Letter to the City regarding the 2021 Budget

Below is a letter submitted by the CHARA board pertaining to the 2021 City of Ottawa Budget process.

                             Carleton Heights and Area Residents Association 

July 15, 2020

To His Worship, the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson, the City Councillors, and City Managers:

I am writing to you today on behalf of the Carleton Heights and Area Residents’ Association (CHARA) in River Ward. We understand that these are difficult times and have created unique challenges for the city, especially when it comes to the budgetary process. In light of this we understand there will be difficult decisions to make in the upcoming budget. We are aware the Planning Department and Finance Services Department will present solutions regarding the forecasted 2020 deficit of $192 million. Our association sincerely hopes the Mayor, the Councillors and City Managers will take the following into consideration:

  1. That there be as much transparency in the process as possible. That there be good justification given for each decision and that the priorities of the city are clear to its constituents.
  2. That well being and quality of life of all citizens would be considered of utmost importance.
  3. Along with that, the health of all citizens would be given due consideration until this pandemic, and its various effects are over.
  4. Safety of all citizens, would be a priority.  There are a range of threats to safety in our city: some in our city deal with gang violence, others are threatened from degraded infrastructure, some from the effects of homelessness, some from dangerous interactions on our roads, and many more. We ask that where there is a significant risk to safety, that mitigating these risks would be a priority in the process.

Our association knows you will receive many ideas and suggestions on what and where to cut in the budget, but we thought it appropriate to ask as a minimum that Transparency, People, Health, and Safety be prioritized.

On behalf of CHARA, thank you for your consideration of these matters.

Darren Dicks,

President CHARA

Community Rink

What does it take to build the community rink?

It takes volunteers.

At the beginning of the season volunteers are required to help clear away the leaves and debris in order to prepare the base ice. As well throughout the rink season the work involves snow clearing, patching and flooding.

Supervised hours: Monday to Friday, 6:30 to 8:30 pm Saturday and Sunday 12:00 to 5:00 pm.

Operates from December 15 to February 28 if weather permits.

For the following 2 positions a $500 stipend will be given to the volunteers.

Rink Preparation/Maintenance Co-ordinator 

  • Responsible for coordinating and conducting base ice preparation (mid-late December)
  • Responsible for coordinating and conducting ongoing rink flooding and maintenance 
  • Responsible for coordinating and conducting snow clearing after major snowfalls
  • Unlock/lock rink room
  • Post rink operating hours onsite
  • Post rink open/closed signs onsite

Rink Supervision Co-ordinator 

  • Unlock / lock change rooms at start and end of shifts
  • Schedule/coordinate/pay Rink Supervisors 
  • Communicate to Rink Supervisor their tasks
  • Report incidents to City of Ottawa Program Coordinator within 24 hrs.
  • At the end of the rink contract (Feb), collect the Daily Attendance sheets, scan, and email to the City of Ottawa Program Coordinator

Rink Supervisor

  • 15 years of age minimum 
  • Complete Daily Attendance Sheet hourly checks (hourly attendance numbers, check the change rooms)
  • Ask skaters to clean ice surface at end of shift
  • Help with snow clearing if there is a significant snowfall during your shift, 
  • Call emergency services if there is an incident
  • Return shovels to office at end of daily operation
  • Enforce “No pucks on puddle rinks” if skaters are using puddle rink.
  • This amounts to about 5-10 minutes of work each hour and is a great opportunity if you are planning to skate on the rink anyway.

Source: notes from Jody Sunstrum

Rink Manual 2016

Why I volunteer

Jody: I volunteer at CHARA to build the community by organizing and providing activities and services all neighbours can participate in.  I attend CHARA meetings to learn about community safety concerns, councillor priorities, and city roadwork and to keep informed about what’s happening in the community.

Yvele: One reason why I volunteer is because I like people.  I think knowing people not only in my neighbourhood but also in the wider community, gives me a sense of security. I like recognizing faces such as those I met at the community BBQ in July.  Monthly meetings are always interesting whether it is discussing the building of the skating rink or listening to and commenting on a report from our ward councillor.   Some issues brought to the attention of CHARA are serious, such as, properties being developed that change the landscape of the neighbourhood.