Response to CBC questionnaire

2018 Municipal Candidate Questionnaire

This questionnaire was compiled by CBC Ottawa and emailed to all registered candidates running in Ottawa’s 2018 municipal election, and who provided an email address to the City of Ottawa’s election office. The responses will live on the CBC Ottawa website for the duration of the campaign.

NOTE: Please mark (X) next to your response to multiple choice questions.


Information About You

  • Name: Theresa Kavanagh (candidate for City Council, Bay Ward)

How many years have you lived in Ottawa? 36 years

How do you identify? _x_ Female __ Male __ Non-Binary

Do you identify as part of a minority group? __ Yes _x_ No __ Prefer Not to Say

How old are you? 60 years old

How many council or committee meetings have you attended since Sept. 1, 2017?

As the current Ottawa Carleton District School Board  (OCDSB)Trustee for Zone 4 and the Chair of the OCDSB Budget Committee, my time outside of my regular job has been focused on school board matters, preventing me from attending recent City Council meetings.

When was the last time you took public transit? Choose the statement that best describes you.:
I normally commute to work by bike but have used public transit approximately once a month on average.

__ I take transit more than once per week.

__ I take transit more than once per month.

_X_ I take transit less than once per month.


City Issues

1) In the last term, what was council’s single greatest accomplishment? What was council’s biggest failure? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

City Council’s single greatest achievement was getting Light Rail Transit Phase 1 constructed.  It is Ottawa’s largest and most transformative infrastructure project.  It will not only improve our rapid transit system but will also open up opportunities for re-development to support public transit.

City Council’s biggest failure lies with its treatment of planning issues, such as the 65-story complex at 900 Albert Street.  Too often community values and community plans, which Council is supposed to defend, were abandoned in the face of developer demands.  As a result, public confidence in Council’s treatment of planning applications has been badly eroded.


2) In the past four years, property taxes have increased about two per cent each year. Do you have a target for future tax increases?  I would like to consult with my ward constituents and look at budget requirements before deciding on any future target.  _X_ Yes __ No

2a) What is your target for future property tax increases, as a percentage? 

I would set any increases based on the current rate of inflation, adjusted where necessary to meet City needs (for example, improving public transit, reducing sewer discharges, etc.)


3) Does Ottawa have an adequate level of policing? _X_ Yes I believe we have an adequate level of policing, but a review may be needed to determine if the needs of various communities are being met.

__ No

3a) Would you increase the police budget by more than two per cent? I would want to review the rational for a potential increase before I could commit to it. __ Yes __ No

3b) Please explain why. (Limit answer to 150 words.)

Ottawa’s crime rate has been consistently declining over the past number of years. The issue is to deploy our police resources more effectively.  We cannot solve all social problems by adding more police, as this means responding only to the symptoms and not the causes of crime. Part of our investment in fighting crime is crime prevention and investing resources to reduce/eliminate the social root causes of crime – unemployment, homelessness, poor housing, marginalization and racism, addiction and mental health issues as examples. The City needs to work with community partners and other levels of government to achieve this.


4) Do you support cannabis retail shops in Ottawa? _x_ Yes __ No

 4a) Do you support cannabis retail shops in your ward? _X_ Yes –  as long as conditions are placed on proximity to schools, parks etc., then I would support having retail shops in the ward. __ No

 4b) What role should the city have regulating this new industry? (Limit answer to 150 words.)
The City can control the locations of cannabis retails schools through zoning.  I support prohibiting cannabis retail stores from being located near elementary and secondary schools as well as park, sports and recreation facilities where children congregate.


5) LRT is the single largest infrastructure project in Ottawa’s history. As the city moves into Stage 2, what would you do differently to improve the plan? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

 LRT Stage 2 will have a tremendous impact on Bay Ward, affecting the communities of Woodpark, Whitehaven, Queensway Terrace North, Bayshore and Crystal Beach-Lakeview.  We need to ensure that the impact of LRT Stage 2 on our green space corridors is minimized, particularly in the Pinecrest Creek corridor.  We also must ensure that there is good pedestrian and cyclist access to the LRT stations for transit users.  As well, as redevelopment opportunities occur along the LRT route (for example at Lincoln Fields Shopping Centre), a portion of the new housing must be affordable to working families and seniors.


6) How much public money, if any, should the city invest in redeveloping LeBreton Flats? What should the money be spent on? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

 The City should receive sufficient funds from development charges to build the necessary road, sidewalk, cycling, water and sewer infrastructure required for LeBreton Flats.  The City should make the additional investment needed to ensure sufficient green space and public amenities (libraries, parks, water fountains, public washrooms) for this area.  While the City should help facilitate the construction of an NHL arena for the Ottawa Senators to play, the City should not help this private for-profit business with property tax dollars.


7) Do you support supervised injection sites (SIS)?

 _X_ Yes  After reviewing the data from public health specialists like Dr. Jeff Turnbull of Ottawa’s Inner City Health, I support supervised safe injection sites, which are just one part of a necessary integrated program of mental health supports, addiction treatment options, and harm reduction strategies. __ No

 7a) If the province retracts funding for SIS, would you support the city paying for their operation?  _x_ Yes because the evidence demonstrates that SIS brings about additional health benefits to the community. __ No

 8) Do you support inclusionary zoning as a tool to improve the supply of affordable housing units in Ottawa? 

_x_ Yes – As we have seen in many other cities such as Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto and Halifax, the City must explore ways in which it can use the tools at its disposal to improve and add to the stock of affordable housing. __ No


Ward Issues

9) What do you love most about your ward? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

I have a passion for Bay Ward.  It’s where I raised my children, where they went to school, and where my husband and I continue to live,  I love its sense of community, from the neighbourhoods of Carlingwood to Britannia, from Bayshore to Crystal Beach-Lakeview. I love its greenspaces, the proximity to the Ottawa River, Mud Lake, its bike paths and wonderful parks like Britannia and Andrew Haydon Park.  Working with school communities and parents these last eight years, I have come to appreciate how much residents value the quality of life we have in Bay Ward, and how friendly and welcoming it is to families and seniors.


10) What is your top infrastructure priority for your ward?

We need to get LRT right for Bay Ward.  It will be important to the quality of life here in Bay Ward to minimize the impact of LRT on our green spaces, to make sure there will be safe and good pedestrian and cyclist access to the LRT.  We also need to get the right mix of housing (including affordable housing for families and seniors) along the LRT route and transit stations.

 10a) What are two other priorities for your ward? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

 Bay Ward has the highest concentration of seniors in Ottawa.  We must make it a priority to provide supports that help seniors live independently in our communities.  Even transit changes can impact their quality of life.  Just one example – the Number 11 bus route is slated to change in September and will be problematic for the mobility of area seniors  – I’d like to see the old route, that served them well, restored.

Bay Ward has aging recreational infrastructure that needs to be addressed – wading pools, field houses and park facilities such as the Ron Kolbus-Lakeside Centre in Britannia Park are just some areas where we need to develop a priority list and begin updating and modernizing these facilities.


11) Residents often complain about traffic (speeding, congestion, etc.). What would you do to improve traffic in your ward? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

 Speeding traffic on residential streets is the most common issue I hear when I go door-to-door and which I am very familiar with as a school board trustee.  I support neighbourhood initiatives to implement traffic-calming measures on residential streets.

This will involve increasing the City’s budget for traffic-calming and other safety measures.  Currently the demand by neighbourhoods well outpaces the existing capacity of the City’s program to implement safety or other traffic measures.


12) How would you encourage residents of your ward to recycle more, especially green-bin organics? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

 I strongly believe in recycling, not only for environmental reasons but also to save taxpayers money.  The cost of new landfills for garbage is prohibitively high.  In my view, we need better public education on the value of recycling and take steps to make it easier for residents to recycle.  We should look at the best practices of other cities that have achieved higher recycling rates than Ottawa and learn from their experience.

 12a) Do you support a city ban on single-use plastic? _X_ Yes __ No



13) Do you support posting councillors’ voting and attendance records online and in the city’s open data portal?  _X_ Yes I believe we need to demonstrate accountability back to our voters. __ No


14) What would you do to improve the diversity of city staff? (Limit answer to 150 words.) I would support putting policies in place to ensure the pool of qualified candidates for City positions reflects the diversity of our city.


15) Do you support a women’s bureau? Why or why not? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

Yes I support a women’s bureau.  Women make up just over 50% of the population of the city, and it is important that not only our workforce reflect this demographic fact, but also the City’s programs and policies reflect this reality as well.  It is unfortunate that this continues to be an issue in this day and age.


16) The city is planning to undertake a ward boundary review. Do you think the city has too many wards, too few or the right number? Why? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

Ottawa’s population has grown to 950,000 but ward populations vary from 29,000 (West Carleton-March Ward) to 60,000 (Barrhaven West).  A ward boundary review and possible redistribution is necessary.  Based on the current 23 City wards, each new ward should represent on average 41,000 people.


A Bit More About You

17) Which municipal figure, alive or dead, do you admire? Why? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

I admire former Ottawa Mayor Marion Dewar.  She is an inspiration to me as a forward-thinking progressive mayor, from being among the first municipal leaders to address LGBT issues in our community to her humanitarian efforts to resettle Vietnamese refugees in Canada and in Ottawa through Project 4000 – a contribution to the rich fabric of our City that continues to this day.


18) Do you live in the ward you’re running in? _X_ Yes __ No

18a) If not, why are you running there? (Limit answer to 150 words.)


 19) Tell us about any formal education, training or other credentials you think are relevant to the job of being a councillor. (Limit answer to 150 words.)

Besides living in Bay Ward and raising my family here, and my university education (B.A. Fine Arts-Guelph), I have worked on Parliament Hill for over twenty years in a job requiring me to negotiate across the political spectrum to resolve problems.  The ability to work with others who may not share the same political viewpoints is a necessary strength that for a councillor.

Budget knowledge is certainly relevant to the work.  I’ve served on the Board of Directors of Alterna Savings and also the last eight years as School Board Trustee representing Bay Ward with the OCDSB.  I have chaired the CCDSB Audit Committee and am the current chair of the Budget Committee, which requires listening and working with trustees, board staff and parent groups to ensure we invest and align resources that support student learning while also ensuring a solid and sustainable financial future for the Board.


 20) If elected, what single greatest change do you hope to have made in Ottawa or in your ward, four years from now? (Limit answer to 150 words.)

In four years, I hope to see that the construction of LRT Phase 2 in Bay Ward respects our community’s values – protecting our green spaces, has great access for pedestrians and cyclists in our community, is safe, affordable and accessible and is attracting transit users from every income bracket – both in Bay Ward and the City of Ottawa.