Speaking Notes – Councillor Kavanagh
“Marlene Catterall Park”
Date – 8 August 2019
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you here today as we honour the community service and lasting impact of Marlene Catterall.
I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with some background on this morning’s event.
In 2002, Ottawa City Council approved the creation of a commemorative naming program for City-owned streets, parks and facilities.
It was Council’s desire to have the means to formally acknowledge individuals who contribute to their communities and, in doing so, enhance the quality of life for all residents.
Marlene Catterall’s exceptional service to the Michele Heights community and the City of Ottawa exemplifies these criteria.
Au nom du Conseil municipal d’Ottawa, c’est pour moi un grand plaisir d’être ici ce matin, avec les amis de Marlene Catterall, pour souligner officiellement la désignation du hall de ce centre en son honneur.
Marlene Catterall’s engagement with Michele Heights began as Chair of the Citizens Committee for the Pinecrest Queensway Neighborhood Planning Study and continued as a City Alderman and Regional Councillor representing Britannia Ward. Marlene understood that community health depended on direct engagement with residents in order to identify common issues, develop consensus, and gather peer support. She recognized the need for integrated social services for a diverse community and worked to organize meetings with local service providers to that end. This work would ultimately result in establishing one of the largest centralized multi-service centres in Ontario, which is now known as the Pinecrest Queensway Community Health Centre. Her belief that health services must extend beyond the doctor’s office or hospital and into the community made Marlene a trailblazer.
Marlene’s passion for her community and her approach of listening and engaging with residents resulted in City-provided child care to help mothers access programs at the, then newly established, Michele Heights Community Recreation Centre in Michele park; a centre that continues to cater to the needs of the community today. This was demonstrative of Marlene’s great skill at connecting needs with resources.
Marlene was elected as a Liberal MP in 1988 and was successfully re-elected over the following four terms, until retiring from federal politics in 2006. During her Parliamentary career, Marlene would be the first woman to hold the position of Chief Government Whip. She championed many causes during her career, but foremost was the advancement and empowerment of women. Her commitment to involving women entailed efforts to increase voting in marginalized communities and the development of grassroots organizations for residents to advocate on their own behalf. Marlene’s integrity, kindness and unrelenting dedication to the community continues to inspire.
Before we officially unveil the plaque, I would like to take this opportunity to thank Marlene and the family and friends who join us today, for their assistance in making this commemoration possible.
Text on Official Plaque
This park is named in recognition of the extensive community service of Marlene Catterall.
As a community activist, a City Alderman and Regional Councillor and a Member of the Canadian Parliament, Marlene Catterall has worked tirelessly for citizen participation, and for healthy inclusive community development.
This park was one of Marlene’s initiatives in fostering quality of life for the people of Michele Heights. Marlene worked with the residents to plan the Community Centre which continues to provide opportunities for the neighbourhood. Involvement in this project helped many residents to develop their talents, continue to contribute to the community and pursue new opportunities for themselves and their families.
Marlene`s passion for her hometown of Ottawa, and her talent to identify opportunities and empower people has resulted in healthy and vibrant communities throughout Ottawa.
Approved by Ottawa City Council on November 28, 2018.
Mayor Jim Watson
Councillor Theresa Kavanagh (Bay) Councillor Mark Taylor (Bay)