• National Capital Commission Board

    April 11, 2016 was a historical day for the Mayor of Gatineau Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin and I as we signed the National Capital Commission (NCC) Declaration, which welcomes our participation on their Board on an ex-officio, non-voting basis. I’d also like to thank Minister Mélanie Joly for her warm welcome. My first NCC Board meeting will be on April 28, 2016.

  • State of the City Speech – 2016

    State of the City 2016

    A Year of Collaboration

    Good morning and Happy New Year.

    I hope everyone had a healthy and restful Christmas and holiday season.

    I also want to welcome those in the audience for joining us this morning.

    Colleagues…

    As I said in last year’s State of the City speech, 2015 was a Year of Momentum.

    And 2016 will be a Year of Collaboration – working together for an even better city.

    Before we look ahead, let’s review some of our accomplishments from the last 12 months.

    We broke ground on the revitalized Arts Court and expanded Ottawa Art Gallery.

    We began work on the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards.

    And we moved forward with LRT construction… on time and on budget.

    We also saw several community projects completed.

    We opened our 5th bridge in three years, the Adàwe Crossing over the Rideau River.

    We also opened the new Miracle League of Ottawa accessible baseball field.

    We also unveiled a full-size rendering of the Alstom Citadis Spirit train in the Aberdeen Pavilion.

    2015 was also big for our sports franchises.

    Baseball returned to the nation’s capital with the Ottawa Champions, in a refurbished RCGT Park.

    The Ottawa Fury FC came very close to capturing the NASL championship.

    And the Ottawa REDBLACKS made it to the Grey Cup game…

    Ottawa’s first Grey Cup appearance since another Trudeau was Prime Minister.

    I am proud that we have strengthened our local sports industry through projects like Lansdowne Park and the baseball stadium.

    Residents have rallied behind our new franchises.

    Last year we also hosted a number of major events, to the direct benefit of our local economy.

    2015 saw Ottawa host the FIFA Women’s World Cup at Lansdowne Park and the Canadian Little League Championships, in Barrhaven.

    These major events will prepare for an exciting calendar of activities that is still to come:

    • 2016 Brier
    • 2016 One Young World conference
    • The 2016 and 2017 Canadian Women’s Hockey League Championships
    • 2017 FCM and AMO Conferences
    • 2017 and 2018 Canadian Track and Field Championships
    • 2017 Roar of the Rings (Olympic trials)
    • 2017 Canadian Canoe and Kayak Championships
    • 2017 Juno Awards / 2017 : Les prix Juno
    • 2017 Red Bull Crashed Ice

    And, it remains my hope, we will be able to add the 2017 Grey Cup and an NHL Outdoor Game to that impressive list as well.

    A few years ago, we established our “bid more, win more, host more” tourism strategy.

    I am pleased that this plan has been such a huge success.

    I want to thank our 2017 Co-Chairs, Councillors Fleury and Cloutier…

    And our entire 2017 team, under the leadership of Guy Laflamme, for their impressive work to date.

    It probably feels like we have been talking about 2017 for quite some time.

    Some people have joked that they’re looking forward to 2018 even more because it means I will stop talking about 2017!

    Today, I am pleased to announce that the very first event of our 2017 calendar will be a New Year’s Levee at City Hall.

    We will gather as a community on January 1 to get the year started on the right note.

    From there, we will set off for the year and welcome the world.

    Colleagues, these major events are not just great for the economy and job creation.

    They are also important opportunities to showcase our city.

    A city that will become even stronger in the years ahead.

    I am ever more confident of this any time I sit down with a Minister or other elected officials from a senior level of government.

    When you look at what’s happening at the federal and provincial levels…

    You cannot help but get the sense that the stars are aligning in many ways.

    There’s a new sense of optimism.

    For quite some time, municipalities such as Ottawa have called for increased investment in community priorities:

    Housing, transit, community facilities…

    And, finally, it looks like we have all three levels of government agreeing on these issues.

    It presents us with a unique opportunity in the months and years ahead.

    For this reason and others…

    2016 will be a Year of Collaboration.

    Let me tell you how.

    This year we will host two important summits focused on the future of our local economy.

    You may recall that in the past we’ve hosted summits on topics such as youth and seniors, with very positive and meaningful results.

    I like these events.

    They bring together the right people at the right time.

    And they set multi-year goals for how we will be successful.

    We will host a Tourism Summit this spring.

    The purpose of this discussion will be to focus on long-term growth strategies for our third-largest industry.

    Yes, we have a solid game plan for 2017.

    That game plan has attracted millions in private-sector sponsorship to ensure we make it a year to remember.

    But we need to avoid a possible “2017 hangover” by being ready to build upon that success year-over-year.

    I have asked Councillor Jean Cloutier to be the Chair of this summit.

    At the event, we will be collaborating with our key partners…

    Such as Ottawa Tourism, major facility owners, sports franchises, and arts and festival groups.

    Let’s come up with some winning strategies to ensure we keep the momentum going.

    As for the second summit…

    In the fall, we will host a Summit on Education and the Economy.

    The reason for this is simple.

    Ottawa is blessed with one of the most educated workforces in the world.

    We are a knowledge-based economy.

    We’re often recognized as having the most creative and innovative entrepreneurs and workers in the country.

    Ottawa is home to more engineers, scientists and PhDs per capita than any other city in Canada.

    This is of course bolstered by our excellent colleges and universities – which are significant contributors to economic growth.

    When you look at all of this together: There’s a big opportunity here.

    Let’s sit down with these education leaders to talk about the future of our economy.

    I am pleased that Councillor Riley Brockington, a former school trustee, has accepted my invitation to Chair this summit.

    At the event we will be asking some important questions.

    How can we make the most of our new Innovation Centre?

    How can we better collaborate with researchers and skilled trades people to ensure we stay ahead of the curve?

    How can we attract and retain the best and brightest students and workers?

    These two summits were election commitments that I will be pleased to see move forward in 2016.

    Winners in the economy of tomorrow will depend upon those who know how to make connections and work together.

    We have seen some of that success when we’ve collaborated with our sister city Beijing.

    I have led several economic development missions to China during my time as Mayor…

    And each time we have come back with agreements and leads for our local businesses, in the millions of dollars.

    I am pleased to announce today that I will be leading another such trade mission in 2016.

    This time… to India.

    At over 1.2 billion people and a large middle class, India is an important market for our city to have a presence in.

    Ottawa’s business community has made it clear to me that they have the potential for significant growth in India.

    Further, the City of Ottawa also has growth potential as a major tourism destination.

    This delegation to India will be a first for our city.

    And I am pleased that there has already been a strong response to the mission among our business leaders.

    This delegation will feature companies like Ottawa’s EION Wireless.

    They are a local businesses looking to build on the high bandwidth and WiFi products they have already deployed for public and private sector clients in India.

    Representatives from EION are here today and they are joined in the gallery by members of our great Indo-Canadian community who are supportive of this important trade mission – thank you all for being here.

    That’s collaboration on a global scale.

    Now let’s look at collaboration on a community scale.

    This year, we will move forward with our Canada 150 Groves program.

    You may recall that this is one of our Strategic Initiatives and it will be a special project for 2017.

    As we celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday, there will be different ways we will leave a legacy for future generations.

    A Canada 150 Grove will be a grove of 150 maple trees in each of the 23 wards.

    These will be native Canadian sugar, red and silver maple trees.

    In 2016, staff will work with Members of Council to identify a suitable location in their ward.

    Then, we’ll plant the groves in spring and fall of 2017.

    It is my hope that we will collaborate with community associations, schools and other interested groups…

    As we pass along this gift to our community during Canada’s 150th.

    The Canada groves project is in addition to our collaboration with Ecology Ottawa and the one million tree campaign that Tree Ottawa has well underway.

    We will also work to make our communities even safer.

    The core of this effort will be the 25 new police officers we approved in the 2016 budget.

    Also… under the leadership of our Police and Crime Prevention Chairs, Councillors El-Chantiry and Qadri…

    We’ll continue our efforts with our gang exit strategy.

    We know that gun and gang violence will not be solved in one month or even one year.

    It’s a complex social issue that requires constant attention.

    But we will continue to show these young men and women that there are better options out there.

    2016 will also see the City begin to roll out the first of 20 new red light cameras that we’ll install before the end of the term.

    Every Member of Council knows that road safety is a top concern in neighbourhoods across the city.

    It’s also an issue that requires constant attention.

    We want to make sure that all of our road, path and sidewalk users feel safe.

    These new red light cameras will be another tool we can use to ensure our streets are safe for everyone.

    And they will complement the funds each Councillor has to implement traffic calming measures in their wards.

    Of course, some of the collaboration I’ve talked about is in addition to the important work being already done by our colleagues around this table.

    Let me give you some examples.

    I have admired the hands-on approach that Councillor Bob Monette has been using to drive economic development in Orléans.

    I took part in a very informative real estate tour of the east end where he brought realtors and other potential investors on a bus tour to see firsthand the available land and development sites.

    It’s the same tour that Councillor Monette has taken potential investors on many times.

    This is the sort of hands-on collaboration that will lead to real results for our local economy.

    I also want to give kudos to Councillor Jan Harder, Chair of our Planning Committee.

    She is collaborating on two related projects: Building Better Smarter Suburbs and the Infrastructure Standards Review.

    These are very important to the quality of life of our residents and financial sustainability of the City.

    Looking ahead, the Planning and Growth Management department has some important collaboration initiatives on its work plan.

    As a result, we will see stronger community and stakeholder engagement…

    And continued progress in improving the calibre of planning proposals in the months and years ahead.

    Let me give you another good example of a Councillor leading economic development.

    Councillor Allan Hubley raised the idea of allowing local businesses and entrepreneurs to pilot their technologies at City Hall.

    After all, with a significant number of employees and many lines of business…

    The City of Ottawa would be a perfect laboratory to test new products, technologies and ideas.

    This concept led to a new program in our Economic Development and Innovation department called the Innovation Pilot Program.

    To date, I am pleased to update you that the City has received nearly 50 applications.

    We have selected about 5 of them to pilot.

    The City will be announcing the successful participants in the next few weeks.

    I think you will be very impressed by the quality of the innovation and ideas of our local entrepreneurs.

    We’ll also be collaborating more on our efforts to sell surplus properties in 2016.

    These efforts will be led by Councillor Marianne Wilkinson, Chair of the Ottawa Community Lands Development Corporation.

    There are unneeded properties in many parts of our city.

    For example, on Randall Avenue in Alta Vista there is a site which used to house a water tower but has sat vacant since 2002.

    Finally, this past fall the site was put up for sale for $1.6M and has generated significant interest from the private sector.

    When they sit idle, these types of properties are a double-loss for us financially.

    We don’t receive the one-time revenue from the sale of the property.

    And we aren’t receiving the payment of any property taxes.

    We will aim to improve this situation in 2016.

    Also, since 2016 will be the Year of Collaboration – there’s no better example of collaboration than music.

    Councillor Jeff Leiper has accepted my invitation to be my representative on the local host committee for the 2017 Juno Awards.

    He is working hard with the Ottawa Music Industry Coalition to bring together members of our music community.

    When we host the Junos…

    We want to make sure everyone has the opportunity to take part in this important celebration of Canadian talent.

    The two co-chairs of our Juno local host committee are here with us today and I would like to thank them for accepting this role and for their hard work on this important celebration.

    We need to use this event to strengthen and grow our economy for years to come.

    Here’s another example.

    Councillor Mitic, our Sports Commissioner, has been working closely with Ottawa Tourism and our bid office to identify potential events we can bring to Ottawa.

    As you know, we don’t secure these events overnight.

    It often takes years of work.

    In 2016, he will lead exploratory efforts for a potential bid for the Canada Summer Games in 2021.

    The last Canada Summer Games in Sherbrooke in 2013 attracted over 16,000 visitors.

    It had a local economic impact of $165 million.

    If we decide to bid on and win this prestigious event…

    It would mean the potential to upgrade some of our aging sports facilities, alongside our federal and provincial partners.

    We look forward to considering a bid on this exciting event.

    As well, Councillor Qaqish has accepted my invitation to be the City of Ottawa’s special liaison on refugee resettlement.

    Councillor Qaqish will work and liaise with refugee settlement groups like Refugee613 and Ottawa Catholic Immigration Services.

    He will also work with staff to monitor the progress our new residents are making to integrate – especially after their first 12 months.

    And he will coordinate a community welcome celebration, and if necessary, fundraising to help with resettlement costs.

    It is hard to not be touched by the amazing support that we have seen in our community.

    To date, we have welcomed more than 500 refugees to Ottawa.

    Let me share one of my favourite stories.

    Two Sundays ago I was invited to a very special community event at McNabb Community Centre.

    The event was organized by former Vietnamese refugees who have since raised a generation of children in our beautiful city.

    The purpose of the event?

    To raise funds to support the sponsorship of Syrian refugees.

    To see the generosity once shown to these people come full circle many years later was truly a beautiful thing.

    And it’s one of many examples of Ottawa’s residents showing their compassion for their new neighbours:

    In Manotick, in Councillor Moffatt’s Ward, Mary Barr and her “Quilts 4 Kidz” program at the Manotick United Church are making blankets for newly arrived Syrian refugee children;

    In Old Ottawa South, barber Ali Sultan is offering free haircuts to refugees at his Opus Barbershop.

    These are stories that I am tremendously proud to see.

    Ottawa is putting its best foot forward.

    The refugees are now arriving… but we know that is only the first step.

    We need to make sure they have the opportunity to grow and participate as full members of our Ottawa family.

    I also want to thank Councillor David Chernushenko for his leadership on Lansdowne Park transportation issues.

    He has worked closely with the Glebe, Old Ottawa South, and the surrounding communities to ensure transportation to, from and within the site will continue to improve.

    According to a survey by the Glebe Community Association, a full 70% of respondents say they use Lansdowne either regularly or frequently.

    It is clear that Lansdowne is becoming a cornerstone of that great community.

    Colleagues, these are strong examples of the kind of collaboration we will continue to do in 2016.

    It is important to also recognize the past collaboration from which we have all benefited.

    Max Keeping was one of our city’s great collaborators.

    Whether as a father, friend or public figure, Max was a true bridge builder and brought people from all walks of life together.

    To recognize these contributions…

    I am announcing that I will be bringing forward a proposal to the commemorative naming committee to rename the new pedestrian and cycling bridge near Coventry Road, over the 417 as…

    The Max Keeping Bridge.

    The bridge links the wards of Councillors Nussbaum and Cloutier, and stands not far from the Cancer Survivors Park and CHEO.

    And, as you know, Max was a big supporter of baseball, and of course CHEO.

    This bridge serves RCGT Park and will soon serve thousands of people when the LRT station at Tremblay opens.

    I think this would be a perfect fit to recognize a man who gave so much to our community.

    I want to recognize the presence in the audience of several members of Max’s family who have taken time to join us today.

    I also want to announce a second recognition that will come forward in 2016.

    The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin is the longest serving Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in the history of our country.

    She is also the first woman to hold the post.

    The Chief Justice has been at the center of some of the most significant legal decisions in Canada’s history.

    I am delighted to tell you that… the Chief Justice has accepted my offer to receive the Key to the City.

    She will receive our highest civic honour at a ceremony on March 22 of this year.

    And she will do so as a role model, a leader and a nation-builder who deserves to be recognized by our city.

    Looking to the year ahead…

    There will be no bigger initiative in 2016 than work to expand light rail transit in the nation’s capital.

    Let’s not forget…

    Just five years ago Ottawa did not have a clear plan for light rail.

    Before that, it seemed like it may not ever happen.

    Fast forward to today.

    Several kilometres of rail have been installed.

    The downtown tunnel is nearing completion.

    And the trains are being assembled, as we speak.

    That’s progress of which we can be very proud.

    Now, how did we get here?

    We set a plan and we stuck to it.

    We were consistent.

    And as we did this, we built confidence in our vision for LRT.

    This plan and this confidence were crucial to gaining support from the public and our partners.

    All parties at all levels of government have lined up to support Stage 2 of LRT.

    In 2015, we saw two big milestones reached.

    We signed the historic 100-Day agreement with the NCC.

    This was due to the hard work of all parties, including the City’s representatives Councillors Taylor, Blais and Egli, as well as our City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick.

    The second milestone came with our unanimous approval of the Stage 2 project by City Council.

    This year we will continue to advance this important project.

    In 2016, we will collaborate with our federal and provincial partners to secure firm funding agreements.

    We will also make the case that the Trim Road and airport extensions should be included in this project.

    If we can secure funding commitments this year…

    We can expect to move into procurement in late 2016 or early 2017.

    Working together, we will expand the benefits of LRT across our city.

    The project will bring rail as far west as Bayshore Shopping Centre, as far east as Place d’Orléans, and as far south as Riverside South.

    When we open the Confederation Line in 2018…

    We want to turn around and pick up the shovel to break ground on Stage 2 of the LRT project.

    Stage 2 will bring close to 70 percent of the city’s population within five kilometres of rail by 2023.

    LRT is the single most important step we can take as a community to enhance our quality of life for generations to come.

    Of course, our investments in light rail transit are enhanced by how we’re also building other active transportation infrastructure.

    We’ll break ground on the first part of the O’Connor Bike Lanes this year.

    This will serve as a north-south complement to the highly successful Laurier Bike Lanes – over 1.7M trips and counting.

    We’ll also begin to install bike lanes on Mackenzie Avenue near the U.S. Embassy – in partnership with the Embassy and the NCC.

    Looking in the west end…

    We’ll move forward with construction on the Bayshore-Moodie Transitway extension in 2016.

    This will be an important transit improvement for residents travelling to and from the west end.

    You will recall that this is a 100% municipally-funded project because we did not want to wait to improve transit for Kanata residents.

    We will also advance design work on a Fifth-Clegg pedestrian and cycling bridge.

    This connection has been needed for quite some time.

    This is now even more so due to the success of the revitalized Lansdowne Park.

    It is my hope that we will be able to secure a funding agreement with upper levels of government this year or next.

    Doing so would build upon the already historic investments we’ve made in transit and active transportation in recent years.

    These are the biggest contributions we can make to fighting climate change and protecting our environment.

    Speaking of which…

    In 2016, we’ll move forward on our top environmental priority with the Ottawa River Action Plan.

    We’ll break ground on the final portion of the project: the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel.

    When commissioned, this project will mean we will pass along the gift of a clean Ottawa River to the next generation.

    Also in 2016…

    We can also be excited by the steps we’ll take towards a new main library branch.

    Last year, the Ottawa Public Library released a Request for Expression of Interest for a new main facility.

    The reaction in the market and in the community was more positive than we could have ever imagined.

    Library and Archives Canada stepped forward as a potential partner.

    We have also learned yesterday that the proponents for the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats are also interested in our project.

    This is very promising.

    Under the leadership of Councillor Tim Tierney, Chair of the Ottawa Public Library board…

    We will continue to engage with the community and potential partners to make this dream a reality.

    It is my expectation that the new main library will be a truly regional facility enjoyed by residents from all parts of our city.

    It is my hope that we will be able to break ground on this new facility before the end of our term in 2018.

    We also expect to open the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards before the end of this year.

    There is no more perfect example of collaboration than this amazing facility, which will be the new home of Invest Ottawa.

    Ottawa has been recognized as the most business-friendly mid-sized city in the western hemisphere by the Financial Times.

    We’re seeing jobs and investment return to Ottawa.

    But we need to make sure that entrepreneurs and other business owners have the support they need.

    The Innovation Centre will be a one-stop shop for anyone with an idea they want to take from the drawing board to the marketplace.

    We want our businesses to launch, grow, and thrive.

    And, of course, this facility will come at just the right moment.

    Because everything we do should be looked at in front of the backdrop of the economy.

    We remain in challenging economic times.

    Locally, growth is down.

    The dollar is weak.

    Families are also seeing their personal investments, pensions funds, and savings decline in value with changes in the market.

    We must continue to stay true to our principles:

    • Keeping taxes affordable.
    • Protecting the most vulnerable.
    • Investing in community infrastructure.
    • Supporting job creators.

    When you are faced with tough times, you have two paths to take.

    One path you may have heard chatter about in the pages of certain newspapers recently.

    It’s the path of cynicism.

    Of those who are disappointed in themselves and their surroundings.

    It’s the path of grumbling.

    No matter how historic the investments we’re making.

    Or how many awards the city receives about quality of life… or business friendliness… or sustainability.

    It will never quite be good enough.

    I prefer to take the other path.

    The path that looks forward.

    That recognizes we will never leapfrog cobblestone cities that are hundreds of years older than us.

    Instead, we will focus on ensuring a high quality of life.

    On protecting our most vulnerable.

    On cutting commute times.

    On cleaning our water and air.

    That’s the path on which we should be focused.

    I will borrow a phrase from Bruce Lazenby, head of Invest Ottawa when I say:

    City BUILDING will always beat city BASHING.

    We all love this city.

    And we will do everything we can to make it an even better place to raise a family and grow a business.

    As we resolve ourselves for 2016…

    As we get ready to host the world in 2017…

    Let us take this path of optimism.

    The path of pride.

    The path to building the best city in the most blessed country in the world.

    Thank you.

  • Budget 2016

    2016 promises to be a big year in our city and before embarking on a year of important work to build a better Ottawa, I wanted to take a look back on the year we have just left behind.

    October of 2015 brought with it Council’s one year anniversary since our election as well as the 5 year anniversary since my election as Mayor in 2010. Your continued support remains an honour which I never take for granted and I am committed to working hard to maintain your trust moving forward.

    One of our guiding principles as a Council this past year – as it has been in the 4 that preceded it-  is to find the balance between being prudent with taxpayers dollars in the present while making the necessary investments to ensure our city’s enduring prosperity. This means being rigorous in setting our priorities and honest in understanding that we cannot be all things to all people.

    On December 9, Council passed our 2016 budget which adheres to this principle. With a 2% tax increase – consistent to what I promised in the 2014 election – we continued record investments in social housing, arts, cycling, roads (both urban and rural), and sidewalks. We also moved ahead on the single largest infrastructure investment in our city’s history since the building of the canal: our Light Rail Transit (LRT) project.

    2015 saw important milestones reached as the first phase of LRT continues to be built on-time and on-budget. 2015 also brought with it commitments from the two other levels of government to fund second phase of LRT which will see extensions east to Place d’Orleans, south the Riverside South, and West to Bayshore and Baseline at Algonquin College. We have never been closer to being a city fully connected by LRT and I am looking forward to finishing the work needed to realize this in the coming years.

    2015 was an incredible year for sports in Ottawa. First, our city was swept up by the excitement of the Senators improbable run to the playoffs. Second, our new professional baseball team, the Ottawa Champions, took the field for their inaugural season. Third, our Ottawa Fury soccer team made it all the way to the NASL championship game after a great season. Finally, our Ottawa REDBLACKS made it to the Grey Cup after a late touchdown in the Eastern Final that few will forget. Our team may have fallen short in that final game but they made our city proud and I join many in anxiously awaiting next year’s season.

    I hope that you have all been able to spend time with your families over the holidays and I look forward to continuing to serve as your Mayor in 2016.

  • Ottawa River Action Plan

    Throughout my travels around our city, I have the opportunity to meet many people; some of them call our city home while others are visiting from abroad. One of my favorite questions to ask them is what is their favorite attraction in Ottawa?

    The answers I hear most: Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal, and the Byward Market, all share the commonality of being close to the Ottawa River.

    Whether called The Ottawa River, Rivière des Outaouais or Kichesippi, the waterway on the banks of which our national capital was built has been a gathering place, the subject and inspiration for artists, and a constant source of beauty in our city’s history.

    With the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017 approaching, the need to protect the health and vibrance of this waterway for future generations is increasingly clear.

    That is why in 2010 Council approved the Ottawa River Action Plan (ORAP), an aggressive and comprehensive plan for the Ottawa River consisting of 17 projects that set out to:

    • Maintain a healthy aquatic ecosystem
    • Ensure compliance with and exceed regulatory requirements
    • Optimize recreational use and reduce beach closures
    • Develop a long-term strategy to guide and prioritize actions

    Working together with our federal and provincial counterparts we have made tremendous progress.

    We have reduced combined sewer overflows significantly in recent years – by more than 80%  but, there is still more work to do.

    Last year, despite our progress, 205 million litres of untreated waste and waste water still made its way into our city’s most important waterway and a big storm this June caused a large overflow.

    It is troubling that in the 21st century we still have raw sewage overflows going into a treasured waterway, flowing right behind the Parliament Buildings nonetheless.

    Our current infrastructure is unable to cope with the volume of waste and waste water produced after heavy rain falls which causes these sewer overflows.

    To prevent this, the third phase of ORAP includes building the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel, which will greatly expand our ability to store combined sewer overflow that can then be treated and returned safely to the Ottawa River. This project would help stop almost all raw sewage from flowing into the Ottawa River.

  • Tourism In Your City

    With summer upon us, Ottawa has sprung to life with innumerable festivals, events and attractions that take place city-wide. Ottawa is not only home to tremendous natural beauty, but as the nation’s capital there are many local and national sites of historic significance to enjoy. In fact, tourism is the third largest contributor to our local economy, behind the high-tech and government sectors.

    In collaboration with the City of Ottawa, Ottawa Tourism works tirelessly to promote Ottawa as a premiere destination by highlighting our city’s festivals, year round outdoor recreation, historic significance and natural beauty. Furthermore, Ottawa Tourism’s “bid more, win more, host more” program will further foster economic and social prosperity within our city by continuing to attract events like FIFA Women’s World Cup, the JUNO’s and more.

    That is why I am excited to share with you Ottawa Tourism’s most recent campaign. Showcasing the voice talent of CBC’s Rick Mercer and some of Ottawa’s most prominent attractions; whether a visitor or long time resident, you will be excited about your nation’s capital. Enjoy.

     

  • Cities of Tomorrow – Challenge and Showcase

    May 13, 2015 – As a member of the Large Urban Mayors Caucus of Ontario (LUMCO), I have the pleasure to represent Ottawa in addressing many of the challenges large urban centres face, across our province. We have made much progress and in 2014, LUMCO launched several new initiatives including an annual contest and event, the Cities of Tomorrow Challenge and Showcase. Ontario’s Big City Mayors have challenged post secondary students from across Ontario to “think big” and submit their best ideas for solving the challenges faced by Ontario’s cities.

    Over 100 teams representing over 400 students from over 20 Colleges and Universities have begun to make submissions. The Cities of Tomorrow initiative culminates with a Showcase event, October 27-29th, 2015, at the Toronto Congress Centre. Preliminary submissions will be accepted until May 31st, and finalists in each of 4 categories will be invited to present their ideas in a live format at the showcase, where winners will be selected by a panel of judges. The contest themes are LUMCO’s 4 key priorities: transportation, finance, affordable housing, and job creation.

    The Cities of Tomorrow Showcase will be an ideal venue to interact with students and highlight and promote government initiatives related to each of the four LUMCO priorities – the contest themes. If you have any questions about the Cities of Tomorrow Challenge or the showcase please visit the website at www.citiesoftomorrow.ca or email our team at info@citiesoftomorrow.ca.

    I look forward to seeing all the great innovations and ideas brought to the Showcase and hope you will consider participating.

  • Ottawa Champions Baseball Home Opener

    champs_logo

    As you may have heard, Ottawa’s new professional baseball team will be taking to the field this spring!

     

    The Ottawa Champions Baseball Club’s inaugural home opener is on Friday, May 22nd at 7:00pm (the opening ceremonies and community celebration begin at 6pm) at the Ottawa Stadium, now known as Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park (RCGT Park).

    I would encourage you to show your support for our newest sports franchise in Ottawa by coming out to celebrate the home opener and taking in games throughout the summer months.The home opener will be a special community celebration for the return of professional baseball to our city.

     

    Tickets for the home opener and the rest of the season are available for purchase on the Ottawa Champions website: www.ottawachampions.com

     

    I hope to you see you at the home opener!

     

    Jim Watson
    Mayor
  • How we’re cleaning up the Ottawa River

    Since I was elected Mayor in 2010, my top environmental priority has been to clean up the Ottawa River. I believe this would be the perfect gift for future generations as Canada approaches its 150th birthday. We have made a lot of progress on this issue and I want to share how we will finish the job.

    The issue

    Ottawa is a city of almost 1 million people, and our roads and sewers are feeling the pressure. We need to invest in upgrades in order to protect our communities, green spaces, and waterways.

    On the community level, we need to upgrade sewers and pipes that in some cases are over 140 years old. No one wants to see their basement flooded or their environment polluted.

    In the older parts of Ottawa, storm water and household sewage mix together in the same pipe, called a combined sewer. When we experience heavy rainfall, this older part of the system is designed to avoid flooding by sending excess water into the Ottawa River. The unfortunate result is that some untreated sewage flows directly into the River as well.

    Before I took office, in 2006, there were annual combined sewage overflow volumes of 1.09B litres into the Ottawa River. That’s the equivalent of 436 Olympic-sized swimming pools per year. Spills like these add to high bacteria counts in the Ottawa River, which can negatively impact the health of our river and our beaches.

    Your water and sewer bill helps fund projects to solve these problems. In the nation’s capital, we cannot accept having sewage flow into the river behind Parliament nor see frequent pipe bursts in our neighbourhoods.

    Progress so far:

    In 2009, we started working on a set of infrastructure projects called the Ottawa River Action Plan. The action plan is focused on protecting the quality of the Ottawa River by reducing the volume of combined sewage overflows and reducing the impact of stormwater on the Ottawa River.

    The City partnered with the federal and provincial governments to significantly enhance key parts of our wastewater infrastructure. This has included maximizing our use of the capacity available in our existing sewer system, better pipe monitoring, separating storm sewers from sanitary sewers and measures to reduce the risk of basement flooding. We also completed a lot of sewer work as a part of other road projects to ensure we did not need to tear up streets more than once.

    The progress to date has been remarkable. These efforts have led to a reduction of sewage overflow volumes of up to 80 per cent in recent years. These improvements are also helping to ensure the consistent delivery of drinking water to our homes and reduce the risk of basement flooding.

    Finishing the job:

    All three levels of government have committed the remaining funds to complete the most significant remaining project under the Ottawa River Action Plan, called the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel. In essence, we will construct large underground storage tunnels to be used during heavy rainfall. The extra water will flow into the tunnels instead of the river. Once the rainfall has ended, the tunnels will drain as the sewage and stormwater is taken to the plant for treatment. When this project is complete, Ottawa’s sewage overflows will be dramatically reduced to only one or two occurrences in most years.

    The tunnels will be constructed as two deep tunnels underneath Kent and Albert/Slater Streets, totalling approximately six kilometres. You can find more information on the City’s website.

    We are moving ahead swiftly. Some of the work on this part of the project will be undertaken in Summer 2015 as part of the Confederation Line LRT project near Lebreton Flats. For the larger remaining portions, we will secure a construction contractor before the end of 2015 and start work in 2016. We will ensure the downtown core is free from any disruption that would impact the 2017 celebrations, and work towards full completion of the project in 2019.

  • Blog: 100 Days

    First of all, I want to thank the residents of Ottawa who have sent me their well-wishes over the past few weeks. It has not been easy for me to be away from City Hall while I recover but the phone calls, letters, emails, Twitter and Facebook messages, and kind words have meant a lot to me.

    Although I have been away, the work of Council continues and I’m happy to note that we have now marked 100 days in office.

    In November, the students of Algonquin College voted to join the OC Transpo U-Pass creating one of the largest and most inclusive U-Pass programs in Canada.

    In December, Council supported two of my governance-related election commitments with the elevation of the Audit Committee to a full standing committee and the creation of the position of Sports Commissioner.

    On these endeavours and others, I have been encouraged by the constructive, collaborative tone around the Council table. Working together, we are keeping life affordable, while investing in key community needs to ensure Ottawa remains the best place to live, raise a family, and grow a business.

    Doing so requires predictability from our tax system and I am proud to have kept my electoral promise of low tax rate changes in the recently passed 2015 budget. This budget ensures our continued financial stability while pushing forward on several significant city-building projects like LRT, the revitalized Arts Court, and the Bayview Innovation Centre.

    The top priority for my second term remains our LRT system and two project milestones were reached in these first 100 days: We opened the new pedestrian and cycling bridge near Coventry Rd. and unveiled a model LRT train at the Aberdeen Pavilion. The former will connect Overbrook residents to the coming LRT station at Tremblay while the latter is giving residents a taste of what the future of transit in Ottawa holds in store. I’m happy to report that construction on the Confederation Line remains on time and on budget and that the Environmental Assessments are ongoing for Stage 2.

    Speaking of which, the 100 day Western LRT Working Group that John Baird and I began reported last week that they had agreed upon a route for the Western LRT extension. This is an affordable and pragmatic route that will serve the residents of Ottawa well and enhance access to the Ottawa River. My thanks to the members of the 100 Day Working Group along with Minister Pierre Poilievre for their hard work and commitment to this project.

    Looking ahead, on March 31 the City will host and important public engagement session to hear from residents about a new central library. Later this year, tourism and hospitality stakeholders will gather at City Hall for a Tourism Summit, another one of my election commitments.

    Over the coming months, I am looking forward to working with Council to set the Term of Council priorities. I will advocate for economic development, road safety, and affordable housing to be central in these priorities.

    Our term is off to a great start and I am confident that working together we will build a more liveable, caring, vibrant, and prosperous city over the next four years.

  • WLRT Corridor Recommendation

    I am writing to update you on the work undertaken by the NCC-City Working Group regarding the western light rail transit (LRT) corridor.

    I am pleased to inform you that the Working Group has reached an agreement in principle, which was announced at a joint press conference with the NCC this morning.

    This agreement meets all of the City of Ottawa’s objectives in its unanimously-approved Transportation Master Plan and will remain within our affordability plan for the project. We would also be able to keep our long-standing commitment to the community to protect the Byron Linear Park and Rochester Field while providing even better access to the waterfront.

    Background

    In late November 2014, I met with then-Minister John Baird to discuss our Stage 2 LRT project. At that meeting, we had a very constructive discussion about this important project. We agreed to a 100-day dialogue between the City and the NCC to find a mutually satisfactory solution for the western extension of the Confederation Line between Dominion and Cleary.

    In December, the City of Ottawa and the NCC formed a joint Working Group to address this issue. The City representatives on the Working Group were Transportation Committee Chair Keith Egli, Transit Commission Chair Stephen Blais, Bay Ward Councillor and Deputy Mayor Mark Taylor, and City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick.

    I want to thank Councillors Egli, Blais, and Taylor for their hard work alongside our City Manager and our partners at the NCC. This was a very intensive review process which was supported by technical and urban planning expertise, and one that led to a historic outcome today.

    I also want to thank Minister Pierre Poilievre for his leadership. He was named Minister Responsible for the NCC during this process and brought the same constructive tone as his predecessor to this important partnership.

    The solution

    The Working Group has recommended a solution that would allow the western LRT extension to be fully buried under realigned Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway lanes between Dominion and Cleary stations. You will be pleased to learn that this solution would remain within the City of Ottawa’s project budget envelope.

    This solution would bring many benefits for the City of Ottawa, the NCC, local residents, and indeed all Canadians:

    – Protection of the Byron Linear Park and Rochester Field;

    – Minimal visual impact on the landscape and experience by users of the corridor

    – Continuous access to the corridor lands and 38% more usable shoreline parkland

    – Improved cycling and pedestrian access via two new crossings under the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway

    – Retention and enhancement of the mature forest, lands and landscaping elements

    – An eventual reduction of nearly 500,000 bus trips annually on the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway

    Of course, these highlights are on top of the city-wide benefits of our larger Stage 2 LRT project, which includes 30 kilometres of rail and 19 new stations. We hope to break ground on this world-class project once the Confederation Line is operational in 2018, which will help us deliver reduced commute times, cleaner air, and a stronger economy.

    Into the future, this recommended route would perfectly complement the NCC’s vision to create a new linear park of national significance along the waterfront.

    Moving forward

    Residents will be able to provide public feedback as part of the public outreach activities planned for the Confederation Line west LRT extension Environmental Assessment (EA) process:

    Monday, March 30
    Evening (time to be announced)
    Ottawa City Hall
    Jean Pigott Place

    This will be an open house to review the 100 Day Working Group Solution between Dominion and Cleary Station.

    The NCC will discuss the solution and the results of the public consultation session at its Board of Directors meeting in April.

    The Transportation Committee and Council will have the opportunity to review and discuss the results of the EA processes for all Stage 2 projects, including the Confederation Line west extension in June. The EA report will provide a recommended alignment for each of the corridors based on a technical review and results of the public consultation sessions for these extensions.

    The materials presented today, including a visual of the proposed alignment can be found online at ottawa.ca/stage2.

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