New Public Works GM Is Kevin Wylie

- September 16th, 2014

Kevin Wylie, the incoming public works GM, scrums with reporters after a committee meeting on Feb. 5, 2014.

This was actually announced internally in July, but today was the first time, I believe, Kevin Wylie has appeared in front of a council committee as the next general manager of public works.

The current GM is Larry O’Keefe and he’s retiring at the end of the year.

Readers might recognize Wylie’s name and face from the winter months. He’s been the road services manager since 2012 and, really, has been the face of the city’s snow clearing operations. Wylie is the guy who always knows how many plows and salters are on the roads, information which, for whatever reason, us in the press are obsessed with.

Deputy city manager Steve Kanellakos had this to say in an internal memo announcing Wylie’s appointment:

Over the course of his career, Kevin has demonstrated a strong commitment to employee engagement in support of excellent customer service. He is an exceptional team builder and project manager who is well respected by staff, colleagues, senior management and members of Council.

Wylie is shadowing O’Keefe and will officially become GM on Jan 1.

There’s lots to read up on. Public works covers roads, fleet, parking, buildings, forestry and traffic.

Here’s hoping Wylie’s first day as public works GM won’t be as crazy as O’Keefe’s was.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

United Way Educates Candidates

- September 15th, 2014

The city’s United Way has sent all candidates running for council a document highlighting the main social issues and how City Hall could tackle the problems.

Lots of information here that’s useful for all residents, not just those running for office.

United Way Candidates Primer Sept 12 2014

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

Cycling Advocates Call For More Infrastructure

- September 14th, 2014

Hot off the press…

Citizens for Safe Cycling Launches 2014 Election Platform

“I Bike, I Vote” campaign calls for more spending on cycling, support “Vision
Zero”

Ottawa (September 15, 2014) Today, Citizens for Safe Cycling (CfSC) launched it’s 2014 election platform, dubbed “I Bike, I Vote.” The platform outlines measures for the next term of council that CfSC believes will help make Ottawa the best cycling city in Canada.

“The ‘I Bike, I Vote’ campaign outlines measures that the next council can take to improve cycling in Ottawa, “ said CfSC municipal campaign coordinator Mike Powell. “Excellent cycling facilities are an important part of a liveable city. It’s important that cyclists of all ability levels feel comfortable riding in their own neighbourhoods. The steps outlined in this campaign help achieve that.”

“I Bike, I Vote” reflects the views of hundreds of cyclists that responded to a survey CfSC conducted over the summer. It calls for four simple, practical actions from the next council that will serve to improve cycling in Ottawa and help the city reach it’s cycling objectives.

These actions are:

1. Link spending on cycling infrastructure to ridership.
2. Support “Vision Zero”, a city free from cycling fatalities.
3. Collaboration. between the city, the NCC and the cycling community.
4. Complete projects that will complete the cycling network, making it easier for Ottawans to bike within their neighbourhood and elsewhere in the city.

“With a large number of open and heavily-contested council races, more than ever every vote will count,” continued Powell. “It is important for cyclists to take advantage of this and make their voice heard and ask candidates for council what they are going to do to improve cycling in this city. For aspiring councillors, it’s important to remember that cycling issues are a major vote determinant for electors.”

To help further inform voters, CfSC will be sending a questionnaire to all registered candidates, asking them their views on a number of important cycling issues. These results will then be posted to the CfSC website later in the municipal campaign.

The full CfSC I Bike, I Vote platform is available at www.bikeottawa.ca .

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

First Graphs: The Latest Releases From Council Candidates

- September 12th, 2014

A few more releases from council candidates came in since the last time we did First Graphs. These are the first paragraphs from those statements.

Tobi Nussbaum (Rideau-Rockcliffe): Tobi Nussbaum today committed to tabling a motion at City Council asking the Ontario Legislature to ban corporate and union donations from Ottawa municipal election campaigns within 100 days of taking office if he is elected City Councillor for Rideau-Rockcliffe in the October 27th election.

Penny Thompson (Rideau-Rockcliffe): Today as part of her platform and candidacy in Rideau-Rockcliffe, Penny Thompson unveiled her comprehensive plan to celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary in 2017 throughout the city.

Jeff Morrison (Somerset): Jeff Morrison, candidate for Somerset ward in the Ottawa municipal election, today issued the following statement about Somerset House.  A copy of this statement can also be found at www.jeff2014.ca/news.

Davis Jermacans (Osgoode): As part of our Elect Davis Communications Plan we are preparing videos outlining Davis’s solutions to the issues facing Ottawa and Osgoode Ward.

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.

What Happened To The Smithsonian Of The North?

- September 12th, 2014

Mayor Jim Watson with philanthropist Dave Smith at Smith’s home Friday morning.

Mayor Jim Watson had a campaign availability this morning after hammering in an election sign at philanthropist Dave Smith’s house.

Watson was asked about the Science and Technology Museum closing because of mould, which provided a good chance to ask him about one of his promises during the 2010 election campaign.

As part of his tourism plank in his platform that year, Watson vowed to help establish “Canada House,” a new museum showcasing the nation’s accomplishments. He billed it as the Smithsonian of the north. After he was elected, Watson thought he found a perfect potential location at the old U.S. embassy on Wellington St.

And that’s where the story ends.

Watson said he met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper about it and appeared before the heritage committee of the House of Commons, plus raised the idea with former heritage minister James Moore.

“There’s been no movement on it unfortunately and again that’s another building in a prime part of the city that has remained vacant for I think over 15 years,” Watson said today. “I was hoping that 2017 (Canada’s 150th birthday) would spur the federal government on to actually do something with that, even on a temporary basis, so it would be open to the public so they could go in and see some of the great accomplishments of Canadians.”

Watson said he would continue to push the idea if elected Oct. 27, not only for the museum, but for something to be done with old embassy building.

“You look right across from Parliament Hill and you have a building that’s basically boarded up and abandoned for over 15 years,” he said. “You wouldn’t see that outside the White House, you wouldn’t see that outside the Capitol building, and I think we can do better.”

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Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling and at ottawasun.com.