Candidates make their pitches for city council: Tobi Nussbaum, Rideau-Rockcliffe

On Thursday, Aug. 28, OBJ issued an open invitation to all candidates in the upcoming municipal election to answer one simple question: Why should the business community vote for you?

As the responses come in, one will be published online each day, and be included in our daily email newsletter. Send your response to editor@obj.ca.

Today’s response is from Tobi Nussbaum, a candidate in Rideau-Rockcliffe.

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I am Tobi Nussbaum and I’m running for City Councillor in Rideau-Rockcliffe ward.

One of my four platform themes is building a more ambitious and sustainable city. Key to achieving this goal is greater economic development and job creation.

To this end, I recently released an economic growth strategy for my ward and surrounding area.

Titled, East of the Rideau: A Framework for Local Economic Development and Job Creation, the strategy outlines several initiatives to attract business investment, foster a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, and create jobs.

With much of the city’s economic activity occurring in the west end, there’s an obvious need to focus on ensuring job creation, investment and economic activity in the Ottawa’s east side as well.

Rideau-Rockcliffe and other east-end communities have strengths to contribute to Ottawa’s economic future and well-being.

Elements of my Economic Development Framework include:

1. Creation of an “East of the Rideau Economic Development Plan”

The plan would be developed by a temporary working group, comprised of representatives from large employers – such as la Cité Collegiale, the National Research Council and the Montfort Hospital - local business owners, community associations, employee groups, working in close collaboration with elected officials from the three levels of government, including Councillor colleagues representing Rideau-Vanier and Beacon Hill-Cyrville. The plan will capitalize on our communities’ inherent strategic advantages to create economic growth. These strengths include ready access to the downtown core, large institutional employers and dynamic residential neighbourhoods where highly skilled workers want to live and raise their families.

2. Establishment of Neighbourhood Co-Working Spaces

The establishment of a local co-working community – similar to HUB Ottawa – would see the creation of shared office space for entrepreneurs with common needs in neighbourhoods. The HUB approach is a great way to help people share ideas, reduce the cost of office space and nurture local entrepreneurship. Options could include using community centres, or other city buildings, and developing a favourable tax regime for property owners who rent space for such use.

3. Expansion of the City’s Business Concierge Program

Prospective owners and investors often find the permitting and licensing aspects of City Hall to be a barrier to establishing new businesses. The current City Capital Investment Track Program provides that service only to prospective businesses/investments creating over 100 jobs. We need to expand the program to ensure small and medium-sized enterprises have help navigating City Hall as well.

4. Focus on Economic Opportunities in the former CFB Rockcliffe Development

The development of the former CFB Rockcliffe will be a key opportunity for the City to create a mixed-use neighbourhood close to the city core that includes sufficient space for commercial and other business use. Taking advantage of the proximity to the National Research Council and the Montfort Hospital, there should be efforts to attract innovative health sciences, high-technology and engineering start-ups. Working in partnership with Invest Ottawa and the Innovation Centre at Bayview Yards project, such an initiative could be an eastern satellite for Ottawa.

Beyond my platform ideas to create economic growth, a concrete example of my ability to help local businesses thrive is my work as co-founder and inaugural chair of the Beechwood Village Alliance.

For this initiative, I brought small business owners and local community groups together to develop and implement a plan to help this main street flourish.

The positive transformation of Beechwood Avenue in two short years has been remarkable.

I hope to continue this work, and help address the needs of other main streets in the ward, and city too, if elected.

My proven track record as a community builder, coupled with my professional experience as a lawyer, diplomat and senior executive at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, prove I have  the knowledge and skills to help build a more economically diverse and vibrant Ottawa.

On my campaign web site, www.votetobi.ca , are endorsements from many community leaders for my candidacy, including this one:

"Tobi is a genuine grassroots community leader with an extraordinary professional background and a track record of getting things done. He has a compelling vision for the future of our ward. We need him at City Hall." -- David Dodge, former Governor of the Bank of Canada and Deputy Minister of Finance.

Thank you for your consideration.

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Previously published

Aug. 29 - Katherine Hobbs, incumbent, Kitchissippi

Sept. 2 - Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi

Sept. 3 - Marc Aubin, Rideau-Vanier

Sept. 4 - Thomas McVeigh, Somerset

Sept. 5 - Cam Holmstrom, Rideau-Rockcliffe

Sept. 8 - Catherine McKenney, Somerset

Sept. 9 - Mathieu Fleury, incumbent, Rideau-Vanier

Sept. 11 - Jeff Morrison, Somerset

Sept. 23 - Marianne Wilkinson, incumbent, Kanata North

Sept. 24 - Jason Kelly, Gloucester-South Nepean

Oct. 6 - Susan Sherring, Gloucester-South Nepean