'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 Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser. if you plan to join David at any point.

Old Ottawa South church seeking financial salvation from condo faces concerns

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Residents raise concerns about proposed condo's height, obstruction of heritage views of church


This architectural rendering shows the proposed condo and townhouses as seen from Galt Street. Southminster United Church can be seen behind them.

By Matthew Kupfer, CBC News

As Southminster United Church turns to a developer to help its finances, Old Ottawa South residents have raised objections about a proposed condominium's height and the obstruction of heritage views of the church itself.

Windmill Developments is behind the proposal, which includes four three-storey townhouses and a 14-unit, six-storey apartment building.

Church administrators made their case for looking for a development deal at an official public consultation held Monday night in the church basement at 15 Aylmer St.

Andrew Brewin, a member of the congregation in charge of the redevelopment, said the church is trying to make sure it can continue to operate as a place of worship and a community hub.

'Ultimately, it is survival'

"Ultimately, it is survival. Can our congregation pull together the resources, both financial and human, to be able to continue for the next 85-plus years?" Brewin asked.

"If we do this proposal, we will be able to do that. Otherwise, if we have to go back to the drawing board, it really is hard to see how we'll be able to draw the kind of energy that's needed to do that kind of work."

The church turned to redeveloping the site after attempts to get more money by renting church space came up short.

The church's financial shortfall happened in part because of overdue repairs to a hall that was built in 1955 and created a "drip, drip, drip" from the congregation's budget, Brewin said.

The value of the deal is "in the neighbourhood" of $2 million, he added.

Questions about height, obstructed views

Residents said they felt the church hadn't consulted enough prior to going to the developer, and that the church should have looked for alternatives to keep programs running.

Laura Urrechaga was among the 13 original members of Development Watch Southminster, a group that formed to organize people who were against Windmill's proposal.

"We as a community, want them to survive. But we want the importance of our heritage value to be maintained," Urrechaga said. "We do not want to be turned into Westboro."

Among the key issues is the height of the proposed building — six-storeys or about 19 metres — which is almost double what's allowed for neighbouring residential and commercial buildings, she said.

Seniors’ Lunch & Learn

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seniors lunch

Friday, September 8, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The Glebe Centre 
Community Programs 
at Abbotsford, 
950 Bank St.

Join Councillor 
David Chernushenko 
for a free lunch and get tips from the Ottawa Police Service on how to avoid phone scams and other types of fraud.

This is a free event for seniors 
living in Capital Ward 
(Glebe, Glebe Annex, Old Ottawa South, Old Ottawa East, 
Dow’s Lake, Heron Park and Riverside)

Seating limited, so register now 
at Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser. 
or 613-580-2487.

'Exceeded expectations': Latest figures show Corktown, Adàwe bridges popular with pedestrians, cyclists

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Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen

More than 185,000 people used the Corktown Footbridge to walk, jog or pedal over the Rideau Canal in a five-week span this spring, making it Ottawa’s most heavily-used pedestrian and cycling bridge.

Between May 10 and June 13, 186,333 people — an average of 5,324 per day — used the decade-old bridge to travel between Somerset Street West in Centretown and the street’s eastern portion in Sandy Hill, according to figures supplied by the city. The numbers don’t distinguish between pedestrians and cyclists.

July, meanwhile, was a record-breaking month for the Adàwe crossing between Somerset Street East in Sandy Hill and Overbrook’s Donald Street. Of the 117,659 people who crossed the bridge between Canada Day and July 31, 60,758 were on bicycles and another 56,901 were on foot.

That’s the highest monthly total recorded since the $9.2-million bridge opened in December 2015.

More than 114,000 people crossed the bridge in June, and on three previous occasions — July, August and September 2016 — monthly totals exceeded 90,000 crossings, according to the city’s figures. Adàwe was the least busy in December 2016, when 21,850 pedestrians and 4,823 cyclists crossed it.

“The high usage of the Adàwe crossing has exceeded my expectations and is a testament to the demand for safe, convenient and pleasant routes for walking and cycling,” said Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum.

He wants the city to build on the bridge’s success by ensuring infrastructure is in place to link these crossings to a wider grid of dedicated walking and cycling routes.

City puts final touches on pedestrian and cycling crosswalk on Bronson

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The city put down the green thermoplast on the crosswalk this spring to make the bike lane. (Jennifer Beard/CBC)

Krista Johnson was struck by a car and killed while cycling on Bronson Avenue in 2012

CBC News

Five years after a cyclist was killed on Bronson Avenue, the city has put the final touches on a pedestrian and cycling crosswalk on the busy road just north of Sunnyside Avenue.

Twenty-seven-year-old Krista Johnson, an avid runner and city cyclist, was struck by a car and killed on Bronson Avenue in October 2012.

The Carleton University student was cycling home at the time.

While speed was not deemed a factor in the crash, Johnson's death triggered a safety review of that stretch of the road.

According to the councillor for the ward, David Chernushenko, it was determined that section of Bronson was a very confusing and busy area.

And, the lack of a pedestrian crossing with traffic lights there meant people were dashing across in busy traffic.

Green thermoplast marks bike lane

"This crossing addressed a need to be able to cross a very high speed busy road in a safe manner. It's only triggered when the need is there. So, while it does have the traffic calming effect of slowing down traffic by having another intersection, it's not going to be activated if no one wants to cross so you won't have frustrated drivers," said Chernushenko.

The crossing has been in operation for 18 months, but the city recently added signs, and in the spring, put down green thermoplast paint on the road to mark the bike lane.

Chernushenko said the process took five years to reach this final stage due to a number of factors. It took a year to do a traffic safety review and hold public consultations. And then there was a municipal election before the contracting process began.

"The usual, I guess process to do a public infrastructure project of tendering and design, sure it did take longer," said Chernushenko.

Council uses bylaw to halt bunkhouses in six neighbourhoods

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Mayor says substandard housing aimed at students creates problems for residential neighbourhoods

Jennifer McIntosh, Ottawa Community News

Parking and trash are just some of the headaches councillors whose wards are home to the multi-bedroom residences deal with.

On July 12 council did something about it.

In a rare move, council approved an interim control bylaw that will put a one-year freeze on multiple bedroom residences — more popularly known as bunkhouses.
“I don’t support these lightly,” Capital Coun. David Chernushenko said of bylaw. “It’s meant to target extreme cases. We are talking about four to six units on one floor of a building.”

Chernushenko said the high number of units in a building meant as a single family home or a small low-rise apartment building puts a burden on the city, because there isn’t the set up to store the waste that the number of residents create.

He said residents don’t know each other and are often unfamiliar with the city’s trash pick up schedule — which could create a real mess for the surrounding neighbours.

The bylaw will coincide with a review of the zoning for multi-unit dwellings in residential neighbourhoods. The interim bylaw buys council and city staff more time for that review.

The so-called bunkhouses, or illegal rooming houses, are often single-family homes split into several units.

The bylaw will concentrate on Sandy Hill, Heron Park, Old Ottawa East, Old Ottawa South, Centretown and Overbrook.

River Coun. Riley Brockington asked city staff how the areas were selected as targets for the bylaw.

The answer, from John Smit, manager of economic development and planning, said staff concentrated on areas of the city that have demonstrated problems with bunkhouses.

Developers can appeal the bylaw at the Ontario Municipal Board, but the bylaw would remain in effect until the outcome of the appeal is determined, staff told council.

The city’s planning boss Stephen Willis said staff would need a year to work with the public on a new policy. Staff will report to planning twice in the year.

Perhaps the most vocal of the neighbourhoods to deal with the bunkhouse issue is Sandy Hill.

Just the day before, Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury held back delegated authority for a site plan on a densely populated building proposed for 70 Russell Ave. in Sandy Hill.

Members of Action Sandy Hill spoke to the city’s planning committee about the project, condemning bunkhouses and their impact on the neighbourhood.

The development would see a single-family home replaced with a four-unit 21-bedroom building. The developer is TC United.

Willis said the application checked all the boxes, and the building plan has been reviewed, but Fleury said it “smells like a rooming house.”

Mayor Jim Watson said he thinks the bunkhouse issue is an important one.

“It diminishes the quality of life in a neighbourhood,” he said. “Taking a property that houses a single home and turning into 30 bedrooms isn’t reasonable in residential neighbourhoods,” he said.

Watson said with the advent of light rail, there isn’t the same pressure for university and college students to live in the neighbourhood immediately adjacent to their school. He said with more options, students wouldn’t feel compelled to rent in buildings that are substandard.