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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. 

"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.

Heritage plan offers more teeth to keep 'monster homes' out of Rockcliffe (Joanne Laucius, Ottawa Citizen)

A new heritage conservation district plan for Rockcliffe Park may help prevent “monster homes” in Ottawa’s most prestigious neighbourhood. 

The draft plan, which will be before the city’s built heritage subcommittee next Thursday, is an update to previous guidelines set out in 1997 under the Ontario Heritage Act, when the entire village was designated a heritage district. Rockcliffe, previously an independent municipality, amalgamated with the City of Ottawa in 2001.

Province proposes safeguards for payday loan borrowers (Chris Cobb, Ottawa Citizen)

The Ontario government has introduced legislation it says will increase protection for people using payday loan outlets and other “alternative financial services.”

Canada’s multi-million-dollar payday loan industry, regulated provincially, has been accused of preying on the most financially vulnerable and sucking them into a cycle of high-interest loans that many are unable to repay.

Under the new legislation, consumers hounded by collection agencies — often agencies that have bought the debt from the original lender — will be protected against “unfair collection practices.”

Video: Pedestrians and cyclists celebrate the opening of Adàwe crossing over the Rideau River (Ottawa Citizen)

Link to Ottawa Citizen Video:

Ottawa councillor Tobi Nussbaum officially opened Adàwe crossing, the new pedestrian bridge that links Donald Street and Somerset Street East, on Friday, November 4, 2015.

Under pressure: City to unveil 2016 draft budget on Thursday (Matthew Pearson and Joanne Laucius, Ottawa Citizen)

Mayor Jim Watson’s pledge to keep the tax rate increase to two per cent will be put to the test when the city’s 2016 draft budget is tabled later this week.

How the city will achieve this goal, a commitment Watson made before winning re-election last fall, will likely involve a mix of targeted cuts and one-time borrowing from city reserves.


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