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Four big things from city hall (and the NCC!) this week

There was a lot of news in city politics this week. Here’s a recap:

Committee chairs and members picked

On Wednesday, council approved nominations for committees, boards and agencies as well as deputy mayors.

The deputy mayors, a ceremonial position, are Matthew Luloff, Laura Dudas and George Darouze.

For a full list of committee and agency appointments, check out this news release from the City of Ottawa.

Budget direction set

Wednesday also saw the approval of guidelines for how Ottawa’s 2019 draft budget should be created. The approved guidelines include a three per cent increase cap on property tax. There’s also a proposed 3.5 per cent increase to the transit levy on property tax bills, “which will provide additional service in growth areas,” the guidelines say. There would also be a 2.5 increase to transit fares effective July 1, 2019.

Pot shops OK’d

Councillors decided at a special meeting on Thursday to allow licensed cannabis retailers to open in Ottawa.

City staff believe the market in Ottawa could support 34 to 69 stores, with estimated annual sales between $50 million and $200 million.

Although the province initially said it wouldn’t cap the number of stores that could open, it was revealed on Friday there would be a phase-in and only 25 stores across the province would be approved to open by April 1. Coun. Glen Gower tweeted this news was “extremely frustrating and a drain on municipal resources to not have had this information during our council meeting [Thursday],” but added it was a more responsible approach regardless.

The NCC wild card

This was originally just going to be three big things from city hall, until stuff started happening with the National Capital Commission.

Big thing #4A – The conflict of interest and ethics commissioner released a report Tuesday saying Mark Kristmanson, chief executive officer of the NCC, violated ethics rules by accepting invitation to events from organizations that had business with the NCC.

“I accept the findings fully and without reservation, and regret any reputational impact this has caused the NCC or government of Canada," Kristmanson said of the report.

Big thing #4B – The real surprise came when CTV Ottawa broke the news that Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum was in the running to succeed Kristmanson as NCC CEO. On Thursday, the news was official with the announcement of Nussbaum’s appointment, effective Feb. 4. Expect news on a by-election for his seat on council at a later date.


Devyn Barrie

Devyn Barrie is the editor and owner of OttawaStart.com. He holds a journalism diploma and a certificate in pre-technology from Algonquin College.