Community security, Canada Day, open office hours, Transportation Master Plan, and more!

Summer is here! I have been having so much fun bumping into residents at events like Italian Week, the Centretown Community Health Centre’s 55th anniversary celebration, the McLeod Street block party and the Chinatown Night Market.

We have also had great crowds at all of our coffee shop open office hours sessions, with involved conversations on issues ranging from cycling infrastructure, to traffic calming, to parks and the Sparks Street public realm plan. Somerset Ward residents are engaged, willing to pitch in, and care deeply about our community. It’s incredibly heartening.

I did want to address the number one issue we're hearing about in the community right now, which is a dramatic increase in public drug use, social disorder and folks acting in an erratic way who may have a mental health or an addiction problem.

You're not imagining it. What we're hearing from local healthcare workers is that the street drug supply is extremely poisoned right now, with an animal tranquilizer that's causing brain damage and upsetting behaviour.

It's not good. But we're working with local outreach services to try to make a difference. One wonderful example is Centre 507, which is at the corner of Bank and Argyle. They have changed their staffing model and they're doing regular outreach rounds around their building to help discourage this kind of behaviour and encourage people to come inside and access services.

The city recently funded the centre to remain open 24/7, which helps provide indoor space for vulnerable populations that cannot or will not go to shelter. That said, I have heard loud and clear that nearby residents have noticed an uptick in frightening or dangerous behaviour near the centre in recent weeks and we are working hard to fix that. Social services need to be safe for their clients inside, as well as for the people who live nearby.

We also have a new non-police 24 hour-a-day crisis response that will be coming to Centretown in August. You will be able to call 211 and there will be an immediate dispatch to assist any people in need. We're working with all of our partners, public health, Ottawa Police, community health centres and any community agencies and our Business Improvement Associations, to really increase the sense of social cohesion, make sure people know that the resources are out there for them, and whenever possible, to discourage disruptive behaviour.

I also am pushing hard for the creation of a Block Leader program, similar to what is working well in Sandy Hill and the Byward Market. We need more outreach resources to help establish Good Neighbour Agreements, so we can peacefully co-exist with other residents, no matter what they are struggling with.

But it is really tough. It definitely feels like we are constantly deploying Band Aid solutions. The city doesn’t control access to healthcare or to treatment services and we know that without wrap-around services and access to supportive housing, people with addictions are unlikely to get better.

That said, there is still room for optimism. All of our social service agencies are working to help people and respond to community concerns. In the last few months, we have seen two new supportive housing buildings open up in Centretown. And as you may have read in the news, the city recently purchased a large piece of land in Alta Vista to convert into a supportive housing hub.

I will be reaching out to Somerset Ward residents as we approach deliberations for the 2025 budget. I have no doubt you will join me in advocating for the resources we need to help keep our neighbourhoods safe and welcoming for everyone.

Warmly,

Ariel

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Councillor Troster with Michelle Hurtubise, Executive Director of the Centretown Community Health Centre, at the CCHC’s 55th anniversary block party

Who to Call

Our office put together a comprehensive list of community resources, to help in situations where you or a neighbour might be in distress. Feel free to print this out, post on your fridge and share with your neighbours and local businesses.

Canada Day celebrations and road closures

Canada Day is fast approaching, and we’re excited to have events taking place across Somerset Ward. For information on road closures, events, city services and social services, please visit Ottawa.ca.

Plant a tree near your home!

The City’s Trees in Trust program needs your help to find suitable locations for street trees. Street trees are available by request on a first come, first served basis. If your City-owned street frontage lacks a tree and you have the time and commitment to help care for one, please contact us online here.

Upcoming open office hours

We are excited to launch our new season of open office hours, working with incredible community partners. Come join me for a coffee and let’s chat about issues in the ward and across the city.

Downtown revitalization

Friday July 5th: 11am - 1pm @ Arlington 5 (5 Arlington)

Building affordable housing with the Ottawa Community Land Trust

Thursday July 25th: 3pm – 5pm @ Little Victories (44 Elgin St)

Engage Ottawa opportunities

Transportation Master Plan

Ottawa has grown into a city of one million residents. Over the next 25 years, that number is expected to grow to more than 1.4 million. With that kind of growth, we need to revisit how people, vehicles and goods move through our city. As we update the Transportation Master Plan, we have important decisions to make as individuals and as a city.

Contribute to TMP updates online here.

Community Gardens and Community-Led Green Initiatives

Are you interested in community gardening or city greening projects? Whether you're a resident, part of a community group, an aspiring gardener, a volunteer, or even if you're not involved in these activities but have opinions about them, we want to hear from you!

Share your feedback on the future of community gardening projects online here.

Parks & Facilities By-law Review

In our commitment to maintain green spaces and recreational facilities, the City is currently undertaking a review of the Parks and Facilities By-law. This review is essential to ensure our indoor and outdoor recreational spaces continue to foster community engagement and provide opportunities for recreational and cultural activities that are inclusive, safe and accessible to all.

Learn more about the existing by-law and tell us what you’d like to see online here.

Older Adult Plan 

Ottawa’s population is growing, changing, and aging. Like many large municipalities in Canada and around the world, the City of Ottawa is responding to these demographic changes and has been implementing an Older Adult Plan since 2012.

You can view the evaluation of the current Older Adult Plan and share what you’d like to see in the update online here.

 

 

 

 

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