• Mayor Watson proclaims Franco-Ontarian Day in Ottawa

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson proclaimed Franco-Ontarian Day in Ottawa at a ceremony this morning to mark the 38th anniversary of the first raising of this emblem of the Franco-Ontarian community. Franco-Ontarian Flags were raised at 10 City locations but remain at half-mast to commemorate the victims of last week’s tragic collision between a train and a bus.

    “The flag represents the spirit of Francophone culture in Ontario which has a rich history in Ottawa,” said Mayor Watson. “Proclaiming this special anniversary honours our city’s Francophone community and celebrates its heritage and joie de vivre.”

    In 2010 the provincial government proclaimed September 25 of each year as Franco-Ontarian Day to officially recognize the contribution of Ontario’s Francophone community to the cultural, historical, social, economic and political life of the province.

    The City of Ottawa is a proud partner of the newest Monument de la Francophonie at the University of Ottawa. The Franco-Ontarian Flag will also be raised at the following City locations in compliance with the current flag protocol:

     – Heritage Building entrance on Elgin Street

     – Orléans Client Service Centre, 255 Centrum Boulevard

     – Kanata Client Service Centre, 580 Terry Fox Drive

     – Ben Franklin Place Client Service Centre, 101 Centrepointe Drive

     – Ottawa Police Service headquarters, 474 Elgin Street

     – OC Transpo headquarters, 1500 St. Laurent Boulevard

     – By-law and Regulatory Services, 735 Industrial Avenue

     – Ottawa Paramedic Headquarters, 2465, Don Reid Drive (ceremony at 10 a.m.)

     – Ottawa Fire Services headquarters, 1445 Carling Avenue

     – Centre d’accueil Champlain (Champlain Long Term Care facility), 275 Perrier Avenue

    The Franco-Ontarian Flag was created in 1975 by Laurentian University history professor Gaétan Gervais, and first year political science student Michel Dupuis. It was officially recognized as the emblem of the Franco-Ontarian community in the Franco-Ontarian Emblem Act of 2001.

  • This morning's tragic accident

    As most Ottawa residents know by now, there has been a tragic collision between an OC Transpo bus and a VIA Rail train which occurred at around 8:50 this morning.

     

    Emergency personnel are on the scene and have reported some fatalities as well as a number of persons injured.

     

    We join with all Members of Council in expressing our deepest condolences to all those who are affected by this terrible tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones, have been injured or have loved ones who have been injured.

     

    A Family Reunification Centre has been opened by the Ottawa Police Service at the Nepean Sportsplex. Families looking for loved ones may also contact 311.

     

    The City’s Emergency Operations Centre has been activated and all available resources are being deployed to ensure that care is being provided to all persons involved at the scene.

     

    We have asked that City flags be immediately placed at half mast to signal the City of Ottawa’s sadness for the tragic loss of life.

     

    A number of agencies will be looking into what transpired this morning, including the Ottawa Police, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada and the Coroner, but our focus as a City today is to care for those families who have lost a loved one as well as ensure we provide the best possible care for those who have been injured and affected by the accident.

     

    Residents of Ottawa and City staff will be kept informed as developments unfold.

     

    Jim Watson                                               Diane Deans, Chair
    Mayor                                                       Transit Commission
  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Ms. Allison Dingle

    Mayor Jim Watson and Ward Councillor David Chernushenko, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Ms. Allison Dingle for her outstanding community service, aptitude for fundraising, and for her numerous contributions to the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra (OSO).

    Allison Dingle is described by those who know her as the “heart and soul” of the OSO working tirelessly behind the scenes. A member of the OSO Board of Directors since 1978 and Chair of the Fund Raising Committee since 1986, Allison has played an integral part in securing corporate sector sponsors, as well as public donors, ensuring that the orchestra continues to play a vital cultural role in our city promoting Canadian talent through employment of local and regional musicians, the engagement of Canadian soloists and regular inclusion of Canadian works.

    Allison also actively volunteers for the Centretown Emergency Food Centre, and has canvassed for over 20 years as an area captain for the Canadian Cancer Society. She also gives back to her Glebe community and is involved with the Centretown Churches Social Action Committee.

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  • Budget 2014 overview

    Taxes

    taxes_small_en

    – At the beginning of its term, Council passed a fiscal framework that would limit tax increases to no more than 2.5% annually. It has done better than this target for three consecutive budgets.

    – In the 2014 Budget, Council is aiming to do even better, with a tax increase of no more than 2% – the lowest in seven years.

    Savings and Spending

    Since the beginning of its term, this Council has:

    – Frozen recreation fees

    – Frozen the Mayor’s salary

    – Frozen the administrative budgets of the Mayor and Council

    – Reduced the City workforce in the last two budgets (the first time since amalgamation)

     – By o‹ffering more online options and finding eŒciencies through ServiceOttawa, the City saved more than $10 million in 2013

    – Council has also made targeted investments in community facilities and basic infrastructure renewal projects

    Debt

    – Ottawa has the lowest debt per capita of major Canadian cities and its excellent credit rating has not changed since this Council took offiŒce

    – Only 5.5% of the City-raised revenues are used to pay for principal and interest on debt – well below the 25% threshold mandated by the Province

    – This Council has put in place a plan to invest in long-neglected infrastructure improvements such as roads, sewers and sidewalks

    Budget timeline

     – Summer 2013: Mayor’s pre-budget consultation

     – October 23: Tabling of 2014 draft operating and capital budgets at Council

     – October 28 to November 25: Public consultations and committee meetings (full details available at ottawa.ca/budget2014 or by calling 3-1-1)

     – November 27: Council consideration of 2014 draft tax and rate supported budget

    What do you think?

    – How can the City save money?

    – How can the City better spend money?

    Let Mayor Jim Watson know what you think at budget2014@ottawa.ca or on Twitter using the hashtag #ottbudget
  • Letter to Environment Minister James Bradley – Sept. 6, 2013

    September 6, 2013

     

    The Honourable James Bradley
    Minister of the Environment
    Ferguson Block
    11th Floor
    77 Wellesley St W
    Toronto ON M7A2T5

     

    Dear Minister,

    I am sure that you would be aware of the importance of the West Carleton Landfill issue to residents of the City of Ottawa and to our City Council.

    This issue and the Environmental Assessment related to the proposal were under consideration by your Ministry and you for some time. In fact, as you know, the City of Ottawa had made a substantial submission to the Ministry regarding the EA, including a letter from me. You will recall that I also personally delivered to you a package containing the City of Ottawa questions, comments and requests regarding the Environmental Assessment for this project.

    Yesterday afternoon, via local Ottawa media, I first became aware that you had made your decision in this important matter. Please note that I learned of this through the local media. The same is true of other of my Council colleagues – Councillor Eli El-Chantiry and Councillor Shad Qadri – who are most directly affected by this decision.

    Similarly, no staff at the City of Ottawa received an advance, or at the very least simultaneous, notification that a decision had been made or was about to be released. Shortly after initial media reports, my office did receive a call from the proponent informing us that a decision had been made in their favour.

    Minister, I have since learned that the Order-in-Council confirming this decision was signed on August 28, 2013. This would indicate to me that there would have been sufficient time to properly notify all interested parties of the impending release of the decision and to do so in the same manner, at the same time, for all.

    I trust that the lack of respect displayed by the Ministry of the Environment in the handling of this decision will be addressed by your office on an urgent basis.

    Sincerely,

    Jim Watson
    Mayor
    City of Ottawa

     

    c.c.
    Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario
    Ottawa City Council
    Kent Kirkpatrick, City Manager, City of Ottawa

  • Mayor Watson to conduct budget consultation outreach sessions at local shopping centres

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson announced today that he will hold six “Mayor’s Budget Outreach” consultation sessions at shopping centres in all areas of the city in advance of the creation of Budget 2014. During every budget process, Mayor Watson welcomes suggestions from residents on how the City can make the best use of tax dollars. Residents will also be able to submit their ideas through an online chat, email and Twitter.

    “I hope that all residents will take the time to share their ideas for the upcoming City budget,” said Mayor Watson. “I am specifically interested in hearing ideas about how to save money, as well as where residents feel we should be focusing our efforts.”

    Date Time Location
    Wednesday, September 4 10:15 am to 12:15 p.m. Rideau Centre
    Thursday, September 5 noon to 1:30 p.m. St. Laurent Shopping Centre
    Friday, September 6 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Billings Bridge Shopping Centre
    Saturday, September 7 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Carlingwood Shopping Centre
    Sunday, September 8 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Bayshore Shopping Centre
    Tuesday, September 10 10:45 to 12:45 p.m. Place d’Orléans Shopping Centre

    Ongoing public input is important to the City of Ottawa budget process. For example, feedback received during a past budget consultation led to a $340-million infrastructure program to upgrade the City’s roads, sewers, sidewalks and other critical infrastructure.If you are not able to visit with the Mayor in person, he will also be holding a budget-focused online chat on his website www.jimwatsonottawa.ca on September 17 from noon to 1 p.m. Residents are also encouraged to submit budget ideas by email at budget2014@ottawa.ca or on Twitter using the hashtag #ottbudget, channels which have been open since mid-June.

    As per Council direction, Budget 2014 is being drafted with the goal of a tax increase of no more than 2 per cent, which would be the lowest in seven years.

    Residents will also be able to provide feedback during in-person consultations sessions and committee meetings after the budget is tabled on Wednesday, October 23.