Council gets light-rail plan update, approves help for people rebuilding after flood

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  2. City Council today received an update on the Stage 2 Light Rail Transit project and approved a strategy that will help avoid $134 million in additional costs. The strategy includes a change to the existing credit agreement with Rideau Transit Group, and will see the City assume the role of lender for the Confederation Line extension.

    As part of the O-Train Confederation Line extension, the City will convert 2.5 kilometres of bus rapid transit roadway between Bayshore and Moodie Station to light rail transit. In response to community feedback, the light rail maintenance and storage facility will be located west of Moodie Drive, farther away from the neighbouring community. Once funding is identified, the City will also explore an extension of the O-Train Trillium Line farther west to Limebank Road.

    Amendments to the City’s Zoning By-law, to facilitate flood recovery and make it easier for residents to rebuild, were approved by Council.

    The changes will relieve property owners from having to get minor variances when repairing or rebuilding structures damaged during the May flooding. The intent is to minimize delays and costs involved in rebuilding, and to make it easier for owners who may wish to rebuild at a higher point on their lots. Small increases in building height will also be permitted, to accommodate flood-proofing measures.

    An updated Traffic and Parking By-law that doubles the maximum parking time to six hours for unsigned, on-street spaces on weekends and statutory holidays, between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. was approved. The updated by-law, which would go into effect June 1, 2018, will also be harmonized with City and provincial legislation.

    Council approved a report related to the technical requirements needed to establish the Rideau Carleton Raceway as the gaming site for the City of Ottawa. Hard Rock Ottawa will take over operations of the Rideau Carleton Raceway in mid-September 2017. These regulatory requirements involve seeking public input, and City Council formally establishing the Rideau Carleton Raceway at 4837 Albion Road, as a site for gaming.

    Council received the Ottawa Paramedic Service’s annual report. The service continues to see an increase in demand, with a three-per-cent increase in responses during 2016, driven in part by the city’s aging population. Response times for the most urgent calls have improved, due to recent investments approved by City Council.

    After a successful pilot project, Council approved a recommendation to formally permit driveway markers for snow plows. The new regulations will achieve a consistent and orderly use of markers, which may be made of wood, plastic or fibreglass, and can only be installed between October 20 and April 30. The City will carry out a two-year pilot to allow metal markers, subject to size and placement restrictions.

    Council also approved amendments to the Property Standards By-law. The amendments relate to outdoor lighting, graffiti and other minor administrative updates.

    Council approved a Brownfield Rehabilitation Grant up to $105,524 for 160, 164, 168 and 170 Cambridge Street North in Chinatown, which will result in the construction of 24 new apartments. The estimated economic impact is more than $4.2 million in direct construction value for the three-storey building. As a result of this development, more than $6 million would be added to the property tax assessment roll.

    Council approval was also provided for a number of new development projects, allowing work to proceed on subdivisions in Barrhaven, Stittsville and Kanata North. A new low-rise subdivision at 4025 Strandherd Drive in Barrhaven will include a mix of detached homes, townhouses and low-rise apartment buildings, along with a small commercial block. The final phase of the Fernbank Crossing subdivision in Stittsville will include 107 detached homes and four blocks of townhouses, as well as an elementary school site, a paramedic post and a transit station with park and ride. The final phase of the subdivision at 124 Battersea Crescent in Kanata will feature a four-storey, 79-unit apartment building.

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