Council approves plan to build new landmark central library

This week, City Council approved the implementation plan for building the new Central Library.

 

The City will build the library as a joint facility with Library and Archives Canada at 557 Wellington Street, opening in 2024. The design process will start in early 2019 and will include public consultations on the design and function of the library.

 

The City will contribute $104.2 million to the $174.8-million facility, along with the entire cost for an $18.1-million parking garage. The 200-space, underground garage will be cost-neutral, based on estimated revenue.

 

The Official Plan and zoning amendments for development of a new Civic Hospital campus on the former site of the Sir John Carling Building were approved today at Council. The entire site was designated as a Major Institutional Zone, with development limited to hospital and hospital-related uses only.

 

The Ottawa Hospital is planning the new campus, in line with an established provincial process. Preliminary work to determine how big the facility needs to be to meet projected community health care needs should be finished in 2018. Details about the building’s design will follow.

 

Council approved a zoning amendment that will limit the number of bedrooms in multi-unit buildings. The amendment stems from a review of several zoning studies that looked at ensuring compatible infill in established low-rise neighborhoods. The review was in response to the increasing development in the inner urban area of multi-unit buildings with unusually large numbers of bedrooms in each unit.

 

The amendment introduces a limit of four bedrooms per dwelling unit within a multi-unit building. In detached dwellings, the maximum would be eight bedrooms. Minimum storage space is proposed as well, to ensure large residential buildings provide enough room for garbage and recyclables.

 

 

Homeowners who experienced flooding on October 29-30, 2017 can apply for the Residential Protective Plumbing Program, even if they did not obtain City approval before installation. Waiving this requirement will allow residents who experienced flooding, and were required by insurance companies to install the devices right away, to apply to receive partial compensation in accordance with the program.

Green Bin Program Update

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This week, City Council approved a new agreement with Orgaworld Canada that will make it easy for residents to recycle organic waste, keeping it out of landfills.

 

The approved report recommends changes to the City’s green bin program that will allow residents to dispose of dog waste and use thin plastic bags (including non-biodegradable bags) as liners for their weekly green bin pickups starting in mid-2019, eliminating the need for special liner bags and reducing odour and pest concerns. This is good news for both dog owners and residents who may find their green bins regularly in need of cleaning from mold/insects.

 

The program would cost an estimated $626,000 each year (or approximately $0.15/household/month). By comparison, a local retailer sells 80 litre green bin liners in a package of 10 for $6.43, and small food waste bags in a package of 10 for $5.83.

 

To address potential odour issues from accepting plastic bags, Orgaworld would invest $3.9 million to upgrade the plant for enhanced service and to improve odour control, and submit a mitigation plan to the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the City. The City would also hire a third-party independent consultant to review the plan.

 

 

The Green Bin Program has diverted more than 533,000 tonnes of organic waste since 2010, and put it to use as compost and other beneficial products. Under the revised contract, Orgaworld would continue to provide 2,000 tonnes of AA compost each year. The product derived from the organic waste could also be used in fertilizers and soil enhancers and Orgaworld will be starting to look at how to use the plastic bags as fuel for kilns.

 

I would like to emphasize that although the proposed changes will allow residents to use plastic bags to wrap food waste to place in their green bin, the green bin is still not an encouraged alternative to dispose of all plastic bag waste.

 

This is a great step forward to help motivate residents to continue using their green bin to its fullest capacity without the “yuck” factor and divert organic waste from our landfills. As an aside, the Province is proposing to start banning organics in landfills in 2022.

 

I would like to thank residents for providing their input to me since last week regarding this item. Staff have provided a useful Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) sheet to help address any additional concerns.

 

Some residents also inquired as to whether this means the City would be investigating other items to be included such as biodegradable single-use coffee pods or Styrofoam. I have been advised that these products provide a different set of challenges for waste reduction. The province mandates the packaging that has to be recycled, and has a program under which producers of that packaging pay 50% of the cost of managing that waste. Styrofoam, for example, is not one of the mandated materials, so there is no funding to help add it to the program. Additionally, for Styrofoam to be recycled, it must be not be contaminated. As the City collects blue box items in one truck, any Styrofoam collected would be contaminated with food waste, broken glass, and have other items crushed into it; making it unmarketable.

Women’s Bureau at Council

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At City Council this week, Council approved a motion that will examine having a Council Representative Special Liaison for Women’s Issues, and a Women’s Bureau, to provide a gender lens on the City’s policies and practices.

 

By looking around at the world today, it is incredible to think of just how far gender equality has progressed in the past century and yet just how much farther it must continue to grow before we have a truly inclusive society

 

Strong communities are improved upon by listening to the diverse voices of all of its inhabitants. As such, I was happy to support this motion as we as a City continue to grow into becoming a more inclusive and equitable place to live for all.

 

With that said, I believe it is important that we as a City use this opportunity to not just look at what needs to be done to improve equity and inclusion today but what must be done 20, 30, or 40 years into the future as well.

 

I would like to thank Councillor Deans and Councillor McKenney for putting this motion on the table. Along with all of the hardworking women employed by the City of Ottawa in various departments for their dedication and commitment to promoting gender equality in the workplace.

 

I supported this motion on the grounds that it is worth pursuing. However, with that said, I would ideally like to see the committee grow in the future to also provide a voice for all of Ottawa’s unique demographics, including those of another race, language, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.

 

Results of this work will be included in the 2018-2022 governance report.

Council Provides Update on its 10-year Plan for Housing and Homelessness and Approves Amendment to the Right-of-Way Patio Bylaw

 

Council received an update on its 10-year plan for housing and homelessness. In the first four years of the plan, more than 100,000 residents have benefitted from housing and support services, delivered by more than 130 community partners. The City has built 364 new affordable and supportive housing units, diverted 1,280 people from emergency shelters and moved 519 single individuals with long shelter stays into permanent housing with supports.

 

The City has made progress in reducing homelessness, with the number of single women accessing emergency shelters reaching its lowest level in the past decade, and the number of youth accessing shelters decreasing for the second year in a row. Ottawa has also seen a decrease in the number of single men who have been homeless for six months or more in the past year, along with a decrease their average length of stay in a shelter.

 

Council also approved an amendment to the Right of Way Patio By-law, which requires patios that encroach on the City’s road allowance to have barrier-free access and to leave a clear pathway for pedestrians that is at least two metres wide.

 

With respect to existing patios on sidewalks that are narrower than two metres, or where City infrastructure limits expanding the pedestrian clearway, the by-law will allow some flexibility. The City will also commit $50,000 to move some of that infrastructure, including signs and benches, where possible, to increase the clearway for pedestrians.

 

The City is encouraging patio owners to comply with the by-law when the summer patio season begins on April 1, 2018. However, existing patio owners will have until October 31, 2018 to submit applications, with plans for compliant patios, for next summer’s patio season. Patios operating during the winter season will need to comply with the by-law by November 1, 2018. All patios will have to comply with the by-law by April 1, 2019.

Council Requests Additional Funding to Address Opioid Concerns

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I am pleased to share that at this week’s City Council, Mayor Jim Watson put forward a motion seconded by myself, to formally request that the province provide additional funding to address the opioid crisis in our city and its associated concerns. The requested investment would go towards everything from mental health and addictions treatment to early intervention for children and youth and harm reduction services for those who need them. I am happy to share that the motion was carried on unanimous consent and I am hopeful that the province will consider this important request.

 

The motion reads:

WHEREAS opioid overdoses in Ontario and Ottawa have been increasing over the past number of years and, in 2017, Ottawa experienced the largest number of opioid overdose-related emergency room visits to date, averaging about 30 per month; and WHEREAS the provincial government has recognized that addiction to opioids is a chronic disease, and has provided funding for treatment to the Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN); and WHEREAS the Board of Health for the City of Ottawa, in concert with City departments and local service providers, has participated in an Opioid Overdose Prevention and Response Task Force which has focused on: (1) surveillance, (2) prevention, working with schools, community-based agencies, parents and youth, and (3) harm reduction services, including establishing a supervised injection service, involving people with lived experience, and promoting access to naloxone; and WHEREAS the Acting Medical Officer of Health for Ottawa Public Health has been in conversation with local health care service providers about the requirement for additional resources to meet the increasing need to counter the increase in opioid-related emergencies;

 

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that City Council approve that the Mayor formally ask the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care for additional investment in mental health and addictions treatment services in the City of Ottawa, with a focus on early intervention for children and youth, assisting people with lived experience in system navigation, rapid access addictions medicine clinics and treatment facilities, community-based withdrawal management, and support for OTTAWA CITY COUNCIL 14 AGENDA 64 WEDNESDAY, 14 FEBRUARY 2018 primary care physicians to provide appropriate pain management and treatment for opioid use disorder.

I would like to thank Mayor Watson and our Interim Medical Officer of Health, Dr Vera Etches along with Ottawa Public Health for their on going support to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community.

Committee approves $730,000 for Stittsville Infrastructure Projects

Committee approves $730,000 for Stittsville Infrastructure Projects

On February 6, 2018, the City’s Finance and Economic Development Committee approved the staff report and recommendations for the Additional Infrastructure Funding for the Renewal of Tax-Supported Assets.  I am pleased Stittsville will be receiving funding of approximately $730,000 for infrastructure projects.  I look forward to supporting the report and recommendations when it comes forward to City Council on February 14, 2018 for final approval.  For more information please review the report below.

Funding for Renewal of Tax-Supported Assets

Stittsville Infrastructure Projects 

Buildings

Facility Address Description Budget $
Stittsville Library 1637 Stittsville Main Replace furnaces and A/C units 55,000
Johnny Leroux Stittsville Arena & CC 10 Warner Colpitts Lane Full modernization of elevator 200,000
Maple Grove Depot Office and Garage 1655 Maple Grove Road Replace doors/flooring/repair & repaint walls – pressure washing bay 100,000
TOTAL 355,000

 

Parks

Facility Address Description Budget $
Fringewood Park Playground 14 Fringewood Drive Replace senior playstructure and play equipment 180,000
West Ridge Park A Playground 20 West Ridge Drive Replace senior playstructure and play equipment 195,000
TOTAL 375,000

Budget 2018 supports infrastructure, community services, transit, roads and protecting the environment

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This week, City Council officially approved the budget for 2018.

 

There was a fruitful discussion surrounding the needs of the City moving forward and one of these important needs identified was Infrastructure in Ottawa.

Throughout the draft 2018 budget discussions, we have heard at our committee meetings and from public comments that infrastructure plays a key role in making sure that our city is well maintained for residents to productively move forward on a daily bases.

 

City Council saw this need and voted to approve the strategy to address the tax-funded infrastructure gap within the next 10 years beginning in 2018. There was also a motion presented at this meeting to see how that 10-year term could potentially be shortened.

 

However, some of my Councillor colleagues put a motion on the table recommending that the municipal property tax increase of 2% should be raised by an additional 0.5% with the additional revenue to go into general infrastructure improvement projects. I was not in support of this motion for a few reasons. I felt that a motion of this nature with no specific projects identified for its use would not act in the best interest of all of Ottawa’s wards. Additionally, I felt that putting a motion recommending a tax increase at the last minute of the budget approval without any form of public consultation or the time required for a proper report to assess its use would be unfair to our residents who work hard to pay their taxes every year.

 

At the start of our term, we as a City Council sat at the table and unanimously agreed to hold at a residential tax increase of 2%. As a City Council, I believe that we need to be more proactive in finding solutions to problems. At this budget meeting, I felt this was not the time to point fingers but to see how we can all work together to find a common solution. Over the years, some referred to Ottawa’s City Council as being a giant sand box. To which I say: let’s continue to build the best sand castles.

 

City Treasurer, Marian Simulik, later at the meeting revealed that an additional $10 million of surplus was available from the 2017 fiscal year. News of this $10 million was very welcome and is indicative of the sound financial management from the City of Ottawa’s diligent financial staff. As a result, I was proud to support Mayor Watson and Councillor Cloutier’s motion to put that $10 million toward the much-needed infrastructure improvements.

 

In the end, the 0.5% tax increase motion was not approved and the motion to invest the additional $10 million surplus into infrastructure was approved in its place.

 

As a result, for the fifth year in a row, the property tax increase will remain at two percent or less.

 

For a full update regarding the details of Budget 2018, please review the below information provided courtesy of City Communication channels.
Budget 2018 emphasizes affordability, progressive growth, neighbourhood security, quality of life and environmental sustainability. Council approved the budget after five weeks of review and public discussion at 14 committees, boards and commissions.

 

The approved budget caps the residential property tax increase at two per cent, increases transit fares by 2.5 per cent, increases most recreation fees by two per cent and increases the annual garbage fee by $2. For an urban home assessed at $404,000, the increases are about $76 for the year. For a rural home of the same value, the increase is about $62.

Council received an update from City Treasurer Marian Simulik, with the latest tax revenue information for the year. The City expects it will end 2017 with a surplus, due in part to $10 million in greater than expected assessment growth. Council voted to use the $10 million to renew additional infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks, bike lanes and buildings. Council will approve the allocation of this spending in early 2018.

 

In total, the City will have an operating budget of $3.4 billion in 2018 and a capital budget of $739 million, including the additional $10 million in infrastructure funding approved by Council.

 

Among the highlights of the approved financial plan for 2018:

 

Transportation:

  • $2.3 million more for winter operations, totalling $68.3 million, to support all modes of winter travel, including the O’Connor Street and Main Street cycling lanes.
  • $600,000 to repair potholes, bringing the total for asphalt repairs to $8 million.
  • $5.6 million more to resurface roads, a 17-per-cent increase, totalling $39.2 million.
  • $217.7 million in capital spending for a variety of projects, including integrated roads, water and wastewater work and building the Kanata South Link.
  • $5.5 million to expand pedestrian and cycling facilities.
  • $3.5 million for the Barrhaven rail-safety program.
  • As of April 1, 2018, residential on-street parking permit fees will increase by between 1.9 and 3.3 per cent. The annual fee for the on-street parking permit will be $660. The monthly fee increases to $31 for summer months (April to November) and to $143 for winter months (December to March).

 

Public transit:

  • The new EquiFare Single-Ride Fare to provide low-income residents with an affordable single-ride fare option before the end of June 2018. The EquiFare complements the EquiPass discounted monthly pass, which started in 2017.
  • $9.8 million in additional funding to expand transit service for growing areas of the city using the 17 new buses purchased in 2017. The 2018 plan also includes replacing 80 OC Transpo buses, refurbishing 85 more buses, road and signal projects to improve transit speed and reliability, as well as improving transit stops and stations.
  • A new multi-day transit pass targeted at visitors to Ottawa and residents who need unlimited transit travel for a defined period. The new passes will be for three, five or seven days. They will be available later in 2018 at ticket machines at O-Train stations.
  • More than $550 million in 2018 to complete Stage 1 of the Confederation Line O-Train.
  • $60 million for preliminary planning and procurement for Stage 2 of the Confederation Line light-rail transit project, which will add 39 kilometres and 23 more stations to Ottawa’s light-rail system by extending east, west and south.

 

Community and Protective Services:

  • $1.3 billion in operating expenses for community and protective services, including $293.2 million for Emergency and Protective Services, $695.9 million for community and social services, $300.8 million for recreation, cultural and facility services, and $38 million for parks.
  • The majority of the $48.9 million in capital spending will go towards parks, recreation and culture, with $21.4 million earmarked to renew parks and buildings. Highlights include renewing the Nepean Sportsplex, the Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex and the Howard Darwin Arena. The City will also replace play structures at Alta Vista Park, Greely West Park, Blue Rock Park and Beaton Park.
  • 14 new paramedics and one additional emergency response vehicle, adding to the 36 paramedics hired in this Term of Council.
  • Additional funding to deliver children’s services: $17.9 million in subsidies to support families most in need of high-quality child care to reduce and/or eliminate the current waitlist.
  • $1 million more for agencies that receive renewable community funding, for a total of $23.5 million, and $100,000 of existing funding reprioritized to create a one-time, non-renewable project fund for agencies not currently receiving funding. 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 will assist with the minimum wage increase and help agencies sustain existing services while they respond to increasing demands for services and growing pressures.

 

Rural:

  • $12 million to renew the City’s rural infrastructure, including more than $8 million to rehabilitate bridges and bridge culverts.
  • $1.8 million for Richmond Bridge on McBean Street, $760,000 for Ashton Bridge on Ashton Station Road, $520,000 for Peter Robinson Road Bridge and $470,000 for Monaghan Bridge on Old Richmond Road.
  • $1.18 million for the Highway 174 bridge culvert at Cardinal Creek and $840,000 for a bridge culvert on O’Toole Road.
  • $3.1 million to reconstruct and upgrade roads in the rural area, including renewing guiderails.

 

Planning and affordable housing:

  • $49.3 million in operating expenses for planning, including Building Code Services, planning services, right of way, heritage and urban design.
  • $15.7 million to provide more than 100 new affordable rental or supportive housing units and to support accessibility modifications and renovations for more than 100 low-income seniors and people with disabilities.
  • Starting on January 1, fees for a variety of planning services, including heritage applications, inspections, the development review process, Ontario Building Code services and permits, including for outdoor patios, will increase by approximately two per cent.

 

Environment:

  • $15.1 million more for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services, for a total of $365.2 million. Of this, $201.6 million will go towards renewing and growing the City’s water infrastructure.
  • $2 million to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and for energy management.
  • The average urban household that is connected to the municipal water service and uses 15 cubic meters of water will pay an additional $7.50 per year for water services.

 

Corporate management:

  • The City issued the first green municipal bond in Canada to raise $102 million for construction of the light-rail system.
  • $4.3 million to modernize technology and renew aging and critical IT infrastructure and systems.
  • $2.7 million to improve technology security and protect City IT infrastructure and data from cyber threats.
  • $1.2 million for the Digital Service Strategy, a multi-year roadmap of digital priorities and investments to improve access to City services while leveraging and piloting new technologies.

 

City Council also approved 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. The tax revenue will be used to promote Ottawa as a top destination for tourists and to attract large events and conventions. The tax replaces the current voluntary three-per-cent Destination Marketing Fee, which has generated $8 to $9 million annually since 2004. Ottawa welcomes approximately 10 million visitors each year and is home to about 11,000 tourism related businesses, making tourism one of Ottawa’s largest economic generators. Council approved an amendment to the report, allowing small owner-occupied bed-and-breakfast residential facilities to apply for an exemption to the tax, as long as bookings are not managed by a home-sharing third party.

 

Council received the annual report of the City’s Auditor General and seven audit reports on: emergency management and public health; information technology remote access controls; roads services; children’s services; Lansdowne Park management; support and management of emergency shelters; and the safety and security plans for the O-Train Confederation Line.

 

Council approved construction at 667 Bank Street, along with the necessary zoning amendments. The building is to include retail on the ground floor and four residential levels above. The site is in the Clemow Estate East Heritage Conservation District and is the only property in the district that fronts onto Bank Street – the Glebe’s traditional mainstreet.

 

City Council approved a zoning amendment for Southminster United Church at 1040 Bank Street, permitting redevelopment of the lands behind the church building. The existing assembly hall will be demolished and replaced with four townhouses and a six-storey, 14-unit apartment building.

 

Council approved the establishment of a Planning Advisory Committee that will address provincial government changes to the Planning Act. The Committee will include residents from across the city, representatives of community and business associations, as well as professionals from the development industry. The Committee will advise Council on matters such as the work plan for Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department.

 

As well, Council received the strategy for Energy Evolution, a multi-year plan for renewable energy that aims to reduce energy use, increase renewable energy and advance local opportunities for economic development. The strategy outlines 33 initiatives for the City and community partners to undertake between 2017 and 2020, including establishing a fund to manage energy investments.

Council approves mandate for LeBreton talks and Salvation Army project

On Wednesday, November 22nd, City Council approved delegating authority to Mayor Jim Watson and City Manager Steve Kanellakos to participate in the National Capital Commission’s commercially confidential negotiations to redevelop LeBreton Flats. While not a direct partner in negotiations with the National Capital Commission and RendezVous LeBreton Group, participation could help advance the City’s interests and help protect taxpayers.

 

Council approved amendments to the Official Plan and the Zoning By-Law to allow the Salvation Army to proceed with its proposed development project on Montreal Road, which will involve the relocation of its shelter on George Street. The proposed facility would provide a range of support services and day programs. The project plan includes 210 beds within its residential care facility and 140 emergency shelter beds. Council approval follows a three-day Planning Committee meeting that heard 147 public delegations and received more than 157 written submissions.

 

Council received three follow-up reports on audit work previously done: the Audit of Construction Supervision, the Audit of Specific Contracts and Processes in Fleet Services Branch and the Review of City Funding to the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama. Council also approved the Auditor General’s work plan for 2018.

 

Council approved the strategy for Smart City 2.0, the City’s vision for Ottawa’s evolution in the digital age. By working with schools, communities and partners from the public and private sectors, the City will build on existing smart initiatives to increase connectivity, economic growth and innovation, so all residents can have equal access to digital services.

 

Following changes by the Province to modernize municipal legislation, Council approved updates to a series of by-laws and new policies to guide Council-staff relations, as well as pregnancy and parental leave for Members of Council.

 

The provincial changes allow registered third parties to advertise during an election campaign. Ahead of next year’s municipal election, Council approved updates to both the Temporary Signs on Private Property By-law and the Signs on City Property By-law to address signs from registered third parties.

 

Council also approved updates to the Contribution Rebate Program By-law, to reflect the recent changes to the Municipal Elections Act, 1996, including prohibiting corporate and trade union contributions for all candidates to municipal office. While changes to provincial legislation raised the contribution limit to a single candidate or third-party advertiser from $750 to $1,200, the maximum rebate for an individual contribution to a candidate’s campaign remains $75.

 

Council received the Mid-Year Procurement Report and approved the due dates for property taxes in 2018. Interim taxes will be due March 15 and final taxes will be due June 21.

Motion to Investigate Park and Ride at Moodie Station

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This week at City Council, I put forward a motion to request that City staff to conduct a study that would explore opportunities for a potential Park and Ride to be implemented at the Moodie Drive transit station.

 

The motion was passed and staff should report back to the City’s Finance and Economic Development Committee before the end of 2017 with their findings.

 

I felt that this was an important study to undertake given that the current transit situation in Ottawa’s western communities rely heavily on Park and Rides to commute to work downtown each morning. Moreover, as the City moves forward with Stage 2 of Light Rail Transit (LRT), the pre-existing Park and Rides at Eagleson and Terry Fox stations, which already frequently experience capacity parking, are certain to face greater pressures than ever with increased ridership. As such, a new Park and Ride for west-end residents with easy access to Ottawa’s LRT system would greatly benefit the community.

 

This will be a challenging  proposal in looking at all community partners involved in the process but I do believe that these first steps are necessary in formulating an appropriate plan of action.

 

I look forward to hearing back from this study before the end of the year and looking into additional steps to ensure that Stittsville and other western communities receive optimal service as Ottawa’s transit system continues its transition into this incredible step forward.

Councillor’s View – Budget 2017

Dear Residents,

On Wednesday, December 14th I along with my Councillor Colleagues unanimously passed the City’s Operating and Capital Budget for 2017. This coming years’ Budget has stayed within the promised mandate – maintaining Council’s commitment to limiting the property tax increase to two percent.

In addition to capping the residential property tax at two percent, the transit levy was set at 2.5 percent, and the garbage fee rose slightly by $2, amounting to approximately $72 per year for an urban home assessed at $395,400 and $60 per year for a rural home assessed at the same amount.

The budget also includes a 1.25 percent increase in the total amount generated from transit fares and limits the surcharges for water and sewer services to an increase of five percent. With the financial support of the Federal and Provincial government we are able to move forward with transit, water/wastewater and housing.

 

I am pleased that the City has managed to put forward a more affordable tax rate while still investing more money into key city services.

 

One of the key social investments is the introduction of the new EquiPass, which provides residents living below the low income cut-off with a 50 percent discount on a monthly adult transit pass. EquiPass is the largest one-time increase in financial support for public transit in the City’s history.

 

Beyond that, 17 new busses will become available within the City Transit Network and an extra $4.5 million will be invested into snow removal.

 

Chief Bordeleau has promised to maintain traffic concerns and infractions such as speeding a priority. And with the advancement of technology and new models coming forward, their jobs will be more efficient and enforcement will be more focused on an ongoing basis. 75 police officers and 43 paramedics will be added to staff and with 2017 being an exceptionally busy year with planned events and celebrations these staff members are a welcomed addition to our emergency services task force.

 

The budget also places emphasis on supporting core community priorities such as social infrastructure, safety, the environment, support for the arts and efforts to promote economic growth. Substantial investments are also made in active transportation, improved transit services, and programs that support our most vulnerable residents.

 

Social agencies will receive an additional $610,000, most of which will go toward base funding. Those groups will also receive a two per cent cost of living increase, slightly higher than the current rate of 1.5 per cent.

 

Taking into account the provincial upload of social services, the city is increasing the level of investment in the Community and Social Services budget by $5.92 million in City money, which is a 3.1 per cent increased investment over last year. This includes the money for the EquiPass, Community Sustainability Fund, and increasing the inflationary funding from 1.5 to 2 per cent for community agencies.

 

I am particularly pleased with some of the Stittsville-specific highlights of the budget. Of which, $40,000 will be reinvested into Traffic Calming Measures, $763,000 into Parks and Buildings, $475,000 for New Traffic Control Devices Program including phase 2 of the detail design study for the traffic control signal at Huntmar and Maple Grove, $15,000 for the Canada 150 Maple Grove Project which will see 150 Canadian maple trees planted in a grove for Canada’s 150th celebration, and $75,000 for the Palladium Stormwater Facility Maintenance Project.

 

As I sit around the council table I acknowledge that each of my colleagues and I have different and competing needs and priorities for our wards. There will always be differences of opinion in regards to the allocation and direction the City chooses to go. However, I do firmly believe that the 2017 Budget is an excellent reflection of how we can work together.

 

-Shad