• Update on Ottawa Police Response to Recent Shootings

    Mr. Eli El-Chantiry, Chair, Ottawa Police Services Board

    I wanted to provide you with an update on some of the comments we are making to the community and media related to the recent shootings in Ottawa.

    As we have discussed, we are actively investigating eleven shootings since January 1 which have resulted in 6 victims, 2 of which have died.  The issue of gun violence is very concerning to us and we have members from across the service actively engaged on this issue.

    We are confident in the investigations that are being conducted on these files and are following up on all investigative leads so that that those responsible will be held accountable.

    Our investigations are finding that the motives from these activities are consistent with the trend we have seen both here in Ottawa and other communities.   The evidence so far links these shootings to a small number of criminals, often involved in drug trafficking and other serious criminal offences, who are using the weapons for protection, retribution and to intimidate their competitors.

    We actively work with our partners in the Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit (PWEU) to curb the access of illegal guns on our streets.  The guns that we finding are usually either imported from the United States or acquired through break and enters locally.  We actively target both sources of guns.   We are also working with other law enforcement partners, including the OPP, RCMP as well as the Canadian Border Services Agency on joint enforcement efforts and information sharing.

    We believe the shootings have all been targeted and the intended targets are usually uncooperative with our investigators. While that hampers investigations, we have other investigative methods available to us.  We continue to message in the public that it is important for witnesses to assist in our investigations, encouraging the community to take an active part in solving this issue.  This messaging will need to be sustained as we move ahead, as the public play an important part in addressing this.

    The police role on this issue is one of enforcement. We continue to make arrests, seize guns and carry out investigations targeted at these criminals as we saw during Project Sabotage where 14 people were arrested and 24 illegal guns were seized.

    While these investigations and enforcement continue, we continue to work with partners like the John Howard Society, Crime Prevention Ottawa and our local School Boards on longer term solutions related to this type of criminal violence and early intervention with those who are engaged in it.  Prevention and Intervention activities with our community partners is the longer term solution to this problem and one that will take work from many different groups.

    We will continue to keep you updated on this issue.  Know that this violence and the risk that it is putting to public safety is a key focus of our efforts today and every day.

    Steve Bell
    Deputy Chief, Investigations and Support

  • Mayor Watson to attend Strong Cities Workshop and USCM Meeting in Washington, DC

    Ottawa — Mayor Jim Watson will attend and speak at the Strong Cities Workshop and United States Conference of Mayors on January 24 in Washington, DC, and participate in the launch of the Public-Private Partnership Task Force Against Hate alongside an international delegation of experts and Mayors from across the U.S., UK, Canada and Germany.

    The Strong Cities Workshop is organized by Strong Cities Network and the German Marshall Fund of the United States to address the exponential rise in the expression of community polarization, hate speech, hate crime and hate group activity around the world.

    At the Strong Cities Workshop, Mayor Watson will outline Ottawa’s emergency and anti-terrorism response to the October 22, 2014 shooting at Parliament Hill that killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. The Mayor will share his expertise on how local government officials can work with the community to improve resilience against the threat of violent extremism and safeguard its citizens.

    Finally, Mayor Watson will meet with His Excellency David MacNaughton, Ambassador of Canada to the United States and Monique Smith, Ontario’s Representative at the Canadian Embassy in the United States to discuss stronger economic ties between our two capitals.

  • Statement from Mayor Watson and Mayor Pedneaud-Jobin on the announcement by Amazon

    Statement from Mayor Watson and Mayor Pedneaud-Jobin on the announcement by Amazon

    Although we are disappointed with the news this morning that the Ottawa-Gatineau HQ2 proposal did not make the shortlist, we are proud of the way our two cities and the community came together to put forward a competitive bid that showcased the best that the National Capital Region has to offer. A number of community leaders and economic development partners worked tirelessly over the course of the six-week bid process and delivered a proposal that highlights our region’s economic opportunities, and the world-class talent that calls it home. This strengthened regional collaboration is a legacy of our efforts; one that will help us grow our local economy and attract jobs together in the coming years.

    The proposal that Ottawa-Gatineau put forward is a template that will serve to ensure we remain attractive and competitive in the global marketplace and will help us attract global talent and investments. As Canada’s technology hub, with the most educated workforce in Canada, we believe the National Capital Region remains well positioned to attract interest from global companies looking to grow their presence in North America.

    We congratulate Toronto on making the shortlist and wish them the very best going forward. Should Amazon HQ2 find a home in Toronto, there would likely be significant economic spinoffs for the Ottawa-Gatineau region, and we would welcome those opportunities.

    Amazon decision-makers have provided positive feedback on our proposal, therefore positioning our region for future opportunities. We will continue working with Amazon in hopes of growing their existing team in Ottawa and securing other opportunities in the future.’’

    – Jim Watson, Mayor, City of Ottawa
    – Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, Mayor, City of Gatineau

  • Ottawa welcomes 2018 National Taekwondo Championships

    Ottawa – Ottawa’s reputation as a premiere destination for major sporting events continues to grow with the announcement that the city will host the 2018 National Taekwondo Championships. The championships will take place from February 15 to 18 at the EY Centre, and will determine which athletes will represent Canada at this year’s Pan Am Taekwondo Championships, the World Taekwondo Junior Championships and the Youth Olympic Games.

    Ottawa’s successful bid to host the national sporting event was announced by Mayor Jim Watson, Sonia Villeneuve, Director at Large of Taekwondo Canada, and Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism, at a celebration with local athletes and community members at the Phoenix Taekwondo Martial Arts Academy. Former National Champion and Pan Am Games competitor C.J. Huard Berro took the stage to share his excitement and experience as a local athlete, and Junior National athletes performed taekwondo demonstrations for the crowd.

    The bid for the championships was a result of the City’s Bid More, Win More, Host More strategy, designed to attract world-class events to Ottawa and promote economic prosperity and growth. Since the program’s launch, the winning bids and hosted events have generated close to $250 million for Ottawa’s economy. A national event such as the Taekwondo Championships is expected to attract hundreds of athletes and visitors to the city, and generate approximately $800,000 in economic impact.

    In strategic partnership with Ottawa Tourism, the City provides $1.5 million annually to support efforts to attract large-scale sporting and cultural events. Because of the strategy, Ottawa’s international reputation as a welcoming and experienced host to major events continues to grow. Ottawa will enjoy a busy schedule in the coming year, hosting sporting events that include the 2018 Canadian Track and Field Championships, the 2018 FIVB World League and the 2019 Volleyball Canada 14U National Championships.

    Quotes

    “The City’s Bid More, Win More, Host More strategy continues to attract these world-class events to Ottawa, and the incredible success of this approach shows no signs of slowing. Like all the events that have been awarded to the city since we adopted this approach in 2011, the National Taekwondo Championships will have a significant impact on our local economy and enhance our visibility on the world stage.”
    Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

    “This will be the first time Ottawa has hosted the National Championships since 1988. I was a coach at the ’88 Ottawa event. After 30 years, Taekwondo Canada is thrilled to have the 2018 Canadian National Taekwondo Championships hosted in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. As one of the most prestigious tournaments in Canada, it will feature the very best taekwondo athletes, coaches and referees nationwide. I am confident our organizing committee will collaborate with City of Ottawa to stage an exciting tournament.”
    Wayne Mitchell, President of Taekwondo Canada 

    “Ottawa Tourism is pleased to welcome Taekwondo competitors and spectators to Ottawa next month. This national championship joins an ever-expanding roster of diverse events held in Canada’s capital, which enhances our reputation as a sport hosting destination and in turn leads to more successful bids in the future.”
    Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism

  • Register now to attend the Mayor’s Town Hall on the future of Sparks Street

    Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Catherine McKenney want to know what residents think about the future of Sparks Street, and invite you to join them for an opportunity to share ideas and suggestions.

    What do you think the City should consider as it develops a plan to revitalize the Sparks Street pedestrian mall?Register now(link is external) for the Town Hall meeting, where you will have the chance to share your ideas with Mayor Watson and Councillor McKenney, hear from the project team and submit comments about the future look, feel and possible programming of this public space.

    Saturday, January 13, 2018
    Council Chambers, Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West
    8:30 am to noon
    Opening remarks at 9 am

    Please register to attend(link is external) by January 11, 2018. If you cannot attend the meeting, you can still share your feedback by answering our questionnaire(link is external) about the future of Sparks Street

    For more information: Sparks Street Public Realm Plan.

  • 2017 – From Ottawa the old to Ottawa the Bold

    It was nearly six years ago, during my State of the City address in January 2012, that I announced the creation of the City of Ottawa’s Canada 150 Anniversary TaskForce. This TaskForce quickly gained momentum, and in 2015, it incorporated into the organization we know today: Ottawa 2017. At its helm since 2014, the one and only Guy Laflamme. Through infinite creativity and contagious energy, Guy envisioned and delivered a year of sesquicentennial celebrations that will be part of our history forever.

    Ottawa 2017 did an incredible job of making Ottawa THE place to be to celebrate our Canada’s 150th anniversary. It will be impossible to forget some of this year’s events, which transformed our city, captivated our imagination and elevated Ottawa onto the international scene.

    The 2017 celebrations were ignited on December 31st, 2016 with the lighting of the Ottawa 2017 Cauldron by a First Nations scared fire, which was carried by more than 400 youth from City Hall to Parliament Hill, to reignite the Centennial Flame.

    Following the Ottawa 2017 kick-off was an epic year of celebrations filled with special arts and culture programming, unique culinary experiences, many large sporting championships, and never-before-seen performances and events.

    From seeing athletes hurl down an impressive ice track between Parliament Hill and the Château Laurier at speeds of more than 50km/h during Red Bull Crashed Ice, to experiencing the future LRT system through light and sound with Kontinuum, to being mesmerized by Kumo the giant spider and Long-Ma the dragon-horse as they roamed the streets of Ottawa – this past year has been nothing short of spectacular.

    Throughout the year, Ottawa 2017 has captivated us with blockbuster events like the JUNO Awards and JUNO Week, Mìwàte – the Illumination of Chaudière Falls, Canada’s Table in front of Centre Block, the Interprovincial Picnic on the Bridge on July 2nd, Sky Lounge, the 105th Grey Cup and Festival, and the NHL100 Classic outdoor hockey game.

    But Ottawa’s 2017’s strength was also in numbers, as Ottawa saw record crowds rushing to town this year. Over 230,000 guests celebrated at an astounding 43 national days and events organized by 85 embassies and high commissions during Ottawa Welcomes the World at Lansdowne Park.

    More than 325,000 people made their way underground to the future Lyon Station of LRT for the multimedia show Kontinuum, and got a glimpse into the future of Light Rail Transit in our city.

    But the most impressive crowds we saw were definitely the 750,000 people who immersed themselves into the magic that La Machine brought to our city over four days in July. Long-Ma and Kumo will forever be engraved into our hearts and memories, and their story has changed the way the world views our city.

    This influx of visitors was successfully supported by our region’s hospitality sector – our hotels, restaurants, shops and attractions – who put in a special effort throughout the year.

    Preliminary numbers show that hotel occupancy rates increased on average by 5%, and by 17% in average room revenues. Some downtown hotels were at full-capacity on a number of occasions, and hotels in the suburbs saw a significant increase in occupancy. The Shaw Centre welcomed almost double the number of conventions and delegates this year compared with previous years, with organizations and associations bringing their gatherings to Ottawa in celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

    Ottawa’s hotel revenue growth outperformed every other major city in Canada. This clearly shows that our investments have paid off for our tourism sector, and that our hospitality industry is thriving. As we step into 2018, we will continue to work with our tourism partners to keep this momentum going for years to come.

    Now that we bid farewell to 2017 and welcome the New Year, I invite you to reflect on the incredible year that was Canada’s 150th birthday, and how these once-in-a-generation celebrations have forever changed our beautiful city. Thank you for being here, for Canada’s Big Year.

  • City Council approves Budget 2018, keeping its 2% tax cap commitment to Ottawa residents

    Today, City Council approved a balanced, affordable and progressive Budget 2018. The City’s 2018 operating budget will be $3.4 billion and the capital budget $729 million.

    I am proud that for the fifth year in a row, we have honoured our commitment to residents and kept the tax increase at two per cent or less, while also continuing to build a prosperous city that is safe, secure and environmentally sustainable.

    Council received an update from City Treasurer Marian Simulik, with the latest tax revenue information for the year. The City expects it will end 2017 with a surplus, due in part to $10 million in greater than expected assessment growth. Council unanimously voted to use the $10 million to renew additional infrastructure, including streets, sidewalks, bike lanes and buildings. Council will approve the allocation of this spending in early 2018.

    Budget 2018 demonstrates Council’s commitment to growing our city by investing in what matters most to residents: investing in public transit, continued protection of our critical infrastructure and assets, keeping our communities safe and vibrant and making the environment a top priority.

    Highlights of the approved Budget 2018 include:

    Transportation: 

    • Increase of $2.3 million for winter maintenance, for a total of $68.3 million, to support all modes of winter travel, including the new O’Connor Street and Main Street cycling lanes
    • 8% increase since 2016 for road repair, totalling $8 million, including an increase of $600,000 to repair potholes
    • Increase of $5.6 million for road surfacing, a 17% increase, totalling $39.2 million
    • $5.5 million to expand pedestrian and cycling facilities
    • $3.5 million for the Barrhaven rail-safety program

    Public transit:

    • Implementation of the new deeply discounted EquiFare (50% off the single fare ride), increasing the total EquiPass/EquiFare subsidy to $3.7 million from $2.7 million, an increase of 37%. The EquiFare complements the EquiPass discounted monthly pass, implemented in 2017
    • $9.8 million in additional funding to expand transit service and increase route frequencies for growing areas of the city. Some examples include Wateridge Village in the East end, Abbottsville Crossing in Kanata, Bradley Estates in Orléans and Findlay Creek in the South. The 2018 plan also includes replacing 80 OC Transpo buses, refurbishing 85 more buses and road and signal projects that will improve transit speed and reliability, as well as improving transit stops and stations
    • More than $550 million on construction of the Confederation Line in 2018, creating jobs and a greener future
    • $60 million for preliminary planning and procurement for Stage 2 of the Confederation Line light-rail transit project, which will add 39 kilometres and 23 more stations to Ottawa’s light-rail system, by going faster and farther West to Moodie Drive and Algonquin College, farther East to Trim Road, and farther South to Riverside South and Bowesville, with a link to the Ottawa International Airport

    Community and Protective Services:

    • $1.3 billion in operating expenses for community and protective services, including $293.2 million for Emergency and Protective Services, $695.9 million for community and social services, $300.8 million for recreation, cultural and facility services, and $38 million for parks
    • The majority of the $48.9 million in capital spending will go towards parks, recreation and culture, with $21.4 million earmarked to renew parks and buildings. Highlights include renewing the Nepean Sportsplex, the Bob MacQuarrie Recreation Complex and the Howard Darwin Arena. The City will also replace play structures at Alta Vista Park, Greely West Park, Blue Rock Park and Beaton Park
    • Hiring 14 new paramedics and one additional emergency response vehicle, adding to the 36 paramedics already hired in the 2014-2018 Term of Council
    • Hiring 25 new police officers
    • Additional funding to deliver children’s services: $17.9 million in subsidies to support families most in need of high-quality child care to reduce and/or eliminate the current waitlist
    • Increase of $1 million for agencies that receive renewable community funding, for a total of $23.5 million, and $100,000 of existing funding reprioritized to create a one-time, non-renewable project fund for agencies not currently receiving funding
    • A 3% increase for a total of $11.3 million to base funding for Arts and Culture, allowing the sector to manage inflationary costs and cope with growth and minimum wage pressure
    • Parks and recreation registration fees capped at 2%

    Rural:

    • $12 million to renew the City’s rural infrastructure, including more than $8 million to rehabilitate bridges and bridge culverts
    • $1.8 million for Richmond Bridge on McBean Street, $760,000 for Ashton Bridge on Ashton Station Road, $520,000 for Peter Robinson Road Bridge and $470,000 for Monaghan Bridge on Old Richmond Road
    • $3.1 million to reconstruct and upgrade roads in the rural area, including renewing guiderails

    Affordable housing:

    • $15.7 million to provide more than 100 new affordable rental or supportive housing units and to support accessibility modifications and renovations for more than 100 low-income seniors and people with disabilities

    Environment:

    • $15.1 million more for drinking water, wastewater and stormwater services, for a total of $365.2 million. Of this, $201.6 million will go towards renewing and growing the City’s water infrastructure
    • $2 million to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Green Fleet initiatives and for energy management

    Budget 2018 makes secure and affordable investments in Ottawa’s social and physical infrastructure, which will pave the way to a progressive future for our city and residents. It emphasizes affordability, progressive growth, neighbourhood security, quality of life and environmental sustainability.

    I am proud of the progress we have made together as a city. Our economy grows stronger, we are adding jobs and attracting families and businesses, quality of life for all our residents is improving, and we have secured a sustainable financial blueprint for 2018 and beyond.

  • Ottawa 2017 Volunteers receive Mayor’s City Builder Award

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson, with Councillors Mathieu Fleury and Jean Cloutier, recognized the Ottawa 2017 Volunteers at today’s City Council meeting by presenting them with the Mayor’s City Builder Award.

    Ottawa 2017’s volunteer force is over 2,500 strong and the presentation was to recognize everyone who has volunteered their time over the last 12 months. Over the course of 2017, volunteers have donated in excess of 25,000 hours, spanning over 100 events, including Red Bull Crashed Ice, JUNO Awards, Inspiration Village, Kontinuum, La Machine, Canada’s Table, Ottawa Welcomes the World and Miwàte.

    On a daily basis, Ottawa 2017 volunteers have demonstrated exemplary qualities including strength, initiative, kindness, hospitality, leadership and team spirit. Ottawa 2017 would not have been possible without their support. From working outside for long stretches in minus 30-degree weather during Red Bull Crashed Ice, to plus 30 degrees during 14-hour days with La Machine, they remained dedicated and smiling throughout.

    The volunteers set an example that has inspired everyone who interacted with them, from the Ottawa 2017 team to the millions of people who visited Ottawa during the year. They have set a new standard in volunteerism and their contributions will be remembered for years to come.

  • Senator Murray Sinclair receives the Key to the City

    Ottawa – This evening, Mayor Jim Watson presented the Key to the City to the Honourable Murray Sinclair, Senator, at a ceremony at City Hall. The key was presented to Senator Sinclair in recognition of his illustrious and distinguished career as a Jurist, Scholar, Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, and Senator.

    Senator Sinclair, appointed to the Senate in 2016, was Manitoba’s first Aboriginal Judge and Canada’s second. He is known for his representation of Aboriginal people and his knowledge of Aboriginal legal issues. Senator Sinclair led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada which studied the abuse of aboriginal children and youth at Indian Residential Schools. Its mandate is to inform all Canadians about what happened in Indian Residential Schools.

    Quotes

    “It is an honour to present the City’s highest award to Senator Murray Sinclair. His many contributions as a lawyer, judge and senator have had a positive and lasting impact on all Canadians. His work as Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada was invaluable in giving a voice to aboriginal youth and children who have suffered in Residential Schools, and in helping our nation take steps towards reconciliation with First Nations.”
    – Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

    Key Facts

    The Key to the City

    • The Key to the City is Ottawa’s most prestigious award.
    • An ornamental key is presented to esteemed residents, visitors and others whom the City of Ottawa wishes to honour. This practice has a symbolic meaning evoking medieval walled cities, the gates of which would be guarded during the day and locked at night. The key symbolizes the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will as a trusted friend of city residents.
    • Some former recipients include:
    • Her Royal Highness The Princess Elizabeth (now, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)
    • Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
    • Author Margaret Atwood
    • Photographers Yousuf and Malak Karsh
    • The Community Foundation of Ottawa
    • Actress Sandra Oh
    • Ottawa Senators former Captain Daniel Alfredsson
    • The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C., Chief Justice of Canada
    • Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek
    • TV and radio news journalist, Michel Picard

    The Honourable Murray Sinclair

    • The Honourable Murray Sinclair, Senator, served the justice system of Manitoba for over 25 years and was appointed Associate Chief Judge of the Provincial Court of Manitoba in March of 1988 and to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba in January 2001.
    • He was Manitoba’s first Aboriginal Judge and Canada’s second.
    • Murray Sinclair served as Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in Manitoba and as Chief Commissioner of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC).
    • He participated in hundreds of hearings across Canada, culminating in the issuance of the TRC’s report in 2015.
    • He also oversaw an active multi-million-dollar fundraising program to support various TRC events and activities, and to allow survivors to travel to attend TRC events.
    • Senator Sinclair has been invited to speak throughout Canada, the United States and internationally, including the Cambridge Lectures.
    • He has been recognized with numerous awards including the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, the Manitoba Bar Association’s Equality Award (2001) and its Distinguished Service Award (2016) and has received Honorary Doctorates from 10 Canadian universities.
    • The Honourable Murray Sinclair was appointed to the Senate of Canada on April 2, 2016.

    For more information on City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-2401). You can also connect with us through FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

  • Don Winchester receives the Mayor’s City Builder Award

    Mayor Jim Watson, Barrhaven Councillor Jan Harder, and Gloucester-South Nepean Councillor Michael Qaqish presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award today at City Council to Don Winchester, the President of the Barrhaven Seniors’ Council, for his many contributions to the community. 

    Don Winchester and his wife Marilyn have been active in the community since moving here from Calgary in 2011. He reached out to Councillor Harder who was interested in starting a seniors group in Barrhaven. That led to a meeting in December, 2013 with Mayor Watson, Councillor Harder, and seniors from the community to discuss the need for programs and services for older adults in Barrhaven.

    In 2014 Don became the Co-founder and President of the Barrhaven Seniors’ Council, a popular and active organization in the community that is now a registered charity with almost 600 members. Don is being recognized for his energy, leadership and enthusiasm in delivering programs and services to seniors. Before the Council was active, seniors had to leave the community for programs. Now they enjoy bridge and euchre clubs; social activities, chair exercises and other outings closer to home.

    Don’s motivation and leadership in steering this group to success has given members new friendships and a sense of community through weekly activities and the best potlucks in the neighbourhood. As the Senior Advisor of the Project Steering Committee for the Barrhaven Community and Cultural Centre, Don’s dream is to have a quality, new centre for programs and services for the seniors of Barrhaven.

     

     

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