Ward boundary review continues July 7, city defecit plans

WEST CARLETON – The first meeting following an independent review on Ottawa’s ward boundaries will take place July 7, part of the Finance and Economic Development Committee (FEDCO) regular meeting.

“On July 7, the Ottawa Ward Boundary Review 2020 – Options Report will be considered by the committee, and then it will be tabled at city council on July 15,” Coun. Eli El-Chantiry released in a statement today (June 30). “FEDCO and council are being asked to receive this report for information, as it includes the Options Report provided by an independent consultant team retained to conduct the ward boundary review.”

The Options Report sets out new ward boundary options subject to public consultation in the third quarter of 2020. If interested, residents can tune into the FEDCO meeting on July 7 and city council on July 15 via the City of Ottawa’s YouTube channel

Last week city council received city staff’s plan to eliminate a huge $192 million deficit the city is facing due to its reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. West Carleton Online spoke with El-Chantiry about what it could mean for Ward 5’s biggest infrastructure project, the Corkery Community Centre expansion project which was already budgeted for in 2020

On June 24, council received an update about the impact on the city’s finances on the whole, including a plan to eliminate this year’s COVID-related deficit.

“Revenue losses and unplanned costs due to the pandemic have added significant budget pressures,” El-Chantiry said. “As a result of COVID-19, projections show the city will run a $192-million deficit this year.”

To close this year’s deficit gap, the city will reduce operating expenses, leverage reserve funds and adjust capital spending to maintain services and respond to evolving community needs.”

“While these one-time solutions address our deficit this year, they put pressure on city finances in future years,” El-Chantiry said. “Given the limited financial options available to municipalities, the city will require funding from the federal and provincial governments to support needed infrastructure investments, transit and operating pressures.”

Mayor Jim Watson has requested funding through the Big City Mayors’ Caucus, the Large Urban Mayors’ Caucus of Ontario and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. The city is also actively working with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities on their requests for emergency operating funding.