Community update Spring 2017

ByWard Market Revitalization Plan

 

There are two main objectives of the ByWard Market Revitalization Plan: investment in infrastructure and reforming the structure of governance. George Street Plaza is a great example of the first objective. George Street Plaza’s renewal is all but complete.

The renewal will include new seating, LED lighting, more trees, more waste receptacles, a drinking fountain, a water feature and a heritage clock. There will also be pedestrian improvements coming to the area, such as a raised accessible crossing at the intersection of William and George Streets.

The plaza is located on George Street, between William (near the BeaverTails stand) and ByWard Streets (near Eq3 Furniture store), at the south end of the ByWard Market building.

George Street Plaza will be an inviting place for animation, while providing a beautiful gateway area into the market, with easy access to the future LRT station at William and Rideau. It will be completed in 2017 as a municipal legacy project.

The second objective is reforming the ByWard Market’s structure of governance by moving forward with the creation of a Municipal Services Corporation (MSC). This non-profit organization will govern the ByWard Market Building, the ByWard Public Market and the Parkdale Public Market.

The MSC will be run by a board of volunteers. We are now looking for nine volunteer board members who will be of vital importance for the renewal of the market. Following the board selection, the newly formed board will hire a new Executive Director in summer 2017, and then gain full operational control of both city owned markets by January 1, 2018.

The current management structure (through a City By Law) handcuffs innovation and creativity. The not-for-profit method will allow for an entrepreneurial and adaptable approach to govern our treasured ByWard Market.

 

MacKenzie Avenue Cycle Track

The finishing touches are being added to the MacKenzie Avenue cycle track and it will be opened to the public this spring.

The cycle tracks (along Mackenzie Avenue between Murray Street and Rideau Street) will provide a safe connection for cyclists between the newly implemented bike lane on St. Patrick Street and the NCC’s multi-use pathway that goes along the Rideau Canal. The cycle tracks are on the east side of Mackenzie and there will be heavy duty bollards and curbing between the cyclists and traffic.

Mackenzie Avenue will also retain its current function as a two-lane roadway, expanding to three lanes at the Rideau Street intersection. The plans include improvements to the Murray Street intersection including line painting, signs, an advanced traffic signal phase for eastbound cyclists, and a separate vehicle only phase.

The next phase of the bikeway will involve a cycling connection west to O’Connor Street. The planning phase will start within two years given council approval.

 

Stage 2 LRT

The light rail transit (LRT) plan for Ottawa is moving full steam ahead. On March 8th, Council approved the Stage 2 plan to build rail extensions to the east, west and south.

The City will continue to work with its existing partner, Rideau Transit Group, to ensure an integrated and consistent expanded rail system, while maximizing the amount of work to be procured under new competitions. http://acheterdufrance.com/ The budget for the Stage 2 LRT project remains $3 billion, as approved in 2015.

A final Council report will be brought forward in early 2018 outlining the results of the procurement process, leading to the final design and beginning of construction. The backbone of our transit system is the first phase of the LRT, which is set for completion in 2018. The phase 2 improvements will provide rail connections to even more residents in our great city.

Trillium Line South extension is set to be functional by 2021. This extension includes the very important link to the airport. Confederation Line East’s extension to Trim Road will be open in 2022, and the following year will see the opening of the western extension to Moodie Drive.

While the neighborhoods of Vanier, Sandy Hill and Lowertown won’t directly benefit from Phase 2 construction, we are expecting a proposal from OC Transpo later this year regarding improving bus connections in our community in 2018.

The vision for the future of our transit system is clear. Rail will allow for a faster, more efficient and more reliable transit experience in our City.

 

Origin Trade Hits the Bull’s Eye

The best business ideas are born from their ability to answer a question or fill a gap in the current market. Denis Sabourin & Dan Cummings correctly identified something our community had been longing for when they created Origin Trade. They moved into a Heritage home in Lowertown and built a vision that keeps people longing for more. Leather couches, hand crafted wooden tables, a minimalist concrete bar, and exposed brick all foster an atmosphere that makes you feel like you are welcome to sit amongst a bit of history.

One of the struggles faced by commercial spaces is the challenge of finding balance between daytime and nighttime animation. Origin Trade fills the gap between the daytime crowd and the nightlife enthusiasts. This cafe doubly functions as a quiet place to be productive behind a laptop, and as a lively place for a night out with friends. The best part is that they keep their menu as local as possible.

Head to Origin Trade to enjoy some delicious locally roasted coffee, craft beer, Ontario wine or their varied selection of sweet and savory snacks.

It seems as though Ottawa hit the jackpot with this gem of a spot. Origin Trade opened in November 2015 and has been on the ‘must visit’ list ever since. Located in the heart of the ByWard Market (on York Street near Dalhousie) this is one place you just have to experience for yourself.

 

Happy Birthday Canada!

As you know, our nation’s sesquicentennial anniversary is being celebrated throughout Ottawa with lots of fun and exciting activities.

The first four months of this amazing year have already been fantastic with events like the New Year’s Eve Celebrations on the Hill, Red Bull Crashed Ice, the Stanley Cup Tribute, the Junos and Sugar Lumberfest. With these events, we have already established that Ottawa is THE place to be to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, but don’t worry it’s not over.

Inspiration Village is getting ready to animate York Street in the market from May 20 to September 4. This event will have special exhibits and performances that highlight all the regions of Canada.

How about discovering over 50 countries without leaving Ottawa? This is the experience that Ottawa Welcomes the World is offering you. Join the festivities and dive into a unique multicultural atmosphere at the Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building.

Don’t worry sports fans, we didn’t forget about you. The 105th Grey Cup is coming to Ottawa on November 26 to crown the best team in the Canadian Football League. Hopefully, our Ottawa RedBlacks will be there to defend their title on home soil.

A few weeks later we will have the chance to see a special hockey game between the Ottawa Senators and the Montreal Canadiens. On December 16, Lansdowne Park will be the host of the Scotiabank NHL100 outdoor game, which will mark the 100th anniversary of the first game in NHL history played between Ottawa and Montreal. It took place at the Dey’s Arena in Ottawa on December 19, 1917.

These are just a few examples of the impressive line-up we have coming to Ottawa in the next few months. We hope you take full advantage of this great opportunity and attend as many events as you can with your friends and family members. For all events details please visit Ottawa2017.ca.

 

Restricting Pay Day Loans

On April 10, the provincial government passed a bill called Putting Consumers First (Bill 59). This bill will protect consumers in Ontario, and will create new rules for pay day loan establishments.

New rules will include extending repayment periods, enforcing more time between individual loans, as well as expanding rules against unfair debt collection practices and more.

Pay day loans establishments are an especially challenging issue for our community since Montreal Road has the highest per capita amount of them in the province. As you may know, the province gives municipalities power over the zoning and number of strip clubs. I, along with my council colleagues, will be requesting similar power in regards to the zoning and number of pay day loan establishments.

Community initiatives through Credit Unions will help allow short-term loans at a fairer cost. I commend the efforts of Causeway Work Centre in establishing a not-for-profit lending pilot project in Ottawa.

One of the gaps that remain is cheque cashing. It is tragic circumstance when someone, who cannot access traditional bank services, uses a pay day loan establishment to cash a cheque. They are losing 25% of their hard-earned money.

We are looking forward to taking further steps to impede these establishments and their unfair practices.

 

Town and Gown

The Town and Gown’s annual symposium is coming to Ottawa this year, and will be held from May 8 – 10. The Town and Gown Committee (which I chair in Ottawa) brings together students, post-secondary institutions, the surrounding community, and the City in order to connect, collaborate, discuss and innovate.

The Town and Gown’s initiatives have demonstrated tremendous success locally. For more information or to register for the symposium please visit: www.tgao.ca.