Somerset Ward Newsletter #1

Hello,

Since I was officially sworn in as city councillor for Somerset Ward on November 15, it has been a whirlwind of activity, both at City Hall and in the community. The first item on my agenda was to hire staff, and I am absolutely thrilled to be working with Stephanie, Tessa, Nathan and Charlotte to serve residents and help advance progressive city policy. You can read their bios on my new website.

We hit the ground running with three city council meetings before the end of the year, during which we tackled some huge files: passing the governance review, appointing council members to committees and boards, and voting on the direction for the 2023 city budget. I have started posting recap videos after each council meeting. My goal is to be transparent about why I make certain decisions and share my thinking with all of you. Here are some recent updates:

You can follow me on any of my social media channels for frequent updates: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Tiktok.

As the winter holiday season is in full swing, I have been enjoying seeing you at Christmas craft fairs and dinners, Chanukah parties and other community events. In the new year, we will be reaching out to consult with you on the 2023 city budget and finding other ways to solicit your feedback and engagement.

It is an absolute honour to represent our incredible community. I wish you warmth, comfort and rest over the holiday season. And if you want to contribute to help our most vulnerable neighbours, I suggest Hijinx, the Parkdale Food Centre or The Door Youth Centre.

Happy holidays, no matter what you celebrate,

Ariel

Council approves committee chairs and members

Ariel is a member of the Built Heritage Committee, Community Services Committee, Planning and Housing Committee, Transportation Committee and will act as the Council Liaison for Women, Gender Equity and 2SLGBTQ+ Affairs.

Vacant Unit Tax

You may have noticed a Vacant Unit Tax (VUT) notice appearing in your virtual or physical mailbox. This notice will provide key information for you to file the required occupancy status declaration for the 2022 calendar year. Your declaration must be filed between January and March 16th 2023. You can file you declaration online at www.ottawa.ca/vut. To access the form you must input some basic information such as such as your roll number and access code as shown in the VUT notice. Once you access the declaration you’ll be able to provide information such as the occupancy status of the property and if it’s a principal residence.

If you have a property that was vacant for 184 or more days in 2022, you may indicate whether any of the following exemptions apply:

  • Death of a registered owner
  • Property owner was in a hospital or long-term care facility
  • Arm’s-length sale of the property
  • Specific court orders prohibiting occupancy, sale or rental of the property
  • Extended renovations or construction
  • Was used as a cottage rental with a valid permit for at least 100 days

If the property was vacant and does not qualify for an exemption, it may be subject to a one per cent charge of the property's current assessed value on the final 2023 property tax bill. Declarations are subject to audit to confirm their authenticity.

Should you need accessibility-related supports or don’t have a computer or internet access, the city will be providing updates on how to file your VUT declaration in January.

Vacant Unit Tax revenues will help fund affordable housing initiatives, in accordance with the city’s Ten-Year Affordable Housing and Homeless Plan, which commits capital funding for the construction of up to 500 new affordable units annually.

Ottawa Public Health Update

Dr. Kieran Moore, Chief Medical Officer of Health for Ontario, provided an update highlighting the growing burden of respiratory illnesses across the province, particularly in young children. He noted the pediatric health care system is taking extra-ordinary measures to meet the demand for critical care. Dr. Moore has urged Ontarians to use all layers of protection available to them to limit the spread of respiratory illnesses, including a Province-wide recommendation that masks be worn in indoor, public settings.

Masks and other protective layers

Wearing masks indoors and outdoors in crowded spaces, staying up to date on vaccines, staying home when sick and washing your hands are all behaviours that will help stop the spread of respiratory illnesses. While the Province is in the best position to implement a mask mandate, given the province-wide challenge and benefits of a consistent approach, OPH will continue to monitor the situation in Ottawa and assess all possible local options.

For influenza information including expanded eligibility and clinic locations, please visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/Flu. For COVID-19 information including booking your next dose, please visit OttawaPublicHealth.ca/COVID19Vaccine.

OC Transpo Winter Schedule Begins OC Transpo winter service changes will take effect on Sunday, December 25th. Some of these changes include pilot programs, service adjustments and special service for the holidays.

Explore Transformation at the Metamorphosis Exhibition

2022 has been a year of transformation across the city as the pandemic has restructured lives and is continually changing the way we go about our day. This transformation has inspired the theme of the latest art exhibition at the City Hall Art Gallery entitled Metamorphosis.

Over the past year, the City has added 345 new pieces to its collection by nearly 70 different artists through purchase and donation. You can sample a selection of the recent additions to the Collection on display at the City Hall Art Gallery as a part of the Metamorphosis exhibition until February 3, 2023.

City Sounds Playlist Now Available Online

Ever wish you could check out more made-in-Ottawa music? Want to learn more about musicians in your community? Look no farther than this year’s City Sounds playlist, now available online!

If you’ve ever been on hold with 3-1-1, you’ll have received a small taste of what Ottawa musicians have to offer. Now you can treat your ears to a wide variety of genres of music in both official languages from artists in the Ottawa region.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tiktok to stay up to date on everything going on in Somerset Ward.

You can reach us by emailing [email protected] or phoning 613-580-2484.

 

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