Letters To The Editor

Photo by Lindy Newman

Photo by Lindy Newman

In response to our request to readers for their perspectives on the Flora Footbridge, we received many responses from members of our community. We have reproduced some of them in this special edition of our Letters to the Editor page.

The bridge has meant everything to us! We live on the OOE side, and we
walk our dog across to the Sylvia Holden dog park almost daily. It’s also been
amazing to walk our daughters over to Lansdowne for the farmers’ market,
splash pad, theatre, etc. We LOVE that bridge. – Valerie Gapp

We are so grateful for the Flora bridge!! We have friends who live in the Glebe that
we see significantly more often just because we can now meet on the bridge and go
from there. We love it!! - Anya Pelot

Well, this morning it meant an extra 80 cents, picking up beer cans after a party the
previous evening on the Glebe-side benches. – Barry Davis

When I commuted to work at Dow’s Lake from OOE, it certainly improved the safety of
my commute vs. awkwardly navigating the Pretoria Bridge intersections. – Stephan Telka

I cycle commute from OOE to Little Italy (pre-COVID) with a stop along the way at the daycare
at Fifth Avenue and Queen Elizabeth Drive. It is much safer to take the wide Flora bridge rather
than Pretoria with a toddler in tow. – Kate Koundakjian

This footbridge has been such a source of delight to us. We cross it on many of our daily
morning walks. During the pandemic we ‘take’ our four-year-old grandson on the walk
with us “virtually” using our smart phone and we love to show him the amazing views from
the bridge. We often chance upon our neighbours crossing the bridge and that always makes
us feel like such a part of a closeknit neighbourhood. We love the bridge and all that it
represents in bringing communities and people together, especially during these trying times.
Patricia Burnett

I love the view … I sometimes go up there just for that. Not long after it opened we set
up some camp stools at sunset one evening and enjoyed cocktails and socializing with a
bunch of friends and acquaintances passing by. I hope we do get to have a community
dinner on it when health risks subside. – Rebecca Aird

As a mother of two under four, it has given us immediate access to an entirely new
neighbourhood/park that was previously a car ride away, or a specifically planned trip
with the right conveyance to get us back for nap time. Prepandemic, we gained quick,
walking access to new parks, the farmer’s market, and more. Mid-pandemic, it’s still
an exciting new neighbourhood to amble through. – Crysta Tschirgi

It is revolutionary in terms of promoting access, encouraging healthy activities
(as demonstrated by the hundreds that have crossed it each day during the
pandemic) and in building community. - Mona Nandy

I nearly always take the Flora to cross the Canal, even when it’s not the shortest or
quickest route. It looks fantastic from a couple blocks away or a kilometre away. If I
am on a bike ride back to Corners on Main it seems like ‘home’ as soon as I round
the bend near Lansdowne, and I am able to see the bridge. I sometimes stop at the
seat on the west side ramp or stop at the top and look up and down the Canal. On
very rare occasions I have seen the bridge empty, not that it ever stays that way for
long. Great contribution. – Peter Tobin

The bridge is great. We use it all the time. It’s really nice to have a quicker route
to the Glebe and new places to walk my dog. – Margaret Vant Erve

Love it! It has fulfilled its objectives — better connectivity with our neighbouring communities,
safer walking and cycling infrastructure — and beautiful views! – Heather Jarrett

Even though it opened one year after I retired from the daycare at Fifth and Queen Elizabeth,
I am still so pleased with the footbridge. No more crossing the Canal illegally in winter and
getting a fine. Actually, it’s much safer to cross the bridge than the ice considering my age!
And we saw the Canada Day fireworks from the bridge last year. – Janice Cameron

Fossil fuel emissions make the virus more deadly

 During the current pandemic many of us have become more concerned with our respiratory health
because of the risk from the novel coronavirus. But there is also a link between environmental
conditions and increased risk of acquiring COVID-19.
 Worldwide, air pollution causes seven million deaths annually, including premature deaths
from asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, according to the World Health Organization.
Health Canada has concluded that fine particles from diesel exhaust, the components of smog,
and other fossil fuel emissions, damage people’s immune systems and reduce their resilience to
diseases. Studies by Harvard University researchers determined that COVID-19 is more deadly where
there is more air pollution and particulates from fossil fuels.
 COVID-19 is highlighting that a shift to green energy is critical for our health and longevity,
as well as for mitigating the impacts of global climate change. We’ve experienced some of the other
benefits of a lower carbon lifestyle throughout the COVID-19 lockdown: fewer cars on the roads means
less noise and more sounds of nature; traffic congestion is greatly reduced; and pedestrians and
cyclists have taken back some of the roads.
 We don’t have to go back to gridlock, noise, and smog. There are a lot of great initiatives
going on in Old Ottawa East (OOE) that you can help support for the environment and your health.
OOE residents can embrace a healthier and more pleasant future while implementing climate actions.

                               Peter Croal,
                               Elliot Avenue
                               Sustainable Living Ottawa East (SLOE)
                               sloe@ottawaeast.ca

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