Tag Archives: city

Property assessment notices are coming, and here’s what that means for your tax bill

(via City of Ottawa)

Every four years, the Ontario Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) mails property assessment notifications to residential, commercial and industrial property owners providing them with the latest assessed value of their property.

MPAC will begin mailing property assessment notices for residential properties in Ottawa on July 18. Assessment notices for non-residential properties will be mailed in the fall of 2016. The last province-wide Assessment Update of Ontario properties took place in 2012 and was based on the valuation date of January 1, 2012. This update is based on the valuation date of January 1, 2016. Continue reading


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Fire hydrant testing in Stittsville June 14-17

Minion fire hydrant, as seen on Stonepath Crescent in Crossing Bridge

(via City of Ottawa)

Did you know that the City has over 22,000 fire hydrants? To ensure they are in working order, all City hydrants are tested annually. The following streets will be tested between June 14 and June 17.  Most are in the Fairwinds, Johnwoods, Arcadia and Richardson Ridge communities. Continue reading


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City working to fill potholes, control melting snow

(via City of Ottawa)

A sure sign of spring, but not necessarily a welcome one, is the emergence of potholes on our streets.

Potholes are a result of the freeze/thaw weather cycles that deteriorate our road surfaces. During the freeze/thaw, water seeps into the crevices of the road. Fluctuations in temperature, vibrations and traffic volumes all create stress on the asphalt road surface, which can result in potholes. Continue reading


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Proposed pipeline project would include 20 megawatt pumping station

Hydro One and Hydro Ottawa are planning extensive infrastructure upgrades to support the power requirements of the proposed Energy East pipeline, including 20 megawatts for a pumping station near Richmond.

“Initial plans to service this customer will require extensive infrastructure upgrades due to the proposed remote location of their station and the size of the load they require,” said Dan Seguin, a spokesperson with Hydro Ottawa.

He said it was too early to say how much those upgrades would cost, or who would pay for them. Continue reading


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City staff uncovered GRC pool problems back in 2002

(Photo: The GRC pool under repair in May 2015.)

A former Goulbourn councillor says an out-of-court settlement made a decade ago means we may never know who’s really responsible for problems with the GRC pool.

“Settling out of court provides a form of cover from scrutiny, does it not, for whoever screwed this up and/or maybe supplied defective materials, design, supervision, or duty of care teamwork and/or workmanship?” wrote Mike Bryan in an email to StittsvilleCentral.ca. Continue reading


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City staff won’t pursue legal action for GRC repairs

(ABOVE: The GRC pool under renovation in May 2015.)

City legal staff won’t be pursuing legal action to recoup the $4-million spent to fix structural deficiencies at the Goulbourn Recreation Complex.

The pool facility was closed from October 2013 to June 2015 for major renovations after workers found mould, leaks and rust in the structure. Councillor Shad Qadri had asked the city’s legal staff to look into the possibility of legal action to recoup some of the funds.  Continue reading


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Where the streets have new names

As many as six Stittsville street names could be soon be switched. That’s because they’re too similar to other street names in Ottawa.

The six being considered for change:

  • Bell Street
  • Goulbourn Street
  • Elm Crescent
  • Long Meadow Way
  • Meadowland Drive
  • Walker Road

But just because they’re on the list doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be changed. There are a number of factors that the City weighs in their decision, from historical significance to the number of affected addresses on the street. The city is currently asking residents for feedback and ideas for new names. Continue reading


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LETTER: City’s vision for garbage stinks

“Look, we all know that garbage happens… The City of Ottawa’s performance in this area frankly stinks.”

Carp Dump II has the passed the Environmental Compliance Application (ECA) and the so called “West Carleton Environmental Centre” is now all but certain.

Frankly, I am more than just a little surprised how little I’ve read about this inevitability.

When the first dump was opened in Carp the early 1970s, it was essentially for local use and it was in the middle of nowhere. Now, some forty years later, the new dump (which will be beside the old one) happens to be in the middle of growing suburbia, and for the use of all of Ontario.

We all know that garbage happens. What is necessary is a well laid plan that is environmentally sound and economically viable. The City of Ottawa’s performance in this area frankly stinks.

Plasco and Orgaworld were both whiffs of legendary proportion, and yet here we are continuing to move forward without a viable 30 year plan.

Operating without a plan continues to cost us money and will have a negative effect on some of our residents’ quality of life.  It could also harm our environment, and it will devalue property.

I think we all know that landfills are not the answer. It’s the way of a bygone era. No one wants them except the companies that make a fortune operating them.

Yet, despite lingering complaints about the first dump, the City of Ottawa is on the verge of adding two more landfill sites.   We already have four!

That’s not very green for a supposedly very green city.

 

Landfills are not the way of the future, but unfortunately, it seems to be the way of our city.

Moving forward, transparency is a must, and clearly our neighbours should all be entitled to live in an environment that is clean, safe and healthy.

Jonathan Mark
Dunrobin, Ontario

(Jonathan Mark is a broadcaster, Chair for the Ward 5 Citizens’ Council (W5CC), and a candidate for West Carleton Ward in the last municipal election.)


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COMMENT: Questions to ask about the 2016 municipal budget

(Photo: The 2015 draft budget includes $150,000 for two new arena dehumidifiers at the Goulbourn Rec Centre. Photo by Barry Gray.)

Mayor Jim Watson wants us to judge the City budget on how much (or how little) more tax we’ll pay.  Limiting the tax increase in 2016 to 2% is a good thing, but putting so much emphasis on this one metric makes me wonder what we’re not being told.

For example, your water and sewer charge will be going up by six percent, adding nearly as much to your yearly household bill as the tax increase will.  Watson left that part out of his budget speech.  (A 6% water bill increase adds about $49 to the average yearly bill.  A 2% tax increase translates to about $72 more in municipal taxes for an urban home assessed at $375,300.)

Here are a few questions I have for Mayor Watson and his finance team:

  • The draft budget includes $40,000 per ward for traffic calming, but how many speed bumps or flex-signs does that actually pay for? Is it enough to address the many neighbourhood problems that we have in Stittsville?
  • What exactly is being cut? And how will the cuts impact services? Here’s a concern raised by Kitchisippi councillor Jeff Leiper, who says that the draft budget lacks transparency in explaining how “efficiencies” are being found“We’re going to need a lot of answers between now and when the budgets are debated at committee to understand whether this budget is as advertised: a balance between a low tax increase and no impact to services. I don’t feel comfortable that we have enough information to determine whether we’re putting our future ability to do public works at risk given how much of our reserves we’re spending.”
  • Is the budget good for the long-term financial health for our city?   Veteran councillor Rick Chiarelli brought this up in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen recently: “We are currently only investing a fraction of what our dedicated public service and outside accountants advise is the optimum level of investment in repair, maintenance and lifecycle replacement to achieve the mid and long range lowest cost to taxpayers. Failure to invest enough in these elements of the budget are false savings… Every dollar we evade spending on these things can create a bill of 10-50 times that amount in avoidable future costs when, instead, we have to reconstruct the asset.”
  • Are we getting our fair share in the suburbs? Citizen columnist David Reevely offers a cogent analysis on “assessment growth”, and how tax revenue from new condos and communities gets incorporated into the city budget: “Coun. Marianne Wilkinson, who represents Kanata North, has complained for years that new neighbourhoods in her ward have been denied transit service they deserve. Mainly, OC Transpo has stretched its existing service to cover more territory rather than putting more buses on new routes. If you live in Kanata Lakes or Morgan’s Grant (or any of Ottawa’s newer suburbs outside the Greenbelt), and you wonder why the bus isn’t better, the cannibalizing of assessment-growth money is one reason. “

Councillor Shad Qadri told StittsvilleCentral.ca in an email last week that he was generally pleased with the draft budget.

“There are a number of important items for Stittsville and I will continue to work on other items that I also feel require funding in our community,” he said. (Although he wouldn’t elaborate on what those other items may be.)

You can find more information on the budget and how it impacts Stittsville on Qadri’s web site.  You can send comments to budget2016@ottawa.ca.  And if you can fit your comments into 140 characters, tweet them using the hashtag #ottbudget.

 

 


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Community groups ask for role in landfill negotiations

(Press release from COLA.)

COLA (Coalition for Landfill Accountability) wants the City of Ottawa to engage in real and meaningful consultation with residents during the negotiations of the Host Municipal Responsibility Agreement (HMRA) for the Carp Road landfill expansion.

The HMRA is being negotiated between the City and Waste Management (WM) behind closed doors, with no community engagement. This lack of transparency is unacceptable.

***

BACKGROUND: The Site Plan Control for Waste Management’s Carp Road landfill expansion (or “West Carleton Environmental Centre”) was approved by the City on October 28, 2015. One of the conditions of approval is that Waste Management enter into a HMRA with the City. The HMRA is supposed to address a number of community concerns including:

  • Community compensation
  • Odour management
  • Property value protection
  • Groundwater safety
  • Traffic
  • Transparency

This is similar to the process in 2001, when the City of Ottawa and WM negotiated in secret, and came up with an agreement that left much to be desired:

  • It did not include property value protection for neighbouring residents and businesses.
  • The negotiated “cost-per-tonne” levy was only $1 per tonne. (Recently- negotiated agreements in Southern Ontario have been set at $6 per tonne.) This represents significant revenue to the City given that the proposed landfill can accept up to 400,000 tonnes of garbage per year.
  • Community compensation included an additional $60,000 per year to support “environmental initiatives and local projects” in nearby wards. Projects funded by the community compensation were selected by WM and west end city councillors, again behind closed doors. The community had no input into where that money was spent.

***

OUR REQUEST: COLA is asking the City of Ottawa and Waste Management to consult and include residents and community associations in the negotiation process now, instead of after a draft is completed. Community input and engagement in the HMRA is vital to the development of a fair and effective agreement that benefits citizens.

***

Coalition for Landfill Accountability (COLA) is a group of residents and community associations in West Carleton, Stittsville and Kanata who are concerned about the proposed expansion of the Carp Road Landfill and its future impact on the community. Member associations include:
• Stittsville Village Association
• Huntley Manor Community Association
• Richardson Corridor Community Association
• Crossing Bridge Community Association
• Fairwinds Community Association
• Jackson Trails Community Association
• Southwest Stittsville Community Association
• Ward 5 Citizens Council
• Kanata Beaverbrook Community Association


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COMMENT: The link between development charges and your property tax bill

(Photo: Poole Creek Village under construction.)

On November 7, the Greater Ottawa Home Builders Association (GOHBA) took out a quarter page ad in the first section of the Ottawa Citizen entitled “Empowering Millennials to Succeed”. It was a blatant pitch to the newly-elected federal government to seek reductions in municipal development charges on newly constructed homes in order (nominally) to support young millennials in purchasing these homes. Continue reading


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Stittsville’s Paul Meek inducted into Order of Ottawa

(Photo: Paul Meek holds up a bottle of Harvey & Vern’s root beer at Quitters Coffee, November 2014. Photo by Barry Gray.)

The first thing to go through Paul Meek’s head when he got a call telling him he was receiving the Order of Ottawa: “There’s no way, I’m not worthy.”

Meekis the president and co-owner of Kichesippi Beer Co., and Harvey & Vern’s, and lives in Granite Ridge.  He’s one of 14 people to be inducted into the Order of Ottawa by Mayor Jim Watson, at a ceremony this evening at City Hall.

“It’s incredibly humbling. I don’t mind telling you there’s time I think”, ‘how did i make that list’,” he told StittsvilleCentral.ca

“We’re very passionate with our business in helping out our city however we can.  It is easly the most humlbling thing I’ve ever gotten a call on… The biggest compliment-  is that people have said it’s well deserved. I’m apprecaitive for that,” he said.

“Stittville’s been a very good community for us and Ottawa’s has been a great city since we moved here 13 years ago.”

***

Kichesippi is one of Ottawa’s fastest growing craft breweries, established in 2009. He focused the company on a commitment to Ottawa’s history and heritage,  using locally sourced ingredients, brewing completely in Ottawa, and sponsoring many local recreational sports teams, tournaments, festivals and community events. The company donates 50 cents for every growler of beer sold to Juvenile Diabetes research, in support of Mr. Meek’s son Alex.

He has partnered with the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce to promote business education for new start-up companies and entrepreneurs. As a member of the Beer Canada Lobby group, he endeavours to ensure a strong voice for small-scale brewmasters. He continues to demonstrate extraordinary community commitment in every aspect of his professional and personal life.

***

This year’s recipients  include an eclectic list of residents including Ben Babelowsky, Ron Burke, Guy Cousineau, Bill Malhotra, Vera Mitchell, Wendy Muckle, Bryan Murray, Alicia S. Natividad, Marion Rattray, The Honourable Allan Rock, Ernest G. Tannis, Simone Thibault, Ewart Walters and Gary Zed.

“I am honoured to award the 2015 Order of Ottawa to these remarkable individuals in recognition of their outstanding contributions to our city,” said Mayor Watson. “They have not only made Ottawa a better place to live, work and raise a family, they have shown us how one person’s actions can make a difference in the lives of others within our community.”

The civic award recognizes exceptional citizen contributions in the many areas of city life, including arts and culture, business, community service, education, public service, labour, communications and media, science, medicine, sports and entertainment, or other fields of endeavour that benefit the residents of Ottawa.

Recipients of the Order of Ottawa were chosen by a Selection Committee comprised of the Mayor, City Clerk and Solicitor, Chief of Police, Chief of Protocol, City Archivist and the Chief Executive Officer, Library Services.

For more information regarding the Order of Ottawa and the full biographies of the recipients, visit ottawa.ca.


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City service changes in honour of Veterans’ Week and Remembrance Day

(Photo: Wreaths at the 2014 Remembrance Day ceremonial service at the Cenotaph on Warner-Colpitts Lane. Photo by Barry Gray.)

(Media advisory)

To mark this year’s Veterans’ Week, the City of Ottawa will offer special transit services to veterans from Thursday November 5 to Wednesday, November 11. The City will also commemorate Remembrance Day by flying flags at all City buildings at half-mast and by offering free downtown parking to veterans all day on November 11.

The City is proud to honour all the men and women who have served their country as members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Related: What’s open, what’s closed, and what’s planned in Ottawa for Remembrance Day Continue reading


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UPDATE: 6279 Fernbank development likely to proceed

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jillian McKim lives on Fernbank Road in a home that’s adjacent to a proposed 149-home development at 6279 Fernbank Road.  Over the past few months, she’s been participating as a community representative in discussions with the City of Ottawa and the developer, Chenier/Cananagh, about the subdivision design.    After an Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) hearing in April, the City and the developer agreed to try to reach a consensus to resolve their disagreements. As McKim explains, at this point it looks like the development will proceed with a few conditions in place to address resident concerns about flooding and zoning.

***

I have spent the past six months in bi-weekly (and sometimes weekly) meetings at City Hall with City of Ottawa and Chenier/Cavanagh experts. The learning curve was steep but I can now confidently say that I have become fairly functional in stormwater management and flood mitigation strategies. What did this get the community? The proposed development of 149 houses at 6279 Fernbank Road will go ahead. However, not without first hearing some local concerns.  Continue reading


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COMMENT: Watered-down wildlife construction protocol lacks teeth

EDITOR’S NOTE: This photo shows a development site off Terry Fox Drive in Kanata that was recently clear cut during the height of the birthing season for mammals. Last month, the city’s planning committee approved a new Wildlife Construction Protocol with guidelines on “best practices” that developers should take to protect wildlife in construction areas.  Donna DuBreuil is the president of the Ottawa-Carleton Wildlife Centre, and doesn’t think the protocol is strong enough.

The jury will remain out on Ottawa’s Wildlife Construction Protocol, at least until the public sees whether its recommendations are put into force.

It’s disappointing that the main implementation tool in the draft protocol has been eliminated in the revised version.  Originally, developers were required to submit a Wildlife Mitigation Plan and Construction Site Management Plan. That’s been replaced only by ‘best practices’ guidelines, which will substantially eliminate the most effective means to reduce direct harm to wildlife during construction. Continue reading


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