Making our voices heard: Lowertown youth speak about needs in the community

Lowertown Youth Action Plan d’action jeunesse de la Basse-Ville 2022

Earlier this month, young adults in Lowertown brought all of us who work for our community together for a vital status review by presenting us the Lowertown Youth Action Plan.

The Lowertown Youth Action Plan has a goal of advocating for the interests of youth in the community by identifying the needs of youth (this includes facilities and programming) and by expanding on existing initiatives and gaining support of more community partners. This plan should guide youth services providers to serve the needs of Lowertown youth efficiently and effectively. This will in turn increase their sense of belonging and trust in the community.

What we learned from the plan: 

1- We have very engaged youth who know what they want and are vocal about it. 

2- This young group wants to see the same opportunities in their communities as their peers in other communities. 

We all love Lowertown. We see the income challenges families face and want to raise our community’s quality of life and pride. The City is doing big things, and we have an opportunity to leverage the recently approved reports to advance our community’s needs. 

The new Official Plan outlines how we will tackle development in the future as a city. The City has also approved the Recreation Facilities Masterplan, a unique opportunity for our community, which has seen growth in population, to modernize our recreation infrastructure, mainly gymnasium spaces. Through my motion at Council, we have strategically positioned a plan to respond to less performing and older recreation infrastructure. 

Further, my office is working closely with Carleton University School of Architecture to develop design concepts for an upgrade to the Champagne Bath facility using the existing historic building but exploring the opportunity to expand and enhance within the surrounding property. This idea would be reminiscent of the redesign of the Plant Bath, the last recreation facility built inside the greenbelt in 2001. This exciting project gives students some valuable hands-on experience and positions us to present compelling and innovative designs to the City when the time comes.  

For a long time, BGC Ottawa has worked closely with the Lowertown Community Resource Centre to advance young adult programming, particularly basketball programs. They have worked hard and been successful, but this responsibility should not fall solely on them. More needs to be done to secure access and programming for Lowertown youth, whether anglophone or francophone, at De la Salle gymnasium and the City-owned gym at Le Patro. Youth need safe indoor recreation and cultural spaces to thrive. 

The Youth Action Plan, created for youth and by youth, is clear: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Young adults in Lowertown see the opportunities that exist in other parts of the City. They see others who have the privilege, and they want public investments to give them equal opportunities here, in our community. 

I invite everyone to read the Lowertown Youth Action Plan here: https://crcbv.ca/lowertown-youth-action-plan-2/  

I am with them, are you?