• Speech: Ottawa's Economic Outlook

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    Thank you for joining us this morning.

    I always enjoy the opportunity to speak directly to the women and men who are helping drive Ottawa’s economy.

    And this week is a particularly special one because…

    On Sunday I returned with a 40 person delegation after a successful 8 day visit to Beijing and Shanghai.

    Tomorrow is the third anniversary of my election as mayor.

    And yesterday we tabled our 2014 budget…

    Bringing in the lowest tax rate in seven years…

    While protecting good basic services for Ottawa families.

    Anniversaries give us the chance to reflect on the past…

    But also to look ahead to the future.

    Over the last 1,058 days since taking office, I have connected with residents in every corner of our city.

    Whether it is at an office opening in Orléans …

    A Farmer’s Market in Carp…

    Or getting tweets from someone on route 95.

    I enjoy hearing first-hand the issues and experiences our residents are having.

    At the bus stop, park or library in their neighbourhood.

    With their commute from work, their trip to school, or whatever it is that’s on their mind that day.

    And it is through these interactions that I am reminded every day why I wanted to serve again at the municipal level.

    I ran because City Hall needed stable leadership.

    It needed certainty, predictability, reliability.

    It needed to earn back the confidence of a city too familiar with cancelled contracts, council squabbles and endless dithering.

    Today I want to update you on how far we’ve come, where we are today, and why I’m so excited about the future.

    And I want to speak about two areas in particular: building the transportation system Ottawa deserves and how we’re supporting our business community.

    Firstly, I believe that transportation is fundamentally an economic issue.

    On an individual level, yes, it’s about spending less time commuting and more time at the dinner table with your kids.

    But as mayor I also look at this from 30,000 feet.

    Congestion strangles productivity.

    Goods and people need to keep moving.

    And time lost in traffic is money lost on the balance sheet.

    Currently, and broadly, Ottawa is in very good shape.

    Forbes Magazine has called us the one of the least congested, fastest growing and affordable cities in North America.

    Ottawa is doing very well.

    But I want us to remain ahead of the pack in the years and decades to come.

    This begins with revitalizing what we already have: critical infrastructure such as our roads, sidewalks and sewers.

    When I meet with mayors from around the country, everyone seems to have an infrastructure horror story or a long list of improvements that need to be funded.

    Long-neglected infrastructure is reaching a boiling point.

    Working together, we made our case to the federal and provincial governments ahead of their last budgets.

    And I am pleased to report that our efforts were successful.

    The federal government has announced $53.5 billion over 10 years for infrastructure.

    The province has committed to more than $35 billion in infrastructure investments over the next three years – and will begin discussions soon for a permanent fund.

    In Ottawa, we will make our case for our fair share.

    To clean up the Ottawa River…

    To rebuild our roads…

    And to invest in transit.

    Just as we were through the last stimulus program, we will continue to be good partners.

    The City of Ottawa alone has already invested $340 million over the past three years — and we’re prepared to invest even more to stay competitive.

    Because you can’t move into the future without taking care of what you already have.

    But once that job is done, you don’t rest on your laurels.

    As the adage goes…

    “When you stand still, you fall behind.”

    You need to continue to make progress.

    Our residents cannot afford – nor do they deserve – 1960s solutions to 21st century problems.

    We need to constantly look at new ideas and new technologies to make our lives better.

    And this is why we are building a world-class light rail transit system.

    The first phase – the Confederation Line – has been under construction since earlier this year.

    We’ve started to dig the tunnel – to rid our downtown of the bottleneck of buses during rush hour.

    A 12.5 kilometre line – 13 stations – from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair Road.

    The Confederation Line is the largest Ottawa infrastructure project since a fellow named Colonel By started to build the canal 187 years ago.

    It’s almost impossible to believe, but in about four years, where we’re standing today, there will be trains running pretty much beneath our feet.

    Clean.

    Quiet.

    Efficient.

    At peak, your train will run every four minutes.

    A transit system worthy of a G8 capital city.

    But we don’t want to stop there.

    And we won’t stop there.

    Because I watch the debates happening in other cities… and it sounds an awful lot like Ottawa four years ago.

    Councils and communities divided over what to do next.

    Should it be buses?

    Or trains?

    Or subways?

    Sure, debate is healthy.

    I think that our light rail plans have become much better because of healthy community discussions.

    And you never want to rush a decision.

    But there comes a point where you need to take a stand and determine a way forward… or risk losing even more time, money and productivity.

    In Ottawa, we are more than ready to take that next step.

    When I spoke with residents in the spring and summer, a common theme started to emerge:

    “Thank you for finally getting light rail started… but where is it going next?”

    Earlier this month, I answered this question.

    In the proposed next phase, we will deliver light rail to the east, west and south.

    Together.

    19 new rail stations.

    35 kilometres of new rail.

    In one city-transforming project.

    Let’s take a quick look.

    Once the Confederation Line is complete in 2018, we want to get the shovels in the ground for the next phase and have it complete within five years.

    In the west… we would extend the line from Tunney’s Pasture to Baseline and Bayshore Shopping Centre.

    From Bayshore, we would invest in new bus infrastructure for Kanata and beyond.

    West-end residents are well-served by this plan – in fact – about 55% of the rail budget will be spent to extend rail west of Tunney’s Pasture.

    To the south, we would add new rail stations and extend the O-Train line to Bowesville.

    To the east, where 70% of commuters use public transit, we would extend the line from Blair to Place d’Orléans.

    I have actually enjoyed the debate on light rail in recent weeks.

    Why?

    Because it’s no longer whether we should have light rail or not.

    It’s a debate about where it should go next.

    And this is a great debate to have.

    I’m proud of this plan because it will drastically reduce commute times for Ottawa residents.

    And for their kids.

    And their kids too.

    Every day.

    Monday through Sunday.

    A quick statistic for you….

    By 2023, if we were to just stick with the Confederation Line with no other extensions… about 430,000 people… or just over 40% of the city would be within 5 kilometres of a rail line.

    But if we do build the next phase…

    As I believe we should…

    That number jumps to 700,000, or 67% of the total city population would be within 5 kilometres of light rail.

    This is a game-changer for the nation’s capital.

    I’m also very proud of this plan because it’s affordable.

    It’s fully costed.

    And it is based on conservative estimates of what we can afford… with inflation built in.

    This isn’t a pie in the sky plan.

    This can happen.

    If we work together – with the provincial and federal governments – Phase 2 could be up and running within 10 years, or five years after the first phase.

    But that part is crucial.

    Co-operation.

    The federal and provincial governments were excellent team players with the first phase of light rail.

    We are counting on them to continue to be our partners.

    Shortly after announcing our plan, certain local Members of Parliament were a bit reluctant to share our excitement.

    One even suggested we write to Santa Claus for federal funding for the project.

    Well, you know, Santa made a pre-Christmas visit to Toronto and gave them $660 million for a three-stop subway extension…

    Compare that to our Stage 2 plan which adds 35 kilometres of new rail and 19 new stations in all parts of our city, I would say our plan delivers more kilometres and more stations times 6!

    I expect our local MPs will work with us to ensure our city gets its fair share as well.

    Our request will be in line with every other big city in Canada – proportion to our size.

    They have $53.5 billion earmarked for infrastructure over the next 10 years.

    Our ask will be $975 million, which includes construction inflation.

    That’s less than 2% of the total Federal allocation.

    Our City’s population represents 3% of the Canadian population, not including Gatineau.

    For the largest geographic big city in the country, with the fourth-largest population.

    We just want our fair share.

    Because projects like this one are bigger than any one Mayor, Premier or Prime Minister.

    Politicians should plan for the next generation, not the next election.

    In the years to come, we will be making our case that our plan… our effective, affordable plan… deserves to be supported.

    So while other cities are marred in decades-old debates, we will be ready at the table.

    One hand… for the handshake.

    The other with a shovel in it… ready to go.

    Now, I can stand here and extol the wonders of transit and Ottawa’s future light rail transit system.

    But what I really want to get across when it comes to transportation is the shift in mentality.

    Because this shift will separate the cities who will follow, from the cities who will lead.

    The debate of roads vs. transit or drivers vs. cyclists is one of the distant past.

    Our economic future is too important to resort to such old-school arguments.

    Sure, there are many who refuse to even dream of themselves on a bike or a bus, or a train.

    Here is what I tell them: One more person on a bike or a bus or a train… is one less car in front of you on the Queensway.

    Think back several years ago to the bus strike.

    No transit for 53 days.

    Back-to-back cars.

    Terrible commutes.

    We need to stay ahead of the curve on these issues or risk falling into gridlock.

    It is in our economic interest to get more people on the bus, and more people walking and cycling.

    This is our common vision of the future of Ottawa’s transportation system.

    A world leader – whether you’re driving, cycling, walking or taking transit.

    Now let’s talk about the talented women and men going to and from work every day, and our City’s economic development progress.

    Our collective goal – in both the public and private sectors – is that we want to make Ottawa a sought-after location for business leaders and the best and the brightest workers.

    And 2013 has been a great year in this regard.

    Ottawa has been and will continue to a be a community that is dominated by public service.

    And we know the elephant in the room – federal job cuts – will slow down some parts of our economy.

    But that is one more reason why we have to be even more aggressive in our drive to expand our economy.

    Through our Economic Development and Innovation department under the leadership of Saad Bashir, the City of Ottawa is supporting business owners and their ideas by giving them the tools they need to get the job done.

    In March of this year, the City secured a $15-million in funding from the Province to develop an innovation complex – our version of Waterloo’s Communitech or Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District.

    The City has also committed to providing $15 million of in-kind contribution towards the project.

    Located at the City owned Bayview yards – where the Confederation Line and O-Train intersect – this new facility would be a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs.

    Think about it: support agencies, professional services, business acceleration, incubation centres – the perfect way to showcase Ottawa’s entrepreneurial spirit.

    We’re also moving forward with smart Community Improvement Plans.

    After extensive consultation with the business community, we’re implementing two key plans: an urban revitalization plan for a portion of Carling Avenue… and an employment plan for Orléans.

    These plans offer incentives for businesses in order to bridge gaps that exist in our employment patterns.

    We want all areas of our city to reach their full potential.

    I want to speak about Orléans for a moment.

    The jobs to residents balance has traditionally been off in this area.

    A lot of hard-working families, not a lot of high-quality jobs.

    Over the last 10 years, the east has suffered with shifting federal employment patterns.

    And on top of this – the balance has been off between Orléans and the rest of the city when it comes to employment.

    Our Community Improvement Plan for Orléans will help fix this.

    The plan provides financial incentives for property owners to encourage the redevelopment of their properties to house businesses.

    Eligible projects must target a minimum of 15 net new knowledge-based jobs within 10 years of project completion and result in a minimum of 15 immediate net new jobs at time of project completion.

    This plan will spur economic development and, in turn, job growth.

    We will attract knowledge-based employment to strengthen Orléans as a “live, work, play” destination.

    And we want to work with the Government of Canada to locate jobs in the east and to attract employers there to support balanced growth.

    When you consider these concrete actions, bringing Stage 2 of light rail to Place d’Orléans makes a lot of sense.

    It is a recipe for future economic prosperity in the east end.

    For this part – and other parts of the city – we are bolstering our employment lands marketing efforts.

    We are planning to work with local companies to better market their employment lands to companies.

    We will continue to tell a strong story to potential investors around the world who are evaluating locations for their Canadian expansions.

    And we will prove to them that… if we see potential – the City of Ottawa will not hesitate to go to bat for you.

    Let me give you another example.

    During last year’s address, I was pleased to announce an innovative new program called Capital Investment Track.

    The program guides priority investments through the City’s requirements in a timely manner, by providing companies with an Account Manager from the Economic Development and Innovation department.

    It’s a concierge service for businesses that have the potential to bring in a significant number of high-quality jobs.

    Claridge was this program’s first client and the City was able to deliver timely and customer-sensitive service, for their proposed hotel in the Byward Market.

    The CIT program is helping to ensure that the company can meet its construction deadlines and open its doors in 2015.

    Through this project, approximately 80,000 labour hours in the construction sector and 100 permanent jobs in the hospitality sector will be created.

    The City also exercised the spirit of the CIT program by facilitating five smaller scale development projects that fit the CIT lens.

    Because we can recognize potential when we see it.

    Our most recent successes are as a result of the City of Ottawa more than doubling the budget for Economic Development in this Council’s first budget.

    Budget 2014 – announced yesterday – proposes to go even further by increasing the base budget by more than 10 per cent.

    Yes, we are restraining our spending and overall, for the 3rd year in a row we have reduced our FTE count.

    But at the same time we need to make strategic investments in Ottawa’s future economic success.

    New investments in 2014 include raising our stake in the award-winning Major Events Office partnership with Ottawa Tourism.

    In 2013 alone, we have generated more than $40 million in economic impacts for our city.

    We want to see this number grow aggressively

    To do this, we will work with our excellent partners in the tourism and hospitality industries to attract even more events.

    As you can see from the work of our Economic Development and Innovation department…

    Sometimes, economic leadership means rolling up your sleeves and doing some heavy lifting for your city.

    But sometimes it means creating winning conditions for businesses – then getting out of the way and let the private sector do what it does best.

    This is why we created Invest Ottawa.

    Just 21 short months ago, we opened the door to a quiet little office on Aberdeen Street.

    Now, it is absolutely booming.

    It seems that every week I am invited to meet with a hot new start-up company or a growing business celebrating an expansion.

    As many of you in business can agree with, it is important to celebrate these milestones.

    The 1,000th customer.

    The first big client.

    Or our biggest milestone: Ottawa turning the corner and becoming something better.

    I want to thank Bruce Lazenby and his team for the tremendous work they’re doing to support our local business owners and put Ottawa on the map.

    And doing so during a time of economic uncertainty and deep federal job cuts.

    Through their efforts, they are helping our small and medium sized businesses create that new economic engine I talked about during last year’s Economic Outlook address.

    Invest Ottawa has had an outstanding year to date.

    In the first two quarters of 2013, Invest Ottawa:

    • facilitated 654 new jobs

    • attracted $25M in foreign investment and $26M in investment for portfolio companies,

    • received 21 visiting foreign delegations

    • and led 10 outgoing trade missions…

    Bruce and his team were front and centre during our 10-day trade mission to China last week, which consisted of more than 40 senior business, academic and tourism leaders from Ottawa.

    I was pleased to participate in the signing of significant agreements and memoranda of understanding to deepen our relationship with one of the world’s most opportunity-filled economies.

    We estimate that there will be at least $35 million in benefits as a result of our Team Ottawa mission to China.

    These initiatives offered a wide range of benefits for Ottawa’s economy in 2013 and will continue supporting Ottawa’s strong performance.

    Our success was most recently highlighted by Ottawa outperforming all international cities for economic growth potential, by ranking first in the Martin Prosperity Institute 2013 Global Cities Index.

    And Invest Ottawa just recently was recognized as having the Best Foreign Direct Investment Strategy at the American Cities of the Future Awards
    We’re making progress.

    And you can see proof of that with new job and development around the city.

    You need only drive a minute or two to see a crane up.

    Let me conclude by some of the latest developments.

    Rideau Centre expansion: $360 million

    Bayshore Centre expansion: $200 million

    Tanger Outlet Mall construction: $120 million

    Lansdowne Park redevelopment: $450 million

    We are experiencing an economic development boom that Ottawa hasn’t seen for decades.

    You know, I think that sometimes we are too hard on ourselves.

    Canadians by their nature are not really the bragging types – and that can be true about Canada’s capital.

    But let me leave you with a few objective measurements about the city we call home.

    Bruce and Invest Ottawa are just finishing an “Ambassador Kit” for Ottawa’s business community that highlights some facts that often even our own residents don’t know about.

    I used a few of them in China last week at a keynote speech for the Canada-China Business Council.

    I boasted about Ottawa having more PhD’s per capita than any city in Canada – second only to Boston in North America.

    We continue to best our Canadian peers in surveys – ranking first place – in areas such as best cities to live in, most sustainable cities, most connect cities, and most affordable cities.

    When you look at these impressive results, you can quickly see… we have so much going for us.

    We have so much to be proud of… and it’s clear we’re on the right track.

    Working together, we are building confidence in our ability to get the job done.

    At the same time, we’re building our city for the next generation.
    You know, I can’t predict the future.

    But I believe history will look back on 2013 and see a year of progress.

    Progress on light rail;

    Progress on balanced, affordable budgets;

    Progress on a new focus on economic development and job creation;

    And progress on making Ottawa – our Nation’s Capital, an even better place to live, work, play and visit.

  • Happy International Women’s Day 2014

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    Saturday, March 8, 2014 is International Women’s Day. This is an occasion to pay tribute to women everywhere who have made a difference in the lives of others. It is a day to celebrate the women who have led – and continue to lead – the way forward towards a more just and equal society.

    One of the themes for this year’s celebration is “Inspiring Change”.

    Around the world, and in each of our daily lives, women bring positive change to every facet of life. Women are leaders of some of the most powerful countries in the world and each day in our City, our Province, and our country we see the outstanding accomplishments of women scientists, leaders of multinational organisations, writers, medical professionals, athletes, astronauts, artists, philanthropists and the list can go on and on.

    Women have achieved iconic status in all professions and walks of life and are vital to the economic prosperity and security of our communities and families.

    We have many remarkable women who are community leaders here in Ottawa. It was my honour to host some of these inspirational women at the Mayor’s International Women’s Day Breakfast this year on March 5th. It was great to be able to celebrate with so many extraordinary individuals, including our guest speaker, Sue O’Sullivan, the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime and former Ottawa Police Deputy Chief, as we commemorated the achievements of women worldwide.

    Wishing you all a Happy International Women’s Day!

    Jim Watson
    Mayor

  • Mayor’s 2014 Budget Address

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    Introduction

    Good morning colleagues.

    Today I have the pleasure to Table the 2014 Draft Budget for the City of Ottawa.

    As in preceding years, I want to thank each and every one around this Council Table.

    Thank you for your input into this document which you all provide year round.

    Thank you for your commitment to making our City a better place in which to live, to work, and raise a family.

    And thank you, also, to our City Manager, the Deputy City Managers and City Treasurer who work hard each day to provide the services that mean so much to our residents, businesses and neighbourhoods.

    I also want to thank the hundreds of citizens who came to visit me and other Councillors when we did the “Mall Tour” of pre-budget consultations in September.

    It is always good to hear directly from citizens who do not always have the time or inclination to attend a formal City Council Committee Meeting or public forum.

    There was a gentleman who suggested we cut our workforce and have greater investment in industry to create jobs…this budget does that.

    There was a new student at Carleton who wants us to spend more money to clean up the Ottawa River…our money is ready to roll…we are just waiting for our Federal and Provincial partners.

    Grandparents told me that they were happy about the freeze on parks and recreation fees because it allowed their grandchildren to enrol in sports and dance classes.

    Others said to keep bus fares down, while some wanted to see salaries frozen.

    At one of the rural Fairs I attended one gentleman from West Carleton who is involved with the 4-H Club asked why we could not make their annual $5,000 grant permanent, rather than having to fill out an application each year. Good idea and we will make it happen.

    As always, lots of ideas and opinions.

    All of the input is appreciated and most people also understand that we cannot do everything all at once.

    But, they appreciated our desire to listen and, in general, told me that the direction this Council has laid out is good.

    Lowest tax rate change in 7 years

    Earlier this year we asked staff to raise the bar another notch in our effort to control the tax pressure on our residents.

    We set a maximum limit of 2.0% for any rate increase in 2014.

    I am happy to be able to tell you that Budget 2014 will see us hold the line to an increase of 1.9%

    This is the lowest increase in 7 years and means that we, as a Council, have exceeded our target each and every year of this mandate.

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    I can also report that our partners – Ottawa Police Services, Transit Services, the Ottawa Public Library and Ottawa Public Health  –  have once again constrained themselves within Council’s maximum increase cap.

    The same will apply to Transit Fare increases – and I am pleased to report that, pending the approval of the Transit Commission, average fare increases will be kept to 1.9% – a far cry from the 7.5% of 4 years ago.

    And I want to take a moment to congratulate – Chair Diane Deans of the Transit Commission, Chair Jan Harder of the Library Board, Chair Diane Holmes of the Ottawa Public Health Board and Chair Eli El-Chantiry of the Ottawa Police Services Board – for their work and strong effort to bring financial stability and predictability to the operations of all these City partners.

    Also, a special word of thanks to the GM of Transit, John Manconi; the Chief of Police, Chuck Bordeleau; our Library CEO, Danielle McDonald; and the Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Isra Levy for all their work.

    If approved, Budget 2014 will also freeze the waste collection charge at $82 per household and I want to thank the Chair, Councillor Maria McRae and all of the Environment Committee for their efforts guiding the environmental work of this Council.

    This budget will see a continuation of the freeze on Mayor’s Office and Councillor Office administrative Budgets, as well on my own salary.

    And for the fourth consecutive year we will maintain a freeze on parks and recreation fees, making life a little more affordable for parents and families with children in league sports or fitness programs and for all who take part in any of the hundreds of City classes offered.

    Budget 2014 also proposes, for the third year in a row, a reduction of 55 FTEs at the City of Ottawa.

    This continued focus on reining in staff growth comes in spite of the fact that we are also adding new facilities to provide more services to our residents.

    The Barrhaven Minto Recreation Complex will require 63 new FTEs as we begin operations in this magnificent new facility.

    And, I should also note that we are all looking forward to the official opening of the Richcraft Recreation Complex in Kanata.

    This great new facility represents a $40 million investment on behalf of and to support Kanata and West Carleton residents.

    We are able to provide added personnel for these new facilities without a boost to overall staffing as a direct result of our Service Ottawa initiative.

    In 2014, Service Ottawa will return more than $4.7 Million in net savings to our bottom line.

    And we will provide more convenience to our residents and business in the process.

    The Budget also proposes to continue to increase our Contribution to Capital, as was laid out in the Long Range Financial Plan.

    Next year that increase will be more than $ 15 million, with $10.4 million coming from the city-wide portion of this Budget.

    As a Council we have been prudent.

    We have invested wisely in Ottawa on the Move, for instance.

    We have restrained tax increases, while continuing to provide the basic services people really need.

    Our measured approach will pay dividends to the City in the future.

    Financial Health

    This Budget maintains the City of Ottawa’s strong fiscal position.

    Our credit ratings remain high and unchanged.

    Moody’s has provided its highest rating at Aaa and Standard and Poor’s is AA+.

    The Treasurer has reported that Ottawa’s net total debt per capita is second lowest amongst major cities including – Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary and Montreal – based on the most recent numbers available.

    In September, the Treasurer reported that, in Q2 of 2013, capital budget adjustments resulted in a reduction of $19.1 million in debt financing requirements.

    Our firm hand on the tiller means that we will not be adding any new debt in the 2014 capital budget.

    But, we cannot stand still and our infrastructure needs of a burgeoning city require us to continue to invest in renewal, as well as growth.

    Of course, City borrowing is also subject to both Provincial and Council restrictions.

    In Ontario, municipal debt may only be used for capital expenditures, not for operating costs and any borrowing is limited to 25% of all revenues raised by taxation and other fees and we remain far below that level.

    Council has also previously established an upper limit on debt repayments on tax and rate budgets at 7.5% of City raised revenue.

    Debt repayments in 2013 will be approximately 5.4% of all City raised revenues – again, well below the target.

    And, as I mentioned a moment ago – there will be no new debt added in the 2014 capital budget.

    The City is in good financial shape.

    Progress

    Budget 2014 will see us stay the course as it delivers solid progress to our residents.

    Many projects are underway.

    Lansdowne is coming to life.

    We see this now with work on all aspects of the project.

    The Stadium where the magnificent new wooden veil is taking shape.

    The move and reinvigoration of the Horticulture Building.

    The start on the new Great Lawn and urban park and all the new features it will contain.

    And, while we are all excited to see this revival taking place, I do want to take a moment to thank the people of the neighbourhood.

    They are living through a great disruption to their everyday lives.

    Our project managers have done their very best to reduce the intrusion as much as possible.

    The innovative use of an on-site concrete production facility has meant thousands fewer trucks on the streets in the area, for instance.

    But…no matter what is done…there will still be disruption.

    On behalf of all of us, I thank residents for their patience and understanding.

    And I want to thank Councillor David Chernushenko for his constant efforts and engagement on this project on behalf of his residents.

    The same thanks is also due to our neighbours in the eastern reaches of this great City.

    The transportation network is going through every bit as much a renewal as Lansdowne.

    And people living in Orleans, Navan, Blackburn Hamlet, Cumberland and all other points east have had their daily routines interrupted and adjusted as, working with our provincial partners, we fix the split and see the widening of the 417 come to reality.

    I say a special thank you for the resourcefulness and ingenuity that people are showing as they adapt to the work and re-routings that are an inevitable part of improving existing roadways.

    Councillors Bloess, Monette, Blais and Tierney have been steadfast in seeing that the interests of their residents are first and foremost every step of the way and their insight has also been important to the planning and execution of all the work.

    Mobility and transportation are important to any community and the local economy.

    And our investments in these changes today will make for a better future.

    Again, on behalf of all of Council, I say thank you for your understanding and patience, wherever you live in the City.

    Ottawa on the Move has been a remarkable program for our City.

    And there is one more year to go as we complete this most ambitious homemade infrastructure improvement program in Ottawa’s history.

    Under this program we have seen projects completed on time and on budget in every Ward in the City.

    And this is happening as we begin the real work on the biggest infrastructure project in Ottawa’s history.

    Phase 1 of our LRT is finally under construction.

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

    The first phase of light rail transit will move people about our growing community more efficiently, more comfortably and in a more environmentally sustainable manner.

    It is a project that is the first piece of the puzzle that will see us expand transit to all parts of our city in the coming years.

    Yes, it is long overdue, but everyone on this Council should be proud that the shovels are in the ground and work is underway.

    As we watch the investment of dollars across the City we also need to keep our eyes firmly on the future.

    Just as in our first three budgets, Budget 2014 proposes a number of strategic investments that will benefit our residents as we continue to grow and mature as a major Canadian urban centre.

    That means recreation and mobility needs must be met in addition to all the other demands that citizens may have.

    This Council has invested in our neighbourhoods with parks projects across the city.

    This will continue in 2014

    Ward 1 residents and Councillor Monette will be pleased to see a proposed commitment to Cardinal Creek 18A and Petrie Landing Park II.

    Councillor Bloess and Innes Ward will see investment in Trails Edge Park 1.

    Councillor Harder will see funding allocated for Forest Park in Havencrest and Fraser Fields Linear Park.

    Councillor Blais and residents of Cumberland Ward will see design funding for the Francois Dupuis Community Centre and investment in Millennium Park.

    The Greely Village Centre Park in Councillor Thompson’s Osgoode Ward is in Budget 2014.

    As is the Forest Park in Chapman Mills, for Councillor Desroches and residents in Riverside South.

    Councillor Hubley will see investment in the Monahan Landing Park and expansion of the Meadow Breeze Park.

    Councillor Qadri’s ward will see funds invested for the design and 1st phase of construction of a 3.24 Ha community park in the Blackstone Community.

    And Councillor McRae will receive funding for rejuvenation of the Carleton Heights Park to benefit the many seniors and young families in this area of River Ward.

    We should also note that our City’s libraries are well-loved, and well-used, closing in on 33.6 million uses by year’s end.

    And there will be an increase of nearly $1M to the library’s budget that will support their initiatives.

    Like the expansion of the Constance Bay branch in Councillor El-Chantiry’s Ward in partnership with the local community association and Parks, Recreation and Culture Department.

    The implementation of new technologies at 5 additional branches – Carlingwood, Cumberland, Greely, Greenboro and the Main Library.

    And planning for renewal and modernization at yet 2 more branches – Rosemount and the Main Library.

    And, in keeping with the times, a permanent $50K increase to the materials budget for the purchase of eBooks.

    I am also looking forward to the opening of the $10 million expansion of the Beaverbrook Branch in Kanata in the summer 2014 in Councillor Wilkinson’s ward.

    And our colleagues, Councillors Clark and Fleury, will be particularly pleased to note the $8.2 million commitment to the Donald/Somerset pedestrian bridge and all that it will add to the community.

    These are just some of the investments that we are making in the quality of life of our residents for the future.

    At the same time we continue to put much-needed resources into the upkeep of our current infrastructure.

    Community and Protective Services, under the Chairmanship of Councillor Mark Taylor, will see, among other elements, an investment of approximately $2.2 million for defibrillator replacement.

    These units are life-savers – as we have seen in several instances – and even more important to the fabric of community life as our population ages.

    Fire Services will invest $2.5 million in self-contained breathing equipment that is so integral today’s modern firefighting techniques.

    Forestry Services will see investments of $1.2 million in operating funds for Forest Cover initiatives which involve management of the Emerald Ash Borer challenge, increasing overall forest cover and improved maintenance standards, including tree planting programs.

    Forestry also will see $1.175 million in capital investments for lifecycle tree renewal and replacement of trees at the end of their life, storm damaged or subject to Emerald Ash Borer.

    This funding supports programs like Trees in Trust and the Green Acres Rural Reforestation program.

    Taken together these investments represent another indication of this Council’s strong and continuing commitment to Forestry Services.

    And in another environment-based effort the Public Works Smart Energy Program will continue to roll out with $3.9 million further funding for 2014.

    When complete the program will see implementation of more than 100 energy saving capital measures within existing City facilities.

    The program is on track to yielding $1.2 million dollars in annual savings by the end of 2013 and is also on track to exceed the anticipated simple pay back of 5 years.

    Infrastructure investment will continue in 2014.

    There is an investment of $11.6 million for the detailed design work on the Western Transitway from Bayshore Station to Moodie Drive in Councillor Taylor’s Bay Ward.

    Councillor Wilkinson’s residents will see a $31 million investment for the construction of a new four lane roadway to extend Campeau Drive from Didsbury to Huntmar.

    As part of this year’s $45 million investment in road resurfacing Councillor Chiarelli’s College Ward will see work on, to name a few, Baseline Road, Iris Street, Meadowlands Drive, and Westcliffe Road.

    In the same way, Alta Vista residents in Peter Hume’s ward will see work on Baycrest Drive, Dauphin Road, and Kilborn Avenue, while residents of Diane Holmes Somerset Ward will see work on Booth and Slater streets.

    Life cycle renewal of the Prince of Wales Dr. and Nepean Creek bridge culvert in Councillor Egli’s ward will be completed with an investment of $1.2 million and water and sewer work on Sherry Lane and Brent Avenue will require $3.9 million.

    Funding will be available to carry out life cycle renewal and seismic upgrades for the Fitzroy Station Bridge over Carp River in Councillor El-Chantiry’s ward of West Carleton-March.

    An investment of $2.6 million in Councillor Moffatt’s Rideau-Goulbourn Ward will see the replacement of storm sewers, roadways, curbs and sidewalks along Rideau Valley Drive between Rogers Stevens Dr and the bridge.

    Similarly, in Councillor Tierney’s Beacon Hill-Cyrville Ward funding is necessary for life cycle renewal of the overpass at Old Montreal Rd and Cardinal Creek and it will be provided.

    Councillor Chernushenko and Capital ward will see integrated road and sewer work on First Ave. between Bronson Ave. and O’Connor, including sewer, water mains and sidewalk and full road rehabilitation for large parts of this $7.0 million project.

    Councillor Diane Deans and residents in the Greenboro area near Tapiola Crescent will see a $1.5 million investment to correct settling roadbeds caused by a poor soil base.

    In Kitchissippi Ward, Councillor Katherine Hobbs and residents will see combined sewers are being replaced with separate storm and sanitary sewers in the Rex and Kerr area and this work requires an investment outlay of $3.9 million.

    Ottawa on the Move was created and funded by this Council two years ago.

    We have invested $340 million and leveraged that into more than $500 million in total project work from 2012 to 2014.

    In those three years we created employment here in the City, in addition to investing wisely in our future.

    By the time we are done we will have seen more than 400 projects across the City.

    City staff has worked hard to deliver these projects on time and on budget.

    And that is what we have seen.

    Ottawa on the Move has seen a number of major projects, including the two-year $30 million Bronson Avenue reconstruction project; the Churchill Avenue “complete streets” remake for $21 million and the Woodroffe Avenue reconstruction with an investment of $8 million.

    At the same time Ottawa on the Move meant investments totalling over $100 million for resurfacing work on Highway 174, Ogilvie Road, Carling Avenue, Eagleson Road, Blackburn Hamlet Bypass, Galleta Side Road, and Albion Road, to name just a few.

    But, all of this Asset Management is just one part of the job here at City Council.

    Service Ottawa

    We have also been implementing Service Ottawa as I mentioned earlier.

    In 2014 there will be even more coming from this initiative.

    “MyServiceOttawa” for residents and businesses will launch.

    This will allow residents and businesses to create their own electronic account to securely access multiple City services and information in one place.

    It will include the ability to do many things, like:

    – apply and pay for a number of licenses and permits including: pet registration, business licenses, open air fire permits and numerous other permits;
    – view and pay billing information for tax and water bills;
    – search and view the status of service requests (open or closed);
    – view and manage garbage and recycling collection calendar;
    – manage subscriptions to City e-newsletters; and
    – view City social media feeds such as Twitter; and much more.

    All of this effort is designed with one thing in mind – to improve service delivery to residents and businesses across the City.

    I want to thank Councillor Tierney and the Members of the IT Sub-committee for their work on this important effort to bring about technological advances that will help us to better serve the public.

    At the same time, under the direction of the Chair of our Planning Committee, Councillor Peter Hume, our Planning Department has been stepping up to the plate and improving service delivery.

    We have cut processing times for various applications, as the most recent Performance Report indicated, and we will be continuing to work to make dealing with the City of Ottawa a pleasure not a chore.

    We promised a Guaranteed Application Timelines Initiative (GATI) covering 5 different development application types at the Planning Summit last year.

    As of August there had been 89 applications under this GATI program and 96% were handled within the Council-established timelines – and each of the 3 that missed the timelines had extenuating circumstances – but, will still receive credits for their next similar application.

    Economic Development

    Economic activity is the lifeblood of the community.

    And here, we as a Council, have also signalled and delivered on a new direction.

    The City of Ottawa Economic Development and Innovation Department has had a year of achievement punctuated by internal departmental successes and those of Invest Ottawa.

    To name just a few:

    – A $15 million dollar Innovation Agreement with the Province of Ontario

    – The Capital Investment Track (CIT) program guides key investments through the City’s requirements in a timely manner

    – Between January and June, Invest Ottawa facilitated 654 new jobs, attracted $25M in foreign investment and $26M in investment for portfolio companies

    – The new Major Events Office was able to attract an additional nine events in 2013, as well as successfully winning bids for 4 future events

    In fact, the Major Events Office has been a big success story

    We have seen the fruits of their efforts with the Women’s World Hockey Championships, the Ontario Women’s Hockey Championships, the Duathlon World Championship, the Canadian Comedy Awards, the Canadian Gymnastics Championships, the CIS Final 8 Men’s Basketball Championship, to name a few.

    The combination of bids won and events hosted in 2013 resulted in an estimated $45M of economic benefits for the local economy and that does not count the coming Canadian Figure Skating Championships, which will be at the Canadian Tire Centre in January of 2014.

    Our name is spreading as a great place to bring an event.

    But, when opportunity knocks, as we all know…

    You still have to get up and answer the door.

    To that end, Budget 2014 seeks your approval to increase the budget for the Major Events Office by $350,000.

    This will allow us to capitalise on the opportunities at hand and to be better prepared to celebrate our country’s 150th birthday in 2017.

    It will take us to the next level of our strategic objective to “bid more, win more, host more”

    Conclusion

    Colleagues, this budget is about delivering progress and getting the job done for our residents.

    It is about moving into the next year of our term of Council knowing that we have met many of the commitments that we made together.

    Knowing that we provide needed services – Police, Fire, Paramedic, transit, waste collection and recycling, snow removal and road maintenance, libraries, Public Health, drinking water, parks and recreation, 6,000 km of roads and 2,000 km of sidewalks, waste water handling and purification and much, much more – every day for families across this great city

    What we have before us is a balanced package to move our City forward.

    We are doing what we said we would do while investing in our infrastructure so that our residents can count on those services they need in the future.

    I believe that this proposed Budget 2014 continues the solid work that we have done in the last three years.

    I hope that you will be able to share in that assessment as you review the details in the coming weeks at Committee deliberations, in public consultations and here at Council itself.

    This budget, when all is said and done, is about progress.

    Progress in keeping taxes low.

    Progress in building and maintain infrastructure and city assets.

    Progress in making our city an even better place to live, work and visit.

    And progress that allows our residents to say that they live in one of the cleanest, greenest, safest cities in Canada, if not the world.

    Thank you

  • Mayor’s Remarks: Stage 2

    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

    Thank you all for coming.

    I’ve invited you here today to talk about how our city will grow and the fundamental tool that public transit offers us for intelligent planning.

    And how – if we are smart – we can use our public transit investments to make sure our transportation system will serve Ottawa as we grow in the years to come.

    This Council began its term by fundamentally taking the reins on light rail.

    It had become clear that the project we inherited – the so-called cross-country, deep-dive route that had been planned – could not be constructed for the established budget.

    Any cost overrun would be very much our problem.

    The federal and provincial contributions were each capped at $600 million.

    Already the City would be shouldering $900 million of the $2.1 billion originally budgeted to complete the Confederation Line.

    So we knew, as a Council, that we needed to correct course – because we had to pay every penny of cost increases.

    The Confederation Line deals with the downtown bottleneck that is strangling productivity increases in the transit system.

    It lays the foundation for a move to broaden the benefits of Light Rail Transit and expand on the important project now under construction.

    Increasing costs on the Confederation Line would mean fewer resources available for these extensions.

    We simply could not allow the project to bloat.

    So we took action.

    It was about 10 months ago when we gathered in this room to unveil the final Confederation Line designs.

    The Queen Street alignment achieves a better transit result with shallower, more accessible stations.

    This, along with an innovative competition – one now being copied by other municipalities – brought the budget back into line.

    The result, obtained with the very successful design-build-finance-maintain contract signed last year, has since proven the importance of Council’s actions.

    We are finally going ahead with light rail.

    On time.

    On budget.

    Fixed price.

    Tunnel and all.

    With construction now underway, I could not be more proud of the result we achieved.

    This Council has put in place a new framework of fiscal prudence.

    Before we went ahead with the Confederation Line, Council commissioned a long-term affordability review of public transit.

    These operating costs continue to challenge us at budget time, so before starting with the Confederation Line we wanted to review our long-term financial model to ensure we had a strong plan.

    A plan – not just for the first stage of LRT – but also for stages to come.

    We set tough tests for this transit affordability review.

    We looked at everything we were planning to build under the current Official Plan for public transit over the next 38 years – including the Confederation Line – covering both capital and operating costs.

    We respected the 2.5% tax cap set by this Council.

    Transit fares were held to the rate of inflation.

    We did not allow any shifting of additional road moneys into public transit.

    I want to underscore that point – we did not change the balance of investment toward transit and away from roads – and with today’s TMP we continue with this same balance of roads and transit without allowing any shift.

    So the affordability test we established was very tough.

    And this is, by the way, the first time this kind of comprehensive review of Ottawa’s public transit affordability has ever been done.

    Further, this is the first time, that all of our City’s planning efforts are coming together at the same time:

    The Official Plan… Infrastructure Master Plan… and the Transportation Master Plan, which includes the pedestrian and cycling plans.

    These major planning efforts are interconnected, so it makes sense that we ensure synergy between them at such a crucial point in our city’s history.

    The Transportation Master Plan we will release later today has at its foundation all of the tough affordability tests we continue to apply to maintain the framework of fiscal prudence that we have all committed to on this Council.

    A framework that is fair for taxpayers and fair for transit users.

    So let me tell you how we’ve changed things to ensure we have a realistic plan… a plan that does not over-promise.

    And one that we can deliver while continuing to live within our means.

    First, we changed the way estimates are being done for projects.

    Too many tenders were coming in over the early estimates used in our financial planning.

    We are being more comprehensive in the estimate process now, so our early financial planning is more realistic.

    We changed the way these estimates come together to include ample contingencies.

    We now look at the earliest stage to include estimates for property and utilities that we realistically will have to cover.

    Second, we are placing an affordability lens on the planning choices right from the beginning.

    This is an innovation in realistic planning on which Ottawa is leading the way.

    We are proposing a TMP that, for the first time, fits within what we can afford and is built from the beginning to produce the biggest bang for the buck.

    Third, we have taken a far more conservative view of how much it will cost to run our transit system.

    We have built in the flexibility to match service with increased ridership and are assuming the highest cost scenario.

    We have been far more conservative about the fairbox revenue we have in the model, so we know we will do at least that well.

    We are taking this approach so that we have a solid base and when we do better at earning new transit riders, our budget picture will just improve.

    Rather than building a model that counts on future success, we will aim for better, but not count on better.

    So we have taken the affordability model for transit to the next step.

    The tough tests from our first affordability review are now buttressed further by even far more conservative assumptions.

    This is part of building a Transportation Master Plan that won’t over promise and under deliver.

    With that framework of financial prudence in place, today I am going to focus on the transit plan because it is so central to ensuring we can maintain excellent mobility.

    Later today, the joint Transportation Committee and Transit Commission presentation will provide more detail on the road, sidewalk and cycling plans also included in the TMP.

    It will be an integrated plan designed to improve our entire network and make our community more livable for the benefit all users.

    We will move ahead to complete needed improvements for the bus system.

    This includes a new Transitway from Bayshore to Moodie and from March to Terry Fox to connect Kanata.

    There will be new measures to speed buses in the east along Blair, connecting La Cité into our rail network as well.

    And we are fully funding these improvements without waiting any longer for federal and provincial contributions.

    In the TMP, you will see a host of transit priority measures to improve reliability and shorten travel times.

    These are all planned to be 100% municipally funded and not cost shared as they have been in past plans.

    So we have a strong bus package.

    We also have a strong cycling plan.

    We are focused on completing a network around the city so that more people can safely choose to take a bike where they are going.

    This means tackling key priority cycling links with improved facilities, leveraging our existing assets, and connecting missing links to community destinations across the city.

    Our cycling plan includes what many in our community and around the Council table have been looking for.

    Improving our road network is also a priority because realistically most of our trips are in personal vehicles.

    Let me give you a few examples.

    We will move quickly to increase traffic flows through key intersections along Prince of Wales – at Merivale, Fallowfield, Deakin, and at the Hunt Club bridge.

    After that, we will move to fix the log-jam north from there to Colonnade Road.

    We will also move on a major project – a four-lane extension of Greenbank from Cambrian to Jockvale.

    This will ease the bottleneck that currently exists and would otherwise increase with the opening of the new rec centre and as well as planned development further to the south in Manotick and Richmond.

    We will move quickly on the implementation of Chapman Mills Drive, the widening of Brian Cobourn from Navan to Mer Bleu, and the Kanata South Link widening.

    This will create more options for commuters to get in and out of these fast-growing communities in our south, east and west.

    We will also complete upgrades in areas where development has outpaced some parts of our road network such as sections of Klondike and Country Club Roads.

    Every Councillor will be pleased to hear that we will move quickly to restore predictable travel times on the Airport Parkway where it bogs down between Hunt Club and Brookfield with new HOV and taxi lanes.

    And our commitment to improve roads in rural areas is steadfast in this plan.

    I am confident we have a strong set of priorities for our roads projects funded largely by growth and development charges.

    The pedestrian plan will work on key links as well to recreation, schools, shopping, and leisure activities.

    We will review pedestrian safety where there are community concerns – as we’ve heard on Merivale Road and Scott Street.

    We will continue to build smarter streets as we rehabilitate older roads to include good pedestrian links and more safe cycling options.

    We will take our first steps to mainstreeting Cyrville.

    For the first time, the full capital plan includes an envelope for the funding of the pedestrian crossings, such as the bridge from Donald to Somerset for which several Councillors have been champions – including Councillors Clark and Fleury.

    Funding for these projects will be included in the draft budget later this month.

    And in addition to stand-alone projects, we will take a pragmatic and integrated approach to designing more complete streets – whether through growth or renewal – to better service all users and to make life on our streets more vibrant.

    Where roads can better serve and more effectively service pedestrians, cyclists or transit, we will do so, but only where there is value in doing so in a manner that is practical, flexible and prudent.

    Which leads us to the focus of my remarks this morning.

    Stage 2…

    Our plan to spread the benefits of light rail right across our city.

    Light rail transit is our most powerful smart growth tool.

    When we are clear as a city about where Light Rail rapid transit will be into the future… we have a powerful effect on how our city grows.

    Unlike a bus route, rail transit routes do not periodically change.

    So the community can plan.

    Businesses can plan.

    And we get smarter growth.

    The more quickly we move forward with strength and certainty on transit, the more attractive and reliable the system becomes.

    And as options increase, more families will choose transit over the expenses of buying a second car.

    Excellent public transit opens more possibilities for more people than you might think.

    So… let’s start our discussion of Stage 2 of LRT with how much our fiscal plan contains for public transit growth projects, as opposed to renewals.

    In previous TMPs, our plans for transit have assumed cost sharing with the federal and provincial governments, and that continues to be the case, as with other major municipalities in Canada.

    After we complete the investment of $2.1 billion dedicated to the Confederation Line, we can afford $3 billion between now and 2031.

    That is the envelope for growth-related transit projects that we can afford in our conservative financial plan.

    But light rail improvements are not the only public transit infrastructure that we need to include in our budgeting.

    Over the next ten years, we will service new growth with $500 million in bus transit improvements in the form of new Transitway links and priority lanes.

    As I mentioned earlier, these links will no longer be dependent on receiving two-thirds funding from senior orders of government.

    We want to move ahead with these projects without further delay.

    Today I am pleased to present to you a plan for Stage 2 that can, I believe, form a rally point for all levels of government and for our own Council.

    This period in our city’s development is similar to the build out of the Transitway decades ago – a time of major investment for decades of reward.

    We want to gain the full benefit of LRT to enable a shift to a more sustainable transportation future.

    And through this Stage 2 plan…

    We will shift LRT up an entire generation.

    Building on the Confederation Line…

    I am pleased to announce today that the Stage 2 plan moves decisively to spread the benefit of Light Rail to the west, east and south.

    Together.

    map_stage2_bil

     

    This plan responds to Council’s direction and desire to build on the work we are doing now to dramatically improve the O-Train.

    I want to take you through each segment of Stage 2 in some detail.

    First, let’s look west and southwest.

    We’ve put a lot of time and energy into working with the community to find a route through to the west.

    The Richmond Underground will provide the rapid rail transit extension that we need.

    I want to thank Councillors Hobbs, Taylor and Egli for their strong leadership here.

    Making good use of our existing Transitway infrastructure, we will continue with electric light rail west of Tunney’s Pasture, where it will stop at upgraded versions of the stations we have today at Westboro and Dominion.

    From Dominion Station, the route will travel down the former CP rail corridor to quickly enter the cover of a tunnel to maintain access to the waterfront.

    We will bury and enclose the line near residents to ensure continued views and quiet enjoyment for homeowners along the corridor.

    And we will continue to work with the NCC to meet their requirements.

    This underground section will continue to a new open-air station just past Cleary.

    We have moved the station at Cleary slightly to the west and reduced its footprint to take into account input during our public meetings.

    From Cleary, the tunnel will descend gradually before crossing under Richmond Road, stopping at a second new open-air station at New Orchard, before traveling underground to Lincoln Fields.

    These two stations will provide new, convenient rapid transit service for west end residents.

    And perhaps most significantly, the Byron Linear Park will be protected from one end to the other.

    Some residents may say “why should we pay for that to be underground?”

    The answer is clear to me…

    We have to move through some very well established neighbourhoods here… and we need to do right by them.

    Light rail needs to be implemented in a way that enhances the existing character of those communities and benefits the residents and businesses there with far better transit access.

    From Lincoln Fields, I support moving quickly to deploy light rail west to Bayshore Shopping Centre and south to Baseline.

    Beginning with the south route, we will travel from Lincoln Fields under the Queensway, through a new station at Iris, to Baseline.

    Finally, we will bring the significant investment we already have in Baseline Station into service as we link Algonquin College, Carleton, the University of Ottawa, and La Cité.

    Now that’s an education powerhouse in the capital connected by rapid transit.

    And with the quick and frequent feeder bus service to the growing southwest Barrhaven community, down the already built dedicated Transitway, we will dramatically improve the transit experience for the fastest growing areas of the city and make it more affordable to carry more passengers.

    I want to thank Councillors Harder and Desroches for the advancing of increased service for their constituents.

    Now let’s look at the route from Lincoln Fields to Bayshore.

    There had been a busway planned for this section that would have faced near immediate demand for conversion to LRT.

    So instead of building for buses – looking at wasteful and disruptive conversion costs – and then going to rail, we are going to leapfrog to better transit for the west now.

    From Lincoln Fields, the route to Bayshore will split off to the south of Woodroffe High School from the line to Baseline that I just described.

    The train then runs through an expanded Connaught Tunnel past the existing Pinecrest Bus Garage.

    Thanks here again to Councillor Taylor for improving on the plan to account for the concerns of people in the Roman Avenue area.

    As with the Richmond Underground, working with the community we’ve found better solutions.

    From there the line will run onto the City right-of-way just north of the Queensway, stopping at a new Queensview station.

    This will serve the area’s residents and businesses, including Hewlett Packard and the Leon’s.

    This will also include a new walking bridge across the Queensway, which will connect the rail line to the Pinecrest Shopping Complex, the new Ikea to the south, and other nearby businesses.

    From Queensview, the route makes an additional stop on the west side of Pinecrest to serve the residential communities north and south before continuing on to Bayshore Shopping Centre.

    Once at Bayshore, the line will tie-in to the bus network infrastructure where a new Bayshore-to-Moodie dedicated busway will connect with the existing west BRT and the new March to Terry Fox busway I described earlier.

    This will provide continuous rapid transit to Kanata, something advocated by Councillors Hubley and Wilkinson.

    Now… to the south.

    Building on the $59 million improvement underway now to increase service, we will make further enhancements to the O-Train to serve communities in the south and growing ridership along the line.

    We will open the system to serve more areas by adding stations at Gladstone, Walkley Road, and South Keys, creating more convenient options for people to make transit a part of their day.

    And we will extend the line to Leitrim and Bowesville and provide expanded park and ride facilities to support commuting from Barrhaven and Riverside South to those stations.

    This will be a full grade-separated route with new structures to cross Leitrim, Lester and Bowesville roads.

    My thanks to Councillors Deans and Desroches for their strong push for further expansion south now, not later.

    And to Councillors Hobbs, McRae and Holmes for underscoring the importance of added stations to serve the residents along the O-Train line more directly.

    Finally…to the east.

    We will complete the conversion of the light rail line from Blair Station through to Place D’Orleans.

    Four new stations will be put in place: at St. Joseph, Jeanne D’Arc, Orleans Drive, and Place d’ Orleans.

    The construction of LRT along our existing highway alignment will also free up the existing lanes used for buses today.

    During the EA process we will look at how to use these former bus lanes to expand the highway for HOV lanes.

    Currently, 60 per cent of Orleans residents who work downtown use transit each weekday.

    That takes a lot of articulated and double decker buses we won’t have to fill with diesel or replace at the end of the decade if we get moving more quickly.

    But this is not just about daily commutes to downtown.

    When complete, 90 per cent of Orleans’ residents will live within five kilometers of light rail.

    And moving quickly will be a game changer for renewed economic growth in the east end as rail will open access and tie the east to the downtown and beyond.

    Councillors Blais, Monette, Tierney and Bloess have been real leaders for balanced economic development.

    The east has suffered over the last ten years with shifting federal employment patterns.

    We want to work with the Government of Canada to locate jobs in the east and to attract employers there to support balanced growth.

    Bringing the benefits of light rail east to Place d’Orleans will make that difference.

    Last month, we announced a major employment complex has been attracted to north Orleans.

    I believe Stage 2 will give us what we need as a team to make the case for bringing more federal and private sector jobs to Orleans.

    In sum what I have just laid out can be built for less than $2.5 Billion.

    This includes:

     – $400 million to get to Lincoln Fields from Bayshore
    – $980 million to get to Baseline from Tunney’s Pasture
    – $500 million to finish getting to Orleans
    – $100 million for further O-train enhancements; and
    – $500 million for the trains and expanded storage facilities needed to serve the full system.

    This should be a package we can all agree to get a move on.

    Stage 2 of light rail will build on the benefits of the Confederation Line for our city as a whole.

    We could go slowly and build each segment of the network over a protracted period of time, suffering wasteful and disruptive conversions along the way…

    Or we can move ahead and use public transit to help define how we grow.

    We could muddle through paying for another twenty or thirty years of long-haul buses…

    Or we can make the most of LRT by completing the network to realize the benefits more quickly.

    Instead of phasing these extensions to 2031, what I am proposing as Stage 2 is a single LRT project.

    A project that will bring rail west to Bayshore and Baseline… south to Bowesville… and east to Orleans.

    It would all be done together… well in advance of any previous schedule this city has ever seen.

    That means if our federal and provincial partners come to the table with their share of funds, we could have this impressive system up and running within five years of completing the Confederation Line – as early as 2023.

    Like all major municipalities with large transit projects, these are plans we can only undertake together.

    We all know the old saying:

    When you stand still, you fall behind.

    The leading municipalities in this country are ready with clear plans for cost sharing of needed transit improvements.

    Let me be clear, coming together with a strong plan and a united voice is the way we will succeed.

    Together… with our partners Ontario and Canada, we need to get ahead of growth and use transit planning, as so many other cities around the world have done, to develop in a healthy way.

    Together, we can move up light rail an entire generation.

    By completing this, we will add 35 kilometers of new rail and 19 new stations that will improve public transit, attract new customers and contain costs.

    We’ll have a system that can handle the growth instead of struggling with increasingly crowded buses and increasingly divisive budget battles.

    We will have a system that is reliable and on-time because the main spines will be dedicated and freed from competing with traffic.

    We can replace most of our articulated bus fleet with more efficient trains that will be quieter and far less polluting.

    We can get more than 450,000 buses a year off the Sir John A MacDonald Parkway.

    Best of all, our city will be connected with a light rail transit spine from east to west to south.

    As our community ages, it will help to keep our citizens out and about.

    Big celebrations that our capital city hosts, like Canada Day, will have a lot less transportation frustration.

    Beyond connecting our post secondary institutions, as I’ve mentioned, the network will stretch from our fastest growing communities in the east, west and south.

    It will connect six major shopping malls, many hotels from the Delta to the Hampton to the Westin, not to mention our libraries, arts facilities and recreational facilities.

    All connected with an upgraded transit experience—safe, modern, comfortable and accessible light rail—that will help define for the better how we grow and develop as a healthy urban municipality.

    Let’s move forward…

    East, west, south…

    Together.

    And let’s define our own success as a community.

    Thank you.

  • Budget 2014 overview

    Taxes

    taxes_small_en

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

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

    Savings and Spending

    Since the beginning of its term, this Council has:

    – Frozen recreation fees

    – Frozen the Mayor’s salary

    – Frozen the administrative budgets of the Mayor and Council

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

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

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

    Debt

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

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

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

    Budget timeline

     – Summer 2013: Mayor’s pre-budget consultation

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

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

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

    What do you think?

    – How can the City save money?

    – How can the City better spend money?

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

    September 6, 2013

     

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

     

    Dear Minister,

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sincerely,

    Jim Watson
    Mayor
    City of Ottawa

     

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

  • Blog: Progress at the new Lansdowne

    After decades of indecision and conflict, one thing residents keep telling me is that it is great to finally see Lansdowne moving forward!

    If you look at the site, you see several cranes up and hundreds of construction workers hard at work. I check in on the project about once a week, whether it is by driving by on my way to an event or visiting my parents who live across the street.

    When the project is complete, Lansdowne will be a complete community – with opportunities for entertainment, shopping and recreation activities and will link together the neighbourhoods of the Glebe and Old Ottawa South. It will be an attraction worthy of a G8 capital city.

    You will be able to enjoy:

     – A new stadium (home to the Ottawa REDBLACKS and the Ottawa Fury FC)

     – A refurbished Civic Centre (home to the Ottawa 67s)

     – About three times more park space (18 acres)

     – About four times more trees

     – 20 event spaces, including several squares and courts for community events

     – 7.2 kilometres of sidewalks and pathways

     – Five pieces of public art (including retention of three existing historical pieces)

    View the design plans for the new Lansdowne Park.

    New stadium

    In February 2013, I was pleased to throw two lucky pennies in the foundation for the south side stands, which are now rising out of the ground. I can’t wait to see the iconic wooden veil that will cover the stands – it will be a beautiful complement to the Rideau Canal.

     

    There’s also good news for the “North Siders” as the north side stands are getting a new roof and the Civic Centre is being refurbished.

    Our new CFL team has general manager Marcel Desjardins in place and will be participating in the expansion draft later this year. Our NASL team has hired Marc Dos Santos as their head coach. Be sure to visit the team websites to sign up for updates.

    All in all, we’re on track to start cheering on our professional football and soccer teams in summer 2014. One year later, we will welcome the world as we host nine games for the FIFA Women’s World Cup. I’m also hoping to see Ottawa host the Grey Cup and maybe even an NHL Outdoor Classic at our amazing new stadium in the coming years.

    Urban park

    We broke ground on the urban park in July 2013, which will truly be a crown jewel in our city. That’s right: we’re finally putting the “park” back into

    Lansdowne Park!

    Local landscaping company D&G Landscaping will be responsible for constructing the urban park, which includes expanses of lawn, courtyards, a heritage orchard, an outdoor skating rink and a children’s play area. I think this will be the most transformative piece of the entire project as you will see almost three times more park space and four times more trees on the property.

    My favourite piece of the urban park is the Great Lawn, the pentagon shaped green space next to the canal you see in the project images. It will be almost as large as the lawn on Parliament Hill — a great place to have a picnic with your family or read a book.

    While areas of the park will be substantially complete for the opening of the stadium in summer 2014, all the final features are expected to be finished in the summer of 2015.

    Community relations

    As with any major infrastructure project, there is noise and dust on the construction site. This is short-term pain for significant long-term gain. I want to commend our contractors and City project staff for monitoring and mitigating potential headaches for the surrounding community.

     

    A neat part of the project: to reduce noise and emissions, we actually have a full working concrete plant on site. This helps to reduce truck traffic on area roads and reduces emissions from vehicles traveling to and from the site.

    We have maintained a good working relationship with the local business improvement area and community groups by conducting regular site tours and meetings. The Glebe BIA has been a tremendous partner and even hosted a barbecue for hundreds of Lansdowne construction workers in June. I’m proud of how well everyone is working together and look forward to this continued partnership in the months ahead.

    Stay up-to-date

    The City sends out updates on a regular basis to update residents on construction. You can also follow the construction progress with frequent updates at ottawa.ca/newlansdowne. If you would like to receive e-mail notices, you can subscribe on ottawa.ca. I would also encourage you to connect with the Ottawa REDBLACKSand Ottawa Fury FC as excitement builds over the next year.

    http://player.vimeo.com/video/36355573?portrait=0

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