Only one candidate shows for Somerset ward debate

The only candidate to show up for the Somerset Ward city councillor debate on Oct. 2 was Jerry Kovacs, as the main concern brought to the forefront was affordable housing.

Kovacs, a lawyer in municipal law and non-profit development, said with the 25 affordable housing units the ward sees built each year, it takes too long to get people who need it into affordable housing.

“With the current wait list, it will take 100 years for us to provide affordable housing,” said Kovacs.

Some 500 to 1000 affordable housing units every year is the plan that Kovacs has proposed while maintaining the current two per-cent property tax.

Residents were concerned with how Kovacs plans to keep the two per cent property tax and be able to provide 500 or more affordable housing units every year.

The candidate said the city should look at how Vancouver made it possible to add a percentage of affordable housing on new buildings being constructed. Bringing a similar plan to Ottawa would help with paying for some affordable housing, and get funding from the provincial, municipal and not-for-profit organizations.

Kovacs promised to be at all committee and city council meetings and discussed whether light rail will be more efficient than busing, ride-sharing services, recycling and the hazards of smoking cannabis and cigarettes in public or in residential areas.

“Every hurricane starts with a single drop of water,” said Kovacs when referring to dealing with issues in Somerset ward. “Democracy only works best when people participate, when people take active issues in their community and when people get involved.”

Kovacs said he is very engaged in the community and lives, works and commutes in the ward on a daily basis.

The other candidates — all of whom did not attend — were incumbent Catherine McKenney, and challengers Arthur David and Merdod Zopyrus.