The City of Ottawa is a step closer to ensuring rail grade separation in Barrhaven after Council today approved the Barrhaven Rail Safety Program, which will help improve the safety of residents travelling across rail corridors.
Establishing the program will require approval of funding in the draft 2018 budget for environmental assessments for crossings at Woodroffe Avenue, Southwest Transitway and Fallowfield Road, and for a stand-alone pedestrian and cycling underpass at Jockvale Road. Once those assessments are started, the City will be in a position to seek federal and provincial funding for transportation infrastructure. Discussions about funding contributions will also need to take place with VIA Rail.
City Council today was given an update by Mayor Jim Watson on Ottawa’s strategy for dealing with the opioid crisis. The update included information about the joint efforts by the City and its community partners to cope with the health-threatening abuse of drugs and new support from the Government of Ontario to pay for the response.
The City is on track to save $600,000 this year in its winter operations on roadways, according to a report received today by Council. Despite the challenging winter, with higher-than-average snowfall and rainfall, the City saw positive results from designing five plow routes to better distribute snow and provide more equitable service delivery. This service enhancement will be expanded to one residential plow route per ward.
The City also changed service-delivery models for incidental after-hours work, provided more training to crews on salt application and offered free overnight parking in City garages during big storms. The report on winter operations highlights that Ottawa exceeds provincial standards in clearing streets, sidewalks and major roads. Work will continue on new approaches to winter maintenance to save money while meeting maintenance quality standards.
Council also approved a $313,466 Brownfield Rehabilitation Grant for 852 Bank Street. Remediation of this site is expected to take approximately two months. The proposed redevelopment is a four-floor mixed-use space, featuring commercial, office space and residential units.
The City of Ottawa’s infrastructure funding gap has been reduced in recent years. The City has developed a strategy to maintain its tax-funded infrastructure in a state of good repair by 2027, which requires an additional $70 million annually, on average, according to a report approved today by Council.
A long-range capital finance report to continue existing debt policies and to extend and expand on funding strategies established in the previous long-range plan was approved at Council today.
The City continued to improve and expand its French services in 2016, according to Ottawa’s French Language Services Annual Report, received today by Council. The City received 23 French-language complaints in 2016, all of which were resolved.
The Consolidated Financial Statements for 2016 showed a shift from investments to cash and cash equivalents, largely due to the required cash flow for major projects, including Confederation Line. Revenue increased by three per cent, with property taxes representing the largest revenue source. Expenses increased by 1.2 per cent, although there was a decrease in general government expenses due to the organizational restructuring.
Council approved a six-storey 187-unit apartment building and a new park at 190 Richmond Road. Located near Westboro Transit Station, the area currently consists of a Real Canadian Superstore and two parking lots.
Council also ratified new four-year collective agreements with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 503 (Part-time Recreation and Culture) and Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 503 (Summer Aquatics) bargaining units. The main elements of the new collective agreements are wage increases of: 1.92 per cent effective January 1, 2016; 1.92 per cent effective January 1, 2017; 1.95 per cent effective January 1, 2018; and 2.0 per cent effective January 1, 2019. These increases are the same as those agreed-to with the City’s largest bargaining unit, CUPE 503 (Inside/Outside).