Footbridge construction plans take shape

September 2017

With construction of the Rideau Canal crossing (a.k.a. the Fifth-Clegg footbridge) expected to begin this month, a number of details are becoming clearer.

Initial construction work will include a clearly signed and paved pathway detour on the west side of the canal along Queen Elizabeth Driveway between Third Ave. and Fifth Ave., and a re-alignment of Colonel By Drive near Clegg on the east side. A clearly signed pathway detour will also be provided on the east side between Clegg St. and Herridge St., with a signalized crossing at Herridge to provide a safe connection to the existing pathway along the Canal.

Construction work is not expected to have any impacts on either the skating or boating seasons.

Some key dates are:

  • Construction start (west side): mid-September 2017
  • Construction start (east side): mid-October 2017
  • Canal drawdown begins: October 10, 2017
  • Pier work in the Canal: October 2017 to March 2018
  • Required tree removal/relocation: November 2017
  • New water main work: Summer 2018
  • Project “substantial completion”: August 30, 2019

Budget 2018

The City of Ottawa has launched its 2018 pre-budget consultation process by bringing back the popular interactive Citizen Budget planning tool at ottawa.citizenbudget.com. This online software, first introduced in 2016, is a great way to express your views on how residential tax dollars should be allocated in the 2018 Budget, to understand where your tax dollars go, and to see the impact of the decisions that City staff and Council face when developing and approving the annual budget.

Citizen Budget lets you play the role of a politician or administrator by deciding how you would prioritize budget funding for each category. You can identify which types of City services and programs you feel require increases, decreases or unchanged funding. The tool then calculates the budget rate that would be required to support those choices.

To see the impact of your decisions on your own tax bill, you can enter your most recent property value assessment to see how changes in municipal spending will change your total. If you do not insert your own property value assessment, a City average is used as the default.

I encourage all residents to give Citizen Budget a try, and to let me know what they think of it. I think it does a great job of demonstrating that the budget planning process is a far more intricate balancing act thans many residents realize.

There are other ways to get involved and provide feedback during the City’s budget public consultation process, in person. I will be joining a number of my “southern” colleagues at a joint public meeting on Thursday, October 12, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Jim Durrell Recreation Centre (Ellwood Hall), 1265 Walkley Rd.

Of course, you can also contact me by phone or email to share your thoughts on the budget.

Project Cold Days

In the middle of September, we're not necessarily thinking ahead to the cold days and nights that winter will bring, but it's a reality for Ottawa’s homeless. A remarkable initiative by a local man to share this reality through film came my way a few months ago.

Stephen Coleman’s Project Cold Days – Homeless not Helpless has been entirely self-funded to date. As a filmmaker myself, I know how hard that is, which is why I am not only supporting this project, I am breaking with my policy of keeping fundraisers out of my columns (there are hundreds of worthy projects) to encourage readers to consider supporting the film through the Project Cold Days Kickstarter campaign at bit.ly/projectcolddays.

Outdoor rink update

Speaking of winter, now is also the time of year when people might start to think about the upcoming winter sport season. For two winters, the Glebe has been without the outdoor, “high board” hockey rink that was once on the school grounds of Corpus Christi. Changes to that field made it unfeasible to keep the rink there.

I have been working with City staff and community members to find another location. In this neighbourhood of small parks and multiple users, this is more difficult than you might expect.

Be that as it may, we are currently working to develop a plan for Sylvia Holden Park, adjacent to Lansdowne. However, this space is not ideal: it’s not as large as a typical outdoor rink, there is currently no water source for flooding, and the park building is neither heated nor insulated.

While some of the problems can be resolved with money and time, neither of these is on my side at this time. I will keep working with City staff to come up with a solution. The Glebe needs and deserves more outdoor hockey facilities.