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Council approves extending transit fare freeze

June 12, 2019
Council Updates

City Council today approved a continued freeze of transit fares in Ottawa.

Fares had previously been scheduled to increase July 1. The increase in transit fares will happen after the O-Train Confederation Line light-rail service is operating.

Council today approved the approach, scope and timing to review and update the plans that guide how transportation infrastructure will be built in the coming decades.

The Transportation Master Plan, which is being updated, supports the City’s Official Plan by identifying the transportation infrastructure and services the City needs to serve the projected future population and its forecasted travel patterns and modes of transportation. The pedestrian and cycling plans, which are also being reviewed and updated, support the master plan with pedestrian and cycling infrastructure, policies and programs.

Staff will coordinate with the writing of the new Official Plan, which will go to Council for approval in 2021. The Transportation Master Plan work includes an origin-destination survey that will begin in fall 2020 to capture changes in travel behaviour following the opening of the O-Train Confederation Line. Data gathered from the survey will be used to analyze existing transportation demands and forecast future transportation choices, helping develop the transportation network to 2046.

The new transportation plans will come to the Transportation Committee for consideration in spring 2022.

In response to a tornado that damaged properties in Orléans on June 2, Council approved suspending fees, including demolition fees and building permit fees, for people who are rebuilding as a result of the tornado.

Council approved the Consolidated Financial Statements for 2018, as well as the Sinking Fund Financial Statements, all of which were audited by an external accounting firm.

At the end of 2018, the City is reporting a surplus from operations, a net debt of $2.2 billion and a total value of undepreciated capital assets of $16 billion, for an overall surplus of $13.8 billion.

Council received six follow-up reports on audits that focussed on improving management practices. The follow-up reports were on winter operations, the Automated Meter Reading Project, accounts payable and information technology security, governance and risk management.

Council approved a zoning amendment that will allow two 27-storey apartment buildings above the Lyon light-rail transit station. Located between Albert and Queen streets, west of Lyon Street, the buildings will greatly increase the transit-oriented housing stock within the downtown core, adding 588 units. About 300 are to be affordable units.

The development will replace a surface parking lot at 383 Albert Street and a two-storey mixed-use building at 340 Queen Street. The towers will sit on a nine-storey podium, animating the streetscape with ground-floor commercial space that will connect directly with the light-rail transit station. It also includes four storeys of underground parking.

Council also approved a zoning amendment to create a new land use for cannabis production facilities. The City’s Zoning By-law needs to be updated because existing provisions for marijuana production facilities were established strictly for medical cannabis production.

The amendment gives the City greater control over where cannabis production is permitted in Ottawa. Cannabis production facilities are now permitted in the same zones as medical marijuana production facilities, with additional yet limited permissions in other zones appropriate for outdoor cultivation and micro-processing.

Council approved a staff recommendation to undertake a request for proposals to retain an independent consultant to review the boundaries of Ottawa’s 23 wards. The review aims to ensure effective representation of various communities given the growth of Ottawa’s population over the last 15 years–when the last review was completed. The outcome of the request for proposals will be brought forward for consideration in the 2020 draft budget. As planned, the two-year ward boundary review process will include broad public consultation and research, followed by a final report with any proposed changes to the ward boundaries in time for the next municipal elections in 2022.

Council also received the annual reports of Ottawa Community Housing and Marché d’Ottawa Markets at today’s meeting.

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