What’s New at Ottawa Markets
As they close their inaugural year, Ottawa Markets, who manage the ByWard Market building and outdoor vending and animation, are already in the middle of planning their activities and services for 2019. In 2018, they worked hard to bring families back to the ByWard Market.
They have organized the following initiatives in 2018:
-Invited local daycare and primary school children to ring the market bell;
-Welcomed local families to the By-Ward Market Square to build with Lego blocks and watch children’s movies; and
-Organized a Jack-O’-Lantern decorating event for Halloween.
Moreover, they have helped bring Winterlude, our largest winter attraction, to the ByWard Market. In 2019, they will continue in that same vein and they hope to keep improving the market experience for all.
Ottawa Markets has been busy attending different presentations and participating at various workshops about the ByWard Market Public Realm Study (a revitalization program led by the City). Lots of excellent ideas are floating around to improve pedestrian access and enhance our overall experience at the ByWard Market. They are eager to do their part to create a lively and vibrant ByWard Market and they are looking forward to seeing what’s to come.
They are also are currently working on bringing honey bees to the market. Ottawa Markets recognize that they have an important role in protecting our food systems, and they keep looking for ways to be active agents in that area. Lastly, let’s not forget their efforts to keep the ByWard Market a friendly and unique tourist destination with delicious food and unique products. It’s going to be an exciting year! Make sure to follow them on social media for more information
(Twitter: @ottawamarkets, Instagram: @OttawaMarkets, Facebook: @MarketsOttawa).
Montreal Road Revitalization and Public Art
We’re gearing up for the start of our Montreal Road revitalization project. This is the most exciting traditional main street redevelopment for our community in recent memory. Construction is set to begin in summer 2019. In case you haven’t heard of this project it stems from the need to replace the water main and sewers between North River Road and St Laurent. We are taking this opportunity to make several investments along this corridor. To learn more details please visit: www.medium.com/@mathieufleury.
At a recent working group for the Montreal Road Revitalization Project, we delved into the more artistic side of things. A public art plan is a document that takes multiple visions and makes a cohesive momentum of narrative. Our plan will include guiding themes, possible locations/opportunities, priorities, budget, timelines and recommendations.
Rebecca Carbin is the art consultant. Ms. Carbin’s company is called Art + Public Unltd. She has over 18 years of experience, including being the Public Art Officer for the City of Toronto.
Public art can take the form of sculptures/installations, murals, lighting/sound installations or temporary performances. At the working group meeting, participating members from our community brainstormed on the kind of art we would like to see for Montreal Road and Vanier. Descriptions that came up often used these words: interactive, fun, engaging, illuminating, and gritty. Residents were adamant that the art should remain true to nature of the neighbourhood.
We also had three public consultations in January during which we received great feedback from the community. The public art plan will move forward this spring in order for the installations to happen concurrently with the rest of the construction. If you’re interested in future updates regarding the Montreal Road revitalization plan you can sign up for the e-newsletter by visiting: www.ottawa.ca/esubscriptions.
At the Council meeting of March 8th the 2019 budget was passed. There will be a 3% tax increase to bring the City’s budget at $3.6 billion for 2019. This represents an additional $113 for the owner of an average home. Additional highlights from the budget include:
– $15 million for new affordable housing;
-New bus options to supplement the infamous #12, i.e. the new #15 which will offer peak period relief to those travelling along the Montreal Rd corridor;
-An extra $9.8 million to fix roads, bike lanes and sidewalks;
-$49 million to resurface and upgrade roads;
-$25.3 million for Montreal Rd revitalization project (budget 2020 should see a similar funding request);
-$14.2 million for St Denis, Lavergne and Ste Monique reconstruction;
-$11.4 million for Mann, Range, Russel and Templeton reconstruction;
-Streetscaping dollars to complete Rideau Street between Sussex and Dalhousie;
-Small snow budget increase for a total budget of $70.8 million (to reflect the 5 year average);
-Additional dollars for neighbourhood traffic calming funding (from $40 000 to $50 000/ ward);
-$500 000 for pedestrian crossovers (PXOs);
-$5.7 million for long-term care homes; and
-$1.5 million for Riverain Park revitalization.
Light Rail Transit (LRT) and Rideau Street
On March 6, phase 2 of the LRT passed at Council. We are still anxiously awaiting the opening of LRT phase 1, which is the backbone of our future transit system. It is sure to modernize the transit experience in our capital city.
Although disappointed by the delay in phase 1, we are protecting the taxpayers by withholding a payment of $260 million until opening day. No payments have been given to RTG since February of 2018. I strongly believe in taking phase 1 as a lesson learned and moving forward with expansion of our light rail system to reach all communities of Ottawa.
Our city’s core faces daily traffic congestion and phase 1 alone will not solve them. We want the majority of residents to have access to transit. Phase 2 will accomplish this by having 77% of our residents within 5 km of a train station.
Construction of phase 1 is now complete. The majority of stations have received occupancy permits, and all 34 train cars have now built. The safety and information technology systems are being tested. Following the safety auditor’s sign off, there is 12 day trial period of the full train schedule. In order to gain final certification requirements, the trains must run just as they would upon opening, except without any passengers. Provided the trial run goes smoothly the LRT will officially open shortly after. Safety and system reliability is our primary focus as we head into the last phase of testing.
Once the LRT opens the City will be able to finish the streetscaping improvements on Rideau Street (between Sussex and Dalhousie) and William Street (between Rideau and George). We will be able to provide a timeline of this construction once we have a firm LRT opening date.
Ottawa’s Hard-hitting Winter
I think we all agree that it has been quite an intense winter this year. We’ve had a record-breaking 282 cm of snow! For those who enjoy the winter like me the outdoor activities have been amazing. I’ve greatly enjoyed skating on the Rideau Canal and lots of great cross-country ski. For everyone else it’s been a slow winter and a very expensive one for the City of Ottawa. We know that many residents have had winter issues, especially related to sidewalks. I often hear from residents sharing with me their struggles in getting around in the winter. We really want residents to feel safe.
The City is testing out a new ice breaker machine. This machine hooks onto the front of the sidewalk plow and can be used to break up ice on the sidewalks. It works by creating holes in the ice. The holes are then sprinkled with salt, which can penetrate all the way to the pavement.
The issue at hand is our current snow clearing standards. I have previously identified this issue at Transportation Committee. The current policy does not differentiate between sidewalk and road priority. This means that high volume sidewalks are not prioritized as high as some lower volume sidewalks – it is dependent solely on road classification. In Rideau-Vanier we have very popular residential sidewalks. For instance, Somerset East, Cumberland, Cobourg and Marier are all populat routes for pedestrians. The City must review its standards to ensure high volume pedestrian sidewalks have higher maintenance standards including higher standards for schools, community centres, and long term care facilities . Staff have committed to reviewing my goal and we are pushing to ensure we see changes in December 2019.
If you have concerns about puddling, snow clearing, snow removal or icy sidewalks please help out a neighbour, or support our community by reporting it to 311 by telephone or by going to ServiceOttawa.ca.
Authentic Mexican Food on Montreal Road
Vanier’s newest Mexican restaurant has arrived on Montreal Road with the opening Chilaquiles Mexican Cuisine. Since April 2018, Chilaquiles Mexican Cuisine (located at 381 Montreal Road) has offered Vanier residents delicious and authentic Mexican food in a fresh and colourful environment.
Owner Kelvin Molina appreciates the community and the neighbourhood. “ We are really excited to come and establish our business on Montreal Road. The reception by the people of Vanier has been good. We have received some great feedback and people are happy to see our restaurant on Montreal Road ”.
Chilaquiles Mexican Cuisine is open Monday to Wednesday between 11 am to 8 pm and 11 am to 9 pm from Thursday to Saturday (closed on Sundays).
We welcome this new business to our neighbourhood. As a fan of Mexican food, I can vouch that this restaurant is a delicious and authentic Mexican experience. There’s no need to go to Mexico, Vanier has you covered.