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NEWS

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Residents on board with city’s vision for Liveable Ottawa Laura Mueller laura.mueller@metrolannd.com

EMC news - City hall was buzzing with ideas from more than 100 people who came out on Feb. 12 to discuss how to shape Ottawa’s future. It was residents’ first chance to get down into the details of the Liveable Ottawa initiative, a year-long project that will result in not only an update Official Plan, but also master plans for transportation, infrastructure, cycling and pedestrians. The exercise is a complex one, but most of the particpants showed up well informed after reading the reams of information posted on ottawa.ca/liveableottawa. People gathered in small groups during the Feb. 13 event for discussions about the impact of some of the city’s proposals. Here is a snapshot of three of those discussions: TRANSPORTATION

Planning committee chairman and Alta Vista Coun. Peter Hume said changes to transportation policies are “the most provocative part� of the entire exercise. The ideas may be controversial – such as allowing traffic congestion in order to encourage people to use other forms of transportation – but the group discussing the

topic on Feb. 13 supported the changes. One of the more confusing and potentially controversial aspects of the plan is to shift away from building roads to handle the absolute maximum amount of traffic expected in one peak hour of the day and towards a system that would spread out demand over a few hours. That would mean fewer road widenings and fewer new roads, reducing the pressure to construct roads by about 15 per cent. As participants tried to wrap their heads around that change, there was general agreement. Another major change would give transportation planners the framework they need to be able to build “complete streets,� something residents in the core have increasingly been calling for. The change would reduce the focus on building a road with the main intention of serving cars and instead prioritize the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and transit vehicles, said strategic transportation planning manager Kornel Mucsi. Phillipe Genest, a Centretown resident, said he sees the city’s light-rail line as a way to make it easier for people to live in the suburbs and commute to work downtown. He said he would rather see true intensification that encourages people to live where

they work. Musci said the policy changes are aimed at making it possible for people to do that in the suburbs as well, but having employment centres closer to where people live.

That’s all fine, the participants said – but it must be enforced. “Once you’ve decided on a limit, don’t offer any exceptions,� said Ron Rose of the Old Ottawa East Community Association.

INTENSIFICATION, TALL BUILDINGS

RURAL DEVELOPMENT

Ottawa’s definitions are way out of date when it comes to tall buildings, said city planner Trevor Illingworth. Illingworth led a discussion about how the city should approach one of the more controversial issues the city faces – where to put tall towers. The idea is to concentrate the tallest developments within close proximity to transit stations, Illingworth said. Pinecrest, South Keys/Greenboro and the Riverside South community core are areas the city intends to target for intensification. High-rise buildings would also be allowed in areas that have been specifically identified in community design plans. Where there is no design plan, the overarching Official Plan would define exactly where tall buildings would go: up to 19 storeys could be built near a rapid transit station, and buildings of up to nine storeys would be allowed in most other areas that don’t have a specific area plan.

Rural residents engaged in one of the more passionate discussions during the Feb. 13 event. They argued that the city must encourage villages to develop with a mix of residential options that will provide the population needed to support core services, so businesses will remain and new businesses will open up. Roddy Bolivar of the Carp Road Corridor Business Improvement Area said economic development is at top of mind for many rural residents – but it’s not emphasized in the city’s proposals for the updated Official Plan. “Creating sustainable growth and sustainable villages should be the focus,� Bolivar said. For instance, a concept like the combination of a yoga studio and tea shop in Carp is a modern invention that’s ideal for rural areas, but it is not captured by the city’s current business definitions. “More permissible zoning is a start, but it needs to come into a bigger picture,�

LAURA MUELLER/METROLAND

Planning committee chairman and Alta Vista Coun. Peter Hume listens as residents discuss the proposals to make Ottawa more ‘liveable’ in the future. The city is updating the master plans that will guide everything from how roads are built to how tall buildings can be. he said. Anda Bruinsma of the Cumberland Village Community Association said it’s critical the city provides a clear picture of all the plans that will affect the villages, including transportation strategies, otherwise development will continue to be stalled. “No one is going to start a business if you’re going to put a highway through the town,� she said. “Our perception is the right and left hand aren’t talking to each other,� she added. Another participant, Kanata

North resident Trevor Davies, said the city’s plan to make a temporary ban on countryestate lot subdivisions permanent is ill-advised. Hume popped into the session to advise Davies that concentrating development in rural villages rather than the countryside makes it easier to provide services and encourage businesses to open up. Between garbage pickup, transit and even school buses, country-estate lot subdivisions “become a very, very expensive way to promote development,� Hume said.

For more than 40 years, the Public Service Alliance of Canada has been at the forefront of the struggle for paid maternity and parental leave, which             because they bear children. The struggle continues!

With the strength of its membership behind it, the PSAC negotiates a 17 week maternity allowance paid at 93% of salary.

Following a key court ruling, the PSAC successfully negotiates an increase in paid maternity and parental leave to a full year.

1986 1980 52,000 mostly women members of the PSAC walk out and demand better maternity leave provisions; they call off the strike after winning 26 weeks of unpaid maternity leave.

2001 1998 PSAC negotiates an increase in paid maternity and parental leave to a combined total of 25 weeks.

2013

The 1980 strike; downtown Ottawa.

In a major victory for all Canadian workers with family responsibilities, a federal court rules that employers must make case-by-case accommodations so that workers can balance work and family obligations. The complaint was fought with PSAC support. Stay connected at psac-ncr.com or facebook.com/psacncr R0011923591

Ottawa South EMC - Thursday, February 21, 2013

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Ottawa South EMC  

February 21, 2013

Ottawa South EMC  

February 21, 2013

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