2021 has been an unpredictable year. As the pandemic entered its second year, we often had to be incredibly quick to adapt to the ever-evolving situation around us. Despite these ongoing challenges, here is a snapshot of what we’ve done this year.
Public Safety Reform
After extensive consultation with the police service, community, and experts, I successfully amended the police budget to limit its increase, reducing its proposed $346.5-million operating budget by $2.65 million. The revised budget will moderate next year’s police rate increase to two percent without impacting front-line services to residents or substantively impacting the base staffing complement of the Ottawa Police Service. Savings will be redirected to a community-led, centrally-dispatched mental health crisis response program staffed by experienced crisis intervention teams, along with programming for youth and violence prevention programs to protect Indigenous women and girls.
Poverty Reduction & Food Security
I am pleased that my advocacy efforts will ultimately see the City of Ottawa adopt a Municipal Poverty Reduction Strategy and a Food Security Policy. The new strategy and policy will be part of the efforts surrounding the City’s new Community Safety and Well-Being Plan. The Plan will set out strategies and outcomes to address the root causes of crime, social disorder, and ill health, and improve the safety and well-being of everyone in Ottawa. The City will begin work on the new policies in early 2022.
Anti-Racism and Equity
Over the past year, as Council Liaison for Anti-Racism and Ethnocultural Relations Initiatives, I drove the establishment of new anti-racism measures, including creating an Anti-Racism Secretariat to address systemic racism in our community and within the City’s workplaces and services. In 2022, after multiple rounds of consultation, Council will ratify an Anti-Racism Strategy that will apply an anti-racism lens for policies concerning employment equity, housing, governance, economic development, health outcomes, and youth development.
I have been working with City staff, the Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership, Ottawa Public Health, and Ottawa Community Housing to improve COVID-19 testing and vaccination access. These efforts ultimately have resulted in the establishment of targeted vaccine clinics, a seasonal testing clinic on Coventry Road, and door-to-door wellness checks in the Ward.
I will continue to make investments in affordable housing a top priority. $24.7 million will be invested in an Ottawa Community Housing development at 751 Mikinak Road, which includes 271 housing units. $1.1 million will be invested in a Habitat for Humanity development at 455 Wanaki Road, which includes eight housing units. $7 million in waived City fees and grants contributed to the creation of the Shepherds of Good Hope residence on Montreal Road, designed to provide permanent supportive housing to people experiencing homelessness. The City will also spend $60,000 in pre-development funding for a planned affordable housing development on Putman Avenue and $90,000 to repair and modify homes to support independent living for low-income seniors and people with disabilities. $1 million was spent on a net-zero energy retrofit pilot project for affordable housing in Overbrook.
Protecting Our Tree Canopy
This summer, our ward saw increased infestation of trees by Lymantria Dispar Dispar (LDD) moths which lead to the defoliation of many mature trees. Infestations were experienced at higher than anticipated rates and this trend is expected to continue over the next several years. As we know, having a full and well-established tree canopy is critical to combatting the effects of climate change, in addition to supporting the physical and mental well-being of residents. For these reasons, I successfully introduced a motion at Environment Committee in July to direct City staff to establish a response plan.
New Edinburgh, Lindenlea, Manor Park
I initiated a Secondary Plan process for the Beechwood Avenue/Hemlock Road corridor, along with St-Laurent Boulevard North, from Hemlock to Blasdell. The new proposed Secondary Plan will determine how the City’s new Official Plan will be applied to neghbourhoods on the corridor. Secondary Plans are important as they determine planning priorities when it comes to local development and are created in consultation with the community. City staff will outline a timeline for work on the plan in the near future.
I moved a successful motion at Council to endorse the Rockcliffe Park Residents Association’s application to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada to have Rockcliffe Park designated a Historic District of National Significance. I am also working with residents to restore the Stone Circle located in the Village Green (the park area bounded by Springfield Road on the west and Mariposa Avenue on the south) from its state of disrepair.
In 2022, Ottawa Community Housing will continue to undertake community engagement in pursuit of renewing its aging housing stock. OCH has 1,000 apartments on 50 acres in Overbrook, serving 2,900 tenants. Certain clusters of buildings are now approaching the end of their service life. They cannot be maintained and repaired forever and eventually must be replaced. For this reason, OCH will explore replacing some of this stock with new, modern, and innovative housing to meet current needs.
Let’s Talk Numbers
$6.7 million for integrated road, sewer and water work on Borthwick Avenue, Quebec Street and Gardenvale Crescent
$1.9 million to resurface roads, including portions of Vanier Parkway and MacKay Street
$200,000 to renovate former Rideau High School for use by the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre
$50,000 for improvements to Lindenlea Park
$1.7 million to open 49 new child care spaces for children up to 13 years old
$100,000 to build sidewalks on Den Haag Drive east of Carson’s Road