Engage Ottawa, Jan Harder
The City of Ottawa is always looking for feedback to better serve its residents. Whether it is for a particular project in a neighbourhood or official policies that will determine the future of Ottawa’s growth, there is always an opportunity to let your municipal government know your thoughts and preferences.
The city of Ottawa has created an easy online tool to submit your feedback. It can be accessed at the City’s homepage or directly at https://engage.ottawa.ca/. The City has made it easy to access and use this tool. With a few clicks, you can, at your convenience, provide your thoughts, preferences and comments to city staff that will use this information to better understand what residents want from their city. When you sign up, you will receive an email when there is a new initiative that is looking for your input. While your feedback may not come to fruition, it is always taken into consideration.
A quick glance at the home page shows almost 40 different projects that you can provide your input. Ranging from official policies to park designs, this is the easiest and most convenient way to be engaged in municipal affairs.
Currently, the major policies that the City is seeking feedback on, are the Transportation Master Plan (TMP), Solid Waste Master Plan and a Climate Resiliency Strategy among others. The above-mentioned policies will directly affect how the city responds to the most important issues that will face us in the next 25 years.
The TMP concerns how people and goods travel through the City. Common complaints today deal with traffic, roads, active transportation like cycling, public transit and missing links. In the next 25 years, the population of Ottawa is expected to grow at a high rate and planning today for tomorrow’s roads is a combination of engineering and people’s needs. Choices that are made today will affect how you and a future generation travel and how businesses are conducted. How do you think the City should deal with transportation with a climate emergency? What roads should be prioritized? How should the City integrate better active transportation so that people are safe when riding their bicycles and/or walking? These are just some of the things that you can have a say in.
The Solid Waste Master Plan is another huger policy directive that will affect how the City will deal with waste. The Trail Road Landfill is at 70% capacity and is expected to be full in 15 to 17 years. Each day the landfill receives 2 000 tonnes of waste. It is imperative that the City find a solution to diverting waste whether it’s through avoiding creating waste, recycling or re-using it.
Questions such as limits on garbage output through bag tagging, paying to dispose garbage on collections days and construction waste from renovations are a sample of what the City wants your feedback on.
On a more local level, there are also opportunities to provide your thoughts on park updates. Recently, Burnett park was one such project where residents had the opportunity to give feedback on what play structures they wanted to see. In the case of Burnett Park, the play structures were at the end of their life cycle. The link provided depicted the choices available for those structures. In other instances, when a new development is being built, the City asks for feedback on what you want to see. It’s a great opportunity to have a direct say in what your neighbourhood park will look like.
These are just a couple of examples of how many opportunities residents have to provide their thoughts and concerns to policies and projects that will affect them and their children in the coming years. With videos, photos and FAQs, Engage Ottawa is an easy-to-use innovative way to be more engaged.