Ottawa mayor highlights upcoming projects and progress on climate plan in State of the City address

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watson bridge
Gatineau mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin and Ottawa mayor Jim Watson at the Prince of Wales Bridge last year when they announced the intention to turn the bridge into a recreational route and remove the rail tracks from the 140-year-old bridge. The bridge will be renamed the Chief William Commanda Bridge.

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson delivered his annual State of the City address at the first council meeting of 2021.

Along with recapping the city’s pandemic response, the mayor outlined plans for the year, identifying the following major projects:

  • $47-million investment in affordable and supportive housing, translating into 359 new units in 2021.
  • Council will advocate for federal and provincial funding to bring LRT to Barrhaven and Kanata as part of Stage 3.
  • $37.8-million investment in road safety

Here are some projects to watch for in 2021:

  • Council has approved a framework to draft a community benefits charge by-law that will enable the municipality to collect revenues from developers to fund a range of community services required because of new growth. The framework includes a process to define the types of projects that will benefit from the new fees.
  • Council approved a public realm plan to guide the evolution of the Byward Market’s public spaces and provide a framework for investment opportunities. The City will establish a working group to lead economic recovery in the market and review governance options next year.
  • Watson will be seeking Council’s support to rename the Prince of Wales bridge the Chief William Commanda Bridge.

The mayor also updated progress on the Climate Change Master Plan, include approving the final strategy for Energy Evolution, developing climate projections for the National Capital Region, embedding climate change mitigation and adaption policies in the draft new Official Plan, and increasing education and advocacy efforts.

Between 2012 and 2019, community emissions decreased by 12 per cent due to efforts by the former provincial government to phase out coal plants and reduce emissions from electricity generation. During that same time, the city’s corporate emissions decreased by 34 per cent, primarily due to efficiencies at the Trail Waste Facility.

The City is currently surpassing its short-term target to reduce corporate emissions by 30 per cent by 2025.

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