Watson taps council veterans for committee chairs

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Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen

Mayor Jim Watson has tapped experienced councillors to chair committees at Ottawa City Hall, but several rookies are also pegged for key posts.

The recommendations were introduced and approved Tuesday at a brief nominating committee meeting and are likely to pass without much debate at Wednesday's council meeting. The chairs are to serve for the entire four-year term.

Planning
Chair: Jan Harder, Barrhaven
Vice-chair: Tim Tierney, Beacon Hill-Cyrville

This is a promotion for Harder, who served as the committee's vice-chair under Peter Hume until his retirement last month.

Harder says she's represented the largest growth area in the city since amalgamation and considers it a point of pride that throughout that time, only two applications from her ward have gone to the Ontario Municipal Board.

"That's about relationships, and I intend to work very hard with my colleagues to get an understanding of what their concerns are, what their community believes, and work really hard to approve applications that fit within our (community design plans) and our official plan," she said.

Harder has close ties to the development industry — many leading companies sponsor her annual charity golf tournament — but says she's already spoken with the city's integrity commissioner Robert Marleau to "make sure that I'm in a position that no one would be raising concerns."

Community and protective services
Chair: Diane Deans, Gloucester-Southgate
Vice-chair: Riley Brockington, River

The veteran councillor takes over from Mark Taylor, who wanted to keep the post but was named deputy mayor, a ceremonial title that mainly means standing in for the mayor at events.

She previously chaired CPS from 2003 to 2010 and says she is looking forward to tackling the broad range of issues the committee deals with, which includes everything from the arts and seniors to homelessness and firefighting.

One of the top priorities is reviewing and updating the city's bylaws and addressing the issue of ride-share programs, including Uber. "We need to figure out a strategy," Dean said, adding she has substantial history with the file and was probably "best positioned" to address the issue.

Poverty reduction is also on her radar, as some communities in Ottawa "have not been lifted up the way they need to be," she said.

Environment
Chair: David Chernushenko, Capital
Vice-chair: Rick Chiarelli, College

Having spent most of his adult life working on environment and sustainability causes, Chernushenko says he knew there was a risk of being stereotyped as a green guy during his first term of council, so he was low key.

But now he's stepping up and says he hopes to serve as a bridge between environmentalists and a city some don't think is moving swiftly enough.

"Since the early '90s, when I first became very active in environment and sustainability issues, I've felt very strongly that most of the time it was better being inside the tent working on something than being on the outside throwing rocks at people," he said.

The councillor added he's clear about where society needs to go in terms of adopting more sustainable behaviours, but he's practical about how to get there.

Folkfest moves to Glebe, changes name to CityFolk

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By Michelle Nash, Ottawa Community News

The Ottawa Folk Festival will move and change its name for 2015.

The festival – now dubbed CityFolk – will call Lansdowne Park home as organizers make a move to a more central location for music fans.

"The fact that Lansdowne was complete and seeing the new site really inspired us with what we could do there with the festival," said Mark Monahan, the festival's executive and artistic director.

According to Monahan, both parks are similar in size, but Lansdowne offers services Hog's Back Park cannot, which he said will make setting up and operation of the festival much easier.

Lansdowne's great lawn will be the location of the gated main stage for ticket-holders-only.

The area in front of and around the Aberdeen Pavilion will be open to the public and will include craft beer tents and musical programming.

Noise from this past year's festival at Hog's Back prompted a number of complaints from the Glebe neighbourhood, as the sound trickled down the river into their neighbourhood and the festival was ultimately slapped with a $405 fine after its opening night.

To mitigate concerns for 2015, Monahan said he has already met with Capital Coun. David Chernushenko about noise concerns and plans to hold a consultation with the community in the spring.

That was welcome news to Glebe Community Association president Christine McAllister, who added the community does acknowledge events at the park will be coming.

"We will be looking at the noise and making sure that bylaws are followed, but we also know it's just part of living next to the venue," McAllister said.

McAllister said since the park opened, the community has been focused on the day-to-day impacts and as more events occur, the association's Lansdowne Park committee will address community concerns and work with the city and park operator Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group to alleviate them.

"We do plan to take a closer look at the impacts that could happen," she said.

Shaking the foundations in the Glebe

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Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa's folk music festival is coming to Lansdowne Park.

As arts writer Lynn Saxberg reports in Tuesday's Citizen, the newly-named CityFolk will take place at the redeveloped Bank Street park from Sept. 17 to 20, 2015.

The festival has spent the past four years at the bucolic, if a bit muddy, Hog's Back Park, but organizers appear to be after a more accessible site with better electrical and water hook-ups.

Lansdowne's got that, but it's also got neighbours. Lots of them. And if the noise from the festival prompted complaints and charges last year — when the main stage was located several kilometres away — one can only imagine what will happen when the stage is closer.

Saxberg's story says organizers will be mindful of the direction the main stage faces and are thinking about presenting shows earlier in the evening, so the music will be finished by 10 p.m., instead of 11 p.m.

Capital Coun. David Chernushenko spoke out about the complaints he received after the first night of this year's festival, saying at the time that it was the organizer's responsibility to ensure the city's noise bylaws weren't being broken.

Keeping noise under control has nothing to do with stopping people from having fun, Chernushenko said then.

"It's about respect ... I'm just tired of talking to festival organizers and having them argue with me, and tell me I'm wrong, and that my residents are just a bunch of no-fun party poopers, that, really, it wasn't that bad."

Ottawa Folk Festival rebranded as Cityfolk

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By Aedan Helmer, Ottawa Sun

Urban-dwellers are going to have to learn to get along with the Cityfolk.

The city's info line was flooded with noise complaints in September -- coming primarily from Glebe residents -- when the 20th anniversary edition of the Ottawa Folk Festival took the stage four kilometres and two neighbourhoods away in Hog's Back Park.

Now, festival boss Mark Monahan is setting up shop right in their back yard, bringing the newly-rebranded Cityfolk Festival to Lansdowne Park for the 2015 edition.

"I think Lansdowne is a great site for outdoor events, and not specifically TD Place, but the entire park, with the Great Lawn, Aberdeen Pavilion, the Horticultural Building, and we've been talking with the city and looking at those spaces," said Monahan.

"And ultimately we've grown the Folk Festival to the point where staging at Hog's Back has become difficult logistically."

Monahan enjoyed some great success after taking the floundering festival under his wing and moving it to Hog's Back for four editions -- the audience and artistic budget expanding exponentially -- but the 2014 festival was marred by a war of words that erupted over a bylaw ticket issued on opening night.

But Monahan said the goal is to work with communities and residents to mitigate issues around the sound bleed.

"It's a site the city wants to promote as a cultural site, and not just sporting events, and I think this is a great anchor event," he said.

Monahan sat down with Capital Coun. David Chernushenko to smooth over any lingering ill feelings and to start ironing out the kinks.