Happy New Year!!

I hope that you enjoyed a wonderful Christmas and holiday season. My husband Paul and I spent a wonderful time enjoying our families in our hometown, Sudbury.

Over the next year, I look forward to enjoying time with Paul and our friends and family, and to meeting our River Ward neighbours in the community. It is an honour and a privilege to serve you and to work with you to ensure that our community remains a great place to live, visit, do business and raise a family.
Best wishes to you and your family for a happy and healthy 2013.

Looking Forward to 2013

In 2013, the River Ward community and Ottawans will see many exciting projects and initiatives move forward. These include:

  • Design and construction of a new cycling and pedestrian pathway along the Sawmill Creek Constructed Wetlands from Brookfield Road to Walkley Road, connecting to the Airport Parkway Pedestrian/Cycling Bridge, which will also open in 2013;
  • Improvements to River Ward infrastructure, including the addition of a new traffic control signal near Villa Marconi (Baseline Road at Farlane Boulevard), road resurfacing work along Crerar Avenue and modifications to the intersection of Baseline Road and Prince of Wales Drive, to name a few;
  • Finalization of the Environmental Assessment for the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel, an important milestone in the Ottawa River Action Plan;
  • New ServiceOttawa initiatives aimed to improve the efficiency of delivering service to residents, providing a projected savings of $8.8 million in 2013;
  • Continuation of Phases 2 and 3 of Ottawa’s 30-Year Waste Plan; and
  • Many others.

Green Bins Love Evergreens: Recycling Your Christmas Tree and Evergreen Boughs

Christmas trees are collected each week with your regular organics materials. Please remove all decorations and plastic wrapping, and place the tree and evergreen boughs at your curbside on collection day.

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.

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 – January 2013

Construction on the Airport Parkway Pedestrian/Cycling Bridge continues to progress. During December 2012, contractors continued the scaffolding, formwork and falsework for the installation of the upper half of the tower. The east pathway connection and the installation of a new access door and windows at the South Keys Transit Station took place.

Next steps include continuing the installation of the upper tower formwork, falsework and reinforcing steel and the contractor will begin the forming and falsework for the main deck across the Airport Parkway.

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.

Christmas Lights Tour for River Ward Seniors

On December 7, 2012, I hosted River Ward seniors at my annual Christmas Lights Tour. After getting into the holiday spirit during a tour of the Christmas lights throughout our National Capital Region, guests continued the festivities at a reception featuring Christmas carols and holiday treats. Thank you to everyone who attended this fun event!

Plasco Commercial Facility Agreement

On December 15, 2012, I was pleased to announce the finalization of the Plasco Energy Group Inc. (“Plasco”) Commercial Facility Long-Term Waste Conversion Agreement. The signing of this contract is an important milestone in the City of Ottawa’s ongoing partnership with Plasco. I worked diligently with Kent Kirkpatrick, our City Manager, to ensure that the interests of taxpayers were rigorously protected during the negotiation of this agreement.

The contract outlines an agreement for Plasco to process 109,500 tonnes of City-supplied waste per year. All construction, operating and maintenance costs are the responsibility of Plasco.

Registration Open for Winter Recreation Programs and Classes

Winter recreation program registration is underway with most classes beginning this month. The City’s online guide, available at ottawa.ca, will help you browse through classes to find the perfect one for you or your family. Sign up for skating, skiing, snowshoeing or winter walks. It’s an excellent opportunity to have fun with your friends outdoors. If you feel like staying indoors, we have hundreds of classes and activities in our gyms, fitness centres, halls, arenas, swimming pools and arts studios. Why not try pottery, martial arts, yoga, ballroom dancing, basketball, Tai Chi, indoor cycling, or guitar lessons – there is something for everyone.

You can register online at ottawa.ca, by telephone at 613-580-2588, or in-person at any recreation or cultural facility during regular business hours.

Outdoor Sledding Hills and Skating Rinks

Ottawans can enjoy fun winter activities at the City’s approved sledding hills and outdoor skating rinks. River Ward residents enjoy tobogganing at Mooney’s Bay Park (2960 Riverside Drive) or skating at any of the following locations:

  • Alexander (960 Silver Street)
  • Arnott 691 Hartman Crescent)
  • Bellevue Manor (1520 Caldwell Avenue)
  • Bellevue Raven (1500 Larose Avenue)
  • Carleton Heights (1665 Apeldoorn Avenue)
  • Celebration (Central Park Drive)
  • Frank J. Licari (1990 Cochrane Street)
  • Geoff Wightman (89 Leopolds Drive)
  • Ledbury (1250 Ledbury Avenue)
  • Lexington (1404 Lexington Street)
  • McCarthy (3320 Paul Anka Drive)
  • Meadowvale (1205 Trenton Avenue)
  • Owl (185 Owl Drive)
  • Paget (801 Springland Drive)
  • Pauline Vanier (1015 Harkness Avenue)
  • Rideauview (960 Eiffel Avenue)
  • Uplands Park (3165 Uplands Drive

A full list of Ottawa’s outdoor skating rinks and approved sledding hills is available online at ottawa.ca.

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. Sub- categories such as Older Adults, Families and New Residents further narrow the search, making it easier for you to find the information and City services relevant to you.

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.

Ottawa Light Rail Transit – Moving Forward

Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) project received unanimous approval from City Council on December 19, 2012. Council endorsed the selection of the Rideau Transit Group, a consortium of world-leading engineering firms, to design, build, finance and maintain the City’s LRT line from Tunney’s Pasture to Blair Station. The 12.5 kilometre project includes 13 rail stations and is the backbone of Ottawa’s new rail and rapid bus public transit system.

Construction of the Confederation Line, the biggest capital project in the City’s history, is expected to start in late February 2013, when the Rideau Transit Group will begin widening Highway 417 between Nicholas Street at the 417/174 split. The construction schedule will see the project substantially complete by the end of 2017 and in service by 2018. 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 confederationline.ca.

City of Ottawa 2013 Summer Student Employment Program

The Summer Student Employment Program is a great opportunity to gain valuable work experience and insight into today’s workforce, discover a career path, showcase skills and enhance academic goals. Students interested in summer employment with the City of Ottawa can apply online at Ottawa.ca. The application process will close on Thursday, February 7, 2013. Student positions are available in the following areas:

  • Administrative and Support Services
  • Building, Roads, Forestry and Parks Maintenance
  • By-Law Services
  • Engineering and Science
  • Environmental Science
  • Finance and Accounting
  • Information Technology and Geomatics
  • Laboratory Technologist/Chemistry
  • Library Services
  • Paramedic Services
  • Parks and Recreation Services Public Health Services
  • Recreation, Heritage, Community and Social Services
  • Traffic and Parking Operations

For more information including eligibility criteria and other requirements, please visit ottawa.ca. I greatly encourage our River Ward youth to apply for these summer positions.

Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones this Flu Season

Ottawa Public Health and area hospitals want to remind you to protect yourself and your loved ones and to take appropriate steps to ease symptoms if you get sick this flu season.


It is not too late to get the flu vaccine. You can get their flu vaccine at OPH clinics, your doctor’s office, some local pharmacies and many walk-in clinics in the city. This season’s flu vaccine is proving to be effective and is well matched to the most common influenza strains in the community.

  • Ottawa Public Health would also like to remind you of these key tips to avoid getting and transmitting the flu virus:
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm, not your hand.
  • Avoid crowds, public gathering and stay at home if you are sick.
  • Do not visit hospitalized patients if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Ease symptoms

Individuals who have flu-like symptoms – a fever, a cough, severe headache and/or chills are advised to:

  • Rest.
  • Drink lots of fluids.
  • Take basic pain or fever relievers.
  • Take a warm bath.
  • Gargle with a glass of warm water or suck on hard candy or lozenges.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco.

Contact your health care provider if symptoms are severe and do not improve after a few days

You should call your health care provider immediately if you experience flu symptoms and you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Have a chronic health problem that requires regular medical attention
  • Are elderly or frail
  • Have an illness or are receiving treatments – for example, for diabetes, cancer, or HIV/AIDS – that might affect your immune system
  • Have a child under three months of age who has a fever over 38° C or 100.4° F

There are many ways to get non-emergency medical care. Trained professionals from tele-health Ontario and the Ottawa Public Health Information line can answer your questions by phone, and family doctors, nurses and other health care providers can provide care.

The emergency room may not be your best option. Residents are asked to note that many area- hospitals are experiencing an increase in volume to their emergency departments and that the Ottawa Public Health has noticed an increased demand for the flu vaccine in recent days and is working with health care providers, institutions and the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to ensure that everyone who wants a flu vaccine can get one.

To find out where to get the flu vaccine, or for the latest public health information, visit ottawa.ca, contact Ottawa Public Health Information Line at 613-580-6744 (TTY: 613-580- 9656) or visit us on Facebook and Twitter (@ottawahealth).

To reach Telehealth Ontario, call 1-866-797-0000

Safer Roads Ottawa Program

January Initiatives
The Ottawa Police Service’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) will focus on drivers who follow too closely and those failing to completely stop at sign-controlled intersections as part of its ongoing commitment to keeping Ottawa’s roads safe.

Between 2007 and 2011, following too closely was the cause of 24,487 traffic collisions, 6,872 injuries and eight fatalities. During the same time period, 3,405 collisions at stop sign-controlled intersections resulted in five deaths and 1,075 injuries.

December Results
As part of several initiatives to keep roads safe during the holiday season, the Ottawa Police Service conducted RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) programs throughout December.

A total of 6,789 vehicles were stopped at RIDE checkpoints, which resulted in 26 roadside tests being administered. Three individuals were charged for impaired driving and 4 suspensions were issued.

A three year comparison of December RIDE stats show the numbers being relatively consistent.

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.