Walk Ottawa is a group of citizen volunteers who contribute their time, talent, and resources to promote walkability and advance the interests of pedestrians in Ottawa. The group’s focus is inspired by City Council’s signing of the International Charter for Walking in 2011, and its objectives intersect with the mandates and missions of numerous other bodies – many City departments and Council committees (such as those dealing with environmental, infrastructure, social, recreational, educational, policing, health, finance, transportation and transit matters), most Community Associations and BIAs as well as the NCC and Province for certain issues, and other advocacy groups on occasion (including those concerned with the needs of older adults, cyclists, and mobility-challenged citizens) – and Walk Ottawa seeks common cause and welcomes cooperation with these bodies whenever such interactions are in the best interests of the city’s pedestrians
It is characterized by minimal organizational structure, and any interested citizen is welcome to attend and participate in its meetings. Its decisions are normally reached by consensus, although anyone present may request a vote on an issue – in which case a simple majority determines the result.
The work of Walk Ottawa is guided by a Steering Committee, consisting of five-to- seven members selected from among people participating in Walk Ottawa meetings. Steering Committee members are appointed for one-year terms by those present at the last Walk Ottawa meeting of each year, there is no limit on the number of terms a member may serve, and if vacancies arise during a term they may be filled by the Steering Committee after canvassing those attending Walk Ottawa meetings for indications of interest in serving. Members of the Committee take turns on a rotating basis in planning, chairing and following-up its meetings, which are normally held at least four times per year. For continuity the Committee designates one of its members to serve as Coordinator, with responsibility for maintaining a record of the Steering Committee’s deliberations, actions taken, and matters pending – and for serving as the Committee’s main spokesperson and contact point.
Meetings of the full Walk Ottawa group are convened by the Steering Committee and chaired by one of its members, and they are normally held four times per year. These meetings provide opportunities for those present to make decisions about Walk Ottawa actions, positions and priorities, to propose items for the Steering Committee’s attention, to receive and respond to reports from the Steering Committee about its activities and their results, and to offer advice to the Steering Committee on matters under its consideration.