Ward 19 — Catherine Kitts

Our Grade — Green

Catherine Kitts has been the most reliably pro-housing city councillor for the past term of office. She has consistently voted to approve more homes as a member of Planning Committee, and she has been a strong advocate for solutions that would help end our housing crisis.

She has been a huge supporter of our organization and our housing policies, and her survey responses show us that she is very serious about working to make housing affordable.

We believe Catherine Kitts would be one of the best, most pro-housing councillors on the next council if she is re-elected.

Survey Response

Q1: Do you support reforms that would make our zoning policies more simple, permissive, with an explicit goal of fixing our housing shortage, creating 15 minute walkable neighbourhoods, and building missing middle housing city-wide?

Yes. I am a huge advocate for building complete, 15-minute, walkable communities. We will have an opportunity once the Official Plan is approved by the province to review the zoning policies to ensure we are creating an environment that supports the goals stated in this document.

We know that the province is looking to put faster approvals in place. While every level of government is committed to building more housing, city councillors will continue to play an important role in advocating for healthy growth in their communities and engaging stakeholders in every phase of development.

Q2: Do you support a target of 100,000 new homes in Ottawa in the next 10 years? This is the number that leading housing economists agree we need to build in order to restore housing affordability in our city. Our current Official Plan target is just 75,000 — far short of where we need to be.

Yes. Our city is facing a housing crisis and a housing affordability crisis. We know that Ottawa is projected to grow to more than 1.4 million by 2046, so we must accommodate that growth. I believe 100,000 new homes in Ottawa in the next 10 years is an appropriate goal.

That said, in Orléans South, it is critical to resolve our dispute with the NCC and move forward on the Brian Coburn extension and Cumberland Transitway – two projects that have been in the City’s transportation plans for decades. Our city needs housing, and this is where development is slated for the east end, but without this critical infrastructure we do not have the ability to build healthy, complete communities.

While this goal will mainly need to be achieved through intensification and missing middle housing, it will be interesting to see the province’s response to our Official Plan. If the province requires us to add more land to our urban boundary as rumoured, I would be interested to see modest growth in rural villages so that they, too, can become sustainable, complete communities–where businesses can thrive and schools won’t be at risk of closure.

Q3: Do you agree we need to fix public consultations so that more voices are heard, and so they consider the benefits of projects to the people who will live in new homes — not just existing homeowners?

Yes! Typically, we only hear from neighbouring homeowners during public consultation, and while established neighbours are an important stakeholder, we must also consider the needs of future residents. I think Make Housing Affordable and its volunteers have brought a valuable perspective to the discussion and am interested in exploring how we can make our consultation process more inclusive and representative of the broader community.

Q4: Do you support ending mandatory parking minimums for new developments so that builders can decide if they want to build transit-friendly communities around transit stations?

When housing is in close proximity to higher order transit, I am absolutely in favour of reduced mandatory parking minimums. There is no car-forward solution to a city of over a million people.

I do believe that we need to build communities where you don’t need to take your car for every errand. You can walk, cycle, jump on a bike or an efficient transit route to get where you need to go and that would allow us to intensify within our current urban boundary.

Q5: Do you support a win-win inclusionary zoning plan that asks developers to include affordable housing in their developments, in exchange for lower fees, faster approvals, or more density?

Yes. I think the only way inclusionary zoning will work is if we offer these types of incentives to developers. When inclusionary zoning was discussed at Planning Committee this year, I moved a motion directing staff to explore and evaluate additional offsets that could be implemented as part of the inclusionary zoning policy.

Q6: Will you ask the next Mayor and Council to invest in building deeply affordable housing in your ward and take a leadership role in reducing waitlists and repair backlogs for social housing across the city?

When it comes to deeply affordable housing, Orléans will have a unique opportunity to intensify and create affordable housing in close proximity to transit with the 5 new LRT stations that are being built. While none are located in Orléans South-Navan, this is a massive opportunity for the east end that we can’t let pass us by. That’s why the Orléans Corridor study that I’ve been supporting in partnership with my east end colleagues is so critical. I also think the City needs to leverage the land it owns better (like cloverleafs), and work with service providers that are offering wraparound services to our most vulnerable.

While newer, and built more densely than older communities across the city, Orléans South-Navan has a long way to go in terms of our transit and active transportation infrastructure before we can intensify the way better connected communities can.

Q7: Do you support ending exclusionary R1 zoning rules that keep renters, students, and working class families out of neighbourhoods in the name of “protecting neighbourhood character”?

Yes, I do support ending R1 zoning. As our city continues to grow, we need to build sustainable 15-minute communities–where you can walk, bike and take transit to amenities. To achieve this, we need to intensify and build more densely. Leveraging the areas around our LRT stations across the city for higher density development will be crucial in this next phase of growth in our city. Through smart development, including setbacks, step-ups, angular plane, greenspace, etc. we can continue to respect neighbourhood characteristics while still providing intensification.

However, (again!) we have a serious infrastructure deficit to catch up on in Orléans South-Navan and the lack of connectivity–both active transportation and public transit–makes greater intensification a challenge. Moving forward on key infrastructure projects that have been in the City’s plans for years will be my focus in the next term of council, so that my community can continue to grow in a healthy way.

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