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September 8th - City approves plan to spend on affordable housing

City Council today approved a spending plan for 2021 to create another 295 units of affordable housing, including 174 supportive units. The plan will see available funds invested with housing providers, increasing the total number of units in development across Ottawa to 1,730.

The available funding for affordable housing in 2021 totals more than $44 million. Of the $15 million committed through the City’s 2021 budget, $5 million will be used for affordable housing in Beacon Hill, which will accompany new space for the Gloucester Emergency Food Cupboard. Of $4.7 million in funding from the Province’s Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative, the City will commit $750,000 for a Black-led family housing pilot and $2.7 million to add more units to an ongoing project with the Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation. Staff will report back in the fall with a spending plan for the $22 million in funding from the second round of the Canadian government’s Rapid Housing Initiative.

The City will observe the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation starting in 2021. The federal government established the new national holiday earlier this year to honour First Nations, Inuit and Métis Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of their history and the legacy of residential schools remains a vital part of the reconciliation process. It is to be observed each year on September 30.

All members of City Council will need to prove they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 after they voluntarily adopted the City policy for themselves. Councillors will need to comply with the mandatory vaccination requirements outlined in the policy, which requires they be fully vaccinated by Monday, November 1.

Council approved an Official Plan amendment to permit redevelopment of a 21-hectare property just west of the Herongate Square shopping mall. The redevelopment, which is expected to take 20 to 25 years, will include more than 6,400 units in a mix of rental townhouses and apartment buildings. The amendment increases the permitted building height to 25 storeys and allows for a new park, on the condition that the applicant provides 1,020 units of affordable housing for a period between 15 and 20 years.

The City will soon allow the use of e-cargo bikes as an active transportation option for residents and a sustainable alternative to delivery trucks for businesses. Council approved a pilot program and a new by-law to permit power-assisted cargo bikes for personal and commercial use, in line with recent provincial changes. Licensed e-rickshaws will also be allowed to transport passengers. Staff will report back to Council with pilot results in 2024.

Council approved the recommended plan for transit priority measures and active transportation improvements on Montréal Road between St. Laurent Boulevard and Shefford Road, and on Blair Road between Montréal Road and Blair Station. The plan includes segments of bus-only lanes, and projects a transit ridership increase of 45 per cent along the corridor over the next 25 years. It also features new segregated cycle tracks, wider sidewalks, protected intersections and a multi-use pathway. A new bus turnaround will allow more bus connections to Montréal Station, coming as part of the Stage 2 O-Train expansion.

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