There's a lot going on in Capital Ward even during the dog days of summer! In this newsletter, I want to share some highlights from this week's City Council meeting, and provide some updates and news about multi-use pathway closures, the Main Street renewal project, the Green Dreamers team, and more.
Councillor for Capital Ward
City Council has recessed until late August following a busy spring-summer session. The final July meeting is traditionally packed with significant items whose passage is crucial to moving forward:
Stage Two LRT Route approval: Council approved a set of recommended routes as part of a package being formally submitted to the provincial and federal governments for funding contributions. The Stage Two Project will add 19 new stations and 30 km of rail to Ottawa’s O-Train system between 2018 and 2023.
Term of Council priorities established: A series of priorities covering all aspects of city services, programs and initiatives has been confirmed for this term. I am particularly pleased that those emanating from the work of the Environment Committee include significant action to improve water quality, protect and increase forest cover and reduce greenhouse gas emissions through better land use planning, improved building practices, and greater energy efficiency.
Renewable Energy Strategy initiative approved: I brought forward an initiative that will see Ottawa develop (in partnership with all sectors and citizens) a strategy for making the transition away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy (with all the financial, social and ecological costs/risks they bring with them) and towards predominantly renewable energy sources (with all the benefits, including employment and local economic development that they bring). Ottawa needs to join the hundreds of cities now firmly committed to a renewable energy future.
Other items of note:
Traffic calming initiatives: I continue to work with City staff to improve road safety for the benefit of all manner of road users as well as residents. I support Ottawa Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi's initiative to reduce the default speed in residential communities to 40 km/h, and will then keep working on street modifications to help reinforce such a speed change. The most frequent type of call I get (yes, even more than parking issues!) is about traffic speed and driver behaviour.
Women’s World Cup: What a treat it was to welcome some of the finest female soccer players in the world these past weeks! Ottawa showed itself to be a superb host, and our volunteers once again outdid themselves — I received praise from as far away as England, Germany and the United States.
Ottawa was selected to participate in a World Cities exchange program run by the International Centre for Local Environmental Initiatives and funded by the European Union. We have been matched with Hannover, Germany, from whom we can learn a great deal about cutting-edge building practices, urban design, climate change policies and renewable energy generation.
This week, we are hosting a delegation from Hannover, and have had valuable meetings with City staff and with local grassroots groups in Capital Ward, among others. In October, I will lead the Ottawa delegation for a three-day visit, accompanied by planning and public works staff, and representatives from Ottawa Hydro and the Ottawa Renewable Energy Cooperative.
I have no doubt that this valuable long-term partnership will benefit the entire city as we aim to adopt global best practices at a time when climate change impacts are becoming more acute and urgent. I intend to report back to both the Planning and Environment Committees, as well as host a public knowledge sharing session later this year.
Short-duration flagging and intermittent closures will continue throughout July on the Rideau River multi-use pathways near Highway 417 as work is completed on the Hurdman Bridge.
Furthermore, the east and west Rideau River pathways will be closed for approximately three weeks per side, beginning in mid-July, as crews begin to restore and realign the pathways. The closures will not occur simultaneously, and the exact dates depend on weather and work progress.
The Rideau River Western Pathway is scheduled to close as early as July 15, with signage to indicate the detour via the Lees Avenue overpass. The Eastern Pathway will close as early as August 6, with a detour via Vanier Parkway and the new Coventry Pedestrian and Cycling Bridge over Highway 417.
In addition, the section of multi-use pathway along the Transitway between Hurdman and Train stations will be closed until the end of 2016, as station and guideway work begins as part of the O-Train Confederation Line construction. Pedestrians and cyclists are being detoured along alternative pathways via the Riverside Drive/Highway 417 intersection and along the Rideau River (see map below). For the safety of all pedestrians and cyclists, please follow the signage on site.
Residents of Riverside Dr. north of Smyth Rd. will be affected by work to upgrade the Transitway overpass over Riverside as part of the Confederation Line project. The work, scheduled to begin this month, will require intermittent overnight work and as well as intermittent lane closures on Riverside Dr. and Terminal Ave. The overpass upgrades should be completed by October.
Construction of Hurdman Station will also begin this summer.
Sunday Bike Days bus service
Until Sept. 6, the No. 5 and No. 16 northbound buses will travel along Clegg St. to McGillivray St., Hazel St., Echo Dr. and Colonel By Dr. This alternative, in effect only on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., has three new temporary stops Clegg St. east of McGillivray (No. 5 only), Echo Dr. south of the driveway to Immaculata High School, and Echo Dr. south of Graham.
If you have any concerns, contact OC Transpo Customer Relations at 613-842- 3600. Consult the OC Transpo website for bus route information.
24/7 tunnelling work
Starting on Monday, July 13, the work will continue 24 hours per day, 7 days per week until the tunnelling operation is completed in about two months. This non-stop approach will limit increases in frictional resistance or settlement of the pipe and/or pavement. The work will generate noise at the caisson location (between Greenfield and Echo Dr.) equivalent to noise generated by regular heavy traffic. Every effort will be made to eliminate all other construction noise at nighttime. A Noise By-law Exemption was secured for this work.
Thank you for your continued patience during the construction period.
Visitors to Lansdowne Park will no doubt have noticed the large number of dead trees, many of which have already been removed. The conditions for tree growth are not great in any section of the site above the underground garage, nor along those blocks that receive minimal light. Last winter’s extreme cold, combined with ongoing construction, did not help.
The dead trees will soon be replaced — OSEG is responsible for the street trees, while the City of Ottawa is responsible only those in the urban park. We can only hope that better growing conditions will allow the new trees to get established this year.
Speaking of plants, we often hear from residents and business owners about the appalling state of the planters and green space lining Bank Street in Old Ottawa South. Now, we have a growing contingent of green thumbs who are working hard to keep OOS beautiful.
The "Green Dreamers", a group of volunteers from Old Ottawa South, have signed a formal agreement with the City of Ottawa to care for these public spaces for two years.
Get your hands dirty for your neighbourhood by joining the Green Dreamers this Saturday, July 11, from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. to clean up the planter bed at Grove and Bank (near Bridgehead and Quickie). All available hands are welcome. The more the merrier!
Thank you to Dianne Caldbick, Eric Bays and Winnie Pietrykowski for kickstarting this initiative and for all the fantastic work you've done so far.
Visit the Adopt-a-Garden web page for Green Dreamers news and updates.
Thursday, July 16, 7 - 8 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Want to beat the heat in your home? The EnviroCentre is hosting a free workshop for tips and tricks on keeping your house cool without breaking the bank on energy bills. This workshop will discuss sustainable alternatives to air conditioning.
In this workshop, you will learn about sustainable alternatives to air conditioning, including: