Ottawa

4 wards left off city's 'Christmas miracle' list

The City of Ottawa has decided how it wants to spread the cheer from a $10-million budget windfall dubbed by one councillor a "Christmas miracle," and four wards failed to make the nice list.

Alta Vista, Rideau–Vanier, Rideau–Rockliffe, Somerset won't see shares of $10M budget surplus

More than half of the $10-million surplus devoted to infrastructure maintenance for 2018 is earmarked for road resurfacing projects. (Alistair Steele/CBC)

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  • City council approved the spending list on Feb. 14.

The City of Ottawa has decided how it wants to spread the cheer from a $10-million budget windfall dubbed by one councillor a "Christmas miracle," and four wards failed to make the nice list.

According to a report to the city's finance and economic development committee, Alta Vista, Rideau–Vanier, Rideau–Rockliffe and Somerset won't see a share of the surplus to maintain roads, sidewalks, buildings or parks.

Three of the councillors whose wards were frozen out of the surplus spending — Tobi Nussbaum, Mathieu Fleury and Catherine McKenney — belonged to a group that had called for a tax increase dedicated to infrastructure spending during last November's budget deliberations.

The idea, which would break Mayor Jim Watson's promise to cap the annual tax increase at two per cent, was ultimately shelved when the city treasurer discovered the surprise $10-million surplus, money that was quickly earmarked for repaving and other infrastructure maintenance.

Mayor adds project

Councillors whose wards are going without any of the extra funds said they respect the list of projects city staff put forward. 

According to the report, the projects were identified based on existing need, and whether they could be completed in 2018. 

"I have no reason to believe that it was political," Fleury said.

The mayor intervened Wednesday on behalf of Coun. George Darouze, whose Osgoode ward was originally left off the list.

At Watson's request, city staff agreed to devote some of the money toward repaving an extra 300 metres of Mitch Owens Road.

"I thought this $150,000 contribution ... was reasonable," Watson said.

Darouze was the only councillor who approached him to ask to be added to the list, Watson said.

Repaving projects dominate

Rideau–Goulbourn received the largest portion of the spending. Of the $1.9 million the largely rural ward is getting, $1.4 million will go toward resurfacing roads.

The next two largest recipients were were River ward ($1.6 million) and Kanata North ($1.5 million), where the money will also go to resurface roads.

Resurfacing projects planned for River ward include two sections of Walkley Road, Avoncourt Way to Bank Street and Riverside Drive to Wexford Way. 

Gloucester-Southgate received the most funding for building maintenance, with about half-a-million dollars to replace a roof membrane on the Charles Sim Municipal Workshop.  

Funding for sidewalks was concentrated in suburban wards. Orléans is getting $120,000 worth of sidewalk work, Barrhaven gets $80,000 and West Carleton–March gets $70,000.

Stittsville received the biggest chunk of parks money — $375,000 — to replace two playgrounds at Fringewood Park and West Ridge Park.

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