Report to the Hunt Club Community Organization
In an effort to facilitate a higher quality transit service it has been proposed that the bus bays along Riverside Drive from Uplands to Brookfield be removed. A report by the Transit Priority Task Force advises that this will eliminate bus re-entry delay and also contribute to a better pedestrian environment by providing more space for sidewalks and bus stop amenities. It may also cause some delay to motorists travelling behind the bus. A request for input from residents on my mailing list generated dozens of calls and letters, with the majority strongly against removal of the bays for many reasons.
I have since found out that there is a flaw in the proposal for Riverside Drive. The policy states that removal of bus bays is not recommended for safety reasons if the speed of the roadway is over 70 k/hr. All studies over the past few years have revealed that the average speed on Riverside Drive is well over that number, in spite of the posted speed limit of 60 k/hr. In fact, the Regional Transportation Department recommended increasing the speed to 80 k/hr only last year to bring average speeds into conformity with speed-zoning. (This was rejected by Council.)
The primary focus of our Regional Transportation Department has always been the safety of residents, and this appears to be a deviation from that principle. I have requested that, until the "actual" speed on Riverside Drive is reduced to fall within margins for safely stopping buses in traffic, that Riverside Drive be excluded from further consideration under this policy.
Failing this request, a public meeting will be scheduled in the community to allow residents an opportunity to learn more about the proposal and voice their concerns. The issue is to come back to Transportation Committee on May 19th.
2. Update – Garbage Collection
As part of new Regional waste collection contracts, you will soon be receiving another recycling box. This black box is to be used for storing and setting out paper and cardboard-based products. Blue box material will be picked up one week and black box material the next week.
The main reason for this change is increased collection efficiency. In a two stream collection system, recyclable materials can be compacted to maximize the load, extend route sizes, and reduce truck requirements. The fibre (paper and cardboard) stream can be fully compacted while the blue box stream can be lightly compacted. In the current program, boxes that are not flattened are left behind by the hauler to prevent trucks from filling up with ‘air’. This will eliminate the need to cut and bundle cardboard boxes. Large boxes can be flattened and placed beside the box.
The Blue box will still be used to collect containers such as bottles, cans and plastic. All the products you currently recycle will continue to be collected. In 1998, Ottawa-Carleton recycled a total of 52 tonnes of materials, an 11% increase over 1997. This has won us the Ontario Recycling Council’s Municipal Award for waste reduction performance for the third year running.
Crews will deliver the Black boxes during April and May. They will come with an ‘owner’s manual’ to explain their use. If you haven’t received your new Black box and pamphlet by May 21, 1999, call us at 560-1335 and we will have one delivered to you.
The first leaf & yard waste collection will be on your regular collection day during the week of April 19th. Please remember that leaf & yard waste is composted to save landfill space and produce a valuable soil amendment – since plastic does not compost, material in plastic bags will not be collected.
For your convenience, collection calendars will soon be delivered to remind us which days to set out leaf & yard waste, the black box and blue box. Garbage is collected once a week.
4. Airport Master Plan
The Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier Airport Master Plan, approved in 1998, is now moving to the second phase of planning for airport improvements as recommended. Primary findings were:
Elements of the Master Plan are estimated to cost in the order of $300 million. If you would like to receive an Executive Summary of this document, please contact my office.
5. Additional Funding for Community Resources
I am pleased to report that the South Ottawa Gloucester Community Resource Action Team (SOCGRAT) will be receiving significant additional funding to deal with community-based health and social services.
The Hunt Club/Riverside area contains neighbourhoods characterized by families on low incomes or in receipt of social assistance, a disproportionate number of immigrant and refugee families (many led by a single parent), and large numbers of youth who are only tenuously connected to schools or formal recreational opportunities. Youth crime, intergenerational conflicts, and street violence are growing concerns. SOGCRAT has been refining a model of community development and program outreach to connect with otherwise unconnected families and youth, and has done an outstanding job building community trust and credibility. The 1999 Regional Budget increased funding to this group by 75%.
In addition, the Allocations Committee for 1999 Project Grants for Health and Social Services has recommended that the United Way provide funding of $6000 for Youth Outreach activities in the Hunt Club/Riverside area.
SOGCRAT has asked me to help identify an individual from the Riverside Park area to participate on their Steering Committee. If you would like to lend a hand, please call Joan Turnbull (Resource Developer) directly at 736-9855 or 748-3435.
6. Hunt Club Neighbourhood Plan – Southern Corridor Update
The NCC has provided me with a copy of correspondence (dated March 4, 1999) to the City of Ottawa advising that they would support deferral of the Neighourhood Planning study. This move is in reaction to public opposition to residential development in the Southern Corridor and the resignation of the entire 14 member Public Advisory Committee that was working with the City on the Plan.
This is a reprieve, not a resolution of the matter. The NCC has advised that "the portion of the Southern Corridor within Ottawa City limits is to be left in its present state pending the next review of the City of Ottawa’s Official Plan". The Corridor is still zoned ‘industrial’ (McCarthy Woods excepted) however, and will likely remain that way until the City initiates another planning exercise.
7. OC Transpo
i) 140 New Buses on the Way
Beginning in late spring, 140 new Orion VI buses will be deployed in Ottawa-Carleton. These are all low-floor buses with no steps to climb, making boarding easier for people with disabilities and special needs, small children and strollers, and anyone with packages, bags, groceries and so on. There’s room for two wheelchairs at the front of the bus and a ramp extends from the front door for anyone who needs help boarding. This should allow those who now rely on Para Transpo to use the regular scheduled service on some routes, easing the heavy demand for Para Transpo. Orion VI buses are air-conditioned and the seats have been redesigned for greater comfort.
ii) New Riders Guide
This publication has been developed to address day-to-day bus rider issues and promote transit in our Region. The Rider’s Guide is a concise but comprehensive guide to riding OC Transpo in a handy pocket size format. It’s designed to help the first time or casual rider become familiar with our bus system, covering topics from fares, to service, to how to read a timetable. Also included are tips to improve the transit experience and facts about OC Transpo and the environment. Both English and French versions will be available for distribution this spring.
8. Trail Road Landfill – Asset Management and Landfill Optimization Study
Consultation is underway to determine whether the current landfill resource should have its life extended (as long as it makes economic, environmental and operational sense) or should the Region begin considering other options for our future waste disposal needs. Public consultation has already begun and will be completed by early May.
There are several ways you can participate if you wish: Open Houses will be held on Saturday, April 17 at the Trail Road Waste Facility (9 a.m. until noon) and on Thursday, April 22, at 111 Lisgar Street (6 p.m. until 8 p.m.). Please call my office if you would like to receive more information or to be added to the Study’s mailing list.
9. Restore the Rideau Workshop
The Rideau River is a valuable environmental asset in our Region. A survey conducted in 1998 of over 1,000 Ottawa-Carleton residents revealed that two in three residents used the Rideau River in the past year, demonstrating the importance of this waterway to the community.
The Environment Committee of Ottawa South (ECOS) is holding a Workshop at Ottawa City Hall on Saturday, April 10th. The purpose of the Workshop is to stimulate local individuals and groups to take action to secure a healthy river both within their community and beyond. The workshop will connect community members with the experts and equip individuals and groups with the tools needed for hands-on restoration activities. Contact Anne Robinson, Workshop Co-ordinator, at 692-3934 to register.
10. READY 2000 – Y2K and Community Safety
READY 2000 stands for the Regional Emergency Advisory Directorate on Year 2000. It is based on a private and public sector partnership formed to minimize the potential impact of the millennium bug on municipal services and maximize public health and safety.
The READY 2000 contact team consists of area municipalities, regional government and key utilities and services, including representatives from hydro, gas, telephone, ambulance, school boards, hospitals, Red Cross, police and fire.
Residents of our Region will be kept abreast of our organizations’ state of readiness and provided advice on what citizens can do through an extensive communications campaign. For fact sheets or to find out how you can participate, please don’t hesitate to call my office.
11. Drop by for a Chat
In an effort to enhance my accessibility, I will be available to meet residents at Chapters in the South Keys Shopping Centre on Monday April 26th from 7:00 until 9:00 p.m. (centre aisle events area). This is an opportunity for an informal drop-in and discussion on issues of interest to residents of River Ward. I plan to be available at Chapters on the fourth Monday of each month in the future. Hope to see you there!
Additionally, it is my intent to follow-up on a recent breakfast meeting where community leaders in River Ward were invited to bring forward local issues and concerns to the Regional Chair. Three "Round Table" meetings will be convened annually (spring, fall and winter) to discuss Ward and Regional projects and priorities in a public forum. Watch for more about this in future community reports.