By Sonia Mendes
Katherine Hobbs has a hard time drinking a cup of tea over the course of an hour.
That’s only because the newly-elected councillor for Kitchissippi is continually being approached by her enthusiastic supporters during the course of our interview.
“Congratulations Katherine – you did it!” echoes through Fil’s Diner on Wellington St. again and again – as smiling passersby stop in to shake her hand and wish her well.
One curious diner at a nearby table even stops at our table after finishing his breakfast, to let Hobbs know that he’ll be in touch to discuss his ideas.
“It was so humbling to have people throw open their doors,” says Hobbs of her reception from residents of the community during the municipal election campaign.
“The magnificence of the people here is mind-boggling.”
Across the ward, candidates and constituents held their collective breath on election night as the results from Kitchissippi’s 28 voting stations rolled in. The final result was a win for Hobbs with 44.18 per cent of the vote. She was followed very closely by incumbent Christine Leadman, who received 40.02 per cent of the vote. Daniel Stringer trailed the top two contenders, receiving 15.79 per cent of votes.
“I really understand the heat of battle and I truly do feel for everyone who didn’t win the campaign, says Hobbs, who admits she was quite overwhelmed by the amount of energy that went into her nine-month campaign. “The personal investment is enormous and it is you that you’re promoting.”
Although she won’t officially take on her new title as Kitchissippi Councillor until the City of Ottawa’s swearing-in ceremony on Dec. 1, Hobb’s schedule remains hectic.
“I thought I’d have a few weeks to relax and get organized after all these months of campaigning, but there’s just no time for that,” says Hobbs, adding that she is scheduled for an orientation session this week at city hall. “There’s nothing in my fridge – I haven’t even been able to get my groceries done lately.”
Despite the hectic pace, Hobbs is clearly thrilled to have the opportunity to serve her community.
“One of my main interests is planning an Environment Committee,” says Hobbs about her first priorities. “This is needed both in Kitchissippi and for the city at large. “I wonder what our vision is – how well do we take care of our sewers and what are we dumping into the river – which is right here in our backyard?”
She also refers to the contentious land developments that have recently drawn attention in Kitchissippi, Hobbs says she feels it’s important not to pursue “development in isolation.”
“We have to stop the issues that cause fighting over developments, she says. “Having these minor irritants and major irritants are not improving our quality of life.
“Cities are organic and are growing and changing, so what are we doing in Ottawa to contribute to our value? When we’re looked at in the world scene, what is attractive about us?”
Hobbs singles out the recently-built archway into Ottawa’s Chinatown, as well as the road signage outside of the city that highlights Preston Street.
“I love that,” she says. “We have projects in the works like the Lansdowne development that are helping to make our city interesting; I want to see it continue that way.”