With such an amazing field of candidates for the upcoming municipal election (the most of any ward!), the VCA wanted to give local voters a hand. We crowdsourced questions from local residents, businesses, and non-profits, and sent every candidate a copy. The answers we received are below, sorted by candidate alphabetically, and new responses will be added as they come in. Happy reading!
- Sustainable Development
- Social Policy
- Governance and Representation
How do you plan to achieve the revitalization of Montreal Road? The City has spent a lot of money, we have experienced (and still experience) the disruption of construction, but when the work is completed we would hate to find all the businesses boarded up!
Tyler Cybulski: The Vanier Community Improvement Plan (CIP), introduced during the last council term, was intended to aid in the revitalization of Montreal Road by engaging with the private sector to incentivize investment within Vanier. Sadly, the only development we have witnessed as a result of this initiative is a luxury Porsche dealership which received a generous $2.9M tax credit over a period of 10 years. I believe that the CIP needs to be used in a more responsible manner and one which allows more businesses or property owners to qualify for tax credits in exchange for substantial renovations and development. Engaging with the private sector to incentivize business and community growth is a tool that we need to utilize during the next four years. Using the CIP to our advantage can help us attract new businesses, cultural attractions and community hubs that Vanier is currently lacking.
Jwane Izzetpanah: The city has spent over $700 million on revitalizing Montreal Road. After two years of closing businesses from the pandemic and then major construction right after the businesses on Montreal Road are suffering. There is a lack of foot traffic and we need to continue to push Montreal Road to be a space where people can pop into a coffee shop or enjoy brunch on Sunday morning.
Alex Osario: This project has taken way too long and it has cost business owners everything. I will work to bring forth options and value to bringing back business to the area. Wether it be government assistance, and as many incentives that are available to bring the business back.
Stéphanie Plante: The ultimate vision for Montreal Road is to construct a vibrant and welcoming main street with a well-balanced transportation network that will allow residents and businesses to thrive and two-way traffic is slated to permanently open by October 22.
I believe in the 15 minute neighbourhood. Imagine walking out your door and having access to all you need within a 15 minute walk – family doctor, groceries, public transit, schools, daycare, pharmacy, parks, community centres – all the necessities. The revitalization project aligns to the 15 minute neighbourhood vision I support.
However, businesses on Montreal Road have suffered from both the pandemic and from the project. They are the lifeblood of the community. Local businesses and jobs deserve to be supported because they sustain close knit communities and contribute to healthy living, such as active transportation and transit. As part of my social media, I am profiling local businesses in my Ward by interviewing the owners of these businesses and telling their remarkable stories. I have met with restaurant and bar owners, convenience stores and dry cleaners – all who have a unique story.
If elected, I will continue to profile and promote our small businesses especially along Montréal Rd.
15 minute neighbourhood:
Laura Shantz: Montreal Road needs revitalization to support our existing businesses and attract new ones. This is important to ensure that our main street is a walkable and enjoyable destination for neighbours and visitors to Vanier. Our revitalization plan needs to reflect the dynamic nature of the neighbourhood and the rich history of Francophone businesses and newcomer businesses that have long made Montreal Road an inviting destination. I believe that the Community Improvement Plan (CIP) is a good first step in encouraging small businesses to set up shop along Montreal Road. In my mind, we must prioritize small businesses – especially those that are Francophone-owned, Black-owned and Indigenous-owned – to reflect the vibrancy of our local community. In addition, we will need to work with the owners of the vacant and derelict buildings along Montreal Road to encourage redevelopment on a shorter timeline and ensure that vacant buildings are either rented out or redeveloped to make the street more attractive, vibrant and inviting to one and all.
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As councillor, how do you foresee your role in developing the Vanier secondary plan?
Tyler Cybulski: I believe that the next councillor must respect the expertise and recommendations within the Vanier secondary plan. I do not possess any specialized knowledge or experience related to urban development and planning. With those limitations in mind, I will rely on the opinions and expertise of professionals in those areas, while maintaining my commitment to the community, taxpayers and the interests of our ward.
Alex Osario: I plan on being very engaged in the development of vanier. Conncted to the issues and working to resolve them for the betterment of the ward.
Stéphanie Plante: The Main goals of the Montreal Road District Secondary Plan are to:
Foster development and redevelopment along the Traditional Mainstreets and Arterial Mainstreet which complements and improves upon the positive qualities of the existing character of the District;
Improve streetscaping along Montreal Road, McArthur Avenue, St. Laurent Boulevard and the Vanier Parkway;
Improve pedestrian, cycling and transit facilities throughout the District; and
Provide open spaces or other areas for public functions, publicly accessible landscaped open spaces and public art that reflects the history of the District.
I would like to advocate for the following:
Eliminate “beg” buttons that must be pushed at street crossing in order to get the flashing white man’s permission to cross. The flashing man should start automatically start 10 seconds before the light turns green to give pedestrians a chance to safely cross the street;
Work with local community associations to continue funding and promoting free programming in all corners of our riding: Festivales des Sucres, Museoparc, Art in the Park, La Nouvelle Scène, Buskers Fest, movies in parks, Awesome Arts, Rideau Winter Trail, community garage sales, etc.;
Create opportunities for more art for crosswalks, electrical boxes and of course, murals, and establish a mural festival and mural tours;
In collaboration with local historians, BIAs and residents, pilot a project that would explain the history, heritage and significance of the names, streets, homes, parks, and murals of Rideau-Vanier;
Work with local BIAs to extend support and advocate for our small businesses so they remain an integral part of our community;
Ensure a firm timeline, with key benchmarks, from the City as to when all roads in Rideau Vanier can have at least one protected bike lane; and
Making Rideau-Vanier the greenest ward by advocating for the following:
Bathrooms and water fountains in our Ward 12 parks;
Extended hours for our outdoors pools on hot days;
Pilot food kiosks: small stands and outdoor seating to allow so local residents can enjoy the food of local restaurants; and
Work with residents to create ‘parkettes’ where greenspaces allows for it (end of Charlotte St in Lowertown for example) with benches, community gardens, pollinators and trees.
Laura Shantz: My role in developing the Vanier secondary plan would be to ensure that the community is set to grow in a way that will include all residents and welcome a diverse new population to our neighbourhood. Our secondary plan will need to prioritize making up for some of the historical disadvantages Vanier has faced: it will need to add more park space, increase and maintain housing affordability, and ensure that our community becomes more walkable as it grows. I believe that the plan must be developed in close collaboration with residents, the Vanier Community Association, the Vanier BIA and nonprofit organizations such as CSC Vanier that have a deep understanding of our community’s long-standing needs.
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Vanier lacks parks and recreation facilities. What action would you take to address the problem?
Tyler Cybulski: With respect to park space, I am unaware of areas within Vanier that are lacking park space. I have heard from many in the community that there are too few recreation facilities to service our entire community. I believe that we need to address this issue by expanding existing programming at our current properties or even by investing in additional facilities.
Jwane Izzetpanah: Vanier is home to beautiful parks and recreation facilities but before we create more parks and recreational spaces, we have to revitalize the parks and recreation facilities that we do have. Having spaces for families is so important but making sure that these shared spaces that we currently have are useable and safe is the number one priority for me. I’ve done a lot of door knocking in Vanier. I spoke to a resident wholives in front of a play ground and he told me that every morning they send in a team form the city to rake through the sand and pull needs out of the sand box so that the kids can play there. These are the types of problems that I want to address before building more parks and recreation facilities.
Alex Osario: Invest in our parks and recreation facilities is a priority for the well being of the residents, their mental health and it will make our ward family friendly to everyone and anyone.
Stéphanie Plante: Our Ward has a lack of recreation facilities. One of our biggest opportunities is on the corner of Lajoie and Lévis where I plan on working with the City to develop recreational and parks facilities in unused areas. The plan is tentatively 20,000 square feet of recreational center and a sports field in the back. I plan on consulting with the community to see what their needs are and ensuring their views are first and foremost in the redevelopment of this site. It is important that we increase the availability of french recreational programming because parents complain all the time that there is not enough options for kids to take courses in french.
New pilot program: Our schools to serve as gymnasiums – YouTube
I have also committed to work with our local school trustees in all school boards to open our school gyms on the weekend. This will give residents or particularly kids an opportunity for indoor play at little to no cost.
I also hear going door to door in Vanier that people want a fenced-in dog park! I think this is a fantastic idea and looking forward to working with our two and four legged residents to make it happen.
Laura Shantz: I would ensure that in future developments, we take land for parks instead of accepting cash-in-lieu of parkland. I also want to see the lands around St. Joseph’s Adult High School, and Jean Vanier Catholic School turned into parkland and made available for community use.
In addition, Bernard Grandmaître Arena is near the end of its lifespan, and I want to ensure that it is replaced with an updated facility to better serve residents of South Vanier. The arena site is large enough that we could be creative and co-locate a recreation facility with affordable housing or more community services to ensure that our neighbourhood will have adequate recreation facilities per capita even as intensification adds more neighbours.
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What would you say to residents of Vanier North who are concerned about the significant intensification planned for their neighbourhood paired with the lack of schools within walking distance?
Tyler Cybulski: I share their concerns. Intensification efforts must be matched with an increase in basic city services and amenities. As our city continues to grow, I believe that we need to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our residents. My goal as councillor will be to intensify in a sustainable and responsible manner, one which will not create an undue burden on parents with children.
Jwane Izzetpanah: When we discuss the intensification of our neighbourhoods there are some important points that cannot get overlooked. We want our communities to flourish but we want to keep the community culture that keeps people in Vanier long-term. Most of the people I have spoken to in Vanier have been long term residents who love it here. When we talk about intensification, we to need to ensure that as we grow in a way that enhancing our community identity to do this the right way we need to develop strong working relationships with the investors so that our need for schools, daycares and other service based facilities do not get overlooked.
Alex Osario: Your concerns have been heard but more importantly they will be addressed by me. We need schools for our kids and their resources.
Stéphanie Plante: As mentioned above, I believe in and fully support the 15 minute neighbourhood. Our Ward includes so many gems: Canada’s largest bilingual university, Ottawa’s busiest mall, the Byward Market, the history and heritage of Lowertown and Sandy Hill as well as the francophonie and vitality of Vanier. Therefore, intensification in Rideau-Vanier should be consistent with the rich historic heritage of the Ward. Developments should emphasize affordable 3+ bedroom units to accommodate families and seniors who have chosen to make Rideau-Vanier their home. This will keep intensification at a reasonable level. It will also ensure that school boards respond adequately to the needs of parents in the Ward.
15 minute neighbourhood:
Laura Shantz: We know that many of our local schools are bursting at the seams and are not within walking distance of Vanier North. Vanier is attracting many couples and young families and will be home to much more elementary and secondary school students in the coming years. I want to work with the four school boards and our provincial representative to ensure access to schools within our neighbourhood. I cannot guarantee any closer access to schools, but I can work to improve access to our existing schools by improving our sidewalks and roads to offer safer walking and biking access, and to ensure that public transit provides easier, more convenient links to our schools.
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How do you assess the availability of affordable, including deeply affordable housing, and social housing, in Vanier? What steps would you take as councillor?
Tyler Cybulski: Affordable housing in in short supply and the many of the units that are available are in poor condition. I will work diligently to secure funding from the federal and provincial government to support the creation of deeply affordable, geared-to-income housing units. The 12,000+ household backlog for affordable housing needs to be reduced. In addition to working with other levels of government, and the reality that those talks may not be fruitful, I believe that we need to engage with the private sector to increase the general housing supply within Ottawa. A contributing factor to high rental prices and scarcity is the current supply shortfall. By incentivizing development in a mutually-beneficial manner, we can greatly reduce our current housing issues.
Jwane Izzetpanah: The dream outlined in the City of Ottawa’s Ten-year Housing and Homelessness Plan is not being fulfilled in Rideau-Vanier. Over the past few years, these issues have continued to get worse when they should be getting better. As your city councillor in Rideau-Vanier (one of the wards that are caring for the burden of the homelessness and housing problem) I will fund an in-depth study and appoint an advisory group to take a throughout look at how we are progressing on affordable housing and homelessness in our ward specifically. While the City of Ottawa’s Ten-year Housing and Homelessness Plan may be being actioned throughout the city, if one ward fails on a city plan then in my opinion the whole city has failed.
Alex Osario: There is alot of work to be done, but making affordable housing for everyone is important.
Stéphanie Plante: We need to increase the supply of social, affordable and family housing. I endorse the #StartsWithHome campaign from the Alliance to End Homeslessness. Alongside these much needed recommendations, I will also advocate for the following:
Begin discussions with the federal government and other owners of under-used buildings in Rideau-Vanier to see if they can be retrofitted into housing units;
Streamline the process for construction permits and renovation for developers who include heritage conservation, social, family (3 bedroom) and / or geared to income housing in their development plans;
Bring forward a motion of right of first refusal so that the city has the right of first purchase on real-estate sales in areas that do not have public housing so we can diversity the Wards that have Ottawa Community Housing; and
Prioritize families living in motels for public housing and ensure that large rental companies (CLV, District, etc) dedicate a percentage of their units to low-income earners while charging geared-to-income rents.
I hear from many Ottawans how hard it is to get a family doctor. We hear about our emergency wards closing, our ongoing issues in long-term care and the offload times for paramedics. I also hear the same old excuse that this is a provincial matter. Doctors want to focus on their patients and their care. Yet much of their time and resources are spent on administrative matters. Other municipalities have put efforts into recruiting family physicians by making it easier to work there and those efforts have paid off. Ottawa Council needs to get in the game.
Alliance to End Homelessness:
right of first refusal:
Laura Shantz: Vanier has long been considered one of the more affordable neighbourhoods in Ottawa, thanks in large part to affordable private market rentals available in older buildings. However, both affordable and deeply affordable housing is in increasingly short supply as properties are redeveloped and renovated, and our supply of affordable and subsidized housing is not adequate to keep up with demand in the community, especially for family-sized affordable housing. Much of the existing affordable housing needs upgrading and retrofitting for improved energy efficiency and safety.
As councillor, I want to push for inclusionary zoning and other measures to ensure affordable housing is part of every new development, and also work with community groups on anti-displacement measures to ensure that Vanier residents will continue to have affordable housing even as our community grows. I also want to see Ottawa address the backlog in maintenance requests in our social housing to ensure that everyone can be proud of their home.
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Now that the Salvation Army project is largely approved, what steps would you take as councillor?
Tyler Cybulski: As councillor, I would urge my colleagues to support a motion calling for an inquiry into the approval of this shelter project. The project was approved without public consultation and a complete disregard for current zoning. When also considering how fast this project was approved, in a city where red-tape typically slows down many developments, I am highly skeptical that the effects of this shelter on our community were even considered. We need to know all of the details surrounding this project. We need complete transparency.
Jwane Izzetpanah: Now that the Salvation Army project has been largely approved, as city councillor in Vanier I will fight to increase city services that are needed as a result of these types of projects. We know that there are specific types of effects that are brought on a community with these types of projects and as a councillor for Vanier I have a responsibility to the people that live in, work in and build businesses in Vanier. I will continue to push for increased city services to keep the streets clean and the community safe.
Alex Osario: I will assess the whole operation and seek counsel on the direction I feel would be best suited for the ward. Without knowing all the information makes it hard to make an informed decision.
Stéphanie Plante: Approving the application for the Salvation Army Shelter on Montreal road – which was not in accordance with the official plan – is Council’s biggest failure in the last term. As the city’s own description of the project stated: The property is designated Traditional Mainstreet on Schedule B of the City of Ottawa Official Plan. The Official Plan Section 3.1 permits shelter accommodation in a number of other designations where the Zoning By-law permits a dwelling use, but Traditional Main Streets are not included.
Rideau-Vanier contains 12 shelters. It is time other Wards do their fair share. I will continue to oppose its construction and encourage all levels of government to not provide financial contributions to this project.
As I stated above, shelters are temporary solutions because they are treating the symptoms of our homlessness problem by making users live in unpredictable and insecure environments and not allowing them to live to their full potential. We need more social housing, not shelters. Please see my response to Question 5 as to what I want to do to solve root causes for homelessness for the citizens of Rideau-Vanier.
Laura Shantz: The Salvation Army project is frustrating as we know that shelters are not a permanent solution to the housing and homelessness crisis. I am concerned about second-stage housing being co-located with an emergency shelter, and it is my hope that in future years more of the shelter space will be converted to second-stage housing as we address homelessness on a city-wide level.
I know that there will continue to be pressure from our elected representatives and community members to halt the project or make alterations as the Salvation Army seeks funding for its building. As the Salvation Army has not been very responsive to community calls for change, I am not sure how successful we can be with these efforts, but I support the community in their calls for permanent solutions to housing and homelessness issues that prioritize dignity and that fit with current research and best practices.
As councillor, my objectives would be to minimize the challenges associated with having a shelter in the community and to work to reduce the need for shelter space altogether. In terms of community order, this means ensuring that we have an excellent response capacity for collecting discarded needles and drug paraphernalia and building a city-wide response strategy for emergency calls for service related to addictions and mental health issues. Many of the negative community effects we associate with shelters are related to addictions (public drug use, drunkenness, needles, thefts from yards/porches, etc.) and mental health issues (aggressive or unusual behaviour, public disorder, etc.). I want to see us address the root causes of these issues with rapid response services that can offer a social work response and the long-term solutions we all want.
Building affordable housing across the city, both in mixed-use developments and as stand-alone affordable housing, will also be essential to managing our community response: we know that housing first works for the vast majority of residents, and the best way to manage a shelter is to reduce the need for that shelter.
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Rideau-Vanier is home to many disabled residents living in poverty. Given that the Community Pass is one of the few tools the City has at its disposal to make life more affordable for these residents, would you support reducing these fares from $1.75/ride to zero?
Tyler Cybulski: I would support this initiative. We are currently living through a period of record-high inflation and an affordability crisis. I believe that we need to look at compassionate ways of boosting the quality-of-life of those who have been affected the most
Jwane Izzetpanah: My job as a councillor would be to find new ways to make living a bit better for people in difficult situations. We’ve seen the headlines and read the reports, we know that transit is a mess in Ottawa and there is a responsibility for the city councillors who are being elected on October 24th to commit to making transit a fiscally responsible project for the city. Reducing the community pass fare from 1.75 to zero is not the way to do it. One thing I have promised in the role of city councillor is to never vote for a property tax increase over 2%. Increased property taxes have a direct effect on the cost of rent as municipal taxes are one of the few exemptions to rental increase guidelines set out by the Provicne of Ontario. Landlords are able to increase rent in accordance with property tax increases. Property taxes are 100% decided by the municipality. Ensuring that we make responsible asks from property owners so that they do not have the ability to increase rent above the guidelines set out by the Province of Ontario is just one example of a meaningful tool that the city has at its disposal to make life more affordable for its residents, especially residents who live in poverty or rent so they do not get pushed out of their communities and priced out of their homes.
Alex Osario: In a simple answer…Yes.
Stéphanie Plante: Absolutely.
It is equally important to prioritize snow removal for pedestrians and people using the sidewalks so they can get to the bus in the first place. I have seen first hand how poor snow removal blocks intersections trapping people without good mobility,
Laura Shantz: Yes. We know that most people who receive social assistance do not receive a bus pass as part of their benefits. Paying for the bus means less money available to pay for rent, food and other essentials and often means that residents must choose to walk to save money, even when doing so is not always easy, convenient or pleasant. Offering free transit to these riders would give them a small amount of additional support and ensure they can get around our city easily and with dignity.
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Do you support transition and equalization of funding between policing and upstream social services?
Tyler Cybulski: I want to be very clear on this. I do not support defunding the police. I do, however, believe that we can potentially discover efficiencies within our current policing operations. Should those efficiencies be found, I would support the funding of upstream social services related to mental-health needs. Social workers and mental health professionals can work in collaboration with police to better serve our community, but they will never replace police officers.
Jwane Izzetpanah: Funding for policing and social services needs to reflect the reality that we face in our ward.
Alex Osario: I believe that there is much work to be done on both ends and having more tools in kit is never a bad thing to have.
Stéphanie Plante: Yes. Police budgets need to be targeted to more mental health assistance. We do not need across the board increases, or for allocations to be spent on heavier armament, but targeted allocations to services like liaison officers where they can help in the community they are assigned and become part of the solution.
Laura Shantz: Yes. When it comes to policing and crime, we know Vanier has been struggling with many of the same challenges for years. Many of these, including thefts from yards, porches and vehicles, suspicious behaviour and disorder calls, are often related to mental health and addictions. While a police response can provide temporary relief, we know that the issues are persistent and that policing is not a long-term solution to address root causes. Ensuring that we have the right professionals to address the right situations – specifically, having trained professionals ready to address community needs through social work responses and social service supports – will help us to find long-term solutions that will give neighbours the calm they are seeking and ensure that those who are struggling with mental health and addictions can receive the support they need to find stability in their lives.
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Do you commit to advocating for adequate funding for social services; and for sustainable (increased) rates for Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) recipients?
Tyler Cybulski: I would support an increase to OW or ODSP. I believe that such an increase is overdue. When it comes to our social services, I believe that we need to ensure that everyone, regardless of their situation, can live a dignified, fulfilling life.
Jwane Izzetpanah: Every city needs to have a social safety net for people who fall into hard times – the shelters and the social services that are available should be short-term solutions for people who are experiencing hard times to get back on their feet. Everyone deserves the ability to pay for life, even when they fall on hard times. I will advocate that all recipients of Ontario Works and ODSP receive adequate and increased funding in these programs that reflect the increased cost of living that all Canadians are seeing. Inflation and interest rate increases mean that our dollars are not going as far as they used to. Every Canadian deserves to have the means to afford life. Programs that provide a social safety net need to reflect relatively, which is that life is more expensive now more than ever.
Alex Osario: Yes I do. They matter and adequate funding is the least we can do.
Stéphanie Plante: Absolutely and I will work with our provincial officials to advocate for the increase in OW and ODSP.
Laura Shantz: Yes, absolutely. I have long supported increased social assistance rates and have worked with the #ODSPoverty group online over the past two years to achieve this goal. I will continue to push for dignified, livable social assistance rates for all; this is a matter of dignity and ensuring that everyone in our community also has the means to participate in it. I will also keep fighting for increased social service funding to address the needs in our neighbourhood and our city.
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Governance and Representation
Given the latest Statistics Canada report that the French language is in decline, what contributions, if any, have you made in the past to the defense, enhancement and promotion of the French language in Vanier, and what are 3 ways you would prioritize this file if elected?
Tyler Cybulski: When considering the decline in French as a first language, we need to recognize that this is a trend throughout our entire country. I do not believe that we should be prioritizing one language over another. The adoption or decline of language can be attributed to social, cultural or demographic changes in any given community.
Jwane Izzetpanah: I am bilingual, my mother tongue is Kurdish, and I understand the importance of language. Language is the first thing that keeps communities alive and brings people together in a community. I believe that it is one of the most important pieces that has kept the culture that my family brought with them to Canada alive.
French education, arts/culture and French daycare services are three ways that I would prioritize this file in Vanier. We need to attract the best teachers and daycare workers to provide French services to the people of Vanier and bring in the best French cultural experiences to the area. I believe Vanier can be a hub to celebrate French culture but to do this we need to first focus on fixing the problems that I have addressed in my platform that are driving people out of the community. By doing this we will be able to attract Francophones from all of Ottawa and Ontario to celebrate and build the culture.
Alex Osario: I believe that French is vital not only to vanier but being the 2nd official language of the country I believe it is important. My 3 steps are
1. Introduce French courses online or in person to help those that want to learn and get better ( myself included )
2. Work with business to help them showcase the French language I’m their local business through sinage and other initiatives.
3. Ensure the thisntopic doesn’t get buried but as long as I’m in office I will make sure this file always stays on top.
Stéphanie Plante: I have been ringing the alarm about linguistic insecurity for many years now as you can read here: Francophone parents in fight to keep French schools French | CBC News.
I was also president of the parents council at Francojeunesse during the pandemic and was recently endorsed by former Member of Provincial Parliament Madeleine Meilleur.
As a Franco-Ontarian, I am passionate about la Francophonie and want to ensure the continued flourishing and sustainability of the French language. I will also work tirelessly to fight against linguistic insecurity in our nation’s capital.
I will do this by:
Pass a by-law that all City buildings that fly flags must include the Franco-Ontario flag;
Ensure parity in children’s books for French and English at Ottawa Public Libraries;
Review of French-language Parks and Recreation programming to ensure that French programming is at par with English; and
Work with francophone social service organizations to increase french daycare providers in our Ward.
Francophone parents in fight to keep French schools French
Laura Shantz: I am proud to have learned French as an adult while living here in Vanier and was proud to serve as a member of the conseil d’école at my children’s school. I want to ensure that the French language thrives in our community and that it is easy for Francophones in Vanier to access quality services.
To accomplish this, I want to see expanded French-language programming at Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre to ensure that this building is used to its full potential and that there are locally-available Francophone recreation options. Not all families can drive to Gatineau or Orléans to access programming, and we need to ensure that the demand for French-language education in Vanier is accompanied by improved French-language programming from the City.
I want to ensure that our city services have proper French-language capacity to respond to residents in French, and also the cultural capacity to properly understand the diverse Francophone population in our city. We know that Francophones in Ottawa include Indigenous, Black and other people of colour and that they can be best served by programs and services that are appropriate to their cultures and traditions.
I want to see that city services delivered by third parties are always offered in French and English. Many of our services that are delivered by third parties, especially services such as harm reduction, mental health and homelessness services, are often not available in French, which results in Francophones being further marginalized. We also saw this difficulty with the large Covid-19 vaccination clinics throughout our city, where many residents could not receive services in French, which is especially important both to ensure people can be safely vaccinated and to combat vaccine hesitancy.
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You will be one of 24 council members: how do you plan to ensure Vanier’s unique needs are met with there being so many competing interests?
Tyler Cybulski: This is one area where amalgamation has not served our community. It is a challenging task to convince a colleague in Navan or Osgoode that our issues within Vanier require tremendous city resources and funding. Nevertheless, I believe that I can achieve this by focussing on our most urgent ward issues (as I have done throughout my campaign). When considering the very serious matters we are facing in Rideau-Vanier, I intend to keep my colleagues focussed on our homelessness crisis, opioid epidemic, housing shortfall and safety concerns. We can only improve our ward if the councillor is focussed on addressing the most serious issues
Jwane Izzetpanah: I don’t dance around the issues. I’ve seen firsthand how hard it has become for residents, businesses and workers in Vanier. I love this area and I see the potential that it has to become the best place in Ottawa. I will work to ensure Vaniers needs are met not by giving into groupthink or settling for solutions that give us half of what we are asking for. It would be my responsibility as an elected official to defend, debate and convince. I’m not the candidate that is going to meet in the middle. I just don’t think that meeting in the middle is the way that things should be done. I believe we need to have tough conversations and defend our community so we can deal with the problems that we need to address.
Alex Osario: When elected, I will fight and stand up for rhe unique interests of our ward. Respecting the other ward’s, but fighting for the best interest of ours.
Stéphanie Plante: I am indebted to the many community leaders who have made Ward 12 great, including our Indigenous and Inuit residents as Rideua Vanier is located on their traditional territory.
My experience and activism in the Ward has set me up well to represent all our residents’ needs. I have spent my entire career promoting and protecting our democratic institutions and infrastructure and I am passionate about my community and the well-being of all residents, but particularly those struggling. As a resident of Vanier and Sandy Hill for almost 20 years and a proud francophone, I have volunteered and led numerous committees and organizations including Twice Upon a Time, Action Sandy Hill, the Parent’s Council at Francojeunesse, Take Me Outside, Run Ottawa etc.
My experience working to help improve our democracy has taught me that democracy cannot exist without good governance, effective consultation and collaboration, and above all, transparency. Therefore, my commitment to Ottawans is to consult my constituents frequently, listen and learn about their concerns, vote on council for their best interests, show up at community association meetings and community events, be transparent and post why I voted a certain way, and accept feedback and criticism for my actions so that I am held accountable.
Laura Shantz: I plan to work with other councillors to advance shared priorities across wards. Progress on issues such as affordable housing and improved transit will strongly benefit many areas beyond Vanier and are places for building relationships. I recognize that serving on council is a give-and-take relationship and that I will need to be ready to support projects and initiatives in other neighbourhoods as I advocate for similar in Vanier.
A consideration that I feel is vital is that we use the City of Ottawa’s equity and inclusion lens in city decision-making. Using this lens would help us achieve some of our local improvement goals, as it would prioritize investments in communities such as Vanier and other areas that have historically been disadvantaged compared to other neighbourhoods.
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Have you considered the NCC studies and the City staff report concerning a sixth interprovincial bridge and/or a possible truck tunnel? What do you see as a solution?
Tyler Cybulski: The City of Ottawa conducted a feasibility study on a potential interprovincial truck tunnel and it is a proposal that I support. A tunnel, from the Vanier Parkway to the Macdonald Cartier Bridge, would divert approximately 1700 trucks per day from our downtown streets. When considering the environmental impact of diesel emissions and the traffic congestion in our downtown core, I believe that a $2B provincial investment into this tunnel would serve our city in positive way. Such an investment would transform downtown.
Jwane Izzetpanah: I’ve reviewed the NCC Study around the interprovincial bridge, and I agree that it will divert some truck traffic but it will not alleviate the current problems. We need to look for an integrated solution that reflects the change in density and population that Rideau Vanier faces.
Alex Osario: All options are on the table- every option will be looked at and considered, but something has to be done and I will work to ensure that something does get done.
Stéphanie Plante: Yes I live every day the realities of the trucks in our downtown core. I will advocate for strategies that get trucks off our downtown streets – for example cargo bikes should serve as alternative delivery vehicles. I support any solution to the trucks on King Edward as long as there is buy-in from the ward’s community associations.
Laura Shantz: I have reviewed the studies on bridges and truck tunnels. My top priority is to ensure that we find real, long-term solutions to the traffic issues downtown. I am interested in the prospect of a tunnel as I do not want to shift the current challenges from one community to another. That said, we must ensure that a tunnel would not further increase traffic volumes on Vanier Parkway. Commuter traffic, high speeds compared to other local streets, and limited safe crossings of the parkway already pose noise, congestion and safety challenges.
If the government decides that a new bridge is the best option, my preferred alignment would be along Aviation Parkway due to the large space buffer that exists and since this site, according to the NCC report, would have the smallest environmental and community impacts.
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How would you make public transit and active transportation safer and more reliable for our ward?
Tyler Cybulski: I believe that we need to completely overhaul our transit operations within not only Vanier, but our entire city. Transit isn’t working anywhere in Ottawa and I am committed to a hard reboot of OC Transpo to ensure that our buses and trains serve the needs of our communities.
Jwane Izzetpanah: Safety in public transportation is a big issue for me. One of the first statements I made in this campaign was that we shouldn’t be paying for an Uber home because we feel unsafe or uncomfortable waiting for a bus at night. A small but meaningful safety change I would like to make in our ward is increasing the lighting at every bus stop and every tunnel to ensure that these are well-lit spaces where people feel safe and add surveillance to bus stops in low-traffic areas.
Alex Osario: I believe in our downtown core is important. Getting around in our ward is even more important. We will work to ensure improved transit system is available and reliable. More routes, signage, education and bridge building are key.
Stéphanie Plante: For public transit, I support free usage of the LRT. As well, transit fares should be spent to improve service. At the door one of the most common concerns raised is about OCTranspo and disappearing buses, late buses and so forth. OCTranspo needs to understand that it still needs to provide good service to the communities in the core and its role is not just about moving commuters downtown and back. People downtown depend on the service.
As part of our Transit plan, in addition to advocating for more bike lanes and electric vehicle charging stations, we want to prioritize pedestrian and school areas for more snow clearing, enabling us to better see children in our streets so that they are protected from being struck by motor vehicles.
I support wider adoption of Automated Speed Enforcement in Ottawa school zones. When traffic is slowed down, more children, youth, and families can get to school safely. I also support street calming on more streets that are adjacent to areas with higher volumes of children, whether schools, parks, or other high traffic and high activity areas, and advocate for more speed bumps as one of the main traffic calming tools.
Laura Shantz: To make public transit more reliable, we need to ensure that OC Transpo has the necessary resources (vehicles and personnel) to provide reliable service to both OC Transpo and Para Transpo customers. We also need to review our routes to ensure that the buses go where people need to go. Despite the shifting realities around commuting, such as telework, the city still dedicates much of our service to ferrying people into the downtown core in the morning rush hour and bringing people back to our neighbourhood in the evening. We need to think about other places people need to access on the bus and improve our access to these destinations.
Safe active transportation means ensuring that our new 30km/h speed limits are respected. Speed enforcement is critical as many of our streets do not have sidewalks, and people are walking, biking and rolling in the street with cars. In the long term, when the city is rebuilding roads in our neighbourhoods, we must prioritize street redesigns to add sidewalks and amenities. We also need to improve cycling connections by fixing broken links in our cycle network, such as where protected and dedicated lanes end or cyclists are dumped into traffic or dangerous crossings. I am also interested in seeing a school street pilot project in our ward to make streets slower and safer for families who want to walk or bike to school.
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