Submitted by Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward Councillor
October is here and has brought big changes for many of us. As we all navigate our new normal, I want to thank everyone for continuing to show up for your neighbours during these tough times. Things are moving at full speed at City Hall, so read on to find out what’s happening.
In mid-September, I voted in favour of proposals for higher-density residential zones around the downtown core that will allow greater intensification than previously, which would allow new buildings in residential fourth density (R4) zones to have an increased number of units. The intention behind this change is to create more low-rise residential rental stock without relying on sprawl. We have asserted in this term of council that we are experiencing a climate crisis and a housing crisis — these two events are inextricably linked, and increasing the density allowed in R4 zones will help address these crises, along with a robust inclusionary zoning strategy. We need to create a Kitchissippi Ward that everyone can live in and enjoy.
After discussing with city staff, I have determined to remove the local traffic only restrictions on Byron Avenue on Nov. 2. As I’ve mentioned in previous columns and newsletters, I fully expect to receive a request from residents in the area to make some form of these restrictions permanent. I will consider the request, but it will be subject to community consultation before a final decision is made. If snow removal operations require it, I will have to remove the restrictions earlier than Nov. 2.
On Holland Ave, I have received confirmation from city staff that the bike lanes that were put in place as a temporary detour during construction of Jackie Holzman Bridge could be made permanent. I plan to bring a notice of motion to the October Transportation Committee meeting to ask to keep these lanes, which will be voted on at the November meeting. Some minor changes to the configuration would be in order — moving the northbound bus stop and increasing the speed limit to 40 km/h among them — but, overall, I am pleased to be able to maintain this well-used cycling corridor.
Speaking of transportation, the city has opened another phase of consultations for the new Transportation Master Plan. However you want to get around the city, your input is necessary to ensure that we’re moving in the right direction when we craft our transportation plans. The current questionnaire is open until Oct. 23; you can find it and more information about the project at engage.ottawa.ca/transportation-master-plan.
Finally, I know that our current case numbers are concerning. The best way to stay up to date on the COVID-19 situation in Ottawa is to visit the Ottawa Public Health website. They are leading our approach to this pandemic and have created a host of excellent resources.
Stay safe, Kitchissippi.