Political Updates

Week of January 7th to January 11th 2019

We are back to work and things are in full swing! This week we have a public consultation for the Riverside South Community Design Plan (CDP), and many meetings with city staff that will lead up to the 2019 Budget Process. Next week I will be attending OWBA’s Breakfast meeting, where city staff will be giving an update on rural economic development in the Official Plan.

This term we will be reviewing not only the Official Plan Amendment, but also the Transportation Master Plan. These are two major documents that will have a significant impact on development in the City of Ottawa. I will be keeping this “Councillor’s Corner” section updated with political information as we go through each process.

 


Week of December 10th to December 14th 2018

City Council

City Council this week voted on the Members for Committees, Boards, Commissioners, and City Liaisons for the 2018-2022 term. I consider it a privilege to hold the position of a Deputy Mayor, as well as a sitting member of Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee, Audit Committee, Transportation Committee, Environment Committee and Information Technology Sub-Committee. In addition, I will sit on the Board of Directors for both South Nation Conservation Authority, and Rideau Valley Conservation Authority. As Deputy Mayor I will be attending events on behalf of Mayor Watson, reviewing all Rural Economic Development files across the City of Ottawa, sitting on the Finance and Economic Development Committee, among other duties required within this role. There will be multiple large files that will come to Council this term, including revising the Transportation Master Plan and the Official Plan Amendment, which have a large effect on rural areas. My portfolio this term has placed me in a leadership position; I will take the challenge of this higher profile to work towards a bigger vision for the City of Ottawa which will run on smart growth with sensible policies, especially for rural communities. I am deeply honored and humbled for the role set before me over the next 4 years.

 

Special City Council Meeting: Cannabis Retail Stores

At the Special City Council Meeting of December 13th 2018, City Council approved retail cannabis stores within the City of Ottawa.

Both the Federal and Provincial governments have established regulatory regimes for cannabis legalization. Given these tight frameworks, municipalities unfortunately own very few regulatory powers for retail cannabis stores. Essentially, the Province of Ontario has offered an all-or-nothing package deal to municipalities for retail cannabis stores. The Province will assume strict control and responsibility over store licensing and locations, permitted location for cannabis use, along with marketing and packaging of products. These regulations prohibit municipalities from licensing private retail stores and passing By-Laws to impose zoning restrictions, but does permit 15 days for municipalities to provide their comments on applications, and gives Municipalities access to funding for challenges associated with cannabis legalization.

In return, permitting retail stores will drive economic development and opportunity in Ottawa, as opposed to having those revenues exported to the Ontario Cannabis Store or to neighboring municipalities. The scope of financial incentives, programs, and support from the Provincial government towards any social or financial challenges associated with cannabis legalization is something not offered to municipalities who opt-out. Retail cannabis stores will provide Ottawans with access to safe products regulated by Public Health, the ability to receive information on products at the point of purchase, and provide consumer privacy.

I have been a huge advocate of economic development during my time as a City Councillor. Cannabis is now a legal and rigorously regulated product, available for purchase to of-age consumers; it therefore makes economic sense to opt-in to the all-or-nothing package deal the Province of Ontario has offered to Ottawa. We will work with staff to ensure there are educational programs for our youth, resources and training for our emergency services, and a wholesome approach to integrating cannabis retail stores into our City. Based on the information and advice provided by staff, the recommendation of Ottawa Public Health and the Ottawa Police Service, along with the support from the Osgoode Ward Advisory Committee, I fully support this decision by City Council. Mature, responsible decision making will allow Ottawa to take advantage of this new economic opportunity.

 


Week of December 3rd to December 7th 2018

City Council

Council this week approved the 2018-2022 Council Governance Review that sets out the committee structure, policies and procedures for this Term of Council.

Also at Council, a report providing options on retail cannabis stores in Ottawa was tabled Wednesday Council will consider the Report on Ontario Cannabis Legislation and Cannabis Retail Stores at a special meeting on Thursday, December 13th 2018. Residents, groups and organizations are welcome to speak to the report on December 13th by registering as a public delegation. Because Council is meeting as Committee of the Whole, public delegations will be permitted to make a five-minute presentation to Council.

 

South Nation Conservation

SNC’s Board of Directors, comprised of 13 members appointed by SNC’s 16 member municipalities, approved the 2019 SNC Budget at their November meeting. For more information, contact [email protected].