• Accessibility Day

    Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.

    I am very pleased to be here this morning to welcome you to this special event and officially proclaim today AccessAbility Day here in the City of Ottawa.

    I want to recognize my Council colleagues and senior staff who are with us today:

    ·      Councillor Quadri;

    ·      Councillor El-Chantiry;

    ·      Councillor Chernushenko;

    ·      Councillor Deans; and,

    ·      Councillor Wilkinson.

    Senior Staff include:

    ·      Kent Kirkpatrick

    ·      Nancy Schepers

    ·      Rick O’Connor

    ·      Donna Gray,

    ·      Rudy Lindia

    I would also like to sincerely thank the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation for their participation in hosting this event.

    I would also like to thank our Accessibility Advisory Committee for their ongoing support as this marks the ninth year of this event in recognition of the United Nation’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

    In keeping with today’s theme of Building People Places by Designing Accessible Spaces…

    Council and I are pleased to announce that two weeks ago we solidified our commitment with our approval of the City’s very first Accessibility Design Standards.

    The goal of these new standards is to identify accessibility features and criteria in our built environment in order to remove barriers and improve inclusion for our residents.

    The new standards will add to our previous four-year, eight-million dollar commitment to our Accessibility Retrofit Program which is the largest investment for accessibility in the history of the City of Ottawa.

    Recently, the Comprehensive Asset Management report identified funding to remove barriers in city buildings, parks and public spaces.

    Specifically, Council approved a plan to allocate almost $7 million annually for barrier removal.  this is in addition to the funding that is part of the building renewal and retrofit program.

    Although the City is committed to removing barriers in our built environment – I want to be realistic about the magnitude of the challenge.

    It is currently estimated that the cost to remove all barriers at City buildings and parks is in the order of 150-million dollars.

    Everyone in the design and construction industry knows that the cost of retroactively introducing accessibility standards to projects is more expensive than the cost of introducing the standards in the design and planning stages.

    This is why the City’s Accessibility Design Standards have been designed to reflect a reasonable and responsible approach based on existing best practices for considering accessibility early in the planning and design phase.

    This will help improve consistency across the city and is the most prudent and cost effective approach to improving accessibility in our built environment.

    In the New Year, the City will also begin our consultations on our City’s Official Plan and Transportation Master Plan.

    We want everyone in our community to tell us how the City can make their neighbourhoods more vibrant and accessible place to live, work, and play.

    By making our city more accessible we will be making neighbourhoods move vibrant and open to everyone.

    We want to make Ottawa the most accessible capital city in the world.

    Designing and planning a community effectively requires community involvement and we are lucky to have talented people like Betty Dion, Gordon Lorimer, Deputy City Manager Nancy Schepers, and Dr. Mariam Lankoande from CMHC who are joining us today.

    These individuals have different expertise, but they all share a commitment to creating universal designs.

    Betty Dion has received acclaim for her accessible design work with the Ottawa Airport–which has been rated as one of the best airports in North America—and is currently working as part of our Lansdowne team.

    Arlene Grégoire, who is our Chief Building Official and Director of Building Code Services will speak to the importance of the Ontario Building Code in our designs.

    Nancy Schepers is the Deputy City Manager of Planning and Infrastructure for the City of Ottawa.

    Nancy develops and oversees the implementation of management and growth accommodation strategies for the City’s municipal infrastructure assets, including roads, bridges and transit systems.

    Nancy is responsible for the development and implementation of the Ottawa Light Rail Transit Project, and oversees all City of Ottawa Real Estate matters.

    Nancy will provide an overview of what is in the City’s new standards and how they will be implemented.

    Gordon Lorimer, this is an opportunity to share your considerable expertise and to speak about some of the many projects your firm has undertaken with the City.

    For example, you firm’s work on Beaver Barracks Redevelopment, or accessibility issues you considered in the recent work on the Glebe Community Centre Redevelopment.

    Last, but certainly not least, you will hear from Dr. Mariam Lankoande, who is a Senior Researcher in the Policy and Research Division of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC).

    She will speak to the planning required in removing barriers and improving inclusion in housing.

    Removing barriers and creating inclusive designs is beneficial to our quality of life and economic strength – creating accessible assets and infrastructure to draw new businesses and tourists.

    So, today’s event and discussion are important to get our community engaged and working together to create an accessible city.

    It is a community issue that requires a community solution.

    Because it is going to take a community solution I am especially pleased that we have been able to partner with CMHC to bring you this event today.

    Vivian Chih is joining us today from CMHC.

    Vivian is a corporate representative for Eastern Ontario and has been instrumental in fostering partners across the region to create accessible and affordable housing.

    I would like to invite Vivian to join me and receive the official proclamation.

    Could my Council Colleagues please come forward to assist me.

    (Mayor Watson reads proclamation.)

    Thank you, and I hope today is informative and sparks creativity.

     

  • Speech – Summit of the États Généraux de la francophonie d’Ottawa

    SPEECH

    Summit of the États Généraux de la francophonie d’Ottawa

    November 18, 2012

    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

    ************

    Hello everyone.

    It is my pleasure to be here with you today on behalf of the City of Ottawa and my City Council colleagues.

    I would like to welcome:

    – The Honourable Madeleine Meilleur

    – The city councillors in attendance

    – The honorary co-chairs:

    – Michelle de Courville-Nicol

    – Mehdi Hamdad

    – Sommet des États généraux de la francophonie d’Ottawa volunteers and participants

     

    The États généraux was held at Ottawa City Hall. Today, I am pleased to participate and to give the closing address of the Sommet.

    Several citizen forums have taken place throughout the city since June 2011.

    The organizers stated that the movement was created in the hopes of increasing Francophone representation on the City Council at the next elections.

    I commend this energy and effort.

    I believe that the community gains each time more residents become involved.

    Let’s talk about the major projects in Ottawa.

    The City has over 920,000 residents, of which over 150,000 are Francophones. The City of Ottawa has a higher growth rate than Canada and Ontario.

    MoneySense magazine named the City of Ottawa as the best place to live in Canada for the third year in a row.

    In 2011, Ottawa ranked among the 15 cities with the highest quality of life in the world according to a Mercer study.

    The economic environment has changed since the beginning of my term.

    The provincial and federal governments are working hard to eliminate their deficit.

    This is putting considerable pressure on municipal services.

    The City of Ottawa has set a budget in place that allows us to implement several major projects.

    Prior to my election, I had promised that the property tax increase would be below 2.5% for each year of my term. This year, it was 2.09%. This is the lowest increase in six years.

    The City is preparing to undertake the largest construction project in its history—the Light Rail Transit project.

    It will span 12.5 kilometres from Tunney’s Pasture Station in the west end of Ottawa to Blair Station in the east end of the city.

    It will have 13 stations and a downtown tunnel.

    To improve our roads during the construction, the City is currently undertaking the Ottawa on the Move program.

    This $340 million program will create over 2,500 jobs over the next few years.

    Another one of the City’s major projects is the construction of the new Lansdowne Park.

    Lansdowne will include the refurbishment of the stadium and Civic Centre, the creation of a large urban park and the construction of a mixed-use area that includes shops, offices and residences.

    After all these years of waiting, the project is finally moving forward.

    We are working to ensure that the stadium is ready for the 2014 CFL season and that the other parts of the project will be finished by the summer of 2015.

    Let’s talk about my involvement in the community.

    Over the past year, I participated in over 2,500 community events.

    This amounts to, on average, six events per day, every day for a whole year.

    This is a great privilege for me. This is also my lifestyle choice.

    Since the beginning of my political career, my family, my work, my accomplishments and my challenges revolve around my city, Ottawa.

    It is important for me to be attentive, and I always work with a spirit of cooperation.

    Today, I am meeting you here at the Sommet des États généraux d’Ottawa.

    I would like to take this opportunity to share some information, impressions and ideas with you.

    When I first arrived at City Hall, there was much improvement to be made with respect to the francophonie.

    French is not my mother tongue but, as I often say, I am a proud Francophile.

    I believe it is important to meet the needs of the city’s Francophone community.

    I would like to note that, as part of its mandate, the États généraux has the objective of encouraging citizens to reflect on their roles in the community and their capacity for action.

    My objective as mayor is to be a role model.

    I recognize our Francophone families’ desire to live in French.

    The City is there to help and to provide service in the language of your choice.

    Let’s talk about Francophone services.

    Over the last few years, the city’s services have evolved.

    For example, last year, we installed a new automated stop announcement system in all the 1,000 buses in the City.

    This was a 15‑million dollar investment.

    We made sure that the system to announce all 6,500 bus stops in Ottawa was bilingual.

    The 3‑1‑1 Contact Centre is a fully bilingual service for directing residents’ inquiries regarding City services.

    The Centre has received over 500,000 calls since January, 35,000 of which were from Francophone residents.

    Improvements were made to Ottawa Public Health to the emergency services and children’s services.

    We hired a new bilingual Police Chief, Charles Bordeleau. We celebrated the anniversary of the Franco‑Ontarian flag at Ottawa Police Headquarters this year. We also hired a bilingual integrity commissioner, Mr. Robert Marleau.

    The City offers basic service to residents in the language of their choice.

    The number of complaints made to the City has decreased since last year. 62 complaints were made in 2011—a 29% decrease compared to the previous year. This year, only 42 complaints have been received to date—a decrease of close to 32%.

    I believe that the City’s bilingualism policy works well and that it has the support of the City Council.

    Moreover, the requirement to have a policy on French services is in the City of Ottawa Act, 1999.

    Therefore, under the Act, the City Council must have a policy on French services, and this requirement guarantees the continuity of the policy.

    All services offered by the City to the public are available in the language of your choice.

    Of course, we are not perfect. Adjustments are made every day. And it is with your help that we can make these adjustments.

    Please write me if you feel that a service could be improved.

    I find that the relationship between the community and the City is richer and more complex than your average City Council.

    We help community organizations with the strategic development of their city projects.

    We want them to be present whenever decisions are made.

    For example, over the past six months, my office has held working meetings with several groups, including:

    – The RGA;

    – La Cité collégiale;

    – The ACFO;

    – The school boards;

    – The Arts Court;

    – La Nouvelle Scène;

    – The volunteers for preserving the Silo Vinette;

    – The Centre multiservices francophone de l’Ouest d’Ottawa;

    – The MIFO;

    – The Pan Canadian Forum on Economic Development in Canadian Francophonie; and

    – The organizing committee of the festivities surrounding the 400th anniversary of Samuel de Champlain’s arrival in our region.

    As co-chair of Invest Ottawa, I made la Cité collégiale a permanent member of the board of directors.

    Invest Ottawa is the new face of economic development in the City.

    Bilingualism is an added value for our region.

    Invest Canada works closely with the RDÉE, the RGA and la Cité collégiale to offer French‑language training programs for our businesses.

    Since my arrival in Ottawa, I have helped organize a Seniors Summit, a Planning Summit and a Youth Summit.

    Over the last year, I participated in organizing a number of events with the Francophone community.

    In February, I organized my first Mayor’s and RGA’s Breakfast with our guest, Minister Denis Lebel.

    This is a new initiative to bring together Francophones from the region and discuss the major issues.

    In March, the 6th Rendez-vous francophone du maire celebrated the 15th anniversary of the SOS Montfort.

    Ms. Gisèle Lalonde and Dr. Leduc gave moving speeches.

    Next year, we will celebrate the 100th anniversary of LeDroit. You are all invited to come celebrate at City Hall.

    On June 8, 2012, I announced Véronic DiCaire Day in Ottawa with her friends and family.

    For all the work she does as ambassador of La Cité collégiale, I wanted to recognize her career and the work she has accomplished for the francophonie.

    Last March, my office supported the MIFO’s efforts to organize a completely Francophone evening at the Shenkman Arts Centre for the JUNOs.

    We helped put the evening together with the JUNO organizers. I was very proud to be part of the event.

    It was a good example of a national Francophone event that took place here, in our home city of Ottawa.

    I would like Ottawa to host even more major events, and I want to ensure that Francophone organizations are involved.

    For example:

    – The 2012 NHL All-Star Game last winter;

    – The 2013 Ice Hockey Women’s World Championship; and

    – The 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup

    In 2017, I would like Ottawa to be the destination of choice to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

    The preparations for celebrating Samuel de Champlain’s arrival in our region are also going well.

    It is important to highlight one of Ottawa’s greatest strengths both economically and culturally.

    Each year, Ottawa welcomes over 12,000 new immigrants.

    They bring knowledge and openness to our region that helps us to develop closer ties with the international community.

    It is also with these new members of our community that our local francophonie thrives and flourishes.

    I encourage and commend the work of the États Généraux for inviting Francophone citizens to become involved in all areas of activity in the City.

    It is up to each person to play their part in political, economic, social, sporting and cultural life.

    I encourage you to play your rightful part in our community’s decision-making mechanisms.

    Again, I would like to thank the Sommet organizing committee for inviting me here today.

    Thank you very much.

  • Mayor's Address- Building Confidence: Our City, Our Economy, Our Future

    Check against delivery

    ***

    It is my pleasure to join you today to speak about the progress we are making in our nation’s capital.

    No matter what city you live in, it is always very fascinating to look at photos of your city from 20, 30, 40 years ago.

    It’s remarkable how quickly things can evolve in a short period of time.

    You can look at old photographs along the route of your daily commute and see old shops, old buildings, old industries that have since changed into something new.

    The restaurant you enjoy today – that used to be an old school house.

    The residential development today – that used to be a lumber yard.

    The Ottawa we have today was not the Ottawa that our parents and grandparents grew up in.

    And the Ottawa we build tomorrow will be vastly different for our children and grandchildren.

    Par exemple un restaurant que vous aimez tant, c’était autrefois une école.

    Ce développement résidentiel, c’était autrefois un parc à bois.

    La ville d’Ottawa d’aujourd’hui n’est pas celle de nos parents, ni de nos grands-parents.

    Et la ville d’Ottawa de demain sera fort différente pour nos enfants et nos petits-enfants.

    Ottawa has been many different things since its inclusion in the British North America Act.

    The most recent iteration of Ottawa is a government town.

    But that too is changing.

    We are becoming something more than that.

    And being a government town comes with its advantages and its challenges.

    Because the government does not grow at a pace set by the market.

    That means the government buffers us from business cycles and market fluctuations – we can be sheltered during tough times.

    But at the same time, when business markets turn around, Ottawa doesn’t grow at the pace of other private-sector or commodity-driven local economies.

    And much of our private sector enterprises depend on the federal government as a customer and a client.
    Clearly, Ottawa’s economy has been very dependent on the federal government for jobs.

    So when job cuts are made – and government is downsized – we feel it.

    Ottawa feels it.

    Our residents feel it.

    Because a quarter of Ottawa’s workforce is in the public service sector.

    That’s one in four.

    One in four… of our family, friends, neighbours and customers.

    Sometime people forget that these cuts are more than just statistics.

    It means that the federal government worker – who had longed planned on retiring in the same public sector job – may not have that option anymore.

    He or she will need to explore something new.

    So our public servants have some important decisions to make with their families about what they will do next.

    How will they make ends meet?
    Who will they be tomorrow?

    City-wide, we have the similar decisions to make about what Ottawa will do next.

    How will we make ends meet?

    What will Ottawa be tomorrow?

    Will there be gaping holes where pieces of the public service used to be?

    Will Ottawa be a shadow of its former self?

    Or…

    Will we have the important conversations needed to get us on the right track?

    Will we make the bold choices required to help Ottawa reach its full potential?

    In this new federal government dynamic, we have the most to lose.

    But we also have the most to gain.

    The stakes are high, but the way forward is clear.

    We can no longer depend on the federal government to shelter us from storms or drive our economy.

    Instead, we will construct a new economic engine.

    An engine that is more diverse – that runs on more than just one industry.

    An engine that is grounded in our strengths, and helps us build in the areas where we have the most potential.

    We are taking our economic destiny in our own hands.

    By recognizing – and investing in – what makes Ottawa the best place to raise a family and start a business.

    Nous ne pouvons plus dépendre du gouvernement fédéral pour nous protéger contre les tempêtes ou pour faire prospérer notre économie.

    Au lieu de cela, nous allons construire un nouveau moteur économique…

    … un moteur plus diversifié, qui s’alimentera grâce à plusieurs secteurs d’activités…

    … un moteur qui s’inspirera de nos forces, un moteur qui nous aidera à développer les secteurs les plus prometteurs.

    Bref, il faut prendre en main notre destinée économique.

    Il faut déterminer ce qui fait d’Ottawa le meilleur endroit où élever une famille et démarrer une entreprise… et nous devons y investir.

    So what are our strengths?

    Let’s begin with tourism and culture.

    Some might think of Ottawa as a grey flannel suit sort of town – the city that fun forgot.

    But that’s unfounded when you consider that tourism is our region’s third largest industry and creator of jobs.

    No one goes on vacation to see bureaucrats in their natural habitat!

    They do it to experience something exciting – to create memories with their families – to feel a connection with a place.

    And Ottawa offers that in spades.

    People come from around the world to visit Ottawa because our city reflects what makes Canada the greatest country in the world.

    Our visitors come for Parliament Hill, our stately institutions, our museums, our parks.

    All testaments to our country’s proud history and limitless future.

    At the same time, they see the real Ottawa – our Ottawa – that shines out from the shadow of the peace tower.

    We are a city of festivals and artists.

    Of creators and innovators.

    Of braving minus 40 weather to skate on the canal – and plus 40 weather to head to the beach.

    We are big city amenities with small town charm.

    We are rural community fairs and downtown culture celebrations.

    Sometimes people ask me: “How can you go to so many community events every weekend?”

    My answer: How can you not?

    Every day I see more and more the reason why Jean Pigott promoted the idea that Ottawa is every Canadian’s second home town.

    Looking ahead, we will do everything we can to show that to Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

    And prepare Ottawa to host the world in 2017 – Canada’s 150th birthday.

    Just like Vancouver owned the 2010 Olympics, Quebec City owned its 400th Anniversary and Toronto will own the 2015 Pan-Am Games – Ottawa will own 2017.

    Nous préparons Ottawa à recevoir le monde entier, en 2017, à l’occasion du cent cinquantième anniversaire de notre pays.

    Tout comme Vancouver a eu les Jeux olympiques de 2010, tout comme Québec a célébré sien son quatre-centième anniversaire, tout comme Toronto aura les Jeux panaméricains, Ottawa sera la ville hôte officielle de l’année 2017.

    So what will we do to get us there?

    We will build momentum – and our reputation.

    We created a Major Events Office in partnership with Ottawa Tourism to aggressively attract sporting events and large conferences – and all the hotel and restaurant reservations that come along with them.

    Our strategy: Bid more, win more, host more.

    With our brand new Ottawa Convention Centre, and the CE Centre near the airport, it is clear we are a destination of choice.

    This year alone, we have hosted the NHL All Star Game and the JUNO Awards.

    In the next few years will bring the Women’s World Hockey Championships, the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the Canadian Gymnastic Championships.

    In the pipeline we have a wide range of major prospects in areas of figure skating, rugby, basketball, karate and many others.

    All of this means tens of millions of dollars in economic activity.

    And the priceless imprint on the minds of our visitors of what Ottawa truly is: exciting, diverse and full of potential.

    All leading up to 2017.

    But like any good host – we are going to tidy up a bit before our guests arrive.

    And tidying up on a city scale means revitalizing our infrastructure.

    Because we want to make sure we have structures and facilities worthy of a G8 world capital.

    We are taking stock of our assets – building them up – to use them for our economic advantage.

    For example, our baseball stadium stands as a good representation of the state of some of our infrastructure.

    It’s an important purpose-built city asset that has been left in disrepair, but is still full of economic potential.

    We have a plan to revitalize the Ottawa Stadium and make it a family-friendly entertainment destination once again.
    We are close to a deal to bring an Eastern League Double A baseball team to the stadium.

    This means the return of professional baseball to Ottawa – in time for the 2014 season.

    Lansdowne Park is another example of where we will do some important heavy lifting.

    The site has a rich history with many memories, perfectly located on the side of the Rideau Canal – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    But over the years, as the buildings started to crumble, it became clear that Lansdowne Park wasn’t really a park anymore.

    It was a parking lot.

    With a steady hand, working together, we have put this project on the right path.

    And in 2014, we will see the return of a CFL franchise and a first-ever Ottawa North American Soccer League team to Lansdowne.

    The site will also see the amount of park space tripled from 6 to over 18 acres.

    Lansdowne Park will be a bustling place of activity.

    A complete community.

    With new retail and housing opportunities – connecting the communities of the Glebe and Old Ottawa South.

    It will be a meeting place of which Ottawa can truly be proud.

    We are also taking bold steps to improve our transportation network with our Ottawa on the Move program – now in its second year.

    We are investing $340 million dollars to fast track several infrastructure projects.

    This includes 200 kilometres of road resurfacing and 70 kilometres of bike lanes and paved road shoulders.

    Politicians love to break ground and cut ribbons on new buildings for the purposes of photo-ops.

    And I say that with a little experience!

    But reconstructing our existing roads, sidewalks, bike paths and sewers are sometimes even more important.

    These are assets in every sense of the word.

    We will get this work done now so we do not have to pay a higher price later.

    And in turn, Ottawa on the Move is creating the equivalent of more than 2,500 jobs over the three-year period.
    We’re doing all this while taking on the biggest city-building project in our city’s history – Light Rail Transit.

    From at Tunney’s Pasture in the west to Blair in the east – our 12.5 kilometre LRT line will break ground next year.

    This includes thirteen stations with a tunnel under downtown.

    This will save our cross-town commuters up to 15 minutes daily.

    That’s 2.5 days annually – more time to spend in the office, at the dinner table or with your kids at their soccer game.

    Much like when Colonel By constructed the Rideau Canal, this LRT project will fundamentally change the face of Ottawa as we know it.

    And it will keep our economy moving through lower costs for taxpayers and construction jobs throughout the process.

    To review, we will have world-class facilities and infrastructure, to benefit residents and attract tourists.

    This is important to maintain and grow Ottawa’s high quality of life.

    And this is directly linked to attracting new investments, new jobs, and new economic opportunities.

    Moving forward, these will be crucial for Ottawa’s new economic engine.
    And to support this, we are creating an economic development environment that is a global best-practice.

    We have rebranded and refocused our economic development agency as Invest Ottawa.

    In a new downtown location, we have co-located many entrepreneurial service agencies and stakeholders under one roof.

    We are helping entrepreneurs to access seasoned business veterans, technical experts, mentors, and peer networks.

    It’s an entrepreneurship ecosystem where our best and our brightest work together, feed off each other’s energy and think big.

    And in less than a year, we have enjoyed extraordinary successes.

    Invest Ottawa’s Entrepreneurs-in-Residence have provided over 2,200 hours of consultation to more than 280 companies.

    50 of the available 70 business incubation/acceleration spaces are now occupied by companies from the Ottawa Young Entrepreneurs and Commercialization of Innovation portfolios.

    And 3,000 business consultations have been delivered by Entrepreneurship Centre consultants.

    50 des 70 espaces d’incubation/d’accélération d’entreprise sont actuellement occupés par des entreprises issues des Jeunes entrepreneurs d’Ottawa et du programme de commercialisation en innovation.

    Et plus de 3 000 consultations auprès d’entreprises ont été menées par le Centre d’entrepreneuriat.

    Des efforts spéciaux sont également déployés pour rejoindre les communautés francophones et les immigrants, à l’aide de documentation, de produits et à de services personnalisés.

    We are also building on the strengths of the small, but exciting, film and TV production sector in the city.

    The City has just finished an RFP process in partnership with Invest Ottawa.

    We are looking to shortlist the right partner, who will use the City’s seed funding of $1.5 million dollars to create a multi-purpose media facility.

    These are exciting developments here in the community, but we also know that Ottawa’s economic development future needs to have a global focus.

    We are helping set conditions for multinational strategic alliances in new business start-ups.

    On this front, Invest Ottawa has received investment delegations from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Brazil, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Chile, Indonesia, and China.

    Alongside Invest Ottawa, the City of Ottawa’s own Economic Development and Innovation department continues to make great strides in foreign market development and investment attraction.

    It is helping to develop a “China Strategy” that will capitalize on business and investment opportunities and ensure that Ottawa undertakes a coordinated approach to reaching out to this important market.

    We have and must continue to capitalize on our sister city agreement we have with Bejing.

    We must also attract and retain talent.

    We want Ottawa to be the home to those who are the best in their fields – whether working, studying, researching or leading.

    Innovative people who want to roll up their sleeves and put their skills to work.

    That’s because we know that competition for talent will only increase in the coming years.

    We are working together with our post-secondary institutions to maximize opportunities for students and graduates to start businesses or to work with start-ups to overcome challenges.

    We must also let the world know that Ottawa is the most educated city in Canada – with the highest number of PhDs per capita of any city in our country.

    In North America, we’re second to only Boston.
    And to draw mobile talent to Ottawa – and to keep the best people here – we need to offer two things.

    One: A low-cost, high-quality standard of living

    And two: An environment where businesses want to grow and flourish.

    The City of Ottawa will continue along this path to support the business environment.

    We will continue to innovate in order to foster the best, most-competitive and compelling businesses.

    That will help to attract capital, and talent, and innovators – all which create a virtuous circle of prosperity.

    Working together with our City staff, our Deputy Mayor Eli El-Chantiry and our BIAs, all 18 Ottawa BIAs have now formed the “Ottawa Council of BIAs”.

    I consider this a major achievement for our business community, and I have confirmed to them, that I will work to ensure that they engaged early in the legislative process on matters that impact business in Ottawa.

    And to continue this progress – I’m pleased today to announce two exciting economic development initiatives that the City of Ottawa is leading.

    First – “Locate Ottawa”.

    This is a visual mapping tool that allows site selectors to zoom-in on a specific geographic location in Ottawa.

    From there, users can access a wide variety of information in order to determine if the location is the right choice for a business opportunity.

    This includes information on demographics, local workforce profile, consumer expenditures, and more.

    What makes this tool unique is that it lets users examine the city in a way that meets their needs.

    For site selectors, this means facilitating the process of identifying the right location for their business.

    For commercial real estate organizations, this means easily highlighting development opportunities to potential international investors.

    For example, a businessperson in Bejing can easily research potential locations and access precise data on the Ottawa market.

    This tool makes Ottawa more accessible to the world – and the world’s investors.

    A card with more information about this new tool, as well as contact details, will be handed out at the end of today’s event.

    Second – I’m pleased to announce our new “Capital Investment Track” program.

    Through this program, the City will select projects, investments or developments, based on their potential to create at least 100 – quality – well-paying – private sector jobs, to receive special attention from the Economic Development department.
    Under this program, we will assign an Economic Development staff person to work directly with the private sector project manager.

    And we will shepherd the project through City processes and requirements to get it underway and completed — at the speed of business.

    Planning, rezoning, waste water services, telecommunications, signage, permits – you name it.

    We will also help to navigate provincial and federal government agencies, ministries and programs.

    Our goal: Help get you from the drawing board to the marketplace before your competitors do.

    Your project becomes our priority.

    From start to finish.

    This means timely and customer-sensitive service for you.

    And it means economic prosperity for all Ottawa residents.

    This is something I committed to in the last election – and I’m pleased that the City is offering this innovative program.

    The Capital Investment Track program, and Locate Ottawa – are in addition to the progress we’re already making in tourism, economic development and building Ottawa for what it is going to be next.

    So that’s where we’re going.

    This is our new engine.

    The Ottawa you think you know.

    The government town.

    The grey flannel, red tape, kind of town.

    Is quickly becoming a much different place.

    A place to celebrate.

    A place to invest.

    A place to grow.

    As the federal government downsizes and the world keeps turning, we will not sit on our hands.
    Because Ottawa values the people and the businesses that will create economic prosperity for our great city.
    We not only need to influence – we need to be bolder than that – we need to lead.

    We cannot afford to take a backseat when it comes to influencing our economic future.

    We must say clearly and confidently:

    Ottawa… is open for business.

  • Mayor’s 2013 Budget Address

    [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY]

     

    Introduction

     

    Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of our election in 2010.

     

    Today, as we table our third budget, I want to start by thanking you for the incredible effort that each of you contributes to making Ottawa a great place to live, work and raise a family.

     

    Your input – each and every day – is an integral part of the annual budget creation effort.

     

    Your feedback to staff across the entire range of issues that you deal with is part and parcel of the daily operation of the City of Ottawa.

     

    Even if the answer cannot always be yes to your specific requests – your efforts and those of your own personal staff are valued and appreciated.

     

    I also want to thank City staff – from all departments – who have worked diligently to deliver the proposed budget for 2013.

     

    It meets the guidelines Council has set and, hopefully, addresses the everyday needs of our citizens.

     

    The Top Line

     

    We promised to rein in City revenue demands.

     

    As one of our first acts together, we set a realistic maximum annual tax revenue increase of 2.5%.

     

    We beat that target in each of our first two budgets and we will do even better for 2013.

     

    The budget being distributed to you now recommends a 2.09% urban and 1.98% rural tax rate.

     

    This is the lowest increase in six years.

     

    We will maintain our freeze on Parks and Recreation fees – a move that benefits the broadest possible number of our residents and their families and neighbourhoods.

     

    We will maintain our freeze on Councillor and Mayor’s office expenses.

     

    I also am pleased to note that the Ottawa Police Services, Transit Services, the Ottawa Public Library and Ottawa Public Health have once again constrained themselves within Council’s 2.5% maximum increase cap.

     

    In the 2013 budget, for the second year in a row, there will be an elimination of Full Time Equivalent positions – FTEs – within the operation of the City of Ottawa for a net savings of approximately $3.5 million.

     

    This budget sheds 139 FTEs as a result of operational reviews and attrition…last year it was 47.

     

    This type of change was mentioned by a number of people who wrote to me with their own ideas via e-mail tobudget2013@ottawa.ca that we opened up in August.

     

    One of our residents, a gentleman named Richard, probably summed it up best when he wrote: “I would advocate that when some of these people retire (or possibly leave to work elsewhere) their numbers would not always need to be fully replaced.”

     

    To Richard and other residents who wrote on the same issue…that is exactly what we are doing and we are heading in the right direction by thoroughly evaluating the “need” associated with every role at the City of Ottawa.

     

    This is a task that is necessary…though it is not easy and, as I have said in the past, we do add employees for brand new facilities that come into operation

     

    What Taxes Provide

     

    It is not easy because of the very nature of municipal government.

     

    I just want to take a moment here to make what I consider to be a very important point.

     

    Unlike the private sector, municipal government revenue does not come from selling software or cars or designer clothes.

     

    Our revenue comes from the dollars that we collect from our citizens and businesses.

     

    In return for those public funds it is our job to provide what our residents need and demand every single day.

     

    It is important to remember what we provide:

    – Roads to drive on and sidewalks to walk across the city.

    – Police services, fire services and paramedic services in minutes whenever needed, wherever needed.

    – Transit and Para-Transpo services that move, more than 200,000 people every day around our city.

    – More than 30 library facilities.

    – Support for Public Health, social services for those less fortunate and community housing for more than 32,000 people.

    – Snow removal in the winter, and garbage and recycling pick up every single day, year in and year out.

    – More than 1,000 parks and hundreds of recreation and community facilities.

    – Next to the air we breathe, water is the single most important need of human beings and the City of Ottawa has among the best supplies in the world.

    I could go on…but you get the idea…we provide a lot of service to our residents.

     

    And everything I have just mentioned is also something that benefits the private sector.

     

    Also, municipal taxes really are a good deal when compared to the much higher income tax dollars that flow to the provincial and federal levels of government.

     

    Think about that comparison for a moment.

     

    On an average assessment of $314,500 for an urban home in Ottawa the tax will be $3,283.

     

    That is a lot of money that is paid in return for all those services I have mentioned.

     

    But that amount of money pales by comparison to what a household pays in income tax to the federal and provincial governments.

     

    A household with $75,000 taxable income paid the other levels of government somewhere around $17,000 in 2012.

     

    At $50,000 the figure is approximately $9,000 and at $100,000 taxable income it is about $27,000.

     

    Municipal taxes provide what our residents need every day…and they are a good deal even when you take into account the transfers that we do get from other levels of government.

     

    Good Financial Shape

     

    And, unlike private business or other levels of government, we are not allowed to run a deficit at the municipal level.

     

    We provide all those services just mentioned… on a break even basis.

     

    Not only do we not have a deficit…but we are also in very good shape with our debt.

     

    According to the recent Long Range Financial Plan, at the end of 2011, the City owned capital assets that cost approximately $15 billion to purchase.

     

    With outstanding net debt of $1.4 billion that means roughly only 10% of the total cost was funded from debt.

     

    As our Treasurer noted in the Long Range Financial Plan, City issued debt is therefore equivalent to having a $30,000 mortgage on a $300,000 home.

     

    Of the $425 million issued in 2012, $200 million represents debt authorized by this Council, and this was all to advance the Ottawa on the Move program.

     

    Council has previously established an upper limit on debt repayments at 7.5% of City raised revenue and debt repayments in 2013 will be approximately 4.6% of City raised revenues.

     

    The City continues to have excellent credit ratings from our credit rating agencies – Moody’s Investors Service and Standard and Poor’s.

     

    The Treasurer tells us that for the most recent year available Ottawa has the second lowest total debt per capita ($1,537) and the second lowest tax supported debt per capita ($999) when compared to Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

    The City of Ottawa is in good financial shape.

    First Two Budgets: Setting the Course

     

    Our first two budgets set a course that we are following.

     

    Predictability and working together…piece by piece, step by step.

     

    In year one we added fire fighters and paramedics and we moved to stabilise transit funding, while moving ahead with LRT and Lansdowne.

     

    We invested $14 Million annually to help battle homelessness and poverty and we invested in our environment and cycling.

     

    In year two we focused on infrastructure renewal with Ottawa on the Move and added even more for cycling and accessibility improvements.

     

    We committed to new parks and investments in transit and transit equipment, like those new Double-Decker buses that have begun to roll across the city.

     

    However, the environment in which we find ourselves today is quite different from that which existed for our first two budgets as a team.

     

    The two other levels of government are working to get out of deficit positions and this invariably puts pressure on our municipal level.

     

    We will feel it in reduced program funding provincially and in job cuts federally that impact our local economy.

     

    Our two previous budgets have laid the groundwork for us to confront these challenges.

     

    Transit services are on a more sustainable financial footing.

     

    We wisely commenced our “made-in-Ottawa” infrastructure renewal program – Ottawa on the Move – last year.

     

    And, we have in place a four year labour agreement with ATU 279 that will see lower wage increases than the previous five year average.

     

    Similarly, new agreements with CUPE 503 mean lower wage increases than the prior three contract years.

     

    Getting the Job Done: Progress

     

    The 2013 budget is all about progress in getting the job done.

     

    We will invest $500,000 in our Older Adult Plan, which is the product of very broad public consultation and includes many suggestions from our very successful Seniors Summit.

     

    This Older Adult Plan represents an important step forward as we prepare for the coming demographic shifts that will see a doubling of the number of citizens over the age of 65 in the next two decades.

     

    Service Ottawa will continue to provide a return on its efforts – with projected savings of $8.8 Million in 2013.

     

    But, Service Ottawa is about more than just dollar savings.

     

    It is also about what citizens will see and experience.

     

    There will be:

    – New online service requests such as parking permits, building permits, pet licensing, fire permits, demolition permits, sign permits.

    – Up to 10 business licenses, permits and renewals online such as food premises, driving schools, snowplow operators, amusement businesses, public garages.

    – A new “My Ottawa Account” for residents to easily monitor their service requests, sign up for notifications, view water accounts, etc. in one place 24/7.

    – A new “My Business Account” allowing business owners to view their interactions with City services in one place 24/7.

    – A One-Payment System providing residents and businesses the convenience and option of a single transaction for multiple service purchases on-line.

    – An Older Adult Portal providing customized services for older adults.

    – More mobile devices to field workers, increasing productivity and improving service response times.

    We will fight Emerald Ash Borer and increase the forest cover with$975,000 of new funding to bring our annual commitment to more than $1.8 Million.

     

    We will continue the effort of environmental remediation with our Brownfield program and there will be an added $500,000 for the greening of our fleet.

     

    There will be $500,000 additional funding for Economic Development as we strive to maintain the prosperity that we all depend upon.

     

    We are proposing a $300,000 allocation to allow for the development of Community Design Plans associated with Light Rail Transit.

     

    We are proposing an investment of $4.9 million to improve safety and mobility with new traffic control signals, intersection control measures, pedestrian countdown signals and the Pedestrian Facilities Program and Audible Signal Program.

     

    We will move forward with $1.0 Million in funding for the Arts, Heritage and Culture Plan that was passed by Council in February of this year.

     

    This promised investment will provide increased operating funding to our many partners across the city and allow for some capital spending to proceed.

     

    Budget 2013 will provide 2% increases for social service and health agencies, cultural organisations and community and recreation funding.

     

    This budget also begins the effort to increase our contribution to Capital Funding as was recommended in the recently approved Long Range Financial Plan.

     

    In 2013 there will be an initial commitment of $4.5 Million for this purpose.

     

    Getting the Job Done: Managing Social Services

     

    We do have to deal with a dark cloud on the horizon of social service funding.

     

    We will provide additional city funding to offset cuts that result from a change in priorities at the Provincial level.

     

    This has not been an easy task to accomplish.

     

    Through realignment and reallocations we will provide $4.4 Million in expenditures to preserve the majority of benefits for our most vulnerable and lowest income residents.

     

    We will maintain the supports that were previously available as a Community Start Up Benefit – those supports that help people secure and retain housing..

     

    The City will continue to provide essential discretionary services to low income residents, however, the range of services will be reduced.

     

    We will also establish an emergency transition fund to deal with the most severe impacts that will assist with the transition to the changes in discretionary benefits.

     

    In spite of the changes, the City continues to demonstrate a significant commitment to supporting vulnerable and low income households with a commitment of $7.4 Million beyond provincial requirements.

     

    We are also maintaining Council’s commitment to the $14 Million investment in Housing and Homelessness Prevention initiatives

     

    And we are maintaining our Renewable Funding investment to social services agencies.

     

    Over the coming year, the City will work with our government and community partners to coordinate and integrate services to minimize the impact of these changes.

     

    We will also continue to press the Provincial government to reconsider some of the changes that they have implemented.

     

     

    Getting the Job Done: Progress Part 2

     

    Looking elsewhere, we are getting the job done with the opening of the Kanata North Recreation Facility next year.

     

    We will also open the François Dupuis pool in the east of Ottawa.

     

    We will be installing a much sought-after Crosswalk to provide greater safety and more convenience for residents and visitors to Villa Marconi and to the entire neighbourhood.

     

    We will be investing in the Cardinal Creek Park.

     

    And there will be more than $5 Million in additional growth investment in parks across the city – places like Vista Park, Shadow Ridge, Blackstone, Emerald Links, Kizell Pond Pathway, Longfields, West Point Village and Greely Village Centre – to name a few.

     

    We will help to reinvigorate the Lowertown neighbourhood with investment in Jules Morin Park.

     

    After years of wait we will see paving of the Hornet’s Nest parking lot in the east of Ottawa.

     

    We are opening the Chapman Mills community building.

     

    Wilfred Murray Park will see improvements in equipment and accessibility.

     

    We will be relocating the Karsh Masson Gallery into a refurbished and expanded facility and bringing it home to our very own City Hall.

     

    Getting the job done following the Planning Summit from last year we will continue to push improvements to our planning processes.

     

    We just recently provided updates on the Guaranteed Timelines Initiative, Zoning Team Consistency program, the Green Express Lane and the Better Neighbourhoods program.

     

    We will be getting on with the job on all these fronts in 2013.

     

    At the same time, as you know, there will be the review of the Official Plan and the Transportation Master Plan and we are providing $1 million in 2013 for these important updates.

     

    In 2013, we will add 16 new crossing guard locations with 8 coming on stream in January and the remaining 8 in place by next September.

     

    And, in the coming year, there will be an expansion of City’s Trim Road Yard facilities.

    Next year, construction is set begin on our Light Rail project.

     

    And, of equal and more immediate importance to residents in the east of Ottawa, work will commence on the vital and long overdue widening of the Queensway from Nicholas to the Split.

     

    The second year of Ottawa on the Move will see work done from one end of the city to the other and to note a few I mention…

     

    We will proceed with the rehabilitation of McIlraith Bridge as well as additional phases of Rideau Street, Bronson Ave, and Churchill Ave. reconstruction projects.

     

    The rehabilitation of Gladstone will commence and the sewer separation work in Rockliffe Park will continue.

     

    In the East, we will be resurfacing Watters Road.

     

    Ogilvie Road west of Aviation Parkway will see work.

     

    The same will happen on Southpark Drive and a portion of Bearbrook Road.

     

    Construction crews will also be at work on Des Epinettes Avenue, and Colonial Road.

     

    In the South of our city road work will occur on Tapiola, Crerar and Fallowfield from Cedarview to Greenbank.

     

    And there will be work on Walkley Road from Tawney to the CNR Overpass.

     

    Also there will be sidewalk renewal on the pathway between Antler and Dolan and on Fisher Avenue from Meadowlands to Appleby Private.

     

    Residents in the West will see resurfacing on Bayshore Drive from Richmond Road to Woodbridge Drive and on Woodroffe Avenue from Richmond Road to the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway.

     

    Sidewalks will be rehabilitated on McKitrick Drive between Rickey Place and Castlefrank, and there will be repairs in three sections of along the Ottawa Carleton Trail.

     

    In our expansive rural areas, there will be resurfacing work on the Galetta Side Road, Routhbourne Road and Flewellyn between Ashton Station and Munster.

     

    And there will be more of the same on Ottawa Street, King Street and Kilmaurs Side Road from Woodkilton to Dunrobin.

     

    Work on the West End Flood Investigation Action Plan remains ongoing with approximately $20 million in infrastructure improvements to be implemented in 2013 flowing from last year’s budget.

     

    2013 will also see us move ahead with cycling infrastructure improvements throughout the City as we continue with the implementation of the East-West bikeway.

     

    Bike routes are being implemented as part of the reconstruction of Churchill and we will move forward with two critical multi-use pathway links.

     

    One of these is along the O-Train Corridor west of Preston.

     

    The other, will fill a crucial gap along the Sawmill Creek pathway between Walkley Road and Brookfield to provide better connectivity to Hogs Back and the Canal Pathway system.

     

    The funding for this work is part of this Council’s $24 million commitment to cycling.

     

    As events have shown us, this important effort means much more than the actual dollars that this Council has committed to the task.

     

    It is about building a system that is accessible and safe for all.

     

    So that we can eliminate – to the very best of our ability – the potential of serious injury and the terrible tragedy of lives lost while cycling in our community.

     

    I hope that everyone will join in this effort.

     

    Of course, the Lansdowne revitalization will continue during 2013.

     

    You will recall comments at the time of our final approval of the project, just a couple of weeks ago, about the need to focus on transportation issues related to the project.

     

    Both the City Manager and I promised that we would not allow this concern to “fall off the table” just because final approval had been attained.

     

    There is no better way to show good faith in this regard than to take a concrete step in Budget 2013.

     

    To that end, this budget contains $2 Million for design work on the Clegg/5th Avenue Pedestrian Bridge.

     

    Hopefully, this design effort will provide all the information necessary to go to tender, with the most functional and most affordable plans possible.

     

    In any event, this vital new mobility link is moving forward.

     

    At the same time, in a similar vein, the final design work for the Donald/Somerset Bridge will be completed in 2013.

     

    As we implement these new mobility options we are making our City more liveable and giving people practical and convenient transportation options other than having to always rely on their car.

     

    And, at the same time, we are providing greater linkages to the coming rapid transit system

     

    It is not that far from new Lees LRT Station to the Clegg St. Bridge.

     

    And it is not that far from Donald/Somerset to the new Campus LRT Station.

     

    And, of course, the Donald/Somerset Bridge will be part of a multi-use system that includes the Coventry Bridge over the Queensway near the Ottawa Stadium links to the new LRT stop at the Train Station.

     

    The coming year will see the start of the biggest project in the history of our City – Light Rail.

     

    LRT bids are undergoing evaluation.

     

    Council will deal with this issue in the coming months so that shovels will be in the ground in 2013.

     

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

     

    It will help us to get buses off downtown streets and make movement easier for people and commerce.

     

    Clogged streets are something we all hear about on a regular basis. I heard it in budget e-mails.

     

    As our resident Brad wrote, “Traffic congestion continues to be one of the top concerns of Ottawa residents.”

     

    He is right.

     

    It is why LRT is so vital.

     

    It is also why this budget provides enhanced support to our traffic management systems to provide real time traveller information on traffic impacts resulting from construction, special events, collisions or unplanned incidents.

     

    And it is one of the reasons why this Council and the Transit Commission has already invested in an O-Train expansion of service that will see construction of new tracking next year and the arrival of new trains.

     

    This will allow us to effectively double O-Train service years ahead of schedule.

     

    On this, as in many areas, our Council has made a solid start on the items which we have identified as priorities.

     

    There are many items contained in Budget 2013 that will assist citizens in each and every Ward and each and every neighbourhood right across this wonderful city.

     

    Wrap Up

     

    As I conclude my remarks, I want to share with you what I heard from a resident named Diane from Vanier.

     

    She sent me a budget e-mail and wrote:

     

    I love where I live and I love Ottawa.  My priorities for Ottawa’s 2013 budget are:

    1- Library Services

    2- Public Transport

    3- Minimizing property tax increases

     

    Thank you for the input, Diane, and just so you can be sure…

    – We are providing an additional $1.4 Million in operating funding to our libraries and $360,000 of that will be for upgrades and expansion.

    – As a result of input from the Seniors Summit, there will be $500,000 for added transit hours of service in support of the Equity Lens Enhancements Initiative and $200,000 for added Para Transpo service.

    – And, to reiterate, this budget provides the lowest rate change in 6 years.

    Colleagues, I am proud of what we have accomplished together in our first two years.

     

    Like Diane, I have an abiding affection for Ottawa.

     

    It is an honour to serve.

     

    And, more than that, it is rewarding.

     

    I say thank you, again, for all of your efforts.

     

    I also say thank you for allowing me the opportunity to work with the City Manager in the creation of the Budget for 2013.

     

    This budget, I believe, is a document that keeps us moving forward with real progress for the people of Ottawa.

     

    We are, together, getting the job done and making progress we can all see and be proud of.

     

  • Mayor’s Address on Tourism and Canada's 150th Anniversary

    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

    ***

    Let me begin by thanking The Kiwanis Club of Ottawa for your kind invitation, and to again thank you for the good work you do in our community.

    For almost 100 years, your club has had a stellar reputation of giving back to our community in so many ways.

    Today I want to talk to you about an issue that is both timely and important for our city, and really for our country.

    As we are in the midst of celebrating the NHL’s All Star game, I think it’s appropriate to take stock of the importance Tourism plays in our local economy.

    Intuitively, we know that Tourism is important to the local economy, but a look at some statistics gives one an ever better appreciation for how vital a healthy tourism sector is for our city and its workforce.

    After the federal government and the Hi Tech sector, Tourism is the number three industry and job creator in Ottawa.

    The industry generates over $2 billion for our local economy and supports over 26,000 jobs.

    And our International Airport – which was recently recognized as the best mid-sized airport in the world, hosted almost 4.5 million passengers in 2010.

    In years gone by, the industry and governments at all levels  have rested on a couple of factors that made it relatively easy for the industry to thrive.

    It wasn’t that long ago that our dollar was a bargain for American visitors, and that alone acted as a tremendous magnet to attract our American neighbours to come and visit.

    And gas prices up until a few years ago were relatively inexpensive and predictable.

    And crossing the border for an American was as easy as a Canadian travelling to another province.

    Since the tragedy of 9/11, all of that has changed and it’s a lot tougher to attract Americans to come to our country, let alone our city.

    So the Tourism industry was thrown for quite a spin, and it had to readjust or face some pretty severe consequences.

    For several years I had the honour of heading the Canadian Tourism Commission – a federal crown corporation – who’s mandate was to promote Canada as a tourism destination.

    After 9/11, our focus began to shift more to domestic tourism realizing that we would have to do a better job of encouraging Canadians to visit their own country because the American market would be a much tougher sell.

    We weren’t going to give up on the US. Market, but with tougher passport requirements; a stronger Canadian dollar, and a greater reluctance on the part of Americans to travel, we knew our strategy had to focus to Canada and other emerging markets such as China.

    During the last municipal election campaign, I talked about the need to better focus our economic development strategy.

    Part of that focus will start to take shape next month when OCRI is redefined, refocused and rebranded as “InvestOttawa.”

    More than a simple name change, City Council has invested core funds with an expectation of witnessing a laser-like focus on economic development – helping to attract new businesses to our city but also helping those already here to expand.

    InvestOttawa has moved to a more central location just off Preston Street, and houses space for an incubation, the entrepreneurship centre; federal and provincial officials responsible for economic development, our new Ottawa film office – all with a renewed focus on creating jobs.

    We know that when the Federal Finance Minister delivers is budget later this year, that our city will see fewer federal jobs, and most likely layoffs in addition to job cuts through attrition.

    That’s why in our last budget, city council put aside $550,000 to help create a new special events office in collaboration with Ottawa Tourism, the private sector marketing organization tasked with growing our share of tourists in Ottawa.

    The purpose of the office is to encourage more major national, and international events to hold their AGM’s, or conventions or events here in the Capital.

    The funds will allow Tourism Ottawa to go after more events  – events that fill hotels and restaurant and shops and taxis.

    And of course create jobs in the hospitality sector.

    The philosophy is straight forward:

    Bid More – Win More – Host More.

    And to date the strategy is paying off.

    This weekend’s All Star game will generate $30 million in economic activity.

    Hotels are at capacity.

    The airport is running on all cylinders

    150 countries around the world will see the game and our city in a positive light; more media are covering this game than the Stanley Cup Final.

    You can’t buy that kind of publicity.

    We have also secured the 2012 Juno Awards – the premier music awards show in Canada for April 1 at Scotiabank Place.

    And we won the rights to the 2013 International Ice Hockey Federation Women’s Tournament, and we’re on the shortlist for the FIFA World Cups in 2014 and 2015.

    It is becoming increasingly more competitive to attract these kinds of events, and more expensive.

    But with the City’s help, and the addition of the new Ottawa Convention Centre, and the new CE Trade Show centre by the airport, we have the means to host these kinds of events that create so much economic activity for our city.

    But today I want to talk to you about an event that will take place in 1,984 days from today:

    July 1st, 2017 – the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

    Many of us in this room remember the excitement and pride right across Canada when this national celebrated its Centennial in 1967.

    While many of the activities surrounded Expo 67 and Man and his World in Montreal, we have reminders of the 100th anniversary all around us.

    From the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill;

    To Brewer Centennial Pool;

    To Centennial School;

    Today I want to spend the last few minutes of my talk discussing what I envision 2017 will look like for our city and its tourists and residents.

    My goal is straightforward and ambitious.

    Just as Montreal owned 1967; and Quebec City owned 2008 for its 400th anniversary and Vancouver owned 2010 for the Olympics and Toronto will own 2015 for the Pan Am Games;

    I want Ottawa – our nation’s Capital – to own 2017 as the premier destination for tourists to visit from across Canada and around the world.

    But in order to achieve this, we have to start working now to prepare for our country’s sesquicentennial.

    That is why earlier this week in my annual State of the City Address, I asked Councillors Rainer Bloess and Katherine Hobbs to co-chair a task force on Canada’s 150th, that will be made up of key tourism partners from across the city.

    Their mandate is direct and to the point.

    We have to develop an action plan to go after all significant meetings, conventions, sporting and cultural events and ensure they are hosted in Ottawa in 2017.

    What better place to host the Grey Cup, or the Juno Awards or Genie Awards than in Ottawa with the backdrop of Parliament Hill.

    We will go after the dozens of national associations located right here in Ottawa and encourage them to all their Annual General Meetings here.

    Same with our academic institutions and our federal partners for everything from Federal Provincial Ministers meetings to various national and international symposiums.

    How can we convene the Kiwanis Club to hold one of their significant conventions here in 2017?

    While part one of the Task Force’s mandate is to attract these kinds of events and activities, part two will be to ensure that we have new and exciting activities and venues to celebrate our nation’s capital.

    I want to work with our federal partners including the National Capital Commission and other agencies to ensure that we start the planning now for a number of new initiatives that I believe would be excellent additions to our already strong line up of federal and municipal cultural attractions and museums.

    The City has committed to an exciting renewal of our Arts Court facility on Daly Street, right behind the Rideau Centre.

    This $36 million revitalization project will see an expanded Municipal Art Galley and performance space for dozens of local arts groups that help animate our city each and every year with festivals and exhibits.

    One idea I raised during the election campaign envisions us turning Canada day into Canada week in time for 2017.

    For years I have watched crews work for days to assemble the massive stages and lights for Canada Day.

    I would like to see Canada Day in 2017 turn into Canada Week – why put so much time and money and effort into the massive infrastructure just to celebrate one day?

    I think we can steal a page from the National Arts Centre that has run a series of tributes to the music and culture of Canada’s different regions through their very successful Atlantic and Prairie Scenes.

    I would propose we work with the NAC and NCC, and the private sector and Provincial and Territorial governments to create a week long Canadian Cultural Festival starting on June 25th and going straight through with the culmination of a spectacular Canada Day show on the Hill on July 1st.

    We could start off with The Atlantic Scene, followed by Quebec, Ontario, the Prairies, B.C. and finally the Three Northern Territories.

    We would invite residents from those regions to come and celebrate with their very own day on the Hill that celebrates their part of our great nation.

    An up and coming indie band from Vancouver one day, followed by Inuit Throat singers the next ; fiddlers from Cape Breton and  a country and western band from the Prairies, interspersed with big name Canadian performers who would allow us to showcase some of our best and most talented singers, dancers and performers.

    The possibilities to celebrate our 150th anniversary are endless, and the once in a generation opportunities to grow our tourism industry are now before us.

    Over the course of the next few months as our task force gets underway, we will welcome your ideas and visions and dreams for our Capital.

    Just a few weeks ago, a great visionary and dreamer left us – Jean Pigott.

    Mrs. Pigott believed in the old adage, “aim high, there’s plenty of room.”

    She also once said that Ottawa should be every Canadian’s “second home town.”

    Let’s pick up that spirit of patriotism and pride we all have for our country and our community, and let us be prepared to welcome Canadians and residents from around the world to the best capital city in the most blessed country in the world.

    Thank you.

     

  • Mayor’s Remarks: Federation of Citizens Associations of Ottawa 25th Anniversary AGM

    Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

    It’s my pleasure to be here today at the Federation of Citizens Associations of Ottawa annual general meeting to talk directly with individuals who are actively taking an interest in civic affairs.

    I would like to thank Graeme Roderick, President of the FCA, for having me.

    And I want to take a moment to offer you all a very special congratulations on this your 25th Anniversary AGM.

    Twenty-five years of collective service to our community is an achievement that you should all be very proud to attain.

    Just think of all the thousands upon thousands of hours that you and all your predecessors have contributed to our community.

    Civic engagement is a noble venture….But I am not talking about the elected side of the equation.

    I am talking about you…each and every one of you in this room today…and all the many more that you represent in our community’s across the city.

    As I begin my remarks, thinking of your 25th anniversary, I am reminded just how much citizen engagement has changed in the last quarter century.

    Or, for that matter, how much it has changed in just the last dozen or so years.

    It’s hard to believe, but, our own Canadian-made Black Berry first appeared in rudimentary form in 1999…it looked like a pager in those days…but it did signal that email was coming on strong in our business life.

    It was not until 2003…less than a decade ago that Black Berry launched its first smart phone.

    And Facebook was founded only in 2004 and Twitter came along two years later…

    We have had widespread email for how long?…I guess since 2000…the turn of the millennium.

    But, stop and think how, in such a short time all this technology…much of it driven by Canada’s Research In Motion…a company that has a big and important presence right here in Ottawa…

    Think how all this technology has changed…and how it’s rapidly changing civic engagement.

    Last time I was Mayor of Ottawa, everything was manual.

    We had meetings…we used fax machines…we had more meetings…we used the telephone and then more faxes.

    But, as I talked with citizens and as our Council in those days reached out to engage organisations like yours it was much more difficult.

    We had to rely on meetings…like this one…for one-on-one discussion.

    That is challenging for volunteers who all have regular jobs and families who need their spare time.

    Now…every day…I am in constant contact with residents of our community.

    I receive and answer emails…Tweets and Facebook messages.

    In essence I am always “on call”…in addition to all the time I spend out at events across the City.

    Technology…which can be a cruel master…is also a remarkable weapon to build the engagement amongst us that we all want to see happen.

    That is why we have asked City Staff to double up their efforts to put technology to use.

    Service Ottawa is one manifestation of this effort…where we are trying to make the daily interface that our citizens have with city government easier…more efficient and more effective.

    It is also why our Council has asked staff to review our advisory Committee structures and processes.

    I have heard from people from across the City and from those who are involved in the Advisory Committees themselves that the system just isn’t working.

    I expect part of that is the psyche of the times we live in.

    People have technology at their disposal to reach me and other Councillors and City Staff…they like the personal connection and response.

    So it is time to update how we do our regular and formalised citizen engagement.

    I am looking forward to a Report coming to Council soon on how we might make our committee structure more meaningful and effective.

    Meaningful and effective in both directions…for those like you volunteering and for the elected officials who need and value input and advice on the projects we are undertaking.

    Citizen engagement is one element of our shared interest.

    Community Associations will always play a vital role in the bigger picture of that outreach and engagement.

    They provide a two-way avenue for elected officials…together we can listen and we can talk to each other.

    There is never unanimity of thought, of course.

    But, civil discourse does open doors to accommodation of spirit.

    And, after all, we all have the same objective to make ours an even better city tomorrow than it is today.

    One of the ways that I see consultation being enhanced is through the use of what I like to call the “ground –up” model.

    We have tried to give this effort life by using the concept of the summit.

    During the last municipal election, I made a commitment to hold a seniors summit to discuss how the City can best address senior’s issues in both the short- and long-term.

    And we fulfilled this commitment by hosting the Seniors Summit last October here at City Hall.

    I was very pleased by the turn-out and the ideas and discussion that took place during the Summit.

    We had the opportunity to hear from Ottawa’s senior population on what City Hall does well, what it can improve upon, and where we should start focussing our energies first.

    The valuable input the City received during the Summit will be used to create an Older Adult Action Plan in Ottawa.

    In addition to the Summit, the City extended the conversation to those who were unable to attend by seeking feedback on seniors’ issues via phone and e-mail.

    The same concept was used in the more recent Planning Summit.

    We gathered together a cross-section of Ottawa – organisations and individuals – to talk about where we are going from a Planning perspective.

    It was a great opportunity to kick off the very important review of the Official Plan and the Transportation Master Plan that will be happening over the next year.

    Apart from the wealth of input and suggestions that came in that day – and which the Planning department has already published – one of the most important things I heard came afterwards.

    A number of people – individuals like those of you in this room tonight – commented on the makeup of the working groups.

    They were impressed with the cross-pollination that occurred.

    We had developers sitting beside community activists beside elected officials beside local business owners

    That is the kind of consultation approach that we should be building.

    Bringing people together – not pushing each other away.

    I am going to be looking for more ways to do this.

    And, in case you had not heard, we will be holding a Youth Summit this Fall to engage another sector of our community in the never-ending effort to build our city.

    I want to take a few minutes to provide a bit of an update on some other activities and projects that are underway.

    For instance, we have been taking action at City hall that will make us greener City immediately and will also position us for the future.

    As we all know, transportation emissions are the fastest growing portion of our green house gas problem.

    We are determined to fight that with better planning that integrates cycling and walking into communities from the start.

    We fight emissions by saying no to uncontrolled urban sprawl.

    We fight them by providing public transit.

    Public transit is a key to the environmental health of any major municipality.

    That is why we worked hard to ensure we didn’t have to deal with another painful transit strike and we signed a fair collective agreement with our union.

    Our public transit dollars have to go far.

    Good public transit is structured to strive for more and more efficiency.

    It must, because we need our ridership on public transit to grow.

    And it is growing.

    Ridership in Ottawa was up 6% last year.

    That is good news and we want to keep it up.

    Budget 2012 boosted funding for OC Transpo by $5.5 million.

    There is a $3.2 million increase in service to deal with growth in ridership and a targeted $2.3 million to expand capacity on routes like the 87, 94, 95 and 96.

    More trips and more high-capacity buses will be added to these busy routes.

    Throughout this year we will be adding some 66,000 service hours to address growing demands on our system.

    And, our new double-decker bus fleet will begin to arrive later in 2012, adding further high-capacity service.

    Work will also begin so that frequency and capacity of the O-Train can double almost 10 years ahead of schedule in 2014 as the new trains we purchased to serve the north-south route take their place on the line.

    Light Rail is also vital to our plans to step up public transit in Ottawa.

    It will eliminate the bottleneck in transit we now face in the downtown core.

    So we’re investing some $2.1 billion in fixing that with a new modern, high capacity rail system that will be completely separated from traffic tie ups.

    Another key part of Budget 2012 was and is Ottawa on the Move.

    We’re repairing and improving.

    And as we fix up roads it gives us a big opportunity to improve cycling and walking in our city.

    Ottawa on the Move will see the construction of more than 70 km of new bike lanes and paved shoulders.

    It will also fund 20 km in existing sidewalk improvements and repairs.

    We will be working hard to fill the gaps in our cycling network to improve interconnections and safety so you can get where you are going by bike.

    Off-road pathways near the Aviation Museum, through Hampton Park, along the O-Train corridor from Carling to the Ottawa River, and extending the Sawmill Creek path from Walkley to Brookfield, will all be completed this term of Council.

    We will put in place a 12 kilometre East-West Bikeway over the next three years to provide safer and more comfortable commutes.

    Work on the design to implement a pedestrian bridge over the Rideau from Donald to Somerset will also get underway this year.

    In total, the last Budget provides an additional $12.1 million over three years for cycling infrastructure.

    And, in just this term of Council, we will provide the largest financial commitment ever put towards cycling in Ottawa – over $26 million, a new record.

    A green community isn’t just about transportation infrastructure though.

    That is why, again this year, the City is doing its part by moving ahead with green technology in both our buildings and our fleet of vehicles.

    For example we are investing in our ice rinks to replace aging cooling systems with more energy-efficient refrigeration technology.

    Through our green fleet program we’re buying electric ice-resurfacing machines to get rid of the engine exhaust and improve the air quality for the parents and children who play in our rinks.

    So far our Smart Energy initiatives like lighting upgrades and heating retrofits have achieved annual savings of $800,000 each year.

    We are also following through with the next phase of the Ottawa River Action Plan.

    Some of that work will be done in conjunction with Ottawa on the Move.

    We are now seeking funding from our federal and provincial partners so we can complete work the work of fixing the problem of combined sewer overflows.

    Any push you can give our federal and provincial partners would be appreciated.

    Our Council has also taken on the fiscal challenges of being Canada’s fourth largest city.

    I believe that the two Budgets that have been tabled – both 2011 and 2012 – have delivered.

    Budget 2012 restricted the annual property tax increase to 2.39 per cent – the lowest rate in five years, and it followed 2011’s increase of 2.45 per cent.

    And we have done this while continuing to place caring for our city’s more vulnerable members, as well as its families, as a priority.

    In 2011, we took action on housing with an unprecedented commitment to affordable housing in our community.

    We made $14 million in new annual funding available.

    And we’re starting to see the results as long-needed renovation to existing social housing is underway and new affordable housing for large families, including units which are fully accessible, are being built.

    Families have been moved off of waiting lists and into homes and families have been moved out of motels and shelters and into homes.

    We have more work to do in this area, but, with the support of our community partners, we have what it takes to ensure continued progress in the years to come.

    Some other investments in our community from the last budget included $2 million to undertake accessibility retrofit work to existing city building and park facilities.

    We also continued the freeze for City recreation fees and invested $520,000 to renew infrastructure in City parks.

    We are busy at the City of Ottawa…I have not even touched on what we are doing in terms of economic development.

    Invest Ottawa is up and running and its business incubator is starting to pay dividends, as well as its work with Tourism Ottawa as we strive to boost that important sector.

    The Arts Court redevelopment plan is taking shape as we build a stronger arts and culture community across the city.

    I could go on …but, I would like to know what your questions are…and do my best to answer some of them.

    I would like to thank you again for providing me with this opportunity to talk to you.

    I am very grateful for your organization’s continued involvement in a number of different City issues, projects and initiatives.

    It is the efforts of individuals like those of you here today that help us make our city a better place in which to live, work and play.

    I look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.

    Thank you.

  • Planning Summit: Mayor Jim Watson’s Remarks

    Check Against Delivery

    ***

    Good morning,

    It’s my pleasure to welcome you here this morning to our Planning Summit.

    Today is the first step in the right direction.

    Here in this room we have a diverse group of people: community and business leaders, developers, government stakeholders and everyday residents who want to be part of the solution.

    And I say ‘solution’ because we need to be frank: Planning in Ottawa   needs to be fixed – on many levels.

    We need to look over the horizon and determine our long-term vision for this capital.

    Where are we going to be as a city in 10, 20 or 30 years?

    What kind of communities are we building for our kids and our grandkids?

    Nobody believes that after this meeting today things will change like flicking a light switch.

    It will take time.

    It will take hard work.

    It will take a commitment to sitting down and discussing, debating and – yes – compromising too.

    But in the end we will be in a much better position than if we continued to clash and butt heads.

    To move forward we need clarity.

    We need to better understand the ‘other side’- and that’s exactly why we are here today.

    When I look around, I’m inspired.

    I’m inspired because I see people from across the spectrum; people who don’t always “get along” sitting down around the same table, wanting to take the first step.

    Because that’s exactly what this is: A first step.

    A first step towards a better understanding of the rules and regulations that govern planning.

    A first step to opening the lines of communication between residents and developers.

    A first step to share our visions for the capital and how we see growth and planning managed over the short and long term.

    So to help kick-off the dialogue and discussion, let me take a few moments to share with you my thoughts:

    Let me begin by saying I think we’re in a unique and opportune situation.

    I say that because not only are we willing to sit down here today and start the process of better planning, we’re at a moment where our three key planning documents are being completely refreshed:

    These are:

    – The Official Plan;

    – The Transportation Master Plan; and,

    – The Infrastructure Master Plan.

    And, we will also be conducting a review of our Development Charges by-law.

    These documents will define how the City will grow, how and where people will live, how people will get around, and how the City will perform financially and environmentally in the coming decades.

    I would like to characterize the Official Plan, Transportation Master Plan and Infrastructure Master Plan as defining the built form that essentially provides the frame of the City of tomorrow.

    They will be taking us from “a big little city” to “a little big city”:

    A City with excellent employment opportunities for our children, a City that has taken its stewardship responsibilities seriously, and a City where its residents treasure the natural environment that contributes to their quality of life.

    Whether it be the pristine water flowing in the Ottawa River or the thousands of trees planted today that will provide the health benefits of shade, cleaner air and natural habitats to enjoy.

    I see a city where people can choose to live and work in their neighbourhood.

    A place to call home where excellent transit, cycling and walking facilities provide opportunities to incorporate healthy active mobility choices into our daily routines.

    I envision a city where our residents can access excellent services from their government at a touch of a button, a city that looks after its most vulnerable, and most importantly, a city that has only built what it can afford to build and maintain over its lifecycle to ensure future residents can afford to live here.

    As such, and from a planning perspective, we should want to build a more liveable and sustainable City of Ottawa that sees more compact and complete development across the urban, suburban and rural areas to create true Smart Growth neighbourhoods.

    This development needs to be mixed-use in order to allow people to live, work, and play in all their neighbourhoods.

    One area of particular focus needs to be ensuring that development applications are not completely out of character with the neighbourhoods.

    Our Official Plan and Zoning Bylaws have to mean something.

    And we can’t have developers buying properties for inflated prices and then come to City Hall looking for massive up-zoning to recoup costs.

    All across the City, we need to create places where people can bike to work, walk to corner stores, enjoy a range of recreation, and live all aspects of their lives without the need to drive everywhere.

    We also need a City where, when people do need to travel longer distances, transit is a comfortable, efficient, and a viable option, not just for commuters, but for everybody at different times of day.

    Ottawa is already a great place to live, but if we aim for these goals, we will solidify our place on the world stage as a leader when it comes to active, progressive, creative and sustainable City planning.

    To achieve this, efforts should be focused on the following 6 Keys to Building a Liveable City are critical:

    – We need to contain urban expansion;

    – We need to get serious about the business of promoting Transit Oriented Development;

    – We need to focus on our suburbs, challenging our assumptions about how they should be built and looking for opportunities to retrofit existing suburban and outer core areas in order to create complete neighbourhoods;

    – Similarly, we need to do what is necessary to create complete rural villages; and

    – We need to pursue planning initiatives that contribute to a stronger economic engine for Ottawa;

    – And finally, we need greater predictability and certainty when it comes to development in our City. There are just too many surprises that upset local neighbourhoods when zoning changes.

    If we focus on these 6 key areas during the reviews of our Official Plan, Transportation Master Plan, Infrastructure Master Plan, and the Development Charges By-law we will achieve a more Liveable City.

    We will also deliver a greater amount of certainty to all of our stakeholders.

    On that note, I’m pleased to make a number of small announcements that I believe will support our commitment to delivering greater certainty in the planning process.

    Councillor Hume will provide more detail in a few minutes .but, in short form:

    First, there will be a special focus in our Official Plan review on “Tall Buildings” and we will be looking at not only where they belong, but also type of “built form” is preferable.

    I know this is a planning element that is of great interest to Councillor Hume and I am sure he will want to hear your initial thoughts as today progresses.

    There are also some actions that we can take even while the review of all these official plans is underway.

    So a second item I want to tell you about today is that Chair Hume and the Planning Committee and Staff will be initiating rapid reviews of a select number of Community Design Plans and Secondary Plans, which will be completed within one year.

    Councillor Hume will have more information on what he has in mind

    Third, we will be revamping our website at Ottawa.ca/planning to make it easier to find your zoning, to contact a planner or to look up development application status.

    Finally, the City will be creating a zoning “SWAT Team” that will work with neighbourhoods and developers on specific concerns as a result of a development application or to consult on questions and concerns before one has been put forward.

    This team will work to head of problems before they snowball into major confrontations.

    We owe it to the citizens of the City of Ottawa to build a more liveable city:

    – It’s the right thing to do economically;

    – It’s the right things to do environmentally; and

    – It’s the right thing to do to guarantee a high-quality of life for our citizens today – and for generations to come.

    Today is just a starting point.

    And I hope some of what I’ve outlined here resonates with you and helps kick off the discussion.

    And when the discussion today is over, and we all go home, I want you to know that the real work is just beginning.

    Like you, our staff here are engaged.

    We will be following up to council and our colleagues with ideas taken from these tables.

    But most importantly, we will have all made the first step towards better planning together.

    I hope there is more dialogue.

    More discussion.

    More debate.

    Because that’s what we need to strike the right balance.

    People from across the Country come to Ottawa and are overwhelmed by the beauty of our city.

    It is human nature to take your own backyard for granted.

    So let me leave you with this thought:

    The people at your table – the community leader, the developer, the planner, the business operator: You all want the same thing.

    A safe, liveable and vibrant community.

    You all want a place to raise your kids, a place to work, a place to retire.

    We all want the same result.

    The question we all have to answer is: how do we get there together?

    Thank you.

     

  • Mayor Watson’s State of the City Address 2012

    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

    ***

    I am privileged today to deliver my first State of the City address after a year of accomplishment together and to share some thoughts on the year ahead.

    Since being elected we have set a new tone around this council table….and – most importantly – in the community.

    We are committed to action – to getting things done…to delivering tangible, achievable results for our communities.

    This is what our residents expect of us…and it’s also what we demand of ourselves.

    Nous sommes résolus à agir, à nous lancer à l’attaque pour réaliser des choses… à obtenir des résultats tangibles, réalisables pour nos collectivités.

    C’est ce que notre population attend de nous… et c’est ce que nous exigeons de nous-mêmes.

    I know from my days as a Councillor that you are the best resource on what is needed in your ward, in your communities and neighbourhoods.

    You are meeting with people every day and hearing the concerns and aspirations of the people you represent.

    As Councillors, you hear first when things aren’t right, and you have the best understanding of what to do to set things on the proper course.

    Our last budget is a good example of what has come from listening and learning from Council.

    I met with each of you about your wards and your priorities.

    Out of that effort emerged some common priorities: our road system was in need of repairs, our network of cycling paths needed to be improved, and our sidewalks needed upgrading right across the City.

    So our budget delivered Ottawa on the Move – and it’s fair to say that this initiative is – simply put – the result of better listening.

    Council listened and acted to build a strong package of improvements that residents will value.

    But listening has to be an everyday job – it can’t and doesn’t happen just at Budget time.

    I have tried to be there for you when you have an issue or a concern and to provide a Mayor’s Office that is there to help.

    I have also pushed for more collaboration between members of Council, my own team and City staff and I am proud to say that we are making good progress.

    La population veut une équipe de conseillers et une administration municipale à son écoute, qui réalisent des choses et qui trouvent des solutions.

    Thanks to that philosophy, we were able to take on an ambitious agenda for our first year.

    One of our Council’s first decisions was to pass, with the power of a unanimous vote, a motion that demonstrated to taxpayers our collective commitment to capping tax increases at a maximum of 2.5%.

    Councillors also undertook – in a unanimous vote – to find the money within each budget envelope to pay for new spending.

    It’s the kind of discipline that families impose upon themselves to live within their means.

    Across the board, we have worked hard to contain increases in the various fees and rates the City charges, including freezing recreation fees and reducing increases in transit fares by 60% compared to the previous three years.

    Putting transit on a sustainable footing was ambitious – a challenge others had tried to meet before without success.

    This Council created a transit commission with public membership and we moved our transit system forward, modernizing our routes and making key changes to make better use of scarce taxpayer dollars.

    I want to thank Councillor Deans and members of the Transit Commission for their hard work in 2011.

    In 2012, we will continue to make progress on improving our transit – a vital service that delivers over 1 million transit trips each week across the largest municipality in Canada.

    And we’re listening to get this done.

    We have added $5.5 million in additional bus service – taking into account what residents told us and strategically addressing bottlenecks in the system.

    We will also continue to make progress on transparency and integrity.

    We are working to implement our promised registry of lobbying in a practical way – so it can work well without putting up walls to community access to elected officials – and add to the confidence residents have in their municipal government.

    Our proposals for a Council Code of Conduct and a gift registry will also come to Council for your consideration, later this year.

    We are also making progress on a number of ambitious infrastructure projects.

    La population d’Ottawa appuie le train léger sur rail, mais elle s’inquiétait des coûts et des risques associés à un tunnel creusé en profondeur, un tunnel qui circulerait sous les stationnements souterrains d’édifices comme le World Exchange Plaza.

    Le projet de transport en commun par train léger sur rail est bien amorcé.

    This Council moved to a new shallower alignment, one that reduces risk for taxpayers and improves the result. We have also carved out one and a half years from the schedule.

    We look forward to choosing a successful proposal this fall from one of three accomplished international teams competing for this important city building project.

    This Council also continues to work steadfastly to ensure that we can proceed with the planned redevelopment of Lansdowne Park.

    The improvements and renewal we will see are quite impressive.

    I believe we will deliver a magnificent City-wide asset, revitalized to the benefit of all our residents.

    Last year we saw the first step of renewal with the demolition of the south side stands – ahead of schedule and under budget.

    On Lansdowne we’ve listened more, worked with the community and set our sights on success.

    I was pleased that this approach led to a Pre-OMB agreement with community associations that expedited the process, saving time and taxpayers’ money.

    I want to take this opportunity to again thank the City Manager for his dedication and professionalism in moving this important City-building project forward.

    We have also made progress on redeveloping Arts Court and the Ottawa Art Gallery.

    This project has been talked about for far too long – this Council has decided to move from talk to action.

    Ce projet de plusieurs millions de dollars, un effort d’équipe réunissant nos principaux partenaires municipaux issus du milieu des arts, fournira un nouveau domicile à la Galerie d’art d’Ottawa et à la Cour des arts, qui abrite de nombreux organismes dynamiques à vocation artistique de la région.

    Le réaménagement de la Cour des arts jouera un rôle déterminant dans la revitalisation du cœur du centre-ville et renforcera la vitalité culturelle de la ville en entier.

    And 2011 saw Council create a new fund that will allow us to compete for more visitors.

    Managed in collaboration with our partner agency – Ottawa Tourism – this fund will allow the City to “bid more, win more and host more” marquee events that generate economic activity, tourism and jobs.

    This strategy is already paying off.

    This week, our City will host the NHL All-Star game; then Ottawa will welcome the Juno Awards in April; and the Women’s Hockey Championships in 2013.

    Also, earlier this year, thanks to the good work of Paul Benoit and the Airport Authority, Ottawa has announced two new direct flight options for our community – Delta Airlines direct to New York City and US Airways direct to Regan International Airport in Washington, D.C.

    This is also the year we begin the process of renewing our Official Plan.

    Ottawa is among world leaders in air quality and water purity.

    We were chosen “Best Place to Live” again this year by Money Sense Magazine.

    The Mercer Group pegged us 14th best city in the entire world for quality of life…

    All of this says a lot about why our city is a great place to live, work, play and raise a family.

    I want to make sure it stays that way as we grow as a City.

    Je veux, tout comme les membres du conseil municipal, m’assurer que ce plan officiel place la barre haute; je veux m’assurer que nous faisons preuve d’ambition pour cette merveilleuse capitale nationale et la collectivité tout aussi dynamique où nous vivons.

    I will be working closely with Councillor Hume on this year’s Planning Summit to kick off our work on our new Official Plan.

    We want to hear about the City our residents want to build for the future and for their families.

    We will set the course that will govern our development from 2014 until 2020 with the rethinking of our Official Plan.

    We will decide what kind of improvements we want for our transit system over the long term and how we will safeguard and enhance our mobility as our city grows.

    We will make a lot of decisions that will affect the financial strength of our municipality far into the future.

    Le débat légitime entourant la densification se poursuivra dans le cadre du renouvellement de notre Plan officiel.

    Et c’est un débat que j’encourage, car il n’y a pas d’alternative acceptable à la densification.

    Les villes qui ne prennent pas de mesures énergiques pour contenir l’étalement urbain sont aux prises avec des centres-villes qui se détériorent petit à petit et de façon irréversible.

    The legitimate debate about intensification will continue as part of our Official Plan renewal.

    And it’s a debate that I welcome, because there is no acceptable alternative to sensible intensification.

    Cities that have not moved aggressively to contain urban sprawl have seen their downtown core suffer a steady, irreversible decline.

    We all know intuitively that urban sprawl is both expensive and unsustainable.

    Yet, many of us find it difficult to accept that our communities will be different from those of our parents or of their parents.

    In Ottawa, we are already seeing some of the benefits of intensification as our downtown core and many of our communities near the core are much more alive and vibrant than they were as recently as 10 or 15 years ago.

    I can remember, not that long ago, when it was difficult to find a place to have dinner that was still open in the downtown core after 6 p.m.

    Now, more of our communities are bustling with people, activity and vibrancy.

    Yet, we need to do more to strike the right balance between the need for intensification and the legitimate needs and concerns of our neighbourhoods.

    I don’t think we have struck the right balance yet, and I hope that our Planning Summit will identify some innovative ideas to move us in this direction.

    2012 is also the year I want to challenge everyone in our organization to put more innovation into practice.

    Private business has its own discipline for companies that can’t innovate to keep up with the pace of change.

    They go out of business.

    In government we face the same relentless pace of change but we don’t have the same external force driving continuous improvement.

    So we need to create conditions that will foster that change.

    We have an excellent base in our existing administration and a solid start through our multi-year ServiceOttawa roll out.

    This year you will notice a big difference in accessing city services and information.

    A restructured and redesigned website will soon be making ServiceOttawa easily available to our residents to conveniently access City services and information online instead of in person or over the phone.

    Residents will also be able to complete 250 different service transactions such as booking and paying for last-minute ice time, reporting graffiti, requesting a recycling bin, and registering for classes and activities through the ServiceOttawa gateway.

    And, the ServiceOttawa department will decentralize the majority of business licensing services from Ben Franklin Place to the seven Client Service Centres so that residents have more convenient locations and service hours to conduct business with the City.

    We have invested heavily in our program to deliver better services to residents and do so for less.

    And this year we will really begin to enjoy the benefits of that investment.

    But it can’t stop there.

    We’re going to improve our efficiency and effectiveness in planning this year.

    We will change the planning system to make it more inclusive, clear and easy to navigate.

    I have asked Peter Hume as Chair of Planning to oversee the implementation of the City’s new Green Express Lane for development approvals and I know he will be sharing good news with Council and the public on this front in the coming months.

    And we need to keep showing innovation on the economic development front.

    Next month, we will see the official launch of Invest Ottawa, the City’s new agency for boosting investment, trade and innovation.

    Invest Ottawa has a job to do – a single mission – to aggressively and systematically attract investment to our City.

    The Federal government will table its 2012 budget in the coming months, which will likely see the size of the public service decrease.

    So now – more than ever – we need to take our economic development destiny in our own hands.

    The days of relying on the Government of Canada to be the primary engine of this community’s growth are behind us.

    Maintenant plus que jamais, nous devons nous approprier le destin de notre développement économique.

    L’époque où l’on dépendait du gouvernement du Canada comme moteur principal de la croissance économique de notre collectivité est révolue.

    So much more is possible when we work together to get things done.

    Today I am announcing a series of new initiatives and ideas that I believe will be well received by our community.

    Young people play a critical role in the success of our community.

    These will be challenging times as they graduate and enter this job market.

    Councillor Mathieu Fleury will Chair a city-wide Youth Summit in the fall of 2012 on the issues that are important to young people.

    I invite members of Council to engage in this important dialogue.

    Building on the format and success of the Seniors’ Summit, we will also ask our city’s youth for their advice on issues ranging from employment to transportation to art and culture and ways to eliminate bullying in our society.

    Je suis aussi fier d’annoncer une nouvelle entente de collaboration avec le Regroupement des gens d’affaires.

    Ensemble, nous allons rassembler la communauté d’affaires, deux fois par année, dans le cadre du petit déjeuner du Maire.

    J’aimerais remercier Joanne Lefebvre, présidente du RGA, pour son leadership dans le développement de ce partenariat.

    Our first breakfast event with the RGA will be on Thursday, February 16th right here at City Hall….and we are privileged to host the Federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities as our first guest speaker – the Honourable Denis Lebel.

    With 2012 under way, we must also ramp up our Sesquicentennial planning, the 150th birthday of our nation.

    I have asked Councillors Hobbs and Bloess to Co-Chair a task force on Canada’s 150th Anniversary taking place in 2017.

    I am delighted to say that they are both very enthusiastic to take on the challenge of making sure that Ottawa is ready to roll out the red carpet in 2017.

    We must aggressively go after national and international conferences, annual general meetings, sporting and cultural events, conventions and trade shows.

    Quebec City was extremely successful in 2008 as it used its 400th Anniversary as a magnet to attract more and bigger events to their city.

    I want to ensure that our city – the nation’s capital – owns 2017.

    A number of our City’s partners are excited about taking part in the 2017 Taskforce.

    I am pleased to recognize the following organizations that will help Ottawa welcome the world in 2017 in collaboration with the Tourism Development Council.

     – Ottawa Tourism, under the leadership of Noel Buckley;

     – The Ottawa Convention Centre, under the leadership of Pat Kelly;

     – The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, represented by Erin Kelly;

     – The Ottawa Airport Authority represented by Michael Crockatt;

     – The Ottawa Senators;

     – The City’s Economic Development team, represented by Saad Bashir;

    …and several other groups who will participate on this important task, including:

     – Le Regroupement des Gens d’affaires lead by Joanne Lefebvre;

     – And the new CE Centre, under the leadership of Kevin McCrann;

    Merci à tous nos partenaires dynamiques d’avoir accepté de faire partie de cette équipe.

    Our City is first and foremost a gathering place of tremendous people who, from all walks of life and through all sorts of contributions, make this City welcoming, generous and an all-around exceptional place to live.

    I am pleased to announce today that I will work with Deputy Mayors Steve Desroches and Eli El Chantiry – and all of Council – to bring a proposal forward in the spring to renew and consolidate our city’s civic appreciation awards and to create a new distinguished award to recognize great people in our community – the Order of Ottawa.

    This will be our chance to recognize distinguished residents of Ottawa for their incredible contributions to our community.

    Further, I am very proud to report that Ottawa’s most decorated athlete, Olympian and world champion figure skater, Barbara Ann Scott has generously donated her entire collection of medals, awards and other historic memorabilia to the City of Ottawa.

    C’est avec beaucoup de fierté que je vous annonce que Barbara Ann Scott, l’athlète la plus déterminée d’Ottawa, médaillée olympique et championne du monde en patinage artistique, a généreusement fait don à la Ville d’Ottawa de l’ensemble de sa collection de médailles, de prix et autres souvenirs liés à sa carrière.

    Ms. Scott – who is known as “Canada’s Olympic Sweetheart” – captured the imagination and the hearts of generations of Ottawans and Canadians through her amazing performance:

    The winner of the Junior Women’s National title in 1940, the National Senior Women’s title from 1944-1948, the North-American championships 1945-1948,  two European championships 1947-1948; two World championships 1947-1948 and an Olympic gold medal at the 5th Winter Olympic Games in St. Moritz, Switzerland on February 6, 1948.

    When I spoke with her last week, Ms. Scott told me that “all of this material really belongs to Ottawa, because Ottawa gave me my start, and is my hometown”.

    Working with the City Archives, the space soon to be vacated on the first floor of City Hall will be transformed into a showcase of Ms. Scott’s remarkable achievements, complete with historic photographs, costumes, silver plates and her champion gold medal.

    The Barbara Ann Scott Room will nicely compliment our new and very successful Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame, located in the heritage building.

    I want to sincerely thank Ms. Scott for her thoughtfulness and generosity.

    I look forward to hosting her later this year when we dedicate the room in her honour.

    I would like to pay a special tribute to a great supporter of this initiative, the late journalist Earl McRae and to thank him for championing this idea.

    Members of Council, we have come a very long way in a very short year.

    We have made a lot of progress in building confidence in our City government over the course of the last year, and each of you has played an important part in helping to make this a reality.

    In the coming year, we will stay the course on taxes.

    We will continue to work to honour the commitment we made to cap municipal tax increases at no more than 2.5% for the remainder of this term.

    But we will do so while preserving and protecting the important public services that our residents deserve and expect.

    And I am proud to say that we will continue the spirit of listening and collaboration that have marked the first fourteen months of our mandate.

    I would like to thank each member of Council for your strong commitment to listening to one another, to working together as a team and to making progress on the issues that matter to the people of Ottawa.

    Because at the end of the day, that is what matters most.

    I want to conclude by introducing you to some special guests who are with us today in the front row of the visitors gallery.

    Each and every day, like you, I have the incredible opportunity to meet some remarkable people who help make our City the special place it is.

    Through their everyday gestures and generosity, they contribute to making our City truly extraordinary.

    They do so without expectation of reward, without great fanfare and outside of the glare of media.

    Let me introduce you to some residents who I had the opportunity to come across this past year.

    I would ask that you hold your applause until the end.

    Let me start with Raphaelle Ferland – a young woman I met last November who shared her story with me about living without a home from the age of 15 to 18.

    Eventually Raphaelle found support at the Youth Services Bureau….first by dropping-in and then attending counselling sessions.

    Raphaelle found a home and in 2008 enrolled in a social work program at la Cité Collégiale – graduating 2nd in her class.

    Today, Raphaelle is 22 years old and in her second year of civil law at the U of Ottawa – where she is also president of the U of O chapter of Lawyers Without Borders.

    Facing adversity and numerous challenges….she found support from the community…

    And now, following her tremendous perseverance, she is giving back to our community.

    Tyrone Henry is an 18 year old student at South Carleton High School.

    Last year, he sustained a spinal cord injury which left him paralyzed from the waist down.

    The rehabilitation was a long process but Tyrone describes the experience as “having been given a new life.”

    He has set goals for himself and through courage and hard work is attaining them one by one.

    Last year, using his hand-cycle, Tyrone participated in the Army marathon and the 9-Run-Run marathon….inspiring crowds along the way.

    In November, he was invited to join the Rick Hansen 25th Year Anniversary Relay – carrying the medal as an Endurance Team member from Windsor to Thunder Bay.

    His father wrote us a note that day – it was filled with such excitement and pride.

    Great news came in last week and Tyrone will once again join the Rick Hansen Relay this coming March.

    Tyrone, you have chosen to use your life and resources to inspire and help others overcome similar challenges.

    Ottawa is a stronger city because of you.

    J’aimerais maintenant vous parler d’une bénévole exceptionnelle qui s’appelle Jeannine Legault.

    On la voie tout simplement partout.

    Depuis plus de 60 ans, Jeannine s’implique de façon fervente dans diverses organisations dont les Guides franco-ontariennes, la Caisse Populaire Vision, l’ACFO et la Fédération des femmes canadiennes-francaises de la paroisse Notre-Dame et Sainte-Geneviève.

    Jeannine Legault has been a volunteer in our City’s francophone community for over 60 years.

    For context, Jeannine started volunteering when Louis Saint-Laurent was Prime Minister of Canada.

    L’an dernier, elle a reçu le prix Grandmaître et on l’a reconnu pour son engagement exceptionnel!

    Jeannine nous montre que c’est avec le travail et la persévérance que la communauté d’Ottawa s’épaule et grandit. Merci Jeannine.

    Tobias Lutke and Harley Finkelstein are the young founders of Shopify – Ottawa’s fastest-growing private company for the past two years.

    This start-up specialises in e-commerce and has mastered the art of creating and powering online stores.

    Last year, users of Shopify technology sold more than $250M in merchandise online.

    Only in their 6th year, Shopify helps more than 16, 000 online retailers from over 80 countries worldwide.

    They expect to add 6,000 to 8,000 more stores this year alone.

    In 2010 Shopify was able to secure $7M in venture capital funding which was followed, 10 months later, by a $15M Series B round funding.

    The worldwide online community is keeping a close eye on Shopify’s headquarters located in the Ottawa Byward Market which employs 100 staff, several of them are recent graduates from Ottawa universities and colleges.

    Tobias and Harley are also engaging the start-up community of Ottawa by hosting an event called FreshFounders.

    It takes place at their office and invites the top 100 Ottawa based entrepreneurs to network and share stories.

    Tobias, Harley and the Shopify team are exceptional entrepreneurs who demonstrate to the world that Canada’s Capital is place of innovation and ingenuity, a place of perseverance, a place where economic success can be realized.

    Ils sont des entrepreneurs exceptionnels qui font la preuve aux yeux du monde que la capitale d’Ottawa est un milieu d’innovation et d’ingéniosité, un milieu de persévérance et un milieu où le succès économique est possible.

    Sam, Simon and Billy Saykaley own the Carleton Tavern and representing all the brothers here today is Billy Saykaley.

    Each year, the brothers gather volunteers, food and musicians as they host one of Ottawa’s greatest Christmas dinners, providing local residents with a warm place to share a meal and feel at home.

    They are joined by members of the Hintonburg Economic Development Committee, who help coordinate this event that – for the last 10 years – just keeps getting bigger each year.

    The last Christmas Day Dinner at the Tavern served or delivered over 800 meals – that’s over 30 turkeys, six hams, 60 meat pies and an endless supply of coffee and refreshments.

    Volunteers show up in full force to be a part of what has now become a community tradition.

    I have had the privilege of attending this event on several occasions.

    And each year turns out to be an incredible feast and celebration filled with music, crafts, gifts for the children and some Christmas carol warmth for all.

    By treating their fellow residents as a part of their extended family, they help make Ottawa an exceptional place to live.

    Members of Council, ladies and gentlemen, please join me in recognizing these exceptional individuals for their contributions to our community.

    I have chosen to highlight the contributions of these exceptional Ottawans to remind us, as a Council, and to remind the residents of Ottawa, that our sole purpose here is to improve the quality of life in our community for the people of Ottawa over the long term.

    J’ai choisi de souligner l’apport de citoyens et citoyennes exceptionnels pour nous rappeler à nous, en tant que conseil municipal, et pour rappeler aux résidantes et résidants de cette ville que notre unique raison d’être est d’améliorer à long terme la qualité de vie dans ce milieu pour l’ensemble de la population d’Ottawa.

    It’s an inspiring reminder that community is about much more than places, budgets and infrastructure. It’s first and foremost about people.

    I am deeply convinced that each member of Council has worked hard in the last year to make Ottawa a better place for our residents.

    I encourage you to leave no stone unturned and to spare no effort to make Ottawa an even greater City in the course of the coming year.

    Thank you.

    Merci.

  • Mayor’s Speech: The Annual Chairs Breakfast with the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce

    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

    ***

    Good morning ladies and gentlemen,

    It’s my pleasure to be here with you here today.

    Please let me convey my sincere congratulations to Dave Donaldson and Mark Sutcliffe on behalf of all of us at Ottawa City Council.

    I know these two individuals will keep the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce at the forefront of economic development and innovation in the nation’s capital.

    In the past year I’ve had the pleasure of working with the Chamber as well as with both Dave and Mark in their respective roles in the community.

    Dave continues to be instrumental in the growth and success of Algonquin College – an institution that only continues to climb higher while attracting scores of local and international students.

    And Mark continues to do things like complete marathons, host TV shows, radio shows and run a community newspaper.

    Well I’m very happy to have the opportunity to deliver some brief remarks about economic development and the year ahead.

    Let me begin with a short recap of what we were up to in 2011…setting the stage for what I think will be an exciting year of tangible, measurable progress.

    The City has put forward an ambitious economic development plan that will see $5.5 million in annual funding targeted to various economic development projects and initiatives.

    I want to thank the Chamber for their cooperative approach as we have spent many weeks working with OCRI to ensure the Chamber and Invest Ottawa complement one another – not compete with each other.

    One of the major elements of this plan is the transformation of OCRI into a more focused organization called Invest Ottawa to pursue strategic economic development in the nation’s capital.

    I can’t emphasize enough that this isn’t a simple rebranding exercise…

    It’s about a new way of thinking.

    It’s about sharper focus to achieve clear goals.

    The establishment of Invest Ottawa sends a strong signal to our stakeholders that economic development is taking a front seat at City Hall as we compete on a world stage for jobs, growth and opportunity.

    Invest Ottawa will help build confidence in our own ability to attract jobs and investment to our community.

    The job loss headlines of the last few months are more than sufficient to convince us that we need to take our economic development destiny in our own hands – the days of relying on the Government of Canada to be the primary engine of this community’s growth are behind us.

    Under the leadership of Bruce Lazenby, the focus of Invest Ottawa will be to attract investment and expand and retain existing businesses in Ottawa in key industry sectors, including green energy, aerospace and defence, photonics, life sciences, digital media and film and television.

    We have also created a Major Events Office in partnership with Ottawa Tourism to attract and support large-scale cultural and sports events that have significant positive benefits for our local economy.

    This will bring greater attention to our third largest industry in Ottawa…promoting the nation’s capital as a premiere destination for world-class events.

    • World-class events like the 2012 NHL All-Star game that Ottawa is fortunate to host in just over a week from now
    • The 2012 JUNO Awards at Scotiabank Place on April 1, 2012
    • The 2013 IIHF World Women’s Championships.
    • And The City is also in the process of bidding to host the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which would bring the world’s best female soccer players to the capital.

    The formula is simple:

    Bid more.

    Win more.

    Host more.

    Events like these not only bring a lot of tourism dollars into our city, but also put Ottawa on the world stage through media and television coverage, enticing even more people to come visit the nation’s capital.

    The addition of the stunning new Ottawa Convention Centre, which opened its doors in 2011, to Ottawa’s landscape is a significant factor in Ottawa being awarded premiere national and international events.

    Another part of our renewed focus on economic development includes upping the stakes on attracting more film, television and new media industries to Ottawa.

    In this vein, Invest Ottawa recently hired a Commissioner to lead the newly established Film, Television and Digital Media Office at Invest Ottawa where the Office will be responsible for the continued development, retention, competitiveness and enhancement of these industries.

    And with this renewed focus we can expect to see more feature films and television series shot here.

    In fact this week I, along with Deputy Mayor Steve Desroches and Councillor Bob Monette met with stars Michael Keaton and Michelle Monaghan as well as the production crew on the set of Penthouse North, which is filming throughout the City.

    These sorts of film productions bring in a lot of money, they employ our residents and we want to see more of them!

    Our city’s Economic Development Branch has also received approval for $1.5M in capital funding for a film, television and digital media studio, which is the key to the vitality and growth of the film sector here in Ottawa.

    The City has also launched a highly successful grant program to assist Business Improvement Areas.

    In 2011 alone, 16 grants were made to BIAs totalling approximately $100,000 and levering an additional $100,000 investment by the BIAS themselves.

    This renewed focus…this new energy….is how we will respond to an ever-changing and highly competitive economic climate, while creating the conditions for success and continued prosperity for our great city.

    Before I close, I’d like to take a minute and highlight a very exciting event taking place on February 9th at the brand new CE Centre.

    Through the City’s partnership with the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and the Ottawa Business Journal, we are hosting a Light Rail Trade Show to support our local businesses so they can get involved in the single biggest infrastructure project in our city’s history.

    The Light Rail project will generate $3 Billion in economic activity and create 20,000 person years of labour.

    From Construction to professional services to technology, there will be a lot of action for our local entrepreneurs and businesses.

    We want to ensure that the three shortlisted consortia, comprised of world-class firms with extensive expertise in transit infrastructure projects, have an opportunity to be exposed to the high quality goods, services and expertise that Ottawa-area contractors and suppliers can offer.

    Ottawa businesses, labour unions, and educational institutions, among other organizations are invited to participate in the trade show and to interact and engage with the project’s consortia.

    If you’re a business looking to register, you can do so through the Ottawa Chamber’s website.

    So in closing, I would like to reaffirm my desire to continued success working with the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce and its members.

    As I said last year in my first speech to the Chamber as Mayor – my door is always open to you.

    Economic development in the nation’s capital is a team effort.

    It requires all of us to share ideas, to leverage resources and work together.

    I’m here for the Chamber, just as I know you’re here for the business owners and entrepreneurs of our great city.

    Thank you for allowing me some time to speak with you this morning.

    And again, congratulations to Dave Donaldson and Mark Sutcliffe.

    Thank you. Merci.

  • Speech to the Tourism Industry Association of Canada Annual Conference

    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

    ***

    Good morning ladies and gentlemen.

    I would like to welcome all of the delegates from across Canada to Ottawa and thank David Goldstein and the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

    As Canada’s only national organization representing the full cross-section of the country’s $74 billion tourism industry, your work on behalf of Canadian tourism businesses promotes positive measures that help the industry grow and prosper.

    As former President and CEO of the Canadian Tourism Commission, I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with your organization on a number of occasions.

    And I know just how important your work is in our country.

    Tourism is a very significant industry in Canada.

    This is also true of our city.

    Tourism is the third largest industry in Ottawa after the public and high tech sectors.

    In 2007 alone, 7.8 million tourists visited the Ottawa area and spent more than $2.2 billion.

    As the nation’s capital, we start from a position of strength when it comes to tourism.

    Ottawa is home to a number of national and international cultural and heritage attractions.

    As the historic seat of our national government, we have so many gifts here left to us by previous generations of Canadians.

    This includes:

    – The Rideau Canal

    – Parliament

    – The ByWard Market

    – National Museums such as the Museum of Civilization, Canadian War Museum, and the Museum of Natur

    We also host more than 35 major festivals each year, including:

    – Canadian Tulip Festival,

    – Winterlude,

    – Canada Day,

    – Bluesfest,

    – The Jazz Festival; and

    – The Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival.

    Ottawa’s tourism industry does well.

    But this doesn’t mean that standing still is an option.

    Standing still means falling behind…

    So we must always be creating new opportunities and exploring new endeavours.

    And that means creating events that draw tourists to our region at low times of the year…initiatives like the Bell Capital Cup that attracts young hockey players and their families from around the world is one example.

    Back in May, I was pleased to join the announcement that Ottawa will host the 2013 IIHF Women’s World Championship of Hockey.

    The tournament will attract more than 200,000 fans to 21 games and inject up to $20 million into our local economy.

    And the provincial championships held at the same time will add an additional $15 million in economic activity to our City.

    This is great news for our merchants, our hotels and our restaurants.

    In January, Ottawa will host the 2012 NHL All-Star Game, and we are currently bidding to host the Under-20 Women’s World Cup in 2014 and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

    We will continue our strategy of aggressively bidding on such events because they pay dividends for our local economy.

    They also strengthen the Ottawa brand across our country and the world.

    Events like the 150th birthday of our country need to be the subject of a focused team effort to make sure Ottawa is the national and international destination of choice for a celebration to remember for the next 150 years.

    We have a lot of new tools available to us to help grow our tourism sector.

    The momentum is building and there is a lot to look forward to in the coming years.

    – The new Ottawa Convention Centre is a spectacular and cutting edge facility that will draw business visitors from across the country and around the world.

    – We are renewing Lansdowne Park…which will play host to fantastic events and will spark a whole new set of possibilities for our community.

    – We are renewing public transit with a major upgrade to a modern rapid light rail service that will reduce bus traffic on downtown streets and deal with the bottleneck in the core.

    – This past June, I was part of a tourism delegation that visited China for the Beijing International Tourism Expo 2011…renewing Ottawa’s Sister City relationship with Beijing and promoting Ottawa as a preferred destination for tourism, post-secondary education and investment.

    – We will also work closely with the Ottawa Convention Centre to secure a new 400 to 500 room marquis hotel complex in the downtown core to support the growth of our convention centre.

    Each of these projects is a powerful economic driver both in the short-term and in the long-term, as they secure tremendous benefits for the community for many decades to come.

    And those are just a few examples of the hard work the City has been doing on the tourism front.

    I am extremely committed to the tourism sector in Ottawa, and I look forward to working with many of you to capitalize on the many great things our city has to offer.

    I wish you all a very productive, successful and memorable conference.

    Thank you.

     

Page 2 of 3123