Old Ottawa South Community Association

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OSCA 2020 AGM Councillor's Update

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OSCA AGM Councillor’s Update
October 20th, 2020
Location: Zoom

It has been quite a year. A lot has happened since the last OSCA AGM, even putting aside the global pandemic of COVID-19.

It has been a very strange year with the pandemic, as it has changed how the city and our office operates. When the pandemic first hit, most of our efforts were focused on helping people deal with the outbreak of COVID-19. We set up a website to provide information on what the city was doing to deal with the pandemic, as well as the support that was being offered by all levels of government.

For the first month or two, we sent out weekly updates, as things were changing quickly. As we moved towards summer, work started to return to normal, but with the added workload of the pandemic, and my team kept working from home. It has been very challenging, but the city is pulling through. Hopefully, we can endure and mitigate this second wave to the best of our abilities moving forward. Though this will be difficult given a provincial and municipal capacity that has been hemmed in by years of austerity.

But I don’t want to talk just about COVID-19. There’s a lot going on in the ward and the city, and a lot that we have been able to do, and I’d like to highlight a few things.

First off, I’d like to offer my thanks to the OSCA and everyone who donates their time to the community. You all make this neighbourhood a better place. I’d like to thank the members of the OSCA board. Your work has helped advance several files in the Ward and has enhanced the Old Ottawa South neighbourhood. Thanks to your work, we’ve succeeded at achieving transportation safety enhancements, new street furniture, and at tempering forthcoming developments in favour of our community’s preferences.

Of course, there are many more people who give so much of their time to OSCA. To all of the chairs and members of the committees, who take on extra meetings and extra work, thank you. To everyone who takes a leading or supporting role on specific issues, thank you. To everyone who volunteers at community events, thank you. These are your achievements, too. You all do great work for the neighbourhood, and I’m very happy to have the privilege of working with you all.

And now on to some of the things we’ve been working on and have accomplished with your support:

  1. Gateway Speed Zones
    1. Last year, we implemented a 30 km/hr gateway speed zone in the western half of the Glebe and Old Ottawa South
    2. A gateway speed zone allows us to lower the speed for an entire area. The boundaries of an area are determined by major roads, like Bank, and natural features, like the canal.
    3. Putting these in costs money—we have to remove speed limit signs and then put up new signs at every entry to the speed zone. Depending on the speed zone, they can cost roughly between $4000 and $25,000.
    4. The city has done one speed zone for free each year, and we have also paid for a speed zone out of our office traffic calming budget each year.
    5. This year, we were able to make the eastern half of Old Ottawa South a gateway speed zone. We will be working toward covering the rest of the ward in the years ahead.
  2. Bank Street Canal Bridge
    1. As you all likely know, last month, city council approved the new designs for the Bank Street Canal Bridge.
    2. There have been long-standing issues with the Bank Street Bridge.
      1. The sidewalk is very uncomfortable for pedestrians.
      2. It has a high curb and it’s not very wide. With speeding traffic on one side and a railing on the other, it can be very difficult for pedestrians to pass each other, especially in winter.
      3. There are also no bicycling facilities on the bridge, and bicyclists are forced to share the road with buses and heavy trucks. Many choose to ride on the sidewalk because the roadway is so unsafe.
    3. Six different designs were developed and considered by city staff, before identifying one design that could meet the needs of all users and adhere to city guidelines.
    4. From the public consultations, 86% identified street safety as a priority, while 87% preferred the new design over the existing design (66% preferred a two-lane design to a three-lane design).
    5. The new design will reduce the bridge from four traffic lanes to three traffic lanes—two northbound and one southbound. The extra space will be used to implement wide Multi-Use Paths (MUPs) on each side of the road. These MUPS will be 50% wider than the sidewalks they replace, providing more space for pedestrians (especially since there are often bicyclists on the sidewalks with the current design).
    6. We were able to able to get this design passed by transportation committee and by city council in the past two weeks. This means that we will see safety improvements made to the bridge.
    7. This design is not perfect. By improving the overall conditions of the bridge, and providing more space to pedestrians and bicyclists, it is a welcome improvement, but it is a compromise.
    8. Ideally, we would have separate, protected bike lanes on the bridge. With all the different demands of the bridge, it’s not an easy solution, but it’s something we can keep pushing on.
    9. By getting the proposed design passed by city council, we have ensured that safety improvements will come to the bridge, no matter what.
    10. But we look at the approved design as a baseline for what should be done. As we move into the detailed design phase, we will continue to work with infrastructure staff and the local community associations to find what further improvements we can make.
  3. The Affordable Housing Ward Fund
    1. Without an inclusionary zoning policy in place in our city, we have taken it upon ourselves to secure affordable units in Capital Ward to ensure that elders and young folks in our community can afford to stay and live here if they choose to.
    2. As a result, we have been able to secure voluntary contributions from several developers totaling 100s of thousands of dollars that will be invested in the Ward. This will not only benefit lower-income residents, but more affordable rentals help make all rentals more affordable through increasing supply, taking pressure off the rental market.


Looking Ahead

  1. Ward Boundary Review
    1. In the coming months, there will be ongoing consultations to determine how the boundaries for city council will be affected
    2. The city hired consultants to look into this, and they have come up with six possible choices.
    3. It is possible that we will see an increase of one or two wards, and a shifting of some boundaries.
    4. In some of the options, Capital Ward would see its boundaries expanded to the west of the Dow’s Lake and the arboretum, but in most of the options, the boundaries would remain unchanged.
    5. We will be looking to the communities to provide input into what is preferred, before council has to make the final decision.
    6. The ward changed will take effect for 2022, and will continue at least through the 2030 election.
  2. Budget
    1. We’ll be heading into budget season very soon.
    2. The budget for 2021 will be passed in December.
    3. It’s a difficult year, financially. The pandemic has both increased a lot of costs for the city, and it has also meant that the city has received less revenue.
    4. It will be difficult to maintain all programs and projects while also maintaining a low tax increase.
    5. It will be important that we push to maintain the necessary programs and improvements that the city needs to thrive in the future.
    6. We will get through the pandemic, and we can’t let it damage the city’s future.

Shawn Menard
Councillor, Capital Ward

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 October 2020 11:24

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