Somerset Ward mailer volume 13: vacant unit tax, streets for people, Dundonald Park and Happy Pride!

I hope you are taking advantage of the waning days of summer. I am definitely enjoying the slightly cooler temperatures, though I always dread the slow march toward the dark evenings of the fall and winter. After a short break, council meetings and committees are back at it, and I wanted to give you an update on some issues that we have been discussing in the community and at City Hall.

I hope you are taking advantage of the waning days of summer. I am definitely enjoying the slightly cooler temperatures, though I always dread the slow march toward the dark evenings of the fall and winter. After a short break, council meetings and committees are back at it, and I wanted to give you an update on some issues that we have been discussing in the community and at City Hall.

You may have heard that yesterday, council voted to keep the Vacant Unit Tax, while also improving the declaration process. In its first year, the VUT collected $10 million that will be put toward building and maintaining affordable housing in our city. We are already starting to see the VUT work as an incentive in Somerset Ward, with some owners of long-neglected properties finally moving forward on developing them into housing.

With approximately 6,000 homes deemed vacant and more than 10,000 households on the wait list for affordable housing, it only makes sense to incent landlords to fill empty properties with people. And the revenue from the VUT will help our most vulnerable neighbours find a place to live – a win/win for our community.

I did quite a few media interviews this week, largely focusing on creating people-friendly streets, and the splash pad that will be built in Dundonald Park next summer. In both cases, I underscored the need for and value of community engagement. We all have a sense of ownership and pride over our public spaces in Centretown. My goal is to find as many forums as possible to listen to the community and come up with the best ideas to animate our streets and revitalize our parks.

The Engage Ottawa survey for the Dundonald Park splash pad will go online shortly. In the meantime, feel free to email our office with ideas that you may have for capital improvements for the park. This could include things like water fountains, misting stations, ping pong tables, improved lighting and more comfortable seating. We have heard loud and clear that residents want to ensure that the tree canopy at Dundonald is protected, that the park is made more accessible, and that any improvements must respect the park’s storied history and heritage. Please do reach out about what you want to see there, we are listening.

In a similar vein, I am always eager to hear from residents and businesses about streets that you want to see slowed down or pedestrianized. As you know, I have been a vocal supporter of the pedestrian use of the Queen Elizabeth Driveway, and our office supported other smaller-scale pedestrianization/patio projects, on Somerset, Frank and Flora streets. If there is a project you would like to work on with my office, get in touch!

Bank Street will be open to people this weekend, for the Capital Pride march and street fair. I hope to see you there, as we stand against hate and celebrate the ferocity, determination and diversity of the 2SLGBTQ+ community.

Warmly,

Ariel

Ariel and Tess from the Ward 14 office at the launch of Capital Pride this week

 

March with Councillor Troster at Pride on Sunday!

Councillor Troster will be marching with Ottawa Public Health in the Capital Pride parade on Sunday. She will also be at the Trans March on Friday evening, the Dyke March rally on Saturday morning and the Family Pride Zone at Dundonald Park throughout the weekend. If you see her, say hi! And check out the full list of programming. Let’s show up to rally against hate, celebrate the 2SLGBTQ+ community, and enjoy some amazing music, dance and drag performances.

The Ottawa Public Health staging area is at Laurier Avenue between Nicholas St and Elgin St under area code A96. Please arrive between 12:30pm - 12:45pm.

 

Ottawa Public Health reminds eligible residents to get vaccinated against mpox (formerly known as monkeypox)

Ottawa Public Health (OPH) would like to remind eligible residents at risk of contracting mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) to complete a two-dose vaccination series of Imvamune® as soon as possible. This reminder comes as OPH is following up with two individuals who recently tested positive for mpox in Ottawa. No individuals in Ottawa have tested positive for mpox since October 2022. It is believed the infections were acquired locally.

Anyone can contract mpox. Currently, most affected by mpox are men who have sex with men. There is a vaccine to prevent the acquisition of mpox. To find out who is eligible to receive a two-dose series of the Imvamune® vaccine and to book an appointment for vaccination, please visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/MPOX.

 

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.

 

1010 Somerset on Engage Ottawa

The city is looking for your feedback on the draft concept plan for a proposed array of elements for a complete integrated and sustainable community hub. Anchored close to the Plant Recreation Complex and the O-Train tracks, north of the Corso Italia station, the intention is to develop a destination community, integrated with the residential development by Ottawa Community Housing to the south. Please note that the proposed site plan is subject to change based on community feedback – please share your thoughts.

You can learn more and provide your feedback online here.

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Last week we hosted a virtual meeting with neighbours to discuss policy initiatives our office has worked on since our community safety meeting last summer and introduced neighbours to service providers from Belong Ottawa, Centre 507 and the Centretown Community Health Centre. These are the slides from our presentation during the meeting.

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