More coverage of Ontario Votes 2011
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City reaches labour deal with CUPE 503

Posted by Alistair Steele

The City of Ottawa has reached a tentative agreement with its largest labour union. Here's the (brief) memo from City Clerk and Solicitor Rick O'Connor to the mayor and councillors, sent just now:


I am pleased to advise that, early this morning, the City's bargaining team reached a tentative agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 503 Inside/Outside bargaining unit (CUPE 503 I/O). The tentative agreement was reached after 20 days of negotiations and respects the bargaining mandate approved by Council.


CUPE 503 I/O is the City's largest bargaining unit, representing approximately 6,300 employees or 37% of the City's workforce. Their collective agreement expired on December 31, 2011.


In keeping with the usual labour relations practices, the details of the tentative agreement are confidential until ratified by the union membership and City Council. CUPE 503 President Brian Madden has indicated that he anticipates presenting the tentative agreement to his members later next month, after which it will be submitted to Council for ratification.




M. Rick O'Connor, CMO

Certified Specialist (Municipal Law: Local Government)

City Clerk and Solicitor

Lansdowne plan plows ahead despite delay

Posted by Alistair Steele

It seems the city's legal department is getting a bit anxious about the time the Ontario Court of Appeal is taking to render its decision in the Lansdowne case. In a report going to the city's Finance and Economic Development Committee next week, city staff write:

"The timing of the Ontario Court of Appeal decision is unknown although an order was obtained on 19 September 2011, which provided that the appeal be expedited. On 30 March 2012, legal counsel for the City wrote to the Senior Legal Officer of the Court asking when a decision might be expected. No answer has been provided."

In the mean time, staff are recommending the city proceed with some tasks anyway, "to reduce adverse schedule impacts and to contain costs that might otherwise be caused by this delay." Those include moving the Horticulture Building, excavation and remediation of contaminated soil, and demolition of the Coliseum Building. Some of the work is included in the current OSEG tender, while other items are not. The total cost of these projects is $14-million, and that's all before the court rules.

Where Watson really stands on safe injection

Posted by Alistair Steele

Well this safe injection study sure dropped with a thud here in Ottawa today. The researchers are recommending two "safe consumption sites" for Ottawa, resulting in the predictable controversy.

If the study sounds familiar, that's because former mayor Larry O'Brien tipped us off to it during the 2010 mayoral campaign. He accused his rival, Jim Watson, of plotting with his pals at Queen's Park to cover up the findings until after voting day. The trouble was, O'Brien was wrong on just about every detail, and later retracted his claim.

So is the current mayor for or against safe injection sites in Ottawa? "If there are extra funds available I don't believe they should be going into safe injection sites," said Watson today. "I think they should be going into the rehab and treatment centres that we have helped fund before."

Lansdowne's retail map takes shape

Posted by Alistair Steele

I was recently shown this retail map of Lansdowne Park:


I realize you can't make out the details, and some of the fine print on the original's a bit difficult to decipher as well. But I can tell you that with only one exception, every space on the map appears to be occupied. (The developer calls them "placeholders"...more on that below.) Here's the breakdown:

Building A (Bank at Holmwood): Sporting Life

Building B (Holmwood): Under Armour, Mrs. Tiggy Winkle's, Restoration Hardware

Building C (Holmwood): Formella (a restaurant, apparently), LoCal (another resto), Empire Cinemas

Building D (Holmwood, beside the Horticulture Building): Jack Astor's, Wasabi Sushi

Building H (Bank): Whole Foods (second floor), LCBO, Starbucks, Puma, Lulu Lemon, Laura Secord, Cake Shop (presumably the Cake Shop), Sunset Grill, and a "personal service business" that looks like it might be Renaldo, the coiffeur to the stars

Building G1 (just east of Building H): Children's Place, Bootlegger, Claire's, another small retailer I can't make out, and a restaurant called "Joey" (this Seafood place?)

Building G2 (beside G1): Sunglass Hut and another small retailer called "Fratelli" (unless they mean the restaurant and accidentally used the wrong colour)

Civic Centre (under the north side stands): Goodlife Fitness, The Source, Wind Mobile, David's Tea, South St. Burger, and another salon

Building I (the south-west corner, on Bank): TD Bank, Milestones, Spence Diamonds

This "Leasing Plan" is dated March 5, 2012. According to Trinity's Lansdowne site, only  Whole Foods, LCBO and Empire have actually inked some kind of a lease. So where did all these other names come from? Some were mentioned in the Lansdowne Partnership's refined retail strategy presented back in February (the "Amended Retail Mix" appears on page 20). Others seem to have appeared in the interim. 

None of the handful of businesses on the new map that I contacted has signed a lease, or has engaged in any significant talks with Trinity. The Glebe BIA's Christine Leadman hadn't seen the map, but says it's likely just a "developer's tool" to attract tenants. A spokesperson for OSEG confirms this, calling the names on the map "placeholders."

Still, both this map and the previous leasing strategy give some indication of the types of businesses Trinity hopes to attract. Some are generating excitement (hello Restoration Hardware). Others, not so much. Still others can be found in any mall across the city (Claire's, Bootlegger, The Source). This probably isn't the "diverse, vibrant and successful retail environment" some people had in mind.

Spinning his wheels

Posted by Alistair Steele

Last month Orleans councillor Bob Monette asked city staff a series of questions about the segregated bike lanes on Laurier Avenue. Monette's query appears to have been prompted by this newspaper article, which appeared three days earlier (and which was helpfully re-published on Monette's own web site).

Specifically, Monette wanted to know the following:

  • Could signs be installed along Laurier Avenue to point patrons to nearby parking lots?
  • Could the south-side lane be modified to take the burden off businesses between Elgin and Metcalfe?
  • Could the south-side lane be eliminated altogether during the winter, when usage is lower?
  • Could something be done to make deliveries to businesses on Laurier a bit easier?
  • Could one of the two bike lanes on Laurier be moved to an adjacent street?
  • Could staff please provide a monthly breakdown showing the number of cyclists using the Laurier lanes since they were introduced last summer?

With one exception, the answer to these questions is "no." The exception is the last one. Here staff provide not one but two graphs, both showing that usage does indeed dip in the winter months, as one might expect. These responses will be delivered at this Wednesday's Transportation Committee meeting. It begins at 9:30 a.m. Monimahal's lunch buffet opens at 11:30 a.m.