The following synopses are courtesy of the City’s Communications Channel.
Transit Commission approves 2018 Draft Budget, including new EquiFare and Multi-day pass
This week, the Transit Commission approved the 2018 Draft Budget for OC Transpo that includes the introduction of the new EquiFare. The Transit Commission also approved the new multi-day transit pass. The 2018 draft budget will be considered at City Council on Wednesday, December 13.
This budget introduces the new EquiFare Single-Ride Fare, which provides low-income residents (with a household income below the low-income cut-off, as defined by Statistics Canada) with a new affordable single-ride fare option. The EquiFare complements the EquiPass discounted monthly pass, which started in 2017. Should Council approve the EquiFare as part of the 2018 Budget, it is anticipated that the new fare would be available to eligible customers before the end of June 2018.
The Transit Commission also approved for Council’s consideration a motion tabled by Chair Blais to provide a $6 credit on the accounts of all existing EquiPass holders and waive the $6 Presto card fee for all new EquiPass and EquiFare customers. This additional discount for low-income transit customers will be absorbed within the existing EquiPass program funding.
Enhancing transit service
Public transit investments for 2018 include funding to continue operations of expanded transit service for growing areas of the city using the 17 new buses purchased in 2017 and $9.8 million in additional funding. The Draft Budget includes the replacement of 80 OC Transpo buses that have reached the end of their life-cycle, refurbishment of 85 more buses, road and signal projects to improve transit speed and reliability, and improvements to transit stops and stations.
The 2018 Draft Budget recommends a 2.5-per-cent increase to transit fares starting January 1, 2018, excluding the U-Pass, which will increase by 2.5 per cent in September 2018.
Multi-day transit pass
The budget also introduces the new multi-day transit pass targeted for visitors to Ottawa and residents who need unlimited transit travel for a defined period. The new Multi-Day passes will be available at ticket machines at O-Train stations for three, five or seven days, and will be available later in 2018.
Finance and Economic Development Committee Approves Budget for 2018
The Finance and Economic Development Committee this week approved its 2018 Draft Budget, which includes $560 million for O-Train construction and planning, Economic Development and Long Range Planning, operating expenses related to City governance, and Shared Services.
Draft Budget 2018 increases the contribution to the Capital Budget by $12.6 million to $112.4 million to renew existing City assets, including facilities, roads, bridges, pathways, sidewalks and curbs.
In addition, the City has budgeted $60 million for preliminary planning activity and procurement for Stage 2 of the Confederation Line light-rail transit project, which will dramatically change our city’s landscape and transportation network. Other capital funding for 2018 includes increasing the parks renewal budget by $250,000 to $5.25 million. 2018 will see improvements made to a number of City parks including Mulligan Park, Kinburn Park, Bryanston Gate Park, Woodroffe Park, Bateman Park, Aladdin Park and Cummings Park.
The Committee adopted a motion to direct any surplus funds from the Hydro Ottawa dividend to critical infrastructure and City assets. Two-thirds of the funding would be reinvested in road resurfacing, and the remaining funding would go toward energy retrofits to City facilities.
The Committee referred a report recommending a four-per-cent Municipal Accommodation Tax on short-term overnight accommodations, including hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts and online platforms such as AirBnB, to Council for consideration at its December 13 meeting.
The Committee also approved several administrative measures to finalize the transition of the ByWard and Parkdale Markets to Ottawa Markets. Starting January 1, 2018, this newly incorporated not-for-profit would oversee the City’s two public markets, including collecting license and permit fees to cover operational costs. The City would transfer the $160,000 Markets Deferred Revenue Fund to Ottawa Markets to cover initial cash flow and unforeseen costs.
Ottawa Markets will return to the Committee and City Council by mid-2018 with a strategic plan outlining its long-term objectives to revitalize the markets, attract more diverse vendors and encourage residents and tourists to buy local.
Items approved at Finance and Economic Development Committee meeting will be considered by City Council on Wednesday, December 13.
Transportation Committee approves budget for 2018
The City’s Transportation Committee approved its Draft Operating and Capital Budget for 2018 this week, which includes $276.2 million in operating expenses and $217.7 million in capital funding related to transportation.
While there is funding for other transportation infrastructure, the majority of capital spending would go towards integrated roads, water and wastewater work. Big projects for 2018 include resurfacing roads, which would get $39 million, and the Kanata South Link, which would get $24 million.
The winter operations budget would increase by $2.3 million over the 2017 budget, for a total of $68.3 million. This increase would support all modes of travel and would expand the winter cycling network to include the O’Connor Street and Main Street bike lanes.
As of April 1, 2018, residential on-street parking permit fees would increase by between 1.9 and 3.3 per cent. The annual fee for the on-street parking permit would increase to $660. The monthly fee would increase to $31 for summer months (April to November) and to $143 for winter months (December to March).
To improve connectivity between cycling infrastructure and transit, the Committee adopted a motion to direct $30,000 from within the existing budget to place 50 ring and post bike parking spaces at high-priority bus stops. The motion also delegated authority to staff to work with Velocity Media to explore additional spaces.
The Committee also received a business case from Fleet Services, justifying bringing some maintenance work back in-house. This would save the City $100,000 in 2018.
Items approved at Transportation Committee will go to City Council on Wednesday, December 13.
Community and Protective Services Committee approves budget and commemorative naming proposals
On Thursday, December 7th, the City’s Community and Protective Services Committee approved its Draft Operating and Capital Budget for 2018, which includes $1.3 billion in operating expenses and $48.9 million in capital funding related to community and protective services.
The majority of capital spending would go towards parks, recreation and culture, with $21.4 million earmarked to renew parks and buildings. Highlights include renewal of the Nepean Sportsplex, the Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex and the Howard Darwin Arena. The City would also replace play structures at Alta Vista Park, Greely West Park, Blue Rock Park and Beaton Park.
The City would hire 14 new paramedics and purchase one additional emergency response vehicle, adding to the 36 paramedics hired in this term of Council. The additional personnel would help the Ottawa Paramedic Service deliver medical treatment and maintain response times mandated by the Province.
Funding for agencies that receive renewable community funding would increase by $1 million, for a total of $23.5 million. These non-profit social service agencies provide vital services, including access to the basics such as food programs, day programs, counselling and support services. The additional funding would assist with the minimum wage increase and help agencies sustain existing services.
The Committee also approved commemorative naming proposals for a park in Stittsville and a cemetery in Gloucester South Nepean. The future park, to be located at the intersection of Hazeldean Road and Stittsville Main Street, would be called the Kavanagh Green. The cemetery, located within Claudette Cain Park, would be called the Moodie Family Cemetery.
Items approved at Community and Protective Services Committee will go to City Council on Wednesday, December 13.
Still to Come
Ottawa Public Health will be reviewing the budget on Monday, December 11, at 5:00 p.m., in the Champlain Room at City Hall.