• Mayor’s City Builder Award – Bill Robinson

    Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Marianne Wilkinson presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Bill Robinson today, recognising his devotion to improving the lives of at-risk children and youth, and new Canadians, over the past 30 years.

    Mr. Robinson’s countless hours of volunteer work with the Michelle Heights Community House, the Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre, the Dave Smith Treatment Facility, Volunteer Ottawa, Rotary District 7040 and the Rotary Club of Nepean-Kanata have made a difference in the lives of new immigrants and the most vulnerable young people in our community.

    His focus in much of his volunteer work has been on promoting success in school and helping to provide the building blocks to secure job experience and build successful careers.

    As a Rotarian, he has worked on many community-service initiatives that have had a direct positive impact on Ottawa residents. He is currently a board member of the Ottawa Rotary Home, a respite care home for children and adults with complex disabilities. For the Caring and Sharing Exchange, he organizes the delivery of more than 300 Christmas hampers every December.


  • Downtown truck tunnel study by Ontario and City starts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • New signs announce Ottawa’s cycling and pedestrian-friendly status

    Ottawa – Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Peter Hume, Chair of the City’s Planning Committee, today unveiled new signs to promote Ottawa’s award-winning status as a cycling and pedestrian-friendly city.

    “We are proud of the work we have done to achieve award-winning status as a cycling and pedestrian-friendly city,” said Mayor Watson. “These new signs, posted underneath existing ‘Welcome to Ottawa’ (population) signs, will help inform visitors of our accomplishments as we welcome them to our city.”

    In 2013 the City of Ottawa received a silver-level designation as a walk-friendly city by WALK Friendly Ontario, the highest level ever awarded by this organization. Also in 2013, Ottawa became the first city in the province to receive the gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community Award by Share the Road Cycling Coalition.

    “The City continues to improve our infrastructure by incorporating comprehensive complete streets principles into the way we design and upgrade roadways and pathways,” said Chair Hume.”We are committed to continually improving mobility and safety for all travelers through best practices in design and engineering.”

    More than $28 million has been invested in cycling facilities in this term of Council, which has enabled several significant new cycling facilities and enhancements in all parts of the City, including the O-Train Pathway, rural Pathways, and the Laurier Segregated Bicycle Lanes. Additional projects are being implemented, including completion of the 12-kilometre East-West Bikeway, and cycle tracks on both Churchill Avenue and Main Street.

    The total investment into expansion of the cycling network included in the City’s Cycling Plan, approved by Council in November 2013, is estimated at $70 million over 18 years, with another $40 million provided for major cycling pedestrian structures.

    “When it comes to mobility and safety, Ottawa ranks high in engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement, evaluation and planning for cycling,” said Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of the City’s Transportation Committee. “The City boasts hundreds of kilometres of bike lanes, paved shoulders and multi-use pathways, with new infrastructure being added all the time.”

    Today, Ottawa can boast of a growing network of cycling infrastructure and multi-use pathways that covers 700 kilometres around the city, with over 10,000 bike parking spaces, more than 1,500 ring-and-post racks, making it more convenient and comfortable to take all the events and attractions our great City has to offer by foot or by bike.

    In addition, City council in 2013 approved the new Ottawa Pedestrian Plan that provides detailed direction on how the City can become more pedestrian-friendly through affordable expansion of the pedestrian network, planning safety awareness and promotion, maintenance and co-operation with other governments.

  • New Rideau River crossing to connect Overbrook and Sandy Hill

    Ottawa – Ottawa’s reputation as a walking- and cycling-friendly city got another boost today with the start of construction on a new pedestrian and cycling bridge. Spanning the Rideau River, the new link will connect Donald Street in the east with Strathcona Park and Somerset Street in the west. Mayor Jim Watson was joined by Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of City Council’s Transportation Committee, as well as Councillors Mathieu Fleury and Peter Clark to break ground on the project.

    “Every resident in every corner of the city is starting to see the results of Ottawa on the Move,” said Mayor Watson. “This bridge will connect neighbourhoods, enrich communities on both sides of the Rideau River and provide more options for residents and their families to move about in our growing city.”

    The bridge will connect the neighbourhoods of Overbrook and Vanier with Sandy Hill and the University of Ottawa. The bridge will cut down commuting time for cyclists and pedestrians, creating better access to existing multi-use paths and the nearby services and businesses in adjoining neighbourhoods.

    “When this bridge is completed in the summer of 2016, it will establish stronger ties between communities and a safer connection to the University of Ottawa and the downtown core,” said Chair Egli. “It will also serve to unite existing parks along Rideau River’s eastern and western shores, giving families easy access to greater green space in the heart of the city.”

    For cyclists, this bridge will establish a more comfortable and convenient link to downtown pathways along the Rideau Canal and the Western Parkway as well as the East-West Bikeway. It will also provide a considerably easier route for westbound cyclists who currently contend with a challenging uphill ride across the busy Cummings Bridge on Montreal Road.

    With a budget of $9.2 million, the Somerset-Donald Street Bridge is an Ottawa on the Move project. Ottawa on the Move is about keeping our community and economy moving forward through strategic investments in a number of transportation, water, and sewer projects to build a better city and create jobs.

  • Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge opens, significantly improving connectivity for Riverside South and Barrhaven residents

    Ottawa – Today, the Harper Government, the Province of Ontario and the City of Ottawa celebrated the opening of the new Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge. This new bridge, which spans the Rideau River between River Road and Prince of Wales Drive, provides new transit, traffic, cycling and pedestrian connections between the Riverside South and Barrhaven communities.

    This 143 metre long bridge carries four general purpose lanes, two auxiliary turning lanes, two dedicated transit lanes, two on-road cycling lanes and sidewalks in each direction. The dedicated transit lanes will provide efficient OC Transpo services as an alternative to the private automobile while on-road cycling lanes and sidewalks will promote active transportation measures.

    The bridge will also contribute to public safety by enhancing emergency response capabilities to both Riverside South and Barrhaven communities.

    “The Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge has been my top priority for constituents in Barrhaven, Manotick, and Riverside South,” said the Honourable Pierre Poilievre, P.C., M.P. Nepean-Carleton. “That is why I helped obtain one-third of the funding needed from the federal government. I am very pleased to celebrate the completion of this long awaited and much needed infrastructure project for the tens of thousands of residents who will benefit from it. Through this project, and others like it, the Harper Government is creating new jobs and stimulating the local economy.”

    John Fraser, MPP for Ottawa South, noted that, “Infrastructure is not about bricks and mortar. It’s about people. We remain committed to improving quality of life and creating new opportunities for prosperity through sustainable long-term investments in infrastructure.”
    “This new bridge will help reduce commute times, facilitate new transit connections and provide a beautiful new piece of architecture for the nation’s capital,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “This is another great example of what can be accomplished when the federal, provincial and municipal governments work together to deliver transportation infrastructure.”
    The total cost of the Strandherd-Armstrong Bridge Project was $50 million. The Federal and Provincial governments are each funding a third of the project’s eligible costs, to a maximum of $16 million each, under the Building Canada Fund. The City of Ottawa is contributing the remaining funding.

  • City of Ottawa maintains Triple-A credit rating for second time in four months

    Ottawa – The City of Ottawa has maintained its “Aaa Stable” credit rating after a recent review by Moody’s Investors Service. Moody’s had last affirmed the City’s Triple-A credit rating in April 2014, at which time it rated Ottawa’s financial outlook at the higher end of Canadian municipalities, with a lower-than-average debt burden.

    “This is a reflection of sound financial stewardship by this Council and City staff, and the prudent and respectful use of public money,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “We have brought our financial house in order by striking the right balance: keeping taxes and user fees low while continuing to invest in programs and projects that enhance quality of life.”

    In Moody’s April report on the City of Ottawa’s financial outlook, it recognized the City’s strong financial governance, such as “prudent and forward-looking policies and multi-year capital plans” and “conservative debt and investment policies, which limits the city’s exposure to market-related risks.”

    Earlier this month, when Moody’s revised the Province of Ontario’s outlook from “Aa2 Stable” to “Aa2 Negative,” it announced that it would review the credit ratings for certain related organizations in Ontario, including the City of Ottawa.

    Given the very close macroeconomic and financial linkages between the Province and lower-tier governments, Moody’s rating methodology combines an assessment of the credit strength of related organizations, such as cities and universities, with an assessment of the credit strength of the “sovereign” government, in this case Ontario. Moody’s also assesses the degree to which the local government is dependent on assistance from the senior government.

    While Moody’s changed the rating outlooks from stable to negative for five related issuers, it affirmed the ratings and stable outlooks for 14 related issuers, including the City of Ottawa.

    Moody’s says that the creditworthiness of these municipalities, including high dependence on self-generated revenue, strong reserve levels and a track record of managing operating pressures, provides these municipalities with the ability to withstand a potential downgrade of the Province.

    The rating agency noted that several municipalities, including Ottawa, are rated at or above the rating for the Province and that the pressures currently facing the province, notably weak revenue growth and inability to achieve planned expenditure growth restraint, are not expected to negatively impact these municipalities.

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Catherine Burns

    July 9, 2014 – Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Katherine Hobbs presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Catherine Burns today for her outstanding contribution to culture in Ottawa through her work as a founder and builder of the traditional-song and contra dance community over the past 25 years.

    As a founder and tireless volunteer with the Old Sod Society and Ottawa Contra Dance, Catherine has been instrumental in building a vibrant community of musicians, singers, callers and dancers who enjoy affordable dances, concerts and workshops year-round.

    Aided by other volunteers, she runs approximately 50 community song-and-dance events a year for the Old Sod Society. She has recently founded a family dance series for parents and children, as well as a monthly community dance series, and provides training for volunteer local callers through the Ottawa Callers’ Collective.

    She has been a volunteer caller for contra dances at Winterlude, the Ottawa Folk Festival, the Grassroots Festival and Westfest, among other community events. She has recently expanded her calling to dances she has designed for local adults with disabilities.

    Contra dance refers to several partnered folk dances and has its origins in English, French and Irish country dance styles of the 17th century. The dance is designed and led by a caller. The music for contra dances includes Irish, Scottish and French-Canadian folk songs. The fiddle is the key instrument, but guitar, mandolin and other acoustic instruments are also used.


  • Downtown Moves wins recognition with four awards Primary tabs

    Ottawa – Downtown Moves, the plan for how people will move around Ottawa’s downtown core in the future, has won four awards from national, international and regional planning associations.

    “We are building a better city, creating practical transportation links and enhancing the public spaces for our residents and their families, block by block,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “I congratulate the Transportation Committee and Planning and Growth Management staff for their work on this successful project.”

    “We are building an integrated transportation system downtown with strong pedestrian links, good vehicular access, much better cycling facilities and greatly improved street landscapes. Downtown Moves delivered the plan to make this happen and we are implementing it,” said Councillor Keith Egli, Chair of Transportation Committee. “The impact of this plan is City-wide too as the demonstration street designs developed for Downtown Moves were used to help shape the City’s approach to “complete streets” planning for today and the future.”

    The four awards received by Downtown Moves are:

     – The Canadian Institute of Planners 2014 Award for Planning Excellence in sustainable mobility, transportation and infrastructure.

     – The 2014 National Citation Award from the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects.

     – The Award of Merit for Visions and Master Plans from the 2013 Ottawa Urban Design Awards.

     – The 2013 Merit Award in the International Downtown Association Achievement Awards.

    Downtown Moves was implemented by the Transportation Planning Branch of the Department of Planning and Growth Management. The plan demonstrates how streets can be effectively redesigned and rebuilt once 47,000 commuters are arriving downtown each morning via the Confederation Line light rail in 2018, rather than on the heavy surface bus traffic of today.

    The plan is available at ottawa.ca.

    The first major initiative to come out of the plan is the Queen Street Renewal Project where construction is scheduled to begin this summer.

  • Mayor’s City Builder Award – Mrs. Laura Dubois

    Mayor Jim Watson and Councillor Allan Hubley presented the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Mrs. Laura Dubois today for her outstanding contributions to the Kanata community through her support of dozens of schools, charities and other community organizations.

    Laura is the owner of Laura’s Your Independent Grocer at Hazeldean Mall. She began her grocery career at 15 as a cashier. She worked her way up to service manager, to assistant manager, to manager, then bought her own Your Independent Grocer franchise over seven years ago. She and her husband sold their Orléans home and moved with their daughter, son and four cats to Bridlewood.

    Owning a neighborhood grocery store has given her a great way to support her community. She volunteers her time and donates food to many causes including local schools, The Kanata Food Cupboard, the Scott Tokessy Memorial Ball Tournament, the Shepherds of Good Hope, the City’s annual Christmas food drive, and countless local events and fundraisers.

    She donates food, prizes, funds and space inside the store for various organizations to run fundraisers that support the Kanata community.

    She serves on the John Young School Council and will be donating the food for a new breakfast program for children in need at the school.

    She also offers a free shopping service to local seniors and others whose special needs make it difficult for them to get out and shop for groceries.


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