COMMUNITY NOTES: from the desk of Councillor Gower

The holiday season is over and Councillor Gower has started 2023 with his first update to the community on Stittsville Central. This week, the Councillor is looking for cross-country skiiers who would be interested in organizing and volunteering to start-up a trail grooming program for the Trans Canada Trail. He also reminds residents to sign-up for winter parking alerts from the City of Ottawa. LRT issues have been front and foremost over the past week for the Councillor as the Chair of the Transit Commission and indicates that a review will be an agenda item at the February meeting of the Commission. He also provides an update on the Vacant Unit Tax. A public meeting will be held for the Westwood Phase 4 subdivision development. The Shingwàkons Public School on Cope Drive opened in the new year and the Councillor offers his congratulations. To respond to the additional need for the CardelRec Recreation Complex-Goulbourn to act as an emergency centre during extreme weather events, a new generator has been installed to accommodate the numerous residents who use the complex.

Cross country skiing on the Trans Canada Trail
Are there any Stittsville skiers who would be interested in organizing a grooming program for the Trans Canada Trail?  Several groups across the city have started maintaining winter trails, and it would be great to see something similar in the west end. There are grants and funding available, we just need some volunteers to make it happen. Contact me if you’re interested.

Winter parking reminders
We’ve had two big “winter weather events” over the past three weeks, and I want to thank residents for your patience and co-operation, particularly with the winter parking bans. A reminder that you can sign up for winter parking alerts at ottawa.ca/winterparking.

LRT issues
Over the past week I’ve been focused on the LRT issues stemming from the freezing rain. Once repairs are complete, OC Transpo’s focus will turn towards understanding what went wrong. We always expect some minor delays when there’s freezing rain, but a breakdown that lasts multiple days is not acceptable. A review of what happened and what can be done to prevent it will be on our agenda when the Transit Commission meets in early February.

Vacant Unit Tax update
In the first 24 hours last week, over 44,000 property owners made their vacant unit tax (VUT) declaration. You can complete yours by heading to myservice.ottawa.ca.  An additional letter is going out this week to remind residents to complete the declaration.

I voted in favour of the “VUT” last spring because of the positive impact it will have to help address Ottawa’s housing crisis.  The objective is to motivate property owners to ensure their homes and apartments are occupied. Based on the success of other cities with similar programs, we should see several hundred additional homes/apartments become occupied – a meaningful difference when we have a wait list of around 11,000 families for affordable housing. The VUT is one of a several policies and programs that we have implemented to make housing more available and affordable.

I have heard from some property owners who are not happy with the declaration process, and we will be reviewing that later this year. For more information please visit ottawa.ca/vut.

January 16 – public info meeting
On Monday, January 16, we’re hosting a public info meeting on Zoom for the Westwood Phase 4 subdivision. The owner of the land wants to develop a residential subdivision including 286 detached homes, 324 townhomes, two parks (including Shea Woods), and a future school.  You can register here to participate or send questions in advance.

First day for Shingwàkons
Congratulations to staff and students at Shingwàkons Public School on Cope Street, who had their first learning day at the new school on Tuesday. Nearly 600 students attend the school, the first public elementary school in the Fernbank area.

A new generator for CARDELREC
Crews delivered a new electric generator to CARDELREC last week. During the power outage last May, CARDELREC was the main emergency center for the area, but was powered by a temporary generator that took over 12 hours to arrive. This new permanent generator adds another level of resiliency to the building in case of unexpected emergencies and power outages.

Get in touch!
If we can help in any way, please email me at glen.gower@ottawa.ca or leave a voicemail at 613-580-2476. You can also message us on WhatsApp at 613-277-0193.  Please call 3-1-1 if you require immediate assistance. – Councillor Glen Gower


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