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All In Hand

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

Media fun

Miss Vicky Thu Aug 31, 2006

Check out the latest issue of the Kitchissippi Times/Newswest - you'll find the first campaign ad, as well as a profile of yours truly and an article about Stringer's withdrawal.

Also, listen in to Ottawa Morning tomorrow on CBC Radio one - they're doing an update with me and Eric Lamoureux, checking in after our interview a few months ago.


Miss Vicky Wed Aug 30, 2006

Mayoral candidate Terry Kilrea has dropped out of the race and is endorsing Bob Chiarelli in an effort to keep Alex Munter out of the Mayor's office. Am I in some kind of alternate universe today?

Art against War - tonight!

Miss Vicky Wed Aug 30, 2006


more on LCBO

Miss Vicky Tue Aug 29, 2006

Our MPP, Richard Patten, has sent this letter to folks who've expressed concern about the Wellington Street LCBO:

To Constituents of Ottawa Centre:

Re: Planned re-location of the Hintonburg LCBO

Dear Constituents:
All of you have e-mailed me recently to express your concerns about the re-location of the Hintonburg LCBO outlet. Your point that a neighbourhood comprises elements that canít be changed without compromising the character of the environment is well taken. Together, you have impressed me with your persistence on the fact that walking to shops is a key element.

Seventeen of you attended the meeting I arranged with Barry OíBrien of the LCBO. Barry has briefed us on the input and the options. Unfortunately, they will not be able to remain in the present Hintonburg location because of a number of logistics problems, including the fact that there is no palette-size receiving door for delivery. He heard you on the matter of the Preston Street area being too distant, but a location east of the bridge would be acceptable. Accordingly, he will seek an alternate location. The second store will be next to Loblaws, which has the second highest record of sales in the Loblaws system, so that is arguably a prime location for retail.

Barry will now report back to the Board on September 19 and they will make the final decision.

I appreciate your interest in maintaining a vibrant, safe, attractive community, one that could serve as a model for municipal planners anywhere. I assure you that I share your concerns about changing the patterns of daily living that so clearly work for residents. In the end, however, I have input to the process as far as I am able, and we now have to leave the outcome to the LCBO.

Richard Patten, MPP

I must say I am a bit disappointed at our MPP's response, particularly his inference that "a location east of the bridge would be acceptable" to those who attended the meeting (he did not attend the meeting himself, BTW, so if this is what he's hearing from the LCBO representatives I am a bit concerned), and the implication that the loss of the current location is a done deal. What we took from the meeting was that the LCBO had to hear from folks in the community and that our arguments for keeping the store open even when the new Westboro location is open would be presented to the board in September.

My recommendation at this point - keep those cards and letters coming, folks. You can use this link to email Barry O'Brien, LCBO Director of Corporate Services and our Member of Provincial Parliament.

Busy Busy

Miss Vicky Mon Aug 28, 2006

There's been a lot of activity in the neighbourhood lately. Last week a rooming house on Gladstone (between Sherbrooke and Melrose) went up in flames, leaving several people homeless. It's not always been the best-maintained property, to be sure... and now it's up for sale. But the interesting tidbit is that one person owns the rooming house, the empty lot next door, as well as the house on the corner of Melrose and Sherbrooke. Rumours abound about developers eyeing the site (including one that reportedly wants to put up a green building), so stay tuned.....

In other news, Liss76, amckay and their neighbours had a few adventures the other night - you may have read and heard about the Wellington/Parkdale area prostitution sweep that resulted in a shot fired at a suspect who'd pulled a gun on an undercover female cop. You can read liss's take on it on her blog. And liss, I did catch your A-channel interview - your point about how the incident doesn't make you feel less secure living in Hintonburg didn't quite come across, but it was a pretty good piece. And your garden didn't look too overgrown!

Must be an election in the air....

Miss Vicky Fri Aug 25, 2006

It's been a while since I posted a good piece of vitriol. Chalk it up to the shiny happy pregnancy vibes, I guess. There hasn't been much to raise my ire lately. But nothing gets me going like my favourite municipal issue - waste management!

It seems that council has finally decided that waste diversion needs to be more of a priority. Talk about your deathbed conversion! Remember that this is the same council that, faced with budget pressures, reduced recycling and leaf and yard waste collection and eliminated collection programs for small businesses. Ok, they changed their minds later on the recycling and brought in a pay-as-you-go program for small businesses - but only after significant public outcry, and after getting the business community's backs up by forgetting to consult with them about proposed solutions. It's the same council that dithered about starting an organics/green bin collection program because some were worried that folks might find it "yucky".... the same council that, against all advice and logic, decided to mantain weekly regular garbage pickup once the green bin program starts. Of course, since the green bin program won't be implemented before 2008, there is still plenty of time for council to decide not to go ahead with it at all (well, depending on who we elect in November, of course!)

So here we are, election looming, and apparently all our problems will be solved if only the province would live up to its responsibilities to enforce their own waste diversion targets for the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional Sector! Don't get me wrong - ICI waste is taking up way too much space in our landfills (70% in fact) and they don't seem to have bought into the whole "reduce, reuse and recycle" triumvrate. And the province isn't doing a heck of a lot to encourage the sector to meet its own goal of 60% waste diversion. But that hardly lets the city of Ottawa off the hook for its own inaction.

Now it's suddenly top of mind because the private companies who run the landfills in Carp and Navan have applied to expand their capacity. It's up to the province to evaluate the applications, and look at the environmental implications of their proposals. The city's environment committee had proposed that council ask the minister to reject the application, but this was removed from the motion that council passed yesterday (most likely because council had agreed in advance to go along with any applications for expansion five years ago....oops!). Instead, they want to make sure the city's Integrated Waste Management Plan (which has yet to include strategies for the ICI sector) is taken into consideration by the environmental assessments of the proposed expansions. There are other components to the motions passed on Wednesday, but the upshot is.... more studies, more buck-passing and more excuses for inaction.

Fortunately there are some folks in the community thinking about solutions. It's time for these ideas and other innovations to become part of the discussion at City Hall.


Miss Vicky Mon Aug 21, 2006

You may not realize this, but Miss Vicky has a penchant for action flicks. Chases, 'splosions, and nail-biting intrigue are the perfect antidote to a stressful day. Or week. Or life. But I digress... I don't usually blog about my escapist habits, but since it's gotten so much hype, I might as well add my two cents.

I confess, I have been waiting for Snakes on a Plane for quite some time. I enjoy Samuel L. Jackson. And how can one resist such a title? I mean, really? The Webgeek has been filling me in on the internet geeky chat about it; I returned the favour by sending him a promotional voice mail invite from Samuel L. Jackson himself....So the Webgeek and I trotted off on Friday to indulge in some mind candy (and some popcorn).

I was not disappointed. Snakes on a Plane had a fine balance of tongue-in-cheek cheesiness, hard-core action, laugh-out-loud lines, with just enough plot to tie it all together. There were some good jump-out-of-your-seat moments and just enough graphic special effects to make it a proper creature-feature (gross, but not too gross...know what I mean?). Plus.... Samuel L. Jackson! What more do you need? It was a highly enjoyable evening - not an ounce of anticipointment....worth every penny. Big gloved thumbs up from Miss Vicky.

LCBO update

Miss Vicky Thu Aug 17, 2006

The LCBO held a meeting last night with members of the public who've expressed concern about the closure of the Wellington St. West LCBO. Given that it wasn't widely promoted (because the boardroom at their Rideau St. Store is tiny), there was a good turnout - mostly Hintonburg residents, but also including the owner of Collected Works and the head of Windmill Developments (the fine folks responsible for the GCTC building). The LCBO brought out the district and regional managers, a board member (who happens to live in the Civic Hospital area) and Barry O'Brien, the Director of Corporate Affairs.

They started off with a pitch for the new store on Richmond - emphasizing the increased selection, enhanced vintages department, tasting bar and other services. They gave some background on the current store, which opened after their lease at the previous Holland Cross location was not renewed and they had to find somewhere in a hurry. Despite the fact that it's too small, has inadequate space for storage and refrigeration, it has "exceeded expectations" (well over 5 million dollars/year in sales) - in fact, they have a hard time keeping it in stock. The new store will have more than double the capacity and triple the selection.

They also pointed to the likelihood of a future new location on Preston Street, to serve what they have identified as an underserviced area in Dalhousie. This is likely 2-3 years down the road. The Hampton Park location (in the mall on Carling and Kirkwood with the Food Basics) has a long-term lease and will remain open for the time being.

The pitch did not generate a lot of enthusiasm among the folks present, who then launched in to some heartfelt and persuasive arguments about the benefits of a Wellington West location. Vic Klassen from Windmill Fevelopments let them know that the LCBO location across the street from the new condos were a huge selling asset (as, indeed, is the walkability of the 'hood in general) and the folks that bought places in The Currents are not going to be pleased. Others reinforced the "walk to shopping" habits of the neighbourhood's residents, pointed to the huge market at Tunney's Pasture (who are unlikely to trek to Westboro) as well as the increasing density of the area, and made a very good case for keeping the Wellington St. store open once the new Richmond location opens its doors. Linda Hoad of the Hintonburg Community Association even whipped out the province's municipal policy statement, with the relevant policies highlighted for their convenience. Chris, the owner of Collected Works, stated the dilemma quite eloquently: No one will deny that the current location has its limitations (in terms of selection in particular), but the convenience factor is extremely important to people in this community. Most of us agreed that we would likely shop in both locations once the new store opens - the Wellington location for the day-to-day stuff, and the larger Westboro store when we're looking for something special or making large purchases.

The message that people in Hintonburg and West Wellington have a real sense of loyalty to local businesses and value the pedestrian character of our main street came across "loud and clear" to the LCBO representatives.

So what's the next step? The LCBO needs to hear more from people in the community. Barry O'Brien (barry.obrien@lcbo.com), the Director of Corporate Services, has received only 41 emails so far about the proposed closure of the store. Its future will be up for discussion at the LCBO's Board of Directors meeting on September 20, so folks have until then to let them know how the community feels (you should also cc those emails to our MPP, Richard Patten -- rpatten.mpp@liberal.ola.org). There is talk amongst community association folks of a petition, so we may get that going as well. I'll keep you all posted. In the meantime, email Barry!

Through some fancy webgeek magic, you can just click here to email Barry & Richard about the Store closure, and it should fill in all the details for you.

HIV/AIDS in Ottawa

Miss Vicky Wed Aug 16, 2006

There's so much to-do about the AIDS conference taking place in Toronto this week. It's great to see significant attention being paid to this devastating disease, and especially on its horrific impact in Africa and other developing areas. I hope folks took the time to go through Sunday's edition of the Citizen, which was guest-edited by Stephen Lewis. There were some amazing stories in it.

I was a bit disappointed, though, that they didn't take the opportunity to examine HIV/AIDS in Ottawa. So here are a few tidbits:

Rates of HIV infection in Ottawa have been on the rise in recent years.

Ottawa has a 21% rate of HIV and Hepatitis C infection among Intravenous Drug users (9 times greater than Toronto). We have the highest proportion of first-time HIV diagnoses among intravenous drug users.

Infections among women and young people are also on the rise.

Aboriginal people in Canada are overrepresented among reported HIV/AIDS cases.

Approximately 66% of Grade 7 students and 50% of Grade 9 students do not know there is no cure for AIDS.

Mortality from HIV/AIDS was higher in Ottawa than in Ontario in 2002.

Here are some local resources and links:

AIDS committee of Ottawa
Bruce House
Site harm reduction program
Ottawa Public Health
Walk for Life - September 23

My impression is that there are three areas that need attention in our community: education, support/services for people living with HIV/AIDS, and addressing the risk of infection through injection drug use. I know the SITE program and the methadone clinic on Somerset are designed to help address this third challenge, and the city is currently developing an integrated drug strategy. It's controversial, though. I do think that we have to work hard to explain to folks who are concerned about drug use in our neighbourhoods that these initiatives are an important part of protecting our public health, and a vital accompaniment to offering treatment facilities (few and far between in this city), busting dealers, shutting down crack houses and enforcing drug laws.

So I was a little disturbed to hear and read this morning that the Harper government is putting the future of Vancouver's landmark safe injection site
into question. The site had a 3-year exemption from drug laws so it could be determined whether it was effective. And from all reports and studies, it has been effective at reducing infection rates, saving lives, and moving addicts towards treatment. It has not resulted in increased drug-related crime, contrary to the fears of some. The government's decision about this site will have an impact on the kinds of programs we can have in our city. I hope they make the right decision.

Don't turn back the clock: benefit Thursday

Miss Vicky Tue Aug 15, 2006

Parliament is supposed to revisit the issue of same-sex marriage this fall. So local musicians and activists have organized a benefit concert to send a message to our PM. Various local politicos will be in attendance, and I am told the music will be "fantastic".

Zaphod Beeblebrox presents


A group of Canadian musicians and other fair-minded Canadians are staging an event to tell Prime Minister Stephen Harper not to turn back the clock on same-sex marriage.
who recently recorded a session for CBCís Jazz Beat
winner of CBC Radioís 2006 Poetry Face-Off

Thursday, August 17/ 2006 (Doors 8pm)
Zaphod Beeblebrox27 York Street
Age 19+/ General Admission ADVANCE TICKETS: $6.00 at Ticketweb

The Habit's song "Fighter", which you can download from their site, was released in May as a response to Harper's promise to re-open the marriage debate. So I'm looking forward to hearing them. I'll be heading over after the meeting at Family Services Ottawa.


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