Election 2010, City Council

As I was doing my research on the candidates for the upcoming municipal election I found that there isn’t a whole lot of information on where the candidates stand regarding the building of a shelter for abused women in the ward.

Summary:
Province is offering $3 million to build a new 30 bed shelter
This did not meet zoning requirements at the proposed location
As a result of the publicity the location will be well known.

In order to find out more information on the evening of October 20th I sent the following to the candidates for council in the ward:

Dear Candidates,

I am still undecided on where to put my vote on the 25th.

As part of my research I have viewed each of your web sites and perused news archives about a variety of issues. One issue that stood out for me is the proposed expanded shelter for women in the ward.

I have a few concerns about the whole topic:

1. Would you support the initial plan of 10 beds?
2. If you do not support a 30 bed shelter, how do you propose those beds be replaced in Ottawa?
3. What is your position on the prevention of violence against women and providing shelter for those fleeing abusive relationships?
4. What is your position on programmes to help women who have fled abuse and are ready to move out of shelters?

Regards,
Talia Johnson

The following day, October 20th, I had a telephone call from Wade Wallace
We had a pleasant conversation and his position is:

  • Supports the building of a shelter
  • Does not support the building in the currently proposed location because it is too large for the area, and the location is well known putting the residents of the shelter at risk
  • Does not object to a shelter being in the area

Today, October 22nd, I had a telephone call from Diane Deans, the incumbent. I also had a good discussion with her:

  • The proposed shelter does not fit the zoning and the size does not match neighbouring homes
  • The residents of the street do not want a shelter that large there
  • There is another possible location for the shelter, an existing facility, but it would cost more to purchase and convert into a shelter
  • There is no provision in the current plan and zoning by-laws for shelters.
  • The topic is scheduled to be on the agenda for an upcoming planning committee meeting [I think that’s the right committee]
  • Location of the proposed shelter will be known due to the publicity.

I also asked Diane Deans about housing for women after they leave the shelter:

  • The city does have a priority list for subsidised housing
  • There are not enough subsidised units
  • The city does not have the money to increase the number of units and there needs to be a national housing strategy to address the problems of housing.

I did not hear back from the other two candidates, Lily Obina and Leslie Santilma.

After my discussions I spoke with my mum and discussed the issue with her. She has worked in a shelter in Toronto for many years. She told me that people in the neighbourhood where the shelter she works is located know about the shelter. She also pointed out that it is possible to find the locations, and if an abuser really wants to get at his or her victim they will find them.

Update:
Sunday October 24th
Heard from Leslie Santilma by telephone. He was on the road and I felt he didn’t really have much time to answer the questions. He supports the shelter in the proposed location based on discussions with the executive director of the shelter.

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