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Shelves emptying fast at city’s food banks (Michelle Nash and Jennifer McIntosh, Ottawa East News)

The cupboards are bare at the Heron Emergency Food Centre – and it's not the only food bank in this city that is suffering based on an increased need as Syrian refugees living on social assistance can’t make ends meet.

Louisa Simms, head of the food centre, said that in February and March the centre – at 1480 Heron Rd. – served 684 Syrian refugees.

Simms said they were completely unprepared for the influx of refugees.

“We were told they were moving to buildings on Donald (street),” she said. “We didn’t really expect to see the demand here.”

Community works together to address crime (Michelle Nash, Ottawa East News)

In the wake of police charging five men in relation to what was Ottawa’s first homicide of the year, the community’s focus remains on working together.

Mohamed Najdi, 28, was killed at the Yule Manor Co-operative on Claremont Drive in Manor Park in what police said was a targeted gang-related shooting on January 10. Najdi was a known gang member with prior charges and did not live in the area, according to police.

Recap of the Ottawa city council debate on legalizing Uber (Kate Porter, CBC News)

After a marathon 18-hour session of feedback and debate at the committee level, a plan to update Ottawa's taxi regulations and to licence ride-hailing companies lands at full city council Wednesday.

Like many cities, Ottawa has been grappling for months with how to deal with the arrival of app-based Uber, and to craft regulations for such ride-hailing companies, while taking into account the upstart's effect on the traditional taxi industry.

Now, a step ahead of Toronto, Ottawa city council is expected to approve regulations Wednesday that should take effect Sept. 30.

City council should squirm over province's decision to let councillors ban corporate donations (David Reevely, Ottawa Citizen)

The province is going to let Ontario’s cities ban corporate and union campaign contributions and use a new kind of ballot for their next elections, if they want.

This could, and should, make life uncomfortable for a lot of Ottawa politicians.

Municipal Affairs Minister Ted McMeekin announced the plans Monday. The first idea arrives in Ottawa nearly dead: city councillors, who collectively get a whole bunch of money from corporations especially, overwhelmingly rejected even asking for the power to stop them last year, because obviously the system works fine.

Province gives cities green light to adopt ranked ballots (Joanne Chianello, CBC News)

The City of Ottawa will be allowed to adopt ranked-ballot voting, as well as ban corporate and union donations, after proposed changes to Municipal Elections Act were announced by the province early Monday afternoon.

For Ottawa123, the lobby group that's been pushing for electoral reform at the municipal level for years, it's the first of several hurdles to clear before the new voting system can be implemented.

Could ranked ballot become Ottawa's new reality? (Emma Jackson, Metro News)

Could Ottawa move past the post in 2018?

The province said Monday it will give cities the option of using a ranked ballot system instead of first-past-the-post in the next municipal election.

The new system lets voters rank their top candidates in order of preference. If no one wins 50 per cent of the vote, the last-place candidate is eliminated and their second-place votes are transferred to remaining candidates. This continues until someone has a majority.

Downtown councillors speak out about central library location (Jennifer McIntosh, Ottawa East News)

Somerset Coun. Catherine McKenney and Rideau-Rockliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum want residents to start thinking about how they’d evaluate potential locations for a new central library.

As the library board prepares for public consultations, McKenney said she wants people to consider some elements from a survey that was commissioned by the board.

Figures show that 68 per cent of residents who use the existing central library walk there.

Fast-track cycling with federal money, councillors ask (Emma Jackson, Metro News)

The federal government could fast-track Ottawa’s cycling and pedestrian plans by up to 11 years, if some city councillors get their way.

Four urban councillors – Mathieu Fleury, Catherine McKenney, Jeff Leiper and Tobi Nussbaum – sent a joint letter to deputy city manager John Moser last Wednesday, asking him to prioritize cycling and pedestrian projects when staff request funding from the Liberals’ new Green Infrastructure Fund. 

Nussbaum to fund new path for Overbrook’s St. Paul’s Park (Alex Robinson, Ottawa East News)

DRAFT_St_Pauls_Park_-_Concept_Plan_-_Dec_2015

A well-travelled yet unofficial dirt path through St. Paul’s Park in Overbrook is set to get some tender loving care from Tobi Nussbaum.

The Rideau-Rockcliffe councillor is looking to fund the construction of a new multi-use path through the park to replace a muddy walkway that has formed organically over the years.

"Contributing" and "non-contributing" in Rockcliffe Park (Joanne Laucius, Ottawa Citizen)

Which properties contribute to Rockcliffe Park’s unique leafy charm and which don’t?

The difference between “contributing” and “non-contributing” properties still needs to be clarified after Ottawa’s built heritage sub-committee approved a new heritage conservation district plan for Rockliffe Park on Tuesday. It’s unclear how long that might take, said Rideau-Rockcliffe Coun. Tobi Nussbaum, who is chair of the sub-committee.

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