April 23, 2024, Newsletter


Earth Day & Building a Sustainable Future for Ottawa  

On April 22, the entire world recognized Earth Day, which is an annual “reminder of the importance of environmental conservation and sustainability, encouraging citizens across the globe to come together and take action for a healthier planer and brighter future.”  

As readers of this newsletter have heard many times, my office has a very simple mission statement. One pillar of that mission is to ensure that our city’s projected significant growth is managed in a way that is sustainable and responsible. 

Getting this done is never easy, and always comes at a cost.  

The decisions that politicians make today quite often have a greater impact ten years from now, even fifty years from now. A property tax increase might create a challenge to your household budget today, but it might also be what’s required to fund the stormwater infrastructure to prevent your basement from flooding ten years from now. 

In today’s Councillor’s Message, and in recognition of Earth Day, I just wanted to touch on a couple of the big things that I’m prioritizing as your councillor.  

On April 29th there will be a joint meeting of the Planning & Housing Committee as well as the Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, where this joint committee will review and debate the Draft Zoning By-Law. When it comes to the future of our city, this is one of the most important decisions that will be made over the next few decades, as it lays out the plan for all land use across the City of Ottawa. While I’ve only received the draft by-law a few days ago, I’m already encouraged by a lot of what I see, which includes aggressive measures to protect our urban tree canopy, loosening restrictions for when it comes to small businesses operating within residential neighbourhoods, having no parking minimums for new development, and allowing for four units as-of-right on residential properties across Ottawa. These are just some of the bold actions being proposed for the new Zoning By-Law, which will help our city reach its ambitious targets for housing construction, while also ensuring that we build vibrant mixed-residential communities, protect vital greenspaces and limit vehicle pollution and congestion for our growing city. Residents who wish to delegate at the April 29th meeting should email Committee Clerk Kelly Crozier at [email protected]  

Last week I received the 2024 Spring Tree-Planting Proposal for Ward 9 from the city’s Forestry Services department. This is always an exciting list to get, as it shows just how many new city trees will be planted across Knoxdale-Merivale. Here’s a quick summary:  

  • The current proposal is to plant 154 new trees across Ward 9 this Spring  
  • Frank Ryan Catholic School will have 18 trees planted as part of our Schoolyard Tree Planting Grant Program 
  • There will be 84 trees planted in 11 parks across Ward 9  
  • There will be 52 trees planted at 44 different private residences through the city’s Trees in Trust Program 

As our city’s population grows, and as those people need to move around the city efficiently, I’m eager to continue developing dedicated bus lanes, especially the Baseline Bus Rapid Transit. And as we look to revitalize our downtown core through converting more downtown office space into housing, we’re going to need to ensure that there are vibrant public spaces for those residents. Last week I generated some media attention about my excitement for converting select commercial streets into car-free spaces. Next meeting I’ll be meeting with Ottawa Tourism to discuss this idea, which is something they are also exploring, after they recently went to visit Montreal’s very successful car-free districts.

Finally, one of the files I’ve been paying attention to over the last year and a half is the housing and affordability file, one of the most significant issues we face in Canada, nationwide. If we are going to tackle this problem, we are going to have to look for and adopt solutions in every stage of the process from materials to construction to finance. That’s why I was glad to hear recently that the Province plans to make changes to the building code that would allow the use of mass timber on buildings as high as 18 storeys. To support innovation, my focus has been on bringing people together city planners and private sector builders using innovative and sustainable building techniques to help create opportunities for all sectors to work together to address the housing crisis. In the next issue of this newsletter, I’ll provide some detail on one such encounter that happened yesterday! 


No Parking Minimums

In the segment above I wrote about several of the initiatives that I’m pleased to see in the Draft Zoning By-law, including the provision of no parking minimums for new development. Briefly, this change in policy would stop the practice of requiring developers to build new parking spaces, based on a ratio that was first established in 1964. By removing parking minimums, developers are now free to determine this on their own, based on the market’s preferences. By not having to build parking units, their construction costs go down, and those savings get transferred to the buyer or renter. And there are many more advantages to building fewer paved parking spaces.  

Many cities across North America (including several Canadian cities) have already moved in this direction of removing parking minimums, with the “doomsday predictions” raised by critics not coming to pass. One of my newsletters from a few weeks ago referenced a very successful shift in Buffalo, NY. For anyone interested in learning more on this subject, there’s a great article in today’s CBC Ottawa news.     


The future of recycling 

The City of Ottawa, along with every other municipality in Ontario, is in a pivotal change in how our recycling programs are delivered. Currently, most household recycling programs are handled by municipal governments. Municipalities set the list of things that can be recycled, establish the schedule for household collection, and then manage the back-end process of managing all that recyclable material. But, in 2019, the Province announced a new way of doing things: Individual Producer Responsibility or IPR, for short. That change is intended, as the province says on its own website, “to promote innovation, reduce waste and lower costs for taxpayers.” The new program makes producers of products responsible for “managing the waste generated from their products and packaging.” It’s a great change that will help promote better choices in packaging from manufacturers and help reduce the overall amount of material we are sending to landfill. The plan is being phased in over several years with every municipal bluebox program being seamlessly replaced with IPR by the end of 2025.  

Sounds great, right? 

However, now, we are hearing rumours that the government may be backing away from its plan and considering changes that will lessen the financial burden for the producers. It’s the suspicion of many that there may be an aim to concentrate IPR within one private contractor, rather than allowing for competition on the open market. Nothing definite is known at this point. But whatever happens next, there will be no obvious change for individual households. For now, the pickup of recycling will continue as it always has. But I will be working hard with my colleagues to get some clarity on this issue and ensure that whatever happens next, the City of Ottawa continues to make choices that keep the best interests of Ottawa residents and the environment front and centre. 


Creating better systems for stormwater management 

At last week’s Environment & Climate Change Committee (ECCC), we approved the expansion of the successful Rain Ready pilot program. I am very pleased to see this program expand, especially as it will now broaden its scope to include more Ward 9 residents. If we are going to be ready for the extreme weather events that climate change continues to throw at us, we need to be embracing creative, practical programs like Rain Ready. But I also took the occasion to raise another concern, which is that there have been far too many instances of residents filling in or otherwise altering their ditches and backyard swales, or doing other illegal alterations to their properties, which lead to unanticipated impacts when it comes to stormwater drainage.  During the ECCC, city staff readily admitted that it has taken the City a while to learn about the damaging impacts of these kinds of site alterations.  As part of my upcoming conversations with our city’s Infrastructure & Water Services department, I will be looking for the city to become more proactive in how it addresses this critical issue.  


Anti-Renovictions By-law 

A couple of months ago, I facilitated a meeting where I had invited Hamilton City Councillor Nrinder Nann to meet with Ottawa City Councillors, as we were eager to meet with Nann to discuss their success in getting the City of Hamilton to pass Ontario’s first anti-renoviction by-law. This was something that I was very motivated to see pass in Ottawa, having been unable to prevent the very unfortunate renovictions of long-time tenants at Manor Village in Ward 9.  

This week I will be very happy to see a motion from Councillor Ariel Troster being brought to the Planning & Housing Committee, urging city staff to explore the feasibility of getting our own version of Hamilton’s anti-renoviction by-law in place.  



Cleaning the Capital: Send us your photos! 

To help celebrate Earth Day, there have been numerous individuals, community groups and organizations across Ward 9 that have registered Cleaning the Capital projects all across Ward 9. We’re very appreciative of the community spirit and good citizenship being shown across Knoxdale-Merivale. To participate in one of these campaigns, you can view the registered sites on the Cleaning the Capital map and find a clean-up near you. And we’d love it if people could send in some photos of their own clean-up efforts, which we’ll publish in an upcoming newsletter. Please send your photos to [email protected] with the subject “Cleaning the Capital”.  


Ottawa Waste Explorer 

Did you know that batteries are a leading cause of waste processing facility fires? By disposing of batteries correctly, we help reduce the risk of fires in our waste facilities and trucks, keeping our collection operators and first responders safe. Fortunately, there are numerous retailers and organizations that will take back batteries for safe disposal. Navigate proper waste diversion with ease using the Waste Explorer tool, accessible at ottawa.ca/WasteExplorer and via the Ottawa Collection Calendar mobile app. From batteries and paint to milk cartons and pills, the Waste Explorer is your go-to guide for responsible waste disposal!   


Street sweeping update 

Now that Spring is here, it’s time for the city’s crews to begin their annual street-sweeping campaign! Crews are already hard at work cleaning sidewalks, bus stops and medians using sidewalk sweepers, leaf blowers, flusher trucks and hand brooms. The team has also been working on arterial and collector roads and in some residential neighborhoods. This work will continue over the coming weeks.  While our municipal standards require that these operations be complete by May 31st, we got a bit of a head start, and hope to get the job done earlier this year!  

During this time, residents are reminded not to rake leaves, lawn clippings or other debris onto the roadways as it can make our operations more challenging, especially if the area has already been swept. And while there are no parking restrictions in place during city-wide street sweeping operations, please remove vehicles from the roadway to allow the street sweeping teams to complete their clean-up efficiently.  


Wildlife Policy Review 

The City of Ottawa has released their draft Wildlife Strategy Review. Our office has heard from many concerned residents who have emphasized the importance of a clear and transparent Large Mammal Response Protocol to effectively manage wildlife encounters.  

Residents have also expressed the need for prioritizing the safety and welfare of wildlife, advocating for live traps and tranquilization rather than lethal methods. Residents and advocacy groups have expressed concerns that the City currently utilizes outdated approaches to wildlife management, especially when it comes to beavers. The City's current practice traps and kills approximately 150 beavers a year, at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually – when it's known among environmental groups that there are more sustainable options. 

Residents can read the City’s “As we heard it” Report, which details the conclusions from recent public consultations. Residents have expressed some frustrations with the consultation process of the Wildlife Review, claiming that only particular groups were consulted for the process. In moving forward, the City must prioritize transparency, accountability, and collaboration to address community concerns and implement a more humane and effective wildlife management strategy. Our office will be sure to include future updates in upcoming newsletters. 


Gilbey Park play structure is now open 

After a lengthy and much needed update, the Gilbey Park play structure is now re-opened to the public. This park facility was originally scheduled to re-open at the end of June, but thanks to some effective advocacy from the Fisher Heights & Area Community Association, our office was able to persuade city staff to open it up sooner. We’re glad that the neighborhood’s families can get back to enjoying this freshly upgraded public asset! 


Planned Power Outage 

On Saturday, April 27th Hydro Ottawa will be replacing electrical equipment in the industrial park streets of Camelot Drive and Cleopatra Drive, which will require a temporary outage to ensure worker and customer safety. All impacted customers will be notified by Hydro Ottawa. This planned outage is expected between 8:00am–4:00pm. There will be 18 commercial customers impacted by this outage, scheduled for a weekend to minimize disruption to these affected businesses.  



Pop-Up Office Hours: Craig Henry 

Would you like to meet up with your City Councillor and his team, and discuss municipal issues? Got a question that you'd like an answer to? Maybe you're simply looking to build a relationship with your elected representative? Councillor Devine will be at Craig Henry's fantastic Keepin' It Vegan bakery on Tuesday May 28th from 9:00am - 11:00am, during their regular Toddler Tuesdays. This is an informal opportunity to have a quick chat, on a first-come, first-served basis. Plus, this spot has some of the best baked goods in Ottawa! 

There's no need to RSVP, but we'll aim to keep each meeting brief, especially if others are looking to chat, too! 


National Volunteer Week

April 14th – 20th was National Volunteer Week in Canada. Even though this week of recognition has now passed, we wanted to take an opportunity to extend our ongoing gratitude to Ward 9’s many volunteers who run our local community associations. Councillor Devine’s own experience leading his neighborhood’s community association has taught him just how valuable and valued these organizations are when it comes to improving the health, vibrancy and quality of life of our communities. 

Derrick Simpson is an Ottawa resident who serves on the Centretown Community Association but has also been active in developing Strong Towns Ottawa as well as the Ottawa Urbanism Book Club, two organizations that Councillor Devine has been connecting with.  

Recently, Derrick published an article called “Why you should consider joining your community association”. For anyone interested in helping to build stronger and healthier communites, we encourage you to read Derrick’s article. If you’d like to get involved in your own local community association and would like an introduction, please email [email protected] and address it to Megan Wood, Ward 9 Community Liaison, with the subject line “Community Associations”.  


The Suburban Legends at NROCRC’s Shine a Light Gala 

This past weekend Councillor Devine joined several of his colleagues (Councillors David Brown, Wilson Lo, and David Hill) at the annual Shine A Light gala fundraiser for the Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre. This was also a chance for Councillor Devine’s cover band The Suburban Legends to play their first charitable event! You can watch a brief clip of the band playing here 



The future of provincial water testing on private wells

Last week our office received an email from a resident in the Ward 9 community of Pineglen expressing concern over news they had read about Public Health Ontario proposing to phase out free water testing of private wells. According to the news article linked above, Public Health Ontario and the Ministry of Health are proposing to close 6 out of 11 of the provincial testing laboratories, as part of a “modernization” plan, along with “scaling down the types of tests publicly offered, including gradually phasing out private well water testing.” These recommendations to the provincial Ministry of Health and Public Health Ontario come from the Auditor General of Ontario’s December 2023 Value-for-Money Audit of Public Health Ontario.  

Having reviewed the AG’s Audit and having raised our concerns with Ottawa Public Health about this matter, it does appear like Ottawa’s laboratory is not currently among the 6 provincial labs being considered for closure. However, no decisions have been finalized, and the AG audit still does recommend “the gradual discontinuation of private drinking water testing.”  

This news is concerning for many reasons, especially to Ottawa’s many residents who rely on private wells for their drinking water, including many Ward 9 residents. Once you put a price tag on water testing, you put a barrier in place that would lead to a decrease in testing. This would also lead to a decrease in publicly monitored data.  

In 2000, an outbreak of E. Coli in municipal drinking water led to the death of seven people, with several thousand other residents becoming ill. In the public inquiry that followed this crisis, the judge who led the inquiry reported that the privatization of laboratory testing of municipal drinking water samples connected directly to Walkerton outbreak of E. coli.  Twenty-four years later, the province is proposing once again to privatize water testing. Our office will continue to reach out to Ottawa Public Health for updates. 


Respiratory Disease Update

The incidence of respiratory illness in our community seems to be holding relatively steady over the last couple of weeks—which is good news on the COVID and RSV front, but a little concerning when it comes to flu. COVID and RSV are both at relatively low levels at the moment but the flu is really digging in and has increased slightly over the last couple of weeks. As always, it’s a good idea to use all the protections to keep yourself healthy: wash your hands regularly, open windows when you can, use filtration, and wear a good, well-fitting mask when you are sharing space with lots of people. Fingers crossed with the warmer weather on its way that we’ll begin to see rate of influenza begin to taper off in the weeks ahead. 




Seniors & Fraud Scams 

In today’s interconnected world, staying safe goes beyond locking our doors and looking both ways before crossing the street. With the rise of digital communication, we face a new breed of threats: scams and misinformation. These insidious dangers can lurk in our inboxes, social media feeds, and even in our own homes, preying on our trust and exploiting our vulnerabilities. 

As proud residents of Ottawa, we must arm ourselves with knowledge and vigilance to protect against these modern-day pitfalls. Learn more about these and other scams by visiting the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and the Ottawa Police website. 

If you receive an email, text message or phone call from someone you do not know or that you think is fake, here are some things you can do: 

  • Do not give out personal or financial information. 
  • Do not be afraid to say no. 
  • Do not feel pressured. Know you can always hang up the phone. 
  • Do your research. Find out if the person or company is real. 
  • Keep your computer and smartphone safe. Do not click on any links, pictures or documents from people you do not know. Delete them. 
  • Be wary of appeals that tug on your heart strings, such as pleas involving patriotism or current events. 

You can contact the Ottawa Police Service, by completing a report online at the Ottawa Police website or by calling 613-236-1222, extension 7300 if you have provided personal information, but not lost any money. 

To note, NROCRC is hosting a Fraud Prevention for Seniors Seminar on Monday April 29th from 1 pm to 3 pm.  

Let’s join forces to combat scams in our community. Stay vigilant, stay informed, and together, we can protect ourselves and our city from harm.



With Spring upon us, we’re getting news about lots of community events and programs coming up soon. Please continue to send information about your events to [email protected] and we’ll help promote them. Here are some events coming up in Ward 9! 

There’s a lot going on in Trend-Arlington over the next few weeks, including:  

  • The Trend Arlington Community Association (TACA)is hosting a Community Garage Sale on May 4th from 8:00am – 12:00pm. If you’d like to register your own garage sale to be included in their location list and map, please register through their Garage Sale Sign-Up Form 
  • TACA also continues to host Community Sewing Group, with meetings coming up on Tuesday evenings throughout April – July. Every sewer can book their own table for $5 by sending an email to [email protected]  
  • The Trend Arlington T-Ball and Softball League will begin their 2024 season on May 6th. Registration has already reached capacity for this very popular local program. Councillor Devine is the league organizer and one of the coaches, and he’s planning to get Mayor Sutcliffe to come out to one of the games! 
  • And on May 11, Arlington Woods Church hosts their annual Bike Rodeo from 11:00am – 3:00pm. 

And there’s a lot of community activity happening in Tanglewood-Hillsdale, including:  

  • Fraud Prevention for Seniors – April 29th from 1 pm to 3 pm 
  • Arbor Day – May 4th from 2 pm to 4 pm  
  • Children’s T-Ball Lessons – June 13th  to August 15th from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm 
  • Children’s Soccer Lessons – June 11th to August 13th from 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm 


Discover Treasures Galore at Knox Unite Church's Rummage Sale! 

Mark your calendars for Saturday, May 4th, and head to Knox Unite Church, located at 25 Gibbard Avenue, for an unforgettable rummage sale experience! From 9 am to 1 pm, the doors will swing open to reveal a treasure trove of hidden gems waiting to be discovered. 

Browse through a wide array of items, including clothing, household goods, electronics, toys, books, and more! Whether you're on the hunt for vintage collectibles or everyday essentials, you're sure to find something that catches your eye. 

Don't miss out on this opportunity to shop, save, and support your local community! Bring your friends, family, and neighbors for a day of fun, bargain-hunting, and goodwill. 

See you at Knox Unite Church's Rummage Sale on May 4th from 9 am to 1 pm! 


Ottawa Sens Daycamp 

Get ready for an unforgettable summer adventure as BGC Ottawa proudly teams up with the Ottawa Senators to introduce the Ottawa Senators Summer Day Camps powered by BGC Ottawa! This dynamic partnership builds on the strong philanthropic bond between the Senators Community Foundation and BGC Ottawa, offering an exclusive opportunity for the young fans of tomorrow to immerse themselves in the BGC Ottawa Family. 

Experience the Ultimate Summer Camp! 

Location: Three BGC Ottawa locations – Don McGahan Clubhouse, Taggart Parkes Family Clubhouse, and Tomlinson Family Foundation Clubhouse. 

Dates: Eight weeks starting July 2. 

Cost: $275 per child per week (Reduced rate of $220 for weeks with a statutory holiday). 

Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday (Pre- and post-care available at an additional cost). 

Each week promises an exciting theme and a wide range of activities, from arts and crafts to STEM challenges and sports. With special Senators-themed activities and outings to local museums, farms, and festivals, every moment will be filled with adventure and learning. 

Additionally, every camper will receive an Ottawa Senators Summer Day Camps powered by BGC Ottawa T-shirt to proudly wear during outings and beyond, showcasing their unforgettable camp experience. 

All proceeds from the Ottawa Senators Summer Day Camps will be reinvested into BGC Ottawa, ensuring the continuation of life-changing programs for thousands of children and youth in our community. 

For more information or to register your child, visit www.bgcottawa.org/summerdaycamps. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to be part of something truly special! 


Busting Out Ottawa Dragon Boat Club’s 2024 Registration Night & Membership Drive 

Busting Out Ottawa Dragon Boat Club (BOO) will be hosting a Membership Drive, which is a Meet and Greet, for interested women and men who have had breast cancer and would like to try out dragon boating. This event will provide the opportunity to sign up for four free coached dragon boat paddles before committing to the season. This event will take place at J.A. Dulude Arena (941 Clyde Avenue) on Thursday, April 25th, from 6:30-8:30p.m. 

To enhance the campaign to inform breast cancer survivors about Busting Out Ottawa Dragon Boat Club, they will have a table at The Farmers Market at Lansdowne Park April 21st, 2024. For more information on BOO, please visit their website. 

Game, Set, Match!  

Spring has sprung, and it's time to swing into action at General Burns Tennis Club, nestled at 86 Argue Drive in Nepean. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just picking up a racquet for the first time, our club offers tennis programs tailored to all ages and skill levels. 

Dive into personalized instruction with our certified coaches through private and group lessons. Plus, our convenient online court booking system ensures you never miss a match. 

But the fun doesn't stop there! Enroll your little ones in our highly sought-after summer tennis camp (spaces fill up fast, so secure your spot early!). 

Looking to test your skills in friendly competition? Join us for mixed tournaments, social events, and lively in-house competitions. And for those seeking a bit of rivalry beyond our grounds, we offer inter-league competitions to keep the excitement alive. 

Don't let this ace opportunity pass you by. Serve up your passion for tennis today! Visit our website to learn more and register online."

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