On Thursday, Aug. 28, OBJ issued an open invitation to all candidates in the upcoming municipal election to answer one simple question: Why should the business community vote for you?
As the responses come in, one will be published online each day, and be included in our daily email newsletter. Send your response to email@example.com.
Today‚Äôs response is from the incumbent in Kitchissippi Ward, Katherine Hobbs.
First of all I would like to say thank you to the Ottawa Business Journal for providing this opportunity to outline why I believe the Ottawa business community should vote for me, Katherine Hobbs, in Kitchissippi Ward on October 27, 2014.
My background is in business; I spent 30+ years working in private industry. When I was first elected in 2010 I made a key campaign promise relating to businesses. It was to work to make our community a place where businesses prosper. That promise has guided my work on Council and been a key focus for me in the past four years. An initiative I have been spearheading with the City is Canada's 150th anniversary plans in 2017. As the co-chair of the City of Ottawa 2017 Task Force I have been working with the leaders in the Ottawa business community to stimulate Ottawa's economy and to ensure there is a significant increase in our economic success for our City in 2017. That means attracting events and conferences, promoting our neighbourhoods, our arts and culture, and working to increase tourism to visit all areas of our City. The focus is not only on 2017 but also on building up to 2017, and continuing after 2017.
However ensuring prosperity and helping businesses is a a big part of my everyday work as Councillor and that takes many forms. I sit on the boards of two successful BIA's, Westboro and Wellington West. I have worked hard for businesses in Kitchissippi to clear hurdles and red tape at City Hall and save businesses money, and following are some examples of my actions:
- I have put pressure on city staff to get signs in time for store openings, even when the sign permits were applied for late.
- I have obtained permits the same day when work is underway on something the business didn't realize they needed a permit for.
- I have interceded with Hydro for a payment plan when a business has a tough season.
- I have gone to Council for approval to rebate some permit charges when a new business made an error in how they applied.
- I have overridden requirements for new plans to be created for a minor changes in design, and thus saved small businesses money in getting unnecessary rework.
- When the Farmer's Market began operation in Westboro, I worried about the impact for businesses that sell similar goods on Richmond Road. To help create a better environment on Richmond I worked on a project to create a new public square at a dead end road at Winston and Richmond. I personally, along with my office staff painted the dead end green in an advertisement for the upcoming community square. It will be complete in September, and will provide a place for our local businesses to hold events, a place for shoppers to sit and relax, and a place for shop employees to sit outside to eat lunch.
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- I have helped restaurants with patio applications
- Almost daily I promote the businesses in my area on social media, attend many special events and of course primarily eat and shop here in Kitchissippi
- I have fought to keep parking meters off our main street and extended parking times to encourage shoppers to our area.
- When opening Ottawa's largest dog run in August 2014 I invited all pet related businesses to come out and promote their wares and a number of them did.
- I have asked for zoning changes pertaining to allowable uses to be granted without going through a formal process
In short, if there is any help a business needs I will do everything in my power to help.
Finally I have worked tirelessly towards ensuring that our business area is served by world-class transit. I campaigned to keep our transit in the north in 2010 as that is where the majority of our businesses are located. By 2023 Kitchissippi will have a total of 7 rail stations. This ensures our business district will not be passed by, but that we have the means to get shoppers from all over the City to our shops and ensure we remain a viable and vital shopping district in the City of Ottawa.
Again my thanks for this opportunity. I welcome any questions or comments from the business community, and all of my contact information is listed below.
Facebook: Katherine Hobbs for Kitchissippi