The weather has been challenging this week and I thank residents for their patience while crews work their way across the city to remove snowbanks. Winter Maintenance crews took advantage of the good weather to remove the snow buildup on many of our arterial and major corridor streets. The freezing rain put a halt to this process, but we hope to see it resume once the weather stabilizes. And we also hope to see the Rideau Canal open one day!
Our local rinks have been in great shape and hopefully will stay that way after we get through the milder temperatures and our local winter trails have been wonderful as well.
This past week city council met to begin discussions on many important issues such as planning files across the city. Budget discussions have started at each committee including the Transit Commission. Transit fares are frozen for this year but there are concerns that routes could be compressed to meet budget targets. I will continue to speak out on the issues residents have raised with me on unreliable service and the importance of our local routes.
At City Council the decision was made to open up Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill although discussions with the federal government continue. The federal MP for Ottawa Centre has publicly stated that this area should remain closed, but the federal government has not offered assistance to make that happen.
The city has agreed that cycle lanes will be installed on Wellington Street which I consider a big step forward. This section of Wellington street has been a major gap for cyclists getting across the city for many years. For now, the cycle lanes will be temporary but I am requesting that all consideration be made to make them permanent. I understand the reasoning for making the lanes temporary due to federal government discussions that are ongoing but safety should not be compromised.
Another motion that was presented to city council was from Councillor Sean Devine asking to support a private member’s bill that will be debated at Queen’s Park on ensuring there are generators at all apartment and condominium buildings to provide backup power when there are power outages. This private member’s bill is sponsored by Ottawa West – Nepean MPP, Chandra Pasma and was in response to witnessing many residents trapped in the dark in their apartment units because there was no working lights or elevator and in many cases there was no water because it requires electricity to pump water to upper floors. I saw firsthand the same issue in 2018 where power outages left many apartment buildings in Bay Ward without elevators, lights and water not to mention no way to communicate when batteries run out on cell phones. Sean Devine’s motion was deferred to the Emergency Services Committee on Monday, February 13th at 9:30am to allow further discussion.
The provincial government needs to take the safety of residents, especially those with mobility limitations, a safe way to exit their building in an emergency. a safe way to exit their building in an emergency.
If you live in an apartment or condominium and wish to share your experience during a power outage you can speak at the Emergency Services Committee to let councillors know how serious this issue is. To become a delegate please contact the committee clerk, Christopher.Zwierzchowski@ottawa.ca .
This upcoming week I am co-hosting a pre-budget consultation session along with my colleagues, Councillor Laine Johnson (College Ward) and Councillor Sean Devine (Knoxdale-Merivale) . The meeting will help both virtually and in person. You can register in the notice below.