Rawlson King: Councillor’s report

Rawlson King

29 July, 2019

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the residents of Rideau-Rockcliffe for entrusting me with the honour and responsibility of becoming your new representative at City Hall.  My grassroots involvement, community experience and love of our city means I will endeavor to effectively represent you and the interests of our ward.

As an experienced, result-based community leader, I’ve lived in Ward 13 for 15 years and have been an active volunteer for 10 years on a wide range of civic issues.

I previously served as the President of the Overbrook Community Association, was a volunteer Board Member and Treasurer at the Rideau-Rockcliffe Community Resource Centre, and served as the inaugural Co-chair of the Ottawa Police Service’s Community Equity Council, which aims to bridge gaps between police and racialized communities.

I ran for public office in the recent by-election because I believe Ward 13 needs experienced leadership to address issues of a fairer and more community focused development process, public safety, and more affordable and accessible transit and transportation at City Hall. We have serious issues, including lack of infrastructure investment in road maintenance and transit, issues with spot development, along with increasing crime rates and a lack of economic opportunities.

I will apply a progressive approach to work towards resolving these problems that reflects the direction that you, the residents, want for this ward and city.

As a consequence, my early priorities include: i) making improvements to public transit and enhancing road maintenance; ii) working with communities to bring more openness and transparency to the planning and development process; iii) working on a poverty reduction strategy for our ward’s most impoverished neighbourhoods; and iv) developing a comprehensive city-wide climate change policy.   

Liaison to Black & Multicultural Communities
I was elected the first-ever Black city councillor in a historic by-election held April 2019, in Rideau-Rockcliffe (Ward 13), in the City of Ottawa.  Noting this fact, I believe it to be prudent to have a liaison to the and multi-ethnic communities to consult on issues of significance, including: the establishment of a anti-racism secretariat.  

Sophia Jacob has the role of “Multicultural & Diversity Liaison to Ottawa City Councillor Rawlson King”.  She will be working on a project-by-project, contractual basis on relevant files from outside the office.  If there are any inquiries concerning any issues affecting the Black or multi-ethnic communities, or if you have requests for me to attend events, please send her an e-mail at mailto:sophia.jacob@rideau-rockcliffe.ca.  

Council Updates
At my first Council meeting on April 24, I was gratified to vote in favour of a motion to declare a climate emergency. Climate change is the most significant challenge of our time and requires immediate action. With the climate emergency declaration, Council will act to recognize climate change as a priority in the City’s Strategic Plan and will provide measurable criteria to determine whether progress is being made in the City’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Council’s decision will incur a one-time cost of $250,000, that will be paid from surplus revenue for the City’s Hydro Ottawa dividend. This money will help the City accelerate its work on renewable energy and energy conservation programs and allow it to conduct more technical analysis on reducing emissions.

At the May 22 Council meeting, after hearing from activists within the disabled community, I put forward an inquiry to the Transportation department concerning the status of ParaTranspo’s proposed reservation system. ParaTranspo users have waited long for this system to be implemented and I asked for a clear timeline on when the system would be implemented.

Urban Councillors also put forward a motion to move the City towards “Vision Zero” after the tragic death of a cyclist, as a result of a collision in front of City Hall. I am committed to making this City safer for cyclists and that is why I will be fully supportive of the motion.

On July 10, I voted in favour of Councillor Mathieu Fleury’s motion at Council to rescind the conditional heritage permit for the Château Laurier.  During the debate, I noted that while the Château Laurier owners have a fantastic opportunity to expand their property and service offerings, their proposed design must be acknowledged to be incompatible with the existing building.

Given the sensitivity of this pre-eminent space in our Nation’s Capital, it’s important that any proposed design is appropriate to the location. The design as it is currently proposed is incompatible with the historic sight lines of the Parliamentary precinct as outlined by Parks Canada’s guidelines. Further, the design did not meet the three conditions that were to be met prior to site plan approval, in my opinion.

Most constituents have noted that the latest iteration of the design does not approach universally accepted standards for an addition to a heritage property.

I said during the debate that the proposed extension on the northern side of the Château Laurier was not only incompatible with the existing structure but with the heritage context of the site which is in proximity to Parliament Hill, the Byward market, Major Hill’s Park and the Rideau Canal, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Due to non-compliance in design, I argued that City Council must act as careful and informed custodians of heritage. Countless heritage professionals had informed my office that the conditions of the heritage permit have not been met. They told me that the property owner has not respected the high value that our community places on the building. As such, for a landmark so iconic and beloved, I believe Council should never have delegated authority and that Council should have acknowledged this error and corrected it, since the proposed addition is not appropriate, given the property’s importance to the city and its national significance.

I also brought forward a motion to address gun related violence to City Council on June 26. The motion asked for the root causes of gun violence be addressed through greater social investments, better youth programming and strategies to tackle illegal gun ownership. The motion also asked the Mayor to write to the federal government asking for the sale and possession of handguns to be banned within the City Of Ottawa. The motion has been referred to Police Services Board where public and expert input will be solicited.

Contact Me

If you have comments, questions or concerns, please contact our office by e-mail at rideaurockcliffeward@ottawa.ca or by phone at 613.580.2483.

Rawlson King

Conseiller, Quartier 13, Rideau-Rockcliffe

Councillor, Ward 13, Rideau-Rockcliffe

110 Laurier Avenue West |110 avenue Laurier ouest

City of Ottawa | Ville d’Ottawa

613-580-2483

rawlson.king@ottawa.ca

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