Seasons Greetings and winter resources

What a year it’s been. It has been an absolute honour to represent Somerset Ward at City Hall and to engage with residents on issues big and small. I couldn’t have done this without an amazing team and I want to tell you more about them and the work they have done for the community.

  • Stephanie Johnson is our legislative and policy coordinator. She is also our in-house transportation expert and took the lead on the motion we were able to get passed to make Gladstone Avenue safer. She gets me ready for council and committee meetings and makes sure that no important document goes un-analyzed.
  • Charlotte Scott-Frater is our urban planning specialist and works on files related to planning and housing. She is also our key liaison with community associations and did the lion’s share of work in ensuring proper public consultation on the 1010 Somerset file. Charlotte gave me a crash course on Planning 101 shortly after I was elected, and I continue to learn from her every day.
  • Tessa Franklin is our communications and administrative specialist. A veteran of Ottawa’s music scene, she is the lead on arts and culture matters and our office liaison with Business Improvement Associations. Tess is great at navigating systems and finding solutions for both residents and businesses. She also has exceptional graphic design skills and the ability to prevent my schedule from descending into chaos.
  • Stan Kupferschmidt is our case worker. With 15 years’ experience in harm reduction and as a social worker, Stan helps our most vulnerable neighbours access housing and services, as well as any other daily casework that comes through the door. It’s hard to walk through Centretown without someone yelling out, “Hi Stan,” as he is well-known and loved within Ottawa’s street-involved community.

When I write these newsletters, I often focus on the big policy victories. But the daily work of the Ward 14 team involves solving hundreds of small problems every week. During this past year, our team has prevented evictions, ensured construction detours were made safer, helped residents access housing subsidies, facilitated meetings on community safety, and so much more.

Wishing you rest, comfort, warmth and joy this season, no matter what holiday you celebrate.

Warmly,

Ariel

Holiday office closure

The Ward 14 office will be closed from Friday December 22 to Monday January 1. If any urgent matters arise during that time, you can contact the city at [email protected] or by calling 3-1-1. Otherwise, we will be able to serve you when we return on January 2.

Response to extreme cold weather

The Ottawa Public Health Cold Weather webpage provides information about preventing cold related injuries, such as frostbite, as well as medical emergencies such as hypothermia, and includes links to resources in our community to help people access winter clothing, hot meals and other food, obtain assistance with home heating costs, and find emergency shelter (including transportation to shelter).

The webpage also has an interactive map of places to warm up, including City of Ottawa operated community centres. These are places throughout the city where people are welcome to go to warm up during the cold. They are open during business hours throughout the year and access is free of charge. Locations included on the map are validated at the beginning of the season.

Residents can call 2-1-1, the Community Navigation of Eastern Ontario, to obtain information about services and locations of drop-in centres, community and health resource centres, food banks and community food programs, and where to obtain winter clothing, and financial assistance for their utilities.

Procedures for 3-1-1 staff related to extreme cold weather are regularly reviewed by OPH subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and consistency in 3-1-1 messaging. In addition to existing procedures, 3-1-1 staff receive up-to-date information via media advisories and public service announcements related to extreme weather to relay to concerned residents.

 

Who to Call list

Our office put together a comprehensive list of community resources, to help in situations where you or a neighbour might be in distress. Feel free to print this out, post on your fridge and share with your neighbours and local businesses.

 

Join the Transit Advisory Working Group

Are you passionate about public transit and want to help improve Ottawa’s transit system? If so, we would love to hear from you!

OC Transpo is recruiting members for a new Transit Advisory Working Group. This ad hoc advisory body will provide volunteer opportunities for residents to advise OC Transpo’s leadership on a wide variety of matters relating to the operation of public transit, including Para Transpo, conventional bus service and the O-Train.

We are looking for members who represent a wide variety of lived experience and perspectives.  Our goal is to have representation from Para Transpo customers as well as having at least 50 percent plus one of the members made up of individuals self-identifying as women, non-binary, transgender, and/or gender non-conforming persons. We invite everyone interested to apply.

Meetings will generally be held in the evenings and may be held both onsite and virtually. The Working Group will meet as required with at least 3 to 4 meetings held annually and will be chaired by senior members of the Transit Services Department. 

If you are interested in providing a voice on the future of our city’s transit services, please complete the application form before 5:00 pm on Friday, December 22, 2023. Questions can be sent to [email protected].

 

Synapcity Civics Boot Camp

Local non-profit Synapcity is thrilled to announce the return of their marquee program, Civics Boot Camp. The 6-week experiential course brings together residents to provide tools, knowledge and networks that mobilize them to solve community challenges. Students will learn critical city-making skills such as governance, advocacy,  placemaking and more. Over 10 Boot Camps have been completed, with over 400 CityMaker alumni, who have gone on to launch local initiatives, run in and win municipal elections, lead community associations, non-profit organizations, BIAs, and more.

Find out more about the program, including times, dates and how to apply.

 

Ottawa ACORN’s Eco-Tenant Survey

Please complete this survey if you are a tenant living in Ottawa! Information gathered by this survey will help inform Ottawa ACORN's work on tenant rights, retrofits, climate change and healthy homes. Additionally, there is an ACORN Eco-Tenant Union in Brookmill Gardens that is sending an Open Letter to their landlord calling for retrofits as a solution to ongoing disrepair in units and renovictions. Add your name in support here.

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