Community engagement means actively seeking out the views of people in the community; making it easy for people to make their views known and to hear the views of others; and making myself accessible to the people of Capital Ward.
I am running for City Council because it is time for Capital Ward to have a strong, responsive and steadfast voice at City Hall. I believe that the best way to represent our ward is to actively engage with community members, strive to understand different perspectives, and work together to find the best solutions. I recognize the role of Councillors as both representing the interests of the ward residents as well as the people of the greater Ottawa community, and to stand strong in upholding this commitment.
I was raised in Ottawa by a single mother who was dependent on subsidized housing and a disability pension. Growing up, I learned the value of strong, inclusive communities, because it was something lacking in my own life. Today, as a mother, a neighbour and Ottawan, community engagement is one of my core values.
City Hall shapes our communities in many ways, from providing basic services like water and snow-plowing to making and enforcing rules that shape the buildings and the character of our neighbourhoods. Unfortunately, too often, that process is disconnected from the desires of our communities – we see that all too frequently in poor urban development outcomes.
Councillors must listen to the needs and concerns of residents and be a strong representative voice at City Hall. I feel that responsibility deeply and will carry it out through a personal commitment to continuous engagement, connection with, and commitment to our communities. I will do that by:
- Being physically present and regularly accessible at different locations within Capital Ward, such as at local coffee shops (“Coffee with the Councillor”) and other “drop-in” events. This will provide opportunities for informal discussions in a way that is convenient for residents.
- Reviving the Ward Council with community leaders from community associations, businesses, and activity and volunteer groups. This will increase connections across the Ward, strengthen information-sharing, and provide opportunities to identify Ward priorities to help solve problems.
- Engaging youth through strong relationships with local schools and youth activity groups, including a youth internship/co-op in my community office. This will encourage and develop the next generation of community leaders and provide a youth-based perspective on local issues.
- Holding Capital Ward yearly pre-budget consultations and proactively using community input to influence budget development and municipal decisions on local issues – from funding recreational activities for youth and seniors to taking action to protect our rivers, trees, and greenspaces.
- Regular communications through newsletters and social media, to provide residents with relevant information about Capital Ward and the City.
- Engaging with other Councillors to build city-wide relationships and increase cross-Council understanding of the issues and perspectives of Capital Ward residents.
As Councillor, I promise to listen to your voices and make them heard. Capital Ward needs a councillor willing to work with residents to build our communities together.