Elgin & Hawthorne Functional Design Study Open House

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Wednesday, Jan. 11, 5 to 7:30 p.m. (presentation 5:30 p.m.)
City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West, Council Chambers and Jean Pigott Place

You are invited to attend a public open house for the Elgin Street and Hawthorne Avenue Functional Design Study. The presentation will begin promptly at 5:30 p.m., so please arrive at 5 p.m. to sign in.


  • Welcome and introductions
  • Presentation
  • Brief question and answer period
  • Open house

By attending, you will have the opportunity to learn more about the project, review the draft design for the corridor and provide feedback. Your feedback will assist the City in finalizing the draft design, which will be presented to Transportation Committee and City Council in 2017. The detailed design process will begin following Council approval.

Highlights of the draft design for Elgin Street include:

  • Wider sidewalks on both sides of the street
  • Reduced number of travel lanes and enhanced street edge activity (pedestrians, parking, trees, bike racks, etc.) to help calm traffic
  • Flexibility to retain on-street parking and loading spaces on at least one side the street in most blocks
  • Flexibility to program parking / loading spaces for pedestrian use, outdoor patios or streetside spots
  • Improved bus stop waiting areas
  • General strategies to manage construction period disruption

The draft design for Hawthorne Avenue includes:

  • Wider sidewalks on both sides of the street
  • Introduction of a westbound cycling facility (works in tandem with existing eastbound bike lane on Graham Avenue)
  • Maintaining some on-street parking on the south side of the street

Space is limited, so please register by Friday, January 6.

For further information, visit ottawa.ca or contact:

Vanessa Black, P. Eng.
Transportation Engineer – Network Modification
Transportation Services Department
City of Ottawa
110 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (link sends e-mail)
Tel.: 613 580 2424, ext. 12559

Inside the recycling plant

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Inside the recycled material recovery facility on Sheffield Rd., where City of Ottawa residents' blue box contents are sorted and processed. Photos by Jon Connor.

Ever wondered what happens to your blue box contents once they've been picked up?

The container plant operated by Cascades on Sheffield Rd. processes 83 tonnes of blue box recyclables every day from 42 collection vehicles. Here's how that happens along the way:IMG 0637

Main conveyor feed: Material is dumped onto a large conveyor belt. An optical sensor stops the belt when material piles up at the top.

Backscraping or metering drum: Controls the amount of material entering the system, spreads material out and tears bags open.

Pre-sorting: Bags are opened. Large garbage is pulled off. Scrap metal and bulky plastics are sorted for recycling.

Ballistic separator: Carries flat items like paper, cardboard and plastic bags up to a sorting station where fibre is separated from film. Missed containers are thrown back into the line. Three-dimensional items fall down the paddles onto a conveyor that takes them into the next sorting area. Glass is broken by the paddles and sent down.

Drum magnet and cyclone: The conveyor carries material up and drops it over a spinning magnet, which captured steel items and sends them to a separate conveyor. The rest of the material falls on a fine screen, where small items, mostly glass, fall through and are conveyed to a cyclone that vacuums lightweight material away from the glass.

Optical sorters: The remaining material is spread out over speed belts and sent to two optical sorters. These sorters use infrared light to read material types, and air jets to blow the targeted objects to the desired place.

Optical sorter 1 directs polycoats down the first chute, and #1 plastics upward to the third chute. The remaining material falls through the middle chute to continue to optical sorter 2.

Optical sorter 2 directs #2 plastics down the first chute, and #3-7 plastics upward to the third chute. The remaining material falls through the middle chute to continue to manual sort line.

Manual sort line: Here, people pull off items that were missed by the mechanical sorting systems and throw them into the proper bunkers.

Eddy current separator: Uses a magnetic rotor to create eddy currents in the aluminum cans. The aluminum is propelled forward while gravity lets the remaining material drop onto the residual belt.

Waste-recoveryResidual belt: Leads to optical sorter 3, which redirects missed materials back into the system, while residual material drops into the residual bunker.

Baler: When the bunker for any targeted material fills up, it is transported to a baler and compacted into bales for shipping. The bales weigh between 500 and 1,000 kg, depending on the material.

Quality control: A quality control person at the end of each sort pulls out unwanted material and sends it back into the system.

Top "bin sins"

The worst contaminants found in City of Ottawa residents' blue boxes are:

  1. Household hazardous waste (oil, gas, pesticides, herbicides) in full or partly full containers or aerosol cans
  2. Propane and helium cylinders
  3. Batteries
  4. Plastic bags and films (grocery bags, milk and chip bags, cling wrap, cellophane wrapping). Please don't place your recyclables in bags.
  5. Garden items (tools, hoses, garden edging, lawn furniture, pool liners)
  6. Small appliances (toasters, broilers, microwaves) and power tools (drills, saws)
  7. Kitchenware (plates, cups and other ceramics, pots, pans)
  8. Random metal and plastic (car parts, children’s toys)
  9. Paper and cardboard, which belongs in the black box. However, some cardboard-like food and beverage containers, such as milk and ice cream cartons, as well as frozen juice cans, do belong in the blue bin.
  10. Organic materials (food, plants), which belong in the green bin

The worst contaminants in black boxes are:

  1. Plastic bags and plastic film (grocery bags, milk and chip bags, cling wrap, cellophane wrapping). Please don't place your recyclables in bags.
  2. Blue bin materials, especially gable-top containers (milk and juice cartons), aseptic containers (Tetra Paks), cans and beverage containers, which all belong in the blue box
  3. Metal automotive parts (rotors, calipers, pads)
  4. General waste
  5. Batteries

Ottawa's blue box stream has a contamination rate of about 20 percent, compared to only about 4 percent for black boxes.

If you're not sure whether an item belongs in your blue box, black box, green bin or the garbage, you can look it up in the City of Ottawa's Waste Explorer.

Ottawa Children's Garden soil contamination

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The City’s Environmental Remediation Unit recently found shallow soil contamination at Robert F. Legget Park and the Ottawa Children’s Garden at 321 Main St. in Old Ottawa East. Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon (PAH) compounds were detected at concentrations exceeding provincial standards.

Although these contaminants pose a risk to human health, that possibility is based on conservative lifetime exposure limits. Health effects from exposure to PAHs usually arise only in cases of prolonged exposure.

Over the winter, the City will undertake a Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) to determine the full extent of the contamination, then develop a plan to implement appropriate risk management measures and/or remediation of the site.

The City and Ottawa Public Health do not consider the current risk to be acute or immediate, and the contaminated soil is unlikely to have a health impact on anyone unless the soil itself was ingested.

Key facts

  • Ottawa Public Health has confirmed that the soil at 321 Main St. poses no immediate risk to residents.
  • Eating fruits or vegetables from the garden over a short period of time should not cause any negative health effects.
  • When the Ottawa Children’s Garden was established in 2009, the soil underwent testing and was within the acceptable provincial levels. These provincial standards were updated in 2011, and allowed levels for most PAH compounds were decreased.
  • Soil samples taken in October 2016 revealed PAH levels exceeding the newer provincial standards.
  • The Phase II Environmental Site Assessment (ESA) will collect further information about the soil and determine the full extent of the contamination.
  • Based on the results of the Phase II ESA, the City will develop a plan to implement appropriate risk management measures and/or remediation at the property in 2017.

Questions and answers

What are Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons?
PAHs are a group of more than 100 chemicals generated from the incomplete combustion of fuels, waste or other organic substances. The dominant sources of PAHs in the environment are associated with human activity and  are commonly found in older urban areas, particularly those used for industrial purposes or manufacturing. PAHs are contained in asphalt, crude oil, coal, ash, coal tar pitch, creosote and vehicle exhaust. They can occur throughout the environment in the air, attached to dust particles, or as solids in soil or sediment.

Three questions about the central library's proposed site

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Catherine McKenney and Tobi Nussbaum, Ottawa Citizen

The prospect of a new central public library in our city is an exciting one. Successful central libraries offer citizens a one-stop shop of diverse civic and cultural life. Across the country, new libraries have breathed additional life into downtown cores, from Vancouver to Halifax. In that context, the recommendation to move Ottawa’s new Central Library from the downtown core to the edge of LeBreton Flats raises important questions that Ottawa residents need to consider before the Ottawa Library Board convenes at the end of January. Here are three questions worth asking.

First, how was the feedback from the extensive public consultation reflected in the recommendation? The three highest-ranked criteria during the online public consultations on location were that the site be easy to access: for people with physical disabilities, by foot and by bus. On the face, it is not clear how a site separated from downtown by an escarpment, further removed from the residents who live or work in Centretown, and located more than two km from the crossroads of the city’s bus routes at the Rideau Centre reflects these priorities. Although the recommended site is close to an LRT station – a necessary condition for any future site – library-user surveys indicate that  81 per cent of current users arrive by foot.

Second, how would the recommended site serve the three identified target demographic groups: local residents, other residents of Ottawa, and visitors? Demographic analysis suggests that even assuming LeBreton Flats is fully developed, in 20 years it will still have less than half the population of Centretown. For other Ottawa residents, any location on the LRT would provide transit access. For the almost 120,000 downtown workers who make up one-quarter of the visits to today’s Central Library, the proposed site would be harder to access. The most visited sites in Ottawa are clustered close to the Hill and include Parliament, the ByWard Market and the Rideau Centre.