Here's a question an Oshawa resident asked me today that may be of interest to others: why is Clearbrook Dr. in Ward 1 being dug up again when it was just paved last year? The City Engineer supplied the answer: that the Clearbrook Dr. work is being done by the developer as the final asphalt standards did not meet the City's quality control. Under the subdivision agreement it is the developers responsibility to build the roads to the City's standards. When these are not, the deficient roads must be remediated before the City "accepts the product"
Today Oshawa Council was advised by the Commissioner of Community Services that all events for the month of July, both City run and City assisted, have been cancelled due to the pandemic emergency.
Also, please note that both organizers of Oshawa 2020 Ribfest scheduled for August 14-16 and Autofest's 27th Annual event scheduled for August 29-30 have cancelled their events.
Many can look on the Oshawa Accessibility Advisory Committee flag flying at Oshawa City Hall this week during National AccessAbility Week with great respect!
I ask you also please to look upon it and the efforts of the OAAC with increased understanding and motivation!
“It is said to understand a person, walk a mile in their shoes. Even if you went a mile in my chair, you could not begin to know what it feels like. Because you can walk away at any time. That is why awareness week is so important,” said Lisa Hart, Chair, Oshawa Accessibility Advisory Committe.
Removing barriers requires a concentrated effort and actions by many to improve our city and make it inclusive for all.
In recognition of National AccessAbility Week, which came into force in 2019 as part of the Accessibility Canada Act, Oshawa Accessibility Advisory Committee members wrote in one or a few words what Accessibility means to them.
Please see pictures below....Opportunities, Independence, A Level Playing Field for All, Mobility, Inclusiveness, Freedom, Ability, Barrier Free, Participation...
Don't you wish this for your family, friends, neighbours, everyone?
Fyi, N.A.A.W. takes place annually, beginning on the last Sunday in May and aims to change the way society thinks, talks and acts in regards to accessibility and inclusion. It is a week for accessibility and inclusion to be promoted across communities and workplaces and a time to celebrate the contributions of Canadians with disabilities and the efforts of those working to remove barriers.
Today is the last day for lowest electricity rate. Yesterday the province announced tomorrow Monday, June 1st begins the fixed price "new “COVID-19 recovery rate” until Oct 31.
It is 12.8 cents per kilowatt hour at all times of the day. "The fixed price is slightly higher than the off-peak price, which stood at 10.1 per kilowatt hour. However, it is much lower than the mid-peak rate of 14.4 per kilowatt hour and the high-peak rate of 20.8 per kilowatt hour."
Time to embrace where you live this summer!
Since COVID-19 I’ve had some SPECIAL FIRST TIME IN OSHAWA EXPERIENCES….
Since COVID-19 it's the 1st time in Oshawa that I … walked Cedar Valley Trail and was amazed by what my husband calls the biggest tree in Oshawa and how over-ambitious beavers can try to chew down a large tree
Since COVID-19 1st-time in Oshawa that I … learned about Simcoe Hall Settlement House, on Simcoe St. S. and was amazed how it was established in 1935 by the Women’s Welfare League and is going so strong with some amazing women sorting and packing so many food boxes and found everyone so helpful, and gracious.
Interesting Munk Debate one-hour interview tonight with David Brooks, a columnist with the New York Times since 2003, political commentator and bestselling author discussing how our politics and society will be different after COVID19.
It's one in a series...the next one will be with Ian Bremmer, who says there is growing likelihood that when the pandemic is over the U.S. and China will enter a new cold war...It will be next Wed. June 3, 2020 at 8pm. ET facebook.com/monkdebates
I missed the beginning of tonight's David Brooks interview, but moderator Rudyard Griffiths indicated it will be archived for viewing on CP24 in a couple days.
On tuning in 3/4 of the way through, I was reminded how I like listening to Brooks, as he is intelligent and measured in his comments.
He said it is more surface polarization, that COVID-19 has not really polarized the country, although there is a difference in the deaths in the urban vs rural areas, the red and blue states are handling it similarity.
To the question asked whether Universal Basic Income is untenable..he believes work is the core value of the country and subsidies should be tied to work. Yes in the emergency subsidies are good, but continuing them as a UBI would drain the work ethic.
On addressing the needs of the vulnerable, he agrees the top of society in the past decades have been 'given room to run', and have been insulated from risk, with high returns, whereas the 80% have high risk and low return, He said this calls for a rethinking of the country's meritocracy, that most recognize we've come to a dead end, Change is coming and it will be an exciting 10 years.
He wrote a few weeks back how he's "been writing about the social fabric for years now, but you really see it only after you've lost it" and 'that we had to be set apart to come together'.
Metrolinx have announced they will be reintroducing 30-minute service on the Lakeshore East line as of Monday, which includes five trips during the busiest parts of the morning and afternoon rush hours. All of those trains are full length, 12-car trains. toronto.citynews.ca/2020/05/26/metrolinx-addresses-physical-distancing-concerns-on-go-trains/
On the Agenda for the Monday May 25, 2020 second electronic Council meeting: 42 public Reports, 8 closed Reports, 5 Notices of Motion, including the following:
1) Correspondence concerning the BIA,
2) approval of rezoning of 133 Ritson Rd. N. from commercial to residential;
3) approval of the Short Term Rental (Airbnb) new regulations;
4) allowing participation of delegations to Council's electronic public meetings;
5) Timetable for 2021 Budget meetings;
6) Licensing for pay-day loan establishment locations in the City;
7) Traffic calming on Britannia Rd. E. between bridge and Ritson Rd.;
8) approval of rezoning of lands on Wilson Rd. N. for Menkes subdivision (added potential for future fenced in leash-free dog park).
more details below:
1. letters from Oshawa Downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA) members requesting to suspend or return the BIA levy to the 2019 rate. A controversial issue, the motion which I voted to support and which passed (after several starts and shifts, much discussion and time spent consulting the City lawyer about the process) was for Council not to unilaterally made a decision without the Board first having a meeting with its members.
Imo in order to have a strong and healthy downtown it is imperative that respect, transparency and open communication must be worked on between the Board of Management and its members. City Council can rule to increase or decrease the Board's budget and fyi the BIA tax levy is calculated "by dividing the property's realty assessment by the total realty assessment of the commercial and industrial properties within the boundaries of the BIA and multiplying by the total annual BIA budget.“
That quote is from the Ontario BIA website and following it is imo an important statement: "IT TAKES A LOT OF EFFORT AND DEDICATION TO MAKE A BIA WORK". I am hopeful cool heads will save the day, there is a need to be forward thinking, and prepare for recovery and balance this with support for the struggle so many downtown businesses are going through.
In the meeting and it was confirmed in the answers to my questions to the Treasurer and Acting Council Chair Councillor Chapman that there can be a Special Council meeting called anytime in the next two weeks should the Board and its members not come to some compromise.
A battling board and its membership takes energy and time from too many, and negatively impacts not only individuals but the whole city.
I wish them best and hope their focus on the IMPROVEMENT of the downtown will prevail, after all it's why they are all together in the first place....their goal, not only individually and collaboratively for their own good, but for the good of the City...what the I in the BIA stands for makes them strong.
2. 133 Ritson Rd. N. The application to amend the Official Plan and Zoning By-law to permit the Winstone Development was approved. I had some pretty strong words about it and made a motion I hoped would find support. Oddest thing was the comment by another member of Council to my comment...we should go with the professionals with letters after their name. Sorry, I am not elevating my opinion over anyone else's but what I believe I was elected to do was to have oversight, and Council imo needs to take its oversight role seriously
My motion was: "The Site Plan for 133 Ritson Rd. N. shall come back to Council for review and oversight with a Report from Staff before the Holding is lifted." I know some members of Council supported it, but not enough. Obviously, we all have differences of opinion on the various contentious, complicated and sensitive issues before us. But thinking over yesterday's 11 hour meeting, I would really sincerely like to thank my colleagues for their yes vote on this one.
The only bit of real good news I learned on this Report (CNCL-20-33) was that the developers will be responsible for paying for any of the required road improvements at Ritson and Adelaide, not taxpayers. Oddly, I also learned the 3 storey townhouses will be 32.5 ft. in height...not much different from the 2 storey towns that will be 29.5 ft (seems the 3 storey ones will have flat roofs and the 2 storey one's pitched gable roofs
3. Short Term Rentals (aka Airbnb) will have new regulations and licensing in Oshawa. REPORT CNCL-20-59 has the details. I voted against one part of the staff report (concerning enforcement and imo the overreach of the city entering into a contract with a 3rd parting monitoring service, even though the initial cost is low it seems to me excessive to go beyond a complaint based approach) However, the 4 recommendations in the report were approved.
The number of rooms rented to 'guests' is limited to two with no more than 2 occupants in each...and to address 'party houses' the STR operators will be licensed on an annual basis and the license requires the owner occupied principal residences.
The STR license holder must comply with several stipulations related to fire safety, insurance and emergency contact requirements. There will be a 6 month period to raise awareness with the public on the new regulations and enforcement. http://app.oshawa.ca/agendas/city_council/2020/05-25/REPORT_CNCL-20-59.pdf
4. Electronic Participation at Council & Committee meetings
(I made this motion last year, and at the last Council meeting Apr 27 asked staff to implement this as soon as possible), Report CNCL-20-85 was approved, http://app.oshawa.ca/agendas/City_Council/2020/05-25/REPORT_CNCL-20-85.pdf so now delegations will be able to participate electronically in open Council and committee meetings. The regular monthly Standing Committee meetings which were all cancelled March 13 will resume starting June 8th. I attempted to have the City's Committee of Adjustment and Asscessibility Advisory Built Subcommittee meetings resume too, but the Mayor and Council voted down the 2/3rds requirement to bring it forward. Not sure why, as these are two Committees even actually could physically meet in person with social distancing, as they fall within the Province's 5 person limit.
5. Report CNCL-20-49 contains the schedule for the City's 2021 Budget meetings - Nov 13 for staff presentations; and Nov 27, Dec 4 & Dec 11, 2020 for deliberations and approval. But it does not include a time for an evening public participation budget meeting. It was the practice to have an evening budget meeting every year in the past, except for last year.
I pulled this Budget Timetable Report from the Consent Agenda and made an amendment to add an evening Public Budget meeting in November to the 2020 Budget timetable. However, the Mayor and 5 Councillors voted my amendment down..
6. The proposed changes to the business licences for payday loan establishments, contained in Report CNCL-20-76 were approved. Currently there are 18 in the City. There will be 'grandfather' provisions, However, the goal of the new business licencing for payday loan operations in future will restrict them to 2 per Ward and a total of 10 in the City.
7. Council approved two new stop signs and a radar board to be installed on Britannia Rd, East, just west of Ritson, at Stornoway and at Reke.
8. The Menkes subdivision plan for Wilson Rd. N. (north of Britannia) (CNCL-20-77 ) was passed. The plan includes:
185 single detached dwellings, 135 street townhouse dwellings, 499 apartment, block townhouse and/or back-to-back townhouse dwellings, one medium density block to accommodate up to 39 block townhouse and/or back-to-back townhouse dwellings, a Public Elementary School block, a Separate Elementary School block, a parkette block, and a neighbourhood park block
The amendment I put forward, that the proposed 4 acre park may include a fenced-in leash free dog park, was approved. Good because it is much easier to complete one in a new development than retrofit one in an existing built area. http://app.oshawa.ca/.../2020/05-25/REPORT_CNCL-20-77.pdf
Google is now including new wheelchair accessibility information on its maps!!
Spread the word to get Canada in on the roll out asap and encourage more people are tuned in to the need to see our cities barrier free.
The City of Oshawa and local businesses should be ready to ensure they have the most accurate information on the Google accessibility maps.
"Google has announced the deployment of a particularly useful functionality in its web mapping service, which will make it much easier for wheelchair users to see accessibility information.
The new feature is very easy to use. Once the "Accessible Places" option is activated in the mobile application's settings, Google Maps will display wheelchair icons to indicate locations with disabled access. Clicking on the icon will bring up further information about accessible seating, toilets, and parking.
Google already has information on wheelchair accessibility for more than 15 million locations around the world, mainly thanks to the participation of contributing Internet users, and it is this information that can now be permanently displayed in Maps. It should be noted that anyone can contribute information on disabled access to the service directly from an Android or iOS smartphone.
To take advantage of the new functionality, download the latest version of Google Maps, go to settings, accessibility, and activate "Accessible Places". The new feature is rolled out for both Android and iOS in Australia, Japan, the UK, and the US. Other countries will soon follow."
The company is also giving iOS users the ability to more easily contribute accessibility information, as is the case for the Android version of Google Maps. “This guide has tips for rating accessibility, in case you’re not sure what counts as being ‘accessible.’ We invite everyone to switch on Accessible Places and contribute accessibility information to help people in your community,” Google says.
When answering questions on Google Maps, you might encounter at least five different kinds of questions related to accessibility:
You can help remove barriers! As my friend Steven Moenster says, accessibility means a level playing field for all, and as our Oshawa Accessibility Advisory Committee Chair Lisa Hart says accessibility means Opportunities, and Dot McFarlane says to her it means Independence! Wouldn't you want to wish all these for your friends, family and neighbours??
NEW rules proposed for Airbnb / Short-Term Rentals (STR) in Oshawa. The previous Council initiated the process and city staff have been working on formulating regulations and satisfactory licensing enforcement for Short-term rentals (aka Airbnb) in Oshawa. A Report on this now is among the many various matters on Mon, May 25 Oshawa electronic Council meeting's Agenda.
Any Oshawa residents interested in informing Council of their views regarding the Report and wishing to have a letter added to the Monday meeting Agenda, can email to firstname.lastname@example.org up to two hours before the start of the 9:30 am electronic meeting, as per the new emergency procedural rules during the pandemic.
Report CNCL-20-59, if approved by Council will see new regulations for a Short-Term Rental Licensing System involving:
• An annual License for S.T.R. Operators;
• License standards to license Short-Term Rental Operators;
• Limit the # of rooms rented at any time to 2 when
renting by the room; and,
• Limit the room occupancy to no more than 2 people per
room when renting by the room;
• Require applicants to attest to compliance with various rules and standards, including City by-laws and the Fire Code (e.g. having functioning smoke and carbon monoxide
alarms) as part of the application process;
• Require S.T.R. Operators to supply the City and renters with information for a local contact available to respond to issues at all times within a period of no greater than one (1) hour from the time of contact by telephone or email while the S.T.R. is in operation;
• Undertake property and record inspections in response to complaints and on an audit-basis;
• Introducing a Visitor’s Code to educate guests about City by-laws and renter responsibilities;
• Require S.T.R. Operators to share operating data with the City (e.g. the number of nights rented in the previous year).
A link to the Report CNCL-20-59 is here: http://app.oshawa.ca/agendas/city_council/2020/05-25/REPORT_CNCL-20-59.pdf
Some may approve of the proposed regulations and licensing as they find the party houses devastating to their neighbourhood, others may disapprove, thinking it unnecessary and overreach. Reminder: Ontario temporarily banned Airbnb and short term rentals early April 2020 as a public health measure to stop the spread of COVID-19. There are some cities that have completely banned short-term rentals and given the crimes of human trafficking and murders that short-term rentals have been involved in, it has been a growing safety concern, covered in the media a lot before the pandemic. There are now numerous Ontario municipalities that have initiated licenses. Here's a link to some international destinations and the policies these cities have instituted: