Remarks From The New Planning Chairwoman

- January 20th, 2015

Barrhaven Coun. Jan Harder is the new chairwoman of the planning committee. She kicked off the first meeting of the term with some remarks. Here they are:

Harder Speaking Notes 20Jan15

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at

Let The ByWard Market Have Its Day. Locals Know The Woes.

- January 17th, 2015

The central ByWard Market building in June 2013. Count on the city making some recommendations on how the building should be managed when a new report on the market is published in the coming weeks.

Leave it to one of the most respected newspapers in the world to let us know the ByWard Market is waking up.

By now, you probably have at least heard about the New York Times’ travel piece on the market and its celebration of a rare neighbourhood wine store in Ontario — the “boutique-size Wine Rack.”

It’ll probably provide fodder for commentary, and indeed, it has already started.

But at a time when the market has been dismissed as “lost”, a positive travel article in a major international publication is a big score for the district.

Sure, the locals know what’s really happening.

That, in fact, the “after hours” of the market isn’t necessarily the most “sleepy” time of day.

That the city has been spending thousands of dollars on studies to find how why the market has gone downhill.

And, that it’s likely the market district will see a new governance structure this year to oversee change.

But let the market celebrate the Times’ hat-tip for, at least, a great chocolatier, studio, restaurant and lingerie store.

Truth is, more of us probably aren’t seeing the great things in the market, something the BIA executive director suggested to me earlier this week.

I have never been in that Wine Rack. But I bet it’s one of the best of the 160 Wine Racks in Ontario.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at

Decision On Salary Increase Might Come After Budget

- January 15th, 2015

Council might pass a 2015 budget before knowing how much more it’ll be paying a large number of city employees this year.

CUPE Local 503 tells its members that arbitration on the salary increases won’t be sorted out for two or three months. Seems the money and something about a letter of understanding are the two outstanding issues.

Council is scheduled to vote on the 2015 budget on March 11.

The last contract for about 6,200 inside/outside workers expired at the end of 2013.

New deals for part-time recreation workers and aquatics workers — all represented by CUPE 503 — also couldn’t be sorted out through negotiation.

No powerbroker at City Hall likes arbitration. It will be a win for the city if it can keep the pay increases below 2%, since that’s Mayor Jim Watson’s ceiling for property tax hikes.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at

Gangs, O-Train Subjects Of Two Separate Meetings Tonight

- January 13th, 2015

Two public meetings are happening tonight, both on important topics.

College Coun. Rick Chiarelli is inviting residents in his ward to Bishop Hamilton Montessori at 7:30 p.m. to hear Ottawa police update the community on its anti-gang strategy.

Across the city at the Jim Durrell Recreation Centre, transportation planners will show residents how they propose to extend the Trillium Line (a.k.a., for now, the O-Train) to Bowesville Rd. with a spur to the Ottawa International Airport. And if you can’t make that open house, there will be the same format Thursday in Little Italy at St. Anthony’s Banquet Hall. Both start at 6 p.m.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at

Expansion Of Garbage Incineration

- January 12th, 2015

Just a quick post directing you to a New York Times story I found interesting over the weekend on the growth of garbage incineration in the U.S.

My own piece over the weekend had an interview with the president of the Canadian Resource Recovery Council (CRRC) partly talking about whether Ottawa council should consider waste-to-energy incineration.

As the Times piece points out, incineration is controversial for all the environmental reasons you would expect.

But as John Foden of the CRRC told me, these “aren’t your grandfather’s incinerators,” and modern incinerators have already come to Ontario.

Garbage incineration is something our council will likely consider along with a bunch of other waste-to-energy technologies, and it could be a hot debate. Some councillors at an August 2013 environment committee meeting had no interest in pursuing incineration, with former councillor Maria McRae even saying she would have to leave Ottawa if there was an incinerator here.

Follow City Hall reporter Jon Willing on Twitter at @JonathanWilling, on Instagram at @JonathanWilling and at