My promise to you
With your support and your trust, as your City Councillor in Somerset Ward I pledge to:
- Keep taxes low and my office budget to the utmost minimum;
- Ensure the common interest of the community comes first;
- Be open and transparent at all times;
- Be accessible by holding regular community consultations and information sessions; and
- Be responsive by ensuring your questions and concerns are addressed in a timely manner.
This platform is meant to be a working document and may change slightly as I continue to meet with constituents across the ward on a daily basis. My dedication to our community and commitment to making Somerset Ward the best place to work, live and play will never change.
Light Rail Transit
Light Rail Transit (LRT) is a positive change in the way we will transit around our City and how it will enhance the City’s landscape especially in Somerset Ward. The LRT will replace city buses allowing us to redesign some of our Centretown streets; add additional bike lanes, widen our sidewalks, plant more trees, include more patios, more food trucks and overall make walking around the core safer, more fun and enjoyable for everyone. One and very crucial piece missing from Phase II of Ottawa’s LRT plan is a North/South link to our City’s international airport.
- As your city councillor I will work with council and city staff to ensure our city offers residents and visitors to Ottawa a quick, economical and environmentally friendly transportation option between the Ottawa Airport, the City’s downtown and perhaps even over to Gatineau with the use of existing tracks over the Prince of Wales Bridge.
Complete Streets is a transportation policy and design approach that requires streets to be planned, designed, operated, and maintained to enable safe, convenient and comfortable travel and access for users of all ages and abilities regardless of their mode of transportation. Complete Streets allow for safe travel by those walking, cycling, riding public transportation, requiring mobility aids or driving automobiles.
- As your city councillor I will always advocate and insist that all newly developed or redeveloped streets in Somerset are designed with the complete streets policy in mind from start to finish.
- One of our most pressing issues is our sidewalks. Many of them are in horrendous condition, broken up, uneven, overcrowded and poorly maintained during the winter months. We must ensure that our pedestrians, including are seniors who may be a tiny bit slower or those using mobility aids, feel safe and secure when walking from point A to point B and back.
- I would like to see all telephone and electrical poles removed and the lines buried.
As a city, we must do what we can to protect our cyclists at all times. In 2013, The City of Ottawa completed and put forward a 15 year cycling plan in an effort to become a more cycling friendly city. I have attended some city of Ottawa consultations and workshops on cycling within the core, the most recent being the O’Connor Street Bikeway Study which will go from Wellington Street well into the Glebe.
- As your city councillor I will support this plan, but believe the timeline should be cut in half and finished in the next 8 years rather than 15.
- Although I supported the Laurier Avenue Bike Lanes, my preference would have been a bi-directional lane on one side of the Street with public parking remaining on the other. I will continue to support this concept.
- I will ensure that bike corrals are added in key locations within the ward in an effort to alleviate congestion on sidewalks.
Building up our community
I support intensification in the area and believe it can be done right and can be done smart while simultaneously protecting the community’s character and the environment. The Community Design Plan should guide us as we continue to build our city without losing our identity or our green spaces, whether in Centretown, Chinatown or Little Italy.
- As your city councillor, I will ensure that the lines of communications between the City, developers and the community remain open and that the Community Design Plan be the rule more often than the exception.
Derelict buildings have plagued our community in Somerset for far too long and our current by-laws simply do not have enough bite to deal with the issue.
- As your city councillor, I will re-visit and amend these by-laws to ensure that decaying buildings whether prominently on a main street corner or on our residential streets, are no longer allowed to simply sit and rot for years.
Somerset is without a doubt a great place to live and raise a family. But it is important that we keep our streets safe for everyone. While knocking on doors, I have heard have individuals voice their concern in regards to the current speed limit on our residential streets.
- As city councillor I will work with members of the community, council colleagues, city staff and the provincial government on looking at lowering the speed limit on our residential streets from 50KM/h to 40KM/h.
Support for local business
What sets Somerset apart are its incredible independently owned businesses. Whether it is on Elgin, Bank, Somerset, Preston or Sparks, this is where I do most of my shopping. Our locally owned businesses bring a unique flare to our community. However, with all the new development that have gone up and all future plans for Somerset, I do not believe we have all the amenities and shops required to service all those already living here or those moving downtown. Wouldn’t it be great to have a local butcher in Centretown or a grocery store in Little Italy? Wouldn’t it be awesome to once again have a movie theatre?
- As your city councillor I will develop a co-operative plan and work with the BIAs, local businesses and the community to attract new businesses that will not necessarily compete with those we already have, but complement them.
Investing in our young entrepreneurs is key to our city’s future. We are very lucky to have incredibly bright young minds emerging from our local universities and colleges.
- As your city councillor, I will support programs and organizations whose specific mandate is to support young entrepreneurs, be it general counselling, mentoring and/or financial aid.
In 2011, the Somerset Community Police Centre located at 393 Somerset Street closed indefinitely leaving the area without a constant police presence and a safe location for residents to go to when looking for help or information.
- As your city councillor, I will work with the Ottawa Police Services Board and the OPS to find a way to bring back our community police centre.
Throughout the campaign I have often heard from residents, whether at the doors or while walking down the street, that many simply do not feel safe in their own neighbourhoods.
- As your city councillor, I will organize a series of Community Discussions on Safety to come up with solid ideas on how we can make our neighbourhoods safer. As each community have different safety concerns, these discussions will be held in the various areas within Somerset Ward.
As an advisory Committee member of the Eldercare Foundation of Ottawa, I’ve had the opportunity to visit all 13 non-profit long-term care homes located throughout the City. Occupancy within these homes is either at full or at very low occupancy rate. Many seniors cannot afford upscale private “adult lifestyle” or retirement homes. The number of seniors living in Ottawa will more than double over the next 20 years. By 2031, it is predicted that seniors will make up 22 per cent of the Ottawa population. This means that more than one in five residents will be over the age of 65. Aging at home is a very viable option for many of our seniors. It can be more economical, easier on them and their families and more comfortable. One of the challenges of aging at home in an urban area is access to care. Many homecare workers must drive in order to transport the tools they need to care for their clients but finding parking very difficult.
- As your city councillor I will support the City’s current Older Adult Plan which includes housing, transportation, community supports and health services as well as respect and social inclusion.
- I will also look at finding a parking solution for homecare workers whether it is a permit for on-street parking, for loading zones or reserved parking in specific buildings where more seniors reside.
- Better and safer sidewalks: see complete streets.
Without a doubt Homelessness is a very complex issue. There are so many reasons why people find themselves on the streets and without a home – abuse, addiction, mental health, loss of income, divorce, the list is long. The City has developed a ten year plan setting aside $14 million annually to reduce the high number of homeless in Ottawa. This is most definitely a good start but more must be done. Many of the city’s community housing is in need of extensive repairs. Some have gone without heating and hot water for long periods of time and most recently without an elevator.
- As city councillor I will support Mayor Watson’s pledge of an additional $2M annually bringing the final number from $14M to $16M with a portion of those funds to go towards repairs.
- I will also support an additional $2M per year for the following three years from the savings coming from the same service uploads to the province of Ontario.
Addiction and recovery
One of the areas I would like to highlight over the next four years is working with those dealing with addiction. So many of our friends and neighbours struggle daily with this disease.
Harm reduction programs are crucial for Ottawa. In 2009, when I first heard Ottawa was being considered for a supervised injection site I took the first opportunity I had to visit Vancouver and set up a tour of Insite (see photo). I was quite impressed with the whole operation and the different services being provided to those requiring its use.
However I am not convinced that the model used in Vancouver is what we need here in Ottawa. We need a model that will work for us here in the Capital. Something that will service the needs of all the communities across the city.
- As city councillor in Somerset Ward I would most certainly work with a number of groups such as yours to plan out exactly what that model should look like.
Currently addiction recovery programs reside within multiple organizations which make the recovery process difficult and cumbersome for many. Wait times between steps are often too long and lower the recovery success rate causing relapses to be more frequent and severe.
- As your city councillor I will work in partnership with the City’s current programs, private industry and other levels of government to establish more long-term treatment centres which will take people off the streets and enable to discover a road to recovery.
We need to offer an integral, logical and reasonable recovery program that helps addicts to access a suitable recovery program in a timely manner. The time that a person has to wait between a detox center and a recovery house needs to be logical with its recovery.
- As your city councillor, I will work with the City of Ottawa Public Health and community organizations to ensure services and programs are linked and made easier to access so that an addict is not expected to visit 3 or 4 different locations at different times to receive the support they need.
Our environment needs us
As your city councillor I will:
- Support a number of initiatives including the Ottawa River Action Plan to ensure measures are put in place to protect our rivers from being contaminated by sewage and chemicals. Also, I believe the City of Ottawa must work in partnership with our neighbours in Gatineau and both the Ontario and Quebec provincial governments in order to reach this goal.
- Work towards ensuring that additional green infrastructure measures are put in place in order to protect our ecosystems, our parklands, urban forests and street trees. I am in full support of green roofs, more community gardens and local food markets throughout the city.
- Work in partnership with the city and a number of organizations to ensure that we at the very least replace the trees that have been lost to the emerald ash borer. Trees are crucial to a healthy and vibrant community, more so in our urban core.