Congratulations Mayor-Elect Sutcliffe and Councillor-Elect Plante; now is your time to act! While public transport, roads and other priorities were discussed as priorities over the past few months, we want to bring your attention to what is fast becoming a crisis in Lowertown and the Byward Market. We look forward to meeting with you to discuss these issues impacting the oldest and most historic communities in our nation’s capital. Safety and security is top of the list; it is unbelievable that right here in the center of Ottawa, families are afraid to go out at night, have their children walk to school or even play in their front yards. Those who are most vulnerable are even more at risk in terms of safety; they are often the target of violence and abuse. While Ottawa’s social service agencies are well-intentioned and indeed, do save lives, the services currently in place provide a bare minimum. Helping our most vulnerable needs to be a priority. Studies clearly indicate that smaller service models (not all concentrated in the same area) provide longer-term impact and more successful outcomes. We need to change our approach so that the services we provide at considerable social and monetary costs to all the residents of Ottawa are providing long term solutions rather than merely magnifying the problems. The image of our downtown core, our beloved Byward Market, historic neighbourhoods, as well as the entire city depends on finding the right solutions, as does the safety and security of our residents and visitors. We can and must do better.
It is important to note that we have been involved in many discussions and meetings with social service providers and have received excellent collaboration. They are dedicated and, in many cases, trying to do the impossible. We are working together to try and find the solutions necessary to these issues, but the entire city of Ottawa needs to be engaged in finding solutions and delivering better support to those who need it, starting with affordable housing (transitional and permanent). Each of the 24 Wards in this city could and should have its own social services centre, thus providing help in a smaller setting and providing services throughout the city. You, as our new Mayor and new Ward 12 Councillor can take the lead on this, and work with our communities to effect needed change.
And while we have you, we also urge you to support a big picture examination of inter-provincial traffic between Ottawa and Gatineau. Lowertown and Sandy Hill have suffered the responsibility of the main trucking route going through our neighbourhoods and this must stop. There must be an urgent study of overall movement between the two cities, taking into account all of the crossings that currently exist, and building into it public transit as well.
Congratulations once again on your election! We very much look forward to working with you to stop the erosion of the quality of life in our neighbourhoods, in addition to supporting those most vulnerable as well as our residents, businesses and visitors.
President │ Présidente
Lowertown Community Association│ Association communautaire de la Basse-Ville