June 4, 2024, Newsletter


Update from City Hall: Transit Commission 

Even though I’m not a member of the Transit Commission, I attended this week’s Joint Transit Commission / LRT Sub-Committee meeting. It was an opportunity to ask questions about some issues I’ve long been concerned with, including the “sustainable solution” to the issues that have plagued the LRT’s Confederation Line, as well as the difficulty that Council has encountered in fulfilling our public oversight role. Residents interested in a journalistic summary of the meeting can review this CBC News article.  

It has been a point of frustration to many Councillors, myself included, that when it comes to providing the level of transparent oversight that’s expected of elected officials, there have been restrictions over what information Councillors have been allowed to share publicly, let alone what information Councillors are even allowed to learn. Much of this is due to the legal and contractual relationships between the City of Ottawa and Rideau Transit Group (RTG). 

It was last year when RTG and Alstom, the French manufacturer of our LRT trains, agreed on a “sustainable solution” to the problem of “excessive lateral load” on the train’s wheels. This solution was that Alstom would essentially re-design the train’s axles and wheel hub assemblies, and then modify each train with the new equipment, all of this at Alstom’s expense. What’s interesting to note, however, is that while both parties had agreed to the solution to the problem, they were not in agreement about the “root cause” of the problem each were claiming to have solved.  

In a May 22 report from city staff, Council learned that "Alstom has indicated that a sustainable solution can be achieved without a re-design [of the train’s axle and wheel hub assembly] and is not currently working on this initiative." We also learned that both Alstom and the National Research Council (NRC), in two separate reports, had each suggested that the “sustainable solution” required addressing the hardness of the rails.  The NRC report suggested specifically that “high strength rail should be swapped in for the existing 115RE [rail] in tight curves. Rail replacement would normally occur when the rail is out of tolerance for the standards set out for the system.”  

In other words, does the problem have more to do with the tracks, or with the trains? Is it more RTG’s responsibility, or is it Alstom’s? Is this all just a dispute between two private companies, each one competing in their own best commercial interest? Since RTG is the only party to this dispute that the City of Ottawa is in a contract with, and since Alstom is a sub-contractor to RTG and has no direct agreement with the City, we only ever hear RTG’s account of this dispute.  

It’s extremely frustrating, and it makes it very challenging to do my job as an elected official seeking to provide transparency and oversight.  

Along with several other councillors, I asked hard questions of Nicholas Truchon, the CEO of RTG. I asked questions about RTG’s opinion on the rail infrastructure, and how its opinion clashed with that of Alstom and the NRC. I asked questions about how forthcoming RTG will be with their upcoming report to OC Transpo, and whether that report will be made public. I won’t say that RTG’s answers were reassuring. I can assure you that I will be continuing my line of inquiry, in particular by working with Transit Commissioner Councillor David Hill, as he and I share a similar concern and curiosity about what’s happening here.    

No matter how this situation may be described publicly, this is not just a dispute between two private companies. There is a strong public interest here, and we have an obligation to provide public oversight. LRT is one of the biggest infrastructure investments in the city’s history, it is not functioning as expected, and the two main builders seem to disagree over the root cause. We have an obligation to seek clear answers. Without them, it will be difficult to restore trust in the system, let alone trust in Council’s role to provide oversight.    


Merivale Road in the news  

Readers of this newsletter are no doubt aware of my long-term plans for the re-development of Merivale Road, which will soon be the subject of a new Secondary Plan, to commence this summer. My office is very proud and excited to have been integrally involved in getting the city to put its focus on this key part of the city and the essential role it plays in the future of Ottawa’s growth.  

And so, we were very pleased to see that Ottawa Business Journal wrote a feature story about Merivale, and that the story conveyed how both of Merivale Road’s city councillors are keenly interested in the subject. Don’t forget: the commercial segment of Merivale Road between Baseline and Viewmount straddles Ward 9 and Ward 8. My College Ward colleague Councillor Laine Johnson are on the same page when it comes to Merivale, and so it was great to see how the Ottawa Business Journal emphasized our joint interest.  

Here are a few key passages and a link to the article:  

Built originally as a transportation channel between the city’s core and its outskirts, Merivale Road has evolved into a busy shopping destination. Now, the two councillors who share this diverse strip of asphalt are working together to usher in an era of consistency, symmetry and change for Merivale Road and its many businesses. 

“It’s split right down the middle between our wards,” said Johnson, councillor for College Ward. “And until now, Merivale has been trying to be too many things to too many people.” Fortunately, Devine and Johnson share the same mixed-use vision and while they might have different approaches, Johnson said they make an excellent team. “We need people like Devine in this city. He has a vision and he pushes staff to dream big,” Johnson told OBJ. 

That vision involves a complete reinvention of Merivale Road. “We’ve given a lot of prime real estate to parking spaces,” said Devine. “Retail itself is changing and the city is changing.” 


Zoning By-Law  

As most residents are now aware, the City of Ottawa is currently undergoing a comprehensive review of the Zoning By-Law, which is the by-law that sets out parameters and designations for land use within the entire City of Ottawa. If the New Official Plan that Ottawa ratified in 2022 is meant to set out the “vision” for Ottawa’s future over the next few generations, the Zoning By-Law is the “blueprint” for how that vision comes to life in physical form. And so, it’s important for Ottawa residents to know how this new Zoning By-Law will impact their daily lives.  

On May 31, the City of Ottawa released the first draft of the new Zoning By-Law, which Council will formally approve in late 2025. An extensive period of education and public consultation is taking place between now and that final approval.  

To kick-off consultation for Draft 1 of the New Zoning By-law there will be a city-wide virtual information session on June 20th from 6:30pm – 8:00pm. This session will give an overview of the main ideas of the proposed bylaw and explain what will happen in future meetings. Residents will have an opportunity to ask questions and share concerns. An “As We Heard It” report will be published after the meeting. To attend, please register here.  

Later this summer in August, there will be a second virtual meeting co-hosted by my office along with Councillors Theresa Kavanagh and Laine Johnson, which will be a more specific presentation focused on Wards 7, 8 and 9. Stay tuned for more details on that upcoming event.  

I know that many residents are apprehensive of change coming to their neighbourhoods, but change is a necessary part of cities evolving and growing. I encourage residents to become engaged in this process so that they can be properly informed about the future of our communities, so that we might be able to learn about the positive outcomes.   


June is Let’s Bike Month  

Ottawa is a great place to ride your bike any time of year, but June is Let’s Bike Month in Ottawa. The EnviroCentre, in partnership with the City is offering a series of workshops, events and promotions during Let’s Bike Month. Visit the website for a full list of activities, including your opportunity to win prizes. To participate, simply sign up as an individual or as part of a team, then log your bike rides throughout the month. It’s fun, healthy, good for the environment and if you log at least one ride, you will be eligible to win prizes. It’s a regular win-win-win-win situation. 

On Monday, June 3, I was proud to attend the launch of the new report from Envirocentre and Ottawa Climate Action Fund about re-igniting a conversation about a bike share system for Ottawa-Gatineau. With 250 bike share systems operating across North America, it’s clear that they are an essential piece of local transportation networks. For Ottawa-Gatineau, bike share is a missing piece of our transportation system.   

And one other reason that I’m excited to promote Bike Month this year is because later this summer there’s going be an exciting cycling event here in Ward 9. On July 21st there will be a Kidical Mass event taking place at 10:00am in General Burns Park. Kidical Mass is a global movement to promote awareness of cycling in cities, and to encourage more and more people – especially youth – to get active on two wheels. These Kidical Mass events don’t often happen outside of the urban core, so I’m excited to see them come to Ward 9. We’ll share more details in an upcoming newsletter, but I wanted to give Ward 9 residents the heads-up! 



FireSmart Event Reminder 

On June 13th at 6:00pm, Councillor Devine will be hosting a FireSmart Information Session at the Nepean Sportsplex. Residents in Merivale Gardens and The Glens are already aware of the fire safety issues concerning dried out fallen tree debris in Pinhey Forest, especially as we enter wildfire season. As the NCC owns and maintains this land, the City of Ottawa is limited in the actions it can take in this area.   

Recently, our office enlisted the support of Ottawa Fire Service (OFS) to help address safety risks regarding Pinhey Forest. The OFS issued a letter to the NCC earlier this spring and has since learned that the NCC has made Pinhey Forest one of three priority areas for removal of fallen vegetation, with a goal is to have the work completed by spring of 2025.  

This free information session will take place on June 13th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Nepean Sportsplex, located at 1701 Woodroffe Avenue. The event will be in the Richmond Room, which is accessible via Entrance 4 at the rear of the Sportsplex.   


Parkwood Hills Emergency Preparedness Workshop 

When emergencies strike, the first help often comes from those closest to us - family, friends, and neighbors. To strengthen our community's resilience, we are hosting a FREE workshop for Parkwood Hills residents titled “Helping Each Other Before, During, and After Emergencies. 

  • Date: June 15, 2024 
  • Time: 2:00pm to 4:00pm 
  • Location: 1341 Meadowlands Drive, Party Room 


Ottawa Film Office Screening of Geek Girl 

Councillor Devine was proud to be one of the speakers at last week’s special screening of Geek Girl, a new Netflix series that had two of its episodes shot and produced in Ottawa. But not only were two of its episodes made here in Ottawa, they were also set here in Ottawa. It was a lovely way to promote our city globally. As a board director of the Ottawa Film Office, the Councillor continues to aggressively promote the city’s film and television production industry as a key driver of the city’s economic engine.  


Nepean Creative Arts Centre Open House  

For anyone in Ward 9 with an interest in the creative arts, the Nepean Creative Arts Centre is hosting an Open House on Sunday June 23rd from 1:00pm – 4:00pm. This free event at their facility in Bells Corners will showcase arts groups from a wide array of artistic disciplines: music, dance, theatre, circus, fine crafts, and more. We’ll publish a more detailed schedule in our next newsletter but be sure to save the date in your calendar! 


Coffee Houses on Sustainability: Climate Risk & Basement Flooding 

On June 8th, come join neighbours from across Canada for a coffee and a cookie to learn from the experiences of experts and those who have experienced the kind of basement flooding that has affected so many across Ward 9. There will be a presentation from city staff from stormwater management. Register here for this free event.  



Volunteer Call: Join Councillor Devine at the BBQ 

On June 22, our office is co-hosting Parkwood Hills Fun Day, along with the Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre. The Ward 9 team is organizing and managing the event’s Free BBQ. Councillor Devine and his team will be busy at the grill, but we’re looking for some volunteers to give us a helping hand. If you’ve got time on Saturday June 22nd between 11am – 5pm and would like to support this wonderful community event, please email [email protected] with the subject line “BBQ Volunteer”. High school students can use this event for their required volunteer hours! 


Seniors Summit Survey   

On October 1, Ottawa City Councillor Sean Devine and his office will be hosting a Seniors Summit. As part of their preparations and planning for this event, they have prepared a brief online survey for older adults and other interested stakeholders, to help gather useful information to make the event as successful as possible. Interested participants should complete the survey by Friday, June 14th.   


Public Engagement: Ottawa’s Municipal Accessibility Plan 

The City of Ottawa’s Accessibility Office began consultations for the next City of Ottawa Municipal Accessibility Plan (COMAP) in May 2024. The first consultation was held at the City’s annual AccessAbility Day celebration on May 30 at City Hall. 

The Accessibility Office has developed a consultation plan to reach out to persons with disabilities and organizations that support persons with disabilities, to create initiatives for the next COMAP. Consultations will be held both in-person at various locations throughout the city, as well as virtually to ensure a variety of accessible ways to participate. Additionally, an accessible online survey has been posted on Engage Ottawa for input from May 30 to August 5, 2024.  

Resident feedback is critical to ensure that barriers in the City’s programs, services and facilities are identified. Innovative, creative or emerging accessibility initiatives will be developed in collaboration with City departments for implementation across City services, programs and facilities. 

Residents can attend any consultation. The consultation schedule is as follows, and residents can visit the Engage Ottawa page for event info and details: 

  • June 12th from 6:00pm – 7:30pm at Ben Franklin Place 
  • June 24th from 1:00pm – 2:30pm at City Hall 
  • July 3rd from 6:00pm – 7:30pm at Peter D. Clark Place 
  • July 9th from 1:00pm – 2:30pm on Zoom 
  • July 17th from 10:00am – 11:30am on Zoom 
  • July 31st from 6:00pm – 7:30pm on Zoom 


Nominations for the Order of Ottawa 

If you know someone who has gone above and beyond in their commitment to their community, now is your opportunity to recognize their lifetime of effort. Nominations for the Order of Ottawa are now open. Every year, these awards recognize exceptional individuals who have committed themselves to excellence and outstanding service. If you have someone in mind for this prestigious honour, you have until September 13 to submit your nomination. You can find more information about the awards by visiting the city’s website. 


NROCRC’s Tools 4 Schools 

Are you ready for the upcoming school year? Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre is excited to announce the return of their Tools 4 School event, where they provide free school supplies to eligible children and youth to support their journey back to school in September. 

Who's Eligible? This initiative is specifically designed to assist low-income students from kindergarten to Grade 12 in the Nepean Rideau Osgoode Community Resource Centre catchment area. 

Limited Spaces Available: Register Now! Spaces for this program are limited, so don't miss out! To register your children, you can reach out to us through the following channels: 

Registration Details: Registration for Tools 4 School opens on June 12th and runs until August 2nd, 2024. Be sure to secure your spot early to guarantee your child's participation in this valuable program. 


Synapcity CityMaker Session 

Coming up on June 11 check out Synapcity’s CityMakers Session where past and present graduates of their flagship Civics Boot Camp Program will come together to learn, network and collaborate on critical initiatives happening in our community. Stop by one of the partners booths to learn about vital projects and programs going on throughout the city. Listen to several Lightning Talks to learn about the impact their Alumni Network is making. Don’t miss this free event and be sure to RSVP at their event site.  



Respiratory Disease Update 

Ottawa continues to ride the low tide of COVID infections, although there is some upward movement showing up in other parts of the province. Flu and RSV also remain low, so things continue to look relatively stable in Ottawa. But no harm in taking advantage of the good weather to crack some windows and get some fresh air into your home and workplace. And you can still help reduce spread by wearing a good-fitting mask when you are at events or in public venues.


Ottawa-Gatineau one of the safest cities in Canada 

The National Capital Region did well in a recent survey of the safest cities in the country. Both Ottawa and Gatineau cracked the top 10, with Gatineau placing third and Ottawa placing fifth. A recent report from a law firm picked out the best and worst places to live in the country when it comes to rates of crime. The study looked at the rate of offenses per 100-thousand people and both Gatineau and Ottawa did well, comparatively. The safest place in the country? Toronto. The least safe? Lethbridge, Alberta. If you want a closer look at the detail, you can have a look for yourself at the rankings. Well done, Ottawa! 



1545a Merivale 

On May 24, the Committee of Adjustment (CoA) released its decision on an application for a minor variance at 1545a Merivale Rd. The site is being developed as the future home of a one-storey medical testing facility. The developers of the site will need to do some re-thinking, however, as the CoA disagreed with the application and rejected it. The applicant had requested a reduction in the number of parking spaces to be provided on site (from 103 to 78) in order to maximize the available space on the lot. The city planning staff agreed with the reduction but, in its decision, the CoA rejected the argument that less parking would be sufficient and said that the request was neither minor nor in keeping with the Official Plan for the area (both requirements for a minor variance application). This means the development will need to be reconsidered and either reformulated to fit the existing requirements or brought to Planning and Housing Committee for an application for a zoning by-law amendment. 



The Mayor’s Annual Canada Day Celebration for Seniors 

On July 1st Mayor Sutcliffe will once again host the Mayor’s Annual Canada Day Celebration for Seniors, which is a free breakfast event from 8:00am – 10:30am at Aberdeen Pavilion in Lansdowne Park. Tickets will be available as of Monday, June 3 by calling 613-580-2470 or by emailing [email protected]. Tickets will be distributed on a first come, first-served basis. Limit of two tickets per request. Couples celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in 2024 can inquire about special seating. 

Our office also has 10 tickets to give away to this event. Interested seniors can email [email protected] with the subject line “Canada Day Breakfast”. Limit of two tickets per request. Councillor Devine will deliver the tickets personally and will also be at the event serving breakfast! 


Motherload Movie Screening 

On Sunday June 9th at 11:30am, For Our Kids Ottawa-Gatineau is hosting a showing of the award-winning film MOTHERLOAD at the Mayfair Theatre. This film captures a new mother’s quest to understand the increasing isolation and disconnection of modern life, its planetary impact, and how cargo bikes could be an antidote. The event is a fundraiser for the Ottawa Community Housing Foundation Hop On Bikes program. Tickets are by donation – suggested $10 per person, $5 for students / youth.  

Prior to the film, from 10:30-11:30am, drop by the Hopewell Avenue Public School bike racks to check out a wide variety of cargo bikes and chat with their owners about what works for them to make family transportation by bike easy and fun. 



Lift Off: A Youth Entrepreneurship Day 

Get ready to launch into the world of entrepreneurship with Invest Ottawa's inaugural youth entrepreneurship day! On Saturday June 15th, 2024, 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, Invest Ottawa is spearheading this event at Bayview Yards Ottawa (7 Bayview Yards Station Road) on behalf of the growing community of aspiring young entrepreneurs.  

This is a fantastic opportunity for young entrepreneurs aged 15 to 22 years old to delve into the world of business and innovation. The event will feature engaging sessions led by industry experts, a dynamic guest speaker panel discussion, and an inspiring keynote address. 

Attendees will have the chance to learn the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, including resilience-building, goal setting, marketing strategies, business planning, networking, and pitching ideas. Plus, there's a special bonus – a complimentary pizza lunch for all participants! 

Don't Miss Out – Register Today! 
Spaces are limited, so secure your spot now for this exciting day of learning, inspiration, and networking. Let's empower the next generation of entrepreneurs together! 


Pollinator Appreciation Day June 8 


Ottawa Police Chorus June 8 


Scuba Summer Camp 

Join the Metropolitan Bible Church's Summer Camp, where children in Grades 1-6 are invited for a weeklong adventure from July 29th to August 2nd. Located at The Met Bible Church, 2176 Prince of Wales Drive, the camp runs from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm each day. Priced at $170 per camper, this adventure promises an exciting lineup of activities including games, snacks, music, crafts, and plenty of fun! The registration deadline is June 16th, so don't wait to secure your child's spot for a week filled with friendship and summer memories.  


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