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All In Hand

Here you'll find the sum total of Miss Vicky's Remarks thus far.


Miss Vicky Wed May 31, 2006

Ottawa Riverkeeper has just released its first annual River Report. It's a comprehensive look at the state of Ottawa River and its watershed.

It definitely contains a lot of food for thought (and some beautiful shots of the river as well).

The report identifies some serious threats to the river's ecological health - the inability of filtration systems to remove substances like pharmaceuticals, for example, or the fact that aging sewage infrastructure is operating at near capacity (or past capacity). There are some terrifying stories as well, particularly about the Chalk River nuclear facility and its management of radioactive waste. It also points out some successes, like Manotick's groundbreaking alternative wastewater treatment facility - the most advanced in Canada, apparently.

Unfortunately, our city's wastewater treatment facility is not so groundbreaking:

The City of Ottawa wastewater treatment plant, the Robert O. Pickard Water Pollution Control Centre, was originally installed in the 1960s as a primary treatment facility. In 1992, an upgrade was commissioned for a secondary (biological) process with an enhancement to remove phosphorus (a nutrient).The Ottawa facility is currently being upgraded to increase its capacity so that it can receive sludge from the Lemieux water filtration plant. This aluminum-laden sludge is currently being dumped directly into the river on a daily basis despite the fact that the effluent is a pollutant and does not comply with provincial or federal regulations.

I was also interested in reading what they had to say about Westboro Beach. Unfortunately there were no specific recommendations, so I'm following up with them directly. But here's what they say:

Of the beaches in Ottawa, Westboro Beach seems to have the most frequent beach closures; the cause is baffling city staff who still have not determined the predominant source of e-coli after years of monitoring sewer outfalls near the beach.

You can pick up a copy of the report for $15 at MEC or through the Riverkeeper website.

Kitchisippi Community Awards

Miss Vicky Tue May 30, 2006

from the latest KT/Newswest:

Councillor Shawn Little is looking for nominations for his ninth annual Kitchissippi Community Awards. June 6 is the deadline for suggestions for volunteer of the year, youth volunteer, senior volunteer, volunteer at large, business of the year, new business of the year and business-community partner, although Little is open to other category suggestions. The awards ceremony will be held June 27 at the Churchill seniors' centre at 1 p.m. Nominations should be sent to the councilor by regular mail at 110 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa, K1P 1J1.

Any ideas, folks?

weekend ramblings

Miss Vicky Mon May 29, 2006

Occasionally I do wander outside the ward - this weekend, we hit the Great Glebe Garage Sale (along with several thousand other Ottawa residents). I had a vague idea of what I wanted to look for, especially in the baby-preparation department, and I was not disappointed. We picked up a nice moses basket bassinet in excellent shape, complete with not-overly-cutsie sheep bedding motif. This was one of the items I was hoping to pick up used, so I was quite pleased. We also scored a great gazebo tent thingy (handy for outdoor events) and an old Ottawa street sign for Parkdale Avenue. Oh, and some amazingly fiery locally-made hot sauce.

On Sunday we took Winston for his first river stroll since we started the new training regimen. He was pretty well-behaved - although we were lacking the usual distractions of morning bike commuters, but we'll take the success where we can get it! Bumped into the Wellington Cleaners/post office owner and got a look at the new store, which opens today. Then we took off for a picnic in Perth with the Webgeek's family - a nice afternoon of bocce on the lawn at Stewart Park, capped off with a massive ice cream cone. Not a bad weekend, really, especially since the next two are completely tied up with community events with very little time for just plain relaxin'.

Miss Vicky on CBC - update

The Webgeek Fri May 26, 2006

Just in case you missed it's original airing, I've managed to procure an official copy of Miss Vicky's interview on CBC Radio One. It's available over on her campaign site's media section. It's an 8 minute interview with her and Rideau River South Candidate Eric Lamoureux. While you're over at the campaign site, you may want to check out the new issues page which will be growing more as we finalize Vicky's platform, or our new discussion forum too.

Comings and goings - update

Miss Vicky Fri May 26, 2006

The Kitchissippi Times reports that Canadian Tire has no plans to close its Richmond Road location when it opens its new megastore on Carling. They also say there is "no word on the fate of the [LCBO] branch on Hiton and Wellington".

Morning sightings

Miss Vicky Fri May 26, 2006

1 Snail, striped shell, making its way along the Wellington Street sidewalk by Bethany House.

2 Blue Jays, enjoying the disaster that is our backyard. Seems a little late for nest-building, so I'm not entirely sure what they were up to, but it was a welcome sight!

Shiny things!

Miss Vicky Thu May 25, 2006

Miss Vicky just loves old, sparkly shiny things. She has a fine collection of vintage costume jewellery - but can always use more! So she's particularly glad that Abbeyfield House, the seniors residence on Parkdale between Gladstone and Wellington, is holding a Vintage Costume and Antique Jewellery Sale this Saturday! Here's the notice she received:

Pat Orme of Down Memory Lane will be selling a huge inventory of vintage and antique jewellery as a fundraiser for Abbeyfield House, a not for profit home for seniors. Prices range from $5 to $100 plus so there is something for everyone. Bring your unused jewellery for possible purchase by Pat. This is a "buy and sell" event!

DATE: Saturday, 27 May 2006
TIME: 9:00 am 3:00 pm
PLACE: Abbeyfield House Ottawa
425 Parkdale Ave.


Hintonburg to pilot neighbourhood planning initiative

Miss Vicky Thu May 25, 2006

Yesterday morning I attended a workshop organized by the city and a network of Carleton researchers to discuss Ottawa's new Neighbourhood Planning Initiative. Council recently designated Hintonburg and Vars as two neighbourhoods to "pilot" this new effort, which is supposed to promote a more integrated and collaborative process for planning all city services.

Basically, the idea is to get city departments talking to one another and engaging community stakeholders more effectively. Right now departments work in relative isolation from each other, a highly ineffective, dysfunctional and potentially wasteful bureaucratic reality that frustrates pretty much everybody. Physical planning, discussions of zoning, traffic studies, provision of social services - all effect quality of life in a neighbourhood but decisions and planning can occur independently, on conflicting timelines and sometimes at cross-purposes. And as for community engagement, associations and residents can find themselves scrambling for information or locked in a seemingly endless series of public meetings and consultations (sometimes both).

This new approach isn't really new - the idea came out of the 20/20 process a few years ago, and has been percolating at city hall for some time. Now it's time to put ideas into action, and it's great to hear that things will be starting in Hintonburg.

After all, we have a road reconstruction and a community design plan about to start - what better time to try a new, more integrated approach? Then we really can talk about more than zoning and streetscaping, but rather what kind of neighbourhood we want and how we can achieve it. And, if what I heard in the workshop is any indication, we'll be able to try out some more meaningful public engagement processes. So we can expect more than a room lined with confusing diagrams and engineers to talk to.

My real hope is that this new approach will help break down what I feel has become an adversarial relationship between the city and its citizens, particularly on planning issues. This has been more than apparent at a number of public meetings I've attended (remember the Richmond Road/Westboro CDP meeting?). To make it work, though, we're going to need good faith and a lot of work on the part of city staff and community leadership. I'm optimistic about this - the folks involved in Wellington Street Works really want a more integrated approach and want to build a clear vision for our community. I think there's a lot of good will there. Let's hope we can keep it going.

going squirrelly at Mill Lake

Miss Vicky Tue May 23, 2006

Well, we survived the cottage opening experience. We left early Saturday morning, our new Thule storage box packed with bedding and essentials and a rather peeved Winston installed in his new spot in the hatchback (this is all part of our master plan to keep the current car after the baby comes). Traffic was good (it usually is through Highway 60) and we made it to Parry Sound by lunchtime. From the outside, the cottage looked pretty good - no apparent natural disasters over the course of the winter, shutters intact, and no trees down in inconvenient places. The docks we anchored last summer did not drift off (this is especially good news).

Inside the place was frosty but looked as it should. We picked up the wharfarin we'd left out to keep the rodents down; there didn't seem to be a lot of evidence of mice, although upon closer inspection it was clear that SOMETHING had been around - a mattress and one old comfy chair (which was on its last legs, admittedly) were missing some filling. Out on the porch they went. I started in on the kitchen while the Webgeek tackled the shutters. The first thing is to check the drawers and shelves for mouse poop, clean them out, line them with paper and re-stock with the dishes (we keep them in rubbermaid over the winter now, so we don't have to go through the annual ritual of washing them with bleach). That's when we found out what our winter visitor had done with the remnants of the chair and why there were leaves on the floor of the kitchen - seems a red squirrel had decided to nest in one of the (fortunately rarely-used) drawers. And I think it had been into the wharfarin as well, as it was still in it.... such are the joys of cottage living.

The Webgeek took care of the nest (and another one in a bedroom, fortunately without an occupant)) and disinfected the kitchen drawers and shelves while I kept busy at other tasks. It didn't take long to put the place back into shape, and we were blessed with an afternoon of clear skies and sun. We took advantage of it while it lasted, cooked our supper on the BBQ pit outside and let off a few fireworks down by the dock. The rest of the weekend involved sleeping, eating, scrabble and reading. And watching Winston head back and forth to the water. Oh, and keeping warm. You never know what you're going to get on the May long weekend, but this year sure was frosty! Still, I was glad to get out of town, away from phones and email and assorted stresses. And I do feel refreshed.

Miss Vicky on CBC Tuesday morning!

Miss Vicky Sat May 20, 2006

Actually it'll be Vicky the candidate, not Miss Vicky the blogger, but I hope you'll listen anyway. I'm on at 7:40 (after the news) with another first time candidate, talking about how we made the decision to run and what the impact on our personal lives has been. Listen close for some BIG NEWS!

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