CITY HALL – To help increase the availability of rental housing, city council approved a zoning amendment yesterday (Sept. 24) that encourages new eight-to-12-unit low-rise apartments in established inner-urban neighbourhoods like Centretown, Sandy Hill, Vanier, Overbrook, Hintonburg and Westboro.

“The amendment changes several zoning regulations – minimum lot-size and green-space requirements and a cap on the number of units – that have prevented newer low-rise apartments in Ottawa’s Residential Fourth Density (R4) family of zones,” city staff released in a statement yesterday (Sept. 23). “This amendment will help gradually increase the apartment supply in R4 zones to better accommodate the growing number of people who want to live in central Ottawa.”

North Grenville plans to launch a green-bin program next year. Council authorized the city to negotiate and enter into an agreement with the township to process its organic waste through the city’s processing contract with Convertus, saving both municipalities money and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions by diverting organic waste from landfills.

“The city expects to save between $80,000 and $160,000 per year by diverting leaf-and-yard waste to the City’s Barnsdale composting facility, where processing fees for this type of waste are lower,” staff said. “North Grenville will benefit from the city’s experience, preferred rates for green bins and capacity to process organic waste.”

Council received annual reports about Ottawa Fire Services, Crime Prevention Ottawa and drinking water management.

Ottawa Fire Services responded to 26,028 calls last year and continued work to build a new training facility and develop a strategy to reduce false fire alarms. For the first time, the service hired a former Camp Female Firefighters in Training participant as a career firefighter.

Crime Prevention Ottawa assessed its gang-intervention program, Time for Change, and found that it returns $3.39 for every dollar invested and reduced reoffences among participants by 55 per cent.

Part of improving the city’s drinking water management, staff developed standard procedures to respond to potential harmful bacteria and the city will add food-grade phosphate to drinking water to prevent lead from pipes from dissolving in tap water.

For more information on city programs and services, visit ottawa.ca or call 311 (TTY: 613-580-2401).