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Centretown Buzz: Questions from our readers

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My responses to questions from the Centretown Buzz readers.

How do you specifically propose to expand the green imprint in Centretown to introduce new measures (e.g., bicycling, new parks/greenspaces etc)?

What we need is a comprehensive tree planting strategy in place in order to increase our sidewalk and street canopy cover.  I also support green roofs on new and retrofitted buildings as well as more community gardens.  More parks are needed without a doubt and with the ever growing population of children in Somerset, more playgrounds are also required.  When buildings on main streets are abandoned and torn down waiting to be redeveloped, they should be turned into parks rather than parking lots, even if it is temporary.  For example, the corner of Bank and Florence Streets.  Lebreton Flats is a blank canvass just waiting to become a vibrant community with homes, shops, parks, skating rinks and even a tennis court.  This is definitely a good place to start, especially so close to public transit it can be easily accessed by all.  The Oak Street redevelopment is another great place for more greenspaces.  The possibilities may not be endless but they are there nonetheless.

How will you build bridges and consensus on the new council in order to achieve the things in your platforms that will build the ward we want to see here in downtown?  Put another way, how will you convince the rest of council that a vibrant livable downtown, which is not just a conduit for cars, will benefit the entire city?

Almost everyone comes downtown at some point either to work, shop, play or to take part in some of our many festivals.  Creating a vibrant and livable downtown simply ensures that our community is an exciting and safe place to be. People are more likely to move into such an area and it attracts more tourism and long-term investors which benefits the entire city.  People must come first in a city’s core.  In the past few years, I have built great relationships with many on our current council and have already started building new friendships with many of this year’s candidates.  I know that I can work with whoever is elected or re-elected in making our downtown core a destination of choice.

Most candidates in the ward support complete streets, but how will electing you ensure that this policy is taken into consideration when reconstructions come up throughout the city?

As city councillor, I will always advocate and insist that all redeveloped streets in Somerset use a complete streets design enabling safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation.  Rochester, for example, is the perfect candidate for a complete street from Lebreton Flats to Dow’s Lake as are O’Connor and Metcalfe Streets from Wellington to the Glebe.

How will you work with your fellow councillors to ensure that established community plans are followed?

Community Design Plans (CDP) are important documents drafted in consultations with City, Community and Developers.  A great deal of thought and work go into putting together such a plan but unfortunately the City is not bound by them in any way.  It is simple, all CDPs must be the rule rather than the exception.  I will work in cooperation with my fellow councillors and strongly advocate how important it is to protect our neighbourhoods in Somerset as it is to protect theirs.  Mutual respect and working together is key.

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