Taxes, Spending Priorities and the City Budget
The City budget is $4.5 billion. It must prioritize core City services that are important to you. I respect your tax dollars and believe property taxes must be reasonable, predictable and consistent. The City Manager must look for operational savings every year, without impacting core services, before a discussion is had on raising taxes.
Our transportation infrastructure needs greater investment.
The road network, sidewalks, multi-use pathways and bicycle infrastructure all need greater resources.
If we truly want to facilitate 15-minute neighbourhoods, where driving a vehicle is not a requirement, the active transportation infrastructure must be in a good state. River Ward’s sidewalks are in poor condition along many streets and I intend to secure significant resources, over many years, for repairs and new additions.
As part of the Transportation Master Plan refresh, new sidewalk, MUPs and bicycle infrastructure will be included over the next decade. River Ward’s aging water infrastructure is slowly being replaced. This is complex and expensive. I will continue to advocate and secure funding to ensure the ward’s water infrastructure remains safe and in a good state.
Public Transit – It Must Work Well
- Public transit must be safe, reliable and affordable.
- As a member of the Transit Commission this term of office, I voted in favour of both an audit of the LRT system and called for a judicial inquiry.
- I have consistently stated that the Achilles Heel of OC Transpo remains its bus reliability. An audit of the scheduling and timetabling of the bus system is needed.
- For buses that serve River Ward, I will address routes that have chronic reliability issues with OC Transpo and push them to develop action plans to improve service.
- In 2021, City Council supported my motion to increase the free fare coverage of children from ages 0-5 to 0-7. I support increasing this to the national average of 11.
- I support freezing fares for those who qualify for the EquiPass and Equifare rate.
- Reinstate Route 3 service and fully address reliability and Billings Bridge transfer issues for Route 111
- The long range financial plan needs to be reviewed and updated – COVID has changed travel patterns and had a significant impact on fare revenues.
- Continued focus on Para Transpo reliability, as well as amending hours of service to match need is important to passengers.
- Implementing recommendations from the Commissioner overseeing the LRT Inquiry will have my attention and support.
- River Ward’s Trillium Line will reopen in 2023, including a new station at Walkley Road and a new pedestrian/cycle bridge over the Rideau River.
The Environment and Parks
City Council declared a climate emergency. I supported the Climate Change Master Plan, the City’s overarching framework to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and respond to the current and future effects of climate change. I support a cleaner and more resilient City.
15 minute neighbourhoods – better active transportation, refreshed recreation park amenities, community pools, outdoor skating rinks, zoning that supports mixed-use developments.
Reducing Waste – Greater focus on diverting waste from the landfill, recycling and organic collection.
Tree Canopy and Community Gardens – Significant tree planting strategy from 2022-2026, front yard gardens, more funding for pollinator and community gardens, reduce the redtape and wait for garden approval. Investigate opportunities with Hydro One and Hydro Ottawa for garden and recreational pathways.
Building Retrofits – As City facilities qualify for renewal, ensure high quality environmental standards are met. Encourage provincial and federal governments to create added tax incentives and credits for home and business retrofits.
The City budget for playground renewal must be increased. River Ward’s local parks will get more attention.
I will meet with NCC CEO to advocate to get NCC parks’ parking lots partially cleared of snow, so visitors can have better access to parks like Hog’s Back and Vincent Massey in the winter months.
During this term of office, I have worked tirelessly particularly during the Official Plan review to designate Carlington Park as Environmentally Protected (EP), advocated for federal legislation to protect the Experimental Farm, ensured the City would not allow future development of the McCarthy Woods or Fisher Woods. You cherish local greenspace, I will always fight to save and retain it.
Housing and Homelessness Emergency
- I supported the call to declare a Housing and Homelessness Emergency in Ottawa.
- I also supported the 2021 and 2022 City Budgets that invested record amounts of financial resources to build new affordable housing in Ottawa. This must continue.
- Social housing stock must be repaired and kept in good shape in addition to building more units. Existing tenants call for better care and upkeep of their units.
- I support inclusionary zoning provisions.
- I support all levels of government working together to solve this crisis. Money, land, zoning changes, repurposing existing buildings, can all be contributed to get more housing built.
- Set a target of 1,000 affordable housing units per year in Ottawa.
- Convert money spent to house people in shelters, motels and other living arrangements to building actual affordable housing units
- Retain existing affordable units in Ottawa
Older Adult Services
The cohort of older adults 65 years of age and older is now larger than the cohort aged 0-18. As the population ages, greater care, attention and resources will need to be dedicated to older adults for:
- affordable and accessible housing
- medical and mental health services, including home care
- proactive health care services
- social services
- affordable public transit
- variety of recreational and library services
I will also continue to host the annual River Ward Older Adult Summit, an excellent opportunity to hear from subject matter specialists, discuss issues important to you and meet local organizations that serve older adults.
Local Infrastructure Priorities
- Repaving of Roads – Repair of sidewalks, curbs
- Renovation and Expansion of the Alexander Community Centre
- Rebuild a modern, all-season, Mooney’s Bay Pavillion
I Work For You – Everyday
When the May 2022 Derecho Storm hit, half the ward lost power. I worked 14-16 hour days, everyday, acquiring resources, securing emergency assistance, walking the streets to see storm damage and talk with residents and to provide you with as much information as possible. I felt it was my duty to do everything I could. Following the storm, Councillor King and I moved a 5-part motion asking Hydro Ottawa to better prepare for future storms. Being City Councillor is a full-time job. You pay my salary. I will work for you—everyday.
“On October 24, I kindly request you send me back to City Hall to be your effective, community-focused City Councillor.”— Riley Brockington, Councillor for River Ward since 2014