E-Newsletter for January 2019

Dear Friends,

As we begin another year, I’m working closely with my Council colleagues and community members on a number of issues: affordable housing; the annual budget (come to our public meeting about budget priorities – February 13, 6pm - 8pm, City Hall); and the day to day issues that residents are concerned with.
This term of Council, I have a number of new responsibilities. I am now the Special Council Liaison for Housing and Homelessness; as well as a Board Member of Ottawa Community Housing and a member of the Community and Protective Services Committee, Transit Commission, Environment Committee and the Built Heritage Sub-Committee.
My staff and I are always available to help. Please email any time you have an issue. In the meantime, here are updates on some key issues in Somerset Ward right now.
Please have a Happy New Year and I’ll see you soon around the ward!

Warm regards,


Elgin Street

After months of intensive planning and community consultation, construction work on Elgin (from Laurier to the 417) began on January 7th. Elgin will be closed for a full year while the century-old water and sewer pipes are being replaced.
While the street is closed to traffic, the sidewalks will remain OPEN to pedestrians so that businesses continue to be accessible. 
Buses have been rerouted to Cartier St. and the intersections at Elgin and Somerset, Nepean, Gladstone, & McLeod will be open for most of the year.  Changes will occur as construction makes it necessary.

In the end, we’ll see a better street with wider sidewalks, calmer traffic, trees, buried Hydro wires, planters, public art, better lighting and more space for patios. I’m very excited to see this work begin!
For all the details, including transit, cycling, and traffic maps, please visit the Elgin St. Renewal website.
And to stay up to date on the project, particularly changes to traffic routes, please subscribe to the Elgin Street renewal e-newsletter.

Housing and homelessness

Ottawa has growing numbers of individuals and families facing homelessness. Many of them are in temporary shelters, which are inadequate for their needs while costing the City much more than long-term affordable housing. Vacancy rates among private building owners are at an all-time low, driving up rental prices. And the price of a house or condo has sky-rocketed, making ownership unaffordable for increasing numbers of people.

We are in a housing crisis. It will not be simple or easy to build up the housing stock we require.
In the face of such a complex issue, I am proud that my colleagues on Council have appointed me to be the new Council Liaison on Housing and Homelessness. The role gives me the ability to speak on behalf of all of Ottawa’s homeless and precariously housed individuals and families, and to press all levels of government for urgent action.
Last fall, I wrote about our housing crisis. You can find a copy of the op-ed here.

100 Argyle St.

The City has received applications for an Official Plan Amendment and a Zoning By-law Amendment to allow for the development of a new 21 storey high-rise apartment building at 100 Argyle Avenue. This property is located directly across from the Museum of Nature.
The comment period for these applications is currently in progress. Residents have already voiced concerns over the height of the building and potential neighbourhood and traffic impacts. For more information, or if you have any thoughts or concerns about the project, comments can be submitted to the File Lead through the Development Application tool on the City of Ottawa website.  

I will be holding a Public Open House to hear from residents about their concerns: Wednesday, January 23 from 6-8 pm in Room 203 at Jack Purcell Community Centre.

Catherine McKenney