Council updated on COVID-19 economic recovery and more briefs

CITY HALL – City council received an update on city staff’s plan and progress on economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“City staff are working to help keep Ottawa businesses and neighbourhoods vibrant through the fall and winter,” staff released in a statement following today’s (Sept. 9) city council meeting. “To support local economic recovery and accommodate physical distancing, council approved a motion to extend the temporary zoning amendment that relaxes regulations for restaurant and retail patios until the end of December.”

The motion also waives specific fees for right-of-way patios and café seating for the winter patio season.

Council received an update on the city’s efforts to foster economic recovery over the spring and summer. The city created a business support and recovery webpage, encouraged residents to support local businesses and explore rural wards, offered temporary property tax deferrals to qualifying property owners, developed a toolkit for safe business reopening, and reduced fees and accelerated approvals for new patios.

Council approved a motion to create a temporary working group of city councillors, city officials and the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas. The working group will review governance matters related to the relationship between Business Improvement Areas and the city and look for opportunities to enhance the partnership. The recommendations of the working group will be considered by council as part of the upcoming Mid-Term Governance Review.

Council approved a motion denouncing the practice of conversion therapy. The harmful practice promotes myths and stereotypes based on sexuality or gender identity. The motion calls on the federal government to reintroduce and quickly adopt legislation that would make the practice illegal across the country.

Gloucester-Southgate Ward Coun. Diane Deans returned to council following a medical leave of absence for treatment of ovarian cancer. Coun. Deans will resume her roles as chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board and Crime Prevention Ottawa.

The Société de transport de l’Outaouais (STO) is planning to expand its transit system and integrate with Ottawa through an electric tramway, reducing STO bus traffic and improving access to destinations on both sides of the Ottawa River. Council received an update on the proposed expansion, which includes two corridor options: one at grade on Wellington Street and one through a tunnel under Sparks Street. The STO study timeline anticipates council will consider a recommendation from city staff about how to integrate the tramway into Ottawa in November.

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