Jim Watson announces his plan for an affordable and inclusive Ottawa

Today, Jim Watson announced his plan to keep our city affordable and inclusive for all residents. Mayor Watson’s key priorities include increasing affordable housing along LRT corridors, enacting Inclusionary Zoning regulations, appointing aCouncil Liaison on Women’s Issues, and providing seniors with no-charge transit services on Sundays, in addition to Wednesdays.

Mayor Watson announced that his first priority would be securing new affordable housing developments in proximity to rapid transit, in order to reduce transportation costs for residents and businesses, and provide them with enhanced live-work opportunities in their community. He will also continue to advocate with the provincial government for Inclusionary Zoning regulations that would help ensure we can deliver affordable housing units in all new developments across the city.

“By focusing on building affordable housing close to LRT, we will ensure that residents benefit from compact neighbourhoods where they can both live and work,’’ said Jim Watson. “They will also have easy access to affordable and reliable train service that can take them across the city.”

Given the average automobile costs approximately $12,000 per year to own, operate and maintain, eliminating the need for this household expense can result in real savings for low-income residents and families. These savings are in addition to the important environmental benefits that LRT will bring to our city.

The Confederation Line and Stage 2 LRT will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 200,000 tonnes annually by 2048 – the single largest, municipally driven reduction in our city’s history. It will get buses and cars off our streets, as well as reduce air pollutants, improving the quality of life of our residents.

To make transit even more affordable for all residents, Mayor Watson introduced the EquiFare and EquiPass program, a 50% discounted transit pass for low-income residents. The EquiPass costs $58 monthly, approximately half the price of Toronto’s low-income transit pass, which costs $116 per month. This saves pass holders approximately $700 every year.

The EquiFare and EquiPass program is the City’s single largest investment in making transit accessible to every resident. In June, more than 7,000 low-income residents were actively using the EquiPass or EquiFare to get around Ottawa.

If he is re-elected, Jim Watson will:

  • Continue the City’s $108 million annual investment in homelessness prevention, social and supportive housing services
  • Develop at least three areas along the current or future LRT corridors with affordable mixed-use neighbourhoods by increasing the amount of City land available to build new affordable housing units
  • Introduce Inclusionary Zoning regulations to ensure the creation of affordable housing units in new developments across the city
  • Appoint a Council Liaison on Women’s Issues to advocate for women and increase representation on agency boards and advisory committees; and
  • Provide no-charge transit service to seniors on Sundays, in addition to Wednesdays.

Mayor Watson has witnessed the success of no-charge OC Transpo services for seniors on Wednesdays. This measure is not only a cost saving opportunity for seniors; it encourages them to leave their home and take part in social outings, helping to fight widespread loneliness and isolation affecting many seniors. This measure would cost the City approximately $100,000 per year.

Jim Watson is committed to increasing the representation of women in the City’s appointments process, with the goal of appointing women to 50 percent of positions on agency boards and advisory committees through the next term of Council. Mayor Watson would also appoint a Women’s Liaison on Council, with the mandate to advocate for women’s issues at City Hall.

Click here to read the backgrounder.