Labour Day schedule changes

I would like to take a moment to remind residents of the following schedule changes for Labour Day, Monday, September 5.

Client services:

  • Ottawa City Hall and all seven Client Service Centres, including the Government Service Centre located at 110 Laurier Avenue West, will be closed. Business will resume as usual on Tuesday, September 6.
  • The City’s Provincial Offences Court, located at 100 Constellation Crescent, will also be closed. Business will resume as usual on Tuesday, September 6.
  • The City’s 3-1-1 Contact Centre will be open for urgent matters requiring the City’s immediate attention. Call 3-1-1 or 613-580-2400 to speak to a customer service representative. For persons with a hearing-related disability, call TTY: 613-580-2401.

Green bin, recycling and garbage collection:

  • There will be no curbside green bin, recycling or garbage collection on Labour Day. Labour Day’s pick-up will take place on Tuesday, September 6. In addition, the collection of green bin, recycling materials and garbage will be delayed by one day for the remainder of the week. For curbside collection enquiries, refer to the collection calendar tool.

Parking:

  • All City of Ottawa parking regulations and restrictions will apply during this time.

Transit service:

  • OC Transpo will operate a Sunday schedule and the DayPass will be valid as a Family DayPass. A family or group may travel all day with a DayPass which can be purchased for $8.50 from the bus operator when you board. A family/group can include up to six people with a maximum of two individuals aged 13 or older.
  • New fall service goes into effect on Sunday, September 4. New timetables are available at octranspo.com and octranspo.mobi. Call 613-560-1000 or text 560560 plus your four-digit bus stop number for real-time schedule information. For more information, holiday schedules and travel planning, phone 613-741-4390 or visit octranspo.com.
  • OC Transpo Customer Service Centres will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Lincoln Fields, Place d’Orléans and St. Laurent, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Rideau Centre.
  • Para Transpo operations:
    • Customer service (613-842-3681) – closed
    • Administration (613-244-1289) – closed
    • Taxi coupons (613-842-3670) – closed
    • Reservations line (613-244-7272) – open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    • Trip cancellation and general inquiries (613-244-4636) – open 6 a.m.to 12:30 a.m.

Recreation services:

  • Some indoor pools and fitness centres will be open for public swimming, public skating and fitness classes with modified schedules. Please check with ottawa.ca or the facility of your choice for details.
  • Public skating will be offered at Jim Durrell Recreation Complex. Please check with ottawa.ca for details.
  • All beaches and splash pads will be open, weather permitting, but unsupervised.
  • Most registered programs at swimming pools, community centres and arenas are cancelled; however, clients should check with their facility to confirm, as some exceptions will apply.

Ottawa Public Health:

  • The Sexual Health Centre and Satellite Clinics will be closed.
  • The Dental Clinics and Well Baby Drop-in will be closed.
  • Site program – Site office at 179 Clarence Street will be closed; however, the site mobile van will be operating on a regular schedule from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.

Municipal child care services:

  • City-operated Child Care Centres will be closed.

Ottawa Public Library:

  • All branches and services of the Ottawa Public Library will be closed. Business will resume as usual on Tuesday, September 6.

I hope that all residents have a safe and enjoyable Labour Day long weekend!

By-law Regulatory Services Q2 Statistics

I would like to take a moment to supply residents with a breakdown of the quarterly by-law regulatory service request report.

Every three months, by-law services releases a ward-by-ward summary of general request types. These requests range from a multitude of services offered by calling or emailing 3-1-1 (311@ottawa.ca).

By-law & Regulatory Services experienced an overall increase of 3.7% in total call volume compared to Q2 of 2015.

The full report can be found here and Stittsville’s individual report can be found here.

As you can observe, parking was the most-requested by-law item within our ward (239) however it only comprised 1.5% of the total city’s parking requests. Alternatively, Stittsville’s greatest reflection against the city as a whole were requests regarding parks (5.2%) and signs (5.3%) which only saw 70 and 83 requests respectively for the first half of the year.

Learning from these trends means that as a City, we will be more equipped for knowing where to invest resources in the future.

I encourage residents to take a moment and see what trends they can spot. Of course, as your City Councillor, I am always keen to hear your well thought-out ideas regarding how to improve our community. You can do so by emailing me at Shad.Qadri@ottawa.ca.

Update on Wild Parsnip Removal

I would like to supply all residents with a quick update regarding the City’s process for removing Wild Parsnip as this has been an ongoing concern for this 2016 year.

The City of Ottawa has a comprehensive strategy to control the spread of Wild Parsnip. Our strategy includes both herbicide application as well as accelerated mowing cycles. We also committed to testing the effectiveness of these two activities using an agronomist, mapping infestation levels to show the spread of the plant, and finally, conducting an education and public health awareness campaign.

To date, over 800 kms of roadsides as well as over 50 parkland areas have been treated with the herbicide application (Clearview). Accelerated early season mowing cycles have been utilized in areas with medium to light infestation levels, whereas herbicide application has been focused on heavily infested roadsides and in parkland adjacent to active recreational play. The effectiveness of the herbicide is maximized when applied during the early season. Staff, as well as our agronomist, have been diligently monitoring the status of plant growth as staff are well aware that mowing the plant after it has gone to seed could potentially spread the growth of the plant.  The accelerated cutting cycles will continue until which time the plants reach full seed stage.  While Wild Parsnip is a target for roadside mowing operation, the operation must continue throughout the season in order to reduce any other safety hazards related to sightline issues, wild fire risks and wild life threats within the road right-of-way.

Currently, there is no extensive research on the management of Wild Parsnip.  Most municipalities do not have a strategy and existing research has shown that mowing only controls the spread of the weed, rather than decrease the infestation levels.  The Public Works Department conducted research around existing plant management strategies specific to Wild Parsnip, and looked at lessons learned from other municipalities in relation to the management of this invasive plant and used this information to develop the City of Ottawa’s Wild Parsnip Strategy. In addition to this exhaustive research, the Public Works Department worked, and will continue to work, with internal and external stakeholders to explore ways to reduce the spread of Wild Parsnip in the City of Ottawa and put in place strategies to educate the public on the health risks of Wild Parsnip.

The 2016 strategy was developed by the Public Works Department in consultation with the following stakeholders:

  • Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, Province of Ontario Pesticides Specialist (MOECC)
  • Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)
  • Ontario Invasive Plant Council (OIPC)
  • National Capital Commission (NCC)
  • Hydro One
  • Hydro Ottawa
  • Rideau Valley Conservation Authority (RVCA)
  • Ministry of Transportation Ontario (MTO)
  • United Counties of Leeds and Grenville
  • United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry
  • Planning and Growth Management Department
  • Development Review Services Branch
  • Land Use and Natural System Unit
  • Emergency and Protective Services Department
  • By-Law Services
  • Ottawa Public Health
  • Corporate Communications Department

Please remember that while the City is working very hard at removing Wild Parsnip, it is still important to report it to 3-1-1(either by phone or 311@ottawa.ca). If you have already reported it and it has not yet been addressed, there is no need to report it again as priority is being given to areas of the City that have not yet been maintained.

Renting Public Parks, Splash Pads, and other Facilities

I would like to take a moment to discuss the procedure for properly renting parks from the City.

Oftentimes residents and/or community associations would like to host an event or a birthday party in a City-owned park. While this is a lovely idea to celebrate the fresh air and good weather brought to us with the summer months, it can also lead to problems if another party had the same idea.

By booking the space in advance, you can guarantee the park’s availability for your event. That way if someone is using the space when your party shows up, you can produce the permit and politely ask the other group to move to a different area of the park (and vice versa, so the birthday party is not disrupted by another group who may have booked the area).

For your convenience, I have attached the application form, rental rates, and general information sheet.

You can send your completed form to sports@ottawa.ca or fax it to 613-580-2683. Happy celebrations!

Wild Parsnip

The City of Ottawa has been working to control Wild Parsnip in areas city-wide along rural and suburban roadsides.

Wild Parsnip is an invasive plant that is increasingly common within the City of Ottawa in areas of uncultivated land, roadside ditches, nature trails, as well as on and surrounding rural and residential properties.

Wild Parsnip may pose a health risk to humans. The plant sap contains chemicals that may cause skin and eye irritation and make the skin prone to burning and blistering when exposed to the sun. The blisters typically occur one to two days after contact with the plant. This can result in long-term scarring of the skin.

The best way to avoid contact with Wild Parsnip is to become familiar with what the plant looks like so you do not accidently come in contact with the plant.

For further information, contact 3-1-1. To report wild parsnip in your area, please visit: http://ottawa.ca/en/serviceottawa/trees-water-and-environment/noxious-invasive-plants-wild-parsnip-poison-ivy-or-giant

Outdoor Fireplaces and What You Should Know

If you like to sit in the backyard with an outdoor fireplace, fire pit or chiminea, you should be aware that certain kinds of outdoor appliances are not permitted.

 

Under the City’s Open Air Fire By-Law (No. 2004-163), outdoor fireplaces that burn wood or solid fuels are strictly prohibited in densely populated areas, such as urban and suburban neighbourhoods including Stittsville, where Open Air Fire Permits are not permitted. This by-law was developed to regulate conditions of open air fires based on practices that are best suited to prevent the spread of fires. 

An open air fire refers to the burning of material such as untreated wood (though treated wood is also dangerous and disallowed for other reasons), tree limbs and branches where the flame is not wholly contained and includes campfires, brush fires, burn drums, windrows and outdoor fireplaces, but does not include barbecues.

 Electric, natural gas, propane and oil outdoor fireplaces are however, permitted.

 

Visit ottawa.ca for important information about the safe use, transportation and storage of your propane containers.

The 4-1-1 on 2-1-1, 3-1-1, 4-1-1, and 9-1-1

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Have you ever wondered why municipalities differentiate their services to numbers ending in 1-1 such as 2-1-1, 3-1-1, 4-1-1, and 9-1-1?

Many residents don’t know it but each number offers a unique service and can be used in different situations to simplify your lives. Some you may be aware of and others you may not. Here is a list of what will happen if you call each on your telephone.

211 – Information and referral helpline to community, social, government and health services. Call 2-1-1 for food banks, crisis services, housing assistance centres and much more. For a full list of services handled, please visit http://www.211ontario.ca.

311 – Customer service and municipal information hotline. The City of Ottawa’s 3-1-1 line can also be contacted at 311@ottawa.ca and handles service requests such as: reporting potholes, parking ticket inquiries, blue/black/green box requests, noise complaints and much more. For a full list of services handled by 3-1-1, please visit http://ottawa.ca/en/serviceottawa.

411 – Telephone directory and business listings. Also visit http://www.canada411.ca to track a business or public phone number.

911 – Emergency-ONLY number for police, fire and ambulance. For all other inquiries, please visit the Ottawa Police website here.

Try to make the most of each service as needed to make your information search a little less stressful. For more information on these numbers and the services they provide, you can click here.

Did you know? In an effort to make a universal emergency number a reality, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) partnered with the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (also known as AT&T) in late 1967 to assess what the number should be. After deliberation, AT&T proposed in that the numbers 9-1-1 should make up the new universal emergency phone number as 9-1-1 is short, easy to remember, and can be dialed relatively quickly given the few digits. This was particularly important in old-style rotary/pulse-dialing phones, which were still popular when the 9-1-1 system was first implemented.

Councillor’s View – Water Service Post Adjustments now Free

Hello residents,

This week I am pleased to announce a resolution to an ongoing concern within the community – this being standpipe valves (main water supply).

If you are a homeowner or renter, you may have noticed a small black valve with a bronze screw in the center somewhere around in the front yard of your property, either on your laneway or within your lawn or garden. This is known as a standpipe or a water service post and is used in cases of emergency to shut off water to your home.

A problem can arise as a result of natural freeze/thaw cycles affecting the height of the post which in turn can impact a homeowner’s ability to safely maintain and enjoy their outdoor space. It caused difficulty in plowing/shovelling driveways, cutting the grass, and even posed a tripping hazard.

As such, in October 2003, the City approved a water service post adjustment fee of $129 for correcting this issue. Additionally, a helpful guide was posted to Ottawa.ca for residents to safely hammer down a post themselves.

However, I, along with many residents, agreed that this did not adequately reflect costs associated with the maintenance of a city implemented valve. A study was conducted and while field costs represented approximately 40% of the fee, administration represented the remaining 60%. Likewise, an industry scan of five Ontario municipalities indicated that all of the municipalities considered the standpipe to be municipal responsibility and none charged for adjustment of the post.

I asked for Councillor Moffat (Rideau Goulbourn ward) to present the motion at Environment committee for me (as I do not sit on that committee) and the motion passed. Now, any resident can call the service in to 3-1-1 and have their standpipe re-adjusted free of charge.

This is great news for residents of all wards as many yards and driveways are serviced regularly where the standpipe may have acted as a hazard.

If you have noticed an issue with your water service post, I encourage you to report it to 3-1-1 either through telephone or emailing 311@ottawa.ca to have it adjusted.

If you would like to know more about standpipes and water maintenance, please click here. As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at Shad.Qadri@ottawa.ca

-Shad

Councillor’s View: Proposed changes regarding Snow Removal in Winter Operations Review

Dear Residents,

I would like to take a moment to explain the new Winter Operations Review which will be put forward as a motion to Council Wednesday, July 13. Prior to that meeting, I welcome your additional input.

In 2014, the City of Ottawa’s Public Works department launched a Winter Operations Review (WOR) to ensure it provides efficient services in the most cost effective manner. The City’s review focused primarily on operational adjustments that could be made without impacting levels of service.

As it presently stands, the City of Ottawa is one of the largest road networks in the country with approximately 5621 km of roads, 2175 km of sidewalks and 233 km of Transitway and Highway. Roughly 236 cm of snow falls each year. As such snow removal has always been one of the City’s most difficult challenges due to the unpredictability of winter storms.

Ottawa has run over its winter operations budget the last four years (2012-2015). The largest of which was in 2013 when the City budgeted $55.3 million for winter operations but the final cost ran up to $79.2 million.

Presently, one of the major challenges is ensuring that all roads receive maintenance quickly and efficiently during large snow storms when snow amasses at a rapid pace across our large city. This particularly proves difficult when priority is given to some roads over others – all roads receive the same service, just not all at the same time.

With the proposed changes in place, this would not be the case. Stittsville roads will receive service at the same time as Barrhaven roads, Kanata roads, Orleans roads, etc. In addition, a pilot project of reverse plow-beats will enhance service for residents as neither side of a street will be disproportionately impacted by winter operations consistently casting snow onto one side.

Other noteworthy pieces of the Review include the attachments of plow blades to waste trucks.

The proposed changes will save the City a budgeted $6 million with $0.5 million being reinvested into additional contractors to help speed up large quantity snow clean-ups.

The original motion had suggested a raise in the Maintenance Quality Standards from a current threshold of 7cm to 10cm. However, after review by the Transportation committee and thanks to community feedback, this item has now been removed from the Review.

I hope that this helps to explain the proposed changes in more detail. As always, I would like to welcome all residents with any additional questions or input to email me at Shad.Qadri@ottawa.ca.

-Shad

City Grass Cutting

grasscuttingservices

Many constituents have also contacted me with concern regarding the rapid growth of grass and weeds this month on City property. I have received confirmation that roadside areas along sidewalks are scheduled to be cut approximately 8-10 times a season or twice a month. However, weather and machines plus staff can sometimes affect this schedule. If you see an area that requires attention, do not hesitate to contact 3-1-1 (by calling 3-1-1 or emailing 311@ottawa.ca) to confirm its schedule. You can also always reach my office by emailing Shad.Qadri@Ottawa.ca