• WLRT Corridor Recommendation

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

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

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

    Background

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

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

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

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

    The solution

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

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

    – Protection of the Byron Linear Park and Rochester Field;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Moving forward

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Chris Taylor

    Mayor Jim Watson, along with College Ward Councillor Rick Chiarelli, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Chris Taylor for his exemplary volunteerism providing educational presentations on computer-related topics as a member and current President of the Ottawa PC Users’ Group (OPCUG).

    Mr. Taylor has been an active member of the not-for-profit Ottawa PC Users’ Group since 1984, and was elected to the organization’s Executive Board in 1986. His ongoing involvement with the Ottawa Public Library’s (OPL) Community Events Program, since it began in 2008, has provided hundreds of free technology-based presentations to the community at various library branches across the city.

    Through the Ottawa Public Library, the Ottawa PC Users’ Group has delivered more than 220 free two-hour educational presentations to the Ottawa community on a variety of computer-related topics, based on the group’s philosophy of “users helping users.” Mr. Taylor has worked tirelessly and selflessly for more than 10 years, often giving two or three presentations per week, on timely topics ranging from “How to Buy a PC,” “Protecting Your Computer,” and “How to Secure a Wireless Home Network.”

    Having personally delivered more than 200 presentations as of 2014, Mr. Taylor has demonstrated leadership, outstanding community service, and a strong commitment to educating and enlightening the residents of Ottawa. This dedication to public education continues with his commitment to additional presentations this year with the Ottawa Public Library on topics including digital cameras, photo editing, how the Internet works, media streaming and computer security.

    The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created by Mayor Watson to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building, or other exemplary achievements. Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public. The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.

    christaylor

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Kerry MacLean

    Mayor Jim Watson, along with Beacon Hill-Cyrville Ward Councillor Tim Tierney, today presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Kerry MacLean for his outstanding community service as high school coach, founder and President of the Maverick Volleyball Club.

    Mr. MacLean is recognized for his inspirational leadership of the Maverick Volleyball Club that he started in 1985 and built into the largest and most successful volleyball club in Eastern Ontario, with 27 teams and more than 75 volunteers and coaches.

    Mr. MacLean has been building the volleyball community in Ottawa since he became a teacher at Colonel By Secondary School in 1984. He has been a volunteer coach for more than 150 teams during his career and has led both boys and girls teams to league, city, and provincial championships.

    He founded the Maverick Volleyball Club to offer children an opportunity to enjoy and excel at the sport through skills development and competition, and to gain valuable life and leadership skills. His leadership and vision has influenced and motivated thousands of children in the city, allowing them to develop as athletes and as productive and inspired citizens.

    It is a true testament to his leadership that, with the incredible growth and success of the club, he has also inspired many of the early members to return to volunteer and coach, as well as bring their own children into the program.

    feb11-kerrymaclean

  • 2015 Budget Speech

    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY ***

    Good morning.

    It is my pleasure to provide some remarks as we table our first budget of the term.

    To begin, I would like to thank Members of Council again for their insight and input into the budget process.

    I appreciate you passing along your ward’s priorities on behalf of local families and businesses.

    Few people know our communities’ needs better than our City Councillors, which is why your involvement is so important.

    Based on our constructive conversations during the budget process, I am very optimistic about the next four years.

    I am confident that we will be able to continue with a respectful, prudent, collaborative approach to managing our city’s finances.

    As I said in last week’s State of the City address, 2015 will be a year of momentum.

    Budget 2015 fits in perfectly with this reality, as we move forward swiftly and confidently on several ongoing initiatives.

    At the same time, we will prepare Ottawa for continued success during our Term of Council.

    Through the investments and savings we create in Budget 2015, we will continue the momentum towards a more affordable, caring, sustainable, and prosperous city.

    Everything we do together must be done with the local economy in mind.

    While we are not immune to the economic instability and challenges faced by all levels of government, we have taken strong, careful steps to weather the storm.

    Over the past few years, Ottawa’s economic story could have gone a lot differently.

    With our largest industry losing thousands of jobs… we chose to take action.

    We invested in economic development and entrepreneurship to support the private sector in its work to create jobs.

    We bolstered our tourism industry with award-winning strategies to help us “bid more, win more and host more.”

    With traffic congestion on the horizon, we chose to change course by fast-tracking infrastructure projects with our “Ottawa on the Move” program.

    We took advantage of the lowest interest rates in a generation to invest in roads, sidewalks, and other key infrastructure.

    We got shovels in the ground for the Confederation Line, and unanimously approved a plan to extend LRT farther east, west and south.

    After several years of instability and rate hikes, we brought in a more prudent approach to the city’s finances.

    We brought in an affordable, predictable tax cap, bringing in the lowest increases in a number of years.

    At the same time, we explored innovative ways to provide services through our “Service Ottawa” initiative, which found more than $40 million in annual efficiency cost savings.

    We also established multi-year plans for key priorities such as arts and culture, and housing and homelessness, to ensure we have a clear direction.

    We changed the way we looked at long-term infrastructure planning, by applying an affordability lens to our future projects.

    Now we calculate WHAT we can afford, THEN plan the project… not the other way around.

    The decisions and strategies I have just outlined have put Ottawa in the solid financial position it is in today.

    These tested strategies will be used to strengthen every decision we make together as a Council.

    Of course, we will continue to push ourselves even further.

    We need to be even more innovative by finding efficiencies and striking partnerships.

    We will need to collaborate at the community level by getting input into our work and helping to prioritize projects.

    Together – as a team – I know we have the skill to accomplish this and keep Ottawa on strong financial footing.

    That starts with Budget 2015.

    Let’s begin by talking about how we will keep life affordable for residents.

    Today, we are tabling a budget that proposes a 1.75% tax revenue increase.

    This continues the multi-year trend of keeping life affordable, and translates into a 2% average increase for a residential property.

    This rate will allow us to continue to invest in key priorities such as transportation, affordable housing, and community facilities.

    It also requires no significant service cuts to achieve.

    Now, some people out there may ask for us to spend more, to push the rate even higher.

    Others will argue that we should freeze taxes and slash services.

    I think we’ve struck the right balance.

    Because we know that there are many living close to the line…

    Those who may have unstable or no employment, for whom raising taxes significantly could mean the difference between affording their next mortgage payment or affording food for their kids.

    We must also not abandon those same folks on the services side, by cutting the core programs and services on which they depend.

    This is a reasonable budget that respects taxpayers’ ability to pay, while maintaining high-quality public services.

    The budget also proposes to limit the average OC Transpo fare increase to just 2.5 per cent.

    As you know, this in line with our multi-year affordability plan to pay for investments like the Confederation Line, O-Train expansion, and other improvements.

    This will also allow us to invest an additional $4.2 million for increased bus service, and trips on ParaTranspo and the O-Train Trillium Line.

    In 2013, we reduced the garbage collection fee by 11%.

    It has been frozen since then.

    Budget 2015 recommends we continue that freeze for a third consecutive year.

    Furthermore, after freezing recreation fees for the past four years, users will now see fee increases capped at an average of 2%.

    This is a prudent way to move forward.

    This is to ensure we can continue to provide high-quality programming, while absorbing inflationary costs and other operational pressures such as new facilities in the east, west and south.

    Budget 2015 will see us continuing to manage our debt level responsibly.

    We will protect our excellent credit ratings of Triple-A from Moody’s and Double-A-plus from Standard and Poor.

    Ottawa continues to have an excellent credit rating… a manageable debt level well within the established limits… and will continue to have one of the lowest debts per capita among major Canadian cities.

    There’s nothing more important to our local economy than the strength of our infrastructure.

    Our prosperity depends on it.

    When Ottawa’s moving, our economy is moving.

    Over the last three years, our “Ottawa on the Move” program saw over 400 infrastructure projects completed in all areas of the city.

    And it would be hard to ignore how significant this investment was, as we advanced many years worth of renewal work than previously planned.

    Many, many streets were reconstructed that had been ignored for far too long.

    This included significant sewer and water main work.

    In several cases, we closed major gaps in our pedestrian and cycling networks.

    We undertook this $500-million investment to ensure there was less road work to do during the height of Confederation Line construction in 2015 and 2016.

    As you know, we will not be able to continue with the same intensity or level of spending over this Term of Council.

    It would be logistically and financially challenging to do so.

    However, we will continue to invest what we can to maintain our roads, pathways, sidewalks, and sewers.

    Let me give you a few examples.

    In the west end, Ottawa on the Move funded road work on Woodroffe Avenue, Baseline Road, Huntmar, and West Hunt Club Road.

    Budget 2015 will build on these investments increasing our network capacity to address growth such as a new four-lane extension of Campeau Drive to Huntmar.

    The City will also break ground on the Hospital Link which will help to relieve some of the congestion on Smyth Road and Alta Vista Drive.

    Critical renewal projects remain a priority such as the reconstruction of Banning Road and Anderson Bridge.

    As well, we will continue to make key intersection enhancements to improve efficiency as well improving safety and connectivity.

    This will be seen through works such as the urbanization and implementation of a multi-use pathway on a small orphaned stretch of Klondike Road.

    We will also move forward with culvert and sewer improvements for Shea Road Flowing Creek, the Kanata West Pump Station and the Fernbank Sanitary Sewer.

    The Western Transitway expansion will also go forward as planned in 2015.

    We will continue our investments toward the completion of the $65 million Bayshore-to-Moodie transitway, a project that is 100% municipally funded.

    This project will significantly improve bus service from Kanata by providing a new segregated Transitway alongside a stretch of the 417 where buses are currently inter-mingled with car traffic.

    In the central core, Ottawa on the Move saw much-needed infrastructure work such as Churchill, Bronson, Carling, and St. Patrick.

    This is an area of the city with some of our oldest infrastructure… in fact, the pipes replaced under Bronson Avenue were about 160 years old.

    The City also made permanent the Laurier Avenue segregated bike lanes and built the east-west bikeway, linking Beechwood with Westboro.

    Budget 2015 proposes that we proceed with the full integrated renewal of Main Street as a complete street.

    It will also invest in the renewal of the Minto Bridges, McRae Avenue, McIlraith Bridge, and McLeod Street, just to name a few.

    The central core is also due for recreation and community centre improvements in 2015.

    We’ll move forward with repairs at the Don Gamble Recreation Complex, the Jim Durrell Recreation Complex, Brewer Arena, Canterbury Pool, the Michelle Heights Community Centre, and the Dempsey Community Centre.

    Budget 2015 also proposes we continue to provide better cycling and pedestrian facilities in the core.

    Budget 2015 will begin funding the public realm of the Rideau Street Art Precinct with the conversion of Nicholas between Besserer and Rideau into a pedestrian street.

    It will also include early works toward making Rideau Street a more attractive, vibrant, and people-friendly environment in advance of the opening of LRT.

    This month, we will open the new pedestrian bridge over Highway 417 near Coventry Road.

    And we will also continue to build the Somerset-Donald pedestrian and cycling bridge over the Rideau River for completion next year.

    In the east end, Ottawa on the Move funded renewal projects such as Jeanne D’Arc, Ogilvie Road, and Stonehenge Road.

    In addition, work continues on the Orleans Watermain Link to bring new source of drinking water to improve service reliability to this east end community.

    This project is expected to be completed later this year.

    With the support of our provincial partners, we also undertook the much-needed Highway 417 expansion project, to fix the Split.

    In the short term, this will provide an alternate Transitway corridor as we move to the next phase of construction for Confederation Line.

    In the draft budget you have before you, it is proposed that the City continue this momentum by building a new two lane extension of Brian Coburn Boulevard between Navan and Mer Bleue.

    We will also renew key bridges and overpasses such as Carlsbad Lane, Sand Road, and Birchgrove Beckitt’s Creek.

    As you know, recent years saw significant east-end recreation centres improvements open including Richcraft Sensplex East and the Francois Dupuis Pool.

    Looking ahead, Budget 2015 proposes that we invest in upgrading key community assets such as the Ray Friel Recreation Centre, Pierre Rocque Park, the Avalon South Recreational Pathway, Park 18a in Cardinal Creek, and Cassandra Park.

    In our south end, we recently saw the opening of the Vimy Memorial Bridge and the Airport Parkway Bridge.

    Residents have already told us that these linkages have greatly improved mobility.

    Ottawa on the Move also provided south-enders with renewal of road infrastructure on Albion Road and Fisher Avenue, as well as the expansion Jockvale Road.

    Budget 2015 will see us complete the renewal of the Prince of Wales overpass at Nepean Creek, the Mansfield Road Bridge, and the Parkway Road Bridge over Castor.

    On the recreation front, we’ll replace the artificial turf at Minto Field, and complete maintenance at facilities such as the Richmond Arena, the Nepean Sporsplex, and the Pinecrest Recreation Complex.

    On a city-wide basis, Budget 2015 will also continue to build momentum with several significant infrastructure projects that will improve our city for generations to come.

    Let me talk about a few.

    Firstly, we will continue to make progress on the final phase of the Ottawa River Action Plan this year.

    This has been our top environmental priority for quite some time and I’m very pleased that we were able to secure provincial funding last year.

    We’ll also continue momentum with light rail transit in the nation’s capital.

    Budget 2015 will allow us to continue construction of the Confederation Line, and continue to refine our plans to advance Stage 2 of LRT.

    Last week was a very proud moment, when we unveiled a model of the Alstom Citadis Spirit train that will run on the Confederation Line.

    More than 1,000 people visited the train over the course of last weekend, and they had their first tangible interaction with this exciting project.

    Many people are saying, “This is finally for real!”

    The LRT Showcase is an important way that residents can get a better understanding of the project, especially as we manage the challenges associated with construction in the coming year.

    We will begin to prepare for the completion of the project with the finishing of the Maintenance and Storage Facility so that the assembly of our vehicles can begin.

    We will also start initial work on the operations side of the Confederation Line, including practical investments for fare control and the control centre.

    We will also break ground on two Ottawa 2017 legacy projects: the Innovation Centre at Bayview and the revitalized Arts Court.

    Each of these will have a unique role to play in helping Ottawa remain competitive and dynamic in the years to come.

    These will be city-wide assets that will bring people together to celebrate, create and innovate.

    As we continue to build this world-class city, we will continue to focus our efforts on the human side of the services we provide.

    That begins with looking after our most vulnerable.

    Budget 2015 proposes that the City of Ottawa continue its base budget commitment of $14 million annually that began in the last term.

    The draft budget also proposes an investment of $3.1 million annually for maintenance for Ottawa Community Housing.

    In addition, Council will also consider a capital investment of $19 million for affordable housing.

    We need to take care of our housing stock, and this will help us continue to that.

    We will also invest more money to help with the challenges we are facing with guns and gangs in our city.

    It is important to remember that Ottawa is a safe city.

    And that the Ottawa Police Service has our full support in the work it is doing on this file.

    Through our conversations with the Police, Crime Prevention Ottawa, and their network of community partners… we identified a funding gap that needs to be addressed.

    Too many at-risk individuals, at different stages of involvement in gang activity, do so because they feel they simply have no other option.

    We need to help them open their eyes to those options.

    Budget 2015 allocates $400,000 annually to fund a combination of exit strategies and employment opportunities for at-risk individuals.

    We will not solve this complicated social problem in just a year.

    But it is our hope, that with these funds, we can continue to move in the right direction.

    In 2015, we must also continue to rebuild our tree cover that has been ravaged by the Emerald Ash Borer.

    To this end, the draft budget proposes we invest $5.6 million in forestry efforts this year, including an additional $125,000 for tree planting.

    The budget investments I’ve outlined so far are just the beginning of how we will improve the lives of Ottawa residents over the coming year.

    There will be another opportunity – through our Strategic Initiatives process later this spring – to make additional investments in our communities.

    As you know, our budget process is a little different following an election.

    Because of this, the timeframes for budget delivery change from fall to the New Year.

    Because of this, we have not yet had the important opportunity to talk about our Term of Council priorities.

    We will do this over the coming months.

    As a first step, Budget 2015 proposes a funding envelope of $37.4 million, combined operating and capital, for Strategic Initiatives.

    Later this spring, as Council approves its Term of Council priorities, we will decide where this money is allocated.

    It is my expectation that some of these funds will also be used for continued priorities such as:

    – Improved recreational services, including greater support for our hard-working volunteer rink operators
    – Invest Ottawa and supporting our local start-ups
    – Housing and homelessness
    – Ward-based road safety; and
    – Better pedestrian and cycling connectivity, particularly in our suburban communities.

    Just to name a few.

    If you do not see a project or a priority funded in this draft budget, it is my hope to work with you to see it realized either in the Strategic Initiatives, a future budget, or by another source.

    As you know, the successes we see in our budgets could not be accomplished without our City Manager and his management team.

    With their knowledge of the day-to-day affairs of the City, we are able to find savings without impacting service levels.

    For example, the City of Ottawa has been able to reduce its headcount of full-time equivalents in every budget for the last three years, for a net total of approximately 200 FTEs.

    This has been managed despite the fact that we’re still a growing city

    This year is no different, as Budget 2015 proposes to reduce the FTE count by an additional 20.

    During the coming year, the City Manager and his team will be undertaking an important management effort to look ahead at 2016 and beyond.

    I mentioned earlier that we saw significant savings from our ServiceOttawa program in recent years – to the tune of $40 million per year.

    These savings in turn created capacity to fund inflationary cost increases, the costs of growth, and the Term of Council priorities.

    Now that this program has realized its efficiencies, City management needs to refocus their efforts on longer term planning to ensure we remain financially sustainable.

    We must look beyond the immediate 12-month window of traditional budgeting and model our decision-making in a multi-year approach.

    City Council will continue to enact a budget every year.

    However, management will need to look at a multi-year perspective.

    This will help identify savings needed to fund priorities, keep taxes under control, fund growth, and meet inflationary pressures.

    The City Manager will provide more details following my remarks.

    Colleagues, thank you again for your contributions to this budget.

    I’m confident that Budget 2015 strikes the right balance.

    It raises revenues in a responsible way, while maintaining the services and investments required to build on our city’s momentum.

    Thank you… and now over to our City Manager and the Treasurer for their remarks.

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

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     

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

     – Fund a strategy for crime prevention and gang activity.

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

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

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

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

    A Sustainable City

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

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

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

    A Prosperous City

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

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

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

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

    An Affordable City

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

     – Freeze the garbage fees for the third consecutive year.

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

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

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

     

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

     

    City Council will consider the recommendations received from all public consultations, Committees of Council and relevant Boards at its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, March 11.
  • Mayor Watson looks ahead to a “Year of Momentum” in 2015 State of the City address

    OTTAWA – At the first City Council meeting of the year today, Mayor Jim Watson provided a look ahead to significant projects and milestones in store for Ottawa in 2015. The annual State of the City address is an opportunity for the Mayor to provide an update on projects and priorities related to the City of Ottawa.

    “2015 will be a year of momentum,” said Mayor Watson. “It’s an exciting time to be in the nation’s capital, with many significant city-building projects and milestones underway or on the horizon.”

    Mayor Watson outlined the continuation and completion of community improvement projects this year, including:

     – Continuation of construction of key Confederation Line features such as the downtown tunnel and Belfast Yards

     – Opening of the Coventry Road pedestrian and cycling bridge in February

     – Continued construction of the Somerset-Donald pedestrian and cycling bridge between Sandy Hill and Vanier

     – Creation of new murals at Highway 417 underpasses at Bank Street, as well as Carling (west of Kirkwood)

     – Beginning construction on the Bayview Innovation Centre, and the expanded Arts Court and Ottawa Art Gallery

     – Opening of Miracle League of Ottawa’s accessible baseball field

    Residents will also have the opportunity to experience several milestone events in the months ahead, such as:

     – A Confederation Line O-Train LRT showcase in February and March at the Aberdeen Pavilion, including a full-sized mock-up of the new Alstom Citadis Spirit train

     – A public engagement meeting on a new central library in March

     – A Tourism Summit that will focus on long-term growth strategies for Ottawa’s tourism industry

     – The Mayor’s Rural Expo will be made a permanent event, following the first two successful editions

     – The FIFA Women’s World Cup at Lansdowne and the Canadian Little League Championships in Barrhaven

    Mayor Watson also shared two significant civic recognition initiatives that will be coming forward in 2015:

     – Awarding of the Key to the City to former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson in March

     – Beginning the process to create an appropriate memorial to the victims of the September 2013 bus-train accident

    “I look forward to collaborating closely with Members of Council and the community on these projects and more over the coming months,” said Mayor Watson. “Together, we will build momentum towards a more liveable, caring, vibrant and prosperous city.”

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Margaret Knight

    Mayor Jim Watson and Councillors Rick Chiarelli and Mark Taylor presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Margaret Knight today in recognition of more than 35 years of running free breakfast and lunch programs at the Foster Farm Community Centre, as well as volunteering with several other community charitable organizations.

    Often long before sunrise, five days a week Mrs. Knight is at Foster Farm’s kitchen preparing breakfast for 40 to 45 children and planning two lunches weekly for about 35 adults. Her breakfasts give the children a nourishing, filling start to their day, and her lunches aren’t a simple soup and sandwich – she prepares full meals like turkey or chicken dinners, homemade lasagna and shepherd’s pie, all with vegetables and dessert. If the available funds on any given day don’t stretch far enough, she often buys additional supplies with her own money.

    And her generosity doesn’t stop when she leaves Foster Farm. She’s also an enthusiastic volunteer at the Britannia Woods, Morrison Gardens and Starwood nursing homes and St. Vincent’s Hospital. She assists physically challenged members of the community to get to church on Sundays; she prepares Christmas hampers; and on Fridays, she delivers Meals on Wheels.

    The residents who nominated Mrs. Knight say her welcoming and caring nature contribute at least as much to the community as her volunteer work. She not only provides meals, she provides companionship. She loves to introduce people who are alone to others, and she creates a positive atmosphere of sharing and encouragement.

    margaretknightcb

  • State of the City 2015 – Speech

    Good morning.

    I want to wish all Members of Council a very Happy New Year. I hope you had a restful Christmas and holiday season.

    Because – as you know – we have a very busy year ahead of us.

    Much of that work will begin next week as we table our first draft budget of the term.

    I want to thank all Members of Council for providing their input into this year’s budget process.

    I have appreciated hearing first-hand the priorities you have for your ward, and your areas of interest as we work together over the next four years.

    I also want to thank the public for providing their ideas, whether it is directly to their ward councillor or to my office through the consultation process.

    My friends, 2015 will be a year of momentum.

    By this, I mean that we will build on the momentum started in the last few years…

    And we will continue to focus our energies towards building an even better city.

    Let me give you a few examples by looking back at our most recent accomplishments.

    City Council unanimously approved the Stage 2 LRT project and Transportation Master Plan.

    We decided to move forward with Arts Court and the Bayview Innovation Centre.

    And we continued work on key features of the Confederation Line… shaping the future of Ottawa’s transportation system.

    Over that same time, we saw the opening of several significant investments in our city’s quality of life.

    This includes big mobility improvements such as…

    The Vimy Memorial Bridge in Councillor Qaqish’s ward…

    And the Airport Parkway Bridge in Councillor Deans and Brockington’s wards…

    We’ve added new community space in our fastest growing areas, including:

    The Richcraft Sensplex East in Councillor Tierney’s ward…

    The Francois Dupuis Pool in Councillors Blais’s ward…

    The Richcraft Recreation Complex in Councillor Wilkinson’s ward…

    The Minto Recreation Complex in Councillor Harder’s ward…

    The new Greely library in Councillor Darouze’s ward…

    And the expansion of the Goulbourn Recreation Centre in Councillor Qadri’s ward.

    In Councillor Chernushenko’s ward, we can’t forget the beautiful new Lansdowne Park… a magnificent improvement being enjoyed by residents and visitors from all over.

    Looking ahead… 2015 will have no shortage of cranes and bulldozers.

    Signs of momentum are all around us.

    I think you will be able to get a sense of this at our upcoming LRT showcase at Lansdowne Park, taking place in February and March.

    Throughout our history, Lansdowne Park and the Aberdeen Pavilion were witness to significant moments in our country’s and our city’s history.

    Many of these moments had to do with new products and innovations.

    For example, in 1877, Ottawa’s Thomas Ahearn gave the first demonstration of a telephone at Lansdowne Park.

    In 1892, he exhibited a series of new electrical equipment such as an early electric oven and electric water heaters.

    Today, these are commonplace items.

    But at the time, these were life-changing innovations that made the world a better place.

    And tomorrow, another great innovation will be unveiled at the Aberdeen… the world-class Alstom Citadis Spirit train.

    Ottawa residents have heard about this LRT project for more than a decade.

    Only recently, they began to see progress at construction sites in several locations in the city.

    Tomorrow, it becomes truly tangible.

    You will be able to not only SEE the train, but FEEL the train.

    You will be able to sit inside, look out the windows, and get your first experience of the Confederation Line.

    This will be a turning point for LRT in Ottawa, as thousands of people visit the train over the coming weeks.

    Residents and visitors will be able to visit the LRT showcase starting Friday, and it will be open every day from 8 am to 8 pm.

    And I’m so excited that we will be able to share this experience with the public.

    Our vision for light rail has much to do with momentum.

    When we inaugurate the Confederation Line in 2018, we want to turn around and pick up the shovel to break ground on the Stage 2 LRT project.

    As we continue with the Environmental Assessments for the project this year, we will continue to improve our plan to extend LRT farther east, west and south.

    Working with our Transportation Chair, Councillor Egli, we are moving forward with this city-transforming project.

    Ottawa deserves a world-class transportation system like this one, and I would argue that it is long overdue.

    Think about it for a moment.

    When you look at the world’s OTHER G7 capital cities…

    Paris, Berlin, Rome, Toyko, London, and Washington…

    Ottawa has the distinction of being the only one that has yet to build a significant rapid rail system for its commuters and visitors.

    Even domestically, Ottawa is still catching up.

    Over the last 10 years we have spent debating and refining the Confederation Line, Calgary and Vancouver opened a combined 42 kilometres of new rapid transit lines.

    Now, Ottawa has momentum.

    And together, we are delivering better transportation for the capital city of the greatest country in the world.

    My friends…

    When you look at what’s to come over the next 12 months, you get the sense that Ottawa is on the cusp of something special.

    There has never been a more exciting time to be in the nation’s capital.

    Together, we are building new institutions that will shape and define our city for generations to come.

    This year, construction will move forward on two major facilities: the new Arts Court and Bayview Innovation Centre.

    Located in the wards of Councillors Fleury and Leiper, these will be truly regional facilities that will be enjoyed by residents across the city.

    With these, we will support and celebrate our city’s most talented creators.

    They will be unique community gathering places where we can nurture Ottawa innovation.

    On the canvass or on the drawing board… in the theatre or in the marketplace…

    Our artists and entrepreneurs tell the story of Ottawa we all know and love.

    A city that is dynamic, progressive and capable of great things.

    We need to create places that are worthy of our city’s talent, ambition and potential.

    In 2015, we will embark on a new project that will do many of the same things: A new central library.

    With the right plan and the right partnership, I believe we can deliver a truly world-class facility for the nation’s capital.

    This will be a complex project that we want to do right.

    As a first step, Councillor Tim Tierney and I, along with the library board, will host a public engagement meeting in March of this year.

    We will bring together the community, as a first step, to begin this important conversation.

    What features does it need?

    What opportunities can it bring?

    How can it build on our strengths?

    This will be one of several community engagement opportunities as we take these steps forward as a city.

    I want this process to represent everything our new library should be: Open, collaborative and dynamic.

    I’m pleased to also announce today that we will make the Mayor’s Rural Expo a permanent event.

    Working with Councillor Moffatt, Chair of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee, we will work to make this the best year yet.

    We launched this event two years ago, which seeks to bridge the rural-urban divide by showcasing the outstanding people and products of our rural areas.

    And we do so in conjunction with Food Aid Day, in support of the Ottawa Food Bank.

    City Hall will also host a Tourism Summit in 2015.

    The purpose of this summit will be to develop long-term growth strategies for our city’s third-largest industry.

    We know 2017 will be a banner year.

    But how do we avoid the “2017 hangover” in 2018 and beyond?

    As the private sector builds more hotels… and our event organizers host larger events… how do we ensure our tourism industry can continue to attract large numbers?

    In 2015, we’ll also continue to roll out our Ottawa 2017 brand across the city in order to build local momentum.

    Under the leadership of our new 2017 Co-Chairs, Councillors Fleury and Cloutier, we will continue to raise awareness and excitement among our residents and visitors.

    Ottawa 2017 has established a strong presence at the Ottawa Train Station in recent months, and you will see similar signage go up at the airport, city streets and local businesses.

    This will also include an exciting expansion of our 417 underpass mural program.

    This year, we’re seeking MTO approval to create murals at two new locations under the 417:

    At Bank Street between Councillor McKenney and Councillor Chernushenko’s wards…

    And at Carling, west of Kirkwood, between Councillor Leiper and Councillor Brockington’s wards.

    As we saw from the first set of murals this past year, this program provides us with an easy way to brighten up our neighbourhoods.

    We’ll build momentum towards building a more liveable city this year as well.

    We will open a pedestrian and cycling bridge over the 417 near Coventry Road in just a few weeks.

    This will connect Councillor Cloutier’s ward with Councillor Nussbaum’s ward.

    Councillor Fleury will be happy to see construction continue on a much-needed bridge over the Rideau River to connect Somerset and Donald Streets.

    It will open next year, providing an important east-west connection to existing active transportation infrastructure.

    These two bridges I’ve mentioned will close gaps in our transportation network.

    They’re also how we’ll make walking and cycling safer, more convenient options.

    Families in West Carleton will see the Constance and Buckham’s Bay Community Centre expansion open later this year.

    Councillor El-Chantiry and the community have worked hard on this project, which will see new library space, a multi-use room and a fitness room added.

    We make community improvements like these… we will make environmental investments as well.

    The City of Ottawa is proud to partner with Ecology Ottawa on its “Tree Ottawa” project over the coming years.

    Together with the community, we will plant 1 million trees in time for 2017.

    I think this will be a wonderful way for our community to work together… and pass along the gift of cleaner air and better tree cover to the next generation.

    Whether it is on the environment or other on issues, we can do more when we work together.

    A great example of this has been the strong collaboration we are seeing on addressing guns and gangs in our city.

    The Ottawa Police Service has been working with Crime Prevention Ottawa and other community groups to take action.

    I’d also like to thank Councillors Chiarelli and Taylor for bringing together residents in their wards to speak openly and honestly about the challenges we face as a city.

    We all have a role to play, and the City will continue to show leadership on this file in the months ahead.

    Also in 2015, I look forward to continuing our strong relationship with the City of Gatineau.

    I have been working more closely with the Mayor of Gatineau, Maxime Pedneau-Jobin, than ever before.

    We attended each other’s inauguration ceremonies and together placed a wreath at the War Memorial this past Remembrance Day.

    In 2015, we’ll continue to collaborate on issues of mutual interest including transportation and transit between and within our two great cities.

    I will be meeting with Mayor Pedneau-Jobin again in Gatineau in the first half of 2015 to continue strengthening our partnership.

    2015 will be a big year for baseball and other sports.

    Our CanAm baseball team will take the field at the Ottawa Baseball Stadium, thanks to the support of Members of Council such as Councillor Monette.

    We look forward to cheering on our Ottawa Champions during the warmer weather in May.

    The Miracle League of Ottawa’s fully accessible baseball field will also be completed this year in the ward of Councillor Mitic, our Sports Commissioner.

    We’re very proud that Canada’s second fully accessible baseball facility will open for children and young adults with special needs.

    Of course, Ottawa will host the Canadian Little League Championships this summer in Councillor Harder’s ward.

    This will be yet another event to showcase our city to families from across the country.

    On an even larger scale, we can’t forget the FIFA Women’s World Cup coming to Lansdowne in June.

    This will give Ottawa a priceless international audience, as we host some of the best soccer players in the world.

    This exposure is so important for our city’s reputation and the long-term growth of our economy.

    We remain optimistic in on our outlook for economic growth for the coming year.

    In December, the region’s unemployment rate was 6.1 percent, still below the national rate of 6.6 percent.

    But we are reminded by the departure of retailers such as Target that no city is immune to bumps along the road.

    We must also remember that our population is growing faster than the national average, and with it comes the added pressure of ensuring there are good jobs and a high quality of life.

    I believe we are on the right track.

    Invest Ottawa is continuing to do great work as it approaches its third anniversary.

    Our entrepreneurs and startups are being given the support they need to prosper and grow.

    Our Economic Development and Innovation department will renew its strategy in 2015.

    It will begin to introduce new tools and programs, to ensure City Hall can be a true partner with the private sector in its mission to create jobs and grow our economy.

    To reflect on two briefly…

    We will soon create a way for local businesses to pilot their technologies or products in municipal operations.

    This program was inspired from an inquiry raised by Councillor Hubley during the last term of Council and I think it is a great one.

    Soon our Economic Development department will act as the point of contact for any local startup business that wishes to pilot new technologies.

    From there, they will choose a select number of innovations annually.

    If we can help a business refine a technology before it moves into mass production, by acting as a test case, I think we should carefully consider it.

    The benefit to the City can include reduced costs and an innovative way of delivering services.

    The benefit to our local entrepreneurs could include the ability to test and refine a technology before it goes to market.

    I think this will be a win-win.

    A second new economic initiative will have to do with taking a serious approach to attracting and retaining talent.

    In 2015, we will begin to do this by developing a strategy and talent attraction toolkit

    This will allow us to market our city more clearly as a great place to live and do business.

    We need to remember that we’re competing against other cities for the best and the brightest.

    Why should a family choose to come to Ottawa instead of Toronto, Montreal or Calgary?

    How do we appeal to the interests of the most highly coveted, highly educated worker, as well as their spouse and children?

    Ottawa is very good at tourism marketing – the kind of messaging that will attract someone for a long weekend.

    But THIS kind of message will be focused on attracting people for a lifetime.

    Ottawa has a great story to tell, but I think we need to do a better job of telling that story.

    I want to close my remarks by sharing two significant civic projects coming up in 2015.

    The first has to do with the terrible bus-train crash of 2013.

    In partnership with Councillor Harder, we will begin the process of creating an appropriate memorial for the six neighbours we lost on that fateful September day.

    We will approach this project carefully and respectfully, as we understand that emotions are still very raw.

    The second civic recognition has to do with Daniel Alfredsson, former Captain of our Ottawa Senators.

    As you know, Daniel retired last month after 18 years in the NHL.

    On the ice, he was our captain.

    In the community, he was a leader.

    From the Ottawa Senators Foundations, to the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, he devoted his time and his energy to making our city a better place.

    He embraced Ottawa the same way that we embraced him.

    And for that…

    Today, I’m pleased to announce that Daniel has accepted my offer to receive the Key to the City in a ceremony in March.

    This is our city’s highest civic honour, and one that he has earned for everything he has done for Ottawa.

    Colleagues…

    2015 will bring us challenges and projects both big and small…

    The effects of which will define our city for generations to come.

    I look forward to collaborating closely with you on these important steps over the year to come.

    And together, we will build momentum towards a more livable, caring, vibrant and prosperous city.

    Thank you.

  • West Ottawa Board of Trade – Mayor's Breakfast 2015

    Thank you very much, Rosemary / Greg.

    My thanks to the West Ottawa Board of Trade, your Chair, Greg Weatherdon, and your Executive Director, Rosemary Leu, for inviting me to join you this morning.

    It is wonderful to see many familiar faces here today.

    First off, I would like to extend my best wishes for the New Year to all of you and your families.

    I hope the holidays provided opportunities to spend time with friends and family, and re-energize for the year ahead.

    I also wanted to extend my congratulations on your newly amalgamated Board of Trade.

    Bringing together the old West Ottawa Board of Trade and the Greater Nepean Chamber of Commerce will be a great help to businesses that serve the Nepean, Kanata, Goulbourn and West Carleton communities.

    Business organizations like the West Ottawa Board of Trade are tremendously important to our city.

    Right now, our city is looking to diversify our economy, and part of this is lending support to our local businesses and entrepreneurs to ensure their success.

    We know that local business and entrepreneurs are critical to our economy.

    And we want them to succeed.

    As the West Ottawa Board of Trade heads into a new year and a new era for your organization, I encourage you to continue to keep up the great work, and strive to continue to build on this success.

    Speaking of success, 2014 was a busy, yet successful year for the City of Ottawa.

    I was proud to have been re-elected as Mayor of Ottawa, to lead a Council that is a good mix of veteran and new members and who I am looking forward to working with over the next four years.

    One of our first tasks as the new City Council will be the 2015 Budget.

    As was the case over the last four years, we are aiming to continue to bring stability and predictability to the City’s finances.

    I kept my promise not to raise taxes above 2.5 per cent per year over the past four years.

    In fact in 2014 we brought in the lowest tax rate in 7 years.

    And I intend to keep my promise not to raise them above 2.0 per cent per year for the coming four years.

    Some have said these, or any, increases are too much and that a tax freeze or a tax rate cut are better.

    This is easy to say…but not very realistic in practice.

    You would need to cut services or put off key projects for years or even decades.

    Look at the major projects completed or underway in the City:

    – LRT Confederation Line and the expansion of the O-Train

    – Major infrastructure renewal through Ottawa on the Move

    – New fire stations in Stitsville and Barrhaven

    – New recreation facilities like the Minto Recreation Centre – Barrhaven, or the Richcraft Recreation Complex here in Kanata, or a second ice surface at the Goulbourn Recreation Centre.

    With frozen or cut taxes would come choosing which of these not to pursue.

    And while slashed taxes sound good in principle, you can’t ignore the fact that we’re a growing city, with growing needs.

    We are a big city and it is critical that we make the necessary investments in our city’s future while providing services in the present.

    Services like police, fire, paramedics, libraries, parks and many more every day.

    All of these things cost money.

    While you can’t have everything you want, you have to find the right balance.

    And I think we have done a good job at finding this balance.

    We are committed to a reasonable tax rate increase of no more than two per cent per year.

    This will keep us fiscally disciplined, while allowing for the necessary investments in our City’s future.

    The 2015 draft operating and capital budgets will be tabled at a special meeting of City Council on February 4.

    There is plenty of opportunity for residents to participate in the budget process.

    We have launched an online pre-budget public consultation – residents can provide their input by sending an email to budget-2015-at-ottawa-dot-c-a.

    You can also send us your opinions through Twitter by using the hashtag #ottbudget.

    If you would rather give us your input in person, four regional public consultations will take place, with the two of most interest to you here today being:

    – South – Wednesday, February 11, 7 to 9 p.m., Nepean Sportsplex, Hall A, 1701 Woodroffe Avenue, Nepean

    – West – February 10, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Holy Trinity Catholic High School in Kanata

    In addition, all Standing Committees of Council, along with the Transit Commission, the Police Services Board, the Library Board, and the Board of Public Health will hold meetings to consider the 2015 draft budget for their respective areas and to listen to public delegations on the budget.

    So, I encourage you to get involved with the budget process, as we work towards Council’s consideration of the final budget recommendations at its meeting on March 11.

    Another thing that I am excited to talk to you about today is the excellent work that is coming out of Invest Ottawa.

    The strides Invest Ottawa has made in three short years are incredible.

    The organization has become such a critical part of our business community that during the recent election campaign I committed to increase funding to the organization by $370,000 each year.

    This increased funding will help Invest Ottawa bring even more significant economic benefits to our city.

    I’m pleased that we have a Kanata businessperson, David Ritonja from Alcaltel as the Chair of the Board.

    Just last week, myself, along with some of my Council colleagues, had the opportunity to visit the Invest Ottawa offices to get a first-hand look at some of the initiatives they’re currently working on.

    While there, we heard about some of Invest Ottawa’s highlights over the past three years:

    – More than 2,250 jobs facilitated

    – More than $213 million in investments attracted by start-up portfolio

    – More than $200 million in investments attracted to Ottawa (including foreign direct investment)

    – Helped more than 260 companies grow globally

    – Welcomed more than 50 visiting foreign delegations to Ottawa.

    The key point is that we at the City need to do everything we can to diversify and strengthen our local economy.

    We will always have a strong public service presence from three levels of government, but the effect of Federal job cuts are very real and it’s up to us to take the initiative to pick up the slack.

    One of the reasons I enjoy speaking to groups like yours is for this very reason.

    Local business is vitally important to our communities and our city as a whole.

    We want – and need – our local businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed.

    And we want the City to be seen as rolling out the red carpet, and not the red tape.

    The success of Invest Ottawa makes me hopeful that we are on our way to achieving this goal.

    Together, we are creating new jobs.

    We are attracting investments.

    We are supporting local business, through mentorship, workshops and partnerships.

    It feels like every week I’m being invited to the opening of a new business, and, very often, these groups have been helped by Invest Ottawa.

    A great example of this is Rumidifier.

    Jeri Rodrigs, from Kanata, had an idea for an eco-friendly humidifier.

    He took that idea to Invest Ottawa who helped him turn it into a business plan.

    And now he manufactures the Rumidifier in Stitsville.

    It has become a great retail success.

    It’s a great “made in Ottawa” story.

    The Rumidifier is now sold at Home Hardware, Costco, and Home Depot among others, and its sales continue to grow.

    When I see products like this and visit these great local businesses, I’m proud of our local economy and reminded that our city possesses the most innovative and talented individuals in the country.

    One of the most exciting projects – and one that involves Invest Ottawa –– is the creation of the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards.

    The Centre will be a hub for innovation, collaboration and creativity, helping to support and nurture local start-ups so that they grow and succeed.

    The Centre will also help us create jobs, as well as attract more investment, including foreign investment, to our city.

    The City is appreciative of the funding that the Province of Ontario has committed to this project, as well the support demonstrated by the local business community;

    This includes members of the Centre’s Board of Directors and the Chair, Steve West, President of Nordion from right here in Kanata.

    I look forward to seeing this initiative move forward this year.

    As we continue to grow our economy, we need to ensure that our city and its infrastructure can handle this growth.

    That’s why we have invested a record amount of money in our infrastructure through the Ottawa on the Move project.

    I’m sure here in the city’s west-end, you have seen the evidence of Ottawa on the Move.

    Through this program, we have invested $340 million in road, sidewalk, cycling, sewer and watermain infrastructure.

    This investment has resulted in a lot of construction, which, I understand, can be frustrating at times.

    However, this is the definition of short-term pain for long-term gain.

    We’ve made improvements to:

    – Carling Avenue,

    – Baseline Road,

    – Woodroffe Avenue

    – Richmond Road.

    We’ve renewed roads like:

    – Huntmar Drive

    – Bayshore Drive

    – Eagleson Road

    And we’ve completed a significant number of sidewalk, bridge, cycling and watermain improvements.

    These efforts will help bring our infrastructure and entire transportation system up to the level needed before the opening of the Confederation Line.

    We are making great progress on the Confederation Line – a project that will transform the way people move around our city.

    This is important to our city in so many ways – from an economic standpoint…from a congestion standpoint…from a tourism standpoint.

    I mention tourism here because Ottawa is currently preparing to host one of the most significant events it has ever seen – the 150th anniversary of Canada’s Confederation.

    Our Ottawa 2017 Task Force continues to build momentum, ensuring Ottawa will be THE place to be to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday.

    We expect a 20 per cent increase in tourism in 2017.

    An additional 1.7 million guests will be a huge boost for the hospitality and retail sectors.

    However, Ottawa is much bigger than Parliament Hill, and our vision extends far beyond the downtown core.

    We are planning events for the whole city over the course of the entire year, from large international events to local community-driven celebrations and legacy initiatives that will bring enduring benefit to our communities.

    Our most recent announcement encapsulates all of these.

    I announced in November that Ottawa will host the 2017 Canadian Videogame Awards.

    In addition to the awards gala, which will take place at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum, we are planning a videogame competition that will provide an immersive and interactive experience for residents across the city.

    Semi-final and final games will even be broadcast onto the exterior walls of several large buildings across the city.

    I think this is a novel concept that will really appeal to our younger residents.

    This 5-7 day event will bring in more than

    $1 million for the local economy.

    However, it will do much more than that.

    It will show Canadian families that Ottawa is dynamic and youth friendly, and it will showcase Ottawa as a centre of excellence for software development.

    You will hear more announcements like this in the year ahead.

    So, stayed tuned…

    We have consulted with hundreds of organizations and community leaders about the types of activities that will make 2017 the event of a generation.

    We are currently engaged with our federal and provincial partners and the private sector to secure funding and finalizing details on several big announcements.

    As these roll out, I think many residents will opt to take stay-cations in 2017.

    There will just be so much to see and do right here at home.

    With only 23 months to go, now is the time that you should be actively planning how you will leverage 2017 to grow your business and build your community.

    And if your industry has an event that we could bring to Ottawa, let us know.

    Just email ottawa2017@ ottawa-dot-c-a.

    Together, we will invite the world to experience Ottawa like never before and celebrate Canada’s 150th like nowhere else.

    And we will deliver a celebration that brings lasting benefit to our city.

    So, there’s no question that it is an exciting time to live in Ottawa.

    We have a lot to look forward to both this year and in the coming years – the Confederation Line, 2017 celebrations, the Innovation Centre the FIFA Women’s World Cup and increased support for our local businesses and entrepreneurs.

    We are also a growing city, as those of you here in the west end know well.

    With this growth comes the need to provide good, reliable services across the entire city, and, as Mayor, along with my Council colleagues, we are honoured to serve this great community in this exciting time.

    Residents were clear in the election that they want a Council that works well together to find creative solutions to our city’s challenges.

    We have done a good job of this over the past four years, and will continue to do so going forward.

    Let me conclude by thanking you – the men and women of Ottawa’s west end business communities – for the long hours and risk you take each and every day to keep your businesses going, and for employing the hundreds of citizens you do.

    I wish you all the very best in 2015, and I’m happy to answer any questions you may have.

    Thank you.

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Patricia Tait

    Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Eli El-Chantiry presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Patricia Tait today in recognition of her 20 years of community activism in West Carleton, notably her volunteer work with Ottawa Riverkeeper.

    Mrs. Tait has been an active volunteer for over 20 years helping to maintain the Morris Island Conservation Area, and has been monitoring the health of the Ottawa River near Chat Falls Dam for 10 years as one of 50 River Watchers for Ottawa Riverkeeper. She took a lead role in the work to find an ecologically friendly solution for shuttling boats around the Chat Falls Dam. The boat bypass, at Mohr’s Landing next to the Quyon ferry dock, opened in July 2006. In 2009, she received the Daniel Brunton Outstanding Volunteer Award from Ottawa Riverkeeper.

    She is a community leader who helps residents on both sides of the Ottawa River to understand why protecting the river is important, and what they can do to help. She is often seen at community events in West Carleton–March wearing her Riverkeeper t-shirt, spreading her knowledge and passion for clean, healthy and sustainable waterways – always with a friendly smile.

    She’s also an enthusiastic volunteer with the West Carleton Food Bank food drive, the Arnprior and District Food Bank and the Friends of the Carp River.

    patriciataitcb

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