Carol Anne Meehan Ward 22 Report

Pandemic was costly as OC Transpo lost $108M in 2020

We now know how much the pandemic cost OC Transpo. A report released March 24th shows an operating loss of $108 million for 2020. It’s a staggering amount.  Put into perspective, it’s double what the City will spend on the Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative and three times more than it will spend to resurface roads in 2021. 

It’s little wonder OC Transpo announced route adjustments the same week that reflect the drastic drop in ridership due to the pandemic. 

Nine routes will be temporarily suspended. The frequency of some routes will be reduced, and others will be shortened where parallel service is available, and other routes will be improved to meet customer needs.  

The changes, according to OC Transpo, will save 5.5 million dollars this year.  Seventy jobs will be eliminated through retirement and attrition.  

Here’s how Gloucester South-Nepean will be affected.  Weekend schedules will be adjusted for routes 74, 75 and 93. 

Routes 275 and 80 will see minor changes on weekdays.  

Afternoon school trips on Routes 80 and 171 from Longfields-Davidson Heights Secondary School will be shifted to match the revised bell time. 

I have consistently stated it makes no economic or environmental sense to continue to run full service when ridership is down 80 percent. 

Commuting patterns may never be the same. It’s time we recognize that and consider transit options, like transit on-demand that works in conjunction with fixed routes.  

Other major cities in Canada and the US are actively seeking ways to modernize and improve the way residents get around.  We owe the same to those who rely on transit in Ottawa and to taxpayers.   

Heavy Construction in 2021

The summer of 2021 will be a busy one for the Ottawa Heavy construction industry.  After a slowdown in getting tenders out at the end of 2020, I am told the construction floodgates have opened.    

Ottawa’s planning department has been working to ensure fewer obstacles for companies doing business in Ottawa.   

Members of the National Capital Heavy Construction Association (NCHCA) are pleased that the wait time to get road cut permits has been reduced by weeks.  

While there is no shortage of work, the industry is working to address a shortage of skilled workers. It’s beginning a recruitment program to educate parents and young people about the benefits of a job in heavy construction. 

They point to improvements in working conditions and good entry-level positions that can lead to other job opportunities. Why not check it out?   

It’s time to spruce up our neighbourhoods! The remnants of winter are littering roadsides and ditches.  

I am challenging all of us to grab our gloves and a garbage bag and clean up an area where we live or play.   It doesn’t have to be a huge effort, but many hands make light work, as they say.  If we all pitch in, think of how lovely our communities will look? Civic pride starts with each of us.    

Let’s do it now. Take a picture of what you cleaned up, send it to me, and I will share it in my newsletter.