Everyone gets a seat

A message sent today to my Council Colleagues about the importance of equitable transit oriented development...
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Good morning colleagues,
 
As you may recall the Healthy Transportation Coalition recently co-hosted the ‘Building Affordable Housing Near Rapid Transit’ session at City Hall. I know several of you attended. 
 
While the coalition has circulated the ‘As we heard it’ report to everyone who attended I also wanted to forward it with some concise comments, several of which you heard me discuss that day.
We are blessed to live in such a prosperous city. One where we invest much time and effort to ensure an equitable and inclusive life for all. We don’t always get it right. We don’t always succeed. But where we have fallen short I have always seen you, my colleagues, step up to make changes, right wrongs and advocate for fairness. 
Collectively we have invested much in the new LRT project. I don’t have to tell you what a shift this system will make for our city. It is much more than a transit system. The development that LRT fosters provides a mechanism to address the shortfall we have in rental property, the gap we have in affordable housing, the rising stress on housing affordability on top of connectivity to employment, engagement and inclusion. 
This only all works though if it is a system for everyone. 
Equi-fare and equi-pass ensure financial access to this system, but the physical barriers of distance threaten to introduce new walls to equity. I write to you today to encourage collective work on equi-access. Ensuring people of all incomes, backgrounds and living situations can live near and benefit from the new Light Rail. 
While much work needs to be done to secure this future for all of Ottawa’s resident I would encourage we begin by being guided to:
 
- establish targets for supportive & affordable housing near transit
- determine which of you will, as elected representatives and staff, become champions for this work. Keeping it in your sights, moving the ball up the field.
- build a strong steering/working group including the community services sector, residents and government members 
I know the passion each of you have for our community and for equity. 
Let’s make sure when this train leaves the station it leaves no one behind. 
Everyone matters. Everyone gets a seat. 

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