College: Laine Johnson — We need safe, people-centred neighbourhoods

Ward 8 deserves accountability, safer streets, affordable housing and smart development.

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The Citizen asked candidates in the Oct. 24 election to share their thoughts:

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One morning last winter, I needed to buy milk, so I walked to the nearest store at College Square with my two kids in a stroller. The snow hadn’t been plowed, my street doesn’t have sidewalks, and the heavy traffic on Baseline Road was nerve-wracking. I felt frustrated that it was so challenging to do something simple.

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I love living in College ward, and there are ways we could change it to make it even better. Dodging traffic in deep snow on a long walk to the store, I realized I could help make those changes. Serving the community where I live is my calling.

My career as an executive at non-profit organizations has taught me not only how to manage budgets and meet strategic objectives, but also how to work with people toward common goals. I used to teach a workshop called “City Hall 101.” I know how to navigate local government.

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In January, I started knocking on the doors of my neighbours to learn what matters to them. My vision for College ward arises from those conversations and my own hopes for the place where my children will grow up.

The people of College ward deserve accountability for how money is spent — and how leaders conduct themselves. I will work collaboratively with council, city staff and the community to get results, while conducting myself ethically and transparently. I will make myself available to the people of my ward and communicate proactively about city projects and funding.

I experience first-hand our dangerous intersections and road maintenance needs. We need safe, people-centred neighbourhoods that preserve accessibility to schools, businesses and recreation spaces. I will spend our traffic-calming budget on effective measures in cut-through traffic hot-spots, and near schools and seniors’ residences. I will make it easier to walk, bike, use OC Transpo, and report road-safety concerns in our ward.

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College ward residents need affordable homes. I will advocate for programs that help seniors stay in their homes, and work with Algonquin College to resolve the pressure that student housing puts on the surrounding neighbourhoods. I’ll fight for the development of reasonably priced houses with liveable square footage for those looking to downsize.

Ottawa’s new Official Plan will bring intensification to all parts of the city. College ward deserves thoughtful development that will harness investment for community priorities — including infrastructure, amenities and green spaces — and curb urban sprawl. I will fight to secure the funding for the Baseline Rapid Transit Corridor and make sure that community needs, including those of both residents and small business owners, are a priority in its development.

College ward is already a vibrant community. I will work tirelessly to support our welcoming and inclusive culture, so my children —  and yours — can grow up in a diverse, culturally rich community that values everyone. And where it’s a little easier to walk to the store.

Learn more about my hopes for College ward at

Laine Johnson is running for Ottawa council in College, ward 8.

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