Council finalizes the 2022 Ottawa budget and addressing overcrowding at Findlay Creek school: Five stories to watch this week
Ottawa City Hall. (File photo)
The race to get COVID-19 vaccines into the arms of Ottawa children continues and the city of Ottawa finalizes its 2022 budget.
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at five stories to watch this week.
COVID-19 IN OTTAWA
As COVID-19 cases rise in Ottawa, the race to get COVID-19 vaccine doses into the arms of children will continue this week.
Ottawa Public Health reported 414 active cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the highest number of active cases since Oct. 10 (432). The seven-day average number of cases is 45.6.
The rise in cases comes as health officials keep an eye on the COVID-19 Omicron variant of concern in Canada. There are currently four cases of the Omicron variant in Ottawa.
Meantime, the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues in Ottawa, with community clinics, neighbourhood vaccination hubs and after-school pop-up clinics offering the COVID-19 vaccine to children.
As of Friday, 25 per cent of youth aged 5 to 11 in Ottawa had received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
2022 CITY OF OTTAWA BUDGET FINALIZED
On Wednesday, Council will finalize the city of Ottawa's plans to spend your property tax dollars next year.
The 2022 city of Ottawa draft budget proposed a three per cent property tax hike, which would add an extra $119 to the average property tax bill.
The Transit Commission approved an average 2.5 per cent hike in transit fares in 2022, but the fare hike will not kick-in until Rideau Transit Maintenance has 15 trains running for one month.
All eyes will be on how council handles the Ottawa Police Service budget.
Police Chief Peter Sloly initially requested a 2.86 per cent increase in the 2022 budget, equaling an extra $14 million in spending next year. The Ottawa Police Services Board approved a 2 per cent increase in the budget, giving police an extra $11.45 million in funding.
A motion from Coun. Rawlson King cut $2.65 million from the planned budget, with $600,000 coming from reserve funds and $2 million to be found through efficiencies.
The 2022 budget also includes an increase in water and sewer rates and garbage fees, along with new funding for road resurfacing and affordable housing.
LIGHT RAIL TRANSIT
As the Confederation Line begins a second week with 11 trains running on the 12.5 kilometre line, construction on Stage 2 of the LRT project will be front and centre this week.
The Finance and Economic Development Committee will vote Tuesday on a motion from coun. Carol Anne Meehan, seconded by coun. Diane Deans, asking for a side-by-side comparison of Stage 1 and Stage 2.
The motion asks the city manager and director of rail construction immediately initiate and provide as soon as available a detailed side-by-side comparison of the challenges faced on the Confederation Line with the technical design of the Trillium Line (Bayview station to Riverside South).
If approved, the city manager and director of rail construction would also engage in a "peer review" of the strategy for the design, construction, commissioning and maintenance of the Trillium Line by the TransitNEXT.
In the motion, Meehan notes the Stage 2 Trillium Line "appears to be behind schedule with an unknown completion date."
FULL SCHOOL IN FINDLAY CREEK
Ottawa's public school board will begin consultations this week on a plan to alleviate overcrowding at a four-year-old school in Findlay Creek.
Vimy Ridge Public School on Kelly Farm Drive opened in 2017 with a capacity of 674 pupil spaces. As of Oct. 29, 1,081 students were enrolled at the school, with 17 portables set up to accommodate students.
Staff recommend redirecting Grade 7 and 8 students to Steve MacLean Public School until a new school is built in the area.
A final decision on the interim accommodation measures will made by the Ottawa Carleton District School Board in February.
Last week, the Ontario government announced $13.2 million in funding for a new Catholic elementary school in Findlay Creek. The school, with 507 spaces for elementary students, will open its doors in September 2024.
COUNTDOWN TO CHRISTMAS
With less than three weeks until Christmas, the clock is ticking to send your holiday packages through the mail.
Canada Post says the deadline to send a regular parcel across Canada is Thurs. Dec. 9. The deadline to send regular parcels regionally is Dec. 15 and locally on Dec. 20.
The deadline to send packages locally, regionally and nationally with Canada Post's Priority is Dec. 21.
EVENTS IN OTTAWA THIS WEEK
Ottawa Planning Committee meeting – 9:30 a.m.
Temporary COVID-19 Assessment Clinic opens at the Fringewood Community Centre in Stittsville
Ottawa Senators at New Jersey Devils – 7 p.m. (TSN 5 and TSN 1200)
Ottawa Finance and Economic Development Committee meeting – 9:30 a.m.
Ottawa Senators host the New York Islanders – 7 p.m. (TSN 5 and TSN 1200)
Ottawa City Council meeting – 10 a.m.
Christmas Lights Across Canada begins on Parliament Hill and in downtown Ottawa
The Ottawa Cup – pickleball