Downtown Revitalization Task Force hopes to publish public report next month, spokesperson confirms

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The Downtown Revitalization Task Force is in the final stages of drafting its long-awaited public report and plans to present its findings next month, according to a spokesperson for the group.

The task force, which was struck by Ottawa Centre MP Yasir Naqvi to address challenges in the downtown core, has spent the past year holding regular meetings and conducting surveys and consultations with the public.

After considerable delays in recent months, the report is in its final draft stages, a spokesperson for Naqvi’s office confirmed Monday.

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“Our initial intention was to have a finished product for release by the end of June, but some minor scheduling delays have pushed that timeline back a bit,” they said. “We’re now looking to mid-August to have a final public product to publish.” 

The report is expected to detail the results of that work, including ideas and recommendations aimed at breathing life back into the downtown area. Among the topics examined are affordable, accessible housing; reinvigorating local businesses; sustainability and the environment; and inclusive community spaces that promote Indigenous reconciliation.  

“The goal is to put a roadmap in place,” Neil Malhotra, co-chair of the task force, told OBJ last Friday. “The committee doesn’t have implementation tools at the end of the day, so we’re trying to put forward some ideas. The committee is representing the city, really trying to push some things forward.”

In January, Naqvi’s office told OBJ that the task force had set a tentative deadline to release the report by late spring 2023.

Once the review is complete, members of the task force expect to receive a presentation of the report. 

“I’m looking forward to seeing it,” said Kevin McHale, executive director of Sparks Street BIA and a member of the task force. “It should have some good recommendations for the public sector and private sector, profit and non-profit, and everybody in between.”

He added that there have been bumps along the road that may explain why the work has fallen behind. 

“I’m waiting, just like everybody else, but everyone’s got so much going on right now,” he said. “We had some pretty aggressive timelines on what we were hoping to get out of it and we had a couple of delays here and there. We want to make sure we’re producing something quality and not just haphazard.”

– with files from Mia Jensen

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