Community safety continues to be a top priority for me. I would like to emphasize the importance of the Neighbourhood Watch Program and to encourage all residents to become actively involved. Last summer, I hosted a Neighbourhood Watch Sign-Up and BBQ for the new Centralla community in Hunt Club. Over 30 households signed up and more have joined since that time. This community was recently the target of a rash of break-and-enters and thefts. This Watch, known as the Twyford/Erin/Centralla Neighbourhood Watch, was very diligent in reporting incidents and suspicious activity to Ottawa Police and Watch members. As a result, the Police Service was able to make arrests, and I am very grateful to them for helping to keep our communities safe and secure.
I continue to work closely with the Ottawa Police in regard to a recent series of home break-and-enters in the south end during the first week of January 2006.1 am pleased to report that arrests have been made in this regard and as of February 1, 2006, the suspects remained in custody. These arrests were made with the assistance of Neighbourhood Watch and the community at large.
I was recently invited to be a guest speaker at a meeting of the Ottawa South Neighbourhood Watch Community Association. Inspector Gary Meehan, East Division, Ottawa Police, Susan Jones, Director, By-Law Services, City of Ottawa, and Community Police Officers, Constables Mark Cartright and Len Vaz were also in attendance. It was reassuring to hear how our Police and By-Law resources are deployed to deal with criminal and non-criminal activity in a cost effective and preventative fashion. It was pleasure for me to participate in this forum and I would like to thank Ottawa South Neighbourhood Watch representatives for their continued support of our enforcement agencies and for continuing to encourage residents of River Ward to sign-up and get involved. If there is no active Neighbourhood Watch in your community, please contact my office at 580-2486 and I will be pleased to assist in getting a Watch started or put you in touch with captains of existing Watches.
Landlords must make sure their rental properties comply with the law. Individual landlords who fail to comply with the Fire Code smoke alarm requirements can face penalties of up to $25,000. Tenants of rental properties are encouraged to contact their landlords immediately if they do not have the required number of smoke alarms. Once smoke alarms are installed, tenants cannot remove the batteries or tamper with the alarm in any way. If they do so, the tenant could receive a ticket for $235.
Ottawa Fire Services will be enforcing the regulation effective March 1, 2006.
The City's priority for snow clearing is to ensure that streets are clear and safe for motorists, public transit, pedestrians and cyclists. Let's all cooperate so that our streets can be properly plowed and eliminate the need to send a front-end loader back to clean up.
In 2004, 765 reportable collisions occurred as a result of improper lane changing. Injuries were sustained in 110 of these collisions and two were life-threatening. Of the 4,140 reportable collisions that occurred in 2004 as a result of drivers following too closely, there were 1,304 injuries, of which 11 were long-term.
January 2005 was by far the worst month of rear-end collisions with 517 reported. This was 30% more than the other months. The statistics for December 2005, which focussed on impaired driving and speeding, resulted in 53 alcohol-related charges and 2,693 speeding charges.
During February 2006, the Police are targeting Red Light Running and Speeding violations.
For many area residents, this program signals the coming of spring. Public interest in this program is often considerable as residents witness the highly visible activities taking place on the Rideau River. It is important to keep in mind that the icebreaking activities will result in open water. The ice breaking operation will continue daily until the river flow is stabilized.
In addition to the design and construction requirements, the partner is also responsible for the full maintenance of the system for the fifteen-year term, including providing maintenance vehicles, the maintenance facility, and any specialized and standard tools required for maintenance. Generally maintenance includes all activities related to the maintenance of the vehicles and the right of way, including repairs and life-cycle maintenance. The only elements not included are the custodial maintenance of the stations, the maintenance of the park and ride lots and maintenance of the Light Rail Transit right of way in the downtown area, where operation is in mixed traffic.
The value of this procurement model resides in lower construction costs, a faster construction time frame, and more importantly, a transfer of the integration risk and latent defect risk to the private sector partner. Following the negotiation process with ATU, the City will operate the system with its own employees and will be responsible to set the operation schedule, frequency of service, and interface with the bus transit operations.
On November 15, 2005, following the Request for Qualifications, three consortia were formed each comprising at least a major construction company and a LRV manufacturer. These three consortia received the Request for Proposal in early August 2005 and have been working on their proposal since that time. Proposals are due back to the City on February 28, 2006 and will then be reviewed by a number of technical review teams over the following weeks. We expect that this process should be completed at the end of March or early April.
On March 9, 2005, Council approved the composition of the Selection Panel as follows: the City Manager; the Director, Economic Development and Strategic Projects; the Deputy City Manager, Planning and Growth Management; the Chair of the Planning and Environment Committee; the Chair of the Transportation Committee and the Mayor. The Selection Panel will review the recommendations received from the technical review teams and will declare each proposal as complying with or failing to comply with the technical requirements. The financial submissions for those proposals deemed to be compliant will then be opened by the Supply Management Division and forwarded to the financial review team for their assessment. Should any submission be deemed to be non-compliant, the corresponding financial submission will be returned to the proponent unopened.
The financial review team will assess and analyze the financial submissions from the compliant technical submissions and report back to the Selection Panel. The proponent with the lowest overall financial submission (represented by the sum of the components detailed above) will be recommended for approval.
Following the recommendation from the financial review team, the Selection Panel will recommend the selection of a preferred partner. Staff will then meet with the recommended preferred partner and discuss any refinements to design elements that may be required, confirm the cost of the project, and confirm the proponent's intention to enter into the project agreement. Unsuccessful proponents will be entitled to a $1M honorarium, as established in the process, and this payment will entitle the City to incorporate design elements from their submissions into the final construction program.
This will effectively form the basis of the report to be submitted for approval by Committee and Council in May-June. Upon approval, staff will immediately finalize the project agreement with the preferred partner and proceed to execute the agreements. The selection of the partner and the approval of the contract price will also allow Transport Canada to submit to Treasury Board their report recommending approval of the federal contribution, as per the Memorandum of Understanding between Canada, Ontario, and the City in April 2005. A separate report addressing the acquisition of the required federal properties as identified in the EA process will also be presented to Treasury Board at the same time.
Treasury Board approval is expected in July-August, with construction of Ottawa's Light Rail Transit line scheduled to commence immediately thereafter. This time frame is consistent with all previous reports to Committee and Council and should allow for the timely delivery of the project in Fall 2009.
Following Council approval of the EA recommended plan on July 15, 2005, the Environmental Assessment Report (EAR) was submitted to the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) on September 9, 2005. The MOE Review concluded that "the City undertook a complete EA", complied with the approved Terms of Reference and addressed all information requirements outlined in Section 6.1(2) of the provincial EA Act - i.e. the EA was prepared in accordance with the Act - and that sufficient information has been provided to enable the Minister to render a decision.
The report on the selection of the property for the Maintenance Facility is currently planned for early April.
For the North-South Corridor Light Rail Transit Project, there are eleven different federal departments and agencies with interests that are potentially affected by this project. They are Transport Canada, Parks Canada, Health Canada, Environment Canada, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Infrastructure Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada, the Canadian Transport Agency and the National Capital Commission.
All three short-listed consortia are actively preparing their proposal with submissions required by the end of February. Following receipt of these submissions, the City will conduct a detailed review of the designs submitted to ensure compliance with the performance specifications included in the Request for Proposal. Financial submissions will then be opened and reviewed, only for those submissions that have qualified as being compliant.
Staff anticipate recommending approval of the preferred partner to Committee and Council in May/June 2006, followed by the execution of the contractual agreements shortly thereafter. The selection of the preferred partner and approval of contract costs by Council will allow Transport Canada to obtain Treasury Board approval for the federal funding component, as per the Memorandum of Understanding executed by Canada, Ontario and the City in April 2005.
Construction is expected to start in August 2006, as per the original schedule communicated to Council at the start of the procurement process.
City-supplied drinking water in Ottawa meets or exceeds all health-based federal guidelines and provincial standards. The proposed legislation will help protect that water so its quality is maintained. Although the focus of the Act is on protection of municipal drinking water supplies, the proposed Act may also protect private wells through the protection of recharge areas and vulnerable aquifers.
The Clean Water Act proposes several new responsibilities, liabilities and costs for municipalities and has potential implications for businesses, farmers and private landowners. The City of Ottawa's priority is to ensure that the Act is appropriately developed and implemented, with the input and participation of stakeholders, and that it is an effective tool to protect and serve all residents within our jurisdiction. Groundwater recharge areas, highly vulnerable aquifers, wellhead protection areas and surface water intake zones and municipal water systems identified in the Source Water Plan will be protected through various methods such as zoning, official plan amendment, land stewardship, education, monitoring, risk management plans and permits. Details on the cost of implementation remain to be determined, but the City is looking for assurances that the Act will not result in significant new costs to municipal taxpayers. It is unclear at this time how the province intends to coordinate source water protection between neighbouring municipalities and the province of Quebec.
The OC Transpo Sno-Bus travels from Confederation Square downtown and serves all the sites along the Rideau Canal to Dow's Lake. For service to Jacques-Carrier Park, customers can transfer to the STO Sno-Bus downtown in front of the National Arts Centre. For just $2.50, payable on the Sno-Bus, customers will get a Sno-Bus ticket that will let them ride on the Sno-Bus all day. Cash fare only is accepted on the Sno-Bus. Passes, transfers, bus tickets, O-Train tickets and Smart Cards will not be valid on the Sno-Bus. Customers can transfer between the OC Transpo and STO Sno-Bus services with their Sno-Bus ticket.
Festival-goers can Park & Ride at Greenboro Station and take the O-Train to Carling Station where they can enjoy the activities at Dow's Lake or connect with the Sno-Bus. Parking is free at OC Transpo Park & Ride lots during Winterlude weekends.
For information on Winterlude activities and programming, call the National Capital Commission at 613-239-5000 or visit capcan.ca/winterlude.
High tech companies such as Mobile Knowledge, Nortel, Telesat, Cognos and others have announced either new contracts, new software, new services or new products. For example, Research in Motion is teaming up with Google to offer new mobile services on their Blackberry device, Telesat plans to build and launch a new direct broadcast satellite, Spotless Wireless landed $10 million U.S. in venture capital, Fidus Systems, based right here in Ottawa, reports a 32% growth.
I congratulate our corporate community for the major role they play in keeping our City's economy healthy, and salute them for their generosity to the citizens of Ottawa through their corporate donations to local charitable, cultural, artistic and social events.