By Councillor Carol Anne Meehan
Keeping track of all of the things going on in the City can be difficult. Between development applications, master plan updates, parks, roads and pathway plans, there is so much that you, as a resident, can provide your feedback on. I jumped into politics because I wanted our community to be heard, but far too often, I hear from residents who didn’t know that something was happening in their neighbourhood until it was too late. Before I was elected, I didn’t know about the many opportunities available to me to weigh in on decisions that affect my community, so I thought it would be helpful to provide you with the tools to make your voice heard.
The first place that you can find information on plans, strategies and programs is Engage Ottawa. The website is engage.ottawa.ca, or you can find it by going to Ottawa.ca and typing Engage Ottawa in the search bar at the top of the screen. Everything the City is working on is here. Plans to improve parks, active transportation opportunities, community safety plans and high-level strategy documents that will guide City Staff as they plan the future of our City, such as the Bike Parking Strategy, Climate Resiliency Strategy and the important Transportation Master Plan that lays out what Ottawa will do to accommodate the growing number of vehicles on our roads. You have the opportunity to provide your input on all of it.
The second tool I want to share with you is the Development Application Search Tool which can be found at devapps.ottawa.ca, a handy way to find out what developments are underway in our ward and across the City.
One of the hottest topics is new development. Inevitably, I get emails, phone calls and letters from residents who only find out about a development when they see construction equipment rolling into a field across from their home. The development process is long and slow, sometimes taking more than a decade from the original application to the first home or building being constructed. What we need is input from residents at the beginning of the process. Development was one of the priority issues that got me into the municipal race in 2018. A lack of new infrastructure to support our growing community and crumbling roads that are sometimes impassible are things I am concerned about. I’m not worried about getting elected again or making connections for a job beyond politics. I am working towards changing how Ottawa grows, and I need your help to do that. We need growth, we need new homes for families, and we need new recreation facilities, roads and parks to accommodate the new growth we see every year. I, like many, feel that we grow backwards. The only way to change this is by getting involved early on.
As always, reaching out to me is a great way to share your opinions, thoughts and goals. The best part of being your councillor is being able to speak directly with residents. After all, you are the reason I am here. If there is something that I can do, please never hesitate to reach out to me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-580-2751
I look forward to seeing you engage!