Somerset Ward mailer volume14: Progress on affordable housing – but we need to do more

Hello neighbour,

The cooler mornings are hinting at the crispness of fall that is about to come. Things are getting busier at City Hall, as we get back into the regular rhythm of committee and council meetings and prepare for the consultation process for the next city budget. 

Hello neighbour,

The cooler mornings are hinting at the crispness of fall that is about to come. Things are getting busier at City Hall, as we get back into the regular rhythm of committee and council meetings and prepare for the consultation process for the next city budget.

While we still have a long way to go, there was some hopeful news on the housing front. The city’s Finance and Corporate Services Committee voted to support purchasing a large plot of former church land in Alta Vista, to use to build a supportive housing hub and potentially other non-profit housing. The final proposal goes to council on Wednesday, and I will be enthusiastically voting in favour.

In Somerset Ward, we are lucky enough to host several supportive housing communities, including Options Bytown – an organization that has a 92% success rate in keeping formerly chronically homeless people housed after two years. I am hopeful that this land purchase will lead to the development of much-needed supportive homes for neighbours who are currently sleeping rough or staying in the shelter system.

At last week’s Planning and Housing Committee, we approved the city’s capital plan for building affordable housing over the next three years. In good news, there are some really exciting projects coming to Somerset Ward, including the second half of Rochester Heights and the Dream/Multifaith Housing Initiative towers that will be built at Lebreton Flats.

But the reality is that we are not even close to meeting the city’s own targets for building affordable housing and addressing the scale of the need in Ottawa. As part of the city budget process, I will be advocating for bigger investments in deeply affordable housing. More from me on that in the coming weeks.

Our office is still working on a What We Heard document to share, with detailed information about the community safety meeting we held in August. Apologies for the delay on that one, we had overlapping illnesses and vacations happening in our office recently. In the meantime, please keep the Who To Call list handy, in case you encounter a neighbour who is distress and requires non-police assistance. We will circle back to the community soon with some proposals for Budget 2024 where we could benefit from community advocacy.

As always, please don’t hesitate to contact the Ward 14 office at [email protected] if there is something we can help you with.

Enjoy the sunshine today,

Ariel

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Standing up for pedestrian safety

Councillor Troster was in the media over the last few days, discussing why a graphic ad tested by the city targetting pedestrian safety needed to be pulled. The ad depicted a pedestrian that was a victim of road violence and said, “You jaywalked to save time, but you lost it. Forever.”

The Ward 14 office received many emails from residents that were upset by this ad and the fact that it blamed vulnerable road users for being hit by cars. Councillor Troster was on CBC radio and TV, discussing why better road design and not pedestrian behaviour, is ultimately what is going to prevent the majority of tragic road accidents.

While we of course want to encourage people to cross streets as safely as possible, Ottawa still has many downtown locations where there are no signalized intersections. And as we saw on Gladstone just a few weeks ago, many intersections are still very dangerous and need to be fixed. Councillor Troster will continue to advocate for safe streets for all road users, especially pedestrians, cyclists and people using mobility devices.

Ariel with former Somerset Ward councillors Diane Holmes and Catherine McKenney (and Jellybean) at the Plant Recreation Association’s back to school event. 

Park vs. school: an unfair choice

Community members in West Centretown have raised the alarm about the proposed development at 1010 Somerset/Plant Bath and how it could impact Plouffe Park. Councillor Troster has been clear that our community should not have to choose between a much-needed French public school and beloved (and rare) greenspace.

Please take the time to weigh in on the city’s Engage Ottawa page for the 1010 Somerset development – you voice will make a difference in the final site plan. And if you are interested in joining the campaign to make the plan work better for the community, contact the Dalhousie Community Association.

Road closure on Lyon Street from Gilmour Avenue to Florence Street 

The road will be closed from Monday, September 2023 to Friday, December 1, 2023 The contractor, GIP Paving Inc. will be performing fully integrated road rehabilitation. Learn more.

725 Somerset St West Public Meeting

Join us on September 12 at 6:30 for a virtual public meeting for the proposed development at 725 Somerset St W. A new residential building is proposed for the site with ground floor retail. 

Learn more and RSVP here.

“Kidical Mass” bike ride

On Sunday, September 24 join Bike Ottawa, For Our Kids, and School Streets Ottawa for a fun celebration of biking geared towards children and their unique needs in our city. We will meet at 9:30am at Silvia Holden Children's Park and ride at 10:00 am along the Queen Elizabeth Drive active-use Parkway. Everyone is welcome! More info here.

Be part of the community: become a crossing guard!

Join the Ottawa Safety Council’s dedicated, community-minded team!

  • Make a real difference in your own community
  • Get to know your neighbours
  • Help local families
  • Enjoy supplementary income and perks

Being a crossing guard provides a meaningful employment opportunity that puts a smile on everyone’s face.

Interested in learning more? Get all the details on becoming a crossing guard online at www.Crossing-Guard.ca or contact Ella at [email protected]

Come try ringette with the City of Ottawa Ringette Association 

Saturday September 16th from 11:30am-1pm at the Carleton Ice House.

This event is open to participants of all skill levels, ages 5 to 15, they take to the ice at noon! 

What do I need for Come Try Ringette? Skates, helmet, winter mitts or gloves. Other protective equipment is nice to have, softens the blow if they fall, but not necessary. There will be plenty of on-ice helpers to assist those who are learning to skate, and others to playfully challenge those who want more.

You can register online here

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Well, winter is undeniably here. The cold snap has been great for winter sports, including skating on the Rideau Canal (while it lasted!), but my thoughts always turn to people experiencing homelessness in this weather. City staff have been working around the clock to ensure that no one must sleep outdoors in the frigid cold. I have been supporting this work as a member of the Emergency Shelter Crisis Taskforce.

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