Councillor, Capital Ward
City Hall is busy wrapping up a few files before council breaks for a few weeks over July and August. At the end of May, we held a public consultation on bicycling infrastructure in the ward as part of work on the Transportation Master Plan. We have also been consulting with the community and staff on a few development projects in the ward. And we continue with our Community Care calls, as we want to hear what’s important to you, the residents of Capital Ward.
A Tax Break for a Porsche Dealership
Back in May, city council made the regrettable decision to give a $2.9-million tax break to an established Porsche dealership on Montreal Road. The payments would be spread out over ten years after the company built a new dealership on its lot.
This is an unfortunate decision. This giveaway was made as part of a Community Improvement Plan for Montreal Road. The intention is to spur development along that stretch, encouraging developments that would not otherwise occur.
Unfortunately, there is scant evidence that this development would not have occurred without the tax break. In just a few days, more than 4,000 people signed a petition to stop it. The vote at council was 15-9 in favour of the tax break, and it follows other council decisions that highlight why change is needed. From the Chateau Laurier vote to the Stage 2 LRT vote where vital information was withheld from councillors to the vote on expanding the urban boundary, City Hall needs to do a better job of listening to the public and acting accordingly.
Traffic Calming in the Glebe
Every year, we roll out measures in the neighbourhood to try to calm traffic and make our streets safer. Our office has a limited budget for these measures – called “Temporary Traffic Calming” or TTC measures – and we do our best to spread them around the ward to help as much of our community as possible.
Many of you are familiar with the 30km/h speed limits, the flex stakes in the centre of streets and the blue flex posts along our bike lanes, but the TTC program covers a number of other measures as well. These include road-painting, special traffic calming signs, electronic speed boards and more.
This year, we’re working with streets directly to implement new initiatives. On some streets, you will start to see painted bulb-outs with flex stakes. These are meant to narrow the street, encouraging drivers to slow down. We have also set up new signage alerting drivers to share space with other road users to try to make our streets quieter and more welcoming for all residents.
These signs are part of a special program that the city has implemented during the pandemic, when we need more space in our streets for residents to move around safely.
In the coming months, we will take a report to council to complete the 30 km/h gateway speed zone east of Bank Street, like the one implemented a couple of years ago on the west side of the neighbourhood. Bringing speed limits down to 30 km/h makes a significant difference in the overall safety of our streets. It is our intention to implement these zones across all of Capital Ward by the end of this term of council.
Finally, we are currently working with the city’s Road Safety Action Plan team on improvements to Fourth Avenue between Lyon and Percy. This block was identified for improvements as part of the city’s “Transforming School Zones” project. Staff are considering measures like speed bumps, bulb-outs and a raised crosswalk between Mutchmor and the school yard. We’re only in the beginning phases of this project and will be consulting residents for feedback and suggestions.
West Coast Video Update
The two-storey building at 1123-1125 Bank Street that used to house West Coast Video has now sat vacant and boarded up for 12 years. It was gutted by fire in 2009 and has been a challenge ever since. It is a significant concern for Old Ottawa South and the rest of us in Capital Ward. There has been regular graffiti on the building, bylaw complaints about garbage, leaks, animals and other issues.
At the end of May, we brought a motion to city council that would allow for the demolition of the building and expedite the process.
We are working with the building owner to see this through and allow it to be replaced with a temporary small park that would include grass and a sitting area. We are hopeful this will happen and be a crucial first step to the redevelopment of this property on our traditional mainstreet.
Shawn Menard is city councillor for Capital Ward. He can be reached directly at Shawn.Menard@ottawa.ca.