'I would never blind-side my colleagues on anything': Councillors bitter over plan to hike stormwater fee

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Jon Willing, Ottawa Citizen

Projected increases to the newly structured stormwater fee have some rural politicians livid, with one councillor fearing the city duped residents into settling for the so-called rain tax.

Rideau-Goulbourn Coun. Scott Moffatt, who heads council’s rural affairs committee, couldn’t mask his frustration during an environment committee meeting on Tuesday as staff presented their proposed 10-year financial plan for water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure.

The plan calls for annual increases to the stormwater fee between 10 per cent and 13 per cent through 2027.

The city went through a painful process last year to convince residents who aren’t on municipal water and sewer services that they need to pay a stormwater fee, since only those who received water and sewer bills were actually paying for the city’s stormwater infrastructure program.

Moffatt recoiled at the latest staff plan to hike the stormwater fee by substantial rates starting in 2018.

“It presents as though the stormwater fee will be increased significantly over the next 10 years and I feel that’s not what we said last year,” Moffatt said after the environment committee meeting.

It’s “disingenuous” that the city sold a new stormwater fee to residents in 2016 and then came back in 2017 with a report that recommends expanding the stormwater budget, Moffatt said.

Moffatt seemed equally disheartened that no one at city hall apparently gave him a heads up about the proposed increases, especially since he worked hard during the consultations on the highly controversial stormwater fee and rate review in 2016.

“Why would you leave someone out? I would never do that to my colleagues,” Moffatt said. “I would never blind-side my colleagues on anything.”

Capital Coun. David Chernushenko, the chair of the environment committee, said residents and councillors would have known that future financial plans would impact the stormwater fee.

“I don’t believe residents were at all hoodwinked, misled, lied to. No shell games here,” Chernushenko said. “I know our staff made it very clear, and I made a point of insisting that we make it clear, that what we were talking about during the rate review was how we allocate who pays what portion.”

The amount the city needs to pay for stormwater services is something that would be considered on an annual basis through budgets and a long-range financial plan, Chernushenko said.

Council casts vote in favour of longer parking hours

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Chernushenko raises concerns about how bylaw overhaul will impact Lansdowne

Jennifer McIntosh, Ottawa Community News

If you can park for six hours in Old Ottawa South, customers may not pay for spots around Lansdowne, said Capital Coun. David Chernushenko during a vote to ratify changes to the city’s parking bylaw.

Council approved the slate of changes, which most notably include moving to six hour parking on unsigned streets during the weekend and statutory holidays, on Sept. 13.

“The plans for Lansdowne never envisioned streets in Old Ottawa South where you can park for six hours,” he said. “The parking lots in the area are already underwhelmed.”

Chernushenko, who voted in favour of the changes, said he will likely work with residents to institute parking restrictions on some streets.

Enforcing 6-hour parking limit won't be easy, committee told

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Transportation committee OK's move to 6-hour limit on weekends, holidays

By Laura Osman, CBC News

The city manager in charge of parking enforcement has warned councillors on Ottawa's transportation committee that his department will have a hard time enforcing a proposed change to the length of time vehicles can occupy unmarked spots on weekends and holidays.

Currently, Ottawa's parking bylaw limits parking on most residential streets to three hours between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., seven days a week.

The city's transportation committee voted Wednesday to extend that limit, commonly known as the "three-hour rule," on weekends and holidays to six hours.

The idea behind the change, according to Troy Leeson, manager of parking enforcement for the city, is to prevent bylaw officers from ruining birthday parties and other get-togethers in residential neighbourhoods by leaving tickets on guests' cars.

However Leeson said the extension will make it difficult to penalize offenders who stay parked beyond the new six-hour limit, because bylaw officers' shifts are only seven-and-a-half hours long.

That will make it hard for officers to both chalk tires and issue tickets during their shifts on weekends and holidays, Leeson told the committee.

"It won't be without challenge," Leeson said.

Join David Chernushenko for his final Capital Ride

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MEDIA INVITATION

Friday, September 15

Over the past few months, Councillor David Chernushenko has been beavering away at his Canada/Ottawa 150 project to tackle all 15 Capital Rides, a set of cycling routes exploring every corner of our vast city.

On Friday, September 15, he will complete his quest with the “Out a Way 100K” route west of Kanata, and is inviting members of the media to join him for the whole ride, part of the ride, or to meet him at the start or finish.

He will depart from the Richcraft Recreation Complex in Kanata (4101 Innovation Dr.) at 9:30 a.m. and expects to return around 2:30 p.m. He plans to stop for lunch at Alice’s Village Café in Carp (3773 Carp Rd.) around 1 p.m.

Because the timing could change, please call 613-580-2487 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you plan to join David at any point.