Mayor Watson to conduct budget consultation outreach sessions at local shopping centres

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City of Ottawa

Mayor Jim Watson will hold five "Mayor's Budget Outreach" consultation sessions at shopping centres in all areas of the city in advance of the creation of Budget 2014.

One of these sessions will be held in Capital Ward, at Billings Birdge Shopping Centre on Friday, Sept. 6, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

During every budget process, Mayor Watson welcomes suggestions from residents on how the City can make the best use of tax dollars. Residents will also be able to submit their ideas through an online chat, email and Twitter.

"I hope that all residents will take the time to share their ideas for the upcoming City budget," said Mayor Watson. "I am specifically interested in hearing ideas about how to save money, as well as where residents feel we should be focusing our efforts."

Wednesday, September 4
10:15 am to 12:15 pm.
Rideau Centre

Thursday, September 5
noon to 1:30 p.m.
St. Laurent Shopping Centre

Friday, September 6
1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Billings Bridge Shopping Centre

Saturday, September 7
3:30 to 5:30 p.m.
Carlingwood Shopping Centre

Sunday, September 8
12:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Bayshore Shopping Centre

Tuesday, September 10
10:45 to 12:45 p.m.
Place d'Orléans Shopping Centre

If you are not able to visit with the Mayor in person, he will also be holding a budget-focused online chat on his website www.jimwatsonottawa.ca on September 17 from noon to 1 p.m. Residents are also encouraged to submit budget ideas by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or on Twitter using the hashtag #ottbudget, channels which have been open since mid-June.

Ongoing public input is important to the City of Ottawa budget process. For example, feedback received during a past budget consultation led to a $340-million infrastructure program to upgrade the City's roads, sewers, sidewalks and other critical infrastructure.

As per Council direction, Budget 2014 is being drafted with the goal of a tax increase of no more than 2 per cent, which would be the lowest in seven years.

Residents will also be able to provide feedback during in-person consultations sessions and committee meetings after the budget is tabled on Wednesday, October 23.

City of Ottawa first to receive gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community Award

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City of Ottawa

Today the City of Ottawa had the honour of being the first city in the province to receive the gold-level Bicycle Friendly Community Award by Share the Road Cycling Coalition, a cycling advocacy organization that works with Ontario municipalities to make their communities more bicycle-friendly. The award was presented to Mayor Jim Watson at the Annual Association of Municipalities Ontario conference.

"The City of Ottawa and my Council colleagues are delighted to receive this distinction," said Mayor Jim Watson. "I'm proud of the progress we are making and excited about the additional plans we have underway to become an even more bicycle-friendly city."

Ottawa ranked high in all five evaluation categories — engineering, education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation and planning. The gold-level recognition reinforces the fact that Ottawa is moving in the right direction with its bicycle-friendly policies and initiatives.

Ottawa has achieved several bicycle-friendly accomplishments to date, including over 10,000 bike parking spaces, over 1,500 ring-and-post racks, 50 per cent of city busses equipped with rack-and-roll mechanisms, and approximately 350 km of bike lanes and paved shoulders. As well, the City of Ottawa has over 70km of additional bike lanes and various other improvements planned for the coming years, including:

"Ottawa's bike culture is vibrant and growing and it's vital that we at the City respond with the support and infrastructure to further encourage its growth and evolution," said Keith Egli, Chair of Ottawa's Transportation Committee. "An investment in cycling is an investment in the future health of our city."

Ottawa is also well attuned to the role of cycling in urban planning and sustainability. According to Peter Hume, Chair of the Planning Committee, "Cycling is here to stay. It's part of our urban fabric and plays an essential role in strengthening our public health and environment. Any planning or development that doesn't take cycling into consideration on some level is simply not building with the future in mind."

For more information on Ottawa's cycling initiatives, visit ottawa.ca.

Residents of Old Ottawa South lock horns with developers

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Joanne Schnurr, CTV Ottawa

Intensification of Ottawa's core is igniting battles all over this city as residents and developers lock horns.

Now people in old Ottawa south are raising alarm bells, saying historic buildings along the Unesco World Heritage site, the Rideau Canal will be lost forever if more thought isn't given to infill developments.

From an architectural perspective, the newly-built houses are big, and bold in design; in complete contrast to their older neighbors. Long established neighborhoods along Ottawa's Rideau Canal are changing despite lobbying from local residents.

"There is room for new development here," says Brian Oak, who lives in a century-old home on Rosedale, "but it has to be done with sensitivity and concern."

Oak lives next door to an old Craftsman cottage that faces the Rideau Canal. The 5-bedroom house is being demolished and Oak believes the plan is to replace it with two modern-style townhomes.

"There's a fair amount of anxiety in terms of what we've seen not only because of the house beside us but throughout the district here."

Farmers’ return to Lansdowne Park not a done deal

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Rent, parking, use of Aberdeen Pavilion in winter still to be settled while market booms in new location

By David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — The Ottawa Farmers' Market has grown in leaps and bounds since it was exiled to a park across from Carleton University to make way for the redevelopment at Lansdowne, so much so that its operators are a little anxious about returning.

"Brewer Park's been incredible for us," said Robin Turner, the market's president. "We moved from a giant parking lot beside an awesome heritage building to a beautiful park with all sorts of infrastructure for families and kids. ... I think the new location at the Aberdeen Pavilion will be great as well, but when we move back there, we have to make sure that people are getting the same value out of the trip."

The market opened on asphalt at Lansdowne in 2006, but has now spent 1½ years in temporary quarters at Brewer Park in Old Ottawa South. With playing fields, a big splash pad and playgrounds, Brewer Park has been a much better draw for families, Turner said, who can make a day of it in a way they couldn't at Lansdowne. The parents shop, the kids run around, they have a picnic, parents run into friends and admire each other's purchases and go back to pick another thing or two from the market's vendors.

The renovated Lansdowne Park is to have a heritage orchard, a splash pad of its own and plenty of room to roam by summer 2015, but until it's done and the farmers have moved into their new, purpose-built outdoor space, they won't know for sure that it works as well as Brewer Park does, Turner said.

"In moving back there, we're going to have to make sure that it recognizes all the things that make a farmers' market great," he said. The market organization has had good discussions with the city and with landscape architects Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg, the Vancouver firm that's designing the public spaces at Lansdowne, he said; Turner's optimistic it will be OK, but they won't know it is until everything is done.

Another major worry is parking, which is free at Brewer Park under a deal with Carleton and which was free on the acres of pavement at the old Lansdowne.