COVID-19 – LATEST NEWS
OCTOBER 15, 2021 – SPECIAL STATEMENT FROM DR. VERA ETCHES
Dear parents, guardians and families,
I am writing to share my assessment that the pandemic situation is improving and to thank you for continuing to do what is needed to keep children and youth in school this fall. In-person learning makes such a difference for the well-being of children, youth and families.
My outlook this fall is one of cautious optimism. I am hopeful that we can continue to have safer spaces to learn and work. Almost 90 per cent of people ages 12 and older have the protection of vaccines and so very few people are requiring hospitalization with severe COVID-19 illness now. Yet, a number of children remain unvaccinated and COVID-19 rates are highest in children five to 11 years old. I know it can be concerning when you hear of COVID-19 cases in schools. We need your help to keep outbreaks rare and limited so children and youth do not miss in-person school by having to stay home after an exposure to COVID-19.
How to keep your children as safe as possible
While many parents and guardians now have the protection of vaccination, it is still very important for families to continue to be cautious and keep choosing actions that make COVID-19 transmission to children and youth less likely.
LATEST UPDATES FROM OTTAWA PUBLIC HEALTH
Vaccination of children aged 5 to 11
Ottawa Public Health is eagerly anticipating and planning for the approval of COVID-19 vaccines for the 5 to 11 age group. There are an estimated 77,000 children in this age group residing in Ottawa.
OPH is working closely with the Province to explore different scenarios, which are contingent on the timing of the vaccine approval and timelines for implementation. Scenarios include options to increase staffing and clinic locations for OPH vaccine clinics, including support from community physicians, and using the best strategies to reach and engage with children and their families about their options to get vaccinated. OPH, in collaboration with partners such as the Kids Come First Health Team, is planning and developing resources to support families with vaccinating this age group.
Influenza Season 2021/2022
In addition to the administration of COVID-19 vaccines, planning for the Universal Influenza Immunization Program (UIIP) is underway at OPH. The UIIP is a provincial program that offers influenza vaccine free of charge each year to all individuals six months of age and older who live, work or go to school in Ontario.
It is expected that the Province will commence the program for the general population in early November and for the influenza vaccine to be primarily available at local pharmacies and through primary care settings. OPH will support residents who experience barriers to accessing the influenza vaccine by making it available at our community clinics and neighbourhood vaccine hubs. For individuals who are at high risk of influenza-related complications or who are more likely to require hospitalization, the vaccine will be made available starting this week through institutions and family physicians.
Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 Vaccination Dashboard also contains up-to-date information on COVID-19 vaccinations in Ottawa.
VACCINE CERTIFICATE WITH QR CODE APP AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD
Ontario.ca – The Ontario government is making the enhanced vaccine certificate with an official QR code and the free, made-in Ontario verification app, Verify Ontario, available for download. Together, these tools will make it easier, more secure and convenient for individuals to provide proof of vaccination where required to do so, and for businesses and organizations to verify vaccine certificates while protecting people’s privacy.
NEW OFFICIAL PLAN UPDATE
The City’s Planning Committee and Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee approved a new Official Plan at a joint meeting (which spanned over three days), setting the stage for Ottawa to become a global city with a population of two million people by the end of the century. If Council approves, it will mark the first time since amalgamation in 2003 that Ottawa has had a brand-new Official Plan – the city’s most comprehensive planning document.
Here is an overview of the motions I brought forward (and the outcome) to the joint committee:
Motion 52.1 – Rural Infill Severance – This motion addressed lots outside of a historical settlement area and the inclusion of wording to denote the conditions. The motion passed unanimously, permitting limited residential infill with conditions such as:
– The need for proposed lot(s) to have frontage on an open and maintained public road
– The proposed lot(s) are opposite of a lot containing a dwelling where its front yard is on the same road
– The proposed lot(s) are vacant lot(s) between two existing dwellings with front yards on the same side of the road, and situated not more than 250 meters apart
– The proposed and retained lot(s) should be of similar size to the existing surrounding lots, and shall not be less than 0.8 hectares
– The proposed lot(s) shall be adequately serviced without adversely impacting existing private services on adjacent lots
– No more than two lots will be created from any lot in existence on May 13, 2003, and no further severances will be permitted from a severed lot
Motion 60.1 – Rural Servicing to Support Economic Development – This motion was created and passed unanimously to add rural economic development wording into the New Official Plan. While staff mentioned there are policies in place to cover this, they agreed that having this verbiage included would be beneficial.
Motion 93.1 – Farm Minimum Lot Sizes – This motion addressed the provincial and municipal rules for minimum lot sizes in prime agricultural areas that are too inflexible and do not take into account current opportunities for small scale farms to contribute to local food security. It was resolved that Council request the Mayor, on behalf of the Council, to write to the Provincial Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to request she meet with a delegation of the City’s Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee to discuss steps the Province could take to study how flexibility might be introduced in Ontario, or how more customized approaches could be applied at the municipal level. The motion passed unanimously.
Direction to City Staff – Monitoring of Agricultural Lands – I put forth a direction to City staff to monitor and update Council on any loss or gain of agricultural lands to keep abreast of changes.
Motion 42.1 – New Policies to cluster unbuilt Country Lot Subdivisions – while this motion was brought forth by Councillor Scott Moffatt, I requested a friendly amendment be added.
This motion directed staff to develop new policies to be introduced through a future amendment to the New Official Plan that would allow for consideration of relocations of unbuilt country lot subdivision from remote, isolated locations to lands that do not abut Villages but would achieve a better clustering of development; and that these new policies be presented to Committee and Council for consideration by Q3 2023.
Additionally, direct staff to consider whether Policy 3.4.7 a) could also be applied to land for which an application for subdivision approval was submitted as the current policy only applies to lands that had received draft approval, final approval or registration prior to December 31, 2009. This motion passed unanimously.
The New Official Plan will guide growth and redevelopment for the next 25 years. It is framed around five big policy changes that, together, move Ottawa towards being the most livable city in North America.
- Growth – encouraging more growth through intensification than through new development in undeveloped areas would help accommodate projected population increases in Ottawa’s existing neighbourhoods. The new plan also introduces policy tools to require more housing affordability.
- Mobility – promoting more use of sustainable transportation than private vehicles would make Ottawa a city of proximity, where residents have easy access to the things they need. The new Official Plan also includes polices to encourage complete streets that offer a vibrant and safe public realm for all road users.
- Urban Design – creating policies for well-designed sites will ensure intensification is done sensitively, in a way that benefits the streets and communities involved. The New Official Plan also promotes sustainable design to create a resilient and climate-adapted city.
- Resiliency – bringing environment, climate and health considerations to the forefront of planning will ensure the New Official Plan recognizes the climate crisis and our urgent need to reduce, and eventually eliminate, carbon emissions.
- Economy – establishing a strong relationship between land use and economic development will set the stage for businesses and entrepreneurs to succeed.
The New Official Plan also introduces a framework of six areas, referred to as transects. Policies related to the transect model would define a development based on where it is located – the rural area, suburban area, Greenbelt, outer urban area, inner urban area and downtown core. The aim is to ensure that the height, density and massing of a development fit the context of the areas where they are being built.
The New Official Plan includes policies to help expand the number of 15-minute neighbourhoods – communities where people can live without a car because daily needs are within a 15-minute walk of home. Those policies set the conditions for a diverse mix of housing, services, schools, greenspaces and daycares in both new and established communities.
Ottawa would become a city of connected, inclusive and walkable communities, with greater density of housing, employment and services around rapid-transit hubs and along transit corridors. Policies further encourage new small, local-serving businesses and services throughout Ottawa’s rural villages (while protective agricultural land) and the city’s urban area.
Recommendations from today’s meeting will rise to Council on Wednesday, October 27.
WEST CARLETON FOOD ACCESS CENTRE: CHRISTMAS 2021 PROGRAM
The West Carleton Food Access Centre, the “Food Bank”, will once again be organizing the annual Christmas Basket Program to help our neighbours and friends who need assistance at Christmas time.
RURAL ROOTS THEATRE PRESENTS
The Great Kooshog Lake Hollis McCauley Fishing Derby by Norm Foster, directed by Helen and Martin Weeden.
Performances will take place at the NorthWind Centre in Constance Bay.
Tickets available for November 7, 2:00pm (matinée) and November 9 to 13, 7:30pm (evening performances).
What a better way to start off a renewed theatre season than with a comedy?
The play is “a fish out of water tale” centering around James, a naive, business techie who thinks he is really going places in his career. Due to car problems on his way to a big conference where he is scheduled as a guest speaker, he finds himself stranded and frustrated for the weekend in the small town of Lake Kooshog during their annual fishing derby. While he is stuck there, four other “locals” have a good time at his expense.
All Covid 19 protocols will be in place for the performance. Everyone attending must have proof of double vaccination. Everyone will be required to wear a mask. There will be no walk-ins allowed. Tickets available at: TicketsPlease.ca or call 613-485-6434.
FRIENDS OF THE CARP HILLS PRESENTS: IMAGES FROM SPACE WEBINAR
Friends of the Carp Hills are sponsoring a webinar on October 26 at 7:00 pm.
Images from space: how a new satellite constellation helps us to understand what’s happening on Earth. Dr. Vern Singhroy will present examples showing how radar and other imagery can be used for issues relevant to residents in the National Capital Region in managing forests and responding to natural disasters such as fires and floods.
This presentation should be of particular interest to victims of the 2017 and 2019 floods and the tornado of 2018, which had a devastating effect on property owners. The analysis of satellite data, before and after an event, is often used in insurance claim settlements.
For more information and to register, visit carphills.com. This is a fundraiser so there is a cost of $10 to attend. Thank you!
FRIENDS OF THE CARP HILLS: CRAZY HORSE TRAIL UPDATE
Frequent visitors to the Crazy Horse Trail in the Carp Hills will notice some major improvements this fall. Led by Trail Coordinator Bernard Proulx and with help from volunteers, Friends of the Carp Hills closed and rerouted a section of the main trail, added a new lookout over a large pond near the beginning of the trail, and enhanced the trail experience using sustainable practices.
In addition, visitors will see new message boards, which was funded by the City of Ottawa’s Rural Community Building Grant Program and installed by volunteers. The message boards will include timely information for trail visitors!
For more updates, please visit Friends of the Carp Hills website.
CARP FARMERS’ MARKET: CHRISTMAS IN NOVEMBER
Carp Farmers’ Market will be extending their market season for two additional Saturdays; November 6 and November 13, for the Christmas in November markets! This is a great opportunity to support local and get your holiday shopping started. The market will be open the first two Saturdays in November from 8:30am to 1:00pm at the Carp Fairgrounds.
Note: these two Saturdays will replace the Carp Farmers’ Market traditional market in December. All current COVID-19 restrictions will remain in place. Please visit www.carpfarmersmarket.ca for COVID-19 protocols and more information as it becomes available.
VIRTUAL PROGRAM TO SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH OF ARGICULTURE COMMUNITY
In the Know is a mental health literacy training program for farmers and the agricultural community. The objective of the program is to address farmer-specific barriers to accessing mental-health programming and resources. The program identifies the specific struggles of farming, and supports building confidence in recognizing mental-health struggles, in talking about mental health, and in helping others.
The Canadian Mental Health Association is offering this program at no cost. The program was developed at the Ontario Veterinary College (University of Guelph) and is meant for farmers, producers and persons with whom they have regular contact.
The next workshop is being offered virtually on January 19 from 10:00am to 2:00pm.
Register Here: https://www.cmha-east.on.ca/index.php/en/events/training/44-in-the-know
2022 BUDGET VIRTUAL PUBLIC CONSULTATION – HAVE YOUR SAY!
Friendly reminder Ward 5 residents, business owners and stakeholders; I will be hosting my 2022 Budget Virtual Public Consultation on Thursday, October 28, from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. This will be a virtual meeting with the option to phone in. Please connect with my office (email: firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as possible if you wish to register for the meeting.
If you cannot attend my 2022 Budget Virtual Public Consultation, please contact me directly at email@example.com or by calling 613-580-2475. Now is the time to have your say #Ward5Ott.
ELI IN THE COMMUNITY
It was a wet one (but nice to see some familiar faces) at this years’ annual 9runrun event in support of the Emergency Services. The 9runrun event was created as a means to support First Responders with mental-health needs and to allow the community to come out and connect with them. If you are interested in learning more or becoming involved, check out the 9runrun website.
Last week, I attended the West Carleton Snowmobile Trails Association’s 42nd AGM in Kinburn where I oversaw the election of the club’s board members. The work of the volunteer board and their members deserves special recognition, particularly outgoing president Paul McDonald. Their commitment has made the club the success it is today.
Very pleased with the tour I received of West Carleton’s Deep Roots Food Hub’s root cellar, a unique community-funded year-round storage facility that is proving popular with small-scale vegetable growers. It’s 100% off grid, reliant on solar power, 4 12-volt vehicle batteries and the skill and dedication of local volunteers. This root cellar is a feather in West Carleton’s cap!
If you have an event you would like us to promote (virtual or in-person with COVID-19 protocols in place), let us know!
OTTAWA SMALL BUSINESS WEEK
Ottawa Small Business Week is October 17 to 23, 2021 and as many of you might know, I used to own and operate a small business in West Carleton. Supporting local, small business is something that is near and dear to my heart; before, during and after the pandemic.
No matter how you measure it, Ottawa’s small businesses are a huge part of the local economy. An estimated 28,000 businesses in Ottawa have fewer than 50 employees, making up more than 90 per cent of the businesses in Ottawa.
SMALL BUSINESS PROPERTY TAX SUBCLASS
On October 13, City Council approved a new Small Business Property Tax Subclass. The proposed new tax subclass provides small businesses at eligible properties with a permanent 15% reduction in property taxes phased in over two years.
The new tax will benefit 5,800 properties or over 10,000 small businesses and demonstrates the City’s recognition of the contribution of small businesses to employment, neighbourhood vibrancy, and quality of life. As a leading municipality in Ontario, Ottawa is one of the first to consider and implement a Small Business Property Tax Subclass.
Eligible properties will automatically receive the new discount based on staff-developed criteria related to property use, property size, and extensive consultation with several key business organizations. The list of all qualifying properties will be published on ottawa.ca by January 31 each tax year, as required by provincial regulation.
The new tax is a long-term policy tool and will be offset by the elimination of the optional Excess Land Subclass and by an increase of 1.46% to Commercial and Industrial Broad Class properties that are not eligible for this new tax discount. This discount to small businesses will have no impact on residential property taxes.
Council recognizes that thriving small businesses are foundational to a well-rounded economy and the approval of this new tax discount supporting small businesses is one way we are doing so. For more information, please visit ottawa.ca/taxes.
OTTAWA TOURISM LAUNCHES WORK IN TOURISM JOB BOARD
Ottawa Tourism’s Work in Tourism Job Board connects prospective employees with available positions in the tourism industry and connects employers with members of the workforce ready to work in tourism. This new resource leverages Ottawa Tourism’s expansive marketing and communication channels to reach employers and prospective employees to help address the tourism and hospitality workforce issues that are currently being experienced locally.
- Are you looking for a job? Peruse the Work in Tourism Job Board
- Are you a business looking to fill a position? Submit job opportunities
FALL 2021 SKATING AND HOCKEY EGUIDE NOW ONLINE
To many of us, the changing leaves can only mean one thing: it’s time to dig out the skates! Residents looking forward to getting back on the ice will be excited to see the Fall 2021 Skating and Hockey eGuide available online now. To keep residents, staff, and volunteers safe, this year’s programs have been modified for COVID-safety with low-ratio groups at select locations across the city.
Registration opens on Wednesday, October 20 at 9 pm.
Registration is easy. Explore the eGuides to select the program that interests you and follow these simple steps:
- Go to ottawa.ca/recreation to view the eGuides or visit join.ottawa.
- Click the relevant barcode – it will take you to the course page, with details about the number of spaces available, fees and dates.
- Add the class to your cart and then proceed through the checkout. You will be emailed a receipt.
CITY COUNCIL AND COMMITTEE
Click here for updates from the October 13 City Council meeting.
The Community and Protective Services Committee will meet this Thursday, October 21 at 9:30am.