Over the past several months, I have had great conversations with the residents, organizations, and businesses of Somerset Ward about the issues that matter to them.
Should I have the privilege of serving as your councillor for Somerset Ward, I will focus on these priorities: 
  • Over the past few years, we have seen a decline in the cleanliness of streets and the upkeep of our neighbourhood. Far too often we see overflowing garbage cans, litter covering the street and sidewalks, and derelict and damaged civic infrastructure. As your Councillor, I will: 
    • Push City Council to expropriate Somerset House and turn this derelict building into a community hub with meeting and office space for local nonprofits and community groups.

    • Deal with current and future derelict buildings by advocating for a forceful vacant commercial building bylaw, one that forces owners to pay significant fees for boarded up and derelict commercial buildings.

    • Work to increase funding for public garbage collection and street sweeping, to prevent overflowing trash cans and dirty streets. 

    • Press for more funding for urban park upkeep and renewal, with faster replacement of damaged benches and broken equipment.
  • Residents of Somerset Ward deserve to have a community with more trees, parks, and greenspace that create a greener and healthier community for all. As your Councillor, I will: 
    • Promote the reduction of diesel emissions in Somerset Ward by recommending the gradual phase-out of diesel buses in the urban core in favour of electric buses.

    • Push for the creation of more parkettes in Centretown so that residents have greenspace to enjoy.

    • Fight to preserve and protect the existing tree canopy and support the planting of new trees. 

    • Incorporate green infrastructure on all new residential street repairs and renewals from planning stages to construction. Advocate for increased pollinator plants in our parks and public spaces, including community gardens and innovations like “Buzz Stops” which transform the roof of bus shelters into pollinator gardens.

    • Recommend that council create the position of a City of Ottawa Chief Heat Officer, who would be responsible for crafting and implementing heat mitigation strategies for Ottawa residents.
  • Somerset Ward deserves to have livable and dynamic neighbourhoods where residents of all ages can live, work and play. As your Councillor, I will: 
    • Advocate for high-quality, durable, and accessible sidewalks to prevent tripping and make it safer for those with mobility issues.
        
    • Propose that all building construction sites that involve pedestrian areas submit a detailed accessibility plan before construction begins, so that pedestrians have safe access to sidewalks.

    • Push for effective and swift solutions to solve our housing crisis in Somerset Ward using the broad array of municipal tools such as Inclusionary Zoning, greater investment in public housing, promoting supportive housing solutions, encouraging the establishment of co-operative housing, and working with private landlords to keep and expand the supply of rental housing. 
        
    • Propose doubling the number of comfortable and inclusive public benches in Somerset Ward by 2026 so residents of all ages and abilities have a place to sit, to converse, to connect, and to relax. 

    • Promote the rapid transformation of neglected public spaces into areas that can be used for farmers markets, music, and community events. 

    • Support the expansion of Plouffe Park and the Plant Bath Recreation Centre to better serve the growing community along Preston Street.  

    • Advocate for the continued IT modernization of the city’s recreation program sign-up process, so that Somerset Ward residents don’t spend hours on the computer booking swimming lessons. 

  • Ottawa is a winter city!  We must do more to help the residents of Somerset Ward not just endure winter but to embrace and enjoy the winter months. As your Councillor, I will:     
    • Prioritize clear and safe sidewalks during the winter months to allow Somerset Ward residents to exercise, get to appointments, and access services.

    • Push the city to adopt a better winter stairs and pathways cleaning strategy so that these essential networks are maintained and accessible during the winter months.

    • Work with OC Transpo to ensure better snow clearing for bus stops to allow riders with mobility issues to access public transit during the winter. 

    • Encourage more outdoor wintertime programming for children at city-owned parks and recreation centres, so that children (and adults!) have opportunities to enjoy winter. 
  • Public transit and active transportation must form the backbone of our community. We need reliable, affordable, accessible, and safe public transit across Somerset Ward and a new leadership to make our neighbourhood more walkable and bikeable. As your Councillor, I will: 
    • Make investing in the reliability and frequency of public transit a top priority over the next four years.
       
    • Push for more bus frequency on overcrowded OC Transpo routes 6, 7, 10, 11, and 14.

    • Advocate for new bus shelters throughout Somerset Ward that are architecturally interesting and beautify the neighbourhood, provide protection from the elements, and have up-to-minute updates on bus arrival times. 

    • Encourage public transit use and promote economic growth along Bank Street through the Bank Street Circulator Pilot Project, a free bus that runs from Parliament Station to Billings Bridge.
       
    • Fight for a more reliable ParaTranspo service for users, more investments in ParaTranspo equipment, and a greater voice in transit decision-making for Para users.

    • Work with the community, city staff, and the National Capital Commission to ensure better traffic management and safer intersections between the Lebreton Flats and Dalhousie communities, especially as development increases in that section of Somerset Ward.  

    • Improve and implement safer bike lanes throughout Somerset Ward, including a safer crossing at Bay and Gladstone.
       
    • Support further use of Queen Elizabeth Drive as a car-free, active transportation boulevard, and work with municipal and federal stakeholders to see what further changes can be made to the Rideau Canal corridor. 
  • While we are fortunate to live in one of the best cities in the world, we all have a role to play in making a welcoming, fairer, and more inclusive Somerset Ward. As your Councillor, I will:  
    • Work with city staff to rebrand, renew and promote the Essential Health and Social Supports (EHSS) program so that no renter fears being evicted from their home because of financial issues.
       
    • Work on building safe, sustainable, and accessible public washrooms in key locations throughout Somerset Ward for residents and visitors. 

    • Increase antiracism training for front-line services such as transit, health care, recreation and library services across Ottawa.
       
    • Advocate for more multilingual signs for front facing services in Somerset Ward, especially libraries and recreation centres.
       
    • Push OC Transpo to improve multilingual communication for train, bus, and ParaTranspo services.
  • Ottawa’s downtown core is in crisis. With the emergence of hybrid work, a downtown originally designed for Monday to Friday, 9-5 office workers will face gradual decline if we do not act immediately. We need to revitalize the downtown core by increasing housing, shops, and services to create a dynamic and diverse neighbourhood where people can live, work, and play. As your Councillor, I will: 
    • Collaborate with our federal government, the NCC, and other stakeholders to create a dynamic and diverse neighbourhood.

    • Encourage the transformation of empty office buildings into housing and emphasizing the creation of affordable housing.

    • Reexamine municipal zoning regulations and property tax policies to encourage the development of shops and services like retail, grocery, and hardware stores to serve the growing downtown community. 

    • Promote artistic and cultural opportunities to help transform the downtown core. 

    • Reduce bureaucratic bottlenecks to transform underused or vacant spaces into microparks, creative streetscapes, and dynamic event locales throughout the core.
        
    • Advocate for long-term investment to make the downtown core livable at street level, including larger sidewalks, accessible public spaces, comfortable seating, public restrooms, more greenery, interesting public art, and sensible tree-planting programs.
  • Somerset Ward has a rich and diverse history that should be recognized and appreciated by its residents. As your Councillor, I will:
    • Push for more visible historical street signage throughout Somerset Ward, so that our Heritage Conservation Districts are recognized as a point of pride in the community.

    • Advocate for the creation of a Dundonald Park Heritage Conservation District and a Golden Triangle Heritage Conservation District to better preserve heritage buildings in those neighbourhoods.

    • Highlight the diversity of heritage in Somerset Ward by working with heritage groups, universities, and other advocacy groups.
  • Residents throughout the Somerset Ward have the right to feel safe and secure within their own communities. As your Councillor, I will:
    • Lead the initiative to create a safer Dundonald Park by collaborating with residents, business, and community stakeholders. 

    • Create safer streets and parks through quickly implemented fixes like improved lighting, and promoting thoughtful and inclusive urban design that makes our Somerset Ward neighbourhoods safer for potentially vulnerable people.

    • Advocate for the implementation and funding of non-policing alternatives to public safety using harm reduction methods and removing the police from non-violent situations. 

    • Work for real police reform in Ottawa by working with city council, the Ottawa Police Service, and the Province of Ontario to increase police accountability and new levels of professional standards. 

    • Advocate for more harm reduction and addiction services to deal with the opioid crisis in Somerset Ward.