Climate Change, Hydro Services, and the Bells Corners Sub-station

Last weekend, we had a couple of big storms bringing wet, heavy snow. We all love “Snowman snow”, but its heavy weight can be very challenging to manoeuvre.

It was pretty, but caused a lot of transit and traffic delays, and cut off electricity to many areas, including several short-term outages...

Unfortunately, climate change has been bringing us more and more “events” like this one, including the 2018 tornado, last spring’s derecho, flooding, and other storms.

 

Hydro Services

I committed to learning more about the cause of these outages and specifically, its impacts on Bells Corners. As promised, I’ve spoken with senior staff at Ottawa Hydro, and here’s what they told me.

Heavy snow, high winds, and freezing rain will weigh down the hydro lines causing the circuit breakers to temporarily “pop”. Hydro crews can quickly reset them, but they need time. This can also happen when the ice or snow weighs down tree branches above the lines, pushing down on to the wires themselves. Sometimes the fix is visible, sometimes the break is only identified once the line has been electrified. This is why sometimes you will have power go on and off in succession within a given day, as crews are working to find the break.

Bells Corners

If you’re a resident of Bells Corners, hydro outages might seem all too familiar. Hydro Ottawa has identified Bells Corners as a “problem area” with older infrastructure that needs renewing. The biggest part of that is the current rehabilitation of the hydro substation, which they believe will bring stability to electrical service in the area. That work is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.

You can read more information about the Bells Corners Station Expansion Project at https://hydroottawa.com/en/community/planned-work-projects/major-projects/bells-corners-station-expansion-may-10-2021-end-2023

Be prepared

In the meantime, there are some things you can do to prepare for outages:

Put together a 72-hour emergency kit and store it in your home in case of emergency.

Storm coming? Stay off the roads and make sure your cell phone is charged in case of a

power outage.

Stay connected. Make sure to update your contact information with Hydro Ottawa. This way they can keep their customers informed with updates during a power outage.

Only use generators, camping stoves or barbeques outdoors. Exhaust fumes could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning if they are not properly vented. To prevent exhaust gases from entering the house, operate generators in well-ventilated conditions away from windows and doors, and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

 

To keep your food safe, avoid opening your freezer and refrigerator to keep food as cool as possible.

Once the power is restored, there are some important safety steps to follow:

Never enter a flooded basement unless you are absolutely sure the power is disconnected.

Avoid a power surge. If you turned your main power off during the outage, before you turn it back on make sure appliances are unplugged.

See the City of Ottawa’s Emergency Kit information website to help build your home’s preparedness kit:

Checklists for emergency preparedness | City of Ottawa

 

Reporting an outage

Finally, if you’re affected by an outage, you can report it by calling 613-738-0188 or submit a report online through "MyAccount" at https://account.hydroottawa.com/login?r=/outages/report&lr=login .

­Please note that commenting to Hydro Ottawa via social media (like Twitter) about an outage does NOT register it with them. Please use the official tools above.

If your electricity does go out but you still have access to the Internet via your mobile, check the outages map at Hydro Ottawa Outage Map. It will tell you whether Hydro is aware of the outage and how long it’s expected to last.

There isn’t really a short-term solution to these significant weather impacts. The most effective solution is to bury hydro lines when streets are rebuilt. That is a recommendation that Hydro is currently considering, though both time and funding will be needed.

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CBC: How Ottawa residents are trying to coexist with urban wildlife

CBC: How Ottawa residents are trying to coexist with urban wildlife

Full story

By Emma Weller, CBC

April 1, 2024

Dan Brunton was shocked when he came face-to-face with a bear at his home a few years ago near Mud Lake. 

He was curious when he heard rustling in his garbage can, presuming it was a raccoon. As he walked up to scare it away, the head of a roughly 90-kilogram black bear popped out of his garbage. 

"We get young bears coming into the city fairly regularly, but this adult was a real surprise," said Brunton, a retired ecological consultant. 

These kinds of encounters may be more common this year.

Earlier this month, the province issued a warning that bears might be coming out of hibernation early this spring due to warmer temperatures. 

And with a lack of natural food sources available this time of the year, they'll be on the hunt for other meals.

"The problem there is that if [an animal] doesn't go away and there's some interaction with people, which is almost always the people's fault … the animal dies," Brunton said.

"That's the most common outcome of these things."

In his scenario, authorities safely got the bear back into its habitat, Brunton said — but that's not always the case.

City has responsibility, says councillor

Weaved throughout Ottawa's neighbourhoods, the Greenbelt and the Ottawa River have created homes for urban wildlife, right next to some people's backyards.

While residents reap the benefits of the city's green space and ecosystems, they also at times struggle to coexist with that wildlife.

Given Ottawa's amount of greenspace, the city has a greater responsibility when it comes to managing the city's relationship with urban wildlife, said College ward Coun. Laine Johnson. 

Last year, a bear wandered into the Bridlewood neighbourhood looking for food after coming out of its hibernation and was killed by Ottawa police. 

"We were all deeply disappointed," Johnson said. "If we had been able to respond in a different way, I think we could have saved that bear. And unfortunately, that was not the case."

Bears and other animals often saunter into nearby neighbourhoods in search of food, with garbage, bird feeders and vegetable gardens all serving as tempting options.

People who live around areas where urban wildlife thrive need to be educated on how to respond appropriately when animals roam onto their streets, Johnson said. 

Johnson said her office will be releasing a wildlife strategy plan in September. She's also urged the City of Ottawa to invest more money to help harmonize the relationship between humans and wildlife. 

Another issue that contributes to wildlife around Mud Lake and other densely populated parts of the city is that people tend to feed them, said Chris Myles, a conservation officer with the National Capital Commission. 

In his experience, Myles said, when there are conflicts between humans and wild animals, that's almost always what they're about.

"They come to look at us as food sources. So rather than scuttle off, when they see somebody coming up the trail, they may start to associate you with food."

Moodie Dr Traffic Calming: As We Heard It Report

Moodie Dr Traffic Calming: As We Heard It Report

Thank you to those of you that found the time to provide feedback on the proposed permanent traffic calming plans for Moodie Drive. 167 respondents completed the online survey, which was posted online in late 2023. Residents were advised about the survey through Councillor Johnson’s email newsletter, social media platforms, and flyers which were delivered to nearby homes.

The proposed plan includes the installation of 4 speed humps on Moodie Drive between the school site and Anwatin Street. Additional measures between the school and West Hunt Club Road include the relocation of the speed display board (further south toward West Hunt Club) and dashed pavement markings which are intended to provide a visual cue for drivers to decelerate prior to entering the 40km/h zone and approaching the first speed hump when travelling northbound. 

Overall, 63% of residents responded that they were very comfortable or somewhat comfortable with the plan as proposed. There was strong support from residents living on Moodie Drive, with 72% indicating that they are very comfortable with the proposed plan. Staff have compiled the survey findings into an ‘As We Heard It’ Report (link below). 

I’m pleased to announce that the permanent traffic calming project on Moodie Drive will proceed, with construction taking place as early as summer 2024. We will continue to share updates about the construction timeline as they become available.

Moodie Dr Traffic Calming: As We Heard It Report

Centrepointe Drive traffic calming Q&A

Centrepointe Drive traffic calming Q&A

On February 28, 2024, over 100 Centrepointe-area residents took part in an online meeting about the upcoming Centrepointe Traffic Calming plan.

There were many questions and issues raised during the meeting. City engineers have written answers to your questions. You will find the full Q and A below.

Please remember that the City of Ottawa is hosting an online consultation for the Centrepointe Drive Area Traffic Management study via a survey, available until Saturday, March 23, 2024:

Centrepointe Drive Traffic Calming Survey

If you have any further questions or comments, please email Project Manager Wook Kang at [email protected].

Centrepointe Drive Traffic Calming Q&A

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