• O-Train Confederation Line Fall Newsletter

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  • Baseball fans remember Max Keeping’s legacy at bridge naming

    July 16, 2016 – Baseball fans who came to RCGT Park this evening to watch the Ottawa Champions host the Rockland Boulders first joined Mayor Jim Watson, president of the Ottawa Champions David Gourlay and Mr. Keeping’s family to remember popular local community builder Max Keeping.

    The game was preceded by a short ceremony on the pitcher’s mound, renaming the Coventry Pedestrian and Cycling Bridge over Highway 417 the Max Keeping Bridge in honour of the late broadcaster, longtime booster of baseball in our city, and tireless advocate and fundraiser for vulnerable and sick children and youth in Ottawa.

    “Max personified the spirit of giving and caring, and his legacy continues to inspire us to be generous and kind, and to help others,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Naming this bridge in his honour is a fitting tribute because he was a great fan and advocate for baseball in Ottawa, and because he brought people together and helped build a strong and caring community.”

    Mr. Keeping helped raise more than $100 million for organizations such as the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Roger’s House, the United Way, the Boys and Girls Club, Operation Come Home and the Cancer Foundation. His own battle with cancer ended his broadcasting career in 2003, but he continued to be an ambassador for his television station and an enthusiastic volunteer for local charities in the decade that followed. He passed away on October 1, 2015 at age 73.

    In recognition of his generosity, the Ottawa Champions will donate $1 to CHEO from each ticket to the game purchased in advance.

    Mr. Gourlay said: “Max will always be remembered as a local hero who changed countless lives for the better. We are all better people for having known him.”

    The Max Keeping Bridge connects the Overbrook community, Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton Park (baseball stadium), the Via Rail station and the future Tremblay Station of the O-Train Confederation Line.

  • Girls+ Skate 613 receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

    July 13, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Somerset Ward Councillor Catherine McKenney presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to skateboarding organization Girls+ Skate 613 at today’s City Council meeting.

    Girls+ Skate 613 builds community, diversity and inclusion by providing a safe space for individuals of all ages, abilities and genders to skateboard in a comfortable, encouraging environment.

    The organization began as Girls Only Sessions at the McNabb Community Centre in 2006. Girls+ Skate 613 is now a permanent initiative supported by the Ottawa Skateboard Community Association (OSCA), and membership has doubled each year since 2013.

    Recognizing that girls, women, members of the LGBTQ+ community and other marginalized groups do not have the same opportunities in sports, OSCA and Girls+ Skate 613 are dedicated to empowering individuals who might not have other opportunities to participate in this sport. Girls+ Skate 613 and OSCA work together to support barrier-free skateboarding by providing equipment, facilitating spaces for skating, hosting events, providing resources and education, and fundraising.

    The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.

    Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public.

    The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.

    For additional information, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656). You can also connect with us through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


     

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    Three men receive Commendations for Bravery for their role in fire rescue

    July 13, 2016 – Mayor Jim Watson and Cumberland Ward Councillor Stephen Blais presented City of Ottawa Commendations for Bravery to realtor Geoff Walker and asphalting workers Owen Cole and Alex Deschamps at today’s City Council meeting. The three honorees helped to rescue two men from a house fire on Melette Crescent in the Avalon community of Orléans on June 18.

    Mr. Walker, Mr. Cole and Mr. Deschamps happened to be driving by when they heard a dog barking and saw smoke coming from a townhouse. Mr. Walker broke a window and they entered to look for people inside who might be incapacitated. They found and evacuated two men, one of whom was unconscious.

    The fire destroyed four of the six homes in a row of townhouses and significantly damaged the other two, as well as another house behind the row. At least 20 people were displaced because of the fire.

     

     

  • Al and Betty Arseneault, Crystal Beach–Lakeview outdoor rink volunteers, receive Mayor’s City Builder Award

    Mayor Jim Watson and Bay Ward Councillor Mark Taylor presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Al and Betty Arseneault at today’s City Council meeting.

    The Arseneaults are longtime residents of Crystal Beach-Lakeview. Their love of outdoor sports – hockey, skating and curling in particular – fondness for their neighbourhood, and enthusiasm for building community come together in their commitment as volunteers, working with the City’s Seasonal Recreation branch, to construct, create and maintain an outdoor arena and separate three-sheet curling rink in Lakeview Park each winter.

    Al is well known as the first volunteer rink operator in the city to get his boards in place, the first to coax skate-worthy ice out of an early cold snap, the most meticulous at maintaining the ice (it’s near NHL quality), and very quick to clear any snowfall. This means the retired public servant has to make himself available 24/7 during the outdoor skating season to flood and groom the ice, sometimes trucking loads of Zamboni ice shavings from nearly indoor arenas to fill in spots after a melt. Al also helps the Seasonal Recreation staff to train and coach new rink volunteers each fall at the start of the winter season.

    The curling rink has three full-size sheets with all the correct markings, and the Arseneaults host an annual Lakeview Outdoor Bonspiel that is always fully booked with enthusiastic curlers from all over the Ottawa Valley. Local indoor curling clubs lend the rocks for curling events.

    Thanks to Al and Betty, Crystal Beach-Lakeview and area residents, from young kids wobbling on their first pair of skates to seniors enjoying a game of shinny, are fortunate enough to have free high-quality winter recreation opportunities at their local park.

    The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.

    Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public.

    The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.

  • Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin receives Ottawa’s Highest Honour

    March 23rd, 2016 – We all carry keys with us:  keys to doors, cars, lockers, you name it — anything we feel is valuable enough to put a lock on. But very few people own a Key to the City of Ottawa.

    An ornamental key – the Key to the City – is presented to esteemed residents, visitors and others whom the City of Ottawa wishes to honour. The key is symbolic of medieval walled cities, the gates of which would be guarded during the day and locked at night. Being given such a key means the recipient is free to enter and leave the city whenever they want, as a trusted friend of city residents.

    On Tuesday, March 22, Mayor Jim Watson presented the Key to the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada. She was the most recent of 85 individuals and organizations to receive Ottawa’s highest honour.

    Chief Justice McLachlin is the 17th and current Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, the first woman to hold this position, and the longest serving Chief Justice in Canadian history.

    The first Key to the City of Ottawa was presented by Mayor Stanley Lewis at Union Train Station on

    November 4, 1935, to Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir as they arrived in Ottawa to begin Lord Tweedsmuir’s term as Canada’s Governor  General.

    Past Key-to-the-City recipients include Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II), Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands, author Margaret Atwood, photographers Yousuf and Malak Karsh, the Community Foundation of Ottawa, actress Sandra Oh and Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson.

  • Celebrating its heritage and a new, green future, Lansdowne Park officially opens

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    Ottawa – After an intensive construction period, Lansdowne has its park. Mayor Jim Watson and Capital Ward Councillor David Chernushenko today officially opened the new Lansdowne Park, and were joined for the opening event by City Councillors, partners from the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG), and many of the professionals, stakeholders and organizations who helped design and build the newest attraction in Ottawa’s parks system.

    “Exactly 13 months ago today we were breaking up the last of the pavement at the old Lansdowne,” said Mayor Watson. “What has emerged is extraordinary. This new park is rooted in the heritage of Lansdowne and our community. At the same time it has been transformed into a modern, urban destination that will resonate in the hearts and minds of visitors as much as the former fair grounds did for past generations.”

    The 18-acre, intricately designed urban park includes expanses of lawn, courtyards, a heritage orchard, a farmers’ market square, an outdoor skating rink, a water feature and a children’s play area. Overall, the new Lansdowne will feature about three times more green space and four times more trees than the old site, as well as 20 event spaces available for community use.

    “Our community is happy to see this additional green space at Lansdowne,” said Councillor Chernushenko. “It will be a great space for both recreation and relaxation. And with connections between Bank Street, the Rideau Canal and many cycling and walking pathways, the park will help unite residents of nearby neighbourhoods.”

    City Council gave initial approval to the Lansdowne Partnership Plan in 2009. The overarching vision was to develop the 40-acre site into an urban destination that increases recreation and green space in the urban core, is accessible by many modes of transportation, preserves and enhances visitors’ understanding of local heritage and culture and exemplifies the City’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The final partnership agreements with OSEG were approved in 2012 initiating two years of construction activities across the site.

    “The development and planning for the new Lansdowne showed us that good design matters,” said Peter Hume, Chair of the Planning Committee. “The beautiful park that we have today is the result of a commitment by City Council to seek the assistance of Canada’s best urban designers and architects and to entice the world’s best designers with an open competition that produced a first-class design worthy of this historic site.”

    In recognition of the importance of heritage to the new Lansdowne, a representative of Ontario Heritage Trust presented Mayor Watson with a special heritage plaque during the event. Another plaque, commemorating the official opening of Lansdowne Park, was also unveiled during the event. Both will be prominently displayed in the park.

    “Lansdowne Park completes the vision of transforming this historic site into a destination for all,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick. “Lansdowne Park is an example of how Ottawa is applying smart growth by incorporating active recreation, new green space and innovative design to create places that  benefit residents from across the City.”

    The City’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services department will be responsible for the ongoing programming and management of the urban park area. A range of programs with local community partners will be offered at Lansdowne Park beginning this fall and will include a Christmas farmers’ market, 2015 Winterlude events and programming at the outdoor refrigerated skating rink. Lansdowne Park and TD Place will also be among the six venues across Canada hosting the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

    Ottawa residents are invited to help celebrate the opening of Lansdowne Park with an old-fashioned carnival and picnic in the park on Saturday, August 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit ottawa.ca for details, or follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook for updates.

    The Family DayPass from OC Transpo is the perfect way for families to travel to Lansdowne on Saturday. DayPasses can be purchased from the driver for $8.10 and can be used for up to six people, with a maximum of two aged 13 or older. Event-goers should also consider riding bikes to the celebration and locking up at the free bike corral. More information on how to get to Lansdowne Park is available at ottawa.ca.

  • Draft Budget 2015 maintains momentum on key city-building projects

    Ottawa – Ottawa City Council today received and tabled its first draft budget of its term, which seeks to maintain the momentum of significant city-building projects such as light rail transit, Arts Court, and the Bayview Innovation Centre. The draft budget proposes key investments in affordable housing, community facilities and crime prevention, while keeping taxes and user fees affordable.
    “This budget strikes the right balance by keeping life affordable, while continuing to make smart investments in Ottawa’s economy and quality of life,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Signs of momentum are all around us – it’s an exciting time to be in the nation’s capital.”
    The budget holds the line on current spending while keeping tax revenue increases to 1.75 per cent, which translates to a 2 per-cent increase for a residential property. This represents an increase of approximately $67 per year for an urban home assessed at $355,000 and $55 per year for a rural home assessed at $355,000.


    The budget also proposes a reduction of full-time equivalent positions for the fourth consecutive budget, without harming front-line services. Residents would see transit fares and recreation fee increases capped at reasonable levels, while the garbage fee will be frozen for a third consecutive year.


    The budget also includes funding to address the current needs of residents by improving mobility, supporting a new crime prevention strategy and increasing affordable housing to address the needs of our most vulnerable residents.
    “This budget will keep daily business on track and help the City meet its financial obligations to the major projects already underway,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick. “I commend City staff for putting forward a responsible financial plan that will also allow investment in a number of the new initiatives identified in consultation with the Mayor and Councillors.”


    The $689.1 million in tax- and rate-supported capital projects across the City includes $448 million in citywide projects of benefit to all residents and $241 million for ward-specific or cross-ward projects. More than half of the total is allocated to investments in the renewal of road, water and wastewater assets.


    The budget delivers on the following important aspects that make Ottawa a liveable city for all residents and businesses:
    A Caring City

     – Fund a strategy for crime prevention and gang activity.

     – Increase funding for maintenance of Ottawa Community Housing Corporation assets.

     – Enhance and increase funding for the School Crossing Guard Program.

     – Deliver funding for commemoration of the victims of the tragic September 2013 bus-train collision.

     – Involve the City in the renewal of the Ottawa Pride Festival.

    A Sustainable City

     – Support the 2013 Ottawa Cycling Plan, which will see the expansion and improvement of cycling networks and multi-use pathways across the city to make cycling a safe and convenient option for residents

     – Move the Ottawa River Action Plan forward with the construction of the central storage tunnel, putting in place the last elements of funding from federal partners to match investments from the City and Province.

     – Increase funding for tree planting by $125,000 to $1.3M.

    A Prosperous City

     – Modernize Ottawa’s transit system through Light Rail Transit (Stage 1 and Stage 2).

     – Continue the construction of the Confederation Line, the light-rail transit line from Blair Station to Tunney’s Pasture, which is the backbone of the City’s planned light rail network.

     – Prepare for the transition from construction of the Confederation Line to full operations in 2018.

     – Launch the Western Transitway expansion as the City continues to seek funding for Stage 2 of the Light Rail Transit system that will extend to neighbourhoods in the east, west, and south

    An Affordable City

     – Limit the Rate-Supported Water and Sewer Charge increase to 6 per cent, as approved in the latest Long Range Financial Plan.

     – Freeze the garbage fees for the third consecutive year.

     – Limit the average OC Transpo fare increase to 2.5 per cent, while also providing a $4.2-million investment in new and improved service – including increasing bus routes and approximately 5,700 more Para Transpo trips.

     – Reduce 20 full-time equivalent (FTE) City positions, excluding Ottawa Police Services.

    Since Term of Council Priorities will be finalized after the 2015 budget is adopted, a funding envelope of $5.4 million within the City Manager’s Office budget and $32 million in the capital budgets has been identified to fund newly established strategic initiatives. These envelopes allow for flexibility over the coming year to ensure public funds spent correspond with priorities once they are set by City Council.


    The public will have opportunities to learn more about and comment on the proposed budget by attending any of the four regional budget consultations taking place from Monday, February 9 to Thursday, February 12. Residents are also invited to register as a public delegation to take part in all City Standing Committees, Boards and Commissions, which will meet between Tuesday, February 17 and Thursday, March 5 to consider their 2015 budgets. For full information on the Draft 2015 Budget, visit ottawa.ca/budget2015.


    City Council will consider the recommendations received from all public consultations, Committees of Council and relevant Boards at its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, March 11.
  • Minister Baird, Mayor Watson agree to work together on light rail

    OTTAWA, ONTARIO – John Baird, Minister Responsible for the National Capital Commission and Member of Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean and His Worship, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson today issued the following statement:

    “Both the Government of Canada and the City of Ottawa have committed to taking the next 100 days to continue to work constructively along with the NCC toward a solution on this transit issue.

    “Moving forward, we have agreed to stay in close contact, meet on a more regular basis on a range of regional issues, and maintain a positive dialogue as we work together for the betterment of our great Capital.”

     

    Government of Canada contact:

    Adam Hodge

    Press Secretary

    Office of the Honourable John Baird, P.C., M.P.

    Adam.Hodge@international.gc.ca

    613-995-1851

     

    City of Ottawa contact:

    Brook Simpson

    Press Secretary

    Office of Mayor Jim Watson

    City of Ottawa

    613-580-2424, ext. 21526

    brook.simpson@ottawa.ca

  • Downtown truck tunnel study by Ontario and City starts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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