peuvent dire «Mission accomplie»!

Un modèle pour les francophones d’ici et d’ailleurs

Animée brillamment par l’auteur-compositeur-interprète ottavien Yao, la soirée s’est déroulée devant de nombreux représentants des milieux politique, communautaire et culturel. L’événement a même permis d’accueillir des invités venus d’aussi loin que de l’ouest canadien et du Congo, désireux de s’inspirer du modèle de carrefour multiservices proposé par la Maison.

L’ouverture de la Maison de la Francophonie d’Ottawa témoigne de la résilience, de la vitalité et de l’essor de la communauté francophone de l’ouest d’Ottawa et de toute la région de la capitale nationale. Celle-ci peut enfin compter sur un espace qui lui servira de lieu de rassemblement, mais aussi de moteur de développement à de multiples projets initiés par des francophones et francophiles de tous les horizons.

Un point de repère pour une francophonie plurielle

Pour le président de La Maison de la Francophonie d’Ottawa, Ronald Bisson, celle-ci se veut un point de repère pour les résidents de la région, toutes origines confondues.

«Nous, francophones de l’ouest de la ville d’Ottawa, venons de partout au Canada et de plus de cinquante pays du monde. Ici, en Ontario, la langue française nous unit, quels que soient nos traditions culturelles, notre appartenance religieuse ou non, notre niveau de français et nos choix de professions. Nous remercions toutes ces femmes et tous ces hommes qui sont venus avant nous pour défendre nos droits linguistiques. Leurs succès nous permettent de nous rassembler aujourd’hui dans notre Maison, avec toutes nos identités plurielles, où nous pourrons vivre cette francophonie dans toutes ses expressions qui nous tient tellement à cœur», a indiqué M. Bisson.

M. Bisson a également pris soin de remercier le ministère de l’Infrastructure de l’Ontario, qui a permis la concrétisation du projet grâce à un investissement de 8,95 millions de dollars.

De son côté, le président du Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario (CEPEO), partenaire de la Maison et propriétaire de l’édifice qui l’abrite, a insisté sur l’importance de l’endroit pour l’ensemble de la communauté. «Le CEPEO est très fier d’être un partenaire important de la Maison de la Francophonie. Ce magnifique endroit permet d’élargir l’espace francophone en offrant des initiatives éducatives, communautaires, récréatives et culturelles en français, et ce, de la petite enfance à l’âge adulte. Ce sont tous les francophones et francophiles de la région qui pourront en bénéficier», a expliqué Denis Chartrand.

À propos

La Maison de la Francophonie d’Ottawa est un projet unique, fruit d’une étroite collaboration entre la Coopérative multiservices francophone de l’Ouest d’Ottawa, le Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario et pas moins de 43 partenaires et collaborateurs, unis dans leur volonté d’offrir un éventail de services à la communauté francophone.

 

Renseignements:
Olivier Pinsonneault
Administrateur des relations publiques et médiatiques
T: 613-742-8960, poste 2023 C: 613-325-6133 C olivier.pinsonneault@cepeo.on.ca


Council Update: Mayor Watson delivers 2020 State of the City address

Ottawa – At the first City Council meeting of the year, Mayor Watson delivered his annual State of the City address, highlighting key City accomplishments from the past year and outlining plans for the year ahead. Ottawa continues to rely on its strong and growing technology sector and a robust tourism industry. The Mayor highlighted 2019 achievements in those sectors before highlighting measures to diversify our local economy by growing the television and film industry, the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles sector, precision agriculture and job creation in our rural villages.

The Mayor focused on the continuing challenges with O-Train Line 1 and the need to significantly improve the reliability of the Confederation Line and the experience of OC Transpo customers.

Mayor Watson highlighted the City’s $15-million investment in building new affordable housing – repeating last year’s record as largest in the City’s history. He emphasized plans to grow the supply of affordable housing and transit-oriented development, including at sites near Bayshore Shopping Centre and at 450 Rochester Street, about 700 metres from the Carling LRT station.

The Mayor indicated that he would recognize several distinguished Canadians with the Key to the City, including professional golfer and three-time Canadian Press female athlete of the year, Brooke Henderson, former Governor General, journalist and Secretary-General of the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie, Michaëlle Jean, and TSN sportscaster, James Duthie. He also plans to recognize the longest continuing local business in Ottawa today: the Ottawa Citizen.

Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches, provided an update to Council on the current situation and local actions regarding the Novel Coronavirus. For more information on the Novel Coronavirus, visit ottawapublichealth.ca.

Council declared an affordable housing and homelessness crisis and emergency in Ottawa, recognizing the need to call on provincial and federal governments for increased emergency to deliver housing units and housing supports. Through the motion, Council directed City staff to include in the update of the 10 Year Housing and Homelessness Plan more aggressive affordable housing targets, to develop a framework for action to preserve and increase the affordable housing supply, and to work to eliminate chronic homelessness by 2024.

Council approved the Climate Change Master Plan and its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100 per cent – by 2040 as a corporation and by 2050 as a community. The new targets are in line with the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has called for a 100-per-cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Over the next five years, the City will continue to implement Energy Evolution, develop a climate resiliency strategy, apply a climate lens to the new Official Plan and infrastructure, pilot corporate carbon budgets and encourage community action.

The new Tree Protection By-law will come into effect in May. It consolidates two existing by-laws, streamlining regulation and enforcement. Other changes include requiring compensation for trees removed with a permit, implementing new fines for tree removal without a permit and changing internal processes to consider trees earlier in planning processes.

Council approved designating the Clemow-Monkland Driveway and Linden Terrace Heritage Conservation District under Part V of the Ontario Heritage Act. Encompassing about 160 properties, the district is an example of an early 20th century streetcar suburb, with tree-lined boulevards and impressive historic houses.

Council also approved heritage designation for two properties: the Standard Bread Company Bakery at 951 Gladstone Avenue in Little Italy and the former Traders Bank of Canada at 1824 Farwel Street in Vars.

 


2020 State of the City Address

I want to start by thanking Elder Claudette Commanda – the youngest elder I’ve ever met – for being here today to offer that wonderful Algonquin prayer and blessing.

We must always be mindful and recognize that we are on the sacred land of Claudette’s people – the Algonquin Anishnabeg Nation – who have been the stewards of this region for over 6,000 years.

I hope that her words – inspired by traditions and teachings passed down for millennia – will help guide Council’s deliberations and inspire us to make decisions that will benefit our communities for centuries to come.

Thank you, Claudette.

Inviting our Indigenous friends and partners to share their culture and language with us at these important events is vital to the reconciliation efforts that our city and our entire country have committed to bring justice and equality to this relationship.

I very much value our relationship with our surrounding Algonquin communities – Pikwakanagan and Kitigan Zibi – as well as with all First Nation, Métis and Inuit residents of Ottawa.

Last year, we announced with Pikwakanagan and Ottawa Tourism that our region would have the honour of hosting the 2021 Ontario Indigenous Summer Games, as well as the 2021 and 2023 Masters Indigenous Games.

Registration for the 2021 Masters Indigenous Games will open next week – and we’re very excited to welcome thousands of participants who will join us in Ottawa to celebrate their wonderful culture through sport.

We know that these major events are a great boost to Ottawa’s economy and help sustain good jobs in the tourism sector.

That’s why we are hard at work with Michael Crockatt and his team at Ottawa Tourism to strengthen this industry and the approximately 40,000 jobs it supports in our hotels, restaurants and small businesses across the city.

And we are keeping the momentum with many great sporting events coming to our city this year and next:

  • the 2020 Men’s and Women’s U-Sports Basketball Championships at TD Place in March
  • the 2020 Pan American Olympic Qualifying Wrestling Tournament at the Shaw Centre in March – where Stittsville’s own Olympic Gold medalist Erica Wiebe will be competing for her place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics; and
  • the 2021 Canada Soccer Under-15 National Championships in March of next year.

And since we delivered Ottawa 2017 with our tourism partners, the industry has continued to grow – seeing once again a solid increase of 4.3% in hotel room nights last year, with visitors coming to Ottawa from 179 countries.

Confidence in our tourism industry continues to grow, with $25-million in improvements taking shape at the Ottawa International Airport – in addition to a new ALT Hotel and an LRT station that will both have direct access to the terminal.

Over the last two years, we’ve also seen more than 1,300 hotel rooms added across the city, in order to meet this growing demand from visitors from around the world.

This enthusiasm is being fueled by players in our tourism community, which are constantly innovating to ensure Ottawa remains an appealing destination for visitors.

In December, we learned that our region was going to be home to the first interprovincial zipline in the world.

Interzip Rogers at Zibi is a great addition to our region’s tourism offering.

This zipline will soar 120 feet above the Ottawa River and offer incredible views of the region – including the Parliament Buildings, the Supreme Court, the Chaudière Falls and the Museum of History.

This photo of former London Mayor Boris Johnson shows why I will nominate Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin to test the system first.

And I see this project as a thriving symbol of the special connection that exists between our two cities.

For the first time ever, Ottawa will host the culminating event of a great nationwide tradition, the Canadian Culinary Championships – which will take place at the Shaw Centre this weekend.

And I know a lot of participants are looking forward to an incredible feast.

In a few months, we’ll also have a brand-new sports franchise to cheer on in the nation’s capital when the Ottawa Blackjacks make their debut in the Canadian Elite Basketball League at the Arena at TD Place.

But we also have a number of recurring events that are commemorating anniversaries – and we should be enthusiastically celebrating their success.

The Rideau Canal Skateway – the longest skating rink in the world – is celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Now as all you know, I can’t really skate – but I can certainly appreciate what this long-standing tradition means for our community and for tourism in Ottawa.

The Jazz Festival will celebrate its 40th edition – and I look forward to joining the crowds, who will once again return to Confederation Park for the occasion.

And last but not least, our beloved Canadian Tulip Festival will help us mark a special anniversary this year, as we celebrate 75 years of friendship between Canada and the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

And I’m pleased that Chargé d’Affaires Frederieke Quispel and Taylor Heaven are here from the Dutch Embassy today on behalf of Ambassador Henk van der Zwan.

As many of you know, this friendship dates back to the Second World War – when Canadian soldiers led the forces that liberated the Netherlands in 1945.

And I’m proud that my father fought in those battles during the Second World War, as a member of the 1st Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Canada.

He fought alongside the brave young men who played a pivotal role in North Western Europe.

The Royal Regiment is credited with liberating the city of Assen on April 13, 1945 – before participating in the clearing of Groningen until April 15 – some 20 days before the Netherlands was liberated from German occupation.

For his efforts, my father – Bev Watson – was awarded the France and Germany Star, the Canadian Volunteer Service Medal and Clasp, and the 1939 to 1945 War Medal.

I’m very proud of my father’s service to our nation – and it was a special honour for me to visit the Netherlands last fall in the country where he served Canada and defended our freedom during the War.

During our time there, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet – who was born at the Ottawa Civic Hospital while the Dutch Royal Family were living here in exile.

I took that opportunity to invite her to visit Ottawa to renew the special relationship between our two countries and attend a naming ceremony at the new Princess Margriet Park near the Civic Hospital.

And it’s my pleasure to announce today that Princess Margriet is indeed planning on joining us in Ottawa in May to mark this momentous occasion.

But before we fast forward to 2020, let’s take this opportunity to look back on the challenging and eventful year that was 2019 – during which we approved two budgets, launched the Confederation Line, moved ahead with Stage 2 of LRT – and once again overcame many challenges as a community.

It was certainly a productive year at City Hall – and our committees worked to deliver many ambitious initiatives with a great deal of success.

Following the historic back-to-back flooding that hit our region in 2017 and again last year, the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee updated the flood plain mapping for the region, which will provide more certainty to residents and developers looking for guidance on where to build new homes in our rural areas.

The flooding once again lasted for many weeks – but this time, our City had to declare a state of emergency to bring in some much-needed reinforcement from the Canadian Armed Forces.

As a result, approximately 600 women and men in uniform joined 15,000 residents who volunteered in this effort to fill and deploy 1.5 million sandbags to protect homes as well as critical infrastructure, like the Britannia Water Treatment Plant.

This emergency response – which was superbly coordinated and executed by our City staff and first responders – significantly limited the damage caused by these floods, when compared to the 2017 events.

And although more than 150 families had to evacuate their homes, our community came together once again to support our fellow residents in need.

However, it takes years for these affected neighbourhoods to recover from such devastating weather events.

Many residents of West Carleton – who were the victims of the devastating tornadoes in 2018 – will only be returning home in the coming months.

Encouraging signs of progress can we observed in this community, with the new Dunrobin Plaza taking shape once again – this time with a stronger roof.

And many are hoping that the Dunrobin Meat and Grocery – a family business owned by sisters Cindy and Julie Delahunt – will once again find a home there, as a welcome sign that things are getting back to normal.

Unfortunately, these natural disasters seem to be getting all too common – and their effects are being felt right around the world.

In the face of this, our Environment Committee has been working to tackle a worldwide climate challenge, adopting an important Climate Change Master Plan at its last meeting of 2019 – a plan that will be up for debate later today and that I hope you will all support.

This roadmap for a more sustainable community contains ambitious targets that will hopefully see our City eliminate its corporate greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 – and for our community to do the same by 2050.

Working with our partners, the Plan will deliver numerous concrete actions to achieve these targets – including many energy efficiency projects as part of Energy Evolution, the development of a climate resiliency plan, and applying a climate lens to the new Official Plan.

Despite these environmental challenges, I want to acknowledge the progress we have made over the last few years in reducing GHGs.

According to the latest greenhouse gas inventory, our community’s emissions decreased by 14 percent between 2012 and 2018.

The City’s corporate emissions – which account for about five percent of Ottawa’s total emissions – were reduced by an impressive 36 percent over that same period.

And later this year, OC Transpo will begin piloting electric buses as part of its operations – and I’m hopeful that this will put us on a path to greening our entire fleet, especially as battery technology improves in the coming years.

I want to thank Minister Catherine McKenna for her support of this initiative.

Although we still have much work to do to achieve our long-term targets, there are promising signs that our investments in new technologies and energy efficiency projects are paying off.

The Environment Committee also strengthened the Tree Protection Bylaw, which will put in place greater safeguards – like compensation for removals – and higher fines to help protect Ottawa’s precious tree canopy.

I encourage all colleagues to support these strengthened tree protection measures when they come to a vote today.

One of the City’s most important environmental initiatives will be completed later this year when we start operating the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel.

This key project of the Ottawa River Action Plan will help us reduce by approximately 80% the discharge of waste water into the Ottawa River – thereby increasing our residents’ enjoyment and improving the water quality for our wildlife of this great waterway.

These are all important initiatives that will help improve our residents’ quality of life for generations to come – and the City is delivering on many others that will have a similar lasting impact.

Think of the new Ottawa Central Library and Library and Archives Canada joint facility, which has tremendous potential to become a people place like no other – both for residents and visitors.

After some of the most enthusiastic community consultations in recent history, the OPL team and the architects at Diamond Schmitt and KWC Architects unveiled the preliminary design last week to much acclaim.

I certainly look forward to us breaking ground on this amazing city-building project and witnessing its grand opening in 2024.

This facility will without a doubt become a stunning architectural addition to Ottawa’s downtown – and one that will kickstart the revitalization and encourage the type of development we want to see take place at LeBreton Flats and around Pimisi Station.

To help steer our city’s development, the Planning Committee and ARAC are in the midst of developing a new Official Plan, which will guide the growth of Ottawa over the next decades.

With its 5 Big Moves, the new OP will identify long-term trends, challenges and opportunities facing Ottawa – and it will ensure that our city remains on track to be the most liveable mid-sized city in North America.

The new Official Plan will prioritize the climate change lens across the board, but it will also facilitate economic activity thanks to special economic zone designations for Kanata North – where businesses are bursting at the seams – and the Ottawa International Airport, which is surrounded by underutilized properties.

As our high-tech community in Kanata continues to grow at an impressive rate – now is the time to introduce flexible policies that will foster the development of much-needed office space and attract the attention of investors worldwide.

There is no better time to conduct this important Official Plan review – because as you know, our city reached an important milestone last year when it surpassed the one million population mark.

By crossing that threshold, Ottawa now finds itself in a new league when competing with cities around the globe – and we have to live up to the expectations of a world-class G7 capital city.

For its part, the Transportation Committee has been tasked with finding mobility solutions to handle this growth – and this process is now underway following the launch of the Transportation Master Plan refresh in December.

It’s important for us to work with all our mobility partners across the region – as tens of thousands of residents cross the Ottawa River every morning and afternoon to get to and from work.

And I am proud of the good relationship that Mayor Pedneaud-Jobin and I have developed in recent years.

This relationship benefits several projects on both sides of the river, and it has led to increased collaboration between our transportation teams, as well as between OC Transpo and the STO.

We are both opposed to the construction of a sixth bridge between Ottawa and Gatineau, because we want the federal government to prioritize funding for light rail projects that will have positive effects on the quality of life of our residents and on the environment for decades to come.

We are working closely with each other to ensure that the Board of Directors of the NCC understands our position.

Our teams are also working on plans to connect Gatineau’s future light rail network from western Gatineau with Ottawa, in order to maximize the benefits of this system for users on both sides of the river.

I look forward to seeing the results of their study sometime in the next few months, when they make a presentation to the Transportation Committee.

The largest transportation projects have the potential to change not only how we get around – but also how we develop our city.

And the launch of the Confederation Line in September was certainly a defining moment in our city’s history – since this critical investment in public transit will help us manage our population’s growth for decades to come.

And although LRT has faced a number of significant challenges since its launch four months ago, I’m confident that we will find permanent solutions to these issues.

Yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to visit the Belfast Yard MSF with the Chair and Vice-Chair of our Transit Commission to meet with the team at JBA, who arrived from Britain a few days ago.

It was helpful to get an understanding of their focus over the coming days and weeks, as they assist RTM to increase the number of available trains, as well as help find permanent solutions to improve the reliability of LRT and the experience of our customers.

I wish to thank our transit users for their patience as we work through this.

You rightfully expect and deserve a higher level of service from our transit network.

I’m confident that we will start finding solutions to these issues in the coming weeks.

But LRT remains the right long-term investment for our city.

In a recent Globe & Mail article entitled ‘’Ottawa is poised to grow and meet new work force demand,’’ Adam Stanley highlights the enthusiasm that LRT has created given its long-term economic potential.

While describing it as the most impactful piece of transportation infrastructure since the construction of the Rideau Canal nearly 200 years ago, he goes on to say that: ‘’as a result of recent investments in LRT, and other new infrastructure, Ottawa seems poised at last to step out of the long shadows cast by Toronto and Montreal.’’

These are encouraging words for our city – and I’m proud that we are continuing the progress.

As you have all seen, our crews have been hard at work on the construction of our Stage 2 extensions to bring light-rail farther east, west and south.

The construction of Stage 2 LRT will add 44 kilometres of new rail and 24 new stations to our city’s O-Train network.

And we won’t stop there, having already laid the groundwork to keep extending the system to Kanata-Stittsville and Barrhaven as part of Stage 3.

LRT is also inspiring confidence amongst investors and creating economic opportunities right across the city.

Our local economy is firing on all cylinders, posting significant job gains in 2019, as the unemployment rate hovered between 4.2 and 4.4 percent for most of the year.

I’m proud as Mayor of the city to say that 50,000 new jobs were created in Ottawa in 2019 – spread across all sectors from construction to media & culture, and healthcare to high-tech.

This represented an annual job increase of 8.5 percent, ranking second amongst Canada’s 33 largest cities.

There is obviously a lot of confidence from employers and investors in the strength of our economy.

And these numbers also demonstrate the impact of many economic development projects taking shape in many areas across the city.

Next week, ARAC will be considering Hard Rock’s $320-million expansion plans for the Rideau Carleton Raceway in the south end.

If approved, this would lead to the construction of a new eight-story hotel with 178 rooms, a 1,600-seat theatre, and space for a number of restaurants and shops, in Osgoode Ward.

In Nepean, we have a number of exciting projects taking shape at the NCC Research Farm.

In May, working with Invest Ottawa, we launched the Ottawa L5 Testing Facility – which is helping our local partners grow and lead worldwide in the ever-growing Autonomous Vehicle industry.

This site is now the first and largest AV testing facility of its kind in North America – serving as a test track, research facility and data centre where we can test a number of new products and technologies.

We now have many partners that are benefitting from this initiative – including Smartcone, BlackBerry QNX, Autonomous Stuff, Aurrigo and Carleton University – who are actively testing and conducting leading-edge research at this facility.

This complements our AV test track in Kanata North, which has for a few years enabled the testing of vehicles that communicate in real time with live City infrastructure.

And as a result of L5, INDRO Robotics, Autonomous Stuff and Aurrigo – Britain’s leading AV company – are all opening offices in Ottawa, which speaks to the economic benefits of this strategic investment.

In a recent article defining what should be our business community’s long-term aspirations, journalist and entrepreneur Mark Sutcliffe described our driverless test track as a shining example of what defines our city as a place of innovation.

We have also been working with the Ottawa Film Office and TriBro Studios on a film studio project for this site, one that would create approximately 500 new jobs during construction – and hundreds of other full-time jobs in film, TV and animation.

Just a few days ago, we had a production using the Rink of Dreams and Confederation Park to film a winter scene – and we can all be sure that Ottawa will once again be showcased on the Lifetime Channel next December.

Following a thorough review of the business case for this project, staff will be bringing forward to FEDCO in March a proposal for the loan financing of this facility – one that will benefit taxpayers and the Film Office while growing this important cultural sector and creating good jobs in our city.

And another opportunity is percolating on the site, with the possible creation of a world-class Smart Farm.

This facility – located a stone’s throw away from the farming industry regulators – would bring together academic and private sector partners to advance precision agriculture and tackle the food insecurity challenges faced by our planet.

This precision agriculture innovation will eventually benefit the 1,045 farms that make up our rural areas and fuel our agricultural economy.

To support even more job creation in our rural villages, staff have been hard at work consulting with residents and businesses to develop a Rural Economic Development Strategy, which ARAC will be approving in the next few months.

In the east end, the arrival last year of the Amazon fulfillment centre in Carlsbad Springs certainly delivered opportunities in this rural village – with the facility now providing employment to over 600 residents.

But we need to do more to stimulate economic growth in Orléans – and I’m pleased that we are working on a roadmap to do this.

Thanks to our Orléans-Highway 174 Economic Corridor Study, we will identify available lands primed for development and target business opportunities to create jobs in the east end.

And although the new Civic Campus project is only in its infancy, we are working closely with the team at The Ottawa Hospital and the Province to ensure that the planning continues to progress on this important healthcare facility for our region.

All these projects are helping us diversify our local economy while creating businesses and jobs in all parts of the city.

To give a leg up to our local innovators and entrepreneurs, we opened the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards in 2017 – where Michael Tremblay and the team at Invest Ottawa are delivering the tools and coaching that will ensure our local start-ups continue to grow.

They have so far accelerated and grown more than 200 small local companies – and the centre is bursting at the seams.

In November, Council approved a two-storey addition to Bayview Yards in order to meet the growing demand.

And with the demand for office, commercial and industrial space continuing to rise – vacancy rates reached new lows in 2019.

According to Avison Young – one of Canada’s largest commercial real estate firms – the Ottawa market shows no signs of slowing down in 2020.

And as we know, there’s a similar reality in the rental housing market right across the city: as the vacancy rates drop, prices increase.

I know that access to and affordability of housing has been top of mind for City Council and for thousands of residents who are struggling to find a suitable place to live.

But I’m proud that for two years in a row now, this Council has invested $15 million per year to build new affordable housing units for our residents in need.

This two-year $30-million-dollar investment in housing infrastructure is the single largest in the City of Ottawa’s history.

Working with our community partners and other levels of government, we leveraged this funding last year and launched many projects across the city – representing a total of 519 affordable housing units that are currently in the works.

  • 140 units for seniors and families in Centretown with OCH;
  • 40 supportive housing units in the Glebe Annex with the John Howard Society;
  • 40 units dedicated to homeless veterans at Veteran’s House – named in honour of former Air Force pilot Andy Carswell – delivered with Multifaith Housing;
  • 42 supportive housing units with the Shepherds of Good Hope near Montfort Hospital; and
  • 35 Units of affordable and supportive housing in Bell’s Corners with the Anglican Diocese of Ottawa.

This is in addition to many projects that were completed and opened last year – including 58 units for seniors on Cambridge Street South, and a project with the Youth Services Bureau that delivered 39 supportive housing units for youth in Riverside Park.

Just last fall, Council approved a joint initiative with Ottawa Community Housing that will produce another 271 affordable housing units in Rideau-Rockcliffe.

We are currently working with our not-for-profit partners to ensure that the sites they have identified for affordable housing projects are shovel ready this year and next.

Last year, Council also approved the refinancing of many OCH mortgages, which will generate as much as $35 million to reinvest in critical repairs to our existing social housing stock.

I’m also committed to continuing our work with our federal and provincial partners to ensure that they take on an increased role and invest their fair share to help us tackle this housing crisis, which is being felt right across the country.

I recently spoke to the provincial Minister of Finance and the Housing Minister, in advance of the provincial budget, to stress the urgent need for new funding to support and build more affordable housing.

And I will be meeting with federal Minister Ahmed Hussen later this week to ask the federal government to move forward with historic investments on affordable housing in the upcoming federal budget – in order to reduce the 56% funding share currently being absorbed by municipalities.

The City is also planning for longer-term opportunities to locate affordable housing near transit stations – because affordable transit is also essential to many residents who cannot afford to own a car to get around the city.

And that’s why this past year, FEDCO approved a plan from the Interdepartmental Task Force on Housing to target 18 prime pieces of land that will become transit-oriented neighbourhoods.

These publicly-owned properties along Bus Rapid Transit and the Trillium and Confederation Lines will be developed over the next 20 years and transformed into communities with a strong mix of affordable housing units.

The first of these affordable housing projects will be located beside our new Central Library Project and will help us kickstart the revitalization of LeBreton Flats.

And in response to record-low vacancy rates and market demand, private sector developers have launched a wave of apartment and multi-residential projects.

Earlier this month, we learned of the Bayshore Centre’s plans for two towers on its property – a project with 500 rental units for residents who want convenient access to the future Bayshore Station of Stage 2 LRT.

And similar projects are planned for the Trillium Line, with Arnon announcing its plans for six buildings containing 295 rental units within a few hundred metres of the Carling LRT Station.

These are only two examples of many projects providing additional rental housing units while encouraging greater density along our light-rail transit projects – and it is clearly good news in our city’s efforts to tackle urban sprawl.

In addition to these new developments, I’m encouraged that old and decrepit office buildings are being transformed into apartment rental buildings.

The nearby redevelopment of 170 Metcalfe at the corner of Nepean went online last summer with 64 rental units – which are almost all spoken for.

The old Government of Canada building at the corner of King Edward and Rideau is in the midst of a similar transformation and has been taking in uOttawa students since last fall.

Along the same line, we learned a few weeks ago that the office building at 473 Albert Street had been purchased by a real estate investment trust for the same purpose – and it will undergo a complete renewal this year that will add 153 units to the rental stock.

What’s encouraging is that the private sector is finding greater value in offering decent and affordable rental units rather than lower grade office space.

And although I’m hopeful this increase in the rental stock will provide some relief to apartment seekers, we know the City has an important role to play to ensure that housing remains accessible for our most vulnerable residents.

I very much look forward to the important review of both the 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan, as well as the emergency shelter standards – a review that our Community and Protective Services Committee will undertake in the coming months.

And there is more that can be done at the municipal level to address these issues of affordability and accessibility to housing.

That is why last year, CPSC considered a major report to regulate the business of short-term rentals and limit their presence to primary residences – which could bring back as many as 1,200 units into the long-term ownership or rental market.

When this framework is implemented later this year, it will ensure that condos and apartment units cannot be purchased and used for the sole purpose of acting as illegal hotels.

We know that over the last few years, this practice has negatively affected our community by reducing the housing stock, changing the fabric of our neighbourhoods – and in certain instances, has led to criminal activity in residential neighbourhoods.

These are social issues that all large cities are faced with – but we must do everything we can to continue to address some of their root causes.

That’s why I’m proud of the work that City Council has done in recent years to bolster the inclusion of underrepresented and vulnerable communities.

  • Our ongoing efforts on Indigenous Reconciliation;
  • Affordable transit services for all residents by freezing the EquiPass and EquiFare;
  • The Transit Commission’s ongoing work to decrease waiting times for Para Transpo customers by introducing online booking;
  • The appointment of our City’s first Women and Gender Equity Liaison and the creation of a Women and Gender Equity Strategy.

These are all concrete actions that this Council has endorsed to make our city more inclusive and more liveable for all.

The development of our Women and Gender Equity Strategy engaged over 400 residents last year and recently led to productive consultations with members of our 2SLGBTQ+ community.

The team is also in the process of establishing its Working Group – and they have engaged with 22 different community partners and allies that will help us envision and deliver on the strategy.

In the last budget, we also set aside the funding required to create an Anti-Racism Secretariat, which will complement our work on Women and Gender Equity and help us fight back against racism in our community.

Although our community is a welcoming and accepting one – as I learned firsthand when I came out last summer – there is always work left to do on this front, particularly at a time when populism and intolerance are on the rise around the world.

Interestingly, a program delivered by Economic Development is also helping us become a more supportive and inclusive community.

One of the initiatives currently being piloted under the Innovation Pilot Program – in partnership with Ottawa Public Health – is a mobile app called Timsle, which is revolutionizing the way we manage mental health.

Created here in Ottawa by Quayce Thomas – who’s in the audience today – Timsle creates a social accountability network that can help improve users’ mental health by leveraging the support of family and friends.

Users of the app are asked to establish goals – like exercising, taking medication or having healthy and regular meals – and then identify the friends or family members that will keep them on track along the way.

Users will then check-in every day as they accomplish these tasks – but if they fail to do so, Timsle will notify members of their network so they can reach out to see if everything is okay and offer their support.

OPH has recognized its value in supporting positive mental health through strong routines and healthy living – and I’m pleased that Timsle is being added to our community’s wellness toolbox.

I also want to take this opportunity to thank the team at Ottawa Public Health for their efforts to tackle the vaping epidemic which has invaded our schoolyards.

We must do much more to combat teenagers’ access to these deceptive and dangerous vaping products.

I want to thank Premier Ford, who acted quickly – only a few days after I called him on the topic – to announce a ban on the promotion of these products in convenience stores and gas stations.

Unfortunately, companies are using appealing flavours and marketing to win over these customers – and the federal government must also act quickly on this front nationwide in order to protect our teenagers from these hazardous side effects.

As an inclusive city, it is also our responsibility to provide a safe environment for our marginalized or vulnerable residents – and the City does that on a few fronts.

With the Coronavirus having now made its way to 16 countries, Dr. Etches and her team at OPH are keeping a close eye on the matter and working with their healthcare partners to make sure that Ottawa is prepared to deal with any local cases.

I look forward to Dr. Etches’ update on this following my remarks.

I was encouraged when Chief Sloly announced a few weeks ago the creation of three new Neighbourhood Resource Teams, which are a pillar of the OPS Community Policing Strategy.

This announcement follows the successful deployment of three teams in Vanier/Overbrook, Heron Gate/South Ottawa and Carlington/Caldwell in 2019.

These three new teams will be deployed in the ByWard Market/Lowertown in May, followed by Centretown and Bayshore in the fall.

The OPS officers that form these teams will be dedicated exclusively to their assigned neighbourhoods, where they will spend a minimum of two years working with residents and community agencies to tackle crime and its underlying socioeconomic factors.

I also welcome the decision of the Ottawa Police Services Board to support Chief Sloly’s plan to hire 100 officers this year – fast tracking the hiring of officers slated for between now and 2023.

This move will see 100 road-ready officers be fully deployed and improving public safety in our community by next year – and supporting initiatives like neighbourhood policing, reducing gun and gang violence, and violence against women.

We also need to ensure that our neighbourhood streets remain safe for children and families to enjoy.

And that’s why in 2019, the Transportation Committee made permanent the successful Pedestrian Crossover Program, which had led to a reduction in collisions where these had been installed.

The Committee also enacted a series of road safety measures to protect vulnerable users, starting with the creation of eight new Community Safety Zones meant to protect children walking to nearby schools and community parks.

With the recent approval from the Province, Transportation staff will start deploying automated speed enforcement measures in the coming months, with the goal of eliminating speeding and dangerous driving around children in those safety zones.

A few months ago, the Transportation Committee also adopted its third Strategic Road Safety Action Plan – a comprehensive roadmap to reduce by 20% the rate of fatal and major injury collisions over the next five years.

In 2020, this plan will lead to investments of 31.5 million dollars in road safety measures and initiatives – up from $25 million in 2019 – which will help make our streets safer for all road users, including downtown, in the suburbs and on our rural roads.

Over the next few years, this Plan will deliver traffic calming measures in school zones, improvements to warranted pedestrian signals and infrastructure changes that will make our streets safer.

To help us deliver these initiatives, the revenue generated by all new red-light cameras installed beyond 2020 will be directed to funding this Strategic Road Safety Action Plan.

And we’re seeing great results from some of the measures that Safer Roads Ottawa has piloted and deployed in recent years.

I’m happy to report that in the seven months following the launch of the school bus stop-arm camera project last May, the Ottawa Police have laid a total of 110 charges – of $490 each – to drivers who had dangerously failed to stop for a school bus.

To put this in perspective, OPS officers had issued on average 35 fines per year in the two years leading up to the launch of the project.

Since it was first introduced in 2016, OPS has leveraged its now five Automated License Plate Recognition units to apprehend close to 800 suspended drivers still roaming freely on our roads.

It has also generated close to $2.7 million in fine revenue for the City.

In 2020, the Transportation Committee will consider safety countermeasures for 34 high-volume intersections with heavy traffic and cycling interactions – and our cycling community will also benefit from the adoption and implementation of the City’s Bike Parking Strategy.

And we are constantly providing our residents with more options to get around our city without using a car.

This past year, I was excited to open the beautiful new Flora Footbridge – and it’s a highlight of my year at City Hall.

This popular bridge over the Rideau Canal now connects the residents of Old Ottawa East to Lansdowne and the Glebe – and it greatly enhances our pedestrian and cycling networks.

And between its opening day and January 22nd, it had been used by pedestrians and cyclists close to 450,000 times.

I hope the excitement will be as great when we reopen the Harmer Avenue pedestrian and cycling bridge this fall, which will finally reconnect the Civic Hospital and Wellington West communities.

And in honour of a true community builder, I will bring forward a proposal to name the bridge after former Mayor Jackie Holzman, who now lives in Kitchissippi.

As a passionate advocate for the disabled and the first Jewish woman to become mayor of Ottawa, Jackie worked tirelessly during her time at City Hall to bridge differences between communities and to unite residents around important issues.

I hope City Council and residents will join me in supporting this naming proposal and the well-deserved acknowledgment of Jackie Holzman’s contributions to our community.

Please join me in welcoming Jackie Holzman today.

This coming spring, we will also begin a number of major renewal projects that will greatly revitalize certain neighbourhoods.

Vanier will benefit from the revitalization of Montreal Road, which will take place over the next two years, in conjunction with the deployment of the Montreal Road Community Improvement Plan.

Jointly, these two initiatives will help us inject vitality and attract investments and urban renewal to Vanier.

Following the opening of LRT, the redevelopment of Mackenzie Avenue and Rideau Street – from Sussex to Dalhousie – will start this spring to rejuvenate this arts, culture and fashion district connecting the ByWard Market to the new Ottawa Art Gallery and Arts Court.

With the addition of bike lanes and some greenery, Rideau Street will become more liveable and inviting – especially for shoppers and commuters using the Rideau Station of LRT.

This year, we will also complete the revitalization of Elgin Street, which will feature much wider sidewalks, benches and trees.

I know this great street will regain its glory and soon become a pedestrian destination.

We are seeing that renewal projects like Main Street, Queen Street, Montreal Road and Elgin Street are all revitalizing neighbourhoods and creating business and job opportunities for the future – and that’s why we are also planning for the revitalization of Sparks Street and the ByWard Market.

These are only a few of the investments we are making to maintain our extensive road network in good condition for all road users.

This year, the City will invest $51 million in road resurfacing projects across the city – up from the yearly average of $35.5 million over the last Term of Council.

We are also investing $66.2 million for growth projects that will benefit commuters in rapidly expanding neighbourhoods, who use roads like Strandherd Drive, Campeau Drive and the Kanata South Link.

And because residents across the city have to benefit from these improvements, we are making critical investments of $44.5 million in our rural infrastructure – up from the four-year average of $39.7 million.

This will deliver a number of important culvert projects and will improve the conditions of many rural roads and bridges – like Spruce Ridge Road in West-Carleton, Ashton Station Road in Rideau-Goulburn and River Road in Osgoode.

And we are also making significant investments to support the development of our Francophone community, which is now established in every corner of the city.

I look forward to officially opening the Maison de la Francophonie tomorrow evening – this multi-service hub is set to become an important meeting place for the growing Francophone community in Ottawa’s west end.

And I am proud of the City’s role in giving this project a home, by donating the former Grant School on Richmond Road to the CMFO.

Following several years of community efforts, I want to thank all the volunteers who contributed hundreds of hours to achieving this project, as well as the Conseil des écoles publiques, which ensured that the centre was completed.

I am certain that tomorrow’s event will be a memorable opportunity to celebrate the opening of this important facility and to recognize the contributions of volunteers and the community.

So many individuals in the community and here at the City are behind the success of these countless initiatives that strengthen our community.

I want to take this opportunity to thank our City Manager Steve Kanellakos, his Senior Leadership Team, and all our dedicated City staff.

They work day in and day out to make Ottawa such a wonderful place to live.

I know 2019 was a tough and demanding year for many teams at the City – and I thank all of you who sacrificed family time and personal commitments to ensure you were serving our residents and our community in times of need.

Finally, I’m pleased to announce that this year, I will be recognizing the work of distinguished individuals as well as an organization who have made our city proud by presenting the Key to the City to:

  • Accomplished golfer and three-time Canadian Press female athlete of the year: Brooke Henderson;
  • Former Governor General, accomplished journalist and worldwide ambassador of La Francophonie: Michaëlle Jean;
  • TSN sportscaster and proud Carleton University journalism graduate: James Duthie;
  • and last but not least, the Ottawa Citizen, an organization that has been providing news coverage in the nation’s capital for 175 years – the longest continuing local business in Ottawa today.

There is a lot to celebrate in Ottawa – and we are sometimes too modest when boasting about our city.

But when speaking recently about Ottawa’s employment growth, Shawn Hamilton, who’s Senior Vice-President at CBRE in Ottawa, recently acknowledged that ‘’a confluence of well-timed events – a thriving tech scene, multiple postsecondary institutions, easy access to green space, and new infrastructure such as a new library and a new hospital coming down the pipe – have contributed to an upward spiral for the city, and I’m hard-pressed to find a strike against us for growth.’’

And similar aspirations were echoed in Harley Finkelstein and Lindsay Taub’s ‘’Love Letter to Ottawa,’’ published in the Citizen at the end of December, in which they state that ‘’in the next decade, we can transform this city by saying yes more often.’’

I love their enthusiasm and passion for this great city we all call home.

And I believe they come at it with the right attitude, recognizing that ‘’there’s a lot of work to be done – but there is also so much opportunity ahead.’’

I very much share their point of view that there is a lot we can do to brighten the future of our city.

We need to invest in our infrastructure if we want our local economy to continue to prosper, sustaining good paying jobs in communities across the city.

But we must also ensure that this rising tide of prosperity lifts all boats and helps us support residents from all walks of life, including those who are most vulnerable.

I believe City Council can deliver on all these goals if we continue to take the right approach.

There’s an ancient African proverb that says: ‘’If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together.’’

I invite us all to continue this important work together, to the benefit of our community.

Thank you.


Design revealed for Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility

Ottawa – At an event today, Mayor Jim Watson, the Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities and MP for Ottawa Centre, and Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library Board revealed the proposed architectural design for the Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility. Born of a unique collaboration between municipal and federal institutions, the facility will be a city-wide resource that offers all Canadians access to a rich and diverse national collection.

The design is the direct result of an unprecedented public co-design process that asked Ottawa residents, Indigenous communities, and Canadians from across the country to provide inspiration at every stage. This collaborative engagement process helped shape all aspects of the facility, inside and out. Public input informed the shape of the building, its entrances, the interaction and location of its spaces, the indoor look and ambience, the inclusive and sustainable features, the landscaping and public art, and the exterior materials. Public and Indigenous engagement for the facility will continue as we finalize the design and move forward with the next stages of the project.

Following the reveal of a 3-D model of the facility, Donald Schmitt, Principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects and Lead Architect for the project, helped bring the building to life by sharing a video walk-through and renderings. Today, the more than 4,000 people who came together in-person and online over the past year to share their ideas and insights with the partners and architects can finally see their inspiration realized.

The design connects the facility to Ottawa’s rich history and natural beauty: its shape is reminiscent of the Ottawa River; its stone and wood exterior reflects the adjacent escarpment and surrounding greenspace. The large windows and top floors offer unparalleled views of the Ottawa River and Gatineau Hills. With its central town hall, children’s discovery centre, genealogy centre, reading rooms, creative centre, meeting rooms, cafés and stunning views, the new facility will be a welcoming home for the stories of Canadians and Ottawa residents.

When it opens to the public in late 2024, the Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada Joint Facility will be a landmark destination in the national capital built on the shared values and passions of the partner institutions: knowledge, history, discovery, culture, creativity, collaboration, and connections. This innovative collaboration between a public library and the national library and archives will offer an enriched experience for customers and clients, bringing together diverse collections, providing exhibition and event spaces, along with comfortable gathering spaces and free and open access to millions of documents and the rich Canadian documentary heritage.

The public is invited to view the 3-D model, meet the architects and celebrate this important milestone at an Open House from 4 pm to 8 pm today in the Alma Duncan Salon at the Ottawa Art Gallery. They can also view the architectural renderings and video, experience virtual reality stations, and share their thoughts at Inspire555.ca.

Quotes:

“After completing an extensive public consultation process, we celebrated a major milestone by revealing the architects’ stunning design for our new Ottawa Public Library – Library and Archives Canada joint facility. This signifies a very exciting time in our city and brings us one step closer to getting shovels in the ground. I want to thank everyone involved in this process for their input, their work and their creativity in helping us create this world-class destination for residents and visitors. The inspirational design showcases how this facility is more than just a building with books; it will be a welcoming gathering space for us all.”
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

“Today is a very special day as it marks an important step forward in improving the visibility and accessibility of our cultural heritage. The unveiling today of the architectural design of this new world-class public facility in Ottawa is no small feat. Our government is proud to be a part of this project, one of the first federal-municipal partnerships of its kind, right here in Canada's capital city!”
The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage

“This historic collaboration between the Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada will push for unique works of art, programs and exhibition spaces. This design reveal is the next step in creating a world-class destination in the Nation’s capital that residents of Ottawa and Canadians all over the world can come to experience.”
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities

“Today is a great day for Ottawa Public Library! I am incredibly proud of the work my colleagues on the OPL Board and I have done over the years to champion this once-in-a-generation project. After a six-year journey, we can celebrate this major milestone for OPL and our great city. Public libraries have always been pillars of their communities, helping people to reach their potential and fulfill their dreams. The reveal of the design of the OPL-LAC Joint Facility celebrates the power of our connection with the community, which came together in an unprecedented public co-design process to inspire the building, inside and out. The result? The OPL-LAC Joint Facility will be a welcoming, beautiful and inclusive space; one where people gather, learn, discover, and explore their creativity.”
Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair, Ottawa Public Library Board

“We are very proud to be revealing the design for an iconic building that truly represents the evolution of libraries as centres of knowledge and culture around the world. It’s also a great joy to share this design with the thousands of residents and Canadians who provided so much inspiration at each stage of the process. This has been a wonderful experience for all of us.”
Donald Schmitt, Principal, Diamond Schmitt Architects


New OTTAWA sign makes the ByWard Market merry and bright!

Ottawa – Deputy Mayor Laura Dudas on behalf of Mayor Jim Watson, Councillor Mathieu Fleury and Mr. Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism, lit up the new OTTAWA sign today at a celebration in the ByWard Market. Members of the community gathered to countdown to the sign’s inaugural lighting, and to be among the first to snap a picture with the new illuminated sign.

The City acquired the sign with support from Ottawa Tourism. It is fabricated from a robust combination of materials for long-term durability. Programmable LED lighting will allow the sign to shine in an ever-changing palette of colours and patterns throughout the year.

The lighting of the letters will bring recognition to meaningful local causes, events, accomplishments and tourism initiatives, providing a festive look and an even more exciting photo opportunity for residents and visitors. Eligibility criteria and application deadlines will be posted in the new year on ottawa.ca.

Ottawa Tourism contributed to the renewal of the sign as part of its destination development mandate. The City of Ottawa and Ottawa Tourism collaborated to create the Destination Development Fund to build on the momentum of 2017 by adding new and innovative tourism experiences in the nation's capital. This initiative increases our ability to attract major events from around the world, furthering Ottawa's growth as a destination of choice.

Quotes

“We are delighted to launch a more permanent version of this beloved Ottawa landmark, and hope it will become a shining new star of the ByWard Market. Thanks to the support of Ottawa Tourism, residents and visitors will be able to enjoy memorable photo opportunities and share their love for Ottawa for many years to come.
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

“The OTTAWA sign has become an important part of Ottawa’s identity, creating a destination and photo opportunity for visitors to the ByWard Market neighbourhood, one of Ottawa’s most popular spots. Ottawa Tourism has invested in upgrading this important new piece of Ottawa’s cityscape. We look forward to working with the ByWard Market BIA and the City of Ottawa to ensure the longevity of this sign which lives on as yet another legacy item from Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2017.”
Michael Crockatt, President and CEO, Ottawa Tourism


Council approves Budget 2020, increasing support for housing, transit and road safety

Ottawa – City Council today approved Budget 2020, a financial plan that increases investments in public transit, winter maintenance and affordable housing, while taking steps to close the City’s infrastructure gap.

The approved operating budget is $3.76 billion, a $136.8-million increase over 2019. The three-per-cent tax increase amounts to an additional $9 a month for an average urban home.

Investments in public transit include $2 million to increase Para Transpo services, $7.5 million for additional bus service, including 19 new buses, $43 million to replace old buses and a three-month transit fare freeze. The budget includes $9.6 million to support transit passes for lower income residents, freezing the cost of the EquiPass, Community Pass and Access Pass at 2019 rates for one year.

The budget includes a 7.7-per-cent increase to the winter operations budget, adding $5.6 million and bringing the total to $78.3 million.

For the second year in a row, the City will invest $15 million to create new affordable housing and maintain funding of $31 million for local agencies that offer housing and homelessness supports and services.

The budget commits Community Funding of $24.5 million for non-profit social service providers to help them deliver valuable services to residents facing the greatest need. To ensure the safety and well-being of residents, the budget funds 30 additional police officers and 14 additional paramedics.

Infrastructure spending on roads, sidewalks and facilities amounts to $151 million, which is an increase of 18 per cent over 2019. The road resurfacing budget, including preservation and rural road upgrades, is $51 million, up from the yearly average of $35.5 million in the last Term of Council. The City will invest $43 million in rural infrastructure, up from a four-year annual average of $39.7 million. The budget also includes an array of projects to upgrade recreation facilities across Ottawa, such as sports courts, parks, theatres, outdoor rinks and museums.

The City will invest in the environment, including $17.5 million to rehabilitate the City’s wastewater treatment plant, $3 million to improve energy efficiency at City buildings, $3 million to rehabilitate water pumping stations and $2 million to enhance corrosion control at the two water purification plants.

Council approved the Term of Council priorities for 2019 to 2022, a set of goals that emphasize growing and diversifying the economy, building an integrated transportation network, supporting communities and protecting the environment.

Council approved the preliminary policy directions that will be the basis for the new Official Plan. The new Official Plan will ensure Ottawa continues to adapt to current and emerging needs, opportunities and challenges. A draft of the plan, to be tabled in October 2020, will rely on new growth projections. By 2046, Ottawa’s population is expected to grow to 1.4 million, an increase of 40 per cent from 2018, or 402,000 additional residents.

Council approved the Strategic Road Safety Action Plan, which aims to reduce the annual rate of fatal and major injury collisions by 20 per cent by 2024. With total investments of $31.5 million in 2020, the plan will focus on improving road safety culture, supporting vulnerable road users, enhancing safety in rural areas and at intersections, and changing high-risk driver behaviour.

Council approved Official Plan and zoning amendments for a large distribution warehouse in North Gower, just off Highway 416 at 1966 Roger Stevens Drive. While no tenant has been confirmed for the site, the proposed 65,000-square-metre warehouse could employ up to 1,700 people.

Council approved a new Barrhaven Downtown Secondary Plan, with a goal of stimulating development that would ultimately result in more than 10,000 jobs within the town centre. The town centre will serve as a commercial district for the surrounding residential neighborhoods in Barrhaven. Large retail stores will anchor the area, while Market Place Avenue will have smaller storefronts with a main street character.

Council received the Auditor General’s annual report, including seven detailed audit reports, and approved his work plan for 2020.


City announces plans to make Ottawa roads safer for all users

Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson and Transportation Committee Chair, Stephen Blais, announced a new plan that, pending Council approval, will direct City resources between 2020 and 2024 to improve safety for all users on Ottawa roads.

This would be the third Road Safety Action Plan (RSAP) the City has implemented to make area roadways safer for all road users. The first was from 2003 to 2011, and the second from 2012 to 2016. The last plan resulted in a 14 per cent reduction in fatal and major injury collisions in Ottawa.

The proposed 2020 – 2024 Strategic Road Safety Action Plan has four main emphasis areas:

  • Vulnerable road users (collisions involving a pedestrian, cyclist, or a motorcyclist)
  • Rural areas
  • Intersections
  • High risk drivers (collisions resulting from aggressive, impaired or distracted driver behaviours)

To address areas identified in the plan, new and rebuilt residential streets would be designed for an operating speed of 30 kilometres per hour. The plan will explore new and rebuilt collector and arterial roads that would separate cyclists and pedestrians from vehicles, and the City would implement a communications and public education strategy with an emphasis on changing the safety culture of road users.

The new plan is data-driven, has measurable outcomes, and encompasses principles from the safe systems approach which prioritizes human life and health, and notes that safety is a shared responsibility between roadway providers, regulators and users. Road traffic systems should be designed so that human error on the roadway does not lead to death or serious injury. The plan also recognizes that road safety requires a change in culture to achieve the long-term vision and goals of the RSAP. The plan aims to continue progress towards zero fatalities and major injuries on our roadways and has a goal of a 20 per cent reduction in the average annual rate of fatal and major injury collisions by 2024.

According to the 2013-2017 Collision Data Analysis, Ottawa currently has an average of 2.8 fatal injuries per 100,000 in population. This statistic is significantly lower than Canada’s national rate of 5.8, and aligns with that of Sweden and the Netherlands, which are some of the leading countries in the world that have adopted a safe systems approach to road safety resulting in low rates of serious injuries and fatalities.

Dedicated funding has been allocated to fund the initiatives outlined in the plan. Subject to Council’s approval of the Draft Budget, in 2020, the City will invest $31.5 million in road safety measures and initiatives, compared to $25 million in 2019. Revenue from current and future automated enforcement would go to program funding, starting in 2021. Staff will report to the Transportation Committee annually on the progress of the Road Safety Action Plan and to get approval for the following year’s initiatives.

The staff report outlining the proposed measures in the 2020 – 2024 Strategic Road Safety Action Plan will be the subject of deliberation at Transportation Committee on December 4, and at Council on December 11.

Quotes

“Making roads safe for all road users is a priority in Ottawa. While I am pleased that we have a fatal injury rate that ranks among the lowest in the world, even a single fatality is one too many. We will continue to work towards zero fatalities and major injuries in our city. This plan will direct our actions to get closer to that goal.”
Mayor Jim Watson

“Everyone shares responsibility for safety on our roads; the City as the roadway providers, the Police who enforce the rules of the road, and even the users. Human life and health and the number one priority, so when we design and build roads, we will make sure that a small human error doesn’t result in death. We’ll supplement Police enforcement efforts with automated tools, but we also need to change the habits of high-risk users to make our roads safer.”
Councillor Stephen Blais, Chair, Transportation Commission


Budget 2020 an affordable plan for better mobility, infrastructure and housing

Ottawa – Draft Budget 2020 is a plan for an affordable, economically vibrant city that invests in core public services, closes the infrastructure gap and helps residents achieve a better quality of life. The proposed 2020 Budget adds investments in public transit, road maintenance and affordable housing.

The proposed operating budget is $3.76 billion, representing a $136.8-million increase over 2019. The three-per-cent tax increase amounts to an extra $109 for an average urban home, or about $9 a month.

The draft budget adds $15 million to the City’s affordable housing investment – repeating last-year’s record as the largest in the City’s history. Draft Budget 2020 maintains funding of $31 million for local agencies that offer housing and homelessness supports and services.

With increased support for infrastructure maintenance, the City would close the infrastructure gap – the difference between what the City spends and what it needs to spend annually to maintain infrastructure in good repair – in seven years, rather than 10 years. Without adding new debt, total investments to maintain and renew assets like roads, sidewalks and facilities would increase by $22.5 million, bringing the City to $151 million invested in 2020 – an increase of 18 per cent over 2019.

In 2020, the road resurfacing budget, including rural-road upgrades and road-surface preservation treatments, would be $51 million – up from the yearly average of $35.5 million during the previous Term of Council. For Ottawa’s rural communities, $44.5 million in infrastructure is budgeted for 2020, up from a four-year average of $39.7 million.

In response to severe winter weather challenges over the last two years, a 7.7-per-cent increase in winter operations budget is proposed, adding $5.6 million to that budget and bringing the total to $78.3 million.

The budget includes $7.5 million for bus transit, to enhance connectivity with Confederation Line stations, improve reliability, reduce wait times and expand service into growth areas.

The Budget will add $9.8 million to capital, offsetting the cancelled provincial gas tax increase. The budget includes $43 million to replace old buses and $9.6 million to support the EquiPass transit pass for lower-income residents. The cost of the EquiPass and the Community Pass for Ontario Disability Support Program recipients will be frozen at 2019 rates for one year. Draft Budget 2020 includes $6 million to introduce electric buses to OC Transpo’s fleet.

To protect the health and wellbeing of residents, the budget proposes 30 additional police officers and 14 additional paramedic staff.

The Budget commits community funding of $24.5 million for non-profit social services providers to help them deliver valuable services to residents facing the greatest needs. The budget also commits an additional $500,000 one-time funding to ensure continued support for local agencies as the City transitions to a new funding framework.

The proposed budget includes investments in the environment, including $17.5 million to rehabilitate the City’s wastewater treatment plant, $3 million to improve energy efficiency at City buildings, $3 million to rehabilitate water pumping stations and $2 million for enhanced corrosion control at the two water purification plants. The budget includes $1.5 million to plant about 125,000 trees.

The budget includes an array of projects to upgrade recreation facilities, such as sports courts, parks, theatres, outdoor rinks and museums. On top of that, it also includes $100,000 per ward, to be used at the discretion of the Councillor, to enhance recreation or park facilities. Councillors would also guide spending on $50,000 of traffic-calming projects for each ward.

The draft budget assumes a 1.5-per-cent increase in property assessment growth, worth an estimated $24.9 million.

The proposed spending plan will be considered by all Standing Committees, then by Council on Wednesday, December 11.

Residents can:

  • Register as a public delegation to make a five-minute presentation at a budget review meeting of any committee, board or commission
  • Visit ottawa.ca/citybudget to submit comments or questions online and to learn about meeting dates for committees, boards and commissions
  • Contact your City Councillor to express your view about Draft Budget 2020
  • Tweet @ottawacity using the hashtag #ottbudget
  • Call 3-1-1 / 613-580-2400 (TTY: 613-580-2401)

Quotes

“Budget 2020 delivers an affordable, economically vibrant city with strong transportation links between neighbourhoods and record investments in affordable housing. We’re closing the infrastructure gap and boosting support for people services while maintaining a prudent, responsible financial approach.”
Mayor Jim Watson

“With this budget, we’re putting more resources into frontline services, including transit, paramedics and police. We are delivering more of these core services while staying within Council’s tax-increase direction and its Long Range Financial Plan.”
City Manager Steve Kanellakos

 

Click here to read the Budget 2020 Backgrounder.


Mayor Jim Watson's Draft Budget 2020 speech

SPEAKING NOTES

Mayor Jim Watson

Budget 2020 Tabling

A budget that works for Ottawa/you

An affordable approach for responsible growth, safety and housing

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

********

 

Good morning everyone.

Bonjour tout le monde.

Today we table the draft 2020 Budget for public input.

At the same time, we are also considering the new Term of Council Priorities.

These are two of the most important discussions we as a City have each Term of Council.

C’est la discussion la plus importante que nous avons à chaque année.

Over the last few weeks, I had the pleasure of attending various ward consultations and I have heard from residents regarding their vision for their city and their budget priorities.

Residents are realistic about the City’s fiscal capacity – they know we must set a limit to the number of priorities we can achieve – and they want us to live within our means and keep our city affordable.

In other words, if we have 100 priorities – we really have no priorities.

We live in a City with a booming economy, with unprecedented levels of low unemployment, an abundance of opportunity with strong investment and smart growth.

As a local government, it is incumbent on us to help to strive to include everyone in that prosperity.

Nous devons nous assurer que tous nos résidents profite de cette richesse dans notre communauté.

I am pleased to report that we are bringing forward a budget for 2020 that delivers on key commitments, including:

  • reducing our infrastructure gap by boosting our spending on roads, sidewalks and critical infrastructure;
  • providing more affordable housing;

investing in transit and LRT to serve our growing population;

  • improving the core services people count on– like our world-class drinking water and our expanding transit system;
  • maintaining our cycling and pathway infrastructure to improve active mobility and safety;
  • building a strong and sustainable economy that supports our local job market and celebrates our regional economic diversity;
  • making our communities safer and more resilient; and,
  • keeping our tax rate affordable for all, especially for low income residents.

In 2020, we are putting forward a budget that addresses city-wide priorities with a tax rate of 3 per cent, with an additional 1.5 per cent for growth – for a total operating budget of $3.76 billion, when combined with fares and revenues, this represents a $136.8 million increase over 2019.

Budget 2020 also includes over $813 million for capital projects, which when added to the capital spend on Stage 2 LRT, equals $1.6 billion.

Au cours de la prochaine année, nous aurons plusieurs discussions importantes sur l’avenir de notre ville.

The tabling of the 2020 Budget, and the Term of Council Priorities today, is just the beginning of a much broader discussion we will be having on our Official Plan, Transportation Master Plan, Infrastructure Master Plan and the Development Charge By-Law.

These plans will be strengthened by hearing from residents about their vision and priorities for the future.

The choices we make today – and through these upcoming discussions – will set the path to what we want our city to look like in 10, 20 and even 50 years from now.

As we review the details of the budget document – with revenue tables and pie charts – we must remember what these discussions are about: they are always about our residents.

People like:

  • Small business owner Mike from Euphoria Salon on Richmond Road, who recently renovated his patio to host three new pop-up food entrepreneurs;
  • The over 9,500 people who have given of their time through Volunteer Ottawa
  • The 6,256 new immigrants who have settled in Ottawa every year;
  • The more than 35 per cent of new jobs in Ottawa that are generated by small businesses – which include over 49,000 jobs that have been created in Ottawa alone so far this year;
  • The 33,323 construction workers building our City in over 789 ongoing construction projects currently underway;
  • The 100,950 full-time college and university students who call Ottawa;
  • The families that are putting down roots with a booming number of housing starts in 2019; and
  • The over 5 million riders on our LRT in just seven weeks.

These discussions must also be about the kind of communities we want to live in.

Nous devons penser à quel genre de communauté nous voulons pour nos résidents.

Residents have told us that they want:

  • affordable communities;
  • a sustainable economy and environment that works for everyone;
  • well-maintained roads and transit that connects to employment;
  • infrastructure that is in a state of good repair;
  • services to support those most in need.

These are the priorities that we have heard through our consultation efforts, and these are the priorities that are informing our choices and our budget decisions.

Although our City is firing on all cylinders – it is important to remember that not everyone can access that prosperity equally.

In fact, in many areas of the City the booming economy is contributing to a housing crunch with a vacancy rate of under 1.6 per cent.

Housing affordability affects us all – and as the vacancy rate drops, prices rise.

Seniors, the working poor, newcomers and others on fixed incomes all face struggles with their finances.

Increasing prices and higher taxes also increase the risk of homelessness.

Ottawa is experiencing a high demand for emergency housing and our local shelters are struggling.

As of September 2, 2019, the City had 330 families in motels and 441 families in the family shelter system.

Although the need is great – we are all quite aware that the situation could be much worse, and I was pleased to hear that the proposed cuts by the provincial government to the Transitional Child Benefit were postponed – and hopefully cancelled.

I would like to thank Councillor Sudds for her collaboration on lobbying efforts that have resulted in this change in provincial position. I would also like to thank Ministers Lisa MacLeod and Merrilee Fullerton for their support.

Our Council is committed to helping our most vulnerable residents.

Nous devons en faire plus pour aider nos résidents dans le besoin, et ceux qui sont vulnérables.

That is why I am pleased to say that budget 2020 is the second year in a row that we will invest another $15 million to build new affordable housing in Ottawa.

I am pleased to say with last year’s investment – much has been accomplished with 266 new affordable units approved for development so far this term.

Grâce à nos investissements de l’an dernier, nous avons déjà approuvé la construction de 266 (deux-cent-soixante-six) unités de logement abordable dans ce mandat du Conseil.

We recently went to the market with a Request For Proposal for new affordable housing projects across Ottawa.

I am pleased to announce today that we will be funding more affordable housing projects with:

  • Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation’s proposal for a 31-unit apartment building at 159 Forward Avenue;
  • The Anglican Diocese of Ottawa, in partnership with the Christ Church Bells Corners Parish and Cornerstone Housing for Women, for a 35-unit building with a ground floor community services hub containing a food bank and community resource centre;
  • And another 160 units with Ottawa Community Housing for mixed demographic communities suitable for families and seniors.

Additionally, just last month we approved an agreement with Trinity Developments whereby they would contribute $7.5 million to the City’s affordable housing reserves to build new affordable housing.

The 2020 investment into the affordable housing reserve will keep this momentum going towards the development of additional affordable housing units in Ottawa.

Based on past practice, we can anticipate that this year’s City contribution to housing of $15 million will again leverage at least the equivalent amount of new federal and provincial dollars.

These efforts will lead to a significant increase in the number of affordable units built in Ottawa in 2020 and beyond.

Obviously, the City of Ottawa cannot go it alone in the fight against homelessness.

Over the course of the coming months, we will be pushing the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada and our local housing partners to agree on even more ambitious targets and goals.

Nous devons travailler avec les autres niveaux de gouvernements et nos partenaires pour faire du progrès en matière de logement.

For example, the City is actively working with CMHC to support much needed renovations and repairs to the YM/YWCA at 80 Argyle Street.

The YMCA’s renovations will include the costs related to the conversion of three additional floors for family transitional housing.

Our $15 million-dollar investment in 2019, and again in 2020, are the largest direct municipal contributions to housing capital in the City’s history.

Ces investissements historiques dans le logement abordable sont les plus importants dans l’histoire de la ville.

We will also be funding over $31 million going to housing and homelessness agencies in 2020 for case management, housing loss prevention and operating funding for supportive housing.

I look forward to working closely with our Council Liaison on Housing and Homelessness, Catherine McKenney, Mathieu Fleury, Chair of OCH, Jenna Sudds, Chair of CPSC, Jan Harder, Chair of Planning, and all members of Council on providing more housing for the most vulnerable members of our community.

Important progress has also been made in the child care and early years sectors in recent years, including new provincial and federal investments of $50 million that have:

  • significantly reduced the waitlist;
  • provided fee subsidies for approximately 2,000 more children;
  • provided additional funding to child care service providers for increased access and affordability for families across the city; and
  • will create over 400 new spaces in Ottawa.

This is in addition to previous investments and growth in the sector that has seen close to 9,000 new spaces created between 2013 and 2018 – or growth of 42 per cent.

Council also recently approved the new Child Care and Early Year Service System Plan for 2019-2023.

With a cost of living increase in the Draft 2020 Budget, the Community Funding Program will benefit from a total investment of $24.5 million for community non-profit social service providers who deliver valuable services to residents facing the greatest needs across the city – an increase of $475,000.

Last month, you may have heard the discussion at CPSC that the City is completing a review of the Community Funding Program, in consultation with our community partners.

The goal of this review is to ensure agencies are better positioned to respond to the growing and emerging needs of residents.

Until such time as the review is fully implemented, I am pleased to say that the 2020 Budget includes $100,000 for project funding. In 2019, this funding went to eight agencies to address critical community needs.

In 2020, there is also an additional $500,000 in one-time funding to help transition agencies into the new community funding framework.

Cette revue du financement communautaire mènera à des recommandations plus tard en 2020, et j’ai hâte d’en voir les résultats.

At the start of this Term of Council, we appointed our City’s first Women and Gender Equity Liaison with Councillor Kavanagh as its champion.

Thank you, Councillor Kavanagh, for your leadership and your ongoing work in this new role.

In December 2018, Ottawa City Council endorsed the creation of a Women and Gender Equity Strategy.

This past September, close to 200 participants attended a Women and Gender Equity Public Forum to provide input into the Strategy.

I found it very encouraging to see this level of interest and engagement on women and gender equity.

Public consultations have now wrapped up and a draft Strategy will be presented to Council in 2020.

The Draft 2020 budget includes an investment for a staff position to advance and steward the Gender Equity Strategy.

En tant que gouvernement municipal, nous essayons constamment d’être plus ouvert et inclusif à tous nos résidents.

This Council is committed to ensuring all our residents feel welcome and safe.

The recent work of Councillor Rawlson King illustrates the need to address systemic racism in our community.

To further advance the work underway on equity and inclusion – and to align ourselves with our federal and provincial partners on fighting racism – I would like to announce the creation of an Anti-Racism Secretariat for the City of Ottawa.

I want to thank Councillor King for his proposal leading to today’s announcement.

He worked tirelessly on this idea – in consultation with councillors and my office – and his hard work will see this initiative move forward next year.

This secretariat will target systemic racism by building an anti-racism approach into the way our City government develops policies, makes decisions, evaluates programs and monitors outcomes.

It will also seek to build on existing community partnerships to ensure we are all working together.

Like our Women and Gender Equity Strategy, it will include funding for one new FTE and a one-time operating budget of $100,000.

This year was the 75th anniversary of D-Day, and next year marks the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian troops.

These anniversaries are an opportunity to remember the sacrifices so many have made and are making for our country.

This week is also Veterans Week (November 5-11).

Later this week, we will be hosting a ceremony to officially re-name the Ottawa Airport Parkway Bridge as the Juno Beach Bridge. Thanks to Councillors Brockington and Gower for their work on this important renaming.

One of our Members of Council is a veteran and a former staff member with the Minister of National Defence.

To show our continued appreciation and raise awareness about the challenges faced by our veterans, I am proud to announce that Councillor Matthew Luloff has agreed to take on the role of Council Liaison for Veteran and Military Affairs.

Councillor Luloff is also an advocate for better mental health services, with a strong understanding of both the supports available and challenges faced by our veterans.

Le conseiller Luloff en fait déjà beaucoup pour représenter les intérêts des ancien combattants à l’hôtel de ville.

Thank you for your service and ongoing commitment, Councillor Luloff, and for your willingness to take on this challenge, which will be funded from within existing budgets.

We recently had some good news about affordable veteran's housing – as a community-led project by Multi-faith Housing Initiative was approved by CMHC and will ultimately see 40 new affordable and supportive housing units for veterans built in Wateridge Village, the former Canadian Forces Base Rockcliffe.

Je veux aussi remercier le gouvernement fédéral de son appui à notre politique de bilinguisme et sa contribution récente à nos Services en français, un investissement de 224 000 dollars sur trois ans.

Le gouvernement provincial a aussi accepté récemment de financer notre demande de 20 000 dollars, qui viendra appuyer les activités d’engagement communautaire de Vision Vanier – Culture en action

Je veux aussi remercier le conseiller Jean Cloutier pour sa représentation de la Ville d’Ottawa et son travail auprès de l’Association des municipalités francophones de l’Ontario.

Je suis aussi heureux que le nombre de plaintes sur les Services en français soit passé de 119 en 2014 à 34 en 2018, soit une réduction de 71 pourcent.

Après plusieurs années de travail, la Maison de la Francophonie ouvrira finalement ses portes en début de 2020, grâce un partenariat entre le Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario et la Ville d’Ottawa.

J'ai bien hâte à son ouverture pour qu’on puisse commencer à offrir des services importants à la communauté francophone grandissante dans l’ouest de la ville.

Nous faisons d’autres investissements importants pour garder notre communauté en sécurité.

The availability of paramedics in the community is a core service expectation for Ottawa residents.

The City needs more paramedics to keep pace with our fast-growing city and to keep our response times in line with current standards.

That is why last year, I laid out a commitment to hire 56 additional paramedics during this term of Council.

Budget 2020 provided funding to hire 14 front-line paramedics, the 2nd installment on our four-year goal.

This investment will bolster our efforts to reduce wait times in our fast-growing suburbs and rural communities.

However, we know that more needs to be done to reduce the number of “level zeros” we are experiencing in Ottawa – which is a concern for me and residents alike.

I can assure you that senior staff, Chair Sudds and I are working with area hospitals to find solutions.

We hope that hospitals hire more nurses, secure more permanent beds and release paramedics back into the community to do their job.

Last Wednesday, I spoke with Premier Ford to explain this is an urgent matter and we need the Province to help break this constant logjam. He fully understands the dilemma many paramedics across Ontario are facing, and pledged to help us to find a permanent solution to this ongoing struggle.

The draft 2020 Budget will also maintain support for the addition of 85 new police officers over the course of this term. Again, this year we will see 30 new officers join the service.

Also, Budget 2020 supports Crime Prevention Ottawa to advance ongoing crime prevention initiatives, including with at-risk youth.

Crime Prevention Ottawa will receive over $1 million in funding to support crime prevention initiatives, which is an increase of $35,000 from 2019.

I would like to thank Councillor Deans for her leadership as chair of Crime Prevention Ottawa and the Ottawa Police Services Board.

I would also like to take this opportunity to formally welcome Chief Peter Sloly to Ottawa. I look forward to working with him on the Police Board. I told Councillor Deans last week that she and the Police Board did an excellent job in choosing the new Chief.

Earlier today, the Ottawa Police Service tabled their draft budget that comes in at 3% on the tax side, plus 1.5% in new growth dollars.

Council is also aware that traditionally, the City has had to cover OPS annual deficits, which for the last three years was a total one-time contribution of $12.3 million...

And you may remember that last, year we provided an additional $2.4 million from our tax stabilization fund towards their budget.

However, I am pleased to say that this year, OPS did not run a deficit – for that I would like to thank acting Chief Steve Bell for his stewardship and willingness to look for new ways of finding efficiencies and operational savings.

Un gros merci au Chef Steve Bell pour son service et leadership au cours des derniers mois, et sa volonté de trouver des façons d’équilibrer le budget de la Police.

In fact, I was pleased to hear that OPS is forecasted to end the year with a $2.4 million surplus, which will help offset the 2020 contribution from the City’s tax stabilization fund.

We all know that building safer and more resilient communities requires a balanced approach to spending.

Last year, I brought forward a motion to expedite the introduction of 20 new red-light cameras.

I am happy to say that these red-light cameras generated an additional $1.3 million for the Police Service to help offset their ongoing operational pressures.

This revenue to OPS is up from $450,000 in 2019.

In 2019, six red-light cameras were installed – and I am pleased to say that by the end of 2020, another 14 locations will be equipped with red-light cameras.

There has been a reduction of over 50% in right-angle collisions at intersections where red light cameras have been installed.

Nous avons fait beaucoup de progrès avec ces caméras aux feux rouges pour réduire le nombre d’accidents et financer les activitiés de la Police, de même que des mesures de sécurité de la route.

Revenues generated by these 20 red-light cameras will be directed to the Ottawa Police Service, and any additional cameras will be directed to fund the Strategic Road Safety Action Plan.

This Plan will implement traffic calming around schools, advance the pedestrian and cycling safety programs, install gateway speed signage in many neighbourhoods and make improvements to warranted pedestrian signals.

Last year, we also worked with the Ottawa Police Services Board to find more efficiencies in their budget.

To date, and in part through the provincial Audit and Accountability Fund, OPS has been able to identify $2.2 million in back-office efficiencies. It is my expectation that this review will result in even further savings in 2020.

We need to continue to work together with OPS on budget solutions, so that we are better placed to protect our ongoing investment in the hiring of front-line officers.

The City has been focusing on the revitalization of priority neighbourhoods with a ‘made-in-Ottawa’ strategy. Using new and existing program and service initiatives, updating infrastructure and promoting redevelopment, the Building Better Revitalized Neighbourhoods (BBRN) program improves the health, vibrancy and livability of priority neighbourhoods.

We will invest $180,000 in BBRN in 2020 to complete a variety of initiatives that were identified by the community as priorities.

I would like to thank Councillors Harder, Tierney, Deans and Fleury for their participation on the Building Better Revitalized Neighbourhoods Sponsors Group. Councillor King has also offered his support for BBRN.

Just last week, the City introduced a new approach to support residents in areas of emerging need through the Integrated Neighbourhood Services Teams. These teams will address the health and well-being of our neighbourhoods facing the most complex needs through a coordinated service delivery approach.

Initial areas of focus for the Integrated Neighbourhood Services Teams will include Vanier Overbrook, Caldwell-Carlington and Heron Gate-South End.

With the help of $2.7 million in funding from the Provincial Government, Ottawa Public Health will be introducing new dental care services for low income seniors at the four city-supported dental clinics and with dental service partners across our city.

Undoubtedly, 2020 will be a year of transition at Ottawa Public Health, with the recent announcements regarding governance of public health in Ontario and a change to the provincial funding formula.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Chair Keith Egli and Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Vera Etches and her team, for their proactive engagement on these consultations with the provincial government.

I believe that their leadership will help steward Ottawa Public Health through these changes, so they can continue to work towards positive health outcomes for Ottawa residents.

The City has a proactive environmental strategy that targets an 80% reduction in GHG emissions by 2050.

It is working toward this target through its Air Quality and Climate Change Management Plan, Official Plan policies, its energy transition strategy (Energy Evolution) and a variety of specific energy conservation and environmental initiatives.

The City is also taking a proactive approach to protecting and preserving its natural assets for future generations through initiatives such as the Ottawa River Action Plan and the Urban Forest Management Plan.

Nous devons investir dans notre environnement, et c’est ce que nous ferons dans le Budget de 2020.

Budget 2020 will invest $1.5 million in Tree Planting Programs to increase forest cover, enhance City streets, parks and facilities, and mitigate climate change. Our goal is to plant 500,000 trees in this Term of Council.

Many of the initiatives underway – for example, converting our streetlights to LED lighting, greening our vehicle fleet and our buildings – are also reaping economic benefits in terms of cost savings for our City operations.

We are also working on increasing the City’s capacity for climate resilience through important initiatives such as updating floodplain mapping and community flood risk profiles – to better position vulnerable areas for future environmental stresses.

Budget 2020 includes $3 million for the Energy Management and Investment Strategy to reduce the City’s environmental footprint, ensure compliance under the Green Energy Act and advance our energy conservation and demand management goals.

Budget 2020 also includes $200,000 for the Wild Parsnip Management Program. This funding supports approximately 1,500 kilometres of roadside spraying and spot spraying at over 100 parkland locations.

I would like to thank Chair Moffatt and Chair El-Chantiry for their commitment to this program and for their leadership on supporting an environmentally sustainable Ottawa.

2019 has been a year of change on City roads and across our transit system with the introduction of light rail.

It is not a surprise that again this year, the dominant issue that we heard from residents is that our residents want us to invest more in our city’s roads, our infrastructure and the transit system.

La condition de nos routes, de notre infrastructure et du transport en commun sont des priorités dans toutes les communautés.

Transit and transportation capital investments will be especially challenging this year due to the decision of the provincial government not to double the gas tax for municipalities.

As you may recall, last year, Council approved adding $9.8 million to the contribution to capital over a five-year period to eliminate this infrastructure gap.

A second challenge is that the doubling of the gas tax was built into the Transit Long-Term Financial Plan.

Over the 30-year period, $980 million in funds was to be provided through the gas tax increase to pay for transit capital works.

Both problems need to be solved through the 2020 Budget in order to meet the goals set by Council.

Thankfully in 2019, the federal government announced a one-time doubling of the federal gas tax, totaling $58 million for the City of Ottawa. I want to thank local government Members of Parliament and the Prime Minister for this much needed investment.

I would also like to thank our FCM representative, Councillor Tierney, for advocating so effectively for this announcement.

This 2019 federal funding allowed us to develop the plan that is before you today – one that will address these two issues for Council’s consideration in the 2020 budget.

For 2020, we are proposing that the transit levy increase and that we add a $9.8-million increase to transit’s capital contribution, which is within the overall tax cap of 3 percent.

It is important to remember that this increase in the transit levy represents roughly $42 for the average homeowner and is included within the overall tax cap of 3 per cent.

Ces mesures sont toutes à l’intérieur de l’augmentation maximale de 3 pourcent.

The city-wide tax levy will increase by 2% and the $58 million in one-time federal gas tax funds will be used as a substitute for the $9.8 million that would have been added to the contribution to capital to eliminate the infrastructure gap.

This innovative approach solves the two challenges resulting from the cancellation of the gas tax increase by the Province. It also ensures that we meet Council’s desire to see more investment in roads and infrastructure renewal works.

Our total investments to maintain and renew tax-supported assets such as roads, sidewalks and facilities will increase by $22.5 million this year – bringing us to $151 million invested in 2020.

That’s an increase of 18% over 2019.

Because of these investments, the existing infrastructure funding gap will be fully addressed within seven years – instead of the projected 10 years – while adding no new debt.

À ce rythme d’investissement, nous pourrons éliminer le déficit d’infrastructure de la Ville en sept ans.

Members of Council need to stay the course on this priority and get the job done to eliminate the infrastructure deficit facing our city.

We have heard at the budget consultations that we need to do a much better job of improving our roads, sidewalks, pathways and facilities

In 2020, the road resurfacing budget – including rural road upgrades and preservation treatments –  will be $51 million, up from the yearly average of $35.5 million over the last Term of Council.

This investment in road resurfacing includes:

  • $2.2 million for Heatherington Road, from Albion to Walkley, in Councillor Deans’ Ward, including sidewalk renewal;
  • $2.3 million for St. Laurent Boulevard, from Montreal Road to Donald Street, in Councillor King’s Ward, including sidewalk renewal;
  • $12.7 million for bridges (Booth, Mackenzie King and Pooley) in Councillor McKenney’s Ward;
  • $6.5 million for integrated work on Scott Street west of Smirle Avenue, in Councillor Leiper’s Ward;
  • $4 million for Riverside Drive, from Hunt Club to Walkley, in Councillor Brockington’s Ward;
  • $2.5 million for March Road, from Carling Avenue to Shirley’s Brook, in Councillor Sudds’ Ward;
  • Over $2 million for Bronson Avenue, from Brookfield to South of Brewer Way, and for the Southbound lanes and intersection at Sunnyside, in Councillor Menard’s Ward;
  • $1.6 million for Riverside Drive, from Hincks Lane to Tremblay Road, and $1.4 million for Chapman Boulevard in Councillor Cloutier’s Ward, including sidewalk renewal;
  • $2 million for Merivale Road and $4 million to resurface the parking lot at the Nepean Sportsplex in Councillor Egli’s Ward; and
  • $3.5 million to resurface Huntley Road, from Perth Street to Flewellyn Road, in Councillor Moffatt’s Ward.

Nous allons voir des investissements en infrastructure dans tous les coins de la ville.

Some priority resurfacing projects require a coordination of timelines with planned and needed sewer and culvert projects.

As you can imagine, staff must juggle the coordination of infrastructure investments, the need to consider local traffic and mobility, and the restriction of funding constraints.

In addition, Council has approved our priorities through our Comprehensive Asset Management Program and the Transportation Master Plan which guide their infrastructure needs forecast.

Our rural infrastructure investments will reach $44.5 million in 2020, up from the four-year average of $39.7 million.

For example, our rural investments include:

  • $1.8 million to design and construct 11 culverts in Councillor Moffatt’s Ward;
  • $2 million for Piperville Road and Bearbrook Bridge in Councillor Blais’ Ward;
  • $3.6 million to design and build 25 culverts, and $3.1 million for gravel road upgrades, including Spruce Ridge Road in Councillor El-Chantiry’s Ward; and
  • $1.2 million for Dalmeny Road, $2.4 million for Snake Island Road, and $1.3 million for River Road in Councillor Darouze’s Ward.

Budget 2020 also invests $66.2 million for Road Growth projects, including:

  • $41 million for Strandherd Drive, from Maravista to Jockvale, in Councillor Harder’s Ward; and
  • $4.2 million for Kanata South Link, between Hope Side to Highway 416, something I know Councillor Hubley has worked to secure for many years.

Budget 2020 will allow the City to resurface, renew or rehabilitate approximately 100 kilometres of roads across the city.

Nous savons qu’Ottawa a l’un des plus grands réseaux de transport au Canada.

City teams regularly clear 6,000 kilometres of roads and 2,300 kilometres of sidewalks throughout the city.

Maintaining our network is expensive – and last year’s harsh winter left our winter maintenance budget in deficit.

The 2020 estimated base budget for Winter Operations is increasing by $5.6 million for a total of $78.3 million, which is a 7.7% increase over 2019.

Of the $5.6 million increase, approximately $2.9 million will be allocated to sidewalk maintenance.

I am pleased to say that the Winter Operations budget now reflects the latest 3-year average actuals (2016-2018).

The 2020 Draft Budget also includes $250,000 in funding to undertake a review of the winter operations Maintenance Quality Standards, which will focus on sidewalks and Class 5 residential roads.

Following last year’s challenging winter, staff have been reviewing their service delivery model to ensure better sidewalk maintenance this coming winter.

They will be increasing coverage on the network with a goal of having 24/7 coverage available on all sidewalk beats.

We are getting away from a “one size fits all” approach, and salt, sand and grit will be available across all areas.

Staff have also created area-specific heat maps focusing on problem areas across the city, like catch basins that have been problematic in the past.

Finally, we are deploying more and better sidewalk clearing equipment, like the very effective ice-breakers we started piloting last winter.

We believe all these measures will lead to better clearing and safer sidewalks for residents this coming winter.

Avec toutes ces mesures, nous croyons que nos résidents profiterons de meilleurs conditions sur les trottoirs au cours de l’hiver prochain.

The number of freeze-thaw cycles in 2019 also led to far too many potholes.

For example, between January 1 and October 15, City staff have filled 262,000 potholes across the city – which is 18% higher than the three-year average.

The 2020 budget for pothole repair includes a $600,000 increase to the asphalt repair program, bringing the annual program to $9.8 million, which is a 7% increase over 2019.

Budget 2020 also includes $1.65 million to fund the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Program, with each Councillor receiving $50,000 for road safety initiatives in their community – an increase of 25% over 2018.

There is also $500,000 set aside for Pedestrian Crossovers, in order to improve the safety of pedestrians at key crossings across the city.

As a result of the 2016-2018 Pedestrian Crossover Pilot Program, there is a list of approximately 100 locations city-wide that have been confirmed to meet the pedestrian/traffic volume warrants for PXO implementation.

Further review of these locations is underway to select the type of PXO required.

Once the reviews are concluded, staff will be working with respective Ward Councillors to prioritize the installation of the warranted PXOs within their wards.

The 2020 list of PXO installations will be available in the coming weeks, once all meetings have concluded with Councillors.

I know that Councillors Gower and Darouze want to see PXOs in their respective wards at Stittsville Main Street and at St. Mark’s High School and Greely Elementary.

There is also $4.2 million for intersection control measures, and just over $3 million for network modifications for Albion Road and Leitrim Road.

Budget 2020 includes:

  • $2.4 million for New Traffic Control Devices Program;
  • $1 million for the Safety Improvements Program, which monitors traffic collisions annually and undertakes necessary roadway modifications.

In 2020 this program will see improvements at Laurier Avenue West – between Elgin and the Queen Elizabeth ramp – and road safety improvements at McCarthy Road Curve;

  • $600,000 towards Accessible Pedestrian Signals; and
  • $420,000 for Safer Roads Ottawa.

Again, this year, Budget 2020 also includes funding for active transportation – with an investment in both the Ottawa Pedestrian and Cycling Plan of $9.1 million.

Ce financement nous permettra de prévenir ou d’éliminer les décès et les accidents de la routes à travers Ottawa.

We remain committed to develop a safe and sustainable transportation environment that focuses on pedestrian and cycling safety, with funding geared towards highest ranked locations – as I think we can all agree that any cycling or pedestrian death is one too many.

Ottawa has:

  • 980 km of cycling facilities;
  • over 356 km of City-owned multi-use pathways (MUPs);
  • 117 km of cycling facilities that were added in during the 2014-2018 Term of Council; and
  • More than $80 million of investments over the 2014-2018 Term of Council to expand cycling and pedestrian infrastructure in all parts of the city.

The multi-use-pathway network includes 30 major grade-separated structures that provide connections for pedestrians and cyclists across major roadways, rail corridors and rivers.

Examples of active transportation projects to be funded in 2020 include:

  • $4.71 million for the Ottawa Cycling Facilities Program, to plan design and construct cycling facilities identified in the Cycling Plan;
  • $2.75 million for the Pedestrian Facilities Program;
  • $1.95 million for the cycling and pedestrian bridge over the Rideau River at Carleton University;
  • $22,000 for pedestrian intersection improvements;
  • $1.35 million to improve active transportation links to Stage 2 LRT;
  • $34,000 to introduce new Transportation Demand Management measures, such as cycling education, cycling safety, school travel planning, bike-to-work campaign, carpooling promotion and for the development of regional cycling maps; and
  • $6.24 million will be used to repurpose the bus lanes, widen sidewalks and improve cycling facilities on Albert and Slater Streets between Empress and Waller.

Budget 2020 also includes $4.2 million for intersection control measures in growth areas. There is also $3 million for modifications to existing intersections.

Staff will be working to make intersections safer with $2.4 million towards the New Traffic Control Devices Program in established areas.

For example, through this program, we will be installing a pedestrian signal on Laurier near Percy.

Roundabouts are also considered as an alternative means of providing traffic control.

In 2020, funding is going towards the construction of a roundabout at:

  • Huntmar Drive at Richardson Side Road in Councillor El-Chantiry’s Ward; and
  • Barnsdale Road at Prince of Wales Drive in Councillor Moffatt’s Ward;

In addition, Budget 2020 includes $4 million towards initiatives identified in the 2020-2024 Strategic Road Safety Action Plan.

The Strategic Road Safety Action Plan identifies areas for road safety, along with countermeasures that can be implemented to address associated collision types.

These initiatives align with Vision Zero (or Safe System) principles of road safety. The emphasis will be on areas with vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists – at intersections and on rural roads.

I want to thank Chair Blais for his hard work on this long list of road safety initiatives.

Staff are currently undertaking a study to better understand the condition of roads impacted by spring flooding and the recent tornado. This is particularly important for Councillors El-Chantiry, Kavanagh, Blais and Egli, who’s wards were hardest hit by the tornado and the flooding.

This study is expected in the coming weeks and will inform the rehabilitation of roads in Wards 5, 9, 10, 7 and 19.

The City will also be seeking provincial disaster mitigation funding to increase our investment in these impacted areas.

In 2020, the City will be investing $4 million to improve the City’s capacity to manage stormwater and reduce the risk of flooding through the Wet Weather Infrastructure Master Plan. Further flood-mitigation efforts include $15 million to repair and replace culverts, including $9 million in the rural areas.

Council recently approved an additional $500,000 investment in the Britannia Village berm in Councillor Kavanagh’s Ward. The berm was effective in protecting Britannia during the 2017 and 2019 floods, but the flood in 2019 was prolonged and there is evidence of leakage due to floodwater. The money will be used to make much needed repairs.

We also heard from residents across the city about the need to improve transit – connectivity to our LRT system and to improve bus dependability across the city.

I would like to remind residents about the largest single investment in transit in 2020 – our Stage 2 LRT system: a $4.7 billion investment.

Stage 2 of Ottawa’s light rail transit system will extend service:

  • East by 12 kilometres and five stations, from Blair Station to Trim Station;
  • West by 15 kilometres and 11 stations, from Tunney’s Pasture Station to Algonquin and Moodie stations;
  • South on Trillium Line by 12 kilometres and eight stations, from Greenboro Station to Limebank Station in Councillor Meehan’s Ward, and this ncludes a link to the Ottawa International Airport.

In 2020, the City is forecasted to spend $817 million on the Stage 2 project.

Along with this investment in LRT, the City will be spending $725,000 to review and update our Transportation Master Plan.

Nous commencerons cette année l’exercise important de revoir le Plan directeur des transports de la Ville.

I want to take a moment to recognize and acknowledge that there have been times over the last few weeks where both our bus and LRT service has been challenged.

As a City, we need to do better.

We will have a more fulsome discussion on LRT at Transit Commission this afternoon, as Chair Hubley and Mr. Manconi will update the Commission on their progress to finding solutions to these frustrating issues.

In anticipation of these challenges, in 2019 we included $5.1 million annually to deliver bus service improvements to many communities across the city.

This funding saw incremental investments in routes in almost every ward. But this investment has proven not to be enough.

That is why again in 2020, we will be investing an additional $7.5 million to expand the bus network to improve service reliability, increase capacity, reduce waiting times and provide new connections to growth areas.

This funding will increase the number of standby buses at key locations and will allow for additional time on routes to accommodate for traffic.

It will also increase capacity on high-ridership routes, provide improved connections in new growth areas, allow for additional early and late trips and improve service to employment hubs and park-and-rides.

We have heard loud and clear that riders on routes 20, 39, 257 and 75 – among many others that will be discussed later today at Transit Commission – want better dependability in their bus service.

My staff has been working with the Good Companions Centre to increase service and access to the centre, which plays such an important role in fighting social isolation for hundreds of seniors in our community. A solution has been found and will be announced in the near future.

Staff are currently reviewing service needs in the following areas:

  • Capacity on Orleans routes connecting to and from Blair Station, to better serve Councillor Tierney, Blais, Dudas and Luloff’s Wards;
  • Barrhaven routes connecting to and from Tunney’s Pasture Station for residents of Councillors Harder and Egli’s Wards;
  • Service to National Defence Headquarters in Councillor Kavanagh’s Ward;
  • Possible earlier and later trips on local routes, as customers adjust travel times;
  • Weekend service to the Museum of Canadian History;
  • Overnight service and connections to Rideau Station; and
  • All connections to fast growing areas in Barrhaven South, Ottawa South, Stittsville, Kanata, Orleans and Richmond.

Merci à tous les conseillers qui ont fait pression pour obtenir ce nouvel investissement.

Budget 2020 includes $43 million to replace 63 buses that have reached the end of their 15-year life cycle, and $6 million for the introduction of electric buses, as part of a pilot program that will start next year with the support of the federal government – thanks to Minister Catherine McKenna.

With the launch of LRT in our city, we also put in place measures to ensure that these historic transit investments benefit all residents – including those who need it the most – either to go to work or to get to medical appointments.

That is why we introduced the EquiPass and EquiFare in 2017 – to offer our low-income residents access to transit services at a deep 50 per cent discount.

In the month of October 2019, more than 4,000 EquiPass monthly passes were sold, and 12,800 residents had registered as eligible EquiPass users.

The EquiPass costs $58.25 monthly for residents below the poverty line, and saves eligible users approximately $700 annually.

I am happy to announce that the cost of the 2020 EquiPass and Community Pass will both be frozen at 2019 rates.

This one-year freeze for our most vulnerable riders will be achieved with a one-time contribution of $95,000 for the EquiPass and $75,000 for the Community Pass – to bring the total subsidy to $9.6 million in 2020.

Je suis fier que nous puissions aider nos résidents dans le besoin à profiter du transport en commun.

We have also heard from the community that more needs to be done to improve service for Para Transpo uses.

Budget 2020 includes an increase of $2 million in annual funding for Para Transpo, to provide more capacity to meet increasing ridership levels – and this brings the total Para Transpo operating budget to just over $33 million annually.

In 2020, Para Transpo will also introduce a full suite of online services to improve the booking experience and reduce wait times for customers.

Budget 2020 also recommends investing $14.5 million in transit growth projects, including:

  • $9.3 million for transit-priority measures along Baseline – west of Woodroffe to Bayshore Station;
  • $1.7 million to acquire property for new park-and-ride facilities, including Fernbank in Kanata;
  • $1.7 million to purchase railway corridors for Transit Corridor Protection; and
  • Over $1 million for rapid transit planning through environmental assessments.

My thanks to Chair Hubley and Vice-Chair Cloutier for their strong advocacy to ensure that we drastically improve the reliability of the service.

The City is also investing in several parks and community facilities, including but not limited to:

  • $4 million for Blackburn Arena Expansion and $350,000 for a new splash pad at Blackburn Park in Innes – a project Councillor Dudas has been pursuing for the past several years;
  • $1.4 million for Corkery Community Building Expansion in West Carleton – a important priority for Councillor El-Chantiry;
  • Over $1 million for park improvements, including a playground and pathway in Fairmile View Park, a park replacement at Richmond Lions Park and Healey’s Heath Park, and new parks in Meynell and Washka Park in Rideau-Goulbourn – long overdue investments in Councillor Moffatt’s Ward;
  • $300,000 for Stinson Park and the study for Field Hockey Park in Barrhaven;
  • $205,000 for Kenmore Bicentennial Park playground structure in Councillor Darouze’s Ward;
  • $300,000 for Village Square Park in Stittsville – an important project in Councillor Gower’s Ward and the site of many community activities; and
  • $700,000 for park improvements in Kanata North.

New in 2020, through strategic initiatives, is a $2.4 million ward-specific Recreation Infrastructure Investment Fund.

This fund will provide each Member of Council with $100,000 to allocate towards local capital priorities.

Projects could include park improvements like courts, gazebos, rink bunkers and boards. This fund could also go towards building improvements like climbing walls, and floor upgrades in gyms and fitness areas.

Ce fonds permettra à chaque membre du Conseil de répondre rapidement aux besoins de la communauté pour des améliorations mineures dans des parcs ou des installations municipales.

In 2020, funding from upper levels of government will be announced for projects approved through the new Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program – Community, Culture and Recreation Fund.

As you are all aware, this infrastructure program is to be funded jointly by the federal, provincial and municipal governments.

The municipal share of each project approved will be 26.67%.

Ottawa is anticipating an allocation of approximately $65 million through this program.

It is my understanding that we have submitted several exciting projects for consideration including, but not limited to:

  • East Urban Community Centre;
  • Le centre récréatif Francois Dupuis;
  • Barrhaven Community and Cultural Centre in Councillor Meehan and Harder’s Ward; and
  • Five parking lots at recreation facilities like Fitzroy community Centre.

There are several areas of Ottawa where the community and the not-for-profit sector has demonstrated a renewed interest in the development and maintenance of winter trails, in order to facilitate a variety of non-motorized winter sports.

I am pleased to say that the City and the NCC have been working together in a coordinated fashion to support winter trails and that staff have come to an agreement on a cost-sharing basis to support a number of trail initiatives.

Staff is working with the Winter Trail Alliance to finalize these agreements to support Ski Heritage East in Councillor Luloff’s Ward and SJAM, in partnership with Dovercourt, in Councillor Leiper and Kavanagh’s Wards.

As you know, Ottawa 20/20 Arts and Heritage Plan, adopted by City Council in 2003, articulated a 20-year vision and strategic direction for the advancement of culture in Ottawa.

City of Ottawa departments have planned and delivered on the 57 actions recommended in the plan and other key cultural projects since 2013.

Cities worldwide are embracing culture as critical to a city’s identify, livability, social cohesion and economic prosperity.

Les arts et la culture sont essentielles à notre identité et à notre prospérité.

In 2018, the City processed 471 submissions resulting in a total of 321 unique allocations to 175 local not-for-profit cultural organizations and 103 individuals to deliver arts, heritage, festival and cultural programs.

Budget 2020 includes an additional $255,000 for a total budget of just over $10.7 million for the cultural community.

The next two years will focus on completion of actions underway and the review of outstanding actions.

In 2020, we will begin planning and consulting to produce Ottawa’s next 10-year cultural blueprint.

Ottawa has also made several important capital investments in the arts and culture community   including $19.4 million for the Ottawa Art Gallery and Arts Court redevelopment, and more than $2 million for La Nouvelle Scène.

Later this month, we are hosting the final series of public engagement sessions for the future Central Library, a partnership with Library and Archives Canada. This concludes the most ambitious public consultation the City has undertaken for a public facility.

Councillor Tim Tierney has been working tirelessly on this project, and he has assured me without hesitation that the entire city will be very impressed. We will unveil the design with our federal partners in the first quarter of 2020.

I know that our residents will be very excited with the proposed design of this important civic facility.

To date, close to 6,000 citizens have contributed in-person and online and they have inspired the location and design of this iconic facility in the heart of our nation’s capital.

I want to thank Minister Catherine McKenna for her steadfast support of this project – a partnership with Library and Archives Canada.

Budget 2020 also includes funding to celebrate Kanata’s 50th Anniversary with the residents in Councillors Hubley and Sudds’ wards. $50,000 in funding will be available to celebrate this unique golden anniversary.

Yesterday at FEDCO, we approved $300,000 in funding for the Heritage Grant Program for Building Restoration and $500,000 for the Tax Increment Equivalent Grant.

I would like to thank chair Gower for his leadership on navigating these useful tools that will assist in the preservation of properties designated under the Ontario Heritage Act.

Since I was elected Mayor, I have made a commitment to the residents of Ottawa to keep taxes reasonable, deliver the services residents expect and keep the city affordable while building our core infrastructure.

These have been my top priorities over the past two mandates.

Je suis fier d’avoir respecté mes engagements envers les contribuables au cours des huit dernières années.

With a new government at the Province and a minority government at the federal level, it is clear that again this year, we need to be prepared for a change in approach, variations in policy and some uncertainty in funding – many of which could impact areas of municipal life.

I believed in being up front with residents – and that is why I have been consistent and transparent about our tax goal of no more than 3 per cent for 2020.

I’ve heard from residents – and I believe they are prepared to contribute to improve our transit service, infrastructure and mobility and they have made it clear that they want their City to provide services that put residents first.

We also heard that they want Budget 2020 to balance fiscal and social responsibility.

I think that Budget 2020 strikes that right balance.

The budget proposes innovative solutions to address our infrastructure funding issues made more challenging by changes in funding from upper levels of government.

By taking a balanced approach, Budget 2020 helps ensure Ottawa remains a safe and vibrant community for decades to come.

It also keeps a keen eye on the conditions that create economic opportunities and includes programs to help communities thrive.

Budget 2020 also keeps our debt affordable, our debt ratio well below the provincial average and maintains our triple A credit rating.

Our city must remain affordable so that people can have a place to call home in a safe and supportive community.

With Council’s support, I will continue to work tirelessly to ensure that Ottawa gets its fair share of available funding from upper levels of government moving forward on such city building priorities as extending LRT to Stittsville, Kanata and Barrhaven in Stage 3.

I want to thank all residents and Members of Council who contributed ideas to the 2020 Budget process.

Merci à tous nos résidents qui ont contribué au processus budgétaire 2020.

I also want to thank all the Chairs, Vice-Chairs and Committee members for their input to date – and for the work ahead to facilitate their respective budgets through their committees.

Merci à tous les conseillers pour leurs idées et leur participation importante à ce processus budgétaire.

I would like to thank my own team in the Mayor’s Office in particular Robyn Guest and Serge Arpin for working closely with the City Manager and City Treasurer on Budget 2020, as mandated by Council.

I would like to end by expressing my gratitude for the hard work, integrity and professionalism of our municipal public service – work often done under very challenging conditions.

This budget will be the last for our exceptionally competent and dedicated General Manager of Financial Services and City Treasurer, Marian Simulik.

I want to thank Marian for her patience, persistence and dedication to the 2020 Budget and the many, many budgets that preceded it.

Ms. Simulik has a unique gift of exceptional financial facts, innovative imagination and a keen dedication to finding elegant solutions to complex financial problems that save money and protect taxpayers.

Marian also has an unprecedented ability to communicate complex budget information to the average taxpayer and to explain the financial complexities to Members of Council.

Marian, on behalf of all of Council, and the over one million residents of Ottawa, I would like to thank you for your years of service, for your work ethic, your candor and your steadfast commitment to this city and its long-term financial health.

It would be a gross understatement to say that you will be greatly missed.

But for now, I am thrilled to know that you will be with us for these final deliberations on Budget 2020.

I believe that Budget 2020 strikes the right balance between:

  • keeping our city affordable;
  • improving the conditions on our roads and transit network;
  • delivering a sustainable infrastructure plan; and
  • maintaining core services and programs.

This balanced approach positions Ottawa for continued growth, prosperity and livability.

Thank you / Merci

...and now we will hear from the City Manager.