To better serve Ottawa’s growing population and address increasing emergency call volumes, the City would invest $7.5 million towards a new fire station in Kanata North and hire 14 new paramedics next year. These are both key highlights of the Community and Protective Services Committee’s portion of the draft budget for 2021, approved today.
The budget makes a commitment to care for residents of the City’s long-term care homes by investing an additional $16 million in nursing and personal care along with $7.6 million to renovate the homes and to replace furniture and equipment.
The proposed budget maintains support for community agencies that are helping Ottawa residents who face the greatest need. The City would invest $25.2 million in the Community Funding program – this includes an inflationary increase and $500,000 in one-time support to agencies as the City transitions to a new funding framework.
Most capital spending would go towards parks, recreation and cultural facilities, with $25.3 million earmarked to renew and enhance this infrastructure across Ottawa. An additional $12.9 million would fund new facilities in growing areas, including a new community centre in Old Ottawa East and a new fieldhouse in Wateridge Community Park.
Rental fees for recreation facilities would increase by between 2.5 and six per cent, memberships by between 4.5 and 8.4 per cent and hourly programs by 4.5 per cent. These increases include a new temporary 1.95-per-cent charge to help recover the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Committee’s $1.4-billion gross operating budget covers emergency, community, recreation and parks services. These services are seeking $54.6 million from upper levels of government to address anticipated COVID-19 costs in 2021.
Through the Community Partnership Program, the City shares the cost of capital improvements to City parks, recreation and cultural facilities with community groups. The Committee received an update on the 18 applications received for the 2019 program. Because of the pandemic's impact on City finances, funding for this year's program was returned to its source. The nine proposals received this year will be considered next year.
Recommendations from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, November 25, except for the draft budget, which Council will consider on Wednesday, December 9.