Ottawa city Council met on Wednesday March 8th where we approved a revised timeframe for developing a new Zoning By-law for Ottawa. Under the new timeline, staff will deliver the final draft of the by-law to Council in Q4 of 2025 instead of Q2, when originally planned.
The first and second drafts will be provided inQ1 2024 and Q1 2025, respectively. The public will have substantial opportunities to provide input for each draft. The additional time is needed as the Province took longer than anticipated to approve the City’s new Official Plan, which came into effect on November 4, 2022. The revised timeline will ensure the City complies with legislated requirements to enact new zoning provisions within three years of that date.
Council also received an information report outlining the implementation of the newly approved Official Plan throughout 2023. It will focus on three areas to support the Official Plan; a series of omnibus reports relating to different amendment categories, completing existing Secondary Plan projects and planning for future neighbourhoods with lands added to the urban boundary.
Council also directed staff to outline options by Q2 2023 to close physical distancing centres. This will include an approach for transitioning residents in the centres to permanent housing and finding alternatives to using recreation centres as temporary emergency housing. It also directs staff to include measures to ensure recreation programming can be reinstated at Heron Road and Dempsey community centres within one month of transitioning residents out of the centres and that ice time at Jim Durrell and Bernard-Grandmaître arenas can be reinstated for the 2023-2024 skating season.
Motion to declare March 11 a day of observance
As a result of a motion brought forward to City Council by me and seconded by Councillor Katherine Kitts, Council designated March 11, 2023, as a Day of Observance to commemorate the people who lost their lives and acknowledge the significant impacts we have all felt because of COVID-19.
On March 11, 2020 the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 an pandemic. We watched in shock as we saw the devasting results of the spread of Covid-19 around the world. Many of us lost loved ones. The federal government declared March 11 as a National Day of Observance to commemorate the people who lost their lives and the significant impacts we have all felt because of COVID-19. This motion was inspired by a resident who lost her mother from COVID-19 and wanted to have an occasion to give homage to those we loved and lost. By passing this motion Ottawa City Council joins with the federal government in this observance. I want to give special thanks to Councillor Catherine Kitts, Chair of Ottawa Public Health (OPH) for seconding this motion. OPH played an essential role in guiding residents on safe practices and being the lead on vaccine distribution clinics. The tireless work of Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches and her team kept us informed and up to date as we continue to weather the effects of this often deadly virus.
I do hope you will join me in taking a moment on Saturday March 11th and reflect on the impacts that COVID 19 has had on our community, the people that we have lost, lives that have been changed, and the sacrifices that have been and continue to be made by our health professionals to keep our communities safe.
Motion to declare intimate partner violence an epidemic
I am pleased to have worked together with my colleague Ariel Troster on a motion declaring intimate partner violence an epidemic. This was a recommendation that came out of the report on the Renfrew County murders of three women by the same former partner on a single day in 2015. Intimate partner violence is one of the leading causes of death to women. It is important to examine the recommendations at every level of government and speak out and name intimate partner violence as an epidemic. Intimidate partner violence increased exponentially during the pandemic, when people were often at home without much-needed support networks.
The motion also calls on Mayor Mark Sutcliffe to write to Premier Doug Ford and Health Minister Sylvia Jones to request that Ontario formally declare intimate partner violence an epidemic. And it asks city staff to look into integrating intimate partner violence into the city’s community safety and well-being plan.
If you or someone you know is experiencing intimate partner violence here are some resources that are available to help; Unsafe at Home Ottawa, Champlain Health Line, OCTEVAW, and Interval House.
Motion that encourages programs that help keep older adults in their homes
One of the best ways to save money in the health care system is preventative measures and encouraging healthy lifestyles. This is particularly important for older adults who are most vulnerable particularly when they live alone and are without a support network. This has consequences on their mental and physical health. This is why I moved the motion at council this week seconded by my colleague Laine Johnson, to encourage the Ontario provincial government to invest in programs that help keep older adults in their homes with support programs such as the Naturally Occurring Retirement Program model (NORC). I thank my council colleagues for unanimously supporting this motion.