Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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Ottawa-Centre Kitchissippi candidate survey answers

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My thanks go to the candidates in Ottawa-Centre for replying to my Kitchissippi-centric survey. I've reproduced their answers below, editing only for obvious typos. Carol Clemenhagen is running for the Conservative Party of Canada, Angela Keller-Herzog for the Green Party of Canada, Angella MacEwen for the New Democratic Party and Yasir Naqvi for the Liberal Party of Canada vying to become our next Member of Parliament. The election will be held on September 20. Find out more about how to vote here.

The National Capital Commission has received permission to build two six-storey largely residential buildings at the south end of Rochester Field. There is no plan to develop those immediately, however. If elected, would you exert your influence as MP for the riding to ensure that this federal land is kept as much-needed green space?


Community needs and engagement are at the heart of effective municipal planning. Municipal councillors play a key role. In Ottawa, the National Capital Commission (NCC) is often a party to planning and to planning concerns of residents.

With Rochester Field, I understand the zoning and permissions concerning building heights, set-backs, entryway and park space were worked out as a compromise and then passed by City Council in February 2018.

The Liberal government did not provide a formalized role for a Liberal MP/Minister from Ottawa regarding the NCC. If elected, I would work to ensure the Conservative MP for Ottawa Centre has a formalized role vis à vis the NCC to provide greater accountability to local residents.


Yes. I am a strong supporter of our urban canopy and all efforts to increase our canopy to 40% *per neighbourhood*. The benefits of greenspace are undisputed yet are often not incorporated in a measurable way into urban planning decisions. The NCC should be tasked with providing a valuation of all of its greenspace and challenged to demonstrate how the elimination of any greenspace makes sense if a public-interest cost-benefit analysis is undertaken.


Our city has a history of paving over greenspaces for the benefit of wealthy developers, and this is something I am extremely concerned about, especially given that we’re in a climate and housing emergency.

Developments that cost us green space in the urban core must be held to a higher standard if they are to be allowed to proceed. Without community buy-in and robust community benefits--including non-market housing--these developments should be a non-starter.

The folks in our community and especially those living around Rochester Field deserve to have access to green spaces, and this need has only been highlighted during the pandemic.

As MP for Ottawa Centre, I will fight to ensure we protect our greenspaces and trees and will stand up for the community and demand this land at Rochester Field is kept as much-needed greenspace.


Although conditional zoning has been granted to the NCC by the City of Ottawa, I will engage with our community to learn more about the detailed plans for these two new buildings and to hear all opinions on the matter. It is from my understanding that in 2018 the NCC committed to maintaining 80% of Rochester Field as green space. I am looking forward to public consultations on a plan for development. If elected as your MP, I will facilitate this process by talking with all community partners and trying to find solutions that will work for as many residents as possible.

In the same vein, the National Capital Commission is also seeking to provide space to build embassies in the lands north of Burnside Avenue in Mechanicsville. If elected, will you work to similarly prevent development in that open, treed space?


Our Conservative plan to combat climate change highlights a $3 billion investment and effective cooperation with provinces and municipalities to provide support and investments for natural green infrastructure. Many of Ottawa Centre’s neighbourhood associations are already working on tree inventories and community efforts to plant and encourage planting more trees. As a volunteer with the committee, I know this is a priority shared by the Environment Committee of the Civic Hospital Neighbourhood Association.

If elected, I propose securing funding for City of Ottawa as well as the Neighbourhood Associations tree planting efforts to significantly expand Ottawa’s tree canopy and urban forests with climate-resilient tree species.


Yes! See above. We cannot afford to lose that much greenspace and its trees to new embassies. As we are re-organizing post-COVID there are plenty of stately buildings that can be repurposed to be embassies.
My campaign stood with the volunteers from Mechanicsville and Tall Trees of Kitchissippi when we launched our campaign and Patricia Turk spoke at the event.


Unlike the development at Rochester Field where there can be affordable housing built, destroying our green spaces for embassies is not acceptable. There is no crisis of embassies in Ottawa, and the NCC can find better locations for these embassies that do not destroy precious parks and greenspace.

I’ve been knocking on doors in the neighbourhood surrounding the lands north of Burnside Ave, and there are many buildings, filled with people that need access to this greenspace and we cannot destroy it for embassies. We need a city - and country that works for people, and keeping this park is key in building that. As MP for Ottawa Centre, I will work to fight to prevent this development and save this space.


I am aware that many residents have expressed serious objections about the NCC's proposal, raising legal and environmental concerns and have already met with many community members to discuss the issue.

I am committed to working together with the community and the NCC to find a solution that works for everyone and maintains the greenspace that the community needs.

There is a 2014 master plan in place for the development of Tunney’s Pasture as a dense new community. Communications from the federal government with residents and City officials has been largely opaque. How will you ensure a more transparent flow of information? The ward’s recreational facilities and housing affordability are under severe pressure with intensification. How will you work to ensure that the Tunney’s Pasture development adds both new recreational facilities and affordable housing?


The Tunney’s Pasture master plan proposes long-term, staged development over 25 years. Regular updates, ongoing community engagement and input on the plan are key.

While jurisdictional authority for housing provision and regulation is mostly provincial, slow housing approvals, zoning issues and regulatory obstacles also occur at the municipal level.

The Conservative Recovery Plan will boost effective federal-provincial-municipal action on housing supply. We will implement our plan to build a million houses in 3 years, implement tax incentives to increase the supply of purpose-built rental housing units and leverage infrastructure funding to build more homes near publicly-funded transit. More available housing means more affordable housing.

My infrastructure priorities, supported by our Conservative Plan’s fast-track federal funding, respond directly to our community’s priorities including the new Civic campus hospital construction, renovating long-term care facilities, public transit and recreation facilities.


I think that Ottawa is characterized by an old-boys network between the politicians and developers (OK some are women, like Jan Harder), where a lot of big-ticket decisions are made behind closed doors. We see this with all the Lansdowne decisions. We are seeing this with Tunney’s Pasture. We saw this with the new Ottawa Hospital decision being moved so suddenly after over 5,000 citizens had been consulted by the NCC. And we are seeing it with the whole process for the new Official Plan, where GOHBA (Greater Ottawa Homebuilders’ Association) is having a massively preferred access to consultations.

There are some efforts to engage and mobilize citizens and I have worked through the CAFES network (Community Associations for Environmental Sustainability), the Peoples’ Official Plan group (which includes the Alliance to End Homelessness and City for All Women) and the Federation of Community Associations. It is good to share information; it is good to hold workshops to raise awareness; and it is good for all the civic-minded public-interest groups to work collaboratively to hold government to account. We have to be on guard especially for the quick “great news” announcements where suddenly a development plan is announced as a fait-accompli, rather than undergoing community and public consultations. Given how developer-dominated the City’s Planning Committee is, this local government check really does not work to represent the broad public interest either. At the end of the day, we are fighting a culture of political opportunism and insider connections. Boring though it appears, we must continue to call for transparent and due process and use accountability mechanisms like access to information and the office of the integrity commissioner when we can.

With all the talk of 15 Minute Neighbourhoods, for sure we should be asking for both recreational facilities and affordable housing in the Tunney's development plan.


I’ve heard loud and clear the concerns from the community, including from the community group, “Neighbours for Tunney’s” who are not being consulted enough on the Tunney’s development.

The community associations surveyed around 500 people living around Tunney’s and a majority of them were unaware of the plans for development. In our city, we have seen a pattern of development decisions happening under the wire without proper consultation and feedback from the community.

As MP for Ottawa Centre, I will not allow this to happen anymore. I will regularly liaise with the NCC and government bodies, and along with your provincial and municipal representatives, to ensure development information is shared with community members.

I will also be a voice for the people, not the developers. As MP for Ottawa Centre, I will stand up for our community and demand that the development at Tunney’s is for community use, with recreational facilities and affordable housing - not luxury condos.


I see opportunities with the development of Tunney’s Pasture to address a number of issues that are important for the community: notably increasing the amount of affordable and accessible housing, high-quality childcare, green spaces and recreational facilities in Ottawa Centre, and integrating new facilities in a thoughtful way with public transit. I will also prioritize better acknowledging the area’s history as the traditional territory of Indigenous Peoples and advancing meaningful reconciliation. I will gather together a community engagement committee of representatives of the affected community associations and BIAs to make sure that the community gets more information about the project and more input into it.

If I earn your vote, I see my role as your Member of Parliament as working collaboratively with all community partners to make sure these re-developments serve the needs of all Ottawa Centre residents. As such, I will encourage a transparent process. I will also be listening closely to residents about what they want to see in Tunney’s Pasture.

The winter trail that parallels the Parkway has been an invaluable addition to outdoor recreation opportunities but continues to be volunteer-run and its sustainability is not guaranteed. How will you help to ensure a financially sustainable future for this incredible facility on NCC land?


For choices around local recreation operating funding, community associations know the community’s recreation priorities best. They play a key role informing the priority-setting that helps guide municipal councilors to act on/vote for our community’s preferred recreation funding choices.


This facility must have the highest benefit/cost ratio of any recreational opportunities in Ottawa. It is a tremendous asset and a testament to what a great difference volunteers and a spirit of creating the neighbourhood around us can make. Truly this is inspiring.

The City and the NCC should ensure the volunteers have enough resources to continue their work and that their efforts are appreciated.


There needs to be federal funding to maintain the winter trail, so our valuable community volunteers, like Groomer Dave, do not have to be solely responsible for maintaining this trail. I will work with the community and support them in securing federal funding through grants to ensure this happens.


Based on many community conversations, I am proposing an Ottawa Centre Climate Action Plan! So as a community we can do our part, together, to deal with this climate emergency. In my plan, I have committed that I will improve walking, cycling, rolling, and skiing infrastructure in our community. Thus, advocate for stable funding for our winter trails along the Ottawa River and extend the project to close Colonel By Drive to vehicle traffic for a full-year pilot.

Kitchissippi residents have made it clear that burying the parking garage on the federal land at the new Dow’s Lake Civic Hospital campus is a priority, as is ensuring an easy-to-use, intuitive connection to the Trillium Line. How will you help ensure both?


Timely construction of the new Civic hospital campus is a health care priority. Ottawa’s growing and aging population have complex health needs requiring tertiary level, specialized care for challenging conditions. The new state-of-the-art hospital, with research and teaching facilities at the forefront of science, is being built to respond to our community’s health needs. The 99-year lease with the federal government for the site was negotiated and then applauded by both Ottawa Centre’s Liberal MPP at the time, Yasir Naqvi, and the federal Liberal MP at the time, Catherine McKenna.

The Ottawa Hospital has had an active community engagement process ongoing since the site was selected. Neighbourhood community associations have done exceptional work identifying issues, concerns, areas requiring clarification.

The Conservative Recovery Plan provides fast track infrastructure investments to complete LRT Phase 2 and connections and future LRT Phases and connections. City plans currently include transit plans for the new hospital site. Onsite parking for electric vehicles and other vehicles used by patients, visitors, staff is required. Neighbourhood streets could simply not accommodate these parking needs.

Taxpayers have the right to know about the construction project’s impacts. Hospital and City planners have a responsibility to address questions and concerns and to continue to inform and actively engage with the public as construction proceeds.


I believe that the first version of the Master Site Plan for the new Hospital needs to go back to the drawing board with clear instructions on what is remiss. We need:

a. a less sprawling campus, with a much smaller footprint, especially much less surface parking, preserving many more of the mature trees, resulting in a healthy hospital site, including a minimum of 40% canopy

b. A facility that is integrated with public transit, making it convenient for staff and day patients to use transit to visit the hospital

c. commitments for a net-carbon zero facility. The city, province and federal governments have committed to net-zero by 2050. The new hospital is expected to serve our region well past 2050 and should be an icon for health, survival, and the shift to low carbon ways of doing things. We have the technology to build this and with the addition of renewable energy – ground thermal heat source, seasonal energy storage, solar and perhaps even wind we can supply the energy needs of the hospital with renewable energy.


The way this whole Hospital development has been handled is very concerning for our democracy and planet. As MP for Ottawa Centre, I will demand federal infrastructure funding to bury the parking lot at Queen Juliana Park so that we can save our greenspace, and I will call for a public inquiry into how the decision for where to put the hospital came to be. I know residents have questions on how we got here when over 7,000 people participated in a consultation that chose Tunney’s Pasture as the top location for the hospital, and I will demand the answers that they’re looking for.

I will also fight to ensure that there is an easy-to-use, intuitive connection to the Trillium Line as well as investing in safe cycling pathways along the route. We must also ensure residents living in the surrounding area are not constantly dealing with unsafe traffic impacts, and I will fight for federal funding to assist in traffic mitigation efforts to ensure families in this area are safe.


Ottawa Centre needs a new modern, 21st century Civic Hospital, which is located downtown, not in Barrhaven. It is important that it be centrally located and easily accessible for residents of Ottawa, especially with our population getting older. We cannot afford to relaunch a review process that will result in years of delays before we get this new hospital.

At the same time, I do have concerns in terms of the process that has been followed as it relates to the design of the hospital, including the proposed parking facility and integration with public transit.

As such, as part of my detailed Ottawa Centre Climate Action Plan, I am committing to working to integrate the Ottawa LRT in the site of a new world-class Civic Hospital to help get cars off the road, reduce emissions and build a better transit system for hospital workers and users, and our community. In addition, I will work with community partners and advocates to develop an urban tree canopy strategy to protect and expand our community’s trees and native plants; and introduce legislation to protect the Central Experimental Farm, forever.

I think we need more community engagement to ensure that we find solutions that will mitigate any detrimental effects associated with the project and serve the best interests of residents. This is a major project, which will have long-term impacts on our city. We have to take the necessary time to engage the community and make sure we get it right.

Kitchissippi is a rapidly changing and gentrifying ward. I and others will be watching the election for policies on child-care, transit, cycling, poverty reduction, housing, food security and climate change in order to build an inclusive, healthy, sustainable community. Is there anything you'd tell Kitchissippi voters specifically about how you'll help achieve progress in these areas for the neighbourhoods in our ward?


We are fortunate in Canada. We live in a society with the science, the know-how, resources and potential for sustainable economic growth. We share public and political engagement to improve community health and wellbeing, protect the environment and reduce GHG emissions to achieve net zero.

When I look to the future for Ottawa Centre, I envision thriving businesses, better access to health care, renewed municipal infrastructure for things like transit, roads, water & sewers; family-friendly neighbourhoods with green space, recreation facilities, community policing and a lot more trees in the urban forest canopy.

The Conservative Recovery Plan rebuilds our economy with jobs, economic growth and responsible fiscal management so that we can fund public priorities like health care. More effective federal-provincial-municipal collaboration is needed to combat climate change and get us to net zero emissions. That includes increasing green infrastructure and planting more trees in Ottawa Centre. As urban intensification grows, so must our urban forests.


We need a greener future that takes action on the climate - and we also need social and economic fairness. To tackle poverty and inequality, I and the Greens stand for a guaranteed livable income. We will work towards a universal, affordable childcare system, reform long-term care, protect pensions, and expand mental health support. In Kitchissippi specifically, I’d like to see federal lands used to promote the public good, for example building co-operative and affordable housing. To sustain everyone’s health and mental health, we also have to protect greenspace, increase the urban canopy, and keep neighbourhoods walkable and cyclable to support zero-emissions active transportation.


Over the next 5, 10, or 20 years, Kitchissippi will be seeing a lot of changes and the residents of Kitchissippi must elect an MP that will be on their side for these changes, not the wealthy insiders and developers.

An NDP government and I as your NDP MP for Ottawa Centre will fight for the bold policies that you deserve: a truly universal, $10 a day childcare plan, free transit for municipalities that want to move towards it, building 10,000 units of deeply affordable housing in Ottawa Centre over the next 10 years, ending fossil fuel subsidies and creating green new jobs, standing up to big pharma, big oil and billionaires and much more.

The pandemic has exposed the tears in our social safety net, and an NDP government will invest in people from the bottom up. This is how we build sustainable communities, by supporting our most vulnerable, prioritizing our land, water and air instead of corporate profits and fighting for you. As your next MP for Ottawa Centre, I am ready to do that. Visit my website at to read about my local priorities and join our movement.


I am the only candidate to present detailed plans on climate action and housing specifically for Ottawa Centre. In addition to the climate plan I mentioned in a previous answer, I am committing to work to create 1700 more new affordable and accessible homes — doubling what was funded since 2015 in Ottawa Centre — to reduce chronic homelessness through the National Housing Strategy and Rapid Housing Initiative.

Regarding active transportation, I will engage with our community and City to identify additional opportunities to improve walking, cycling, rolling, and skiing infrastructure in our community such as dedicated bike lanes; and better, shaded sidewalks that can accommodate people of all abilities. I will also engage with our community and City to identify additional opportunities for active transportation and support applications for funding.

Liberals are not just promising high-quality $10/day childcare, we are well on the way to delivering it with agreements signed with 8 provinces and territories so far. I strongly encourage the Province of Ontario to come to a speedy agreement on childcare soon after a Liberal government is re-elected. On the other hand, we know if Conservatives are elected, they will rip up the existing agreements we signed and we will lose this precious opportunity to finally implement a national system of affordable childcare.

Posted September 11, 2021