COVID-19 – LATEST NEWS
Additional provincial measures to enforce stay-at-home order: On April 16, the Province of Ontario announced stronger measures to enforce the stay-at-home order in effect since April 8. The new measures, which are now in effect include the following:
- The stay-at-home order put in place on April 8 for four weeks has now been extended an additional two weeks until May 20.
- The stay-at-home order requires everyone to remain at home except for specified purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise or for work that cannot be done remotely.
- Travel is restricted into Ontario from the provinces of Manitoba and Quebec with the exception of purposes such as work, health care services, transportation and delivery of goods and services or exercising Aboriginal or treaty rights. The Ottawa Police have begun screening travellers at all Ottawa area interprovincial border crossings. (CLICK HERE to read the Ottawa Police’s statement regarding this measure.)
- The province had provided the authority to police officers and other provincial offences officers the ability to request individuals to provide their home address and purpose for not being at their residence. In addition, police officers, special constables and First Nation Constables would have the authority to stop vehicles to inquire about an individual’s reasons for leaving their home. (NOTE: This authority given to the police has since been revoked by the province. The Ottawa Police confirmed they will not be conducting vehicle or individual stops under these latest COVID-19 restrictions. CLICK HERE to read the Ottawa Police’s statement regarding this matter).
- Prohibit all outdoor social gatherings and organized public events, except with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone or a caregiver for any member of the household
- Close all non-essential workplaces in the construction sector
- Reduce capacity limits to 25 per cent in all retail settings where in-store shopping is permitted. This includes supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies; and,
- Close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as golf courses, basketball courts, soccer fields, and playgrounds with limited exceptions. (NOTE: As of April 18, the provincial government walked-back the closure of park playgrounds. Park playgrounds are currently available for use).
- Limiting the capacity of weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 10 people indoors or outdoors. Social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions are prohibited, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone. Drive-in services will be permitted.
- All other public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail (i.e., curbside pick-up and delivery only) will continue to apply.
Changes to some Ottawa outdoor recreation amenities due to latest enhanced stay-at-home orders: For compliance with the enhanced restrictions under the extended province’s stay-at-home order, the City of Ottawa has closed some of its recreation amenities, which include:
- Public sports fields – including those located at recreation facilities
- Ball diamonds
- Basketball, tennis and pickleball courts
- Skateboard parks
- BMX and other bike parks
Please note, you are allowed to walk, run and cycle through parks. You must keep a two-metre distance from others in parks, unless they are members of your household. Benches and off-leash dog parks can still be used as long as people maintain a two-metre distance.
Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Vera Etches, has issued an Order under the Health Protection and Promotion Act (HPPA) to require wearing masks at or within five metres of playground equipment, which remain open under the Province’s enhanced stay-at-home restrictions. These include play structures, swings, slides, climbers and sand boxes. This masking requirement does not apply to an individual younger than two (2) years of age, or a child who is under five (5) years of age chronologically or developmentally, and who refuses to wear a mask and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver. The masking order takes effect at 12:01 on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.
Sheila McKee Park – early closure: In trying to curb large gatherings at Sheila McKee Park during the current stay-at-home order, the park will have an early closing time of 9 p.m. (instead of 11 p.m.). The reasoning for the early closure includes:
- receiving reports of more than 5 people congregating in the park
- receiving reports of unwanted behaviour (fires, drinking, etc.)
- concerns regarding the dangers of gathering on the unlit trails after dark
- safety concerns relating to steep terrain, cliffs and access to water that make gathering dangerous after dark
Sheila McKee Park can still be accessed during the day, but please remember to follow all COVID-19 safety measures in place as part of the province’s current stay-at-home order.
PUBLIC MEETING – PLAN OF SUBDIVISION, 927 MARCH ROAD
Residents are invited to attend a virtual Zoom public meeting on Wednesday, April 21 from 7-8:30 p.m. The meeting is regarding the City of Ottawa receiving an Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment, and Plan of Subdivision applications to permit the development of a subdivision consisting of two-mixed use blocks adjacent to March Road which would permit heights up to nine storeys, 28 single-detached homes, 33 townhomes, two multi-unit residential (low rise) blocks, a community park, a multi-use trail, a school block, and a stormwater management pond. For additional information, please consult the development application webpage. See below for the Zoom meeting information and instructions:
Join Zoom meeting
Zoom ID: 94309026366
Or Telephone: 1-438-809-7799 (Long distance may apply)
For further details regarding this plan of subdivision contact Lisa Stern, Development Review Officer at the City of Ottawa, at 613-580-2424 ext. 21108, firstname.lastname@example.org.
OPEN AIR FIRE BAN LIFTED
The open air fire ban that had recently been put in place by Ottawa Fire Services is now lifted. Please remember that a permit is required in order to light an open air fire, including outdoor fireplaces. To apply for a permit visit ottawa.ca/fire.
2021 SPRING FRESHET UPDATE
On March 22, 2021 the City of Ottawa entered situational awareness with respect to the 2021 spring freshet. Over the past weeks, the Spring Freshet Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) conducted planning and response works to maintain preparedness for possible impacts resulting from the spring freshet. The mobilization of this second EOC for the spring freshet ensured sufficient response capacity was available given the significant work of the City’s ongoing response to COVID-19 and the related vaccine distribution program.
As a result of the early and widespread spring melt, very little snowpack remains within the Ottawa River basin. In the northern sectors of the basin, the remaining snowmelt is being retained in the principal reservoirs. Reservoir discharges have been reduced to ensure they are able to reach their summer recreational levels. Due to the early freshet and lack of snowmelt runoff, flows and levels are expected to be below what would normally be expected for this time of the year for the coming weeks.
The Ottawa River Regulatory Board has ceased flood forecasting and are issuing weekly statements at this time. Watershed condition statements have returned to normal for each of the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, Rideau Valley Conservation Authority and South Nation Conservation Authority. As of March 31, Environment Canada is indicating the possibility of slightly warmer than normal temperatures through April and May. Additionally, Environment Canada is forecasting roughly normal precipitation through the same time period.
The EOC will continue to monitor water levels and flows through May 1. During this time, the team will be prepared to change posture should there be any indication that precipitation events would require a change to City response tactics. The City Freshet web page and social media accounts will remain active for continued access to freshet information. Sandbag filing stations will continue to remain in place. The continued need for sandbag filling stations will be re-assessed on May 1 and removed if deemed appropriate.
SCHOOL FUNDRAISER – RAIN & COMPOST BARRELS & PLANTS FOR SALE
The Parent Council and Students at Stonecrest Elementary are asking for support for their school fundraiser. Rain barrels, compost barrels and garden-ready plants are for sale!
- Rain and compost barrels – multiple styles, colours and accessories to choose from. $45 and up, delivered to your home
- Plants – choose from a wide variety of ready-to-plant herbs, greens, vegetables and fruits for your garden
All proceeds go to creating an outdoor classroom and improving outdoor space for student well-being and recreation at Stonecrest Elementary School.
CLIMATE RESILENCY STATEGY – HAVE YOUR SAY
The City is developing a Climate Resiliency Strategy to assess how Ottawa is vulnerable to climate change and identify strategies to mitigate the greatest climate risks. Climate change will impact us all in our daily lives. Heatwaves will increase heat related illnesses, shifting freeze-thaw cycles will cause more damage to roads and more intense rainfall will increase the risk of flooding. To develop a strategy that meets the needs of everyone in Ottawa, the City of Ottawa needs your input on:
- How climate change is affecting you and your community
- The future impacts of climate change you are most concerned about
- How we can best prepare Ottawa to be resilient to the impacts
- What you are doing to adapt to current and future climate change
You can have your say by completing the survey to let the City of Ottawa know what climate impacts you are most concerned about, how climate change is affecting you and how we can help you prepare for the future.
WHAT HAPPENED AT CITY COUNCIL – APRIL 14
City Council met on Wednesday, April 14 and the following items were tabled:
- Council approved a comprehensive women and gender equity strategy, outlining how the City will integrate gender equity in all its processes, services, strategies and policies. The City will implement actions to remove the systemic barriers that women and gender diverse people face and to ensure equitable access to City services. The strategy focuses on four outcomes: policy change, safety, equitable representation and gender inclusivity. The first phase will take place in 2021 and 2022, and key actions involve prioritizing women in the housing blitz, piloting free menstrual products, hiring from equity-deserving groups and reviewing policies on sexual and gender-based harassment and violence. The City will require education and training on gender equity for staff, and review and standardize the safety and security of all City workspaces and facilities. Recognizing that public health crises impact women and girls disproportionately, the strategy also integrates gender equity into the City’s COVID-19 response and recovery planning.
- To help limit the spread of COVID-19, Council approved extending the Temporary Mandatory Mask By-law until Thursday, August 26. Masks will continue to be required in enclosed public spaces, on transit and transit property, and in the common areas of condos and apartment buildings.
- Council also approved a new strategy to better meet bike parking needs for residents. The public bike parking strategy includes a framework to increase the availability of bike parking and support the growth of cycling in Ottawa along with City transportation goals. The strategy will ensure Ottawa’s bike parking facilities are accessible and convenient for all types of cyclists.
- Council approved conversion of a vacant, seven-storey office tower to an apartment building on Cooper Street. By adding an eighth floor and renovating the interior, this conversion will add 45 rental units to this established, walkable neighbourhood.
The next regularly scheduled City Council meeting is Wednesday, April 28 at 10 a.m.