Eleven new councillors have been elected, and 13 have held onto their seats and stayed in office as a result of last October’s municipal election.
Laine Johnson was elected councillor of College ward and is serving her first term on the new council led by Mayor Mark Sutcliffe. She’s a sitting member of three committees, including the emergency preparedness and protective services committee and the planning and housing committee.
Her platform focused on increased accountability and transparency at Ottawa City Hall, achieved by looking closer at the city hall code of conduct and reviewing programs. Johnson also pledged to fight rising housing costs and improve public transportation in the college area.
Although Johnson’s never entered politics, she formerly taught civics at Algonquin College before spending years heading various non-profit charitable organizations based in Ottawa.
Olivia Sissmore-Green and Sarah Williams, dental and business students at Algonquin College, agree transit needs attention.
“I think the bus should be a little bit better,” Sissmore-Green said.
“It should be much better,” Williams agreed.
In a statement provided to the Algonquin Times, Johnson touched on her background and term goals.
“My background is in civic engagement and non-profit and affordable housing, so tackling our housing challenges is a significant priority of mine. I want to ensure that we build deeply affordable housing, build smart intensification that aligns with our larger transit and active transportation goals, and that contributes to a sense of place and community,” Johnson said in the statement.
“I love living in College ward, but I too experience first-hand some of the challenges people face getting around. I am already actively working on addressing the snow plowing and transit concerns our residents have shared with us, discussing traffic safety and traffic calming measures with council, city staff, and residents, and working with our community associations to develop long-term plans to meet the needs of their neighbourhoods.”
Johnson is College ward’s first female councillor; the position was previously held by Rick Chiarelli since Ottawa’s amalgamation in 2001.
According to the 2022 election results, Johnson received 53 per cent of the votes in her ward.
Out of College ward’s 36,958 eligible voters, only 47 per cent of voters cast a ballot.
Johnson added where constituents can get in touch with her to voice their opinions.
“I am holding regular pop-ups in the community where residents can share their ideas and concerns, regular Sunday night virtual fireside chats, a public budget consultation later in February, and have been grateful to meet so many thoughtful people so far this council term,” Johnson said.
“I hope to keep this positivity going.”
On Jan. 27, Johnson will be running a community pop-up event between 10 a.m., and 12 p.m. at Kettlemans Bagel, 1365 Woodroffe Ave.
City council and committee meetings are streamed live on the City of Ottawa’s official website.