• Submissions now open for JUNOfest 2017

    JUNO Week’s two-night music festival invites Canadian artists from all genres to apply.

    TORONTO, ON — The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced today that artist submissions for JUNOfest, presented by CBCMusic.ca are now open. The annual musical festival will showcase performances by top Canadian acts in venues across Ottawa on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1 as part of JUNO Week 2017.

    Artists interested in participating in JUNOfest can apply between November 29, 2016 and January 27, 2017 at www.junofestsubmissions.ca.

    About JUNOfest:

    WHAT:

    • One of the signature events of JUNO Week, JUNOfest is a two-night music festival featuring 100+ artists playing on stages throughout Ottawa. The festival will feature live performances by regional and national artists representing the many genres that make up Canadian music, including local artists representing Ottawa’s diverse and vibrant music scene and 2017 JUNO Award nominees.
    • JUNOfest is open to Canadian artists only. A $20 application fee will apply.
    • JUNOfest will be produced by Shawn Scallen/spectrasonic.

    WHEN:

    JUNOfest will offer shows at more than 15 venues across Ottawa/Gatineau on Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1

    HISTORY:

    JUNOfest has showcased more than 1,000 artists and bands of all backgrounds and genres including: African Guitar Summit, Alexisonfire, Alex Cuba, Anvil, Arkells, Bedouin Soundclash, Billy Talent, Cancer Bats, Classified, Danny Fernandes, Deep Dark Woods, Divine Brown, D-Sisive, Doc Walker, Down with Webster, Elliott Brood, Elizabeth Shepherd, Feist, Fucked Up, The Gryphon Trio, Handsome Furs, Hey Rosetta!, Hollerado, Hot Panda, Jane Bunnett, Jim Cuddy, Jully Black, Julie Doiron, Kardinal Offishall, Karl Wolf, k-os, Kellylee Evans, KENmode, Lemon Bucket Orchestra, Little Miss Higgins, Marianas Trench, Matt Mays, Metric, Milk & Bone, MSTRKRFT, NQ Arbuckle, Plants and Animals, The Sadies, Said the Whale, Saint Alvia, Sam Roberts, Shad, The Sheepdogs, Shout Out Out Out Out, Silverstein, Sloan, Tanya Tagaq, Ten Second Epic, Thornley, Two Hours Traffic, The Wailin’ Jennys, Wintersleep, and hundreds more.
    Rich Aucoin at JUNOfest 2015 in Hamilton, Ontario. Photo credit: CARAS/Cameron MacDonald 2015

    The 46th annual JUNO Awards and JUNO Week will be held in Ottawa from March 27 through April 2, 2017.

    Website: www.junofestsubmissions.ca, www.junoawards.ca
    Twitter: @TheJUNOAwards
    Instagram: @TheJUNOAwards

    Click here to read the full release.

  • Debbie Heuchert receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    November 23, 2016 – Deputy Mayor Mark Taylor and West Carleton-March Ward Councillor Eli El-Chantiry presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Debbie Heuchert at today’s City Council meeting.

    Debbie volunteers in many areas of the community including coaching recreational soccer and helping to manage the Starlight Synchronized Skating Team. She sits on the executive boards of the West Carleton Minor Hockey Association and the West Carleton Skating Club where she takes on responsibilities above and beyond her duties. Such tasks include organizing team photos and apparel, extra training for program assistants, and helping on various committees within the organizations. For any special event like an ice show, test day, or tournament she is an invaluable asset in making sure things run smoothly.

    Debbie also volunteers much of her time with Huntley Centennial Public School. She organizes the Hot Lunch and Milk program, assists with the Back to School BBQ, and organizes the Christmas Bazaar, just to name a few.  Debbie is a fantastic baker and will spend countless hours in the kitchen making treats for fundraisers or special events throughout the year.

    Debbie demonstrates values that exemplify selfless generosity, support and extraordinary commitment to making our small community of Carp a better place to live, especially for our children.

  • Mayor Jim Watson’s statement on recent anti-Semitic acts in the City of Ottawa

    I am proud to serve as Mayor of a tolerant, progressive and inclusive community. Ottawa is a city of many diverse cultures and beliefs, all of which we embrace. I strongly condemn the actions of those who would seek to weaken our commitment to our shared values. And I strongly condemn this very hateful anti-Semitic act – it has no place in the city of Ottawa.

  • Tennis Canada selects Ottawa for Davis Cup by BNP Paribas First Round Play

    November 16, 2016 – Tennis Canada announced Wednesday that The Arena at TD Place at Lansdowne Park in Ottawa, Ontario will be the host site for the upcoming Davis Cup by BNP Paribas World Group first-round tie between Canada and Great Britain. The event will take place from February 3-5, 2017.

    “It’s been more than two decades since Davis Cup has been held in Ottawa and the timing is right now to bring it back,” said Gavin Ziv, vice-president, professional events, Tennis Canada. “Playing Great Britain in the nation’s capital during the Canada 150 celebration year presented a perfect opportunity and we could not be more excited about it. We are thrilled to be partnering with the City of Ottawa, Province of Ontario, Government of Canada and the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG) to make this event a huge success for the team and the many tennis fans in Ottawa who have been eager to see this event live.”

    Matches will be played on an indoor hard court and will be the first ever tennis event held at the venue. The last Davis Cup tie contested in Ottawa was more than 20 years ago when Canada defeated Jamaica 5-0 in a Group II zonal tie at the Ottawa Athletic Club in February 1994. The last time the Canadian Davis Cup team played in Ontario was a 5-0 victory over Dominican Republic at the Aviva Centre in Toronto in 2010.

    “We are thrilled to host this important Davis Cup tie at TD Place,” said Bernie Ashe, CEO of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), which manages TD Place and the surrounding Lansdowne entertainment district.  “The matchup between Great Britain and Canada is the marquee first-round tie for the competition. It’s a privilege to be able to present it to our Ottawa/Gatineau fans during Ottawa 2017 celebrations. Thanks to Tennis Canada for making it possible.”

    Canada will be competing in the elite 16-team World Group for a sixth straight year after defeating Chile 5-0 in the World Group play-offs in September. They were relegated to the play-off round after a 5-0 loss to France on the road in the first round in March. Canada has experienced tremendous Davis Cup success over the past few years, reaching the semifinals for the first time in the country’s history in 2013 and returning to the quarter-finals for a second time in 2015.

    Great Britain recently returned to Davis Cup glory, capturing the title for the first time in 79 years in 2015. Led by the world’s newest No. 1 player and three-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray in singles, and doubles world No. 4 Jamie Murray, the team also reached the semifinals this year, losing in September to Argentina 3-2 in a fifth and deciding rubber.

    Canada and Great Britain have only played once in the history of Davis Cup, with the Brits posting a 4-1 win in Bournemouth, England back in May 1967. As current defending champions, Great Britain is the No. 1 ranked Davis Cup country in the world and will be the seeded nation for this tie. Canada is currently ranked No. 12.

    “We are really excited to be making a long overdue return to Ottawa for Davis Cup,” said Canadian team captain Martin Laurendeau. “We are always at our best when we play at home in front of loud, patriotic crowds and that is exactly what we will need here to defeat a strong team from Great Britain. This will be the first time many of our guys will play in this city and we are really looking forward to introducing a new generation of tennis fans to the passion and excitement that is Davis Cup.”

    Laurendeau will select the four-man team to represent Canada at a later date. In 2016, Canada was represented in Davis Cup by five players – Vasek Pospisil, Frank Dancevic, Philip Bester, Adil Shamasdin and Denis Shapovalov. Due to various injury-related and personal reasons, Canada was without top singles player Milos Raonic and Davis Cup doubles stalwart Daniel Nestor for both ties in 2016. Both Nestor and Raonic have been committed team members in the past, with Raonic playing every year from 2010-2015 and Nestor only missing three ties in the last 15 seasons.

    The winner of this tie in February will move on to the World Group quarter-finals and will also be assured to keep their spot in the World Group for the following year. The losing nation will be forced to play a World Group play-off tie to keep their spot in the elite level for 2018.

    Davis Cup by BNP Paribas is the largest annual international team competition in sport with more than 135 nations competing on annual basis. Only 16 countries entered in Davis Cup competition qualify for the World Group each year.

    Tickets will go on sale to the public on November 25 and will be available online at TDPlace.ca, by phone at 1-877-489-2849 or in person at The Box Office at TD Place.

  • The party’s here and all of Canada’s invited!

    Ottawa students send postcards to friends and family across the country inviting them to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in the nation’s capital

    Ottawa – Ottawa area students have a message for their family and friends from coast to coast to coast: “Come celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary with us in 2017!”

    As part of a city-wide student postcard writing initiative, the Ottawa 2017 Bureau and Mayor Jim Watson, in collaboration with lead partner CIBC, are pleased to welcome Canada Post and the Canada Post Community Foundation as programming partners for Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations in the nation’s capital.

    In collaboration with Ottawa 2017, Canada Post has printed and delivered more than 45,000 postcards to Ottawa’s four local school boards: the Conseil des écoles publiques de l’est de l’Ontario, the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est, the Ottawa Carleton District School Board and the Ottawa Catholic School Board. A grant from the Canada Post Community Foundation will support mailing costs.

    Students from Grade 3 to 6, inclusively, will be receiving the postcards this month and, as an in-class project, they will be writing personalized messages inviting relatives and friends living elsewhere in Canada to take part in the celebrations in Ottawa next year.

    The postcards were designed by area students for the Ottawa 2017 Postcard Design Contest.

    QUOTES:

    “We’re proud to welcome Canada Post, a national corporation that’s been connecting Canadians for generations, as an Ottawa 2017 partner. This postcard initiative is a great way to engage young Canadians and build excitement for our country’s sesquicentennial celebrations,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

    “We are pleased to be part of this great initiative. We’re hoping to deliver these beautiful hand-written invitations from Ottawa students to Canadians right across the country,” said Susan Margles, Vice-President, Government Relations and Policy at Canada Post and a Trustee with the Canada Post Community Foundation.

    “The Ottawa 2017 program was developed to inspire Canadian youth and encourage them to get involved in the celebrations. With Canada Post’s valuable support, this is an additional way of engaging young citizens and inspiring them for the future,” said Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau.

    Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations will offer Canadians and visitors from around the world an exceptional and memorable year of high-caliber experiences while bringing a record number of visitors to Ottawa in 2017 to celebrate this important milestone for our country.

    Ottawa 2017 thanks its lead partner CIBC, premier partner Bell, the Government of Ontario (www.ontario.ca/150 #ontario150) and the Government of Canada (www.canada.ca/150 #canada150) for their contributions in helping to deliver twelve full months of bold events, immersive experiences and all-out celebrations.

    Photos for media use, courtesy Ottawa 2017: http://ow.ly/WntCV

    Stay informed on plans for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations in the capital. Visit ottawa2017.ca, follow us on Twitter @2017ottawa (#Ottawa2017) and on Facebook.

  • Responses to the Mayor’s Questionnaire for Ottawa-Vanier Candidates 2016

    Responses to the Mayor’s Questionnaire for Ottawa-Vanier Candidates have been organized alphabetically by each candidate’s last name who has responded.

    1. The city is embarking on an ambitious Light Rail Transit project, including Stage 2 that sends light rail further East, West and South. If elected, will you and your party support Stage 2?

    New Democratic Party of Ontario candidate Claude Bisson

    Yes
    Comments:

    My party and I believe that we should focus our efforts towards transit projects like the LRT expansion. It will help Ottawa’s economy, provide more transportation options around the city and ultimately reduce our carbon footprint. We also need to make sure transit options are affordable in order to ensure that Ottawa citizens can all have equal access to transit options in the city.

     

    Ontario Liberal Party candidate Nathalie Des Rosiers

    Yes
    Comments:

    I strongly support the expansion of the LRT. This project means that people in Ottawa-Vanier would spend less time in traffic and more time with their families. Continuing to improve transit for Ottawa-Vanier families is an issue I have raised throughout this campaign will continue to fight for.

    I am very proud to be running for the team that funded the first phase of the LRT and has already committed to funding the second phase of this important project. Unlike the Conservatives, the Ontario Liberal Party has never wavered in its support for building transit in Ottawa.

     

    Stop the New Sex-Ed Agenda candidate Elizabeth de Viel Castel

    Yes

     

    Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario candidate André Marin

    Comments:

    The Ontario PC Party believes that one of the province’s most pressing needs is infrastructure. Congestion, wait times and gridlock drag down our economy and our quality of life. Unfortunately this Liberal Government has been in power for 13 years and Ontario is still burdened by gridlock and insufficient transit. The Ontario PC Party supports Stage 2 of the City of Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit project. Should I have the honour of being elected as the MPP of Ottawa-Vanier, I will support this project on behalf of my constituents. Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown has also made it clear that if elected, an Ontario PC government would honour infrastructure projects that have shovels in the ground. Infrastructure projects must be started within the mandate a government is elected, and be delivered on time and on budget.

     

    Green Party of Ontario candidate Raphaël Morin

    Yes
    Comments:

    I believe transit and active transportation are essential for the health of our communities and economy.

    The Green Party of Ontario supports regional transit infrastructure renewal throughout the City of Ottawa, including funding for Stage 2 of the LRT.

    In addition, the Green Party of Ontario renews its call for all levels of government to work together to expedite the extension of the Trillium Line to the Ottawa International Airport.

     

    2. Truck traffic in the downtown core, particularly on Kind Edward, Rideau and Waller Streets, is often unsafe and takes away from the quality of life of residents and visitors. The city has approved a plan to conduct an EA on a proposed truck tunnel that would remove the majority of trucks from the downtown core. Will you and your party support 1/3 funding of the EA in this next fiscal year so that work can begin on the study next year?

    New Democratic Party of Ontario candidate Claude Bisson

    Yes
    Comments:

    Three cyclists recently lost their lives here in Ottawa because of all the heavy traffic that is currently using our roads in the downtown core. That’s three too many. We need to make our streets secure for everyone. We would definitely fund the environmental assessment, but any project moving forward will need proper public consultations so we can ensure that we build a consensus around the solutions that will be identified.

     

    Ontario Liberal Party candidate Nathalie Des Rosiers

    Yes
    Comments:

    Truck traffic continues to be an issue for families in this community. The time for action is now. I am very pleased to know that the Ontario Liberal government also recognizes the importance of this issue and has already provided $375,000 towards the initial feasibility study.

    If I have the honour of serving the people of Ottawa-Vanier as their MPP, I will work with the City of Ottawa on this next step, and further explore the feasibility of the tunnel by contributing 1/3 of the funding required for the EA.

     

    Stop the New Sex-Ed Agenda candidate Elizabeth de Viel Castel

    Yes

     

    Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario candidate André Marin

    Comments:

    The Ontario PC Party is open to evaluating every idea on its merits, particularly one that may help to make our streets safer and reduce congestion. We are also willing to work with our federal and municipal partners to come to solutions that are in the best interest of the province.

     

    Green Party of Ontario candidate Raphaël Morin

    No
    Comments:

    Removing trucks from our downtown streets is an important priority for our city.  It’s one of many long-term unaddressed infrastructure problems in the City of Ottawa.

    At this point the tunnel proposal has been limited to a technical feasibility study. Although the high level of public interest in understandable, it is too early in the process to consider it a done deal.

    We also need to acknowledge the existing commitments to other major infrastructure projects in the City of Ottawa. Phase II LRT expansion and the Ottawa River Action Plan must continue to be the top infrastructure priorities for Ottawa for the next 5 to 10 years.

    There must be a lot more community consultation before this proposal or any other proposal goes forward. Time after time, the residents of Ottawa-Vanier and their quality of life have been treated as an afterthought. The public deserves more clarity about all possible solutions. More study is needed, particularly on the roundabout proposed at Overbrook.

    Before investing $1.5 to $2 billion in a tunnel project, the community needs to have their say on other, lower cost options that could perhaps be implemented more rapidly. Instead, in effect, the tunnel project has been “floated as trial balloon.”  Unfortunately, we’ve already seen how divisive these issues can be, for example with the NCC’s earlier $1.2 billion Kettle Island bridge proposal. That is why broad and meaningful consultation with the affected communities is so important.

     

    3. Ottawa has seen an increase in the number of shootings in our city. Would you support providing ongoing sustainable funding for our Ottawa Police DART and Guns and Gangs teams to help combat this serious challenge?

    New Democratic Party of Ontario candidate Claude Bisson

    Comments:

    In my experience in the RCMP, I believe that only using repressive measures won’t make us successful. To reduce crime in Ottawa, we need a balanced approach that involves our communities, business leaders, and police officers. We have to offer our youth activities that will get them off the streets and only our community organizations can do that. We also have to address the root causes of such violence like poverty and access to education.

     

    Ontario Liberal Party candidate Nathalie Des Rosiers

    Yes
    Comments:

    Ontario Liberals have consistently increased funding to local police services in Ottawa as we believe that the best way to fight crime is to let local communities decide their own priorities.

    This past year the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Police Service received over $7 million support local community safety and well-being efforts, an increase of nearly $300,000 from the year before.

    According to the Crime Severity Index (a measure of violent crime) Ottawa has one of the lowest rates in Ontario. Of the 32 largest Census Metropolitan Areas in Canada, Ottawa ranks behind only Toronto and Barrie in Ontario, and is one of the 5 lowest in the country.

    We will continue to fund programs in Ottawa to ensure it remains one of the safest cities in the country.

    Through my work at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and as a long-time advocate, I know what important work our police do. I also know that policing is only part of the solution. If we truly want to address violence in our community, we must also focus on prevention. That’s why I’m proud to be part of a team that not only continues to increase funding to the Ottawa Police Service but also invests in programs for at risk youth and vulnerable communities.

     

    Stop the New Sex-Ed Agenda candidate Elizabeth de Viel Castel

    Yes

     

    Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario candidate André Marin

    Comments:

    As the candidate of Ottawa-Vanier, I have been busy knocking on doors and meeting with residents. What I’ve been hearing from the community – from families and businesses – is that people are worried and afraid. A record number of shootings this year is completely unacceptable in the city that I call home. Parents shouldn’t have to worry about whether their child will come home at the end of the day. While Ottawa’s police work extremely hard protecting our entire community we need to do more to support them and make the community safer. As a lifelong resident of Ottawa and the candidate for Ottawa-Vanier, I have a sincere desire to address this issue. That is why last month Ontario PC Leader Patrick Brown and I called upon the government to restore their shortsighted cuts to Ottawa’s DART program. We continue to hear from cops with anti-gang experience that the cuts to this unit have impacted their ability to prevent shootings. The province urgently needs to take action to get guns off our streets and build stronger, safer communities for Ottawa families. If this government won’t act, I would continue to advocate for the restoration of this funding as MPP, and an Ontario PC government commits to restoring this funding.

     

    Green Party of Ontario candidate Raphaël Morin

    Yes
    Comments:

    The Green Party of Ontario supports sustainable funding for all aspects of policing, including the DART and Guns and Gangs units.

    As a candidate for Ottawa-Vanier, I acknowledge that our community faces challenges regarding criminal organizations. To that end, I also support funding for diversion programs for youth, for addictions treatment centres and for harm-reduction facilities such as safe injection sites.

    It is also important to acknowledge the ongoing demands placed on the Ottawa Police Service related to the presence of the federal Parliament and the many diplomatic representatives in our city. Every time there is a major demonstration in our city, our police play an important role in protecting people and property while safeguarding our freedom of assembly. As an MPP, I would work with other levels of government to ensure stable funding in this regard.

     

    4. Will you and your party join with the Federal Government and the City of Ottawa in adding additional funding for affordable housing? If so, what kind of support do you envision?

    New Democratic Party of Ontario candidate Claude Bisson

    Yes
    Comments:

    We must ensure that all Ontarians have safe and affordable housing by building and repairing more affordable housing units. The government must stop downloading this crucial responsibility onto cash-strapped municipalities. We need to set attainable targets for increasing affordable housing for the people that need it the most, invest in new affordable housing and repair existing sub-standard housing. Ultimately, the Ontario NPD would develop an Ontario housing plan that includes inclusionary zoning and better tenants’ rights.

     

    Ontario Liberal Party candidate Nathalie Des Rosiers

    Yes
    Comments:

    Supporting people who are in need is one of the values that has guided me throughout my life and career. And one of the most essential supports is having a home.

    Having a place to call home is a foundation that leads to better health outcomes, improved access to services, more employment opportunities and stability.

    The Ontario Liberal Government currently funds and will continue to fund a number of affordable housing programs in Ottawa.

    For Ottawa specifically this includes but is not limited to;

    • $35.6M for the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative for Ottawa this past year
    • $48.2Mthrough the extension of the Investment in Affordable Housing for Ontario
    • $16.2M from the Social Infrastructure Fund for the Social Housing Improvement Program
    • $12M from the Green Investment Fund for the Social Housing Apartment Retrofit Program

    The Ontario Liberal Government has a strong track record of making investments in affordable housing in Ottawa and we will continue to make these important investments.

     

    Stop the New Sex-Ed Agenda candidate Elizabeth de Viel Castel

    Yes

     

    Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario candidate André Marin

    Comments:

    The Ontario PC Party is open to evaluating every idea on its merits. We are also willing to work with our federal and municipal partners to come to solutions that are in the best interest of the province. One issue we have seen continued provincial inaction on is affordable housing. This government has had 13 years to fix Ontario’s affordable housing waitlist, yet we now have over 171,000 families waiting for housing – the longest it’s ever been. It’s clear the current approach is not working. Liberal policies – from spiraling hydro rates, to high taxes, to increasing development charges on new homes and rentals – are making life more unaffordable for all Ontarians. What’s more, years of Liberal waste, scandal and mismanagement, including the irresponsible spending at Housing Services Corporation, have left this government unable to fund the services Ontarians depend on, such as health care and affordable housing. While this is an issue that requires all levels of government to work together, organizations such as the Home Builders and Rental Housing Providers have made suggestions to help reduce building costs that would also be worthwhile to consider.

     

    Green Party of Ontario candidate Raphaël Morin

    Yes
    Comments:

    The Green Party believes it is the right of every Canadian to have affordable, safe, and secure housing. It enhances people’s health, dignity, and life opportunities. It is an essential prerequisite to an equitable society. The Green Party supports the delivery of social housing dollars to provincial, territorial, and municipal governments through the traditional vehicle of the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

  • A national celebration in the making: Canadian history, culture and treasures on exhibit to the world in 2017

    Ottawa – The Ottawa 2017 Bureau and Mayor Jim Watson, in collaboration with lead partner CIBC, are pleased to welcome the family of national cultural institutions in the capital region as programming partners for Canada’s sesquicentennial celebrations.

    From cultural and social programming, to providing venue space, the following federal partners are supporting one or more Ottawa 2017 initiatives. Some examples are:

    Canada Agricultural Museum
    • Assisting in the development of Agri 150 events
    Canada Aviation and Space Museum
    • Hosting an outdoor Ignite 150 event
    • Providing set-up and rehearsal space for La Machine
    Canadian Museum of History
    • Hosting the Mayor’s reception for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference
    • Hosting the Stanley Cup® 125th Evening Gala
    Canadian Museum of Nature
    • Hosting a December 31, 2017, Nature New Year celebration
    • Hosting “Populace”, an Ottawa 2017 Arts, Culture and Heritage Investment Fund project
    Canada Science and Technology Museum
    • Presenting special exhibits related to Ottawa 2017 programming, such as the National Videogame Championships and Awards
    Canadian War Museum
    • Hosting an Ignite 150 event
    Library and Archives Canada (LAC)
    • Organizing and hosting the one-day conference “Ottawa: A Smart City in the 21st Century”
    • Curating archival images for a large-scale outdoor projection project on the LAC building, to coincide with the major exhibit “Canada: Who Do We Think We Are?”
    • Providing archival material for Ottawa 2017 programs
    National Arts Centre (NAC)
    • Under the Ignite 150 umbrella, NAC Orchestra Music Director Alexander Shelley will conduct 1,300 high school students from local schools in a massed bands concert at the Aberdeen Pavilion on March 24, 2017
    • Cross-programming Canadian artists at the Canada Scene Festival and at Inspiration Village
    National Gallery of Canada
    • Signature destination for La Machine and other events
    • Hosting tours for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities conference

    In addition to working together on the above mentioned projects and events (plus other exciting yet-to-be-announced activities!), Ottawa 2017 will assist in the promotion of federal events and exhibits taking place throughout the year. Highlights include:

    • May/June: the opening of the new Canadian and Indigenous Galleries at the National Gallery of Canada;
    • June: the opening of the Canadian Museum of Nature’s new permanent Arctic Gallery;
    • July: the unveiling of the National Arts Centre’s dramatic new façade;
    •  July: the opening of the new Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History;
    •  November: the re-opening of the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

    QUOTES

    “Ottawa, as our nation’s capital, has a concentration of institutions where we keep and preserve our national treasures. As we prepare to welcome millions of visitors for Canada’s 150th anniversary, we’re pleased to work with those who are the custodians of Canadian culture and history, to further enhance our collective public programming offer for 2017 and create lasting benefits for our tourism industry and local economy,” said Mayor Jim Watson.

    “The celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Confederation will make 2017 an exceptional year for residents and visitors in Canada’s Capital Region. The Government of Canada is proud to contribute to the success of Ottawa 2017 initiatives—including Ignite 150, which will offer participants a variety of unforgettable experiences. It’s an event you won’t want to miss!” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage.

    “From our inspiring Ontario150 sesquicentennial programs to Ottawa 2017’s exciting lineup of activities, the province is going to be alive with incredible cultural, community and celebratory events that all Ontarians and visitors can enjoy next year. What a tremendous way to honour our past, build for our future, and encourage pride and engagement with our capital city and across our beautiful province,” said the Honourable Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture & Sport.

    “As the proud co-host of the Ottawa 2017 celebrations, CIBC is pleased to invite Canadians across the country to explore the wealth of cultural and historical jewels that have helped shape our national identity,” said Monique Giroux, Vice-President, Sponsorship Marketing & Strategic Partnerships, CIBC.

    “After chairing the Federal Cultural Partners Committee for several years, I’m very proud to reconnect with all of them to have federal institutions benefit from the Ottawa 2017 celebrations as they showcase the best of Canadian culture to residents and visitors from around the world,” said Guy Laflamme, Executive Director of the Ottawa 2017 Bureau.

    Canada’s 150th anniversary celebrations will offer Canadians and visitors from around the world an exceptional and memorable year of high-caliber experiences while bringing a record number of visitors to Ottawa in 2017 to celebrate this important milestone for our country.

    Ottawa 2017 thanks its lead partner CIBC, premier partner Bell, the Government of Ontario (www.ontario.ca/150 #ontario150) and the Government of Canada (www.canada.ca/150 #canada150) for their contributions in helping to deliver twelve full months of bold events, immersive experiences and all-out celebrations.

    Photos for media use, courtesy Ottawa 2017: http://ow.ly/WntCV

    Stay informed on plans for Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations in the capital. Visit ottawa2017.ca, follow us on Twitter @2017ottawa (#Ottawa2017) and on Facebook.

  • Mayor Watson announces 2016 Order of Ottawa inductees and Brian Kilrea Award for Excellence in Coaching recipient

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson today announced the 15 residents who will be inducted into the Order of Ottawa this year, as well as the 2016 recipient of the Brian Kilrea Award for Excellence in Coaching.

    This year’s Order of Ottawa ceremony will take place at City Hall on November 17.

    “The Order of Ottawa honours remarkable residents for their service in both professional and civic-oriented endeavours,” said Mayor Watson. “It is a privilege to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of these influential people who enrich our city and have made a difference in the lives of others in our community.”

    Those who will be invested by Mayor Watson into the Order of Ottawa for 2016 are: Adrian Burns, Brian Coburn, Sister Louise Dunn, Clarence (Gus) Este, Abraham Feinstein, Harley Finkelstein, Dr. Nishith Goel, George Hanna, Tae Eun Lee, Gibson Patterson, Jacqueline Pelletier, Chris and Erin Phillips, Jim Robinson, David Smart and Mark Sutcliffe.

    Bill Malhotra was selected as a 2015 Order of Ottawa recipient however was unable to attend this ceremony. He will be honoured at the 2016 ceremony.

    John Medeiros will be presented with the Brian Kilrea Award for Excellence in Coaching, a City award that recognizes the contribution of an amateur coach who best exemplifies the qualities of leadership and commitment.

    The Order of Ottawa recognizes exceptional residents who have made a significant contribution in a professional capacity in many areas of city life, including arts and culture, business, community service, education, public service, labour, communications and media, science, medicine, sports and entertainment, or other fields of endeavour that benefit the residents of Ottawa.

    This prestigious civic award was established in 2012 by Mayor Watson and members of City Council. Recipients of the Order of Ottawa are chosen by a Selection Committee comprised of the Mayor, City Clerk and Solicitor, Chief of Police, Chief of Protocol, City Archivist, and the Chief Executive Officer of Library Services.

    For more information regarding the Order of Ottawa and the full biographies of the recipients, visit ottawa.ca.

     

     

     

    Abridged biographies of recipients

    Adrian Burns
    Ms. Burns has served as Chair of the National Arts Centre (NAC) Board of Trustees since December 2014 and has dedicated her career to Canadian broadcasting and the arts, education, corporate and public governance, and community development. She is deeply involved in the Ottawa community and has worked on a number of foundation boards.

    Brian Coburn
    Mr. Coburn has 30 years of diverse public sector and community service experience, including as Councillor and Mayor of Cumberland and as Member of Provincial Parliament for Ottawa-Orléans with various ministerial portfolios. He served on the Board of Governors for Algonquin College and continues to be active with community events and charitable organizations.

    Sister Louise Dunn, C.N.D.
    Sister Dunn co-founded Serenity Renewal for Families, a charitable organization opened in 1983 providing a wide range of educational and counselling services. She has accompanied countless individuals on their recovery journey and has helped thousands of individuals and families to live in a spirit of health, hope and self-awareness.

    Clarence (Gus) Este, CD
    Mr. Este is a Korean War Veteran who served 34 years with the Canadian Armed Forces and has worked with Veterans Affairs Canada to ensure that there is an oral history of his experience in the Canadian military and the Korean conflict. He has a long history and notable involvement with the Royal Canadian Legion and has made service to veterans his top priority.

    Abraham Feinstein, Q.C.
    Mr. Feinstein joined Soloway Wright in 1965 as a lawyer in their Real Estate and Development Law Group in Ottawa and has extensive experience in real estate financing, acquisitions and land development. He has lectured extensively in real estate law and is currently co-chair of the Fundraising Committee for the Law Library Renovation with the County of Carleton Law Association.

    Harley Finkelstein
    Mr. Finkelstein is a Canadian entrepreneur, lawyer and public speaker. He is best known as the Chief Operating Officer of Shopify, one of Canada’s most valuable technology companies, and one of the largest employers in Ottawa. He is on the Board of the C100, an organization that supports the Canadian technology community and is a bridge between Canada and the Silicon Valley.

    Dr. Nishith Goel
    Dr. Goel is the CEO of Cistel Technology, an IT company he founded in 1995 which has operations in Canada and the U.S. He is a veteran technology executive and a serial entrepreneur and has been an active member of the Ottawa community for the last thirty years having served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of Ottawa, the Queensway Carleton Hospital (QCH) Foundation and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Foundation.

    George Hanna
    Mr. Hanna was appointed President of Gabriel Pizza Franchise Corporation in 2003 and within five years had grown the company to  23 locations across the national capital area while creating hundreds of new jobs for Ottawa residents. He has strong bonds to the area and continually gives back to the community serving as Chair of the Board of Directors at St. Elias Cathedral, as well as the Chair of the Ottawa Lebanese Festival.

    Tae Eun Lee
    Grandmaster Tae Eun Lee opened Ottawa’s first Taekwondo School in 1977 and has shaped the lives of over 20,000 students over the last 39 years while developing affiliated schools and clubs across the region and in many other locations. He founded Canada’s national sport organization, Taekwondo Canada, and is the only internationally certified Grandmaster with the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) in Ottawa.

    (Note: Mr. Lee is unable to attend the 2016 Order of Ottawa ceremony, and will be honoured at the ceremony to be held in 2017)

    Bill Malhotra
    Mr. Malhotra is CEO, President and founder of Claridge Homes Group of Companies and employs over 750 staff He has strategically grown the company, and has now built over 8000 homes, 4300 condominiums, and five retirement homes totaling over 650 suites across the city, as well as the new luxury 200-room Andaz Ottawa Byward Market Hotel. Mr. Malhotra supports numerous charities and non-profit organizations in Ottawa including the Ottawa Hospital Foundation and other public institutions and helped to create the Malhotra Family Foundation.

    (Mr. Malhotra was selected as a 2015 Order of Ottawa recipient, however, was unable to attend this ceremony and will therefore be honoured at the 2016 ceremony)

    Gibson Patterson
    Mr. Patterson is known for various real estate initiatives having developed two family farms in the Hunt Club Road area into high-density housing developments and commercial properties. He owns three golf courses in the Ottawa area and is a founding member of the Ottawa-Carleton Plowing Association, and an active community supporter and long-time member of the Ottawa Rotary Club.

    Jacqueline Pelletier
    Ms. Pelletier has over 30 years of experience in government, as well as the voluntary and private sectors, specializing in strategic development and change management. She chaired the board of directors and fundraising for La Nouvelle Scène (LNS) from 1998 to 2001, and co-chaired the steering committee for the 2013-2016 Renewed Action Plan for Arts, Heritage and Culture in Ottawa.

    Chris and Erin Phillips
    Mr. and Mrs. Phillips are strong believers in giving back and investing in their community and have been part of the Candlelighters’ Childhood Cancer Support Program for the last 13 years as Honorary Chairs. Mr. Phillips was a member of the Ottawa Senators for his entire career, starting in 1997 and was the longest serving player in the Senators’ franchise history.

    Together, Mr. and Mrs. Phillips have given their time and resources to many charitable initiatives including the Snowsuit Fund, the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation, 24H of Tremblant, DIFD, and  Queensway Carleton Hospital for the Care Grows West Campaign.

    Jim Robinson
    Mr. Robinson was Race Director of the Ottawa Marathon from 1996 to 2013 and developed the event into a world-class marathon, attracting 48,000 participants. Ottawa Race Weekend’s growth has resulted in the annual generation of an estimated $28 million in economic activity for the City of Ottawa and the charitable impact from race weekend is estimated to be well over $6 million and growing for a number of local and national charities.

    David Smart
    Since taking over as head coach of the Carleton University Ravens men’s basketball team in 1999, Mr. Smart has turned the program into one of the most successful dynasties in Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) with a record 12 CIS team titles. He has numerous coaching awards including six Canadian University Coach of the Year Awards and he continues to help develop outstanding young men by instilling the values of hard work, team first, respectfulness, modesty and community spirit.

    Mark Sutcliffe
    Mr. Sutcliffe has been a writer, broadcaster, entrepreneur and volunteer for more than 30 years and has had a lifelong interest in the media and in helping his Ottawa hometown flourish as a place of opportunity, diversity and equality. He is a passionate volunteer and fundraiser, and has served on and chaired many community boards, including the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, Invest Ottawa, Algonquin College and United Way Ottawa.

    The Brian Kilrea Award for Excellence in Coaching

    John Medeiros
    Inspector Medeiros has played a leadership role creating and serving as a volunteer coach with an Ottawa Police Service Soccer Mentoring Program that brings at-risk children from grades three to six and police officers to the soccer pitch. He recruits and organizes other police officers to join, teaches rules and techniques, describes the responsibilities of being part of a team, the importance of each player’s role, attitudes, behaviours and their impact and affect on life and life choices.

    Inspector Medeiros is also an active participant and supporter of the Aboriginal Working Committee (AWC) since its inception in 2008, and led the effort to spearhead a soccer mentorship program that includes Aboriginal participation.

  • Gina LaPointe, CD receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    November 9th, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson, Orléans Ward Councillor Bob Monette and Cumberland Ward Councillor Stephen Blais presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Gina LaPointe at today’s City Council meeting.

    Gina LaPointe is the President of the Orléans Community Garden which currently hosts 70 plots for gardeners from the community. Since retiring as a military police officer in 2006, Gina has donated much of her time to the community garden and was elected President in November 2010. Since then, the garden has flourished with improvements that include the installation of two sheds for the gardeners, the installation of a solar panel pump system which was a first in the City of Ottawa, and most recently, the addition of beehives on the land, which is permitted due to its agricultural zoning. On top of her role and responsibilities with the garden, Gina is also a beekeeper and has been looking after the bees since their arrival.

    Gina’s passion for the community garden has been an inspiration to many in the community including local ward Councillor Bob Monette, who has been involved in this project since its inception. Having been a gardener for a number of years, Councillor Monette was proud to recognize Gina at his bi-annual Volunteer Recognition Evening in 2011.

    For the past three years, the Orléans Community Garden has opened its doors to members of the public as part of Ottawa Garden Day. This year, Gina was instrumental in having Mark Burleton, Head Gardener for the Governor General’s House, attend Garden Day which is an incredible accomplishment considering his limited amount of public appearances.

    The Orléans Community Garden was established to provide a community space for the residents of Orléans to grow local, organic produce and to promote gardening as a healthy and cost-effective activity while educating community members on the practice and benefits of gardening. . The Orléans Community Garden gives back to the community by donating fresh produce to the Ottawa Mission which is used to prepare healthy and delicious meals for their clients. The gardeners who chose to donate food leave it in one of the sheds and Gina then cleans every item donated and delivers it personally to the Ottawa Mission every Tuesday morning.

  • Budget 2017 Speech

    Budget 2017- An affordable and caring City

     

    Last June, Council directed that I work with our new City Manager, Steve Kanellakos, to deliver a budget that keeps the City on a path of fiscal prudence.

    I am pleased to report that we are bringing forward a balanced budget for  2017  – while also setting the table for a balanced budget in 2018.

    We have listened to residents through the budget consultation process and we have built that feedback into the draft 2017 Budget.

     

    What we heard so far is that residents want progress on a number of fronts, including:

    • An affordable City for all Ottawa residents;
    • A caring City that uses its assets and resources to help residents succeed;
    • A sustainable City – with a commitment to transit, and active mobility as central pillars of our current and future quality of life;
    • A city that is re-focused on strengthening the core municipal services that residents rely on;
    • A prosperous and vibrant City, where the arts, culture and festivals play a dynamic role in diversifying our region’s economy – particularly as we head into 2017; and
    • A City that has an investment plan for innovation and job creation.

     

    Although we are looking forward to continuing our ongoing discussions on the budget — I am pleased with the level of public consultation that has occurred to date.

    There have been six multi-ward, Councillor-led consultations, as well as two single-ward consultations, in September and October.

     

    To date, the City has received budget ideas and feedback from residents, key partners and stakeholders through a variety of ways, including the Councillor-led Budget consultations, the Budget planning tool available on ottawa.ca, the City’s social media channels, through 3-1-1 and via email at budget@ottawa.ca.

    As of November 3rd, there were 1419 visits to the budget planning tool, with 245 completed responses. My thanks to Councillor Tim Tierney for initiating this new public engagement tool.

    All of the feedback, from all of the channels, has been consolidated and reviewed in the development of the 2017 Draft Budget.

     

    There are a number of new initiatives in Budget 2017 that will strengthen our social safety net – investments that will help residents succeed tomorrow and for years to come.

    Over the course of the last two years, we have been part of a meaningful debate about the challenge of providing residents with a more affordable transit pass.

    Members of Council and the Transit Commission have listened to the calls for the City to fill this funding gap for residents falling through the existing support programs offered by OC Transpo.

    Today, I am pleased to announce that the City, working closely with the Chair of our Transit Commission Stephen Blais, will introduce a transit pass for residents with low incomes.

    The regular adult general pass will cost $113.75 in 2017.

     

    The new pass will cost $57 a month – a 50% discount from the cost of the adult monthly regular pass.

    This new pass will be called the EquiPass.

    A single person using the EquiPass will save $56 each month — or about $672 each year — leaving more money available for other basic necessities such as food, clothing and accommodations.

    A family of two using the EquiPass will save $112 each month, for an annual savings of $1,344.

    An estimated 4,700 transit users below the low-income cut off currently use a monthly pass and would be eligible for the EquiPass.

    OC Transpo will introduce the EquiPass beginning in April  2017 with implementation details coming early in the new year.

    This is the City’s largest one-time increase in financial support to residents living below the low income cut off for public transit in the City’s history.

    I strongly believe that this is a big step forward in building the type of City that we all want – a city that gives residents with low incomes the opportunity to benefit from public transit at a deeply discounted monthly fare.

     

    It will also create an even more affordable City for residents seeking employment, single parents, recent immigrants settling in Ottawa and for those residents temporarily out of work due to injury.

    And we are able to accomplish this — while maintaining existing prices for other transit customers and while keeping our 2% tax cap commitment.

    This year’s budget will include a $500,000 reserve to respond to demands that might outpace our budget projections.

    The new EquiPass will cost the City $2.2 million on an annual basis when fully implemented.

    The new pass will enable more residents to use our public transit system – and we are prepared to deal with this anticipated growth.

     

    As you may remember, earlier this year Council asked the province to contribute funding for the transit pass for residents with low incomes – and we will continue to seek provincial funding moving forward.

    However, due to the result of assessment growth beyond what was forecasted, we are in a position to jump start this program – and we will do this while continuing our efforts to encourage the province to help us provide an even deeper discount in the future.

    We are able to fund the new EquiPass without eliminating other supportive passes. For example, some have suggested getting rid of the seniors pass or increasing the price for adult fares – and I do not support these proposals at all. Our proposal doesn’t punish one group to help another.

    Budget 2017 also enacts Council’s decision to eliminate the Express Pass premiums effective January 1, 2017, for 28,000 transit customers.

     

    This will lead to a reduction in fares for many residents from Kanata, Barrhaven and Orleans who previously had to pay express pass premiums.

    I want to thank suburban councillors who advocated strongly on this issue in particular Stephen Blais, Allan Hubley, Bob Monette, Marianne Wilkinson,  Jan Harder and Michael Qaqish.

    I would like to now return to the important issue of better serving our transit customers as we prepare for the opening of the Confederation Line in 2018.

    We have heard from our rural and suburban Councillors that too many residents are finding it hard to commute to work or school because their peak hour buses are full.

    Budget 2017 does two things on this front.

    • In collaboration with the Government of Canada, we are acquiring 17 new buses to meet growth demands, at a cost of $18.4 million dollars.
    • And secondly, we will be protecting $1.75 million dollars in the base budget to provide approximately 950,000 new customer-trips each year.

    These new peak hour routes will serve the fast growing communities of:

    • Stittsville / Kanata South
    • Kanata North
    • Barrhaven South
    • Barrhaven and Riverside South
    • Leitrim, Findlay Creek, and Blossom Park
    • Lowertown and Sandy Hill
    • Rockcliffe Lands and
    • Orléans, Chapel Hill South and Avalon

    These investments will provide transit customers from growth areas with more options to get into and out of the downtown core more easily at peak hours.

    These new routes will start in late 2017 after we take delivery of our new buses and will lay the foundation for future growth in ridership for the Confederation Line and Stage 2 LRT.

    This expanded service will support the City’s investment in the Confederation Line by increasing capacity to get to and from the LRT from busy parts of the City.

    As we move to increase the number of buses and improve bus routes, we are also keeping a steady focus on our long-term affordability plan.

    Because of Council’s steadfast commitment to the Confederation Line and Stage2 LRT, both the Provincial and Federal Governments are investing with confidence in the future of transit in Ottawa.

    As a result of the funding from all three levels of government, Budget 2017 includes the important planning and design work needed to build Stage 2 LRT– a $90 million dollar investment – of which $67 million will be spent in 2017.

    Ottawa residents will be watching LRT come to life over the next few years.

     

    We are working hard to maintain the momentum to extend LRT – farther west to Bayshore and Algonquin College, farther east to Trim and farther South to Riverside South and Bowesville, with a link to our International Airport.

    We all know that a connected City will support our region’s economic success for generations to come.

    Stage 2 will enable us to expand Ottawa’s LRT network with more than 50 kilometres of rail.

    Budget 2017 also commits $3 million dollars to the Bayshore to Kanata LRT Environmental Assessment – a critical milestone in the future expansion of LRT farther west.

    I want to thank West end Councillors – including Councillors Taylor, Wilkinson, Hubley, Qadri and El-Chantiry for their strong advocacy. I would also like to thank Member of Parliament Karen McCrimmon for helping to secure the federal funding for this Environmental Assessment.

    We will also continue work on West Transitway Extension with $47 million in funding. It will give transit customers a better experience between Bayshore Station and Moodie Drive, thanks to new dedicated transit lanes, which will get buses out of mixed traffic.

    I want to thank all Members of Council for the tremendous teamwork that has allowed our City to make so much progress in such a short amount of time.

    We have accomplished more in 6 short years of LRT planning and construction than we ever dreamed possible.

    Thanks to this level of cooperation and commitment, we are able to speak with a renewed sense of purpose and confidence to our provincial and federal partners.

     

     

    But transit is only one piece of keeping our City moving and improving our quality of life.

    Budget 2017 also continues our Council’s strong support for active mobility.

    • It includes over $8 million of investments in cycling infrastructure through the Community Connectivity Program, the Transportation Master Plan, the Cycling Strategic Initiative and through investments in paved shoulders.

    This will add more than 38 km of cycling facilities to the City’s growing network.

    • Budget 2017 also includes $1.5 million to implement projects in the Pedestrian Plan.
    • Over $52 million for active mobility investments through the (Public Transit Infrastructure Fund); and,
    • $5 million for various sidewalk improvement projects across the city.

    When combined with funding from other levels of government – $73 million will be invested in cycling this Term of Council vs. $27 million in the last term.

     

    This represents a 270 per cent increase over the last Term of Council – something we can be very proud of.

    This partnership is allowing the City to advance a number of key cycling projects that will connect the existing cycling network to our public transit network.

    I wish to thank the many Councillors including Transportation Committee Chair Keith Egli and cycling advocates Catherine McKenney, Jeff Leiper, Mathieu Fleury, David Chernushenko and Tobi Nussbaum for their support.

    2017 will also see us break ground on the new $21 million dollar pedestrian and cycling bridge at Clegg Street.

    This project is possible thanks to a strong partnership with the Government of Canada and we are confident that the Province of Ontario will also commit to this project in the near future.

    My thanks to local Minister Catherine McKenna for her advocacy on this important community link and to Councillor David Chernushenko for his strong support of this bridge.

    The Clegg Street bridge will not only provide pedestrian and cycling connections to Lansdowne Park; it will also improve access to Hurdman and Lees Light Rail Transit Stations.

    The bridge will create an alternate crossing to the Bank Street Bridge, connect the downtown bike network to Old Ottawa East and Main Street and will improve access to the Old Ottawa South North-South Bikeway via Riverdale Avenue.

    I am pleased to report that Budget 2017 also heralds some very significant investments in the core  municipal services that matter most to residents.

    We have already heard from our Chair of Ottawa Police Services, Eli El-Chantiry, that Ottawa Police Services is adding 75 new police officers over three years – including 25 officers in 2017.

    Paramedic services will also see significant investments of 43 new front-line service providers between 2016 and 2018 – with Budget 2017 delivering 24 new paramedics in 2017.

     

    We anticipate that this will lead to improved response times – particularly in our rural and suburban wards.

    Through the consultation process, we also heard that winter maintenance is an important issue for residents.

    I am sure that you can all remember last winter as our public works staff grappled with extreme weather events that delivered one quarter of our total annual snow fall in just 18 hours.

    Ottawa spans more than 90km from west to east and has one of the largest municipal transportation networks in Canada.

    To meet this challenge, Budget 2017 delivers a $4.5 million dollar increase to the base budget for winter maintenance for a total increase of $9 million dollars over the last two years.

    Maintaining our roads is not only a quality of life issue for commuters and transit users, it is also critical to the long-term success of our economy.

    Budget 2017 also invests $23 million for upgrades to rural roads – allowing the City to repair or resurface over 110 kilometres of roads in 2017 in the rural area.

    This will include just over $2 million in matching funding by the Federal Government to provide facilities for safer cycling routes for rural residents.

    My thanks to the rural councillors, Scott Moffatt, Stephen Blais, Eli El-Chantiry and George Darouze for their advocacy.

    City-wide funding for tax supported assets, including roads, structures, buildings and parks, continues to increase in line with Council’s Comprehensive Asset Management direction from $79 million in 2015 to $97 million in 2016 and $104 million in 2017.‎

    There is also an additional $1 million top-up over the next two years to our Rural Road upgrades, allowing us to repair more roads in our four rural wards.

    In total, the City is forecasting that $1.1 billion will be spent on capital – or City building – projects in 2017. For every $1 billion invested in new infrastructure

    10 000 person years of employment, including 5,500 new jobs in the construction sector are created in the local economy.  This level of capital investment provides strong and immediate support to the local economy and will encourage growth, protect jobs, and improve household and business confidence.

    We also heard loud and clear from residents, including the tens of thousands of families who use our City’s Parks and recreation facilities on a weekly basis, that access to quality recreational facilities is viewed as a core municipal service.

     

    Budget 2017 increases the 4-year investment in parks and recreation capital renewal to $16.5 million, up from $6 million in the last Term of Council. My thanks to Councillor Riley Brockington for making sure this significant increase is included in the draft budget.

    There will also be funding for growth projects funded by development charges to improve facilities across the City, from the building of the Francois Dupuis Recreation Center, to the addition of new facilities including Canterbury Covered Outdoor Rink, the Greely Skateboard and BMX Park, and the Riverside South Recreation Complex.

     

    In our efforts to attract more visitors and business to our city post 2017, we will turn our attention to hosting major national and international events.
    This past spring I hosted a Tourism Summit, with Councillor Jean Cloutier, to look for opportunities to sustain our momentum in the years to come.

    Towards that end, Budget 2017 includes funding to support Ottawa’s bid to host the 2021 Canada Summer Games, spearheaded by our Sports Commissioner Jody Mitic.

    This could be our next 2017, and winning the Canada Summer Games would see us leverage funds from the Provincial and Federal governments to invest in our aging sports infrastructure while we get ready to host tens of thousands of visitors in July and August of 2021.

    I want to take a few moments to outline how Budget 2017 will help support the economic transformation of our City.

    More and more, Ottawa is being promoted for its quality of life; as a hub that’s attracting people who want to enjoy all that our City has to offer.

    Budget 2017 will invest in Canada’s 150th anniversary, allowing us to proudly celebrate the greatest City in the greatest Country.

    I don’t have to tell any of you that Ottawa really is the greatest city to raise a family, to work in, to invest in, or simply to visit.

    Next year, the world will be watching as we celebrate 2017, and these celebrations will bring lasting economic benefits to our city.

    With what we have planned, we are expecting a 20 per cent increase in tourism in 2017, which translates into an additional 1.75 million visitors.

    This influx will bring a significant boost for our local hospitality and retail sectors.

     

    For every dollar that Budget 2017 invests in our nation’s 150th anniversary, other partners are coming to the table with more than 4 matching dollars.

    I call that a pretty good deal for Ottawa taxpayers – one that will create jobs, fill hotel rooms and restaurants, and forever transform the way we see our City and ourselves.

    This investment is part of a bolder and more aggressive vision of how we see our City’s future – and a stronger vision of how we see ourselves.

    Ottawa is no longer the sleepy government town where restaurants in the core used to close shortly after dinner time.

    Instead, we have become a City where people are excited to visit – they linger to enjoy the vitality of our downtown core – because there are now so many interesting things to see and to do in Ottawa.

     

    For too many years, we accepted the notion that the Federal Government alone would drive our economic prosperity.

    There are tens of thousands of entrepreneurs and innovators who call Ottawa their home.

    In 2017, we officially open the Innovation Center – a showcase for our City’s best and brightest – creating the jobs of tomorrow today.

    Many are in high tech, many are in government and many are in the tourism and service sectors.

    And more still work in the increasingly dynamic arts, culture, heritage and festivals networks.

    Working with our partners at Ottawa 2017, we were able to create two special funds to help nurture and grow our local talent and events through these celebrations.

    In partnership with Ottawa 2017, $500,000 in funding will be provided for two new initiatives, the first $250,000 fund will support the long-term marketing and growth of our festivals, while the second $250,000 fund will support exciting arts, culture and heritage projects chosen by the community.

    We heard from the arts communities that they need our support and we listened.

     

    We are proud to partner with our local festivals and arts organizations to make 2017 even more memorable for our residents and visitors.

    There is no doubt that 2017 will be a tremendous year for our local artists and arts organizations.

    For over 30 years, local arts leader Peter Honeywell – along with thousands of artists and art enthusiasts – hoped and worked for a new municipal art gallery and a new hub for the local arts scene.

    In 2017, we will proudly witness the opening of the new Ottawa Art Gallery, which will be approximately three times the size of the existing space.

    Many of the City’s hidden gems, including the donated works of the Firestone collection, will be enjoyed by Ottawa residents and visitors alike when the new OAG opens in the fall of 2017.

    In the following year, we will open the redeveloped Arts Court facility, along with the new Black Box Theater – developed in partnership with the University of Ottawa.

    The OAG Expansion and Arts Court Redevelopment project represents a public-private investment of over $100 million.

     

    The public sector component, valued at $38.8M is funded by the City of Ottawa, the Province of Ontario, and other partners including the Ottawa Art Gallery and the University of Ottawa. The City is contributing $17.67M, drawn from the city-wide reserve fund.  The Province of Ontario has provided $7.3M in funding.

    It is my hope that shortly we will hear from the Government of Canada on our request for federal funding for the Arts Court project, which will allow us to advance this project even further.

    Because there is so much happening in Ottawa in 2017, a number of groups have shared their concerns that we don’t want 2018 to be a big “hangover year.”

    Of course, we won’t be able to replicate the excitement of 2017 – we may not see this level of excitement again in our lifetime.

    However, we can be smart about how we invest to maintain the momentum of our local arts and cultural organizations into 2018 and beyond.

    That is why I am pleased to announce that Budget 2017 will contribute $150,000 in base funding to launch the Arts Momentum Fund – aimed at ensuring that we continue to showcase and promote our region’s finest talent not only locally, but to the Province, to Canada and to the world for years to come.

    This fund will serve to bring out the best in Ottawa’s arts, culture, heritage and festivals.

    We are ready as a community to shine on the world stage.

    The Arts Momentum Fund will be adjudicated by local community leaders on the same model as our Ottawa 2017 partnership for funding arts, culture and heritage projects.

    Given the long-term nature of this goal, I am also proposing the same base investment of $150,000 in 2018 through this new Arts Momentum Fund.

    With Council’s support, the Arts Momentum Fund will mean a total of $300,000 annually in new base funding for the arts by the end of the 2018 fiscal year, an investment that will be rapidly recouped by increased tourism to Ottawa and increased economic activity in our City.

    This is in addition to the proposed increase of 1.5% or $145,000 in new base arts funding for 2017.

    So in addition to the Ottawa 2017 funding and the new Arts Momentum Funding, we will invest a record $11.2 million in on our arts and festivals programs this year.

     

    Under the leadership of the Chair of Ottawa Public Library, Councillor Tim Tierney, Budget 2017 also includes $2 million in funding to enable us to continue the important work of planning our new Central Library.

     

    In Ottawa, we work in concert with community agencies who are valued partners in the delivery of essential, basic services to residents in neighborhoods across our city.

    Although we are an affluent city, at some point in our lives – for many of us – accessing the most basic necessities can be a challenge.

    That is why we invest $22 million in community funding to 94 agencies that run hundreds of essential programs across the entire City – and this funding is leveraged by dollars from other sources, including investments from donors and other levels of government.

    Through the efforts of these agencies, the City also leverages over 23,000 community volunteers.

    Hundreds of thousands of residents are helped through these crucial community programs and services each year.

    We have heard from community service providers that a growing number of pressing needs of families and individuals are going unmet because of our city’s rapid growth.

    That’s why the 2017 draft budget includes an increase of $610K in new base funding for the 94 agencies that run these vital services. The $110K is to increase the inflationary provision from 1.5 to 2 per cent, and $500K to help funded agencies sustain services while dealing with growing needs and pressures.

     

    This additional funding will support people in need with things that many of us take for granted, such as a hot meal, laundry services or a hot shower, a safe place to get away from violence or simply for clothing like mittens, hats and scarves.

    This funding will also support agencies that deliver health care referrals, street outreach, counseling, employment services and mental health supports.

    This funding is complemented by our ongoing $16 million annual commitment towards the 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan, in addition to the Child Care modernization and social assistance reform.

     

    I want to thank in particular Councillor Mark Taylor, our special liaison for housing and homelessness, Councillor Michael Qaqish, our special liaison for refugees and Chair Diane Deans for their strong advocacy for these additional funds.

    Ottawa will also benefit from recent federal and provincial funding for housing.

    Specifically, Ottawa has received from the Federal and Provincial Government: $2.8 million from the homelessness Partnering Strategy; $16 million for Social Housing Repairs; $19 million for the Investment in Affordable Housing Program; $12 million through the Social Housing Apartment Retrofit Program; $3 million for the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative and almost $4 million for a Survivors of Domestic Violence Pilot.

    We will also be working to reduce youth homelessness through the provisions of rent supplements and unemployment supports.

    Just last week, the province of Ontario announced an additional $38 million for Ottawa through the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative in 2019-2020.

    Ottawa has demonstrated local leadership within the housing and homelessness sector, fostering strong partnerships, and implementing progressive initiatives.

    We are well positioned to leverage new funding opportunities that may be rolled out as part of the federal Phase Two Social Infrastructure Program.

    With Budget 2017 Ottawa will also be taking action on the Environment.

    The City of Ottawa has targets to reduce electricity consumption by 6% and natural gas by 15% by 2020.

    Towards that end, the City of Ottawa supports Energy Evolution, a community-led plan to transform Ottawa into a thriving city powered by clean energy.

    Energy Evolution includes more than 80 community partners such as the City of Ottawa, Hydro Ottawa, Enbridge, EcoDistrict, Ecology Ottawa, Museum of Science and Technology and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce.

    Energy Evolution – formally known as the Renewable Energy Strategy — is a Term of Council priority aimed at increasing energy conservation, energy efficiency, and supporting renewable energy in Ottawa – including solar and wind generation.

    Budget 2017 will provide $300,000 in strategic funding that will be used to build on existing stakeholder initiatives, and leverage provincial and federal climate change investments expected in 2017 and 2018.

    Examples of specific projects could include, but are not limited to:

    • Implementing a Heat Recovery Plan for City Hall that would draw excess heat from the data centre and Rink of Dreams and redirect it back into the building; and,
    • Piloting a community financing program for a complete energy retrofit of an Ottawa Community Housing multi-unit residential building.

    These are just a few examples of partnership opportunities that could be enabled through the Energy Evolution Strategy. Potential projects will be confirmed in a Progress Report to Environment Committee in early 2017 under the leadership of Councillor Chernushenko.

    The second major environmental initiative that will be funded through Budget 2017 is the Urban Forest Canopy Cover project.

     

    A healthy urban tree canopy not only helps to reduce the urban heat effect during our hot summer months, but it also absorbs odors and pollutant gases, and filters particulates out of the air we breathe.

    The Urban Forest Canopy Cover project will produce the tools necessary to guide decisions, and ultimately maximize investments in urban trees across the City.

    By protecting our tree monitoring and reporting, we can make more informed decisions to protect and expand our urban canopy cover.

    In 2017, the City has 125,000 new trees planned to take root, increasing the forest cover in urban, suburban and rural areas.

    These trees will also assist in replenishing areas that were ravaged by the Emerald Ash Borer.

    We will also be making a one-time contribution of $200,000 to the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Acquisition Fund.

    In addition, the City will mark 2017 with the 150 Maple Grove Project – planting a grove of 150 Canadian maple trees as a living legacy of our celebrations in every ward.

     

    Other investments include: the expansion of light rail transit projects; investments in Transportation Demand Management Strategy for employees in the National Capital Region; and of course, the continuation of sustainably-designed neighborhoods where residents have access to multiple transportation options including safe active transportation routes. Councillor Jan Harder should be commended for the excellent work she and her team have undertaken in Building Better Suburbs.

    Hydro Ottawa, our key partner in environmental initiative, is the largest municipally-owned producer of green power in the province of Ontario, generating enough renewable energy to power 62,000 homes annually.

    Through a partnership with Energy Ottawa, the LED street light conversion project will continue city-wide.

    This project will reduce the City’s electrical use for street lighting by 50% and will reduce our annual electricity costs.

    By the end of this project, up to 58,000 street lights will have been converted to LED.

    The Federal and Provincial governments have recently been making some exciting new investments in municipal infrastructure and services.

    In addition to the federal gas tax funds, both the federal and provincial governments have announced new program funding for transit, for water and wastewater and for housing.

    These funds enable the City to move forward on Council’s long-term plans and address some priority  needs.

    So far, Ottawa has received commitments for $311 million in new or enhanced transit projects, $115 million in water and wastewater projects, and $35 million in affordable and social housing projects – all of which must be substantially completed by the end of 2018.

    This is in addition to the June, 2016 commitment by the Province of over $1 billion for Stage 2 LRT and  for the Trim and Airport extensions.

     

    As you know, City Council nurtures ongoing, formal relationships with many community partners and stakeholder groups like the Alliance to End Homelessness, the Community Health and Resource Centres, the Council of the Arts, Arteast Ottawa and the Aboriginal Working Group, just to name a few.

    Our commitment to long-term planning and the strength of these ongoing partnerships has positioned Ottawa to respond quickly to the federal and provincial calls for projects.

     

    For the 2017-2018 horizon, federal and provincial funding is allowing much-needed public transit infrastructure to proceed ahead of schedule, including $1.5 million for new sidewalk links to improve connections with public transit, and another $3.5 million for sidewalk renewal across the city, $4.3 million for Multi-Use Pathway Renewal, $30 million for Transportation Demand Management and Bus detours during LRT construction, to name just a few.

    Budget 2017 shows what we can accomplish as a City when we work as a team and set clear goals.

    I am very proud of the balance we have achieved.

    I am proud of the degree of collaboration we have shown as a City team to develop this budget.

    This year, we have also witnessed a renewed sense of cooperation with stakeholders and other levels of government.

    By working together, we have been able to align mandates to leverage outcomes for residents and to invest in the social and physical infrastructure of our city.

    These investments have been designed to be inclusive for all residents.

    We challenged our City Manager – Steve Kanellakos – to deliver a balanced budget for the remainder of this term.

    The new management team and our very capable General Manager of Corporate Services and City Treasurer, Marian Simulik and Deputy Treasurer, Isabelle Jasmin, worked diligently  to find the funding for these important priorities.

    I want to thank you Steve, Marian, Isabelle and  your teams for your hard work and for the dozens of meetings we had on Budget 2017.

    I would be remiss not to take this opportunity to thank the entire team in Corporate Services for delivering this balanced budget.

    Steve – I want to personally thank you for your work and leadership in helping to balance the City’s books and for making what I know were tough decisions in an open and responsible way.

    You were able to find the required savings while impacting less than 1% of the City’s workforce.

    The work of your team has reset the foundation of our budget so that Council and the City can reinvest in the core city services that matter most to Ottawa residents.

    And you have followed Council’s guidance of delivering a balanced budget within the framework of a city-wide 2% tax cap.

    I want to take a few minutes to reflect on what this means to Ottawa residents.

    Striving to maintain an affordable City is not a slogan.

    Living within your means is a challenge for thousands of Ottawa residents on a daily basis.

    In Ottawa, there are 293,065 individuals or families that receive a municipal tax bill.

    I don’t know many that pay their taxes in two lump-sum payments…

    Most people pay their taxes in installments or as part of their mortgage payment.

    We all know that the City of Ottawa can’t control how much taxes increase from other levels of government or the rate of inflation – but the biggest element we have direct control over is property taxes.

    That is why I am very proud that this Council set and is honouring its 2% tax cap.

    I am proud that we are keeping our promise on taxes because there are tens of thousands of seniors living on fixed incomes in our City…

    And the last thing any of us want to hear about is a senior being  evicted from their home due to high property taxes.

    I am proud that we are keeping our 2% tax cap promise because there are thousands more – young homeowners just starting out – who are being hard hit by MPAC market value assessment that will already increase their taxes significantly. This is happening in many wards across Ottawa such as Kitchissippi, Rideau-Gouldbourn, Capital, Stittsville and Kanata North.

    In fact, the hardest hit ward is Kitchissippi, where the average MPAC increase is over 7%.

    Budget 2017 is proof that we can have an affordable City for all, while investing in the things that matter most to our residents.

     

    We are showing that we CAN and WILL balance the competing demands of being both an affordable city and a caring city.

    I want to thank all Members of Council who contributed ideas to the 2017 Budget process, including many great ideas from their residents.

    I also want to thank all Chairs and Committee members for their input to date and for the work ahead to facilitate their budget through their respective committees.

    Your leadership has been instrumental in getting us to this draft 2017 Budget.

    I want to remind all Councillors why I am so adamant at keeping our budget and our city affordable.

    Many Councillors in fact campaigned on keeping taxes at or below the rate of inflation.

    Inflation is now running at 1.3%.

    What I am proposing is a reasonable compromise between those who want no specific limit on taxes and those who want less than two per cent.

    I would like to close by thanking my own team in the Mayor’s Office for working closely with our City Manager on Budget 2017.

    Budgets have and will continue to be about setting priorities. It’s about being up front with constituents and not trying to be all things to all people.

    Budgets are about the kind of City we want to strive for – one that is thoughtful and progressive — and one that is affordable.

    I believe that Budget 2017 achieves these goals and I look forward to our ongoing public consultation and your input as we begin the budget process.

    Thank you

     

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