Councillor’s Corner

Submitted by Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward Councillor –

Happy New Year, Kitchissippi! I hope everyone had a safe and cozy holiday season. We had a busy 2018 and we’re ready to hit the ground running in 2019. Read on to find out what’s happening at city hall. 

This term of council I will be serving as the chair of the information technology sub-committee, as vice-chair of the transportation committee, and as the only urban core member of the planning committee. It’s been well-reported in the press that councillors from the urban core were frozen out of committee chair and deputy mayor positions that would give them a seat at the finance and economic development committee, the mayor’s de facto cabinet/executive committee. My motion to add councillor Menard and Brockington to planning committee was defeated at council, and I and eight other councillors voted to reject the Mayor’s nominations outright. 

The budget direction report was also passed, with four of us dissenting. Staff will now prepare a budget draft that anticipates a citywide tax supported levy of no more than three percent. These funds will address increased labour costs and support critical infrastructure renewal projects. This would add no additional debt, but I anticipate that there will be little new funding beyond inflation to address the ongoing housing crisis, increase our social services, or improve our other pressing needs. 

In better budget news, an additional $400,000 has been approved for the Rosemount Library renovations! The new glassed-in reading room at the front was well-received by folks I spoke with at the open houses showcasing the revised plans, and I’m looking forward to seeing the finished product. 

We’ll resume pop-up office hours shortly, so keep your eye on the newsletter for more information about where and when we can meet up to chat all things Kitchissippi. In the meantime, we do have a community meeting for a potential development at 258 Carruthers coming up on January 15, and another meeting to discuss the Westgate (1309 Carling Ave.) development. More information on that at kitchissippiward.ca. I hope to see you there!

Councillor’s Corner

Submitted by Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward Councillor – 

Winter arrived early this year, Kitchissippi, but we aren’t going to let that slow us down! The season is in full swing and we have lots of news to share, so read on to find out what’s happening as we wrap up 2018. 

With the new term of council beginning early this month, we will be facing lots of new decisions. One of the biggest of them will be whether to opt-out of cannabis retail storefronts. This issue has been a bouncing ball throughout the summer and fall, with the change in provincial government meaning a change in approach from the more cautious method that was poised to give city councillors some significant input into the locations of cannabis stores. 

Under the Conservative provincial government, private vendors will be allowed to operate legal storefronts, and municipalities will have no say in where they go, but they will have the ability to opt-out. I would prefer that the city had more power of the location and regulation of cannabis stores, but unfortunately that’s not an option. Many residents know that Kitchissippi has seen several illegal dispensaries open, and over the last two years I’m comfortable that the shops have not, by and large, created an overwhelming public-interest concern. As such, I don’t support opting out. 

It’s 2018 and you can purchase beer or wine from the Superstore, steps away from Hilson Public School. Cannabis is now a legal product, and forcing residents to cross borders to shop in-person for it is anti-consumer and overly Victorian. I believe that whatever drawbacks we find to private cannabis storefront retail can be reasonably addressed. 

I’m excited to welcome new colleagues to the council table this month, and can’t wait to start to working together to keep making Ottawa awesome. My final pop-up for the year will be on December 10 at Equator Coffee from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. The office will close on December 22 and re-open on January 2, with staff energized for a new year. Stay warm, Kitchissippi. 

Federal update: A look back at 2018

Submitted by Catherine McKenna, MP Ottawa Centre –

Just as we come upon the winter season, we tend to revisit the goals we set for ourselves at the beginning of the year. As your MP for Ottawa Centre, we have accomplished a lot over the past couple of years. A cleaner environment with better public transit, improved cycling paths, and more social housing. Better support for seniors and families. Respect for public servants and a more inclusive community.

We’ve made some great strides in the riding such as the ongoing construction of the Flora Footbridge set to open in 2019, which will connect two important mid-town Ottawa communities (Old Ottawa East with the Glebe and Old Ottawa South). We’re creating a healthier Ottawa River by introducing new access points to the canal for canoeing and kayaking and designated the Ottawa River as a Canadian Heritage River. A federal investment in Ottawa to create over 400 below-market rent spaces through the launch of the National Affordable Housing program. Not to mention double the number of jobs created for students per year and over 800 jobs in Ottawa Centre through the Canada Summer Jobs program.

It is hard to believe that three years have passed since I was elected. There’s a lot to celebrate when we look back at the amazing things we’ve accomplished. But we still have a lot of work do. Our community, our country, and our planet are worth fighting for, and that is why I am proud to be your member of parliament.

It is an honour to work with you to build a more prosperous, sustainable, and vibrant Ottawa Centre for all. I’m looking forward to the year ahead and seeing what else we can get done.

Find out more about what we’ve done in our recent digital householder online at catherinemckennamp.ca and stay connected with Team McKenna through social media for upcoming events, town halls, and coffee pop-ups.

Twitter: @CathMckenna
Facebook: Catherine McKenna
Instagram: @CathMcKennaOttCen

Note: Our office will be closed December 20, 2018 and we will re-open January 2, 2019.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Provincial update: Access to justice is a right for everyone 

Submitted by Joel Harden, MPP Ottawa Centre – 

Imagine your spouse passed away in the prime of his career without leaving any will or family estate. You now struggle to survive financially with two young children, and are forced to contend with a legal system to salvage your family’s earnings. Where do you turn? 

Now imagine being sued by your mentally-ill brother subsequent to his being involuntarily hospitalized at the order of a family physician. You were appointed a substitute decision-maker for your brother, and made a difficult choice that is now being litigated. Where do you turn?

These are real-life cases, and in each instance, lawyers with Pro Bono Ontario resolved challenging matters for people in their time of need. In our riding of Ottawa Centre and in Toronto, Pro Bono Ontario’s Law Help Centres offer access to justice. The centres serve more than 18,000 clients every year, with volunteer lawyers dispensing free advice to those with everyday legal problems including landlord/tenant disputes, predatory lending schemes and estate issues.

Pro Bono Ontario’s three centres were slated to close this December given a rise in demand for their services. At the eleventh hour, however, the federal government and legal community stepped in to provide another year’s worth of emergency funding after appeals Pro Bono made to the Attorney General of Ontario for financial support fell on deaf ears. 

Not only do the Law Help Centres help thousands navigate the legal system, they save the system money. It costs $500,000 to run the centres, but Pro Bono Ontario has conducted a study which shows how the Centres save Ontario $5 million a year by reducing court delays, a 10-1 return on investment. 

For a small upfront cost, Ontario taxpayers save money, the courts operate more efficiently, and vulnerable people can access the legal support they need. Everyone wins by keeping these centres open, and I want to thank the legal community, including in Ottawa Centre, who rallied to save them.

While the law help centres have been given a reprieve, their future after 2019 is still uncertain. What they need is stable, permanent provincial funding, something that Quebec provides to its pro bono legal services. I’ve been speaking out about this issue at the Ontario legislature, but I need your help to ensure the centres are always there for people in need. Send an email to attorney general Caroline Mulroney at attorneygeneral@ontario.ca to let her know that you care about access to justice.

Federal update: Investing in Ottawa Centre to build a better community

Submitted by Catherine McKenna, MP Ottawa Centre – 

I got into politics not because it’s easy, but because it matters. It matters for our community, it matters for our country, and it matters for our kids. I’m proud that we’ve been able to work together to build a better Ottawa Centre.

As your MP for Ottawa Centre, together we have accomplished a lot over the past three years. Some highlights of my campaign commitments that together we have delivered on:

The Flora Footbridge 

The federal government invested half of the $21 million cost of the Flora Footbridge, which will connect two important mid-town Ottawa communities (Old Ottawa East with the Glebe and Old Ottawa South), reducing commuting distances and promoting active modes of transportation. It is well underway and scheduled to be completed by August 2019.

The new Ottawa Public Library and Library and Archives Canada facility

The $73.3 million federal investment will help support not only a great library for Ottawans but also create a world-class facility to showcase Canadian artifacts and collections and tell the story of Canada’s history. 

Healthier Ottawa River 

The federal government investment of $232 million for the Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel (CSST) project will help protect the health of the Ottawa River. We also introduced new access points to the canal for canoeing and kayaking and designated the Ottawa River as a Canadian Heritage River. Furthermore, Environment and Climate Change Canada is conducting a study of the Ottawa River. 

More affordable housing in Ottawa through the National Affordable Housing Strategy 

This includes a federal investment of $75 million to build more than 400 below-market rent spaces in Ottawa Centre. We will continue to work with the city of Ottawa to invest in more affordable housing in Ottawa.

Extending Ottawa’s Light Rail Transit System 

Over a billion dollars of federal funding for Stage 2 of Light Rail Transit. This investment will help to better connect the east, west, and south areas of Ottawa and help Ottawans get around in a faster, cheaper, and cleaner way. It will also be the largest reduction of greenhouse gas pollution in Ottawa’s history.

More jobs for students 

Over 300 new summer jobs were created for students through the Canada Summer Jobs program this past summer right here in Ottawa Centre. Since 2015, the federal government has doubled the number of jobs per year for students and over 800 jobs have been created in Ottawa Centre.

It is hard to believe that three years have passed since I was elected. It is an honour to work with you to build a more prosperous, sustainable, and vibrant Ottawa Centre for all.

Connect with Team McKenna at CatherineMcKennaMP.ca. By telephone: 613-946-8682 or by mail: 107 Catherine Street, Ottawa, ON K2P 0P4.

Provincial update: There is no Planet B

Submitted by Joel Harden, MPP Ottawa Centre –

It’s not often that something truly shocks me, but the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) recent report warning that we have twelve years to stop climate catastrophe hit me like a sucker-punch. 

The picture the IPCC’s report paints is a grim one: if we fail to limit warming at 1.5°C, we can expect more frequent and severe drought, flooding, wildfires and a mass die-off of coral reefs by 2040.  

The IPCC’s report is a wake-up call for decision makers to treat the climate crisis with the seriousness it deserves. We need bold leadership and a real plan. Unfortunately, the Ford government is offering neither. 

They’re scrapping cap-and-trade, which although flawed, put a price on carbon and generated revenue that could be used to mitigate climate change. They have no plan of their own to reduce emissions and are ruling out any form of carbon pricing. 

To make matters worse, Doug Ford has appointed himself the leader of an anti-carbon-tax crusade, making alliances with Jason Kenney and other right-wing politicians who are determined to end even piecemeal attempts to address climate change. 

We hear from the Fords and Kenneys of the world that a price on carbon is elitist, but nothing could be further from the truth. The people who will suffer most if we fail to take our climate responsibilities seriously are the poor and vulnerable. While the richest can afford a proverbial lifeboat, isolating themselves from the worst effects of climate catastrophe, the rest of us won’t be so lucky. 

Moreover, who benefits from failing to tackle climate change? Astonishingly, just 100 big companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. Opposing carbon pricing has nothing to do with “standing up for the little guy” and everything to do with giving massive corporations a free pass to pollute. 

At the legislature, you can count on me and our NDP caucus to stand up for carbon pricing, stronger environmental protections, science-based emission reduction targets, and legislation allowing citizens to sue fossil fuel companies for climate-related damages. 

Ottawa Centre is full of environmental leaders. Let’s get organized to win the environmental justice we deserve. Contact our office if you want to receive updates, volunteer or have ideas to share. Call 613-722-6414 or send an email to Jharden-co@ndp.on.ca. Our constituency office is located at 109 Catherine St.

Councillor’s Corner

Submitted by Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward Councillor –

Thank you for your support sending me back to city hall. It’s no secret that I love Kitchissippi, and I’m proud of the work I’ve done over the past four years serving as your city councillor, but I’m even more excited about what’s coming next. 

In this term of council, we will be refreshing the city’s official plan and the transportation master plan. Council will also create a new waste management plan and a new plan to tackle the growing need for affordable housing. I will also work with staff to create a new secondary plan for Westboro with the intention of setting out clearer mandates and policies for intensification. 

We have a few key issues facing the ward that I’m committed to working on over the next four years. I will collaborate with staff and other councillors to strategize how we can increase our affordable housing stock, especially around rapid transit hubs. Diverse neighbourhoods are the strongest and most vibrant neighbourhoods, and we need to ensure that housing in the urban core of the city remains affordable to a wide variety of residents. 

I want to prioritize a form of growth for Kitchissippi that is sustainable. I will be a vocal, independent champion for better planning policies city-wide as we review the official plan and other development-related policies. I will continue to work towards intensification that is mitigated by necessary infrastructure, both soft and hard, and respects our urban forest. 

I will also work diligently to ensure that our transportation policy under the new transportation master plan is created with a view towards sustainability. Phase two of LRT is a crucial piece of this puzzle, and I look forward to its implementation, but so are safer streets that are walkable and bikeable. The congestion and aggressive driving or cut-through traffic that accompanies intensification are an ongoing issue that I have worked to address with traffic calming measures throughout the ward. I have also worked to make our streets safer for all road users by advocating for new pedestrian measures, such as pedestrian crossovers and advance lights, throughout the ward. In the next term of council, I will continue to advocate for the resources and approaches necessary to protect all road users. 

Thank you for this opportunity, Kitchissippi. Let’s get to work.

Provincial update: Community concerns must be heard

Submitted by Joel Harden, MPP Ottawa Centre – 

Joel Harden, MPP Ottawa Centre
Joel Harden, MPP Ottawa Centre

Friends in Ottawa Centre,

I will confirm what you’ve seen in news reports: it’s been a daily, jaw-dropping circus at the Ontario Legislature. At issue is Premier Doug Ford’s insistence that he has the right to interfere in free and fair elections at the City of Toronto.

With Premier Ford’s decision to invoke the Charter’s Notwithstanding Clause, Ontario finds itself in a political moment once captured by the great Bertolt Brecht:

“Some party hack decreed that the people had lost the government’s confidence and could only regain it with redoubled effort.  If that is the case, would it not be simpler,  if the government simply dissolved the people and elected another?”

Ford is settling old scores at Toronto City Hall. He laments about “downtown city councillors” while hospitals are overcrowded, schools are crumbling, and student debt piles up. 

And who is likely to benefit from fewer city councillors in Toronto? Developers, lobbyists, and others seeking to cash in at expense of Toronto residents. If Ford is successful, we can expect a wave of privatization efforts, none of which are likely to help those in need. 

Of course, this isn’t just a Toronto issue: Ford has already said he won’t hesitate to use the Notwithstanding Clause again. 

Along with my NDP caucus colleagues, we’ve used every tool at our disposal to fight this attack on people’s Charter rights. We slowed them down through marathon parliamentary sessions, while hundreds of citizens have mobilized to voice their resistance. 

We are also continuing to organize locally. From 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on October 13, we will host a town hall on responsible development at the Ottawa South Community Centre (260 Sunnyside Ave). Constituents are telling us that developers call the shots at city hall, and that community concerns must be heard. 

I very much agree, and I hope to see you on October 13. 

My very best,
Joel

Federal update: Investing in our communities and helping to grow the middle class

Submitted by Catherine McKenna, MP Ottawa Centre – 

Catherine McKenna, MP Ottawa Centre

As the leaves begin to change colour and the weather cools down, signalling Thanksgiving, I can’t help but reflect on how thankful I am to be part of the wonderful community that is Ottawa Centre. Knocking on doors and listening to residents is one of the best ways to hear what matters to you.

As Ottawa continues to grow and evolve as our capital city, I will continue to push for investments that help our community. Some examples of those important investments in Ottawa Centre include: 

$1.4 million across 133 organizations in Ottawa Centre through the Canada Summer Jobs program this past summer. Thanks to Canada Summer Jobs, young people in Ottawa Centre had access to job opportunities with small businesses, not-for-profit organizations, and the public sector.

$10.5 million for the Fifth-Clegg Footbridge, now named the Flora Footbridge. The five-metre-wide, 123-metre-long, linear multi-use pedestrian and cyclist bridge will connect the important mid-town communities of Old Ottawa East, Old Ottawa South, and The Glebe. It will also reduce commute distances and promote the use of active modes of transportation in Ottawa. It is scheduled to be completed by August 2019.

$26.4 million to Carleton University in support of sustainability and green initiatives on campus, including energy-efficient retrofitting and development of the Advances Research and Smart Environments project, a collaborative infrastructure project that promises to bolster innovation in clean technology. 

These are just some examples of our government’s commitment to helping communities and the middle-class grow. Together, we will keep working to build and grow a healthy and prosperous Ottawa Centre. 

A final note: resolving the ongoing public service pay problem is our government’s priority. We are committed to working collaboratively at all levels to resolve the issues with Phoenix as soon as possible, while understanding that there is no quick fix. We are confident that we will resolve the problem with the help of our dedicated public servants, and we are listening to all valuable perspectives.

If you have challenges resolving your Phoenix pay issue, please contact our office. A member of our team will look into how our office can best help. 

Connect with Team McKenna at CatherineMcKennaMP.ca. By telephone: 613-946-8682 or by mail: 107 Catherine Street, Ottawa, ON K2P 0P4.

Comforting the afflicted, afflicting the comfortable: my focus as your MPP

Submitted by Joel Harden, MPP Ottawa Centre –

Joel Harden, MPP Ottawa Centre

Friends in Ottawa Centre,

The Ford Government has been busy, and we’ve seen an array of cuts this Summer.

Modern sex-ed in schoolsworkers’ rights on campusand nearly-completed renewable energy projects were the early casualties. Halving the number of Toronto’s city councillors was next, along with cuts to Ontario Works and Ontario Disability Support Program benefits.

At issue is how our community responds, and playing it safe isn’t an option. As a mentor of mine once said, we must comfort the afflicted (those hurt by Ford), and afflict the comfortable (exposing the few who benefit most from Ford).

You can expect that strategy from me and the talented folks in our MPP office. We will be there when you need help, and we will keep organizing in our community for justice.

As promised, we’ve been knocking on doors, and gathered hundreds of signatures on petitions to save the 2015 Physical and Health Education Curriculum. We’ve supported teachers who want youth to learn about healthy relationships, cyber-bullying, insights from Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the rights of queer and trans people.

Some might say this is pointless, but they would be wise to remember the words of Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Premier Ford believes his government is “for the people”, and it’s up to us to demonstrate otherwise. This is what community organizing can accomplish.

We  see it in teachers who will teach the 2015 Health and Physical Education Curriculum this fall to keep our kids safe. We see it in OW and ODSP recipients who are fighting back, and telling heart-rending stories about poverty.

We see it in the Deadman family, who just saved two of Ottawa’s oldest trees. We see it in the residents of Herongate who are fighting a mass eviction by a developer intent on making profits at the expense of people.

It’s time to organize. With that in mind, come to our MPP town hall on Ontario’s Cannabis Policy, 1pm-3pm on September 22, at the Hintonburg Community Centre.

We’ll be hosting town halls like this every month, and canvassing every weekend. We need to hear from you.

My very best,
Joel Harden, MPP (Ottawa Centre)

Councillor’s Corner

Submitted by Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward Councillor – 

Time flies Kitchissippi! August is already upon us and we in the ward are determined to make the most of the remainder of the summer. Read on to find out what’s happening in the area this month.

Westboro FUSE is coming up on August 18 and 19. Richmond Road will be closed between Golden Avenue and McRae Avenue from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday to fill the street with family-friendly fun! A bevy of busker, live performance for all ages, and events showcasing the best of what Westboro has to offer will give you lots to look forward to. There’s still time to sign up to volunteer. Visit the Westboro Village website for more info.

We held a community consultation session on July 25 regarding the Laroche Park and Community Building Redevelopment plan. Last year’s Cash-In-Lieu funds ward-wide consultation put a new field house for Laroche Park at the top of our priority list. This project will also include the construction of the long-awaited Sens Rink and some extensive environmental remediation measures. We are looking forward to ongoing consultations as the project moves forward.

There are several fun events coming up in August to help you celebrate summer. On August 10, the Parkdale Food Centre is having their annual street party and barbeque in front of 30 Rosemount Ave. from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Swing by and support this amazing organization. On August 14, head down to Westboro Beach for the Riversong Concert, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. This event honouring the Ottawa River and advocating for its protection will include a variety of music from folk to Celtic tunes. Rounding out the month, there’s a Dog Movie Night coming up in Parkdale Park on August 25. Stay tuned to our channels for more information about that event as we get closer to the date. Stay cool, Kitchissippi!

Federal update: Protecting our quality of life

Submitted by Catherine McKenna, MP Ottawa Centre –

Catherine McKenna, MP Ottawa Centre
Catherine McKenna, MP Ottawa Centre

As Canadians, our quality of life and our present and future prosperity are deeply connected to the environment in which we live. As your representative, I have been fortunate to help lead government investments to protect our water, air, parks and cities including:

Protecting Nature

  • $1.3 billion to protect and preserve Canada’s lands and wildlife
  • $1.5 billion for an Oceans Protections Plan to make our coasts healthier, safer, and better protected
  • Free admission to all national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas for new citizens and youth 17 and under

Shifting Towards Clean Energy

  • Co-founding a global alliance to phase-out traditional coal-fired energy for cleaner energy sources
  • $2.3 billion to support clean technology in Canada
  • Putting in place measures to ensure that by 2018, all Canadian jurisdictions will have a price on climate pollution

Moving Towards Zero Waste Plastics

  • Launching Canada’s Dialogue on Plastic Waste to identify ways we can achieve zero plastic waste
  • Forming the G7 Ocean Plastics Charter which will keep plastics out of our oceans and waters

As your member of parliament, I understand municipalities play a crucial role in addressing climate change challenges. That’s why I have also been working to empower our local community to play a role in our country’s environmental sustainability.

Investing in Clean Transportation

  • Investing over $1.9 billion in Ottawa’s LRT project, to shorten commutes and better connect you to services while reducing greenhouse gas emissions
  • Securing $10.5 million towards the Clegg Street footbridge in order to make walking and cycling easier and safer
  • $55 million towards repairing NCC pathways and bridges

Preserving our Waters

  • Initiating the Ottawa River Watershed Study to develop a conservation strategy for our local water systems
  • Designating Ottawa River as a Heritage River to ensure its long-term health for swimming, drinking, and fishing
  • Installing three new access points along Rideau Canal, making it easier than ever to appreciate our local history and nature

Together, we have done a lot, but I want us to aim higher, our goal should be to grow Ottawa into the greenest capital in the world! I am proud to represent a riding that cares as deeply about Canada’s environmental future as I do. We all play a role together in protecting Canada’s climate as we move towards a greener future.

As always, if you have any questions about our government initiatives, do not hesitate to contact my community office (613-946-8682) or send me an email at catherine.mckenna@parl.gc.ca.

Councillor’s Corner

Submitted by Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward Councillor – 

It’s officially summertime now and Kitchissippi ward is hopping with fun events and new projects. With so many things that make our ward wonderful, it’s hard to choose just a few things to write about. Read on to find out what’s new in the neighbourhood.

We are very pleased to see that the new pedestrian crossover on McRae Avenue between Scott and Richmond is now fully operational. This safe, mid-block crossing is a massive improvement to the area that addresses pedestrian safety and construction concerns. We understand that this crossing will be made permanent, and we look forward to it becoming a useful fixture in the neighbourhood.

The intersection of Churchill and Richmond will see some much-needed changes this summer. Pedestrian improvements are pending for this area; many thanks to every one who participated in our consultation process back in June 2016. Your feedback gave us valuable insight into what was most needed at this busy spot. We’re excited to see this intersection become much more pedestrian-friendly when the work is completed.

Speaking of Richmond Road, FUSE street festival is returning to Westboro August 18 and 19! Richmond Road will be closed to vehicle traffic from Golden Avenue to McRae Avenue to bring out the best of what Westboro has to offer. Join in the family friendly fun and support great local businesses and initiatives. With live music, theatre, magic, circus performances, a pig roast in Winston Square, an inflatable playground for kids, and so much more, there is truly something for everyone! There are also volunteer opportunities available for anyone aged 14 and up. Visit the Westboro Village website to learn more and register to volunteer.

Don’t forget to check our newsletter for more up-to-date information about pop-up office hours and local events. A brief note about our office: staff are excused at 3 p.m. on Fridays to enjoy our gorgeous summer weather, but are still happy to help with any concerns during regular business hours the rest of the week. Stay cool Kitchissippi!

OCSB update: Ottawa Catholic School Board trustee’s report

Submitted by Jeremy Wittet, Trustee, Zone 7 (Kitchissippi/Bay Wards) – 

Jeremy Wittet, Trustee, Zone 7 (Kitchissippi/Bay Wards)

Graduations and year-end celebrations

As the 2017/18 school year comes to a close, I want to congratulate all students who are moving on from elementary school to high school and those graduating from grade 12 who are moving on to post-secondary school, apprenticeships or the world of work. Our students continue to accomplish great things and have grown up to be exemplary ambassadors of our school district.

I also want to thank the parents, grandparents and guardians who volunteer their time in our schools. Without their involvement, many extracurricular activities and special events would not be possible. Everything from pizza days, field trips, community BBQ’s, fundraisers and book sales. They really do make it look easy!

Lastly, a big thank you to our teaching staff, school and senior administrators, professional staff, custodians, office admins, maintenance crews and bus operators. Our OCSB staff are some of the most professional and dedicated people in the City of Ottawa. They continuously go above and beyond to help students succeed and truly feel included and valued throughout their school experience. I hope everyone has a safe and fun-filled summer, see you back at school in September!

School board budget passes

On June 12, the Board of Trustees passed the 2018/19 budget in the amount of $548.6M. The budget is balanced and contains a number of invests in front line services that support student needs. Some of the budget highlights include: new guidance counsellors for grades 7/8, additional classroom educational assistants, more second language teachers, new social workers and psychology workers to help with mental health and wellness, literacy and numeracy investments and more money for musical instruction in the classroom. The board had solicited public input and met with many school leaders and parents to determine needs and address concerns of inequity throughout the board. Thank you to everyone who provided input during the budget process.

Catholic Education Week 2018

Catholic Education Week was held from May 6-12 and was filled with many activities throughout the city. I had the pleasure of attending many of Kitchissippi and Bay Ward events including, the Family Muffin Breakfast at Our Lady of Fatima School, Family Breakfast Open House at St. Rose of Lima School, the STEAM Ahead Open House at St. George School and Family Potluck and Variety Show at Notre Dame High, just to name a few. Education Week is a great opportunity for families to visit their children’s schools and see the exciting projects they are involved with. I want to thank all the families who actively participate in their child’s education. You have a major impact on the success of our school system.

Contact me at 613-721-2376, via email at Jeremy.Wittet@ocsb.ca or on Twitter @OCSBWittet.

Councillor’s Corner

Submitted by Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi ward councillor

Welcome to summer Kitchissippi! With longer and warmer days, there are lots of things happening in our Ward and at City Hall. Read on to find out what we’re working on and what’s coming up next.

The City recently posted a report to the May 22 agenda of Planning Committee meeting updating its monitoring of how the new infill rules are working. If you’re interested you can visit my website and give the report a thorough read. The key message is that City staff consider the new rules that control the size of infills are generally working. The rules are intended to protect front yard landscaping, space for trees, and front yard setbacks, among other things. Staff’s conclusion comes from a lengthy consultation with community groups and an analysis of Committee of Adjustment applications and decisions. While the rules are generally working, there is a list of proposed changes that will be the subject of further consultation before being implemented. Overall, Kitchissippi remains the hot spot for infill in the inner and outer urban wards, and our ward also sees the highest number of variances to zoning being sought. I consider that staff have done a thorough job of delivering this report, and I look forward to working with our residents in the coming months to see whether there is room for continued improvement.

In further housing news, in January I made an inquiry at City Council asking staff to look into the tools available to us as a city to address housing affordability near transit hubs. Staff from multiple departments provided their answers at the beginning of May. At the high level, I understand that there are several tools available to increase the supply of affordable housing near transit, but that those require capital dollars. It’s also clear that a coordinated approach among multiple stakeholders is required to take advantage of these opportunities. You can read the detailed response on my website.

The ward is hopping this month. I’ll be holding a pop-up at Freshii on June 5th, from 9 to 12. Be sure to check the Newsletter for more upcoming pop-ups. The Happening ArtsPark is on June 2 in Parkdale Park and promises to be an amazing event. Westfest is having its 15th anniversary this year in Tom Brown Park from June 8-10 with loads of musical acts. Finally, Art in the Alley is happening June 22-24 at Alicat Art Studio. Get out there and have an amazing June!