News & Updates

Somerset Ward mailer volume 11: It takes a village

Somerset Ward mailer volume 11: It takes a village

Dear neighbour,

Thank you to everyone who reached out after my email earlier this week about community safety. I genuinely appreciate your compassion as we work toward sustainable solutions.

I am happy to say that two important policies that I have been pushing for were passed unanimously by council: the creation of a new supportive housing hub, and the introduction of a pilot non-police crisis intervention service.

Bluesfest Updates

Residents and visitors travelling in the area can expect increased traffic and pedestrian activity throughout the festivities. Attendees have been strongly encouraged to utilize public transit to reduce vehicular traffic, and fare is included in the price of the event for ticket holders starting three hours before and up to two hours after the event. 

Canada Day Road Closures

Canada Day Road Closures

Canadian Heritage hosts the big nation-wide celebration, based in the National Capital Region. The main event site is at LeBreton Flats Park. For details, visit the Government of Canada – Canada Day website.

Getting around downtown on Canada Day will be complicated with numerous road closures and parking restrictions near Parliament Hill and LeBreton Flat. Plan your route ahead of time and expect delays. Public transit is your best options and OC Transpo is offering no-charge special service on Canada Day. Visit for details. For the most current road conditions, visit the City’s interactive traffic map and select both the ‘Events’ and ‘Incidents’ fields.

Somerset Ward mailer volume 10: Splash pad consultation, cycling safety, new garbage rules, and more!

Somerset Ward mailer volume 10: Splash pad consultation, cycling safety, new garbage rules, and more!

Last week was … a lot. It was a perfect example of the daily pivots that I have learned to do in this job and manage to handle thanks to my responsive and dedicated team.

On Monday evening, we held our first online consultation about a new splash pad that will be coming to Dundonald Park. More than 60 residents joined us on Zoom to discuss three potential designs and two possible locations. We also discussed other potential improvements to the park and the resources needed to alleviate safety concerns. I will let you know when the project goes up on Engage Ottawa – my office is committed to choosing a design that is appealing to children, retains the tree canopy and respects the heritage value of this iconic park.

Somerset Ward mailer volume 9: housing win, stopping harassment, Minto Park sale and more!

Dear neighbour,

I am writing this to you as I sit on a train on Sunday afternoon, on the way home from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ conference in Toronto. As you may know, my last job before running for office was on the communications team at FCM, so I had attended this conference for several years as a staffer. But it was truly an amazing experience to be there this year, as a newly elected councillor.

I did my best to soak up knowledge and connect with councillors and mayors from across Canada. What amazed me was that no matter where people came from, they told me about struggling with the same challenges we face in Ottawa. This includes the housing affordability crisis, homelessness, addiction, and climate resiliency. I learned about Toronto’s pilot Community Crisis Service – an non-police alternative that many of us are working to bring to Ottawa.

Somerset Ward mailer volume 8: Protecting indie music promoters and upcoming community events

Dear neighbour,

I hope you are as thrilled about the sunshine as I am. It has been so great to cycle to work at City Hall every day and see the number of people on bikes increase exponentially.

Festival season is well underway – last Friday I was at Lebreton Flats to help officially launch the Ottawa Children’s Festival. And earlier in the week, I was at the NAC for the official kickoff to Italian Week, which will take place on Preston Street in June. Right now is peak flower season and expect the area near Dow’s Lake and along the canal pathways to be packed with Tulip Fest visitors. It is such a pleasure to see the city come alive in this way.

Somerset Ward mailer volume 7: #OttawaNeedsMore, coffee with your councillor and Transportation Master Plan updates

Hi neighbour,

I hope you are enjoying the sunshine today. Thank you to all of you who have already sent letters to Premier Ford and to Municipal Affairs and Housing Minister Steve Clark, to demand that Ottawa get the funding we need to fight (and eventually solve) chronic homelessness. This is a rare situation where the Mayor, city council and the community sector are aligned. We all agree that #OttawaNeedsMore.

#OttawaNeedsMore to end homelessness

This week, we received some shocking news from the provincial government, news that impacts every single one of us in downtown Ottawa. We were told that the increase we would be receiving in funding to address homelessness and build much-needed affordable housing is a mere 0.4% ($845,000) of the additional funds being distributed in Ontario. Toronto, a city roughly three times the size of Ottawa, has received an increase that is 60 times that of ours.

What does this mean in real terms in downtown Ottawa? It means that our already-overflowing homeless shelters will have to turn people away.

Somerset Ward mailer volume 6

Hello and happy spring (for real),

It seems incredible that only a week ago, Ottawa was hit by a fierce ice storm and as I write this, the temperature is scheduled to hit 30 degrees. I would like to say that this is not a normal April, but it seems that climate change is leading to more extreme weather and dramatic temperature swings. And although we were largely lucky to not lose power for very long in Somerset Ward, we lost a lot of mature trees, both last week and in May 2022’s derecho storm.

This is particularly devastating in downtown Ottawa, where we have the lowest percentage of tree coverage in the National Capital Region – only 20%. The amount of tree coverage needed to mitigate climate change is estimated to be near 30-40%. We have a lot of work to do to recover from extreme weather and make our city more climate resilient.

Somerset Ward mailer volume 5: Hello spring

Hello neighbour,

Well, spring has technically sprung, even though the weather doesn’t really feel like it. The emails about snow clearing are starting to give way to messages about potholes and speeding. My staff is receiving all your messages and are committed to helping, both at an individual and systemic level.

At last week’s Transportation Committee meeting, we discussed two issues that are synonymous with summer: e-scooters and patios. The committee heard a staff report detailing the accessibility and security features that were added to the e-scooters last season, dramatically decreasing the number of complaints.

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