Somerset Ward Newsletter #2

Hello and Happy New Year.

I am writing this message to you in the midst of a winter storm, a day with weather similar to when I sat down to write this opinion piece in the Ottawa Citizen. In any cold weather, my first thought goes to our neighbours experiencing homelessness and to the hard-working people who provide frontline services and emergency shelter.

The pandemic has been tough for so many of us, and the shift to remote work has been especially difficult for downtown businesses. The revitalization of downtown Ottawa (particularly the north part of Centretown) presents both challenges and opportunities. But as I write in the Citizen, we cannot expect the core to bounce back without increased investment in affordable housing and community services.

In December, I shared comments at the council table about my deep concern that a tax increase of only 2-2.5% would leave frontline services in the downtown core without the resources they need to help the growing number of people who are struggling with addiction, poverty and mental health. In a meeting with Mayor Sutcliffe last week, I reiterated that I can only support the 2023 city budget if we see no cuts to social services and a deeper investment in affordable housing and frontline support for our neighbours.

City Council will receive the draft budget on February 1st, and we will vote on it at a meeting on March 1st. My office is in the process of organizing a public education and consultation session about the city budget, in collaboration with Councillors Shawn Menard and Jeff Leiper. Details to follow, but save the date for a virtual session on Wednesday, February 15 at 7pm.

You can follow me on Twitter, but please make sure to also follow our Somerset Ward account, which is managed by staff. I am also active on Facebook and Instagram. I post regular video updates after council and committee meetings and am committed to sharing the thinking that goes into the decisions I make on behalf of our ward.

Stay warm and enjoy the snow,

Ariel

 

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Vacant Unit Tax update

The VUT declaration website is now live. You can make your declaration or learn more about the VUT on the City of Ottawa website.

A second notice will be sent to property owners over the next few days. This will include your roll number, access code and how to declare. These letters were generated prior to end of year. Those who have already declared can disregard the second letter.

For issues regarding the VUT or if you did not receive a notice, please email [email protected].

Join a city committee or board

The city is recruiting residents with diverse backgrounds to provide their voices and unique perspectives on many of its committees and boards. These volunteer positions are opportunities for residents to make a difference in their community by providing their experiences, expertise, knowledge and professionalism.  

Applications for the following committees and boards are open until Monday, January 23rd at 4:30pm:

  • Ottawa Board of Health
  • Ottawa Police Services Board
  • Committee of Adjustment
  • Built Heritage Sub-Committee
  • Property Standards and License Appeals Committee
  • Shaw Centre – Board of Directors 
  • Mohr’s Landing / Quyon Port Authority 
  • Ottawa Community Lands Development Corporation Board of Directors 
  • Accessibility Advisory Committee 
  • Para Transpo Eligibility Appeals Panel 

Learn more or apply.

2023 Community Economic Development Grants Program

The 2023 Community Economic Development (CED) Program is now open for project grant funding applications. Registered Non-Profit Corporations with at least two years of financial statements are eligible to apply.

The city will accept project applications until 4:00 PM on Friday February 24, 2023.

Learn more.

Budget 2023

The 2023 budget will be tabled on February 1st and voted on by council on March 1st. Leading up to this we’ll be engaging with neighbours about what they want to see in the budget. The City of Ottawa will be consulting with people across the city via Engage Ottawa.

In the coming weeks our office will be sharing our plans for budget consultations with Somerset Ward residents. Save the date for a virtual session on February 15th. Details to follow.

We are also working to create educational content to help explain the city budget process and help increase public participation in municipal issues. More on that soon.

Winter maintenance

With the winter months upon us many neighbours have questions about snow clearing in Ottawa. This infographic will give you a quick overview of what to expect when it comes to winter maintenance.

If you are having particular difficulty with accessibility or other concerns related to snow-clearing, feel free to email our office at [email protected].

Winter resources

For our unhoused neighbours, the winter months can be extremely difficult. Below is some information about Ottawa’s winter outreach. Further winter resources will be shared with councillors in the coming weeks and we’ll be sure to keep the community updated.

Salvation Army outreach van

The Salvation Army operates a mobile outreach van and responds to calls made to 311.  They encourage people to seek indoor shelter and are able to transport them to places where they can seek refuge. The van is also equipped with warm clothing and other resources. 

The van travels a route in the inner city seven days a week, from 11:00 a.m. to 3 a.m. During extreme weather conditions, hours are extended up to 24 hours a day.

Emergency shelter (individuals or families)

The city's 311 line is available to respond to calls 24 hours a day. Calls are answered by the City of Ottawa call centre on a priority basis and referred to appropriate service providers.

Physical distancing/warming centres extended for winter

  • Dempsey Community Centre until late spring
  • 75 Nicholas Street, until the end of March 2023
  • Jim Durrell Arena, until planned construction begins in early Spring 2023

Follow us on FacebookTwitterInstagram 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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