COMMUNITY NOTES: from the desk of Councillor Gower

This week Councillor Gower updates the community on the motion he introduced at City Council regarding the need to adjust the administration and process as it relates to the Vacant Unit Tax (VUT). Input is sought for the Cope Drive Park (yet to be officially named) for the concept plan. He also shares information on coming traffic calming measures; back-to-school safety; and Fall service updates for OC Transpo. The Bradley-Craig Park will be officially named on September 7 with the public invited to attend. Reminder to register for the August 30th zoom meeting for 37 Wildpine Court. The video is now available if you missed the public meeting for 121 Brae and want to learn more. If you need assistance with municipal affairs, please let Councillor Gower know at his contact information shared below.

Tweaks to the Vacant Unit Tax
Last week at City Council I introduced a motion, seconded by Mayor Sutcliffe, directing staff to tweak some of the administration and process around the Vacant Unit Tax (VUT).

I supported the VUT when it was introduced by City Council last year. The goal of the program is to encourage property owners to rent out vacant homes or put them on the real estate market. As it stands, the Vacant Unit Tax applies to most secondary residences that are unoccupied for more than 6 months in a year. (There are a number of exceptions.)

The preliminary results are encouraging. In Stittsville and elsewhere in the City, we’ve seen long-vacant properties returned to market, and some eyesore buildings finally demolished. It’s likely that the VUT had some affect – although we won’t have a clear picture for another year or two.

City-wide, 99.1% of property owners – 333,824 out of 336,855 property owners – made their property declaration prior to the deadline. That’s an astounding level of participation for the first year of a new program like this, and is far higher than the participation rate in Toronto and Vancouver.

City staff project that this year’s VUT will contribute $10.5-million in net revenue towards Ottawa’s affordable housing budget. (There’s an appeal and audit process underway to ensure that the VUT has been properly assessed, and final numbers will be available this fall.)

The VUT is an important and significant policy and funding tool to address the housing crisis, and has had an immediate impact. Read more about my motion…

Cope Park Design Consultation
The City of Ottawa is seeking your input regarding the design of a new community park in the Westwood subdivision in Stittsville. The park will be located at 785 Cope Drive at Dagenham. The conceptual plan includes a full-size soccer field, two tennis courts coupled with four pickleball courts, a multipurpose seasonal ice rink that converts into basketball courts, a puddle rink, playgrounds for both junior and senior age groups, a swing set, a sandy play area, a splash pad, as well as a gazebo.  Read more…

Traffic calming signage along West Ridge. Photo by Barry Gray.

New traffic Calming Measures for 2023
City crews will be installing traffic calming measures at several new locations starting in late August, including: Abbott Street, Fernbank Drive, Livery Street, and Rouncey Road. Read more…

Back to School Safety Reminders
With students of all ages returning to the classroom over the coming weeks, the Ottawa Police Service reminds motorists to be aware of an increased number of students on city streets. Many students will be busing, walking and riding their bikes to their destinations for the first time in several weeks. Read more…

OC Transpo Fall Service Begins Sunday, August 27
OC Transpo fall service begins Sunday, August 27, with adjustments for service reliability, seasonal ridership, and construction, as well as the return of school service. Before heading out, use the Travel Planner on to plan your trip. Read more…

September 7: Official Naming Ceremony for Bradley-Craig Park
Join us on September 7, 2023 at 3:00pm at Bradley-Craig Park in Abbottsville Crossing for an official naming ceremony in commemoration of the Bradley-Craig family’s contributions to the community of Stittsville. Read more…

37 Wildpine: Meeting on August 30
Our office will be holding an information meeting on Wednesday, August 30, 2023 at 7:00 p.m. through zoom to discuss this revised Plan of Subdivision application and revised Zoning By-Law Amendment application. Details here…

121 Brae: Meeting Archive on YouTube
Thanks to everyone who joined us last Tuesday for the info meeting about the proposed development at Brae and Norway Spruce. You can watch an archive video of the meeting on my YouTube channel:

Get in touch!
If we can help in any way, please email me at or leave a voicemail at 613-580-2476. Please call 3-1-1 if you require immediate assistance. – Councillor Glen Gower



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