CITY HALL – The ward boundary review consultants, working with city staff, are recommending adding a new ward and a new council city to the current Ottawa political map during yesterday’s (Dec. 1) Finance and Economic Development committee (FEDCO) meeting.

“The ward boundary review focused on six options for new ward boundaries and the report recommends a structure composed of 24 wards, with 12 urban wards, nine suburban wards and three rural wards,” city staff released in a statement yesterday (Dec. 1). “The recommended boundaries minimize changes to existing ward boundaries.” 

The city last completed a major ward boundary review in 2005, establishing the current 23 wards. 

FEDCO approved the ByWard Market Public Realm Plan, which would guide the evolution of the Market’s public spaces and provide a framework to coordinate investment opportunities.

The plan will ensure the ByWard Market remains a unique, pedestrian friendly destination in Ottawa. The report recommends strategic advancement of priority projects, establishing a working group to lead economic recovery in the market in 2021 and a review of district governance options.

The committee approved its portion of the draft 2021 budget. The budget aims to support evolving community needs during the COVID-19 pandemic while delivering essential municipal services to residents. It limits the property tax increase to three per cent, as directed by council.

FEDCO approved the 2018-2022 Mid-term Governance Review report.

“The city undertakes a governance review twice during each term of council, with the mid-term one generally reserved for tweaks to the governance structure,” city staff said. “This report recommends re-establishing the Debenture committee to improve the city’s access to financial markets and reduce its debt-servicing costs. A comprehensive review of recruitment and hiring practices for public appointments will help council draw from more diverse populations when filling citizen positions on advisory boards and task forces. The report also recommends establishing a performance review process for the city manager and auditor general, and optional sections in the council and committee report template for Climate Implications, Economic Implications and Indigenous, Gender and Equity Implications.”

FEDCO received the integrity commissioner’s 2020 annual report as part of the mid-term governance review. The report recommends updating the code of conduct for Council members, and defining municipal staff while ensuring councillors’ assistants fall within that definition.

Recommendations from the FEDCO meeting will rise to council on Wednesday, Dec.  9.