COVID-19 update: Back to School

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every resident, business, community agency and government service. The City continues to work hard to ensure there is continuity in services available to residents, in addition to going above and beyond to supports those in need.  

At the August 26th Council meeting, City Council extended, until the end of October, the temporary by-law that makes masks mandatory in indoor public spaces. Masks are now mandatory in the common areas of condos and apartment buildings.  Dr. Vera Etches and Ottawa Public Health, put these measures in place to protect residents of Ottawa.  

As the COVID response continually changes, the most up to date information can always be found on www.ottawapublichealth.ca/.

The City’s Parks and Rec programming, Community and Social Services along with OC Transpo and other in person services have undergone changes in the last several months. For complete details about the re-opening of services please visit the City’s website Ottawa.ca.

With many local businesses now reopening their stores, help support them by taking the time to safely visit one of their stores or shop with them online.  

As families head back to school, I realize this is a time of uncertainty for many. Ottawa Public Health continues to work closely with local school boards to implement provincial standards and guidance to support the reopening of schools. It’s important to remember there’s no right answer when considering your family’s options this Fall. The goal remains to make back to school transition as safe as possible. To learn more about how Ottawa Public Health is supporting schools, you can find out more on Ottawapublichealth.ca.

COVID-19 is still present in our community.  We must stay continue to follow the latest safety recommendations to ensure everyone is safe. 

We must continue to stay two meters away from others and, when we can’t, wear a mask. We all have a collective responsibility to act safely and protect ourselves and others from the virus. Stay connected and informed by visiting my website, the City of Ottawa’s Website, along with Ottawa Public Health’s website for the latest information.

Montreal Road Construction (Revitalization) 

The Montreal Road Revitalization Project will implement a new design and construction of Montreal Road from North River Road to St. Laurent Boulevard. The project also includes the reconstruction of North River Road. 

The ultimate vision for Montreal Road is to construct a vibrant and welcoming main street with a well-balanced transportation network will allow residents and businesses to thrive. Montreal Road has been redesigned as “Complete Street.” A safe and enjoyable for all users, as it provides improvements for all modes of transportation: transit, pedestrians, cycling and vehicles. 

Streetscaping features such as landscaping, street furniture, pedestrian lighting, concrete sidewalks and bus stops and bus shelters along Montreal Road, the construction of a three-lane cross section between Vanier Parkway and St. Laurent Boulevard that includes two westbound lanes, one eastbound lane and cycling tracks/lanes in both directions, and updated services and utilities such as sanitary and storm sewers on Montreal Road, the watermain between North River Road and St. Laurent Boulevard, and the burial of Hydro Ottawa lines between North River Road and L’Eglise Street. 

This project will last three years. In 2019, crews began by burying powerlines on Montreal Road between North River Road and L’Eglise Street. In 2020, utility work is continuing while sewer and watermain construction is completed on North River Road and Montreal Road as well as the completion of road segments between North River Road and the Vanier Parkway. In 2021, watermain and sewer work will progress between the Vanier Parkway and St Laurent Boulevard. In 2022, the project will wrap up with landscape and streetscape work as well as final touches to the asphalt and paving along Montreal Road. Throughout this time, bi-weekly meetings take place to address community and business concerns. Pedestrian access and detours are communicated at the street-level. The project team is also working with community and business leaders to manage impacts and address concerns.  

Featuring distinguished sidewalks, once complete Montreal Road becomes a modern City main street. For more information visit: Ottawa.ca/visionvanier 

Investing in parks, in our community 

Riverain Park revitalization has now in the final stage before construction can begin.  

Riverain, a park nestled between the Rideau River and North River Road is currently undergoing a $2.5 million renewal.  

The renewal includes several new additions as well as some upgrades to old, remaining infrastructure. 

A review from the City and the National Capital Commission is complete, allowing the project to go out to tender, finally.  The process will take up to early October, at which point, once the contractor is selected, work will begin.  

The project began in July 2019 when we organized the first public consultation for Riverain Park at the Rideau Sports Centre. 

The results were clear.  Long overdue, the revitalization and update will see a tired park revamped. We hosted a well-attended consultation in March 2020 to share the design elements, which resulted in City staff tweaking the plans to confirm placement and types of additions and changes.  

Those changes include a new splash pad, skateboard park, adult fitness equipment, off-leash dog area, a new basketball court, a new horseshoe pitch, resurfacing of the tennis courts, new pathway & lighting improvements and a new drinking fountain.  

The park will also be fully accessible. The goal is to have the park wholly redone by end of 2021.  The work this fall will form the phase one of the improvements.

The second phase will be based on feedback we received from the consultations concerning targeted areas including the fieldhouse building near the tennis courts which will be renovated to accommodate for use in the winter, the addition of an outdoor rink. As well, the final designs for the skate park will be made. The designs and updates will be available on my website, mathieufleury.ca this fall.  

Ward Boundary Review

As many of you know, the City of Ottawa is currently reviewing the idea for re-aligning Ottawa’s wards to create a better population balance between wards and affect fair and equal representation for voters and their communities.  

It is essential that regardless of the “best” option chosen, the outcome is best for Ottawa’s growing population. As it is not just about the workloads for council and city staff – which for our current situation makes it difficult for individual wards – In the end, this review is about making sure that well into the future, residents receive the best representation available.  

This summer, the consultant team of Beate Bowron Etcetera Inc. presented Council with five options to consider for re-aligning Ottawa’s wards.  

The options are: 

Option 1: 25 Wards, with 13 urban wards, nine suburban wards and three rural wards. 

Option 2: 24 Wards, with 12 urban wards, nine suburban wards and three rural wards. 

Option 3: Maintains current number, and includes 11 urban wards, nine suburban wards and three rural wards. 

Option 4: Maintains current number. It also has 11 urban wards, nine suburban wards and three rural wards. The boundaries differ from option three. 

Option 5: 17 Wards, with nine urban wards, six suburban wards and two rural wards. 

Following this report, Council requested to add another option to consider – which addressed the three wards projected to be significantly over the average ward population – namely Barrhaven, Cumberland and Gloucester-South Nepean. 

Option 6: 24 Wards, with 12 urban wards, nine suburban wards and three rural wards. It minimizes ward boundary changes. 

All six options are available to view on an interactive map at ottawa.ca/wardboundary and residents can provide feedback and register to take part in upcoming virtual consultations sessions on Zoom.  

We may never achieve complete fairness, but I believe we must make considerations to give urban, rural, and suburban voters meaningful representation, democratic participation, aspiration for involvement, and in the end, continue to make Ottawa one of the best cities. 

At the moment, based on the simplistic population-only analysis, I am not favourable to any of the options proposed as they don’t consider all the important factors outside of population.  

ByWard Market Public Spaces Infrastructure Investment Plan 

Since the project began more than eight years ago, the Byward Market Public Realm has taken shape.  

The push to make changes in the market was first addressed by commissioning New York-based consultants People for Public Spaces to conduct a visioning exercise to imagine the best outcome for our Byward Market.   The consulting firm defined a vision for most important and historic district.  This plan will be approved by City Council in November of 2020. 

This is based on the City having analyzed several areas within the Market to improve or alter.  

The plan establishes a vision for the short, medium and long-term improvements made to the network of public spaces in the ByWard Market.  

The types of public spaces studied to be enhanced include: 
• Streets 
• Sidewalks 
• Parks  
• Squares and plazas 

The plan will also identify strategies and partnerships to enliven key public places within the ByWard Market. 

Additionally, areas studied included: 
• Public life and consumer behaviour 
• Pedestrians and cyclists 
• Vehicle circulations 
• Parking and loading 
• Below-grade utilities and services 
• Existing and planned context 
• Previous work completed for the study area 

There is no doubt this is aiming to be a comprehensive plan that will leave no stone untouched in the ByWard Market Area. Most importantly, this plan will establish a vision and, moving forward, guiding principles. If you have not – I encourage you to check out the draft plan available on my website, Mathieufleury.ca. Within the plan, defined elements include public art, accessibility, paved areas, greening and landscaping, retail and patio zones and character areas.  What I find unique with this plan is that it will allow the Market to define its character officially – but by its distinct areas that make up the Market’s fabric – meaning different streets will express its own identity by role and function. Within the draft plan, the streets examined include York Street, George Street, William Street and Byward Market Square, the National Capital Commission Courtyards, and the North and South Gateways.  

Each of these areas has identified public art placements and paving and greening plans.  

I am also encouraged by the elements in the plan that look at traffic calming, an outdoor market strategy, and access throughout the Market.  

This type of detail is integral to ensuring this plan is more than just an overview of what could be or should be – but what will be?  

Getting the fundamental vision in place for the City’s most recognized neighbourhood and getting an investment plan for the public spaces will transform and bring desirable opportunities to the ByWard Market. 

Next Steps

City staff will complete the final report this fall. Once finished, it will be made available at Ottawa.ca/DesignByWard

Final Construction Phase for Rideau Street

This is the third and final phase of the Rideau Street and William Street Renewal Project.   

Rideau Street is an important gateway into downtown Ottawa, and William Street provides a pedestrian-focused connection and gateway to the ByWard Market. The $13.5 million investment for this renewed corridor will reflect the historic nature of the area. 

The project consists of transforming Rideau street into Ottawa’s main downtown street.

It is exciting to see that once completed, Rideau street will have the widest sidewalks of any main street in the city. Other important investments include: a new road structure and surface including improved cycling and transit facilities, improved street amenities including benches, bike parking, pedestrian lighting and landscaping, updated infrastructure such as traffic signals and regulatory signage, utilities and service accesses as well as fire hydrants.  

To date, there has been a lot of work along the Rideau Street corridor including the removal of old asphalt, the installation of new road concrete and paving, sewer and catch basin replacement, hydrant relocations, cycling track curbs, utility improvements, as well as landscaping and streetlighting installations. Work on William Street as part of this project will begin this fall. 

The widened sidewalk and cycling facilities are taking shape, including building cycling track curbs. Additionally, the installation of soil cells has taken place throughout the project, allowing urban trees throughout the project. This month, the beginning stages of adding street furniture will start as well as installing curbs.   

The project is on track to have the majority of the work completed in 2020. Final layer of asphalt and landscaping may take place in 2021; however, the street will reopen to traffic, transit and cyclists by December 2020. 

City of Ottawa 2021 Budget Discussions 

As the summer months wrap up and we look ahead into fall, the City and residents of Ottawa will find themselves reviewing the 2021 City Budget.  

The Budget period is a critical time in which important decisions are made about where and how the City will invest and spend public dollars. In a time of much change, the decisions we make this Fall will shape the City’s recovery in how we deliver services to residents of Ottawa.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clear the need for investment in fundamental rights such as housing. The status quo is not working in supporting our City’s most vulnerable residents. In addition to the City’s growing housing needs, the City needs to provide more resources in order to better support and engage Youth in our communities. 

The ByWard Market Public Realm remains an important investment in public spaces that will be discussed. Additionally, the renewal of parks, active transportation, missing cycling links, winter maintenance standard and the pedestrianization of public spaces will also be top of mind in these budget discussions.  

In the coming weeks, the City will begin consultation on the various City budgets Council will discuss such as: Ottawa Public Health, Police Services Board and Community and Protective Services. 

Your feedback helps inform the City’s budget priorities and contributes to decisions about investments in services that you want and need.  

Due to current financial strains, the 2021 Budget brings new risks to the services we all benefit from. With these risks, the COVID situation also gives the opportunity for the City to reestablish its priorities and modernize its service offerings based on Ottawa’s evolving needs. 

Over the last several months, many of you have reached out to my office to express your concerns and feedback on how the City of Ottawa should be spending money. This is the time for you to share your feedback on issues that are important to you.  

As usual, my office will host our Ward budget consultations later in October. Stay tuned for more details about this in the coming weeks. This is your budget, and we want to hear from you.