Notebook

NOTEBOOK: Refugees, Carp River, OC Transpo, Tow Trucks

STITTSVILLE’S REFUGEE EFFORT
The Kanata Stittsville Refugee Sponsorship Group (KSRSG) met again this week to work on plans for sponsoring Syrian refugees. Rev. Grant Dillenbeck from Stittsville United Church chairs the group, and says that immediate plans are to sponsor a single woman who already has family in Stittsville and Ottawa.

The group is hoping to sponsor another family, but Dillenbeck says  they have to wait until one is identified by the Department of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. That likely won’t happen until sometime in 2016. Until then they’ll continue to fundraise and do what they can to prepare.

The Canadian government announced plans this week to welcome 25,000 Syrians into Canada, but that group includes only refugees sponsored and supported by the government, not by community groups like the KSRSG.

Meanwhile, there’s a new Facebook group called Stittsville for Syria set up to share information about a number of initiatives in our area.

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CARP RIVER RESTORATION PLAN (CRRP)
City Council finally got an update on the CRRP, but it came in the form of a three-page memo and not a formal report to city council. (You can read the memo here.) The final price tag for the major engineering project comes in at just over $18-million, up from a 2013 estimate of $14.8-million.

The cost is split between the private Kanata West Owners Group  (70%) and the City of Ottawa (30%), so the final bill to taxpayers will be around $5.5-million — up quite a bit from the original 2006 estimate of about $5-million for the total project. “The increase in cost is not unexpected given the amount of time that has passed,” says the memo.  $5-million to $18-million in ten years is a big jump!

The report mentions $3-million was cut from the cost thanks to “value engineering”, but doesn’t offer any detail. I wonder how much of that cut was due to a reduction of natural features, recreation paths and pedestrian bridges that we reported on earlier this fall?

I’ve asked Councillor Qadri how different the final plan is from the last version that the public was consulted on back in 2010. Stay tuned.

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OC TRANSPO

Heads up if you’re an express bus rider who’s used to travelling beyond the Rideau Centre.  Starting December 20, all express routes form the west end will finish at Mackenzie King Bridge.

That’s going to be a particular inconvenience for Stittsville’s University of Ottawa students, who lose easy access to the school from the Campus/Laurier stations.  Routes like 261, 262 and 263 will now end at the bridge, and students will have to walk as far as a kilometer in some cases to get to class, or transfer to a local bus.

Winter service changes come into effect December 20, with some major changes due to Light Rail Transit (LRT) construction.

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TOW TRUCKS

Not really Stittsville-related, but here’s part of a media advisory sent out by Ottawa Police today:

The Ottawa Police Service Media Relations Section would like to advise that the Media Application — used by our media partners to monitor traffic collisions, fire services calls and other calls for service — will have a new password effective Monday, November 30, 2015, starting at 12:00pm.

I think there’s a more going on here than just a routine password update. Local radio stations use the “Media Application” as a main source for traffic reports, because it includes a realtime list of every traffic violation in Ottawa. But over time the password has also been widely shared by tow truck drivers.

One driver told me that just about all of his peers in Ottawa know how to log in, and some operators use the list as a kind of unofficial dispatch tool, and then race to be first to an accident. You might remember a recent fatal accident in Nepean involving a tow truck. The driver was charged with dangerous driving, and police said they were investigating if he was en route to a call when the accident happened.

By the way, why wouldn’t police issue unique usernames and passwords to each reporter? Usually that’s a best practice for password security, and it would help prevent password sharing.


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