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Southway lights up Ottawa's south end

Ottawa South EMC - part of the Performance Group of Companies
Thu Dec 13 2012
Byline: Eddie Rwema

EMC news - The Southway Hotel in Ottawa's south end kicked off its holiday season by flipping the switch on its annual Christmas light display on Dec. 5.

Every year, the hotel hangs thousands of bulbs to celebrate the festive season, part of a tradition that stretches back more than 50 years.

This year's display includes more than 150,000 coloured lights, said hotel general manager Stephen Zlepnig.

"In 1958 my grandparents began lighting up the grounds of the Southway Hotel for Christmas and it's become both a family tradition and an Ottawa South tradition ever since," said Zlepnig.

More than half a century later, Zlepnig said his family take great pride in continuing the tradition.

Southway Hotel during that time has transformed from a small Ottawa South motel to an inn and finally into a 170 room, full-service hotel and convention centre.

"Every year I have admired the Southway Hotel's magnificent lights display and I receive so many calls from residents who compliment this stunning display of lights," said Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans, who helped flip the switch to raise the festive spirits of those residing and working in Ottawa's south end.

"It is part of our Christmas tradition here in the south-end and Christmas wouldn't be the same without this magnificent display," said Deans.

The event also served as an opportunity to raise funds and collect non-perishable food items for the Ottawa Food Bank.

The food bank was on hand to accept donations that will help feed many Ottawa area families and individuals in need of nutritious food this holiday.

"I would encourage everyone to donate to the food bank so that we can make this year a special holiday for everyone in our city," Deans told the hundreds of people who gathered for the event.

Ottawa Food Bank executive director Peter Tilley said many programs like the Ottawa Food Bank are feeding thousands of families and individuals, taking some of their worries off the table by providing them with a meal during this critical time of the year.

 




Safe cycling a priority: Deans; Biking forum held at Greenboro Community Centre

Ottawa South EMC - part of the Performance Group of Companies
Thu Dec 13 2012
Byline: Eddie Rwema

EMC news - More people in Gloucester-Southgate would use their bikes if cycling was made safer and improved infrastructure was provided, said the ward's councillor Diane Deans.

Deans hosted a Better Biking forum at the Greenboro Community Centre on Dec. 4.

Issues identified as major barriers to cycling discussed at the forum included: a lack of proper signage, dangerous motorists especially on Hunt Club Road, and a lack of sufficient bike parking spots.

Deans held the forum to provide an opportunity for residents to share their ideas to improve cycling in her ward and in key destinations throughout the city.

"What I have heard over and over again from residents in my ward is that they want to cycle more, but they need a better network and they need cycling to be safe," said Deans.

She said her ultimate goal is to make sure sufficient cycling infrastructure is in her ward and throughout the city.

"Cycling is a very exciting and growing initiative, not just for commuter cyclists but also for leisure cyclists," said Deans.

Prior to the Dec. 4 meeting, Deans held a meeting with a few avid cyclists to tap relevant local knowledge and to scope out the issues and determine from a safety and ward perspective where the missing cycling links were.

"Together we identified a variety of barriers to cycling within the ward. They were very helpful in framing the discussion and providing some guideline where we should be looking," said Deans.

"I really feel that we are ahead of the curve in what we doing here in Gloucester-Southgate and I think that will position us to advance our cycling priorities."

Deans added that cycling is becoming a very important priority for governments at all levels.

She said in the 2013 budget that council passed last month, the city was allocating funds for the continuation of the/Sawmill/Creek Pathw ay/from/Walkley/Road to Brookfield Pathway.

Deans said residents have told her how great the path is but that but it stopped at Walkley Road.

"North to south connections are key for people, especially commuters that want to commute but want to do it safely," said Deans.

"That will allow cyclists to connect onto the Rideau Canal and throughout the city. I think that is a pretty an exciting initiative."

According to city official Lee Ann Snedden, the city has set aside $24 million to spend on cycling projects and infrastructure over the next three years./

While many were enthused with city plans to improve cycling in the ward, one resident expressed his anger over some cyclists' behaviour.

"It amazes me why people who ride bikes go through stop signs, go through red lights, don't signal yet if they are driving their car, they would do that," he said.

"If I could see every cyclist just for one day; stop at a stop sign, or stop at a red light without proceeding through after, that would make my day. I just don't get it."

Deans urged everyone to play their part in respecting the rules of the road and spoke of the need to increase public education.

"It is something I do hear frequently that cyclists aren't always obeying the rules of the road," she said.

Carleton student Maher Jebara said the city should consider installing bike racks on every single bus, as another incentive to attract more cyclists.

Deans said bike racks on all buses was the city's long-term goal funds permitting.

USE OF YELLOW DOTS

While the city's yellow dots technology has been installed at many intersections across the city, only one in 10 cyclists wait in the correct position to be detected by the signals controller.

For locations where signals change on demand a vehicle (car or bike) must wait on top of a loop-sensor embedded within the roadway, the best position for being detected has been identified using pavement markings (three dots).

"What is underneath them is a detection loop for bicycles, similar to push button for pedestrians. When you align your bicycle along the three yellow dots, you trigger the detection loop underneath the pavement and that then triggers the lights that you are there and waiting for the light to change," said Gill Wilson, city's project manager, sustainable transportation.

"This technology has been in use for a number of years and I think what has been lacking is the education component. A lot of people aren't aware that that's what the dots are there for and a lot may even not have noticed the dots in past."

Wilson said yellow dots are very important for cyclists.

"Otherwise, they may stop at a stop line and be there for a long period of time because they don't have the mass the automobile has to trigger the automobile detection loop," she said.

 

yourottawaregion.com

Chefs cook for Red Cross awareness

EMMA JACKSON / Ottawa This Week
September 12, 2011

Gloucester-Southgate Coun. Diane Deans suffered a bitter loss last week when she went up against three other local celebrities in an unconventional cooking competition in support of the Canadian Red Cross.

Two real-life chefs and two non-chef teams went head to head at the South Keys Walmart to raise awareness of emergency preparedness in case of a disaster on Wednesday, Aug. 31. Using only non-perishable foods such as canned chicken, spam and tinned beans and vegetables, the four teams had 30 minutes with no power or water to make a main course and dessert that a family of four could eat in case of an emergency.

“If you were in a disaster situation, would you know how to make a delicious meal for you and your family, without power, without water? Would you have the supplies to do that?” Red Cross volunteer David Fraser asked the crowd of spectators who gathered in the Walmart entranceway to watch Deans and her competition get to work.

The Red Cross recommends that families have 72 hours worth of non-perishable food and supplies in their house in case of an emergency that knocks out power, water and other services.

The four teams grabbed their ingredients and started cooking at 11 a.m., each with their own style. The judges included Canadian Red Cross secretary general Conrad Sauvé, Walmart district manager Kevin Raymond, Ottawa fire chief John deHooge and Ottawa Police inspector Mike Sanford, who judged the teams on their originality and edibility among other things.

Deans made a curry-infused bean and canned tomato salad with a canned chicken burrito. Her team created a trifle for dessert using butterscotch pudding, the fruit from individual fruit cups and chocolate chips.

Although the celebrity judges were impressed by Deans’ creations – Sanford finished every bite of his trifle – it was Gabriel Pollock, head chef of the Grounded Kitchen and Coffeehouse in downtown Ottawa, who took the top prize for his bean and beet salad with chocolate granola dessert.

“This is something that would be quick and easy to make, and gives you a good balance of carbohydrates and protein and all the other nutrients,” he said, adding he was pleased to compete in the charity event. “It was a whole lot of fun. It really was an interesting idea, trying to come up with some decent food from the ingredients you have to have if you don’t have access to power or water that we’re used to having all the time.”

The other chef teams included Brian Vallupuram, executive chef at the Lord Elgin Hotel, and Stuntman Stu and Angie Poirier from the Majic 100 radio station.
Canadian Red Cross secretary general Conrad Sauvé said being prepared for emergencies is becoming more and more important in Canada, where people are increasingly feeling the affects of natural disasters.

“Unfortunately we’ve had the same number of house fires and so on, but we’ve had more and more Canadians affected by things like the floods this spring and the tail end of the hurricanes,” he said. 

 

Le droit

OC Transpo à l'heure du texto

Le Droit
Thu Sep 1 2011
Page: 6
Section: Actualités
Byline: François Pierre Dufault

OC Transpo se met à l'heure du message texte. La société de transport en commun de la Ville d'Ottawa a lancé, hier, un nouveau service d'alertes par messagerie SMS qui permet à ses utilisateurs de connaître, à deux minutes près, l'heure à laquelle le prochain autobus passera à leur arrêt.

Pour obtenir des renseignements à jour, les utilisateurs n'auront dorénavant qu'à envoyer un message texte au 560560 et indiquer le numéro de l'arrêt d'autobus ou les premières lettres du nom de la station du Transitway où ils se trouvent. Si plus d'un autobus s'arrête à cet endroit, on leur demandera de préciser le trajet qu'ils désirent emprunter.

Le nouvel outil bilingue permettra également aux utilisateurs de recevoir, dans la langue de leur choix, des messages d'alerte lorsqu'un trajet est annulé ou détourné et pour connaître l'état des ascenseurs aux stations du Transitway. Le service est gratuit, mais OC Transpo encourage ses utilisateurs à s'informer auprès de leur fournisseur de service téléphonique pour vérifier les modalités de leur forfait quant à la messagerie SMS.

Relié à un GPS

OC Transpo offre le service téléphonique 613-560-1000 depuis plusieurs années. Ce service basé sur les horaires ne tient toutefois pas compte des imprévus de la route, comme les embouteillages et les détours. Le service d'alertes par messagerie SMS, lui, est relié à un GPS qui suit la trace de chaque autobus. Pour l'instant, les données du système sont mises à jour toutes les deux minutes. L'objectif est d'obtenir des données à jour aux 30 secondes d'ici la fin de l'année.

En juillet, OC Transpo a dévoilé une version améliorée de son navigateur web Mobi, accessible sur tous les téléphones intelligents.

À quatre jours de l'entrée en vigueur d'une importante réorganisation qui touchera 120 trajets d'autobus, l'arrivée d'un service d'alertes par SMS tombe à point, selon la conseillère Diane Deans, qui préside la commission municipale du transport en commun. "Nous fournissons aux utilisateurs un outil de plus pour les aider à faire face aux changements apportés à nos services."

OC Transpo mène une campagne publicitaire sans précédent pour informer ses utilisateurs des changements qui entreront en vigueur le 4 septembre.

Cette campagne porte ses fruits, selon le directeur général Alain Mercier. "Immédiatement après le lancement, le 11 août, environ 20000 internautes ont consulté notre site spécial www.verifiezvotretrajet.ca. C'est la meilleure chose à faire pour éviter les mauvaises surprises."

 

EMC

Greenboro celebrates expansion

Ottawa South EMC - part of the Performance Group of Companies
Thu Sep 1 2011
Page: 1 / Front
Section: News
Byline: Janice Thiessen
Source: Ottawa South EMC

EMC News - The Greenboro Community Centre expansion was officially celebrated on Aug. 24 with a formal ceremony and commemorative plaque acknowledging federal, provincial and municipal efforts.

"This is so much more than the bricks and mortar it took to build but an opportunity for people to meet," Gloucester-Southgate ward Coun. Diane Deans said.

"There are fitness and recreation programs and fun for young and old alike."
Coun. Deans offered her thanks to those involved for making the contribution possible.

The expansion to the Greenboro Community Centre added 8,500 square feet of space to be utilized with a new fitness studio, yoga/dance room, multipurpose rooms and an outdoor play structure.

"The multi-purpose rooms will allow for programming for seniors during the morning and youth during the evening and possibly the other way around too," she said.
The expansion included extras like retrofitting and upgrading existing facilities.

Parking capacity was increased and lighting installed outside for easy access to the community centre.

The expansion is one of more than 760 projects across the province thanks to a joint federal-provincial investment of more than $380 million under the Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) Program in Ontario and the Ontario Recreation Program (Ontario REC). These projects funded by all levels of government create jobs by improving recreational infrastructure and encourage higher levels of participation in physical activity and community building.

"Diane truly has tenacity and passion for her community and a special place in her heart for Greenboro," Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said.

He added, "community centers are like a magnet bringing people together. This project embodies the things we stand for at city hall."

More than 20 children participating in a summer day care program were in the front row during the presentation and Mayor Watson was happy to tell them, "we've built this centre for you."

Those who have been attending activities at the centre before the expansion were happy to have an updated facility to continue to enjoy.

"Fifteen years ago I was taking part in the fitness program and enrolled my kids in dance classes, said president of the Greenboro recreational board Patricia Caplinksy. "The centre is an integral part of my family. It's great to have the opportunity for fun programs in a clean and safe environment."

For more information visit www.greenboro.net for the Greenboro Community Centre program guide.

Ottawa Sun

The bus stops here; City hard at work selling Transpo workers on new contracts and riders on new routes

The Ottawa Sun
Thu Aug 11 2011
Page: 3
Section: News
Byline: JON WILLING, CITY HALL BUREAU

One contract down, another biggie to go.

OC Transpo and the union representing special constables and transit supervisors have agreed on a new four-year deal with only city council left to ratify the contract.

Coun. Diane Deans, chairwoman of the transit commission, said she will recommend approving the deal with CUPE Local 5500, which represents 164 workers.

Salary increases in the agreement are 1.5% in the first year, 1.75% in the next two years and 2.2% in the final year.

"All I can say is it's great news and it's a very positive step for us," Deans said Wednesday.
But the real test is still to come.

Deans said negotiations haven't started between the city and its largest transit union, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 279, which represents bus drivers. The last collective agreement expired at the end of March.

"We are looking forward to getting those under way and working with the (union) representatives in the interest of all our transit customers," Deans said, but she wouldn't say much more about the upcoming talks. Council is making a concerted effort to keep comments positive, and relatively colourless, whenever the subject of transit contract talks comes up at City Hall. The standard line, as Deans repeated during a transit event at Billings Bridge, is the city doesn't negotiate in the press.

Memories are still fresh of the bitter negotiation leading to a strike in the winter of 2008-09.

Contract talks stalled in the first half of 2011 while the two sides waited for an arbitrator's decision on scheduling. The city claimed victory last month when the ruling was released.

Other than labour relations, transit officials are turning their attention to bus route changes, which will take effect Sept. 4. It's what brought them to the Billings Bridge transit station, dressed in green golf shirts promoting the changes.

Transpo is attaching green signs to bus stops as a reminder about the new routes, touted as a cost-saving measure. The city expects to save $22 million annually with route changes and other efficiencies.

Alain Mercier, Transpo general manager, said staff and the commission have been working on a communications strategy, with a price tag of about $400,000, all summer. Go to checkyourroute.cato see what routes and schedules change next month.

© 2011 Sun Media Corporation. All rights reserved.

Le droit

OC Transpo prépare ses utilisateurs à ses changements

Le Droit
Thu Aug 11 2011
Page: 11
Section: Actualités
Byline: François Pierre Dufault

Les nouveaux trajets d'OC Transpo entreront en vigueur le dimanche 4 septembre et la société de transport en commun de la Ville d'Ottawa demande aux utilisateurs du service de vérifier, dès maintenant, s'ils seront tenus de repenser leurs déplacements d'ici quelques semaines.

Tous les changements apportés à plus d'une centaine de trajets d'OC Transpo sont énumérés sur le site Web www.verifiezvotretrajet.ca, en ligne depuis la fin juillet. Des affiches vertes voyantes seront également installées aux différents arrêts d'autobus visés par des changements, pour rappeler aux utilisateurs de bien prendre note des changements qui pourraient les affecter.

"Nous voulons encourager nos clients à vérifier leur trajet avant le 4 septembre, en tenant compte des nouveaux circuits et horaires, pour qu'ils puissent se rendre à destination aussi rapidement que possible dès la rentrée", a déclaré le directeur général d'OC Transpo, Alain Mercier, hier, lors d'un point de presse à la station Billings Bridge du Transitway.
Économies substantielles

Les changements qu'apportera OC Transpo à la carte de ses trajets d'autobus sont le fruit d'un "plan d'optimisation", adopté en avril dernier par la commission municipale du transport en commun. La Ville d'Ottawa pense en tirer des économies de 22 millions$ par année. Certains trajets seront éliminés ou consolidés. Des secteurs seront desservis moins souvent en dehors des heures de pointe. La société de transport en commun affirme que, malgré l'ampleur de la réorganisation, seulement 5% de ses passagers seront touchés par les modifications qu'elle apportera à quelque 120 trajets.

"Nous avions plein d'autobus vides sur nos routes et c'est ce que nous éliminons. Nous améliorons l'efficacité et la fiabilité du système. Au bout du compte, nous offrirons un meilleur service à nos clients à un prix abordable. Il n'est plus question pour nous de hausser nos tarifs de 7,5% comme nous l'avons fait au cours des dernières années", a insisté la conseillère Diane Deans, qui préside la commission du transport en commun.

Par ailleurs, la direction d'OC Transpo s'est entendue, mardi soir, avec ses quelque 200 superviseurs et agents spéciaux de la section locale 5500 du Syndicat canadien de la fonction publique. Les syndiqués étaient sans contrat de travail depuis le 31 mars. La nouvelle entente est d'une durée de quatre ans. Elle garantit aux employés des augmentations salariales de 1,5% cette année, 1,75% en 2012 et 2013 et 2,2% en 2014.

Par contre, les discussions sont toujours au point mort avec les 3200 chauffeurs, mécaniciens et répartiteurs de la section locale 279 du Syndicat uni des transports. Les négociations achoppent sur la question des horaires de travail, un différend qui date d'il y a maintenant plus de trois et qui a donné lieu à une grève qui a paralysé le transport en commun pendant 53 jours, en décembre 2008 et janvier 2009.

 

Ottawa Citizen

Tap-and-go Presto smart card to simplify public transit; System to be put in place next year

Ottawa Citizen
Thu Jun 16 2011
Page: C1 / Front
Section: City
Byline: Joanne Chianello
Source: Ottawa Citizen

Public transit could be virtually paperless by the end of next year after the Presto smart card is introduced in spring 2012.

Councillor Diane Deans, who chairs the transit commission, demonstrated the tap-and-go card Wednesday. It's already in use in Toronto and a number of smaller municipalities in Ontario.

The Presto card, developed by Accenture as part of a provincial initiative, should be in use in OC Transpo buses and O-Trains by this time next year.

Deans said tickets and other passes will be phased out after Presto is introduced, although people will still be able to pay with cash.

The selling point is convenience. Riders will be able to: reload their cards online, by phone, or at point-of-sale locations; board transit vehicles more quickly by tapping the card on a reader which takes seconds; and, eventually, be able to use the cards on any public transit system in Ontario that uses Presto.

"This is a tremendous value for customers -not having to find tickets any more, not having lineups for bus passes," said Alain Mercier, the general manager of OC Transpo. "And it makes our lives simpler in terms of administering fare media."

And because the cards will be encoded with security features, if users register their cards online, they can be replaced and refunded if lost, unlike bus passes. However, that technology costs money. A replacement card will likely cost about $6, Mercier said. It's still not clear whether transit users will have to pay for their initial cards. Mercier said that OC Transpo is still looking at "incentive" pricing for the rollout of the system.

Some smaller municipalities outside of Toronto, such as Oakville, have been using the Presto card for a year already. The GO Train in Toronto is equipped with the Presto technology, as are 12 Toronto subway stations, although the Toronto Transit Commission recently decided to apply it in all stations. There have been four million "taps" on the system through 50,000 cards, even though there hasn't yet been a major advertising campaign to promote Presto.

The plan is to roll the Presto card out through the latter part of next year, starting with adult passes transferring to the new system on May 1, 2012. About 60 per cent of the bus fleet should have cardreaders on board by late June 2012. If a Presto card-holder gets on a bus without a card reader, the rider simply shows the card as proof of payment. All OC Transpo passes and products should be launched on the smart-card system by November 2012.

The new system will cost about $32 million to implement. The city is on the hook for almost $25 million, and the province is paying the rest.

 

Le Droit

OC Transpo aura sa carte à puce l'an prochain

Le Droit
Thu Jun 16 2011
Page: 9
Section: Actualités
Byline: François Pierre Dufault

L'ère des laissez-passer et des billets d'autobus tire à sa fin à Ottawa. Après une décennie de discussions et de tergiversations, la société de transport en commun OC Transpo se prépare à lancer sa carte à puce PRESTO à compter de l'an prochain.

La nouvelle carte sera déployée par phases, entre mai et novembre 2012. Le projet de 32 millions$ est financé au tiers par le gouvernement de l'Ontario.

"Les utilisateurs du service n'auront plus à tourner en rond à la recherche de billets d'autobus. Ils n'auront plus à faire la file à nos comptoirs de services pour renouveler leur laissez-passer. De notre côté, aussi, l'administration du service sera plus simple", a déclaré Alain Mercier, le directeur général d'OC Transpo.

Hier, la conseillère et présidente de la commission municipale du transport en commun, Diane Deans, a fait la démonstration de la nouvelle technologie.

Le nouveau système sera d'abord soumis à une période de rodage, au printemps 2012. Puis, à compter du 1er mai, les détenteurs d'un laissez-passer pour adultes pourront l'échanger pour une carte PRESTO. Les aînés pourront faire de même à compter du 1er juin et les étudiants, à compter du 1er septembre. Les détenteurs d'une Éco-pass pourront faire le saut à compter du 1er novembre.

Les usagers du transport en commun pourront se procurer une carte à puce au coût initial de 6$. Ils pourront ensuite la charger et recharger sur une base annuelle, mensuelle ou à leur guise. Il sera possible de le faire par Internet ou en personne aux comptoirs de services d'OC Transpo, au moyen d'une carte de débit ou de crédit.

Les billets d'autobus seront progressivement éliminés. Le paiement en argent comptant sera toujours possible à l'embarquement.

M. Mercier croit que la carte PRESTO convaincra des automobilistes de troquer leur véhicule pour l'autobus. "La carte à puce rendra le transport en commun encore plus accessible. Nous nous attendons à ce que cette nouvelle technologie attire de nouveaux clients", a-t-il projeté.

À plus long terme, la Ville d'Ottawa pense étendre sa carte PRESTO à d'autres services municipaux comme sa bibliothèque publique. La carte PRESTO est déjà utilisée dans la région de Toronto depuis deux ans. À Gatineau, la Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO) utilise une carte à puce depuis près d'une dizaine d'années.

 

Ottawa Citizen

City promises smart-cards for transit by the end of 2012

ottawacitizen.com
Wed Jun 15 2011
Section: City
Byline: Joanne Chianello

OTTAWA - Public transit could be virtually paperless by the end of next year after the Presto smart card is introduced in spring 2012.

Councillor Diane Deans, who chairs the transit commission, Wednesday morning demonstrated the tap-and-go card, which is already in use in Toronto and a number of smaller municipalities in Ontario.

The Presto card, which was developed by Accenture as part of a provincial initiative, should be in use in OC Transpo buses and O-Trains by this time next year. Deans said tickets and other passes will be phased out after Presto is introduced, although people will still be able to pay with cash.

The selling point is convenience. Riders will be able to: reload their cards online, by phone, or at point-of-sale locations; board transit vehicles more quickly by tapping the card on a reader - "The card will even work through your purse," said Deans - which takes seconds; and, eventually, be able to use the cards on any public transit system in Ontario that uses Presto. And because the cards will be encoded with security features, if users register their cards online, they can be replaced and refunded if lost, unlike bus passes.

Some smaller municipalities outside of Toronto, such as Oakville, have been using the Presto card for a year already. The GO Train in Toronto is equipped with the Presto technology, as are 12 Toronto subway stations, although the Toronto Transit Commission recently decided to apply it in all stations.

The plan is to roll the Presto card out through the latter part of next year, starting with adult passes transferring to the new system on May 1, 2012. About 60 per cent of the bus fleet should have card-readers on board by late June 2012, and all products should be launched by November 2012.

The new system will cost about $32 million to implement. The city is on the hook for almost $25 million, and the province is picking up the rest of the tab.

The city is considering allowing Bixi bike rentals with the Presto card as well.

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