Today the 2015 City of Ottawa Draft Budget was tabled at Council. I am proud to start a new term of Council and work with old and new colleagues as we continue to make the City of Ottawa the best place to live, work and play. Residents in Ottawa told us what they want from our City during last year's election and I am confident the community’s priorities are reflected in this draft budget once again.
This year is another benchmark for the City. We are proposing to limit the property tax increase to 1.75%. This would be the lowest tax increase in eight years, respecting taxpayers while the City continues to offer good core services with a responsible price tag.
I spent the last term of Council working with residents and community groups to show real progress in Bay Ward. Residents saw the grand opening of Inspiration Park, a new Sens Rink of Dreams in Bayshore Park, renewal of Carling Ave, Woodroffe Ave, Bayshore Ave and Corkstown Rd, a cross walk linking neighbourhoods to Lincoln Fields Station, and renewal of Michele Park. These were commitments made and delivered.
As we begin this term of Council, it is time to finish what we started.
There are important projects to complete such as improving fitness, gathering and recreation opportunities in Britannia Park and at the Ron Kolbus Lakeside Centre, renewing the field house in Bayshore Park, and finishing construction on the waterfront infrastructure project in Britannia Village.
Council will work to identify its strategic priorities over the coming months. As Deputy Mayor for the City of Ottawa, I would like to ensure that affordable housing, economic development and innovation, and continuing support for our City's seniors through the Older Adult Plan, are chief among them. Others will include transit, road and pedestrian safety, 2017 celebrations, Ottawa River clean-up, forestry, accessibility, arts and culture, and recreation.
A key priority is to fund crime prevention through a gang exit strategy. This budget contains $400,000 to allow the City to work in partnership with the Ottawa Police Service and Crime Prevention Ottawa to determine and develop an effective exit strategy for gang members, including employment and training opportunities.
The budget continues the City’s $14 million commitment towards its 10-year Housing and Homelessness Plan, in addition to increased funding of $3.1 million for the maintenance of the Ottawa Community Housing units. To help ensure we are a caring capital city, an additional $19 million will build new homes for Ottawa families. This will help our City’s most vulnerable residents.
BAY WARD HIGHLIGHTS
- Smoother and faster transit connection from Bayshore Mall to the west transitway with $36m in investments, including segregated bus lanes;
- Your kids will have access to an upgraded community centre for many more years thanks to a $107,000 replacement of the Michele Heights Community Centre roof;
- Providing a more caring transition for families in need with $109,000 in building renewal at the Carling Family Shelter;
- Enjoy quality family time at Carlingwood Library with an expanded exterior entranceway with canopy cover to keep kids and strollers dry;
- Feel safe in well lit areas with replacement of street light poles and hydro poles along Richmond Rd, Carling Ave, and Woodroffe Ave;
- Making your drive smoother by resurfacing Maitland Ave from Lenester Ave to Woodward Dr;
- Count on reliable and clean water service with the reconstruction of the watermain at Maplehurst Ave and Carling Ave;
- Learn about your neighbourhood's heritage as we extend the life of Fairfields House on Richmond Rd;
- Enjoy Britannia Beach and Park with upgrades to the Beach building;
- Stay cool on hot summer days at a renewed wading pool in Frank Ryan Park;
- Your kids can be kids at the Woodridge Court Day Care Centre with more durable flooring;
- Ensuring better maintenance of your City's bus fleet with upgrades to the Pinecrest Storage building;
- Make your transfers at Lincoln Fields Station and Bayshore Station easier with upgrades to the platform; and
- Enjoy your commute on a repaved transitway north of Lincoln Fields Station.
- Helping families stay in their homes with $62.8 million in rent subsidies and supplements through Ottawa Community Housing;
- Increasing repair of Ottawa Community Housing units at no additional cost to the City of Ottawa by continuing property tax exemptions;
- Ensuring at-risk moms and babies get the support they need from Public Health nurses by phone and at home visits
- Protecting your health with $150k directed towards inspections of nail salons and tattoo parlours;
- Eliminating the risk of the Emerald Ash Borer while beautifying your neighbourhood with $5.6 million in forestry initiatives replenishing infected ash trees, with an additional $1.3 million for new trees;
- Travel around the City more efficiently thanks to $4.2 million for increased transit service, and approximately 5,700 more Para Transpo trips;
- Enjoy alternative transportation options with $2.2 million in new pedestrian and cyclist infrastructure;
- Rest assured your first responders can help in any emergency with equipment renewal funding of $4.9 million for Paramedic Services, $2.7 million for security and emergency management, and $2.5 million for Fire Services;
- Helping keep your utilities affordable by limiting the Water and Sewer Charge increase to 6%;
- Freezing garbage fees for the third consecutive year;
- Enhance and increase funding for the Adult School Crossing Guard Program;
- Increasing your enjoyment of the beautiful Ottawa River by acting on the Ottawa River Action Plan with construction of a central storage tunnel and working with Federal and Provincial partners; and
- Working together to find the best route for Stage 2 of Ottawa's Light Rail Transit as it extends to neighbourhoods in the east, west, and south.
MULTI-WARD PUBLIC BUDGET CONSULTATIONS
I want to hear what you think about this year's proposed budget. The City of Ottawa is holding four public budget consultations in February and I would be pleased to meet with you and hear your thoughts. I will be attending the two sessions below:
DATES AND LOCATIONS
Holy Trinity Catholic High School, Cafetorium
Tuesday February 10, 2015 at 7:30-9:30pm
180 Katimavik Road
Nepean Sportsplex, Hall “A”
Wednesday February 11, 2015 at 7-9pm
1701 Woodroffe Avenue
You can also share your thoughts with me about the budget or any other issue at our Community Office, City Hall office, by email, on social media, or by telephone.
There are other public budget consultations, the dates and locations can be found on our Events Calendar. You can also make a five-minute presentation to a Standing Committee on the 2015 draft budget.
For more information and everything budget related, visit the City website.
CONTACT MY OFFICE
I am always happy to hear from you on the budget or any other municipal issue. Please do not hesitate to contact me and share your thoughts.