Ending renovictions, support after McNabb incident, cleaning Plouffe Park and celebrating Earth Day

Imagine living in your apartment for decades, faithfully maintaining your home and paying your rent on time. And then out of nowhere, you get an eviction notice from your landlord, claiming that they need to do extensive renovations and that you must vacate the premises.

The whole process seems inevitable and intimidating, so you agree to move out. But a few weeks later, you see your former apartment listed for $1,000 more in rent per month, with photos included in the listing showing that all the owner did is splash on a new coat of paint.

This is a story we hear repeatedly in my office, especially among senior women. Many of them no longer have anywhere to go, after being priced out of the city core. They end up couch surfing with relatives or living in our city’s shelter system.

The surge in renovictions is not just something we are noticing anecdotally in downtown Ottawa. Recent data from the Ontario Landlord and Tenant Board shows that the number of N13 notices filed in our city has increased 545 percent, with N13 issuance tripling between 2021 and 2022.

These renovictions are contributing to a shocking loss of affordable rental housing in our city. According to a recent report by Carleton University professor Steve Pomeroy, Ottawa is losing 31 affordable apartments in the private market for every one we build. A huge driver of this loss is the lack of provincial tenancy control, meaning that landlords can jack up the rent in any apartment when they get a new tenant. This creates an incentive to evict long-term tenants and take advantage of skyrocketing rents.

In Hamilton, Councillor Nrinder Naan worked with city staff and the local chapter of ACORN to develop a new anti-renoviction bylaw. It requires a landlord to apply for a city renovation licence within seven days of issuing an eviction notice to a tenant. The city only allows the eviction and renovations to take place if the landlord has already secured all building permits to complete the work and provides an engineer's report confirming vacancy is necessary. The landlord must also accommodate any tenant who wants to return to their unit once the renovation is complete.

On Bank Street in Centretown, there is a group low-income tenants, including some acclaimed local artists, who are being evicted from their homes so the building can be redeveloped into expensive furnished units, designed for students or short-term business stays. All of them have been priced out of the neighbourhood they helped build, and our city has no recourse to ensure that these residents are offered a replacement apartment at the same rent.

City Council just passed a motion put forward by Rideau-Vanier Councillor Stéphanie Plante, directing city staff to create a housing acquisition fund, working with community partners, including Ottawa Community Housing and the Ottawa Community Land Trust. This is one tool that could help preserve affordable homes in our city.

Another tool would be to follow in Hamilton’s footsteps and enact an Ottawa anti-renoviction bylaw. At next week’s Planning and Housing Committee meeting, we will debate a motion I put forward asking city staff to examine options for doing just that. Because the best way to end homelessness is to stop it from happening. And the more we can do to protect the rights of long-term tenants, the less we will see seniors and other vulnerable people left homeless.

If you have experienced an eviction or want to speak up about the need for an anti-renoviction bylaw in Ottawa, you are welcome to come and speak at Planning Housing Committee on Wednesday, April 24th. Email our office at [email protected] if you are interested in speaking, and we can help you secure a spot.

Warmly,

Ariel

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Tragic event in McNabb Park

You may have heard that a 16 year-old boy was found deceased in McNabb Park last week. This is an incomprehensible tragedy and Councillor Troster is organizing a post-incident meeting with Ottawa Police, community partners and local residents, taking place on Thursday April 25th at 6:30pm. You can RSVP for the meeting here.

At this point, our office has no more information to share beyond what was reported in the media. Our sincere sympathies are with this child’s family and anyone who may have witnessed this terrible incident. 

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Councillor Troster with Derrick Simpson from the Centretown Community Association, on a neighbourhood walk to discuss pedestrian safety.

Updating the policy framework for voluntary donations for community benefits

The city is seeking input regarding the role of Members of City Council in soliciting, facilitating and accepting voluntary donations for community benefits. Over the years, some Members of Council have facilitated and/or negotiated voluntary donations/contributions for community benefits. Examples of such donations include affordable housing and traffic calming commitments from developers, as well as park improvements and other items intended to provide a public good.

Learn more and provide your feedback here.

Minto Park Sale

It’s that time of year! We’re excited to announce that this year’s Minto Park Sale will be held on June 8, from 9am to 3pm at Minto Park. The sale is a beloved Centretown tradition, and we’re pleased to bring it back for this year. The annual “no yard, yard sale” is a great opportunity to bring out all your odds and sods and see if they can find new life with another neighbour.  

To fill out a request for a table, please fill out the form below. If you have difficulty filling out the form, or are unable to do so, please reach out to us at [email protected] . Please note that tables will be booked on a first come first serve basis. FILLING OUT THE FORM DOES NOT GUARANTEE A TABLE SPACE – you will receive a follow up email with more information, and to confirm your space. If there is sufficient interest, we will open up a wait list. Here is the link to sign up.

Earth Day in Dundonald Park

The Centretown Community Health Centre and the Centretown Community Association will be hosting the annual Earth Day Festival at Dundonald Park on Saturday, April 20, 2024 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

Join Us in Supporting Trans, Non-Binary, and Two-Spirit Artists!

This May, the Ottawa Trans Library launches the OTL Art Grant Competition, celebrating the diverse talents within our community. Help bring us together and uplift these voices by contributing to this vital initiative. For more details or to donate, reach out to us at [email protected].

Operation Come Home seeking donations

Operation Come Home is looking for your help to get some essential supplies for the youth they support. If you would like to donate you can drop off items at 150 Gloucester Street between 8:30 am and 7:30 pm, Monday to Friday or 8:30 am to 12:30p m on the weekend. Below is a list of items they are looking for.

  • Deodorant (150)
  • Shampoo (100)
  • Conditioner (100)
  • Tissues (80)
  • Mini tissue packs (80)
  • Hair brushes / combs (100)
  • Sunscreen (50)
  • Aloe vera (15)
  • Laundry detergent (3 boxes)
  • Dish soap (50)
  • Garbage bags (5 boxes)
  • Cat food (2 bags)
  • Dog food (2 bags)
  • Hair ties and clips (15 packs)
  • Body wash full size (50)
  • Halls (15 packs)
  • Body spray (15)
  • Wet wipes (50 packs)
  • Moisturizer (25)
  • Shaving cream (20)

Plouffe Park Clean Up day

Plouffe Park Clean Up Day is Sunday, April 28th from 1 pm to 4 pm. Plant Pool Recreation Association welcomes adults and children to join them behind the Plant Recreation Centre.

Councillor Troster has donated children prizes for our contest to find: the "Nastiest", the "Coolest" and the "Funniest" items found during the clean up of Plouffe Park and area! This was a popular contest last year and the items found were wild.

Upcoming repair cafes

From clothing to small appliances, keep your favourite household items out of the landfill with the help of a Repair Café. These free, community-led events aim to reduce landfill waste by fixing items, teaching new skills, and providing an opportunity to enjoy coffee and snacks while meeting your neighbours. 

Saturday, April 20 - Sponsored by the City of Ottawa
Jean Pigott Place, City Hall
110 Laurier Avenue West
10 am to 2 pm

Saturday August 10
Zibi on Booth St (Just north of the Canadian War Museum)
10 am to 2 pm

Saturday August 10
Zibi on Booth St (Just north of the Canadian War Museum)
10 am to 2 pm

Upcoming hazardous waste drop off

What do pool chemicals, mercury thermometers & fire extinguishers have in common? They are hazardous. Bring them to our next Household Hazardous Waste drop-off event: Sunday, April 21 at the Ottawa Stadium (formerly RCGT ballpark) , 300 Coventry Road. More details: ottawa.ca/HHW. 

Gilmour Street garage sale

The Pretty Good Gilmour Street Garage sale is an annual multi-family bonanza of unique buying opportunities from Bronson to Kent. Happening this year on Saturday June 8 from 9 am till noon, fun times and good deals will be had by all. Rain date Saturday June 15.

 

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