“I’m a Huge Supporter of Bank Street O-Train” - Brandon Russell Somerset Ward Candidate
With political giant Catherine McKenney leaving Somerset Ward to chase down a possible Mayoralty destiny - a young politically experienced entrepreneur & community activist named Brandon Russell is looking to become the new councillor in Somerset Ward.
During a late Friday night, Russell agreed to an interview and wanted to discuss Ottawa Bank Street O-Train. He knows the community discussions on the Bank Street file like someone who is already an experienced councillor. He clearly understands the pulse of the people who live in Somerset and the core of Ottawa in general.
“My policy is that I’m a huge supporter of Bank Street O-Train, we need to start discussions right away on this file” says Candidate Russell, wasting no time. I can tell he loves talking about public rail transit. He gets right to his core beliefs on the issue. Russel says “we need to work together as a community through public hearings to understand what can be improved going forward on the Bank Street O-Train file and learn from past mistakes associated with Confederation Line 1 so we don’t repeat them.”
When asked what he would like to see happen with the Bank Street proposal being promoted by community members, Russell says “we need to increase the transparency around public rail planning in the city for the residents of Somerset Ward and the Bank Street Communities so we can have improved future decisions going forward.”
Candidate Russell is just getting warmed up, “Bank Street is one of the most influential areas in our city. It has restaurants, retail shopping, night clubs, and pubs, and plenty of community activities all year. We also have lots of residential densification happening in the core. Residents of Somerset Ward view Bank Street as key part of our community.”
I ask him about recent polls showing Bank Street O-Train has the overwhelming support of Ottawa residents, and he responds, “I’m aware, it has more then twice the support of the next closest options being debated.”
When asked for his thoughts on a tunnel or surface line for Bank Street O-Train, candidate Russell believes “we really need public hearings to help make that choice of tunnel or surface line for Bank; but I believe it’s possible for most of it to be underground from or near Parliament Station to Billings Bridge Shopping Centre - we have real winters in Ottawa and we have to keep the weather in mind.”
Brandon wants “inter-city rail through the core which will make Somerset Ward more accessible for people in the suburbs to access our community and make it easier for core residents to go about their day through the downtown.”
Mr Russell also believes Bank Street O-Train “will be a clean and affordable way for people to travel through the core” and allow Ottawans to “fight the climate emergency.”
As our interview winds down, candidate Russell has one last point he wants to touch on, “the Ottawa Gatineau rail loop plans need to ensure we have an inter-provincial public rail transit system and agreement between the 2 cities and provinces that could benefit Bank Street O-Train.”
With that I thank Brandon Russell for his time on a late Friday night. The city’s future will be in good hands if we have lots of Brandon Russell’s running for office this year.
Clinton P. Desveaux is an accredited writer and contributor for Troy Media Newspapers & Magazines, Medium, The Hill Times, The Centretown Buzz. For additional stories on Bank Street O-Train see links below:
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