Here are some highlights from this week’s council meeting: We voted on a motion from Councillor David Hill to refer the High Performance Development Standard report back to staff. I voted against these standards being directed back to staff, as I did not see any reason to delay them any further.
Not only had these standards undergone years of work by staff, but they were also heavily supported by both Hydro Ottawa and Ottawa Community Housing (OCH). OCH recognizes not only the cost savings that these standards bring with them, but that affordable homes can be built to a higher and more efficient standard.
In fact, OCH stated in their letter of support for the performance standards stated: “OCH, as result of our funding parameters, is currently exceeding most of the requirements put forward in the High Performance Development Standard in our new construction projects.” This should serve as a strong signal to Council that these performance standards are not only achievable, but important for all homes.
Buildings and homes in Ottawa produce roughly half of greenhouse gas emissions, and delaying the High Performance Development Standards is step in the wrong direction. We are trailing behind other cities, such as Toronto, where these standards have been in place since 2008.
Referring these standards back to staff to wait for the Ontario government to make decisions for us is concerning. We understand our situation better than they do, and we need to move forward.
Council approved the City’s first nightlife economy action plan to develop and promote nightlife activities and experiences between 6 pm and 6 am. At the meeting I raised the question of events that are focused on youth and families. Much of the action plan is geared toward tourism and business generation. While we need to be mindful of the economy, I am concerned we are overlooking a key component of “nightlife” in reference to families and youth, and I would like to see us encourage events for youth that are low cost or free, and events that are alcohol free as well. Things such as night markets and open streets with family activities or installations can help promote connection with local community and provide entertainment.
The City of Montreal, for example, has an evening “Tour de la nuit”, which is for all ages and abilities, where people light up the night on their bicycles and enjoy open streets. And we know La Machine was one of the most popular family oriented events Ottawa has ever seen, with the evening performances literally bringing out hundreds of thousands of people. Let’s not lose sight of these kinds of events, that by virtue of being held also bring with them economy boosts to local restaurants and stores.
The motion seeks to retain ability for municipality to obtain a closed school site. Currently, the provincial procedure for a school board to dispose of a closed school is to offer it first to a coterminous school board, then to the municipality, then to the provincial government, and then to the federal government, before selling it on the open market. Bill 98 will put the province ahead of the municipality when there is school disposal.
I, and my council colleagues who voted in favour of this motion, feel Bill 98 could have a negative impact on the City of Ottawa largely in part because when a school is deemed surplus, the greenspace that is left from the school is often no longer in use, and these pieces of property are beneficial to the community, and one of the biggest losses with the closure of schools is the loss of the greenspace. This motion passed, and as a result, the City of Ottawa will indicate to the Minister of Education and to the Ontario Legislature its interest in having municipalities retain the ability to obtain a closed school site before it goes on the open market. We will also be informing the Ottawa-area M.P.P.s and the Association of Municipalities in Ontario of the City’s position on Bill 98.
Save the date!
Hydro Ottawa Information Meeting
This is in response to concerns from the community, we have asked Hydro Ottawa to discuss what took place during the derecho and other storm events, they will also be discussing emergency preparedness.
All are welcome, I know many were concerned during and after these storms.
May 29th, 2023 from 7pm to 8pm
Golden Ave and Richmond Rd Cycling and Pedestrian Improvements
The city is planning to add new active transportation facilities to Bay and Kitchissippi Wards. Ottawa Community Housing has kindly agreed to permit construction of a new multiuse pathway (MUP) across its property at 445 Richmond Road, leading from the Golden Avenue/Richmond Road intersection to Dominion Street. The MUP will enhance access by foot and bike to Kichi Sibi LRT Station and create a new low-stress cycling route leading to the new cycling facilities along Scott Street (Crosstown Bikeway #2).
May 31 from 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm