Task force seeks public feedback on ways to revitalize Ottawa’s downtown

A task force that has spent months deliberating over how to inject new life into Ottawa’s pandemic-battered central core wants to hear from residents.

The Downtown Ottawa Revitalization Task Force Tuesday launched a public engagement tool aimed at generating “significant” public input on ways to create a more “inviting” downtown in the capital, Ottawa Centre MP Yasir Naqvi said in a news release on Tuesday.

“The best ideas always rise to the top when we engage people and seek broad public input on decisions being made,” said Naqvi, a founding member of the task force. “If we want to come up with recommendations that our community and local policymakers can support, public consultation and sustained engagement are key to building a consensus.”

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The group will be seeking public feedback in three phases until the end of March. 

The first phase, which will involve gathering general input and ideas from the community, starts Tuesday and will continue for the next three weeks.

Following the initial round of consultations, the task force will follow up with participants in two more phases to provide feedback on findings from phase one.

Graeme Hussey, co-chair of the task force and president of non-profit affordable housing developer Cahdco, said that for the group to meet its goals, “we need to make sure we are actually hearing from those people who live, work or play in the area today.”

The task force will incorporate public feedback into its final report, which will include recommendations on breathing new life into Ottawa’s downtown core.

Claridge Homes vice-president Neil Malhotra, the task force’s other co-chair, said the group is seeking a broad cross-section of views from around the National Capital Region. 

“The success and revitalization of our downtown is something our entire city has a stake in,” Malhotra said in a statement. “The success of downtown Ottawa, as the heart of our nation’s capital, will have downstream benefits for our entire city.”

The task force was formed in July 2022 to brainstorm potential solutions for a range of issues plaguing Ottawa’s core, including a lack of affordable, accessible housing, as well as ways to reinvigorate local businesses, create a more sustainable environment and build more inclusive community spaces that promote Indigenous reconciliation. 

Interested individuals can access the tool here.

Ottawa businesses await a plan from downtown revitalization task force

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