This interview was originally published in the Spring/Summer 2022 issue of Ottawa Magazine as part of a series on neighbourhood planning entitled “15 Minutes to the Future”. Find more articles in this package here.
Diversity and affordability are attractive features of Vanier, says health care professional Jenny Buckley, but she wants more vibrant commercial areas.
What do you love about where you live?
I didn’t know my neighbourhood all that well until COVID hit and I started walking everywhere. I have two little dogs and we’d spend the day checking out this neighbourhood and the ones that are close. What I love is I can walk to Parliament Hill, New Edinburgh, and Beechwood Cemetery. I also love the sense of community and the diversity of people that live here. It feels like a good representation of what Canada is all in one neighbourhood.
What do you dislike about your neighbourhood?
There is a stigma about Vanier. As a result, it has a tendency to be overlooked or seen as a place where the challenges in other neighbourhoods should just be dumped without any thought of whether the people facing these challenges can access the services they need. This stigma has also led to an underinvestment in the community. I would love to have dinner in my community or go shopping and support the businesses here, but there are very few options.
What changes would you like to see, short and long term?
More affordable and subsidized housing throughout the neighbourhood. It would be great to see the city invest in building supportive housing and for new private developments to be mandated to include spots for low-income residents so people would be more integrated in the community. Vanier is probably one of the last affordable neighbourhoods in the city so I would hate to see low-income people moved out by new developments. I would also like to see more development of Montreal Road. There are a few new businesses, but the majority is still predatory lending places and pawn shops. It would be great if the city could incentivize businesses to come into Vanier.