• Mayor's Address- Building Confidence: Our City, Our Economy, Our Future

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    It is my pleasure to join you today to speak about the progress we are making in our nation’s capital.

    No matter what city you live in, it is always very fascinating to look at photos of your city from 20, 30, 40 years ago.

    It’s remarkable how quickly things can evolve in a short period of time.

    You can look at old photographs along the route of your daily commute and see old shops, old buildings, old industries that have since changed into something new.

    The restaurant you enjoy today – that used to be an old school house.

    The residential development today – that used to be a lumber yard.

    The Ottawa we have today was not the Ottawa that our parents and grandparents grew up in.

    And the Ottawa we build tomorrow will be vastly different for our children and grandchildren.

    Par exemple un restaurant que vous aimez tant, c’était autrefois une école.

    Ce développement résidentiel, c’était autrefois un parc à bois.

    La ville d’Ottawa d’aujourd’hui n’est pas celle de nos parents, ni de nos grands-parents.

    Et la ville d’Ottawa de demain sera fort différente pour nos enfants et nos petits-enfants.

    Ottawa has been many different things since its inclusion in the British North America Act.

    The most recent iteration of Ottawa is a government town.

    But that too is changing.

    We are becoming something more than that.

    And being a government town comes with its advantages and its challenges.

    Because the government does not grow at a pace set by the market.

    That means the government buffers us from business cycles and market fluctuations – we can be sheltered during tough times.

    But at the same time, when business markets turn around, Ottawa doesn’t grow at the pace of other private-sector or commodity-driven local economies.

    And much of our private sector enterprises depend on the federal government as a customer and a client.
    Clearly, Ottawa’s economy has been very dependent on the federal government for jobs.

    So when job cuts are made – and government is downsized – we feel it.

    Ottawa feels it.

    Our residents feel it.

    Because a quarter of Ottawa’s workforce is in the public service sector.

    That’s one in four.

    One in four… of our family, friends, neighbours and customers.

    Sometime people forget that these cuts are more than just statistics.

    It means that the federal government worker – who had longed planned on retiring in the same public sector job – may not have that option anymore.

    He or she will need to explore something new.

    So our public servants have some important decisions to make with their families about what they will do next.

    How will they make ends meet?
    Who will they be tomorrow?

    City-wide, we have the similar decisions to make about what Ottawa will do next.

    How will we make ends meet?

    What will Ottawa be tomorrow?

    Will there be gaping holes where pieces of the public service used to be?

    Will Ottawa be a shadow of its former self?

    Or…

    Will we have the important conversations needed to get us on the right track?

    Will we make the bold choices required to help Ottawa reach its full potential?

    In this new federal government dynamic, we have the most to lose.

    But we also have the most to gain.

    The stakes are high, but the way forward is clear.

    We can no longer depend on the federal government to shelter us from storms or drive our economy.

    Instead, we will construct a new economic engine.

    An engine that is more diverse – that runs on more than just one industry.

    An engine that is grounded in our strengths, and helps us build in the areas where we have the most potential.

    We are taking our economic destiny in our own hands.

    By recognizing – and investing in – what makes Ottawa the best place to raise a family and start a business.

    Nous ne pouvons plus dépendre du gouvernement fédéral pour nous protéger contre les tempêtes ou pour faire prospérer notre économie.

    Au lieu de cela, nous allons construire un nouveau moteur économique…

    … un moteur plus diversifié, qui s’alimentera grâce à plusieurs secteurs d’activités…

    … un moteur qui s’inspirera de nos forces, un moteur qui nous aidera à développer les secteurs les plus prometteurs.

    Bref, il faut prendre en main notre destinée économique.

    Il faut déterminer ce qui fait d’Ottawa le meilleur endroit où élever une famille et démarrer une entreprise… et nous devons y investir.

    So what are our strengths?

    Let’s begin with tourism and culture.

    Some might think of Ottawa as a grey flannel suit sort of town – the city that fun forgot.

    But that’s unfounded when you consider that tourism is our region’s third largest industry and creator of jobs.

    No one goes on vacation to see bureaucrats in their natural habitat!

    They do it to experience something exciting – to create memories with their families – to feel a connection with a place.

    And Ottawa offers that in spades.

    People come from around the world to visit Ottawa because our city reflects what makes Canada the greatest country in the world.

    Our visitors come for Parliament Hill, our stately institutions, our museums, our parks.

    All testaments to our country’s proud history and limitless future.

    At the same time, they see the real Ottawa – our Ottawa – that shines out from the shadow of the peace tower.

    We are a city of festivals and artists.

    Of creators and innovators.

    Of braving minus 40 weather to skate on the canal – and plus 40 weather to head to the beach.

    We are big city amenities with small town charm.

    We are rural community fairs and downtown culture celebrations.

    Sometimes people ask me: “How can you go to so many community events every weekend?”

    My answer: How can you not?

    Every day I see more and more the reason why Jean Pigott promoted the idea that Ottawa is every Canadian’s second home town.

    Looking ahead, we will do everything we can to show that to Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

    And prepare Ottawa to host the world in 2017 – Canada’s 150th birthday.

    Just like Vancouver owned the 2010 Olympics, Quebec City owned its 400th Anniversary and Toronto will own the 2015 Pan-Am Games – Ottawa will own 2017.

    Nous préparons Ottawa à recevoir le monde entier, en 2017, à l’occasion du cent cinquantième anniversaire de notre pays.

    Tout comme Vancouver a eu les Jeux olympiques de 2010, tout comme Québec a célébré sien son quatre-centième anniversaire, tout comme Toronto aura les Jeux panaméricains, Ottawa sera la ville hôte officielle de l’année 2017.

    So what will we do to get us there?

    We will build momentum – and our reputation.

    We created a Major Events Office in partnership with Ottawa Tourism to aggressively attract sporting events and large conferences – and all the hotel and restaurant reservations that come along with them.

    Our strategy: Bid more, win more, host more.

    With our brand new Ottawa Convention Centre, and the CE Centre near the airport, it is clear we are a destination of choice.

    This year alone, we have hosted the NHL All Star Game and the JUNO Awards.

    In the next few years will bring the Women’s World Hockey Championships, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the Canadian Gymnastic Championships.

    In the pipeline we have a wide range of major prospects in areas of figure skating, rugby, basketball, karate and many others.

    All of this means tens of millions of dollars in economic activity.

    And the priceless imprint on the minds of our visitors of what Ottawa truly is: exciting, diverse and full of potential.

    All leading up to 2017.

    But like any good host – we are going to tidy up a bit before our guests arrive.

    And tidying up on a city scale means revitalizing our infrastructure.

    Because we want to make sure we have structures and facilities worthy of a G8 world capital.

    We are taking stock of our assets – building them up – to use them for our economic advantage.

    For example, our baseball stadium stands as a good representation of the state of some of our infrastructure.

    It’s an important purpose-built city asset that has been left in disrepair, but is still full of economic potential.

    We have a plan to revitalize the Ottawa Stadium and make it a family-friendly entertainment destination once again.
    We are close to a deal to bring an Eastern League Double A baseball team to the stadium.

    This means the return of professional baseball to Ottawa – in time for the 2014 season.

    Lansdowne Park is another example of where we will do some important heavy lifting.

    The site has a rich history with many memories, perfectly located on the side of the Rideau Canal – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    But over the years, as the buildings started to crumble, it became clear that Lansdowne Park wasn’t really a park anymore.

    It was a parking lot.

    With a steady hand, working together, we have put this project on the right path.

    And in 2014, we will see the return of a CFL franchise and a first-ever Ottawa North American Soccer League team to Lansdowne.

    The site will also see the amount of park space tripled from 6 to over 18 acres.

    Lansdowne Park will be a bustling place of activity.

    A complete community.

    With new retail and housing opportunities – connecting the communities of the Glebe and Old Ottawa South.

    It will be a meeting place of which Ottawa can truly be proud.

    We are also taking bold steps to improve our transportation network with our Ottawa on the Move program – now in its second year.

    We are investing $340 million dollars to fast track several infrastructure projects.

    This includes 200 kilometres of road resurfacing and 70 kilometres of bike lanes and paved road shoulders.

    Politicians love to break ground and cut ribbons on new buildings for the purposes of photo-ops.

    And I say that with a little experience!

    But reconstructing our existing roads, sidewalks, bike paths and sewers are sometimes even more important.

    These are assets in every sense of the word.

    We will get this work done now so we do not have to pay a higher price later.

    And in turn, Ottawa on the Move is creating the equivalent of more than 2,500 jobs over the three-year period.
    We’re doing all this while taking on the biggest city-building project in our city’s history – Light Rail Transit.

    From at Tunney’s Pasture in the west to Blair in the east – our 12.5 kilometre LRT line will break ground next year.

    This includes thirteen stations with a tunnel under downtown.

    This will save our cross-town commuters up to 15 minutes daily.

    That’s 2.5 days annually – more time to spend in the office, at the dinner table or with your kids at their soccer game.

    Much like when Colonel By constructed the Rideau Canal, this LRT project will fundamentally change the face of Ottawa as we know it.

    And it will keep our economy moving through lower costs for taxpayers and construction jobs throughout the process.

    To review, we will have world-class facilities and infrastructure, to benefit residents and attract tourists.

    This is important to maintain and grow Ottawa’s high quality of life.

    And this is directly linked to attracting new investments, new jobs, and new economic opportunities.

    Moving forward, these will be crucial for Ottawa’s new economic engine.
    And to support this, we are creating an economic development environment that is a global best-practice.

    We have rebranded and refocused our economic development agency as Invest Ottawa.

    In a new downtown location, we have co-located many entrepreneurial service agencies and stakeholders under one roof.

    We are helping entrepreneurs to access seasoned business veterans, technical experts, mentors, and peer networks.

    It’s an entrepreneurship ecosystem where our best and our brightest work together, feed off each other’s energy and think big.

    And in less than a year, we have enjoyed extraordinary successes.

    Invest Ottawa’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence have provided over 2,200 hours of consultation to more than 280 companies.

    50 of the available 70 business incubation/acceleration spaces are now occupied by companies from the Ottawa Young Entrepreneurs and Commercialization of Innovation portfolios.

    And 3,000 business consultations have been delivered by Entrepreneurship Centre consultants.

    50 des 70 espaces d’incubation/d’accélération d’entreprise sont actuellement occupés par des entreprises issues des Jeunes entrepreneurs d’Ottawa et du programme de commercialisation en innovation.

    Et plus de 3 000 consultations auprès d’entreprises ont été menées par le Centre d’entrepreneuriat.

    Des efforts spéciaux sont également déployés pour rejoindre les communautés francophones et les immigrants, à l’aide de documentation, de produits et à de services personnalisés.

    We are also building on the strengths of the small, but exciting, film and TV production sector in the city.

    The City has just finished an RFP process in partnership with Invest Ottawa.

    We are looking to shortlist the right partner, who will use the City’s seed funding of $1.5 million dollars to create a multi-purpose media facility.

    These are exciting developments here in the community, but we also know that Ottawa’s economic development future needs to have a global focus.

    We are helping set conditions for multinational strategic alliances in new business start-ups.

    On this front, Invest Ottawa has received investment delegations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Chile, Indonesia, and China.

    Alongside Invest Ottawa, the City of Ottawa’s own Economic Development and Innovation department continues to make great strides in foreign market development and investment attraction.

    It is helping to develop a “China Strategy” that will capitalize on business and investment opportunities and ensure that Ottawa undertakes a coordinated approach to reaching out to this important market.

    We have and must continue to capitalize on our sister city agreement we have with Bejing.

    We must also attract and retain talent.

    We want Ottawa to be the home to those who are the best in their fields – whether working, studying, researching or leading.

    Innovative people who want to roll up their sleeves and put their skills to work.

    That’s because we know that competition for talent will only increase in the coming years.

    We are working together with our post-secondary institutions to maximize opportunities for students and graduates to start businesses or to work with start-ups to overcome challenges.

    We must also let the world know that Ottawa is the most educated city in Canada – with the highest number of PhDs per capita of any city in our country.

    In North America, we’re second to only Boston.
    And to draw mobile talent to Ottawa – and to keep the best people here – we need to offer two things.

    One: A low-cost, high-quality standard of living

    And two: An environment where businesses want to grow and flourish.

    The City of Ottawa will continue along this path to support the business environment.

    We will continue to innovate in order to foster the best, most-competitive and compelling businesses.

    That will help to attract capital, and talent, and innovators – all which create a virtuous circle of prosperity.

    Working together with our City staff, our Deputy Mayor Eli El-Chantiry and our BIAs, all 18 Ottawa BIAs have now formed the “Ottawa Council of BIAs”.

    I consider this a major achievement for our business community, and I have confirmed to them, that I will work to ensure that they engaged early in the legislative process on matters that impact business in Ottawa.

    And to continue this progress – I’m pleased today to announce two exciting economic development initiatives that the City of Ottawa is leading.

    First – “Locate Ottawa”.

    This is a visual mapping tool that allows site selectors to zoom-in on a specific geographic location in Ottawa.

    From there, users can access a wide variety of information in order to determine if the location is the right choice for a business opportunity.

    This includes information on demographics, local workforce profile, consumer expenditures, and more.

    What makes this tool unique is that it lets users examine the city in a way that meets their needs.

    For site selectors, this means facilitating the process of identifying the right location for their business.

    For commercial real estate organizations, this means easily highlighting development opportunities to potential international investors.

    For example, a businessperson in Bejing can easily research potential locations and access precise data on the Ottawa market.

    This tool makes Ottawa more accessible to the world – and the world’s investors.

    A card with more information about this new tool, as well as contact details, will be handed out at the end of today’s event.

    Second – I’m pleased to announce our new “Capital Investment Track” program.

    Through this program, the City will select projects, investments or developments, based on their potential to create at least 100 – quality – well-paying – private sector jobs, to receive special attention from the Economic Development department.
    Under this program, we will assign an Economic Development staff person to work directly with the private sector project manager.

    And we will shepherd the project through City processes and requirements to get it underway and completed — at the speed of business.

    Planning, rezoning, waste water services, telecommunications, signage, permits – you name it.

    We will also help to navigate provincial and federal government agencies, ministries and programs.

    Our goal: Help get you from the drawing board to the marketplace before your competitors do.

    Your project becomes our priority.

    From start to finish.

    This means timely and customer-sensitive service for you.

    And it means economic prosperity for all Ottawa residents.

    This is something I committed to in the last election – and I’m pleased that the City is offering this innovative program.

    The Capital Investment Track program, and Locate Ottawa – are in addition to the progress we’re already making in tourism, economic development and building Ottawa for what it is going to be next.

    So that’s where we’re going.

    This is our new engine.

    The Ottawa you think you know.

    The government town.

    The grey flannel, red tape, kind of town.

    Is quickly becoming a much different place.

    A place to celebrate.

    A place to invest.

    A place to grow.

    As the federal government downsizes and the world keeps turning, we will not sit on our hands.
    Because Ottawa values the people and the businesses that will create economic prosperity for our great city.
    We not only need to influence – we need to be bolder than that – we need to lead.

    We cannot afford to take a backseat when it comes to influencing our economic future.

    We must say clearly and confidently:

    Ottawa… is open for business.

  • Budget 2013 continues progress, delivers lowest percentage change in six years

    Ottawa – Today City Council tabled Budget 2013, which controls costs, finds efficiencies, and makes important investments in infrastructure and services. Budget 2013 proposes a 2.09 per cent tax rate, which is the lowest in six years, and well below the 2.5 per cent cap committed to by City Council.

    “Budget 2013 reflects the priorities of Ottawa families and businesses by investing in the programs they depend on, while delivering services more efficiently,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “The third budget for this Council continues the progress that has been made in putting the City on sound financial footing.”

    The draft budget proposes that City Council continue its freeze on City recreation fees, and Mayor and Councillors’ office budgets, for the third year in a row. The City will reduce its workforce again this year, this time by 139 Full Time Equivalent positions. ServiceOttawa will see an additional $8.8 million in savings, providing citizens with more efficient ways to access permits, licenses and other services 24/7.

    Budget 2013 includes the second year of Ottawa on the Move, a program of strategic infrastructure investments in road, sidewalk, water, cycling and sewer projects to build a better city and create jobs, while helping prepare the city for Light Rail Transit. The program will also assist in the rehabilitation of aging structures in all areas of the city. Funds are proposed to design Clegg/5th Avenue pedestrian bridge, as well as continue the implementation of the East-West bikeway from Vanier to Westboro.

    “This budget continues to deliver on the priorities that were set by Council in previous years and demonstrates the commitment of City staff to continue to provide responsible financial management and respect for taxpayer dollars,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick.

    Budget 2013 includes a number of initiatives that respond to pre-budget feedback expressed by residents, while making progress on priorities established by Council.

    Highlights include:

     – $14 million of continued funding for Council’s poverty and homelessness initiative

     – $4.4 million of realigned and reallocated funding to offset changes in provincial priorities which will preserve the majority of benefits for the most vulnerable and low income residents

     – $5.5 million to increase the annual contribution to Capital Funding for infrastructure maintenance and renewal as recommended in the recently approved Long Range Financial Plan

     – $4.9 million to improve safety and mobility with new traffic control signals, intersection control measures, pedestrian countdown signals and the Pedestrian Facilities Program and Audible Signal Program

     – $500,000 for the Older Adult Plan coming out of last year’s Seniors Summit

     – $2 million for accessibility retrofit work to existing buildings and parks

     – $975,000 combined operating and capital funding to increase the forest cover and combat the Emerald Ash Borer, bringing total investment to $1.8 million

     – New and expanded parks and recreation facilities across the city

     – $1 million for the review of the Official Plan and Transportation Master Plan

     – $1 million, combined capital and operating funding for the Arts, Culture and Heritage Plan

     – 2 per cent increase for social service and health agencies, cultural, community and recreation funding

     – $2.5 million for ongoing environmental remediation and greening of the City fleet

    Budget documents are available at ottawa.ca/budget2013.

    The draft budget will be discussed at Council Standing Committee meetings and four public consultations this fall. For further information on the draft budget or details about these meetings and how residents can participate, visit ottawa.ca/budget2013.

  • Mayor’s 2013 Budget Address

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    Introduction

     

    Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of our election in 2010.

     

    Today, as we table our third budget, I want to start by thanking you for the incredible effort that each of you contributes to making Ottawa a great place to live, work and raise a family.

     

    Your input – each and every day – is an integral part of the annual budget creation effort.

     

    Your feedback to staff across the entire range of issues that you deal with is part and parcel of the daily operation of the City of Ottawa.

     

    Even if the answer cannot always be yes to your specific requests – your efforts and those of your own personal staff are valued and appreciated.

     

    I also want to thank City staff – from all departments – who have worked diligently to deliver the proposed budget for 2013.

     

    It meets the guidelines Council has set and, hopefully, addresses the everyday needs of our citizens.

     

    The Top Line

     

    We promised to rein in City revenue demands.

     

    As one of our first acts together, we set a realistic maximum annual tax revenue increase of 2.5%.

     

    We beat that target in each of our first two budgets and we will do even better for 2013.

     

    The budget being distributed to you now recommends a 2.09% urban and 1.98% rural tax rate.

     

    This is the lowest increase in six years.

     

    We will maintain our freeze on Parks and Recreation fees – a move that benefits the broadest possible number of our residents and their families and neighbourhoods.

     

    We will maintain our freeze on Councillor and Mayor’s office expenses.

     

    I also am pleased to note that the Ottawa Police Services, Transit Services, the Ottawa Public Library and Ottawa Public Health have once again constrained themselves within Council’s 2.5% maximum increase cap.

     

    In the 2013 budget, for the second year in a row, there will be an elimination of Full Time Equivalent positions – FTEs – within the operation of the City of Ottawa for a net savings of approximately $3.5 million.

     

    This budget sheds 139 FTEs as a result of operational reviews and attrition…last year it was 47.

     

    This type of change was mentioned by a number of people who wrote to me with their own ideas via e-mail tobudget2013@ottawa.ca that we opened up in August.

     

    One of our residents, a gentleman named Richard, probably summed it up best when he wrote: “I would advocate that when some of these people retire (or possibly leave to work elsewhere) their numbers would not always need to be fully replaced.”

     

    To Richard and other residents who wrote on the same issue…that is exactly what we are doing and we are heading in the right direction by thoroughly evaluating the “need” associated with every role at the City of Ottawa.

     

    This is a task that is necessary…though it is not easy and, as I have said in the past, we do add employees for brand new facilities that come into operation

     

    What Taxes Provide

     

    It is not easy because of the very nature of municipal government.

     

    I just want to take a moment here to make what I consider to be a very important point.

     

    Unlike the private sector, municipal government revenue does not come from selling software or cars or designer clothes.

     

    Our revenue comes from the dollars that we collect from our citizens and businesses.

     

    In return for those public funds it is our job to provide what our residents need and demand every single day.

     

    It is important to remember what we provide:

    – Roads to drive on and sidewalks to walk across the city.

    – Police services, fire services and paramedic services in minutes whenever needed, wherever needed.

    – Transit and Para-Transpo services that move, more than 200,000 people every day around our city.

    – More than 30 library facilities.

    – Support for Public Health, social services for those less fortunate and community housing for more than 32,000 people.

    – Snow removal in the winter, and garbage and recycling pick up every single day, year in and year out.

    – More than 1,000 parks and hundreds of recreation and community facilities.

    – Next to the air we breathe, water is the single most important need of human beings and the City of Ottawa has among the best supplies in the world.

    I could go on…but you get the idea…we provide a lot of service to our residents.

     

    And everything I have just mentioned is also something that benefits the private sector.

     

    Also, municipal taxes really are a good deal when compared to the much higher income tax dollars that flow to the provincial and federal levels of government.

     

    Think about that comparison for a moment.

     

    On an average assessment of $314,500 for an urban home in Ottawa the tax will be $3,283.

     

    That is a lot of money that is paid in return for all those services I have mentioned.

     

    But that amount of money pales by comparison to what a household pays in income tax to the federal and provincial governments.

     

    A household with $75,000 taxable income paid the other levels of government somewhere around $17,000 in 2012.

     

    At $50,000 the figure is approximately $9,000 and at $100,000 taxable income it is about $27,000.

     

    Municipal taxes provide what our residents need every day…and they are a good deal even when you take into account the transfers that we do get from other levels of government.

     

    Good Financial Shape

     

    And, unlike private business or other levels of government, we are not allowed to run a deficit at the municipal level.

     

    We provide all those services just mentioned… on a break even basis.

     

    Not only do we not have a deficit…but we are also in very good shape with our debt.

     

    According to the recent Long Range Financial Plan, at the end of 2011, the City owned capital assets that cost approximately $15 billion to purchase.

     

    With outstanding net debt of $1.4 billion that means roughly only 10% of the total cost was funded from debt.

     

    As our Treasurer noted in the Long Range Financial Plan, City issued debt is therefore equivalent to having a $30,000 mortgage on a $300,000 home.

     

    Of the $425 million issued in 2012, $200 million represents debt authorized by this Council, and this was all to advance the Ottawa on the Move program.

     

    Council has previously established an upper limit on debt repayments at 7.5% of City raised revenue and debt repayments in 2013 will be approximately 4.6% of City raised revenues.

     

    The City continues to have excellent credit ratings from our credit rating agencies – Moody’s Investors Service and Standard and Poor’s.

     

    The Treasurer tells us that for the most recent year available Ottawa has the second lowest total debt per capita ($1,537) and the second lowest tax supported debt per capita ($999) when compared to Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

    The City of Ottawa is in good financial shape.

    First Two Budgets: Setting the Course

     

    Our first two budgets set a course that we are following.

     

    Predictability and working together…piece by piece, step by step.

     

    In year one we added fire fighters and paramedics and we moved to stabilise transit funding, while moving ahead with LRT and Lansdowne.

     

    We invested $14 Million annually to help battle homelessness and poverty and we invested in our environment and cycling.

     

    In year two we focused on infrastructure renewal with Ottawa on the Move and added even more for cycling and accessibility improvements.

     

    We committed to new parks and investments in transit and transit equipment, like those new Double-Decker buses that have begun to roll across the city.

     

    However, the environment in which we find ourselves today is quite different from that which existed for our first two budgets as a team.

     

    The two other levels of government are working to get out of deficit positions and this invariably puts pressure on our municipal level.

     

    We will feel it in reduced program funding provincially and in job cuts federally that impact our local economy.

     

    Our two previous budgets have laid the groundwork for us to confront these challenges.

     

    Transit services are on a more sustainable financial footing.

     

    We wisely commenced our “made-in-Ottawa” infrastructure renewal program – Ottawa on the Move – last year.

     

    And, we have in place a four year labour agreement with ATU 279 that will see lower wage increases than the previous five year average.

     

    Similarly, new agreements with CUPE 503 mean lower wage increases than the prior three contract years.

     

    Getting the Job Done: Progress

     

    The 2013 budget is all about progress in getting the job done.

     

    We will invest $500,000 in our Older Adult Plan, which is the product of very broad public consultation and includes many suggestions from our very successful Seniors Summit.

     

    This Older Adult Plan represents an important step forward as we prepare for the coming demographic shifts that will see a doubling of the number of citizens over the age of 65 in the next two decades.

     

    Service Ottawa will continue to provide a return on its efforts – with projected savings of $8.8 Million in 2013.

     

    But, Service Ottawa is about more than just dollar savings.

     

    It is also about what citizens will see and experience.

     

    There will be:

    – New online service requests such as parking permits, building permits, pet licensing, fire permits, demolition permits, sign permits.

    – Up to 10 business licenses, permits and renewals online such as food premises, driving schools, snowplow operators, amusement businesses, public garages.

    – A new “My Ottawa Account” for residents to easily monitor their service requests, sign up for notifications, view water accounts, etc. in one place 24/7.

    – A new “My Business Account” allowing business owners to view their interactions with City services in one place 24/7.

    – A One-Payment System providing residents and businesses the convenience and option of a single transaction for multiple service purchases on-line.

    – An Older Adult Portal providing customized services for older adults.

    – More mobile devices to field workers, increasing productivity and improving service response times.

    We will fight Emerald Ash Borer and increase the forest cover with$975,000 of new funding to bring our annual commitment to more than $1.8 Million.

     

    We will continue the effort of environmental remediation with our Brownfield program and there will be an added $500,000 for the greening of our fleet.

     

    There will be $500,000 additional funding for Economic Development as we strive to maintain the prosperity that we all depend upon.

     

    We are proposing a $300,000 allocation to allow for the development of Community Design Plans associated with Light Rail Transit.

     

    We are proposing an investment of $4.9 million to improve safety and mobility with new traffic control signals, intersection control measures, pedestrian countdown signals and the Pedestrian Facilities Program and Audible Signal Program.

     

    We will move forward with $1.0 Million in funding for the Arts, Heritage and Culture Plan that was passed by Council in February of this year.

     

    This promised investment will provide increased operating funding to our many partners across the city and allow for some capital spending to proceed.

     

    Budget 2013 will provide 2% increases for social service and health agencies, cultural organisations and community and recreation funding.

     

    This budget also begins the effort to increase our contribution to Capital Funding as was recommended in the recently approved Long Range Financial Plan.

     

    In 2013 there will be an initial commitment of $4.5 Million for this purpose.

     

    Getting the Job Done: Managing Social Services

     

    We do have to deal with a dark cloud on the horizon of social service funding.

     

    We will provide additional city funding to offset cuts that result from a change in priorities at the Provincial level.

     

    This has not been an easy task to accomplish.

     

    Through realignment and reallocations we will provide $4.4 Million in expenditures to preserve the majority of benefits for our most vulnerable and lowest income residents.

     

    We will maintain the supports that were previously available as a Community Start Up Benefit – those supports that help people secure and retain housing..

     

    The City will continue to provide essential discretionary services to low income residents, however, the range of services will be reduced.

     

    We will also establish an emergency transition fund to deal with the most severe impacts that will assist with the transition to the changes in discretionary benefits.

     

    In spite of the changes, the City continues to demonstrate a significant commitment to supporting vulnerable and low income households with a commitment of $7.4 Million beyond provincial requirements.

     

    We are also maintaining Council’s commitment to the $14 Million investment in Housing and Homelessness Prevention initiatives

     

    And we are maintaining our Renewable Funding investment to social services agencies.

     

    Over the coming year, the City will work with our government and community partners to coordinate and integrate services to minimize the impact of these changes.

     

    We will also continue to press the Provincial government to reconsider some of the changes that they have implemented.

     

     

    Getting the Job Done: Progress Part 2

     

    Looking elsewhere, we are getting the job done with the opening of the Kanata North Recreation Facility next year.

     

    We will also open the François Dupuis pool in the east of Ottawa.

     

    We will be installing a much sought-after Crosswalk to provide greater safety and more convenience for residents and visitors to Villa Marconi and to the entire neighbourhood.

     

    We will be investing in the Cardinal Creek Park.

     

    And there will be more than $5 Million in additional growth investment in parks across the city – places like Vista Park, Shadow Ridge, Blackstone, Emerald Links, Kizell Pond Pathway, Longfields, West Point Village and Greely Village Centre – to name a few.

     

    We will help to reinvigorate the Lowertown neighbourhood with investment in Jules Morin Park.

     

    After years of wait we will see paving of the Hornet’s Nest parking lot in the east of Ottawa.

     

    We are opening the Chapman Mills community building.

     

    Wilfred Murray Park will see improvements in equipment and accessibility.

     

    We will be relocating the Karsh Masson Gallery into a refurbished and expanded facility and bringing it home to our very own City Hall.

     

    Getting the job done following the Planning Summit from last year we will continue to push improvements to our planning processes.

     

    We just recently provided updates on the Guaranteed Timelines Initiative, Zoning Team Consistency program, the Green Express Lane and the Better Neighbourhoods program.

     

    We will be getting on with the job on all these fronts in 2013.

     

    At the same time, as you know, there will be the review of the Official Plan and the Transportation Master Plan and we are providing $1 million in 2013 for these important updates.

     

    In 2013, we will add 16 new crossing guard locations with 8 coming on stream in January and the remaining 8 in place by next September.

     

    And, in the coming year, there will be an expansion of City’s Trim Road Yard facilities.

    Next year, construction is set begin on our Light Rail project.

     

    And, of equal and more immediate importance to residents in the east of Ottawa, work will commence on the vital and long overdue widening of the Queensway from Nicholas to the Split.

     

    The second year of Ottawa on the Move will see work done from one end of the city to the other and to note a few I mention…

     

    We will proceed with the rehabilitation of McIlraith Bridge as well as additional phases of Rideau Street, Bronson Ave, and Churchill Ave. reconstruction projects.

     

    The rehabilitation of Gladstone will commence and the sewer separation work in Rockliffe Park will continue.

     

    In the East, we will be resurfacing Watters Road.

     

    Ogilvie Road west of Aviation Parkway will see work.

     

    The same will happen on Southpark Drive and a portion of Bearbrook Road.

     

    Construction crews will also be at work on Des Epinettes Avenue, and Colonial Road.

     

    In the South of our city road work will occur on Tapiola, Crerar and Fallowfield from Cedarview to Greenbank.

     

    And there will be work on Walkley Road from Tawney to the CNR Overpass.

     

    Also there will be sidewalk renewal on the pathway between Antler and Dolan and on Fisher Avenue from Meadowlands to Appleby Private.

     

    Residents in the West will see resurfacing on Bayshore Drive from Richmond Road to Woodbridge Drive and on Woodroffe Avenue from Richmond Road to the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway.

     

    Sidewalks will be rehabilitated on McKitrick Drive between Rickey Place and Castlefrank, and there will be repairs in three sections of along the Ottawa Carleton Trail.

     

    In our expansive rural areas, there will be resurfacing work on the Galetta Side Road, Routhbourne Road and Flewellyn between Ashton Station and Munster.

     

    And there will be more of the same on Ottawa Street, King Street and Kilmaurs Side Road from Woodkilton to Dunrobin.

     

    Work on the West End Flood Investigation Action Plan remains ongoing with approximately $20 million in infrastructure improvements to be implemented in 2013 flowing from last year’s budget.

     

    2013 will also see us move ahead with cycling infrastructure improvements throughout the City as we continue with the implementation of the East-West bikeway.

     

    Bike routes are being implemented as part of the reconstruction of Churchill and we will move forward with two critical multi-use pathway links.

     

    One of these is along the O-Train Corridor west of Preston.

     

    The other, will fill a crucial gap along the Sawmill Creek pathway between Walkley Road and Brookfield to provide better connectivity to Hogs Back and the Canal Pathway system.

     

    The funding for this work is part of this Council’s $24 million commitment to cycling.

     

    As events have shown us, this important effort means much more than the actual dollars that this Council has committed to the task.

     

    It is about building a system that is accessible and safe for all.

     

    So that we can eliminate – to the very best of our ability – the potential of serious injury and the terrible tragedy of lives lost while cycling in our community.

     

    I hope that everyone will join in this effort.

     

    Of course, the Lansdowne revitalization will continue during 2013.

     

    You will recall comments at the time of our final approval of the project, just a couple of weeks ago, about the need to focus on transportation issues related to the project.

     

    Both the City Manager and I promised that we would not allow this concern to “fall off the table” just because final approval had been attained.

     

    There is no better way to show good faith in this regard than to take a concrete step in Budget 2013.

     

    To that end, this budget contains $2 Million for design work on the Clegg/5th Avenue Pedestrian Bridge.

     

    Hopefully, this design effort will provide all the information necessary to go to tender, with the most functional and most affordable plans possible.

     

    In any event, this vital new mobility link is moving forward.

     

    At the same time, in a similar vein, the final design work for the Donald/Somerset Bridge will be completed in 2013.

     

    As we implement these new mobility options we are making our City more liveable and giving people practical and convenient transportation options other than having to always rely on their car.

     

    And, at the same time, we are providing greater linkages to the coming rapid transit system

     

    It is not that far from new Lees LRT Station to the Clegg St. Bridge.

     

    And it is not that far from Donald/Somerset to the new Campus LRT Station.

     

    And, of course, the Donald/Somerset Bridge will be part of a multi-use system that includes the Coventry Bridge over the Queensway near the Ottawa Stadium links to the new LRT stop at the Train Station.

     

    The coming year will see the start of the biggest project in the history of our City – Light Rail.

     

    LRT bids are undergoing evaluation.

     

    Council will deal with this issue in the coming months so that shovels will be in the ground in 2013.

     

    It is a project that will remake our city for the future.

     

    It will help us to get buses off downtown streets and make movement easier for people and commerce.

     

    Clogged streets are something we all hear about on a regular basis. I heard it in budget e-mails.

     

    As our resident Brad wrote, “Traffic congestion continues to be one of the top concerns of Ottawa residents.”

     

    He is right.

     

    It is why LRT is so vital.

     

    It is also why this budget provides enhanced support to our traffic management systems to provide real time traveller information on traffic impacts resulting from construction, special events, collisions or unplanned incidents.

     

    And it is one of the reasons why this Council and the Transit Commission has already invested in an O-Train expansion of service that will see construction of new tracking next year and the arrival of new trains.

     

    This will allow us to effectively double O-Train service years ahead of schedule.

     

    On this, as in many areas, our Council has made a solid start on the items which we have identified as priorities.

     

    There are many items contained in Budget 2013 that will assist citizens in each and every Ward and each and every neighbourhood right across this wonderful city.

     

    Wrap Up

     

    As I conclude my remarks, I want to share with you what I heard from a resident named Diane from Vanier.

     

    She sent me a budget e-mail and wrote:

     

    I love where I live and I love Ottawa.  My priorities for Ottawa’s 2013 budget are:

    1- Library Services

    2- Public Transport

    3- Minimizing property tax increases

     

    Thank you for the input, Diane, and just so you can be sure…

    – We are providing an additional $1.4 Million in operating funding to our libraries and $360,000 of that will be for upgrades and expansion.

    – As a result of input from the Seniors Summit, there will be $500,000 for added transit hours of service in support of the Equity Lens Enhancements Initiative and $200,000 for added Para Transpo service.

    – And, to reiterate, this budget provides the lowest rate change in 6 years.

    Colleagues, I am proud of what we have accomplished together in our first two years.

     

    Like Diane, I have an abiding affection for Ottawa.

     

    It is an honour to serve.

     

    And, more than that, it is rewarding.

     

    I say thank you, again, for all of your efforts.

     

    I also say thank you for allowing me the opportunity to work with the City Manager in the creation of the Budget for 2013.

     

    This budget, I believe, is a document that keeps us moving forward with real progress for the people of Ottawa.

     

    We are, together, getting the job done and making progress we can all see and be proud of.

     

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Chris Henderson

    Mayor Jim Watson, with Kitchissippi Ward Councillor Katherine Hobbs, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Chris Henderson for his community service and outstanding contributions to environmental sustainability.

    Mr. Henderson is recognized for his inspirational leadership on a number of significant initiatives including his work as the Co-convenor of the celebrated 3i Summit on Environmental Sustainability, as Convenor of the Ottawa Strategic Circle Dinner, and Lead Organizer of 1000 Solar Rooftops.

    Chris Henderson is President of Lumos Energy and Founder of the Delphi Group, a Canadian strategic consultancy and solution provider specializing in the areas of climate change and corporate sustainability. He is also recognized as a City Builder for organizing a number of successful fundraisers including a luncheon to combat homelessness in Ottawa and a cocktail evening for a school in Kenya. He also finds time to volunteer in youth sports coaching, an activity that involves his two sons.

    Chris brings his many talents to a broad range of volunteer activities and contributes on many boards including the Community Foundation of Ottawa and Ottawa Sustainability Fund. His passion centres on environmental sustainability and many social issues and his accomplishments include increases in tree planting and renewable energy in Ottawa. Chris is most recognized for his range of skills and experiences and his incredible ability to inspire, mobilize and effectively deploy an incredible amount of volunteerism from others.

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  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Michael Hanna

    Mayor Jim Watson today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Michael Hanna for his outstanding generosity and community service.

    Mr. Hanna is a successful entrepreneur who immigrated to Ottawa from Lebanon in 1968 with little money and no English. He started work as a busboy and then waiter at the Skyline Hotel, learned English and set aside enough money to bring his family to Canada.

    In 1974, he was joined in Ottawa by two brothers and, in the next few years, by his parents and three remaining brothers. In 1977, the Hanna family founded the now-famous Gabriel’s Pizza on St. Joseph Blvd. in Orleans. They remain a proud, locally owned and family-operated business and show their thanks by giving back to the community.

    Teaming up with CHEZ 106, $13,500 was raised for operating rooms at CHEO over the past two years, with a goal this year of $10,000. Similarly, Gabriel’s under Mr. Hanna’s leadership, has partnered with A&W and Metroland Media Group to support the Ottawa Food Bank. Gabriel’s Pizza locations across Ottawa and Gatineau have raised more than $3,000 for the Food Bank.

    Through Mr. Hanna’s direction, Gabriel’s Pizza has provided valuable support to many local sports and charities, fundraising events and education programs either by donating pizza or by donating to fundraising campaigns. This has amounted to more than $40,000 per year over the past 5 years.

    September 26, 2012 – Mayor Jim Watson, with Knoxdale-Merivale Ward Councillor Keith Egli, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Gord Jenkins for his dedicated volunteer service in the community.

    Gord is Past President of the General Burns Community Association, which currently consists of 20 volunteers, each working to bring the community together. He is regarded as decisive, a great problem-solver and responsible for positively impacting the community by motivating the executive members of the General Burns Community Association to develop community-driven events.

    The General Burns Community Centre and its programs and services would not be so well-known and respected in the community without Gord’s efforts and energy. He has attracted volunteers with a diverse background in communications, finance, information technology, real estate and education and was responsible for a rededication ceremony by having a “General Burns Day” and for the creation of the {C} www.generalburns.ca website.

    Perhaps Gord’s most important accomplishment is the creation of the Knoxdale-Merivale Council, which brings together all the presidents of community associations in Ward 9 to share their ideas and discuss any concerns in the ward.

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