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Ottawa's mayor talks transit, tourism and economy in State of the City Address

Jim Watson announced that shovels could be in the ground by the end of the year for Phase 2 of the LRT project.
2018-12-12 ottawa mayor jim watson mv1
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, December 2018. Mike Vlasveld/ OttawaMatters

Ottawa is set to hit some big milestones in 2019 and see the start of some major projects. 

Mayor Jim Watson delievered his annual State of the City Adress on Wednesday morning. 

He spoke about tourism numbers being up in the city, with the demand for hotel rooms increasing more than 4 per cent last year, and passengers going through the Ottawa Airport increasing by more than 5 per cent in 2018. Watson also noted that there were some big sporting events coming to Ottawa in 2019, including the University Sports Women's Rugby Championships. These events will bring 3,500 athletes to the city, which means another boost for tourism and the local economy. 

The mayor noted that sometime around Canada Day, Ottawa's population is set to surpass 1-million. 

"I'm excited by the prospects of planning for a city of over a million residents," he said. "This milestone - along with the launch of LRT - will put us in another league amongst cities worldwide and will bolster our image on the world map with visitors."

Watson also discussed the new light rail Confederation Line, with all fare gates and CCTV cameras ready to go ahead of the expected handover at the end of March. 

He added that LRT Phase 2 was one step closer to becoming a reality. 

Watson announced that a Committee of the Whole meeting will be held on February 27 to approve the procurement of Stage 2 of the massive transit project. 

"That means we will see shovels in the ground this spring on the Trillium Line extension - helping us maintain the momentum we have started with the construction of the Confederation Line." 

The mayor explained that the groundwork has already been laid for Phase 3, that would see the trains go into Kanata, Stittsville and Barrhaven. 

There are plans to start public consultations on the new main branch of the pubic library at the end of February, despite the project being years away from completion. 

Watson also made note of another library in the works in Ottawa. 

"I'm also pleased that we will begin planning for the new library in Riverside South this year -- which I look forward to seeing open in 2021, as I know Councillor Meehan does as well."

The mayor closed out his address noting that he would be handing out keys to the city to at least five people this year: 

- Author, lawyer and political activist Maureen McTeer
- Ottawa-born Olympic gold medalist and decorated figure skater Patrick Chan 
- The Executive Director of Cornerstone Housing for Women Sue Garvey
- Former Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty 
- Francophone advocate Ronald Caza

To read the mayor's full State of the City Address, click here


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