Happy Holidays

Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and happy holidays. Happy New Year and may 2013 bring happiness and health to you and your family.

Congratulations: River Ward Recipe Round Up!

At my Christmas Lights Tour for River Ward Seniors on Friday, December 7, 2012, I randomly selected two residents who submitted entries for the River Ward Recipe Round Up: Christmas Cookies and Holiday Goodies. Congratulations to Donna Covey and Ray & Georgiette Naufal. I look forward to tasting both of these delicious treats over the holidays.

If you would like the recipe for Donna’s Tropical Bars or Ray & Georgiette’s Lebanese Shortbread, please visit my website at MariaMcRae.ca. Watch for the next edition of the River Ward Recipe Round Up for your chance to be featured in a future column.

Airport Parkway Pedestrian/Cycling Bridge

Construction of the Airport Parkway Pedestrian/Cycling Bridge is progressing. The contractor is completing the formwork and falsework for the upper portion of the main tower which, when complete, will rise 40 feet above the current height of the tower. Work continues on the ramp joining the existing pathway on the east side of the Airport Parkway to the bridge deck and the contractor is finalizing the installation of the door leading to the South Keys Transit Station.

Baseline Road Sewer Replacement Project

Work to replace the sewers along a section of Baseline Road, west of Merivale Road, is now complete. Over the month of November 2012, staff worked to finalize the paving of the roadway, return the lighting system to its pre-construction conditions and reinstate the landscaping on the boulevard.

City Service Closures for the Holidays

As we prepare to join with our loved ones over the Christmas and holiday season, I would like to remind you that most City services are closed on Tuesday, December 25, 2012 (Christmas Day), Wednesday, December 26, 2012 (Boxing Day) and Tuesday, January 1, 2013 (New Year’s Day).

  • There is NO collection of green bin, recycling and garbage on Tuesday, December 25, 2012 or Tuesday, January 1, 2012. Recycling, green bin and garbage collection schedules are delayed by one day for the remainder of the week, with regular Friday collections taking place on Saturday.
  • Ottawa City Hall and all Client Service Centres are closed. The City’s 3-1-1 Contact Centre will be open for urgent matters requiring the City’s immediate attention.
  • OC Transpo is operating on a reduced schedule from December 23, 2012 to January 5, 2013. On Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, service will operate on a Sunday schedule and on Boxing Day, a Saturday schedule will be in place. For holiday schedules, including hours for OC Transpo Sales & Information Centres, please phone 613-741-4390 or visit octranspo.com.
  • Recreation facilities are operating on modified schedules during the holiday season, including modified swimming, skating and fitness schedules. Most recreation facilities are closed and public swimming, public skating, aqua fitness and fitness classes are cancelled on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
  • All branches, departments and services of the Ottawa Public Library are closed.

A complete list of closures is available at ottawa.ca.

Ottawa Light Rail Transit – Moving Forward

I was honoured to join Mayor Jim Watson, Premier Dalton McGuinty, my City Council colleagues and Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Orléans, Royal Galipeau, on December 5, 2012 to announce an exciting milestone regarding the City’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) project. The international consortium known as the Rideau Transit Group was announced as the recipient of the contract to design, build, finance and maintain the City’s LRT system.

The construction schedule will see the project substantially complete by the end of 2017 and in service by 2018. Moreover, the Rideau Transit Group has agreed to a fixed price contract of $2.1 billion, which will be partially funded by the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.

I encourage you to explore Rideau Transit Group’s designs for the Confederation Line and the project’s construction schedule on the LRT website at ottawalightrail.ca or at Ottawa City Hall until December 19, 2012. The staff recommendations were reviewed by the Committee of the Whole on December 12, 2012 and will rise to City Council for approval on December 19, 2012.

Taking Measures to Protect Our Assets

On Friday, December 7, 2012, I called a technical briefing to provide members of City Council with the results of the Council-directed independent review undertaken by B.M. Ross and Associates regarding the September 4, 2012 Highway 174 storm drainage pipe collapse. This review acts as part of the City’s commitment to residents of Ottawa to ensure that the City does everything in its power to prevent such incidents from occurring.

The Root Cause Analysis report of the collapse found that Ottawa’s storm drainage asset management practices are consistent with those of comparable municipalities, and identified five recommendations to improve the City’s practices and to reduce the risk of a reoccurrence of this type of incident. I am pleased that City staff concur with all of the recommendations presented in the B.M. Ross and Associates report and have already taken action to implement these recommendations. The City’s recently-adopted Comprehensive Asset Management Program is a new, more robust asset management plan that includes a risk-based approach to inspections of important infrastructure.

I have asked staff to provide a detailed response to this report at an Environment Committee meeting in early 2013, where my Council colleagues and I will engage in a complete discussion about its findings and recommendations.

River Ward Resident and Community Volunteer, Frank J. Licari, Receives Mayor’s City Builder Award

I was honoured to join Mayor Jim Watson at City Council on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 to present the Mayor’s City Builder Award to Frank J. Licari for his many years of volunteering with a variety of organizations and for his exceptional service to the Ridgemont Community and the citizens of Ottawa.

Frank is recognized for his 30-year commitment to the Ridgemont Community Association in various capacities, culminating as president. He was honoured by the City of Ottawa in 2010 when Ridgemont Park was renamed the Frank J. Licari Park in recognition of his achievements in community building, preserving green spaces, and improving local recreation facilities and programs, including wonderful upgrades to the play structure at the park.

Frank is known for his enthusiasm, commitment and also his modesty. He has inspired many with his volunteer work and dedication to many causes and organizations: Villa Marconi, Little Italy, Ottawa’s Dragon Boat Festival, St. Anthony’s Soccer Club, the Bank Street Redevelopment Plan, the Winter Park Skating Program, Saro’s Softball Team, Clifford Bowey Public School, the United Way, Ridgemont’s hockey and skating programs and much more.

He also worked with his colleagues and neighbours to initiate the Neighbourhood Watch Program and has organized numerous social functions for area residents, including street dances, community garage sales, and winter carnivals to name a few.

On behalf of the residents of River Ward, thank you Frank for your tremendous contributions which have made our city a better place.

City Celebrates 50 Years of Wastewater Treatment

On November 15, 2012, I was pleased to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Robert O. Pickard Environmental Centre (ROPEC), which was officially opened on November 15, 1962. ROPEC is Ottawa’s first wastewater treatment facility.

Today, as it was 50 years ago, ROPEC is a critical piece of infrastructure for our City. This plant treats all of Ottawa’s domestic and commercial wastewater and has allowed the City to become a leader in wastewater treatment. With new technologies, including real time controls, the City can further protect our waterways by managing the volume of sewage and stormwater captured and redirected to ROPEC for treatment. The City also re-uses by-products of the treatment process, including the conversion of digester gases into heat and electricity to run the plant. As part of the celebration, I was honored to open a time capsule, which was buried on the site on November 15, 1962. The time capsule was full of interesting historical items. Another time capsule will be sealed and buried, which will be opened during ROPEC’s 100th anniversary in 2062.

You can visit my website at MariaMcRae.ca for a list of what I discovered in the time capsule. In addition, the contents will be on display at several City facilities in 2013. I encourage you to take a look at some interesting pieces from our history.

Rink of Dreams Open for 2012-2013 Season

On November 30, 2012, the Rink of Dreams officially opened for the 2012-2013 winter season. The 12,500 square foot oval ice surface is a refrigerated outdoor skating facility situated on Marion Dewar Plaza at Ottawa City Hall, 110 Laurier Avenue West. The rink features LED lighting, a heated change hut and picnic tables and benches.

The Rink of Dreams is open from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., seven days a week. Please visit ottawa.ca for regular updates on rink closures due to inclement weather or for special events.

Congratulations to Order of Ottawa Recipients

On November 22, 2012, fifteen of Ottawa’s most outstanding residents were inducted into the Order of Ottawa. I am proud to congratulate River Ward resident Paul Benoit on his selection as an inaugural recipient of this award. As President and CEO of the Ottawa International Airport Authority since 1996, Paul’s countless contributions to our community are paralleled by his successes in putting Ottawa on the map of the international aviation industry. Congratulations to Paul and to all Order of Ottawa recipients!

New Street Food Vendors

The City of Ottawa will grant up to 20 new street food vending licences in 2013 as part of a new initiative approved by City Council in October 2012. This initiative aims to increase the diversity of food offered on City streets, meaning that more vendors will offer a wider variety of food in more communities.

If you are interested in being a vendor, applications are now available online at ottawa.ca. Proposals will be reviewed by a volunteer selection panel of Ottawa chefs and food experts. Applications are due by January 4, 2013.

Ottawa.ca Refresh

On November 30, 2012, the City launched its new website at ottawa.ca. The new website features four main search categories – Residents, Businesses, Visitors and City Hall – each of which is tailored to the specific segment of the population. Sub-categories such as Older Adults, Families and New Residents further narrow the search, making it easier for residents to find the information and City services relevant to them.

The new website demonstrates the City’s ongoing commitment to accountability and transparency by making it easy to find information and programs related to the Corporate Accountability Framework. Users with mobile devices will experience better search functionality and the ability to resize the screen image to suit the device it is being viewed on. The new ottawa.ca also provides easier access to E-Post options, allowing resident to view, pay and print their water and tax bills online.

Safer Roads Ottawa Program

December Initiatives
The City of Ottawa’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) will focus on speeding and impaired driving during the month of December 2012.
Speeding or not slowing down for road and weather conditions was attributed to 16,231 reportable collisions with 70 fatalities and 4,709 injuries between 2007 and 2011. In the same time period, there were 1,818 collisions related to impaired driving, with 34 fatalities and 764 injuries. Eighty percent of the impaired drivers were male and 30 percent were between the ages of 16 and 24.

November Results
Almost 500 charges were laid in November as part of the STEP program. 325 motorists were fined for stop sign violations and 168 charges were given to driver making unsafe lane changes.