The Salvation Army Mega-Shelter & Ottawa’s Affordable Housing Deficit by Bruce McConville

Bruce Comm Debate 9 Oct

A home is more than a bed and a roof over your head. It is a place that is safe and secure. A place where one can find stability and have the confidence to be oneself free from judgment and prejudice. It is a basic human right not afforded to many in Ottawa.

We are suffering from a housing and homelessness crisis. Our numbers of homeless people and families are rising, as are their length of shelter stays. The waiting list for affordable housing exceeds ten thousand households with wait times exceeding four years.

To combat this, the City continues to allocate more and more tax dollars to emergency shelters. This is a band-aid response hearkening us back to the dark ages by diverting scarce resources away from prevention and permanent housing solutions, such as Housing First.

The strongest asset a mayor can bring to any city is courageous leadership. A mayor should be a motivating force, moulding council into an effective team working on a shared agenda of progress. A lot more can be achieved with our current resources at hand.

Too many potential partnerships with large financial asset holders such as Timbercreek or The Salvation Army, are lost. Our mayor must aim higher and build partnerships with these organizations to achieve win-win results for the people of Ottawa. These entities have gigantic pools of idle wealth our city can use to solve housing problems while still providing a good return on investment for developers.

My motivation for running as mayor of Ottawa is the realization that Jim Watson’s leadership ignores too many community concerns. Watson is blatantly in favour of rich developers and big interests. He exhibits little concern for the common good and taxpayers. He continually fails our communities by coercing council members to trade votes on planning issues that do not concern their Wards.

Mr. Watson does not engender teamwork and ignores the very reason that he and councillors were elected…to be the voices for their communities and act in our collective best interest. This critical era in Ottawa’s development is happening behind closed doors, to the detriment of our citizens, our future and Ottawa’s reputation.

Both federal and provincial funding strategies towards homelessness dictate a Housing First approach. Ottawa shamefully contravenes these directives.

Our shelters get paid for filling beds, not for getting their clients successfully established into stable housing. The Salvation Army gets paid the same whether a homeless man stays there for one day or many years. This must not be permitted to continue!

Ottawa is now well positioned to fully embrace the Housing First option. We have an opportunity to become a world leader in this humanitarian endeavor as befits our well-educated and affluent G7 capital.

The Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa clearly demonstrated in its Progress Report Review 2014-2017, that Watson and City of Ottawa staff have consistently failed to meet the targets laid out in their 10-Year Housing and Homelessness Plan.

Instead of focusing on tackling the problem at hand, they have chosen to celebrate minor accomplishments. With the 350-bed mega shelter proposed for Montreal Road, mayor Watson is on the record as having worked with the Salvation Army for over a year before their proposal became public. He then attacked Councillor Mathieu Fleury in an email exchange when Fleury opposed this long-failed approach.

Conspiring with developers against communities is no way for the mayor of our national capital to comport himself. Unfortunately, Watson’s deplorable behaviour is more the norm than the exception.

The residents of Somerset Ward recently had their Community Design Plan (CDP) flat out ignored by the mayor, planning committee, and council. They demonstrated a slavish devotion in putting the demands of developers before the needs of communities once again. City staff are equally complicit, treating community consultations as an annoying waste of time. This occurs whenever CDPs conflict with whatever development proposal comes before them.

Sadly, most of the proposals from developers do not include any affordable housing. This continues leaving the housing needs of low-income families unmet despite strong suggestions that all new developments include 25% affordable housing requirement. Barrhaven Councillor and Planning Committee Chair, Jan Harder, scoffed at this notion when it recently came up at a Council meeting.

The need for affordable housing is high and growing. This is evidenced by the lengthening wait list for Ottawa Community Housing units (OCH) which is now over 10,000 in number. This need is about to get worse as the low-income families of Herongate have been served eviction notices and are losing their homes. Many of these people will join the rapidly expanding ranks of homeless families in Ottawa. They will be housed in rundown motels at a cost of $110 to $180 each per night.

While the community looked to Mayor Watson for leadership, he responded with a shrug saying that there was nothing he could do to help these families, many with children. This is not leadership. It is a cold, callous approach to city development that puts wealthy developers first and the vulnerable at the back of an ever-growing line. Enough is enough.

The time has come to elect a new mayor who will put our communities first. A mayor who will demand that developers build to achieve the visions articulated by the people who live and work within those communities. Let’s stop these shameful actions before Ottawa to becomes an embarrassment not only to our ourselves, but to the world.

Bruce McConville
Ottawa Mayoral Candidate

Bruce McConville: On Corruption, Change & Choice – Your vote is Critical

18 Bruce Tree to fix

The Citizen headlines say it all. “Do We think we can do better with a new mayor for Ottawa?” Points are made on What this election is all about.

All media facets decry a lack of impassioned and articulate debate in this campaign along with creative ideas propelled by worthy alternatives than our current mayor. It’s unanimous that a leader is needed at the helm who can unite council on a progressive agenda for our city. There’s Clive and a bunch of imminent also-rans. I am one of them, Bruce McConville, considered in a galactic third place of twelve wannabes.

I say bull that there is no real choice in who our next mayor should be. The first choice should be a choice of change, to reject Jim Watson. Then a choice to vote for me. I don’t have nearly the backing nor the experience of the incumbent nor the budget to outspend him on this campaign. I do have an abundance of what our mayor lacks, integrity and courage. I allege that he is corrupt. That is why I aim to replace him.

Jim maintains a cozy image in the public mindset of those who remain complacently uninformed or uninterested to invest any time in researching other candidates. Add in the fact that many constituents see voting as a waste of time and those who habitually don’t vote, won’t. It does look like smooth sailing to a clear victory for this despot. So much so that he chose to avoid most of the all candidate debates and block naysayers from social media. He is unwilling to face questions to defend his failed record on transit, job creation, tourism, affordable housing, community policing, homelessness and most importantly, city planning. It would be a shame to allow him to continue.

Mr. Doucet wants to retire. He and his family deserve it. I will give him and his mentor, Jane Jacobs, powerful impact in shaping how I will help you build this city. I am the right choice to lead Ottawa at this critical juncture. It is not too late to get the real change we need on Monday.

We have a majority of experienced and progressive councillors who will return to the table and intelligent replacements for those who won’t. All city employees including planning staff and emergency services personnel want to partner their expertise with us and do their jobs without interference. If we can truly appreciate our gifted teams we’ll be in good hands no matter who replaces Watson. His type of experience is no longer necessary or helpful to free Ottawa from the control he has given to developers and big interests. This is our city, not theirs and we must take it back for good and define our own vision. Our voice.

And yet the future of the city is at stake on so many fronts. That is what this election is all about. Can we build our city with intelligent teamwork while addressing our social deficits in a way that saves our tax dollars? You bet Ottawa can achieve this.

Go to Youtube and type in Bruce McConville and see for yourself. Or simply click this link:    https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=bruce%2bmcconville

Visit my website www.brucemcconvilleformayor.ca

Facebook: Bruce McConville For Mayor

Bruce McConville Tel: 613-298-1984 email: bmcconville@outlook.com

Bruce McConville Attends Rideau-Rockcliffe Mayoral Election Debate

18 Bruce Clive

With excerpts from an Article By Charles-Antoine Gagnon, Le Droit (English Translation)

The tunnel project to connect the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge to Highway 417 was a popular topic at the Rideau-Rockcliffe Mayoral Canddate’s Debate. It was attended by three mayoral candidates, including  Bruce McConville, Hamid Alakozai and Clive Doucet.  Despite requests from the organizers, the incumbent mayor,  Jim Watson did not show up for the debate which was attended by over a hundred people.

The 3.4 km tunnel would relieve congestion in the downtown core from the many heavy trucks that flow from Quebec to Ontario and vice versa. Bruce McConville, stated that  the fact that the capital of the country does not already have such an infrastructure is “embarrassing for a world capital city”.  “It’s a project that has been waiting for a long, very, very long time,” he said.

A lively discussion ensued about the Salvation Army’s 350 bed Mens Mega Shelter proposed for Vanier.  This is a seriously unpopular issue in Vanier, Manor Park, Rockcliffe Park and Lindenlea,    Many voters expressed concerns about the negative impact the shelter would have on their communities.  Bruce McConville spoke at length about the potential impact of drug dealers on the streets and the increased and continued  damage to both the Beechwood and Notre Dame Cemeteries caused by homeless people living in them.  “It will only get worse if the Mega Shelter gets built,” said McConville.

As a key coordinator for SOS Vanier, the community group which sprung up to protest the site of the proposed Mega Shelter,  McConville decided to run for Mayor after witnessing the callous disregard shown to the community by Watson and 16 City Council members who voted for the shelter to be built.  “During the council hearing,  residents were not even allowed to speak about the negative social impact this project would have on the community.  It was gut wrenching to watch and there was no prior public consultation with the Mayor or City Council,” said McConville.

Bruce McConville On CTV Morning Live: Ottawa’s Race For Mayor

Bruce CTV 2

Here’s an interview I gave 0n CTV’s Morning Live.  It covers several of our City’s key issues.  Have a listen….

https://www.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=1514265

Bruce McConville Attends NowWhat? Debate In Ottawa

IMG_20181002_210642-001

Ottawa Mayoral candidates squared off in a debate over gender-based issues. The debate was hosted by NowWhat? – an alliance formed to highlight gender-based violence. Organizations such as Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre and the City for All Women Initiative prepared questions for the debate.

Bruce McConville stated, “The preservation of one’s sense of belonging to a community should be at the forefront of the city’s vision. Urban planning without social equity is like playing chess without the queen. Poverty & homelessness are social & health concerns. They are also human and civil rights issues. I want to live in a city that recognizes this.  A city that makes building adequate social housing and alleviating homelessness a priority! For all genders! And nationalities”.

In response to a question about violence when travelling on public transit, he said, “He would introduce ‘safety strips’ along bus and transit routes to help people feel safer when travelling. The reintroduction of Community Policing would also alleviate many of these incidents”..”Our City also needs to show leadership in highlighting these issues to create more awareness amongst the general public.”

Mayoral Candidate Bruce McConville Tackles Questions At Ottawa Tourism Debate

18 Bruce Ottawa Board of Trade

Excerpts from Ottawa Business Journal Article by David Saul. 2 Ocotber 2018

Ottawa’s mayoral challengers clashed over how to boost public safety in the ByWard Market and the need to regulate online accommodation platforms such as Airbnb during an all-candidates debate at the Shaw Centre. The Ottawa Board of Trade hosted the 90-minute event, which focused on how the candidates would promote and grow the city’s tourism industry.  Among the most contentious topics was safety in the ByWard Market, one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions.

Candidate Bruce McConville told the audience of about 80 people he would increase police foot patrols in the neighbourhood and push to get rid of emergency shelters in the area, saying they did nothing to solve the underlying issues that cause homelessness. Instead, he called on the city to invest more in affordable housing for low-income residents to get people off the street.

“Funding more and more shelter beds that are unnecessary is kind of like putting an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff and not worrying about people jumping off at the top,” he said. “We can do much better.”

Systematic Corruption At City Hall Under Jim Watson

It is the duty of elected officials to protect the rights and safety of Ottawa residents.  I am appalled at the way our Mayor conducts himself in managing city business.  He has become a dictator in presiding over City Council and rides roughshod over our communities, ignoring their input.  Jim Watson freely disregards provincial and municipal laws in order to force his own developer-friendly agenda upon Ottawa.  Without apology, he blatantly changes enacted bylaws to conform with his illegal manipulations of our planning act.  This document would better serve him as toilet tissue rather than as legislated protection for citizens.

Mr. Watson’s insistence on forcing approval for the Salvation Army’s disastrous proposal to build a 350 bed homeless men’s emergency shelter on Montreal Road is a prime example of what propelled me to challenge this political despot.  With no accountability, he concocted a secret deal to enrich his developer friends and destroy a vulnerable community’s prosperity and safety for all time.

Never mind that this location is protected in law as a ‘Designated Heritage Main Street’ intended to guarantee economic prosperity for vulnerable communities, such as Vanier, that are already in a state of decline.  No problem for the Mayor and his political cronies, he simply championed a new bylaw to remove this protective statute after the fact.  Be aware that this special provision strictly prohibits emergency shelters as a land use because of the adverse ‘social consequences’ they generate; violent crime; drug trafficking, abuse, addiction, overdose emergencies and death, child and adult prostitution and arson.  This list of human degradation goes on.  I have witnessed it all firsthand and say, Enough!  It’s time for a new Mayor that has compassion.”

Mr. Watson ignores an overwhelming world body of evidence which clearly shows what a shameful act he is precipitating.  His move can only bring discredit upon our G7, world class capital city and lasting devastation by creating a large inner-city urban ghetto.  Over a short time, this will spread and create dire repercussions to adjoining communities such as Rockcliffe Park, New Edinburgh, Lindenlea, Manor Park, Overbrook, Lowertown and Sandy Hill.  Historical locations like the Beechwood Cemetery, Notre-Dame Cemetery, and The Grotto will be overrun not to mention every community park in between.  This degradation process has already begun.  We can stop this from happening before it’s too late.

I am centrally involved in a huge effort to stop this as a lead community activist and fundraiser with SOS Vanier, as an appellant to the Ontario Municipal Board with three appeals in my name, as a humanitarian, as an adversely affected citizen, as a property and a business owner, as a defender of francophone rights, as a strong advocate for our city to fully adopt ”Housing First”, and now, as a mayoral candidate strongly opposed to Mr. Watson’s regime.

Here is the real domino effect of this situation if it’s allowed to proceed:

An unnamed, secret developer will buy the Booth Centre property from the Salvation Army for a value far exceeding it’s worth and build three extravagant high-rise condo towers there.  The Salvation Army will purchase the Concorde Motel for a value far exceeding it’s worth and triple the number of their current shelter beds from 160 to 350, with a guarantee from the city to pay rent every night for each room.  The same unnamed developer will get the contract to construct their new $55 million facility.  The Mayor will provide political cover to the Salvation Army and change any laws necessary to get the deal done.

The Salvation Army will remain silent other than when ordered to provide comment and spin.  I expect that the Shepherds of Good Hope emergency shelter on the Market will also be relocated to Vanier and their property on Murray Street will also be purchased at an inflated value.  More extravagant buildings will be built on that property as well and on the adjacent property to the west – the one with the infamous posters.  Barriers and imposed legal conditions will prevent the homeless from venturing to the Market area and restrict them east of the Rideau River.  The mayor will get credit for ridding the ‘homeless cancer’ from the Market once and for all – recall Mr. O’Shaughnessy’s infamous petition this year with over 2,500 signatures on it before he was ordered to quash it   Another feather will be added to Mr. Watson’s tarnished political cap and he will smile at lots of ribbon cutting ceremonies highlighting what a great achievement this is for Ottawa.

There is hope.  The deal has been stopped with several appeals that I have jointly launched with others.  

Our first appeal to stop the shelter was rejected by the City solicitor, Rick O’Connor, after council approved the project on November 22 of last year.  He informed us that no decision had been reached in the matter.  The objective of this ploy was to delay accepting our appeal until after December when appeals would then be heard by the new council friendly Local Planning Appeal Tribunal rather than the more impartial Ontario Municipal Board.  We then launched another appeal to have our first appeal heard by the OMB.  This was eventually approved.  Confused?  There’s more.

We have also launched yet another appeal against council’s recent approval to remove the Heritage Main Street Designation from the Montreal Road location.  

I have helped the Vanier community raise $165,000 towards its goal of $200,000 required to pay legal bills for this fight.  Drew Dobson, Coventry Connections, Shelter Corporation and myself are severally and jointly liable for all legal costs.  

Anyone wishing to help us reach our goal can contribute at: https://ca.gofundme.com/sosvanier

You can also help by signing my worldwide appeal to the Salvation Army’s Global General, Brian Peddle, and his wife, Commissioner Rosalie Peddle.  Information and a petition for this can be found on my website: https://brucemcconvilleformayor.ca/category/online-petitions/ 

I took a stroll today with Matthew Best, a reporter from Carleton University, to show him firsthand the devastation that has already occurred in the area. We paused in front of the Concorde Motel.  The owner, Lou Malouf, came out to speak with us.  We shook hands and I challenged him to reconsider the sale of the motel to the Salvation Army and let the community and I help him find an appropriate buyer for his property.  He reiterated falsehoods about how the project would be beneficial to the community and to the homeless and declined my offer.  

As we shook hands in parting, he said to me, “No hard feelings Bruce, this is strictly business!”

Please enjoy my video on the irony of this shameful failure of Ottawa’s leadership, namely Jim Watson and the City Councillors he hoodwinked into trading their votes to approve this mega-monstrosity.  

Follow this Link:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0AevhFRq6A&t=6s

He won’t get my vote.  What about yours?

Candidates For Mayor Of Ottawa… You Decide…

18 Bruce Rogers

Here’s the link to the entire Interview For Ottawa Mayoral Candidates hosted by Roger’s TV.  Take a listen…and decide who you’re voting for.

 

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