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Metcalfe Santa Claus Parade
It was beautiful outside for the Metcalfe Santa Claus Parade. Only in Canada could we be so lucky to have a nice blanket of snow on such an exciting day. Lots of kids and family bundled up to watch all the floats go by. I hope everyone enjoyed all the candy too! I am very happy Mayor Watson joined me on our float! Following the parade were snacks, hot chocolate and photos with Santa at the community centre, then the Tree Lighting Ceremony in the park. Following the ceremony, the park was lit up and we were able to listen to some of the Castor Valley choir children caroling.
I want to give a huge thanks to all the community associations who put lots of time and effort into organizing the events. I would also like to thank the City of Ottawa crew for driving our float, and for clearing the sidewalks in great time for us to enjoy the parade. Fries for Charity were out making fries for all who attended the Tree Lighting Ceremony later in the afternoon, and the Metcalfe Fair provided hot chocolate! We could not have had such an amazing day without the dedication from staff and volunteers.
Thank you to everyone who came out!
Greely Community Association (GCA) 2017 Wrap-Up
The Greely Community Association (GCA) had a great wrap up meeting for 2017 at the community centre with a full room of residents in attendance. I provided an update on the approved Budget. The other updates touched on were policing, by-laws, the green light campaign, the Osgoode Pathway to Manotick and the new plaza set to open in 2018. Richard Gardner was a guest speaker, and he touched on the impact that Hard Rock Ottawa will have on the Ward, including the creation of new jobs. The theatre and hotel were also in the discussion as Richard invited residents to share their opinions on any or all of the Hard Rock development. MP Pierre Poilievre gave a short presentation on his efforts to rein in out-of-control spending. Public Health did a presentation on the community wide effects of alcohol. To finish off the evening, there was a public consultation on the new Osgoode Pathway that will connect to Manotick. The feedback from the people was noted and discussed at length to make sure that the best path possible was a priority. Overall, a great evening wrapping up the GCA for 2017, with President Adam Sooley leading the meeting. I look forward to continuing to work with them in the New Year.
Osgoode Ward Advisory Committee (OWAC) 2017
The last meeting gathered this week for the members who sit on the Osgoode Ward Advisory Committee (OWAC) to hear guest speaker Kevin Wylie speak on roads, and to hear myself give an update on the 2018 Budget. This advisory committee is a great way for me to decide my vote when it comes to making the right decisions for our communities. The advice and input from each and every member is taken into consideration for the betterment of the Ward. Members volunteer their time to come to regular meetings to contribute from the grass roots up to municipal levels the impact that votes made in Council will have on them. The membership is diverse, from businesses, to farming, to community association representatives. It is an invaluable committee that I am proud and grateful to have. I look forward to continuing to work with them in the New Year as well!
What’s Happening in the City
Property Tax Levy and the 2018 Budget
The budget passed on Wednesday after a long and productive City Council meeting. You may have read my statement outlining my opinion on the proposed property tax, and my opposition to it. I am thrilled to let you know that the proposed property tax levy did not pass.
It is easy to increase taxes to fund essential services. However, it takes discipline, collaboration and creativity to find ways to prioritize how the city funds are spent without having to resort to tax increases. I believe that my colleagues and I successfully accomplished this with the 2018 budget. Just in time for City Council, the City was able to comb through the books to determine whether the city would have a deficit or a surplus. We found a surplus and, in line with the concerns that we heard throughout the consultation process, the $10 million was put towards funding infrastructure improvements in a motion put forward by Mayor Watson. In light of this new investment in infrastructure, the motion to introduce a property tax levy was withdrawn.
Instead of increasing taxes to raise $8 million for infrastructure, we went back to the books for $10 million. That $10 million from the surplus is in addition to the increased infrastructure spending outlined by the Long Range Financial Plan. The residents of Ottawa deserve to have their investments into the city treated with respect. In line with that goal, I think that the 2018 Budget was a success.
Open Door 2017
It was an amazing year for Open Door! I had residents come to speak about concerns, questions, pick up their civic blade, suggest new community initiatives, and so much more! Sadly, my Open Door is finished for the 2017 year. I can’t wait for Tuesday, January 9th when we will resume the Open Door, see you all then!
As always, please email or phone my office with any concerns you have between now and the next open door!