Community Update Fall 2017

Salvation Army 

Why we oppose the 333 Montreal Road Salvation Army Proposal:

As a community, we are opposed to the relocation of the Salvation Army services to Montreal Road. Let us not confuse that opposition for a lack of interest in helping our most vulnerable community members, as both are not mutually exclusive. We recognize the importance of supporting those who need help but believe the Salvation Army’s approach in supporting them needs to evolve. Relocating the current service hub and shelter from George Street into a new building will bring the same challenges and outcomes. To help our most vulnerable residents, we need to decentralize and offer services based on research and best practices.

The status quo is not an option:

The Ottawa Booth Centre cannot stay on George Street. It is no longer safe for our City’s most vulnerable population and Salvation Army employees. There are major issues with the current built form – an old school converted into multiple housing units and shelter, and the range of other services simply does not work anymore.  Security challenges are also ongoing. A concentration of incompatible service offerings, and generally poor standards of accommodations for clients makes it obvious for the need to see investments in our City.

We are saying “NO” to the chosen location: 

Don’t get us wrong, the Salvation Army’s recent announcement of a $30+ million investment is welcomed in the City of Ottawa. However, striking the right balance in a community is important, and we are seeing key improvements in the Vanier area. We have Business Improvement Associations (BIA) in our City that are responsible for representing the business community on our main streets. An emergency shelter does not currently align with the goals of those main streets. The revitalization of the Montreal Road in 2019 will include re-investments in the infrastructure such as new and improved sidewalks, light fixtures, benches, trees, etc. When the City conducted a review of the zoning along Montreal Road in 2014, the City’s Official Plan did not even consider or allow the use of a shelter. A part of Salvation Army’s proposal is to request that the Plan be amended to include a shelter. While we are making progress in Vanier, we continue to face challenges related to mental health, drugs and prostitution. We have a variety of existing and active service providers to help those most vulnerable. 333 Montreal Road is located in the heart of a residential and family area. Many families with young children are concerned about their safety, and the access and proximity of the buildings. While Vanier is a welcoming community that has worked hard to bring positive changes, I believe that the Salvation Army needs to reconsider their proposal and offer a variety of services dispersed throughout the City.

We need to decentralize the services:

A mega-centre that encloses 350 men-only beds is not the right model. Putting drug dealers, recovering addicts and new arrivals in the same centralized area can only harm the community and its most vulnerable members. Taking George Street’s Booth Centre’s current situation and moving it to a residential area would only exacerbate the situation. The research and practice have demonstrated that housing first, and housing and support models do work. If someone is homeless, the first thing they need is a home. While they might also need addiction and mental health support, having them remain in an emergency shelter environment is counter to what we have seen in best practices. In fact, residents left in those environments do not get better, do not stabilize, and do not access the supports. This approach is not effective and is actually more costly. Innovative approaches need to be adopted. The Salvation Army’s model is outdated. Simply helping men in emergency shelter needs to change. Family response teams, housing and shelter for women, and specialized response for our Indigenous community members need to be brought forward.

Protecting neighbourhood character; R4 residential zoning review

There have been a number of initiatives with more than seven specific zoning reviews reports that I have led through the City, for Sandy Hill, and our mature neighbourhoods to try and guide good development. The City is currently undertaking a review of the R4 zoning which will apply to residential areas in Lowertown, Sandy Hill, Vanier and beyond, as we have seen R4 residential zoning bring a large permissible building envelope, which is changing the built form in our mature neighbourhood. Recently, Council approved an interim control bylaw that will prohibit any new construction projects with a large number of bedrooms over the next year. This was enacted in order to halt the construction of the ‘bunkhouse’ style buildings while the R4 review is underway. There have been a number of initiatives that we have led through the City, for Sandy Hill, and our mature neighbourhoods to try and guide good development. Sandy Hill is an area of important history and is very unique in its character and contribution to the City of Ottawa. We remain very optimistic that the interim control bylaw and the R4 review will bring zoning specific changes to Sandy Hill that will further stabilize the area and remove the pressures away from the undesired ‘bunkhouse’ style of building.

“Everybody loves ice cream” at least all of TEAMFLEURY does:

A new business recently opened its doors in our neighbourhood. Sundae School, located at 222 Beechwood Ave, attracted numbers of visitors over the summer. Homemade sauces, local ice cream and a great variety of colourful and tasty sundaes, what’s not to like about that place? Lindsay Taub, the owner, appreciates the community and the neighbourhood, which is a key  reasons why she decided to open her shop on Beechwood Ave. “I get people telling me that they’re mad that I opened an Ice cream shop in the area because now they will eat it all the time”, she says, laughing. Well Lindsay, the community thanks you for this great addition to the Beechwood business mix! The summer is done, although the fall does bring at time sunny and warm weather- lets continue to support this new treat in Vanier. Monday-Friday 3-10 pm – Saturday & Sunday 1-10 pm

Garbage in Sandy Hill a solid waste pilot that draws Citywide attention

The growing challenges related to waste and debris, especially with the increase in ‘bunker house’ type developments in Sandy Hill, encourages us to think of new initiatives to improve our neighbourhood’s quality of life.  The requirement for Site Plan Control for any new development unique to Sandy Hill allows the City to address the location and adequacy of storage bins through site planning for new buildings.

We are thankful of the ongoing efforts of members from our community in working with us on those measures. Before the Property Maintenance By-law modifications, when a property was in violation of an existing by-law, an officer was required to allow 5 days for receipt of notice prior to enforcement. Now, the notice of violations will be deemed received on the third day, which is the minimum legal period. In addition to sending by mail, a notice will also be posted on the front of the building allowing for a variety of ways to communicate with the occupants and property owner, who can both be held responsible for continued non-compliance. One of the big changes that the new waste initiative will bring is that all bins, including recycling bins, must be stored at the rear of the property, out of sight from the street. (please note: One green bin may be placed at the front of the property) If a property has more than 8 bins in the rear-yard, they are required to be stored in an enclosure.

This is great news for our community, as we receive a high number of complaints regarding rats, skunks, raccoons, and ongoing garbage complaints from the neighbourhood. It is a pilot that if successful could be expanded elsewhere in our City.

Ottawa 2017- La Machine

Between the 27th and the 30th of July, you’ve probably noticed the flurry (pun intended) in our City. La Machine, a mesmerizing , first in North America outdoor  theater that enchanted our streets, took over Ottawa and more specifically our community, including the ByWard Market which brought an unexpected  750 000 plus spectators to enjoy the show.

During the weekend, we all got to witness LongMa’s quest to reconquer her wings. LongMa, a part dragon and part horse, stood 12 metres high, 5 metres wide and weighs 45 tons. We also saw the beautiful and scary Kumo, the giant spider, which is 5.7 meters high and 6 meters wide, at rest. When in motion, she can reach up to 13 meters and fully outstretched, she is about 20 meters long. What a great way to promote our neighbourhood,  Lowertown and all its gems like the By Ward Market, the Inspiration Village and all the great local businesses that make our City glow.

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