Community Newspaper Columns

Onward and upward in Capital Ward

December 2014

Four more years — so much to do and so little time. So let's get started.

But first, I want to express my gratitude to all those who placed their faith in me to represent them for a second term as Capital Ward councillor.

To everyone who voted, no matter who you supported, thank you for exercising what is both a right and a privilege fundamental to democracy. Too few citizens — less than 40% in the Ottawa municipal election — take the time vote, and that's a shame.

On the other hand, I was truly amazed by the effort many voters made to ensure they could cast their ballot — advance polls, proxy votes, requests for a drive to the poll. One lady of a certain age, determined to keep her perfect voting record intact, simply wanted an arm to hold on to as she crossed Main Street. I was honoured to offer that arm.

To my two competitors, Scott Blurton and Espoir Manirambona, I commend you for putting yourselves forward, and I thank you for bringing your ideas to the race. We had a respectful competition, as seems to be the norm in Capital Ward. Long may it stay this way.

I am looking forward to working with my newly elected colleagues and to continuing my collaboration with re-elected councillors. Although each of us represents a specific ward, I believe we can accomplish much more and build a far better city if we think of ourselves as a team working in the interests of all Ottawa residents.

I have a short list of priorities for 2014 – 2018. I know that many new issues will arise, many projects will require support and many crises will have to be dealt with. But if I do not keep my eye on my short list, my energy will too quickly be dissipated. Once again, here they are:

  • Accelerate construction of affordable housing across the city, by helping to broker cross-sector partnerships and by creating a stronger city-wide affordable housing policy.
  • Improve public transit by completing the Confederation Line and moving quickly to finance and approve the route for Phase Two light rail, including expanded O-train service. Revise bus routes to make the most effective use of the new rail service.
  • Prioritize active transportation by fully implementing the Ottawa Cycling Plan and Ottawa Pedestrian Plan.
  • Oversee the renewal of Main Street and use this experience to apply Complete Street principles to other road projects, such as Bronson Avenue in 2017 – 2018.
  • Increase city-wide connectivity and reduce congestion by advancing the construction date for the Fifth Ave – Clegg footbridge through a multi-party financing partnership.
  • Promote sustainable urban intensification and development principles, notably working with the developers of the Oblate Lands in Old Ottawa East to showcase this approach.
  • Give greater certainty to communities in the development approvals process through consistent application of zoning, community design plans and infill design guidelines.
  • Complete the "Infill Two" study, and see this translated into new bylaws.
  • Reduce long-distance travel needs and associated congestion by promoting smarter suburban planning and more active transportation connections.
  • Continue to support public health promotion through the implementation of Ottawa Public Health's Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) strategy.
  • Implement the two remaining elements of the previously-approved Bronson Ave safety initiatives: a signalized intersection at the south end of the bridge over the Rideau Canal and modifications to the Clonel By Drive on and off ramps and associated sidewalks and bike lanes in this area.
  • Find a solution to the elusive challenge of making Billings Bridge and the Bank Street Bridge safer for walking and cycling (and driving, for that matter).
  • Construct and open the new Percy Taverner Park (proposed name) bordered by Sunnyside and Woodbine at Carlyle
  • Reintroduce, in collaboration with local businesses, the creation of a BIA in Old Ottawa South (Business Improvement Area)
  • Implement the approved traffic calming and pedestrian/cycling safety measures for Sunnyside Ave. and Riverdale Ave.
  • Specifically for Riverview Park, I will be focusing on the two major projects that will greatly affect the community: the renewal of Main Street and the McIlraith Bridge, and the construction of the Alta Vista Corridor "Hospital Link".

I want to be able to reach my constituents in a timely fashion, and email is the most efficient way. So if you wish to receive my newsletter (about every 6-8 weeks) and occasional special updates, please take this opportunity to subscribe via my website at capitalward.ca/subscribe. Help me to serve you better.