• Mayor’s City Builder Award – Bill Robinson

    Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Marianne Wilkinson presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Bill Robinson today, recognising his devotion to improving the lives of at-risk children and youth, and new Canadians, over the past 30 years.

    Mr. Robinson’s countless hours of volunteer work with the Michelle Heights Community House, the Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre, the Dave Smith Treatment Facility, Volunteer Ottawa, Rotary District 7040 and the Rotary Club of Nepean-Kanata have made a difference in the lives of new immigrants and the most vulnerable young people in our community.

    His focus in much of his volunteer work has been on promoting success in school and helping to provide the building blocks to secure job experience and build successful careers.

    As a Rotarian, he has worked on many community-service initiatives that have had a direct positive impact on Ottawa residents. He is currently a board member of the Ottawa Rotary Home, a respite care home for children and adults with complex disabilities. For the Caring and Sharing Exchange, he organizes the delivery of more than 300 Christmas hampers every December.

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  • Downtown truck tunnel study by Ontario and City starts

    Ottawa – The Government of Ontario and the City of Ottawa have finalized an agreement to study a possible tunnel to address the problem of heavy inter-provincial truck traffic in downtown Ottawa. The Honourable Steven Del Duca, Ontario Transportation Minister, signed the agreement providing 50 per cent of the funding towards the study and a preferred proponent has been chosen by the City of Ottawa to carry out the work.

    The Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa are equally cost-sharing a technical study that will cost approximately $750,000 and will take approximately 18 months to complete. The well-known international engineering consulting firm Parsons has been hired to undertake the study.

    “As our cities grow, we have a responsibility to find feasible solutions to keep people, goods and services moving,” said Minister Del Duca. “We are working with the City of Ottawa to reduce truck traffic downtown while keeping our economy moving forward.”

    ‘’I am committed to finding a real solution to the heavy truck problem in Ottawa; it has gone on for too long. What we need is a sustainable solution,” said Madeleine Meilleur, MPP for Ottawa-Vanier.  “The partnership between the Province and the City is one step closer to making this happen.”

    “This study is a step toward improving the quality of life for residents in Lowertown and Sandy Hill, said Mayor Jim Watson.  “I thank the Province of Ontario for helping to explore a potentially practical solution to a long-term problem in Ottawa.”

    “I am happy to see progress on a project that is critical to the residents of Rideau-Vanier,” said Rideau-Vanier Ward Councillor Mathieu Fleury. “I brought forward a motion last year to find a solution that will finally rid our downtown streets of interprovincial truck traffic.”

    In November 2013, City Council unanimously approved Ottawa’s Transportation Master Plan (TMP) which will serve as the blueprint for transportation investments throughout the City of Ottawa over the next 20 years. During this discussion, Council also approved initiating a feasibility study for a downtown tunnel that would establish an alternate connection between Highway 417 and the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge for trucks and vehicles that travel through the downtown area without stopping. If the study determines that such a project is feasible, there would be a subsequent environmental assessment study that would include extensive public consultation.

  • Premier Wynne, MP Galipeau and Mayor Watson tour progress of Confederation Line tunnel

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    Ottawa – Today, Premier Kathleen Wynne, Royal Galipeau, MP (Ottawa–Orléans) and Mayor Jim Watson toured the Confederation Line light rail transit (LRT) tunnel to witness the progress that has been made since mining began in October 2013.

    In the past ten months, the contractor, Rideau Transit Group, has excavated an equivalent of over 50 per cent of the tunnel volume, some 58,000 m3 (the equivalent of over 23 Olympic-sized pools) of the estimated 110,000 m3 total. The majority of the remainder of the tunnelling operation will focus on the excavation of three station caverns.

    The roadheaders Jawbreaker and Chewrocka are busy mining out Lyon and Parliament stations, respectively, and Crocodile Rouge should reach Rideau station to begin that mining operation by the end of the year. This project is on track and on budget and tunnel excavation is expected to be completed in the summer of 2016.

    “This public transit link will transform how we will move around Ottawa,” said Premier Wynne. “I am committed to promoting public transit and creating jobs across Ontario. This incredible project is proof of what we as a province can achieve.”

    “The Confederation Line is an important job-creating project that will make public transit faster, safer and more convenient for commuters in Ottawa,” said MP Galipeau. “It will bring tremendous benefits to our City and the local economy, including thousands of new jobs, and we are pleased to see such great progress on the tunnel portion of the project.”

    “Work on the Confederation Line tunnel began only ten months ago,” said Mayor Watson. “Since then we have dug more than 807 metres of tunnel and made progress on the caverns of the first two underground stations. There is a lot more to be done, but these are excellent results and I am grateful to all the work crews and the project management team for their exceptional performance.”

    The Confederation Line is a $2.1 billion project that is jointly funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa. The Government of Canada is contributing $600 million through the Building Canada Fund. The City of Ottawa will also allocate up to $161.5 million of its federal Gas Tax Fund transfers to this project. The Government of Ontario is contributing up to $600 million. In addition, the City of Ottawa will allocate $287 million of Provincial Gas Tax transfers to the capital infrastructure. The remaining project budget funds will come from development charge revenues and transit reserves.

    Rideau Transit Group has undertaken this first stage in Ottawa’s future rail network. The 12.5-kilometre electric light rail system replaces existing diesel powered buses, providing rapid transit between Blair Station in the east and Tunney’s Pasture in the west. The route includes 13 stations and a 2.5-kilometre tunnel that will alleviate congestion through the downtown core. For more information, visit ottawa.ca.

  • New signs announce Ottawa’s cycling and pedestrian-friendly status

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Peter Hume, Chair of the City’s Planning Committee, today unveiled new signs to promote Ottawa’s award-winning status as a cycling and pedestrian-friendly city.

    “We are proud of the work we have done to achieve award-winning status as a cycling and pedestrian-friendly city,” said Mayor Watson. “These new signs, posted underneath existing ‘Welcome to Ottawa’ (population) signs, will help inform visitors of our accomplishments as we welcome them to our city.”

    In 2013 the City of Ottawa received a silver-level designation as a walk-friendly city by WALK Friendly Ontario, the highest level ever awarded by this organization. Also in 2013, Ottawa became the first city in the province to receive the gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community Award by Share the Road Cycling Coalition.

    “The City continues to improve our infrastructure by incorporating comprehensive complete streets principles into the way we design and upgrade roadways and pathways,” said Chair Hume.”We are committed to continually improving mobility and safety for all travelers through best practices in design and engineering.”

    More than $28 million has been invested in cycling facilities in this term of Council, which has enabled several significant new cycling facilities and enhancements in all parts of the City, including the O-Train Pathway, rural Pathways, and the Laurier Segregated Bicycle Lanes. Additional projects are being implemented, including completion of the 12-kilometre East-West Bikeway, and cycle tracks on both Churchill Avenue and Main Street.

    The total investment into expansion of the cycling network included in the City’s Cycling Plan, approved by Council in November 2013, is estimated at $70 million over 18 years, with another $40 million provided for major cycling pedestrian structures.

    “When it comes to mobility and safety, Ottawa ranks high in engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning for cycling,” said Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee. “The City boasts hundreds of kilometres of bike lanes, paved shoulders and multi-use pathways, with new infrastructure being added all the time.”

    Today, Ottawa can boast of a growing network of cycling infrastructure and multi-use pathways that covers 700 kilometres around the city, with over 10,000 bike parking spaces, more than 1,500 ring-and-post racks, making it more convenient and comfortable to take all the events and attractions our great City has to offer by foot or by bike.

    In addition, City council in 2013 approved the new Ottawa Pedestrian Plan that provides detailed direction on how the City can become more pedestrian-friendly through affordable expansion of the pedestrian network, planning safety awareness and promotion, maintenance and co-operation with other governments.