February 15, 2018: Councillor’s Corner; Current Events in Ward 15.

February 15, 2018: Councillor’s Corner;
Current Events in Ward 15.

By Jeff Leiper, City Councillor Kitchissippi Ward.

Congratulations Kitchissippi – you made it to February! We had a very busy start to 2018 and things are continuing to ramp up in our office as we are working on many important files.

On Sunday, January 28th we celebrated the SJAM Winter Trail! I was thrilled to attend a ribbon cutting of the new connection between Champlain Park and the SJAM Winter Trail, made possible by the autumn closure of Pontiac Street that my office championed.

Groomer Dave, our MPP Yasir Naqvi, the Norwegian ambassador Kari H. Ovind, John Rapp from Dovercourt, four-time Olympian Sue Holloway and many others were in attendance for the ribbon cutting. The ribbon cutting was followed by a ski festival, which included a kid’s loppet and a variety of fun activities. We are so fortunate to live in a Ward with great access to the Winter Trail and all it has to offer.

There is a City-initiated by-law amendment in the works to change the zoning for St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, the Bronson Centre, Barrymore’s, and places of worship across the city to reflect their capacity as live music and performance venues. The amendment is now available for comment, and comments to the planner Tim Moerman are due by February 27th. Find more information about the study and comment on our website!

The City has submitted a very forceful response to Queen’s Park outlining the issues with the new inclusionary zoning rules. This response addresses the major shortcomings of the rules, especially the requirement to subsidize 40% of the lost value to the developer of an affordable unit and an exemption for rental housing. I was also able to reiterate these points in an op-ed I co-authored with Councillors from Toronto, London, Hamilton, and Kingston Cities.

In related news, I brought forward and inquiry to Council at the January 31st meeting asking what tools the City has to direct housing development and renewal or renovation of existing facilities in rapid transit hubs to be affordable. The inquiry also asks if there are any current urban planning strategies in place to ensure that urban displacement of low-income and vulnerable residents does not occur around rapid transit hubs. As we welcome light rail we must continue to ensure that it is accessible to everyone.

We have a few upcoming events in Kitchissippi Ward. On February 24th we will be working with the Wellington West BIA to put on a community bonfire in Somerset Square Park from 5 to 7 pm. It will be our last bonfire of the season and it’s shaping up to be a fun one, so don’t miss out! We will have our pop-up office hours at Happy Goat (at 35 Laurel) on February 27th from 4-7 p.m. Come see us and chat all things Kitchissippi!

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February 15, 2018: A City That Fosters Innovation?; Long-term strategy needed for Libraries.

February 15, 2018: A City That Fosters Innovation?;
Long-term strategy needed for Libraries.

By Blaine Marchand, R.E.A.D.

The City’s budget was very much in the news in November and December of 2017 due to criticism of the Council’s obsession with keeping taxes low at all costs. This debate was partially sparked by projected underspending for snow removal this winter and the lack of funds for infrastructure. The issue was suddenly resolved when an additional $10 million materialized on the day the budget was voted on. But it is more than snow removal that is impacted by an artificially low tax rate. Over the years, it has obstructed the maintenance of public and social services, such as libraries.

Ottawa is touted as a centre of innovation, which fosters creativity and imagination, where people learn and exchange new ideas via modern technology. On paper, the city cites libraries as integral to our vibrant community, the heart of each diverse neighbourhood making up our rapidly growing municipality. Libraries are acknowledged in city documents as hubs for information, as safe and inviting focal points for different cultural groups, as fostering greater tolerance through knowledge and understanding.

Across the city, urban neighbourhoods are intensifying – condos are rising around transit stations, streetscapes are seeing multi-family units replace single family homes. More people in these areas place greater demand on infrastructure, including their local libraries.

The Rosemount Expansion and Development (READ) Group has pressed the city on the need for a new library in our community. READ also believes that the Ottawa Public Library (OPL) board needs to position itself strategically and advocate for quality library services across Ottawa.

A comprehensive long-term capital plan that would fund and initiate a blueprint for library renewals and new construction is now more critical than ever. This would allow City Council to ensure that there is sufficient long-range and more predictable funding for the library system. Currently, the OPL relies on a complex array of funding sources. And those sources are not always certain.

Libraries are places where everyone – young and old, well-heeled and the socially and physically challenged and all in between – goes. They are places of inspiration and creativity, where reading opens up the world to all and accessible computers bring the worldwide web of information to one’s fingertips.

The Rosemount Library, despite being a priority on the OPL list for years, is now slated to receive a mere face-lift to make cosmetic improvements and provide band-aid solutions to a building in its 100th year. That is not acceptable and why READ supports a comprehensive long-term funding strategy for the renewal of existing libraries and the development of new branches.

Next month’s article will discuss the strategies being implemented in other Canadian cities and show how they have successfully built and redeveloped the libraries in their neighbourhoods.

February 15, 2018: Letters to Newswest; Rochester Park Decision Deferred.

February 15, 2018: Letters to Newswest;
Rochester Park Decision Deferred.

By Gary Ludington.

On January 23rd Planning Committee heard from quite a few residents regarding the NCC’s new proposal for Rochester Park. The agreement between the City and the NCC had no development on the West part of the Park property. What was passed by Committee was at a minimum a six storey wall along Richmond Road from the Keg Manor to the back yards of the homes on Fraser Ave. – something similar to the Ashcroft development blocking the views of the convent.

In essence, we went from having a major green open corridor to the Ottawa River to having a wall blocking our enviable view.

This item went to Council on January 31st where we have no opportunity to speak. But the community could and did send letters and emails to the Mayor and Council asking that the proposal go back to staff so the community could be engaged in perhaps a planning charrette with the City and the NCC to see if there wasn’t a better solution that was a win/win for all. Council agreed up to a point. The final decision has been deferred so City and NCC staff can meet to see if there is a solution that comes closer to what was presented in 2016. Let’s hope we don’t end up with a wall spoiling the vista we have enjoyed for longer than we can remember.

January 18, 2018: How Well Do We Regard Our Past?; Taking Stock of Our Built Heritage.

January 18, 2018: How Well Do We Regard Our Past?;
Taking Stock of Our Built Heritage.

By A. Marsha.ll, A. Phillips and A. Polywkan, Built Heritage Researchers, City of Ottawa.

The goal of the Heritage Inventory Project is to create certainty around Ottawa’s heritage resources.

The City of Ottawa is undertaking a major project identifying buildings, structures and other built resources of cultural heritage value.

The ‘Heritage Inventory Project’ is a city-wide project involving the surveying and evaluation of a vast array of Ottawa’s built resources, from the modest worker’s houses of Lowertown, to the fine Arts and Crafts homes in Brantwood Place, to the century-old barns of Kinburn, and even the numerous bridges that span our city’s many waterways.

The goal of the Heritage Inventory Project is to create certainty around Ottawa’s heritage resources. Properties identified through the project will not be designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, rather they will be added to the City’s Heritage Register.

A rigorous update to the City’s Heritage Register will be beneficial for property owners, developers, heritage advocates, elected officials, planning staff, community groups and all concerned residents.

The research method for the project includes photographing, describing architectural characteristics and evaluating thousands of built resources throughout the city.

We’re asking Newswest readers to share information about their properties or other buildings or structures in their neighbourhood. We would love to know who designed your home or the original use of a particular building.

Please connect with the City of Ottawa’s built heritage researchers: Avery Marshall, Adrian Phillips and Amber Polywkan at HeritageInventory@ottawa.ca or say hello if you see us in the neighbourhood.

More information about the Heritage Inventory Project is available at ottawa.ca/heritageinventory.

The City of Ottawa Heritage Inventory Project uses a GIS software tool to collect heritage data on neighbourhood buildings. Readers are invited to get in touch with the authors and share information about your house and your neighbourhood.

January 18, 2018: Councillor’s Corner; City news.

January 18, 2018: Councillor’s Corner;
City news.

By Jeff Leiper, Councillor, Kitchissippi Ward.

Happy New Year, Kitchissippi! We hope that everyone had a restful holiday season. We’re back in the swing of things and excited to tackle all the challenges and opportunities 2018 has to offer.

Before the break, we were thrilled to pull off a successful tree-lighting ceremony in Roy Duncan Park. This year we got the whole tree lit; big thank you to Giant Tiger for the lights, Dovercourt for equipment, and Taggart Construction for the use of a cherry picker to string the tree.

One of the issues we’ll face in 2018 is the new inclusionary zoning regulations set forth for comment by Queen’s Park. Inclusionary zoning gives municipalities the power to force developers to include a portion of affordable housing in new housing developments.

This would be huge for Kitchissippi, as much of the growth happening inside the Greenbelt is happening here; not surprising when we consider how LRT will transform our neighbourhoods, placing five stations in our ward alone.

This growth increases property values. Without intervention, it’s likely there will be very little affordable housing in Kitchissippi in the coming decades. This creates barriers for many Ottawans to access transit in our ward, and will have a negative impact on our communities.

Unfortunately, I feel the inclusionary zoning regulations have some problems. Core issues include: the rules only apply to ownership; municipalities will be required to subsidize developers’ affordable units by 40%, cash-in-lieu of parkland and development charge waivers would be used as part of the subsidy; and, affordability would be defined at a neighbourhood, not city-wide level. You can read a detailed copy of the regulations on the blog, but ultimately I feel that these new inclusionary zoning regulations in their current state won’t be much help to Kitchissippi.

Essentially, cities will be required to set out locations in their Official Plans where inclusionary zoning rules would be applicable to buildings with 20 or more units. The affordable units would be limited to 5% of a development or 10% if the building is in a high demand area due to access to transit. Cities must then lay out a detailed housing plan and guarantee that units would be affordable for a minimum of 20 but a maximum of 30 years. Clearly, this is a complex issue that will require some careful thought. If you have ideas, please drop me a line.

As Kitchissippi continues to grow, we need to work together to ensure it’s the best it can be.

Don’t forget: our next Pop-Up Office will be held at Freshii in Westboro (342 Richmond Road) from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 27th. While January is giving us some winter weather, we may as well enjoy it. The SJAM Winter Trail is fully open, having reached its fundraising goal of $20,000. Thank you for keeping this pathway open and making our city just a little bit greater.
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Photo Caption: Pictured here at the Hintonburg 5K Run, Kitchissippi community activist Jeff Leiper regularly bicycles to his job at City Hall. Photo by T. Hairbach.