February 15, 2018: Councillor’s Corner; Current Events in Ward 15.

February 15, 2018: Councillor’s Corner;
Current Events in Ward 15.

By Jeff Leiper, City Councillor Kitchissippi Ward.

Congratulations Kitchissippi – you made it to February! We had a very busy start to 2018 and things are continuing to ramp up in our office as we are working on many important files.

On Sunday, January 28th we celebrated the SJAM Winter Trail! I was thrilled to attend a ribbon cutting of the new connection between Champlain Park and the SJAM Winter Trail, made possible by the autumn closure of Pontiac Street that my office championed.

Groomer Dave, our MPP Yasir Naqvi, the Norwegian ambassador Kari H. Ovind, John Rapp from Dovercourt, four-time Olympian Sue Holloway and many others were in attendance for the ribbon cutting. The ribbon cutting was followed by a ski festival, which included a kid’s loppet and a variety of fun activities. We are so fortunate to live in a Ward with great access to the Winter Trail and all it has to offer.

There is a City-initiated by-law amendment in the works to change the zoning for St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, the Bronson Centre, Barrymore’s, and places of worship across the city to reflect their capacity as live music and performance venues. The amendment is now available for comment, and comments to the planner Tim Moerman are due by February 27th. Find more information about the study and comment on our website!

The City has submitted a very forceful response to Queen’s Park outlining the issues with the new inclusionary zoning rules. This response addresses the major shortcomings of the rules, especially the requirement to subsidize 40% of the lost value to the developer of an affordable unit and an exemption for rental housing. I was also able to reiterate these points in an op-ed I co-authored with Councillors from Toronto, London, Hamilton, and Kingston Cities.

In related news, I brought forward and inquiry to Council at the January 31st meeting asking what tools the City has to direct housing development and renewal or renovation of existing facilities in rapid transit hubs to be affordable. The inquiry also asks if there are any current urban planning strategies in place to ensure that urban displacement of low-income and vulnerable residents does not occur around rapid transit hubs. As we welcome light rail we must continue to ensure that it is accessible to everyone.

We have a few upcoming events in Kitchissippi Ward. On February 24th we will be working with the Wellington West BIA to put on a community bonfire in Somerset Square Park from 5 to 7 pm. It will be our last bonfire of the season and it’s shaping up to be a fun one, so don’t miss out! We will have our pop-up office hours at Happy Goat (at 35 Laurel) on February 27th from 4-7 p.m. Come see us and chat all things Kitchissippi!