By Ward 21 Councillor Scott Moffatt
As I sit and write this column on the morning of April 1st, I assure you that everything that follows is not in gest.
In my most recent column, I used the opportunity to shed light on the Service Line Warranties of Canada letters that many of you likely received. While I feel I adequately explained the rationale behind the letters and the agreement with the City of Ottawa, I somewhat glossed over the rural piece of the situation. The comment that I included which covered the matter of rural residents on septic systems getting the letter was as follows:
“While SLWC does offer plans for residents on private septic systems, that does not form the basis for the City’s agreement. We would encourage all residents to determine what is best for their situation.”
Just to elaborate on that, the City’s Residential Protective Plumbing Program is targeted at City of Ottawa homeowners connected to municipal water and sewer. The risk of backup and the flooding situation in Glen Cairn in 2009 led to much of the work on this program. At no time, did we consider we needed to do anything similar for homeowners on private services. One of the challenges was that some residents were not aware they owned their pipes and were responsible for the infrastructure within their home. That is not the case with owners of septic systems.
In short, and as mentioned above, SLWC does offer protection plans for residents on septic systems but the City did not enter into any agreement with SLWC on the merits of whether or not a resident on septic should subscribe. Again, this is entirely a decision of the homeowner and many residents on private services will not find this to be a necessary service. It is always best to do your due diligence and determine what is best for you and your home.
COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics
Last week, we saw our first pop-up clinics for vaccinations in the rural area with clinics held in Richmond, Osgoode and Greely, locally. These clinics were specifically for rural residents born in or before 1951 as well as adults receiving chronic home health care. These clinics were important as not everyone is able to or comfortable with attending one of the larger clinics in the urban area. There will be more clinics like these are we continue with our vaccination program.
Phase 2 of the City’s vaccination program will occur between April and July, based on sufficient vaccine supply. This group will include residents over the age of 60, which will likely continue to be based on birth year. Therefore, those born in or before 1961 will be included in the Phase 2 rollout. Also included will be individuals with health conditions and caregivers, people who live and work in high-risk congregate settings as well as essential workers who cannot work from home.
Phase 3 is expected to begin in July for everyone aged 59 or younger. Please keep an eye on our social media feeds and subscribe to our e-Newsletter to stay up to date on all vaccination information and clinic availability. We will post information in our newspaper columns but sometimes the timing doesn’t always line up, as was the case with the clinics last week.
For more information on vaccines and COVID-19 generally, please visit ottawapublichealth.ca.
Cannabis Retail Outlets
As many of you are aware, the selling of cannabis products is now no different than the sale of alcohol and tobacco. Over the last few years, we have seen many stores open across Ottawa and it was likely only a matter of time before rural Ottawa began to see cannabis retail stores as well. In October 2020, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) did put out a notice for two such applications in Ward 21. The AGCO is the regulatory authority in this Province for retail authorization of cannabis.
In Manotick, an application for the Bluebird Cannabis Company was received for 5530 Manotick Main Street, Unit 1. This would be in the same building currently under renovation known as the Walk. The specific unit fronts onto Ann Street. According to the AGCO website, this location is “Authorized to Open.”
In Richmond, many residents likely saw the transformation of the former LCBO into a storefront called Gather & Grow. While the branding of the store seemed to precede the actual notification last fall, causing some confusion, they did eventually submit to the AGCO and that location is also “Authorized to Open.”
From a process perspective, the AGCO provides the municipality with 15 calendar days to respond to an application. The City then has some specific details to confirm but we don’t exactly have the authority to refuse an application. That lies solely with the AGCO. Considerations the municipality evaluates are mainly based on proximity issues. New stores should be no less than 150 metres away from other cannabis stores, schools, recreation facilities, libraries and public parks. They also must adhere to zoning regulations.
My primary concerns are generally with the look of the storefront and there are strict rules and regulations about how cannabis stores must be presented in Ontario. These will both adhere to those policies.
If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491. For information on Ward 21 issues, please visit TeamTwentyOne.ca.