Welcome Back to a New Fall Season

I hope that you and your families enjoyed a wonderful summer. Best wishes to students, their families and teachers during this new school year. I look forward to continuing working with you on matters that are of importance to our community.

River Ward Speed Boards

As you know, community safety, including traffic safety, is a top priority of mine. In response to community concerns about speeding, 6 new speed boards are available for exclusive deployment throughout our Ward. You may have noticed the boards in our Ward, including Central Park Drive.

While the Ottawa Police Service and I know about some of the speeding “hot spots”, if you would like City Traffic engineering staff to assess your street for use of a speed board, please give my office a call. I have arranged for the deployment of the speed boards year round.

Sawmill Creek Pedestrian Cycling Pathway Extension – Public Open House

At the end of June, I held an open house regarding the Sawmill Creek Pedestrian Cycling Pathway Extension project.

The Sawmill Creek Pedestrian Cycling Pathway Extension is a $2.5 million project that will connect from the existing Brookfield Multi-Use Pathway, east of the VIA Rail line, and extend approximately 1.1 kilometers south to Walkley Station.

Many residents from throughout our Ward and across the city attended this open house. I look forward to the completion of this phenomenal cycling and pedestrian jewel and will keep you updated as the project progresses.

Significant Increase in Residential Recycling and Waste Diversion

Residents of Ottawa have increased recycling by 14%, including 16.5% in green bin collection, and overall, we are sending 10% less material to the Trail Road landfill. This is great news for the City’s green bin program and for our city.

Compared to last year’s report, in the second quarter of 2013, there was a 1% increase in total waste collected (90, 380 to 91, 360 tonnes), and a 10% decrease in total waste taken to the landfill (52,150 down to 47, 110 tonnes). Total recycling (blue and black box, and green bin material) increased by 14%, from 38,230 tonnes to 44, 250 tonnes.

Biological Controls for the Emerald Ash Borer

Forestry Services is working with invasive species experts from the University of Toronto and the Canadian Forest Service to advance research on biological controls for the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) using native and non-native species that act as predators. This issue was a topic of several questions at the Emerald Ash Borer Information Session held earlier this summer and I want to ensure that you have the most current information on the work being done by our staff on this important issue.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has approved two non-native species of wasp for release in Canada as a control for EAB. These are Tetrastichus planipennisi and Spathius agrili. A third species of wasp that is native to Canada, Phasgonophora sulcata, is also being researched as a possible EAB predator. The wasps are non-stinging and are harmless to humans.

The City of Ottawa is working with researchers to explore the use of Tetrastichus
planipennisi and Phasgonophora sulcata on local Ash trees. Spathius agrili is not considered to be a good candidate for release in Ottawa due to our colder climate. Forestry services staff is already working with researchers by contributing staff time, equipment and inspecting sites to evaluate the effectiveness of these biocontrols in Ottawa and how best to incorporate them into the City’s EAB Strategy. The research trials are initially being done on a small scale and will include monitoring how the non-native insects interact with native species.

The City is exploring multiple options to manage the spread of EAB. Research in jurisdictions with longer experience with this pest suggest that no one tactic is 100% effective. Therefore, a combination of different tactics, including pesticide use and biocontrols, is required for the long- term management of EAB.

Slow Down the Spread of EAB by Not Moving Firewood

You can help slow down the spread of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) and protect our forests by not moving firewood or Ash wood material.

To combat EAB, the City has developed a strategy that includes controlling wood movement and disposal, tree removal, selective tree injections, proactive tree planting and public outreach. EAB is transferred to new locations primarily as a result of movement of infested wood.

Private property owners are responsible for removing and disposing of affected Ash trees on their properties. It is recommended that the owner use a certified arborist and ensure full compliance with existing federal regulations for wood movement and disposal. Smaller branches and limbs can be placed at the curb and be disposed of through leaf and yard waste. Best practices are to limit wood movement as much as possible.

The City is responsible for maintaining or removing Ash trees on City property (City road allowances, municipal parks and natural areas). As Ash trees decline, infested trees located on City property will be removed and handled appropriately by City staff and contractors.

If you need to buy wood for your cottage or campsite, buy it locally and use it or leave it behind when you depart.

Ottawa Ranked First in Canada, Third Overall in List of Sustainable North American Cities

Ottawa ranked first in Canada and third in North America, according to Corporate Knights magazine’s inaugural North American Sustainable Cities Scorecard.

Ottawa placed first out of the five biggest cities in Canada. Ottawa also ranked first in North America in the category of Environmental Quality and second in the category of Governance and Empowerment.

The report, published in Corporate Knights’ Best 50 & Sustainable Cities Edition, measured the 20 largest cities in the United States and Canada on 27 performance indicators across five categories: environmental quality, economic security, governance and empowerment, infrastructure and energy, and social well-being. San Francisco was ranked number one overall and Washington, DC came in second.

Back to School – Construction and Zone Safety

As the new school year starts, it is important to make sure everyone is aware about the risks and dangers with construction areas. Construction areas can add to the challenge of ensuring the safe movement throughout the City.

The Ottawa Police Service reminds motorists and pedestrians to be aware of the increase in traffic during this time and consider the following safety tips:

  • Children and pedestrians should walk on available sidewalks.
  • Always cross at intersections, looking and listening for traffic and walk across only when road is clear and safe to do so.
  • Follow adult crossing guards, student crossing patrols and school bus operator’s signals.
  • Always wear a helmet when riding a bike and walk your bike across a roadway.
  • Reduce speeds in schools zones and be ready to stop at any time. Children do not always notice oncoming traffic

Construction zones present other challenges to drivers and pedestrians such as:

  • Increased signage, including speed zone changes, stop signs and detours.
  • Higher volumes of traffic on alternate routes and possible delays.
  • Lane reductions, narrower roads, temporary sidewalks and re-designation of roads to one-way travel.
  • Increased equipment and machinery in the area and workers directing traffic.

Some tips to consider while travelling in construction zones include:

  • Plan your route to avoid the area,
  • Lower your speed,
  • Be aware of new signage, including detour changes,
  • Watch for changing conditions including movement of pedestrians, vehicles and construction personnel and changing roadway surfaces,
  • Be patient, remember work zones are necessary to improve infrastructure and roads and

    make them safer.

Let’s have a safe and wonderful school year!

Ottawa Ranked First in World on Economic Development Scorecard

I am proud to say that Ottawa has received the first-place ranking in a scorecard by the Marin Prosperity Institute that ranked 61 cities from around the globe in three key measurements of economic development: Technology, Talent, and Tolerance and a fourth measurement – Quality of Place.

The ranking suggests that a balance between the three measurements of economic development is a potential indicator for economic growth in a region. Of the 61 cities studied, Ottawa received the highest marks for talent and the highest overall rank, ahead of global cities such as Oslo, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, London and New York.

This is a great achievement for Ottawa and I am proud of our residents.

Property Taxes – Pay Online by Credit Card

The City has launched a new online feature allowing payment cards (credit card and Interac Online) for online payment of property taxes. Because of the increased demand for more flexible online payments, MasterCard, VISA and American Express, as well as Interac Online will now be accepted to make secure online property tax payments as a new payment service.

The number of payment card transactions with the City grew to almost $1 million in 2012 with associated payment cards costs to the City of more than $2 million this year. Acceptance of payment cards comes at a cost to the City and its taxpayers. Council approved service fees to be charged for those who choose this new property tax payment option to ensure that fees are paid by only those who choose this payment channel rather than by all taxpayers.

Service fees charged by the third party provider are:

  • 1.99 per cent of the payment amount for transactions over $25
  • $0.50 for transactions of $25 or less
  • payment cards will not be accepted for transactions totalling less than $1

The City of Ottawa does not receive any part of the service fee, which is charged by the City’s third-party provider, Paymentus Corporation. The service fee covers the fees charged by payment card companies and the costs of handling and processing a payment.

Providing this new user-pay option will:

  • maintain fairness and stewardship of public funds by protecting taxpayers from costs associated with payment card use by those who choose this option
  • reduce the City’s costs related to payment card fees
  • allow users to accumulate payment card loyalty rewards without the costs being borne bytaxpayers
  • enable expanded access to self-serve web-based payments enable the expansion of payment card use across more business lines

Credit card payments for property taxes are not accepted at Client Service Centres or by mail. Cash or cheques will continue to be accepted for all payments.

To make an online payment, please go to www.ottawa.ca and within the ServiceOttawa box select “Pay Your Property Tax Bill”.

Go paperless! and Hydro Ottawa Will Plant a Tree

Hydro Ottawa’s E-Billing is convenient, secure and free. As an E-Billing customer, you will receive an email when your bill is ready for viewing online. You can pay your bill online using your credit card or via your financial institution.

Sign up for E-Billing at hydroottawa.com/ebilling. Register before December 31, 2013 and Hydro Ottawa will plant a tree on your behalf in the Ottawa area.

Back to School 2013 Traffic Blitz Results

The Ottawa Police Service conducted a three-day Back to School Traffic Enforcement Blitz to remind motorists to follow the rules of the road and make the return to school safe for students.

Officers from East and West District Traffic, along with members of the Traffic Escort and Enforcement Sections, Community Police Centres, Neighbourhoods, School Resources and Patrol monitored driving behaviour in front of or close to school zones at over 30 locations.

In accordance with the zero tolerance in school zones policy, a total of 582 Provincial Offence Notices were issued such things as cell phone use, equipment infractions, failure to stop for a school bus and rolling through or not stopping for stop signs. As well, 20 parking bylaw tickets were given out.

Motorists are reminded that they must stop when school bus lights are activated, whether they are meeting, following or overtaking a bus. The fine for failing to stop for a school bus is $490 fine and six demerit points.

Ministry of Transportation to Extend Truck Traffic Survey until Early October

The Ministry of Transpiration of Ontario (MTO) extended its truck traffic survey period in the Ottawa area to include this week and the week of October 7, 2013. Here is an updated list of survey locations, dates and time:

  • Hawthorne Road (Trucks will be directed to the OC Transpo rest area at Hawthorne and Hunt Club Road)
    • Monday, September 9 (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.)
      o Wednesday, September 11 (12 p.m. to 6 p.m.)
    • Tuesday, October 8 (7 p.m. to 5 a.m.)
  • Highway 417 at Maitland Avenue (Trucks will be directed to the snow disposal facility at 950 Clyde Avenue)
    • Tuesday, September 10 (10 a.m. to 8 p.m.)
    • Wednesday, September 11 (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
    • Thursday, September 12 (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.)
    • Friday, September 13 (6 a.m. to 4 p.m.)
  • Highway 417 at the Vanier Parkway (Trucks will be directed to Ottawa Stadium)
    • Monday, October 7 (8 p.m. to 6 a.m.)
  • Hunt Club Road (Trucks will be directed to the Ernst and Young Centre)
    • Wednesday, October 9 (7 p.m. to 5 a.m.)

Trucks will be directed to off-road facilities for interviews of approximately 10 to 15 minutes. An MTO enforcement office will be present at each site at all times.

The Ottawa survey was extended beyond the original dates that occurred in late August, to acquire an adequate sample size.

The Ottawa survey locations were added to an existing province-wide MTO Commercial Vehicle Survey at the request of TRANS, a committee established in 1979 to coordinate efforts between the major transportation planning agencies of the National Capital Region.

Tips to Avoid the Grandparents Scam

The Ottawa Police Service Fraud Section wishes to raise awareness about telephone con artists that target senior citizens using the Distressed Loved One Tactic.

Across the country, con artists are scamming grandparents out of thousands of dollars by posing as their grandchildren in distress.

How this works:

A Grandparent receives a frantic telephone call from someone they believe to be their Grandchild.
The alleged Grandchild sounds distressed and may call from a location that has heavy background noise or static making it difficult to make out the voice.

The supposed Grandchild claims to be involved in some type of trouble while travelling in Canada, the US, or overseas (e.g. being arrested, having been involved in a car accident or experiencing major car trouble) and asks the Grandparent to immediately wire money to post bail, pay for medical treatment or unforeseen car repairs.

The scammer typically asks for several thousand dollars and may even call back again hours or days later, asking for more money.

The scammer may even claim embarrassment about the alleged trouble they’ve caused, requesting that the Grandparent keep it a secret from other family members and friends.

A variation of the scam may involve two scammers: the first scammer calls and poses as the Grandchild under arrest; the second scammer poses as a law Enforcement Officer–he or she gets on the phone with the grandparent and explains what fines need to be paid.

A common theme of the scam is the caller’s request for the Grandparents to wire through Western Union or to provide account routing numbers and in some instances requesting e-mail money transfers.

Please be aware that wiring money is like sending cash. There is absolutely no protection for the sender. Typically, there is no way of reversing the transaction once it’s gone, and no way of retracing the transaction for recovery of funds.

It is possible that the scammers find their targets on the internet or through social media.

How to avoid being scammed:

  • Be suspicious when you receive a call from a faraway location;
  • The caller identifies him or herself as your Grandchild only (no first name provided);
  • The Grandchild claims to be in some sort of distress;
  • The caller insists on you wiring money immediately.

Anyone who may have experienced this type of scam is encouraged to make a report with the Ottawa Police Call Centre 613-236-1222 ext. 7300 or phone Crime Stoppers at 613-233-8477 (TIPS) or toll free at 1-800-222-8477.

Register Now to Celebrate 20 years of Cleaning the Capital!

Tim Hortons and the City of Ottawa are pleased to announce the launch of the early bird registration for the annual Fall Cleaning the Capital event, which will take place from September 15 until October 15.

Volunteers who register their cleanup project during the early bird period, which takes place between August 15 and September 14 (you still have lots of time!), have a chance to win one of the many early bird prizes donated by our generous sponsors. Regular registration ends October 15.

Registration is quick and easy. First, select a cleanup location, such as a ravine, shoreline, bus stop, pathway, park or any public area requiring tidying up. Then go to ottawa.ca to register your cleanup project.

Cleanup starter kits for litter pickup and graffiti removal projects are available to all registered volunteers upon request. Litter pickup starter kits include disposable vinyl gloves, garbage bags as well as leaf and yard waste bags. All kits come with helpful project and safety information to guide your cleanup project.

This is a great opportunity for families and friends to work together on community cleanup projects that help make Ottawa, our home, clean, green and litter free. The Tim Hortons Fall Cleaning the Capital is also an excellent way for high school students to earn their community volunteer hours!

Household Hazardous Waste Depots – Keeping Our Environment Safe

It is important for us to dispose of our household hazardous waste in the safest and most environmentally friendly way. To keep our waste collection operators and our environment safe, we need to do our part by safely disposing of waste such as used batteries, needles, pesticides and pool chemicals. For a complete listing of household hazardous waste, please visit ottawa.ca.

To help us dispose of these products safely, the City operates several, one-day Household Hazardous Waste Depots at various sites throughout Ottawa. The next depot is on Sunday, September 22, 2013 at 100 Constellation Road from 8AM to 4PM. A complete list of dates is available at ottawa.ca.

If you cannot attend a depot, some materials can be easily recycled every day. You can return items such as paint, oil, compact fluorescent bulbs and rechargeable batteries to a participating local retailer any day of the week during regular operating hours.

Applications for the Better Neighbourhoods Program

The Better Neighbourhoods Program call for applications opens today and runs until Monday, October 21, 2013. This Neighbourhood Connection Office program helps residents and community groups implement projects aimed at improving their neighbourhoods.

This is a program for community groups that are interested in making creative use of public space in their urban/suburban neighbourhoods. These small-scale, community-driven projects will make the community more liveable, vibrant, healthy and beautiful.

Up to four neighbourhoods will be selected to work with City staff and their Councillor’s office in 2014 to identify opportunities, and to plan and implement projects chosen by the community. Projects will be supported by the City up to a maximum of $30,000.

Two information sessions will be held to help residents learn more about the application process:

  • Thursday, September 19, 7 p.m., Ben Franklin Place, Community Room 1-A, 101 Centrepointe Drive
  • Wednesday, September 25, 7 p.m., Ogilvie North Gloucester Library, Room B, 2036 Ogilvie Road

Application criteria can be found at ottawa.ca and includes sufficient volunteer capacity to support the projects and the support of the Ward Councillor.

Safer Roads Ottawa Program

September 2013 Initiatives

The City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Police Service’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) will focus on school zone safety and vehicle occupant restraints during the month of September, as part of its ongoing commitment to keeping Ottawa’s roads safe.

School Zone Safety
Between 2008 and 2012, there were 35 collisions involving school buses or in school zones resulting in seven injuries.

Vehicle Occupant Restraints (includes child car seats)
Between 2008 and 2012, there were 209 collisions involving the non-use of seat belts or a child safety seat used incorrectly. These collisions resulted in 219 injuries and 22 fatalities.

July 2013 Initiative and Results

The City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Police Service’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) focused on cycling safety and unsafe vehicles during the month of July resulting in 43 charges being laid, 40 for cycling safety and 3 for unsafe vehicles.

August 2013 Initiative and Results

The City of Ottawa and the Ottawa Police Service’s Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) focused on pedestrian safety and speeding for the month of August resulting in 1543 charges being laid, 34 for pedestrian safety and 1509 for speeding.

The Safer Roads Ottawa Program is a leading community partnership between Ottawa Fire Services, Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ottawa Police Service, Ottawa Public Health and the Public Works Department committed to preventing or eliminating road deaths and serious injuries for all people in the City of Ottawa, through culture change, community engagement, and development of a sustainable safe transportation environment.

Also participating in the Safer Roads Ottawa Program are the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), Sureté du Québec, Department of National Defence’s Military Police and Gatineau Police Service to improve road safety for all residents of the national capital region.