Housing complex at former CFB Rockcliffe among city accomplishments for veterans

From the desk of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson

By Manor Park Chronicle

Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of my late father, Beverley Watson, who served with the Royal Regiment of Canada and helped liberate the Netherlands during the Second World War. This month, I think of my father, and of all those who have served and continue to serve our great nation – some giving the ultimate sacrifice.

As mayor, in 2019, I recognized the importance of helping veterans by appointing Ottawa Deputy Mayor Matthew Luloff as City Council Liaison for Military and Veterans Affairs.

As a member of the 2nd Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, Coun. Luloff served in Afghanistan in 2008. He is the perfect representative to solidify the city’s important relationship with the 23,000 active service members and more than 53,000 veterans living in Ottawa, as well as their families.

Councillor Luloff also co-chairs the Veterans Task Force, which is responsible for developing a culture of support for our veterans and their families in our community.

The Veterans Task Force is working on several important initiatives:

  • helping veterans transition to civilian life
  • advocating for comprehensive health care for those not supported by organizations (i.e., Veteran Affairs Canada)
  • making housing more affordable and easier to secure, and
  • enhancing second career opportunities.

One of the accomplishments I’d like to highlight from this term of council was the opening of the Veterans House supportive housing complex for homeless veterans, located at former CFB Rockcliffe.

I trust that Coun. Luloff, the Task Force, and our strategic partners will continue to deliver projects, facilitate access to resources, and promote opportunities for those who have served and continue to serve our great country in the years ahead.

Ottawa Major Jim Watson’s late father, Beverley Watson, poses with members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Photo supplied

This year marks the 77th anniversary of Armistice Day, and the Royal Canadian Legion’s Poppy Campaign continues to run from until November 11. Visit www.legion.ca/contact-us/find-a-branch to find poppies near you.

P.S. This is my final column as mayor of the City of Ottawa. I want to thank all those who have participated in the democratic process by volunteering, donating, and, most importantly, voting. While the makeup of city council looks a lot different for the upcoming term, I am confident that our representatives will work hard to build on the momentum of the last 12 years. We have many important projects underway that will continue to transform our nation’s capital for years to come, and I can’t wait to see it all come to fruition.