Tag Archives: Ottawa Centre

They Never had a Chance

I had something completely different in mind when I was planning this week’s blog,  until I read the May 13 2016 edition of the Centertown Buzz (follow them on Twitter @CentretownBuzz) (http://www.centretownbuzz.com/2016/05/14/feature-the-omb-and-norman-street-an-inside-look/).  I got angry after reading Eric Darwin’s account of the OMB hearing for Norman Street in Little Italy.   It was at that moment I changed my mind for this week.

Norman Street

The account Eric Darwin gives of the hearing is of course, from his perspective but it was telling of the contempt that in this case the developer and City of Ottawa have towards communities and community associations.  I have watched a few OMB hearings unfold in Centretown over the years.   While victories are very small on the community side, you take them because as a Community Association you just don’t have the funds to fight the big fight.  Community Associations have to whittle down to their biggest concern in a development as the focus of their OMB appeal.

In Centretown a few years back, the Community Design Plan (CDP) for the area was a sore point for both the Community and Developers.  The Community Association and Developers met and over several weeks and hammered out a CDP as an alternative to the plan that the City (with paid consultants) wrote for Centretown.   When presented to the City, it was rejected with only minor points of the plan being deemed acceptable for inclusion in the City’s Centretown CDP.

Within the hearings for Norman Street, a couple of things that Darwin observes agitated me. First was the reaction of the OMB Judge and the legal team of the developers on the news the Community Association’s lawyer was at her first OMB hearing.  I can imagine the lawyers wringing their hands in anticipation of victory. Second was the City’s constant reference of the portion of Norman Street being fought over as being ‘vacant’ when as Darwin points out a business and a residence were on that land.  The constant denial that the land was not vacant by the City demonstrated the contempt the City holds against anyone that feels that development is a bad thing.

City dwellers and Community Associations have no illusion that development will never happen.  In most cases it is welcomed, but under the rules that have been put in place under the Official Plan of the City, the Secondary Plan of the City and the CDP for the community, nothing is clear.

I don’t think that communities want a free pass when it comes to development. Development is a positive thing for a community; good growth and what it can bring for the residents are always welcome. But when there is no acknowledgement of a community, when it has real concerns about the effects a project will have, that is where the City fails to protect its residents. It is key to remember that a developer is coming into an established community, not the other way around.

With almost every application, rules can be bent to have seemingly met the desires of the developer with little more than an acknowledgement that “oh yes, we know you live here too, but…” however it’s not very often when a major development comes along that the community wins. The rare case happened 2014 when a Westboro development on Roosevelt St. was killed at the OMB for flawed city plans.

95-norman-south-view

The Norman Street (drawing above is the south view of the planned development) OMB hearings have shown that Community Associations are still not being taken seriously by the City.

The handwringing at the anticipation of victory of a developer’s legal team at an OMB hearing has to stop. For the Dalhousie Community Association, as has happened for Centretown in the past, they never had a chance to walk away with a substantial win.

NOTE: Eric Darwin has a great blog www.westsideaction.com and can be followed on Twitter @EricDarwin1

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

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Somerset Ward 2014, my vote goes to…

Ottawa Election 2014Since the end of the provincial election I have been asked to consider the possibility of submitting my name to run in Somerset for the fall Municipal Election. Like others that ran and did not win – and are Progressive Conservatives, there has been a call to arms to have us run for Ottawa City Council. In Ottawa, only one unsuccessful provincial candidate has decided to run, that being Alex Cullen in his old Bay Ward. Others I have spoken to have many reasons for not running. The two main reasons I hear are 1. “Two elections in one year? My boss would…me” and 2. “I am focused on finding a new Leader of the Ontario PC Party that will bring the change needed in Ontario for a better future for the province. As I stated in a previous post, I am committed to the Ontario PC Party, helping to select a Leader that can be elected as Premier in 2018.  Also, I have a third observation – there are currently 9 very good candidates and before September 12th there may well be a tenth, some have been canvassing for many months, many of the candidates I do not disagree with some of their positions.

As I consider who my vote goes to, I am looking for the candidate that will bring needed support to businesses in Somerset Ward.  For far too many years Somerset has not had a business friendly Councillor, this has to change. To keep the ward a vibrant and lively place to live work and shop, local small businesses must have a friend in the Council Chambers.

I find that though it is a mixed field of candidates in the ward, all are talking Transit, Sustainability, Transportation, Eco-district and keeping the community vibrant as the right development continues come into the area. So for me there was no way to find a difference among them using those campaign promises and platforms.  I needed more.

I asked one candidate about taxes, their response was they did not have a position on the tax rate. I have also spoken to others who say that at least 4 candidates will be exactly the same as we have now – and I agree.  Somerset needs change, not just changing the name of the councilor.  A change in how the Councillor works for ALL of Somerset Ward constituents is needed.

I am looking for a fresh approach to working with the community, a new approach to supporting business and calm sensible approach to development in Centretown and Somerset Ward.

On October 27th, my vote in Somerset Ward is going to Thomas McVeigh.

I have worked with Thom in the Centretown Citizens Community Association on the Board and on the CCCA Planning Committee. As a member of the Wellington West BIA Thom is managing a business in that community and he has worked on several community boards in Ontario and BC. Thom has demonstrated to me a calm and sensible way of doing business. He has demonstrated an excellent knowledge of the issues in Somerset Ward and Ottawa as a whole. He has a very good grasp of how to work with others and how to sensibly – without dreaming too large – accomplish goals. Working alongside Thom in the CCCA we have the same thoughts on smart and sensible development in the ward. We should not be afraid of developers, but it doesn’t mean we give away anything either. When I talk to Thom I hear and feel that he talks from his heart, he cares about our community and wants so much to make it better and brighter.

As a Red Tory, I support Thom in his drive to help the vulnerable, to ensure all are looked after BUT he sees, as I do, a real need for fiscal responsibility in Ottawa at the Council Chambers. I am going to vote for Thom, I see Thom as being the choice that can carry on some of Diane Holmes’ community and social work. With Thom I see that he brings to businesses a friend and a voice for the concerns of shops, restaurants and other businesses on Elgin, Bank, Sparks, Somerset, Preston and every other street in Somerset Ward at City Council.

I encourage those that supported me in June and feel as I do about doing all we can do help others and at the same time making sure we watch how are dollars are raised and spent, to support and vote for Thomas McVeigh on October 27th, he will be a fantastic Councillor for all residents, businesses and services that call Somerset Ward home.

October 27th, VOTE for Thomas McVeigh in Somerset. Please take the time to visit his website www.thomasmcveigh.com to learn more about Thom, his family and his ideas. 

Thom McVeigh

I invite you to share your ideas by commenting to this post or any post on my blog. You can also email me directly at robdekkeroc@gmail.com.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.

What if there was an election and the Media did not report it?

It came very close to that…locally.

There was an election, and as the Ontario PC Candidate in Ottawa Centre we did not win. We did increase our vote; we are now neck and neck with the NDP as the alternative party to the incumbent Liberals in the riding. These things we are pleased with, we exceeded the expectations we laid out for my campaign.

But there was also an election where many local races were not covered for many reasons. So what voters would have heard on a daily basis is what the Party Leaders did that day on the campaign trail and the countless ads that ran on radio (of which my campaign ran on four radio stations for ten days leading to the blackout period), television, internet ads (again which my campaign also participated in) and in print.

Here is a breakdown on how I felt the local media covered our campaign in Ottawa Centre

Radio

We were happy to be on CFRA one Saturday evening with Nick Vandergragt, but other than those 30 minutes, CFRA did not include my campaign in any all candidate roundtables and tended to only feature “prominent” local candidates as was stated by early afternoon host Rick Gibbons. I was very pleased that some of my colleagues from the around the region were asked to take part as their message would also be mine – but it would have been nice to be able to have the opportunity to debate the issues myself.

From what I can gather, 1310 News did not feature local campaigns, I was not asked and there was no request for a riding profile or candidate profile.

The CBC Radio 1 afternoon drive show drew names out of hat to see what topic and what riding and candidates would take part. CBC started this one week into the campaign, allowing for four weeks to discuss issues. With 7 “Ottawa” ridings, a few were going to be left out of their election lottery. The Local Morning show did not inquire or ask me to come on air. CBC did come by our Election festivities and asked for comments on the results.

Newspaper

Kudos go to several local papers, including the Kitchissippi Times, the Ottawa South Review and Metroland Media for reaching out and giving space to all candidates in Ottawa Centre.

The major papers, the Citizen and Sun stuck, for the most part, to covering the Leaders and their campaign tours.

The Ottawa Citizen has some local coverage, online. It could have been the timing with the relaunch of their newly designed newspaper or could have been a lack of resources but coverage was not what is in the previous Provincial Election. I was contacted a few times by the reporter covering our beat, but unlike in 2011 there was no sit down talk followed by a printed article, nor did we participate in an Editorial Board meeting. I admit that the Citizen had fabulous Election Result coverage the next day.

The local campaign coverage was non-existent in the Ottawa Sun, the campaign had no contact with the paper and when we reached out to them to see what they needed for their Election Day edition (a profile, picture etc.) my campaign manager was told “we don’t know what we are doing about that yet”. Their election result coverage was two pages and a cover cartoon.

Television

Neither the CBC nor CTV Ottawa included Ottawa Centre in their coverage, at least my campaign. CTV Ottawa proceeded to omit Ottawa Centre when listing the ridings and candidates. CTV Ottawa did feature a few ridings, but really only the battleground ridings were of interest to them. CTV Morning Live didn’t catch the election bug until the last weeks of the election.

Rogers TV taped their Riding Debates and broadcast them generously through the election period. What was a shame is that those that do not subscribe to Rogers did not have the change to view them. An option, considering that many also do not subscribe to either Bell or Rogers, would have been to place the debates on You Tube so everyone could watch them and a wider audience of voters would be reached.

Online

The future may be online; operations like Unpublished Ottawa allow all candidates and supporters to share letters and articles to a wide audience. Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+ and others are all avenues by which campaigns will bypass traditional media for coverage. You Tube has a huge role to play, as mentioned earlier, Rogers TV and other news outlets can easily share their coverage to voters.

Mark Blevis a Digital Media Analyst in Ottawa sat down with each candidate in Ottawa and videoed an interview, posted it online and then provided a social media score for all. It was ambitious and one of my favourite interviews of the campaign

In the end, the way all candidates used to rely on getting news coverage is now history, this election has shown that. Our traditional news delivery has shown it doesn’t have the space, time, reporters or interest in covering anything but the “big’ story of the day.

While increased coverage probably would not have changed the outcome in Ottawa Centre, what would have occurred is a wider knowledge of each candidate running in each of the ridings. We need to heed what happens to local news coverage as Media trims the local budgets and each station is merely a news gathering operation relying on stingers and freelancers that do not have an interest or base in the community they are reporting.

I shudder to think what the local coverage will be for the upcoming City of Ottawa Election this fall and the Federal Election in 2015.

It is really a shame because locally it’s not the big story that wins the votes, but the local concerns and how the candidates react to local questions. As candidates we will adjust and we will use the new media roads being built for us and if or when the Media as we know it today ask us to participate it will be ‘bonus’ news coverage and not something we used to expect.

The Local Election coverage should have been a boon for all media that were itching for a local angle in the provincial election, but sadly they did not scratch.

 

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97 and at www.robertdekker.ca.

Off and Running, but standing firm!

We are off and running, but I am standing firm on what Ottawa Centre and Ontario need.  It will be easy to say what has been wrong for the past few years, but let’s look at what is doable to make Ontario better.

The difficult list is the list that needs to be addressed, and Tim Hudak and the Ontario PC’s have addressed it.  So let’s take a look:

  1. Jobs, we need an aggressive jobs plan that will put Ontario back to work.  The #MillionJobsPlan will do that over the next four years, a PC government will implement a program that will produce good paying skilled jobs.  The Liberals and the Howarth NDP have no creditable plan to create the jobs that our youth and workers have left the province in search of.
  1. Our Debt and Deficit MUST be addressed or we will continue the spiral that started when the McGuinty Liberals took control of Ontario.  We must reduce our spending.  Reducing a deficit doesn’t mean spending more and we can no longer wait for the Liberals to figure this out.
  1. People should not have to make choices like ‘eat or heat’ or ‘a light or a bite’.  Affordable energy can be a reality, it takes one move to start the process, end the green energy program as it is.  The thousands of jobs the Liberals promised in the program never materialized.  We’ve taken majestic views and ruined them, just try looking at Wolfe Island from the shores of Kingston and  tell me that’s a ‘postcard’ shot.

I know that this message will be popular with Ontario PC’s, but what is needed to have this message spread to those voters that seem to think “what’s the point”?  Tonight my team found one such voter.  He may have not voted in the past because of “what’s the point”, but he now he’ll vote and on June 12th he’ll vote PC.

There are few people that feel that Liberal spending is “water under the bridge” or a “simple mistake”.  Mistakes don’t cost billions…not listening to the public and refusing to do what is right the FIRST time cost billions…the Ontario Liberals have cost you and every other Ontarian Billions.

In Ottawa Centre your MPP should be standing up for your local concerns AND work to build a better Ontario that is working.  Voting PC in Ottawa Centre is the right choice.  That’s why I’m running to be your Ottawa Centre MPP and why I am standing firm on what Ottawa Centre and Ontario need.

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97 and at www.robertdekker.ca.  You can email me at RobDekkerOC@gmail.com.

College of Raids

Image

This past week it was reported that a Barber has had his shop shut down because he doesn’t know about foils, colours and the latest in hair styles even though none of his clients ask for these treatments.

Read the story here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/ontario-barbers-forced-to-learn-women-s-styling-techniques-1.2326264

The low down is that the College of Trades knows there is an inequity in this sector but is unprepared to allow this to slide until a study that is to take up to two years is completed.  Until then – if an inspector comes in and there is no licence, there will be a fine (tax), not once but potentially twice and eventually a shut down order.  These shut downs are going to be costly as many Barbers are self employed and also hire out chairs in their shops to others.

The College of Raids is nothing but a Liberal idea that does nothing but increases the cost of owning a business and load more red tape to business owners in this province.  No one can say why it was even created, It’s just duplicated services that were currently in existence in Ontario.

The Ontario PC’s have been clear that the College of Trade would be on the line to be abolished and the tax it was created to collect would disappear.  The College of Raids is another tax disguised as a ‘positive revenue generator’.  The PC Critic for Trades and Apprenticeship, Garth Dunlop (MPP Simcoe North) has toured the Province and is a vocal critic of the `College`.  While the `College` of Trades is not at the same level as the Green Energy Program when it comes to increased costs of business, it is another example of a misguided program from a misguided government that is costing Ontarians, only this time it is costing jobs and a livelihood.

While the story of these Ontario Barbers is only one to be heard at the present time, what other `trades` are going to be at the mercy of Ontario`s Trade Raiders?

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97 and at www.robertdekker.ca.  Please follow me and send me your thoughts on this and other posts to rob@robertdekker.ca.

Drop the puck already!

It will have been the longest pre-game show in a while in Ontario.  The team Captain of the home team just announced her starting line up a week ago.  In a twist of a regular hockey match there will be two other teams on the ice.  One has been busy putting out line combos that could represent what the new home team would ice as a team while the other seems to have been watching everything  from the benches.  The puck is set to drop on February 19th on Queens Park.

Its said politics is more like hockey than it is ballet; in Ontario it has been a bit of both since Dalton McGuinty prorogued Queen’s Park (read my October 16th post ‘Gone? Not Really…).  The Ontario Liberal party has been on tiptoes on major issues, going so far as to not barely talking about ORNGE, Gas plant closure/movement and eHealth during the leadership race and debates.

On Tuesday the ballet slippers come off and the skates are on.

In Ottawa we’ll be watching if the Energy portfolio is Bob Chiarelli’s undoing as a Minister and an MPP, he’ll be responsible for the $1 Billion plus move of two gas plants, just to save a government from defeat and a Green Energy Plan that is having people see red.  I’ll be keeping an eye on freshly minted Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi; he’ll now wear the chain of office call Bill 119.  His bill will cost small companies and organizations in Ottawa Centre and Ontario more money to support an outdated and poorly run WSIB.  The Liberal way of gathering more money and throwing it a problem is not the fix needed for the WSIB and our employees who have been denied support.  While as President of the OLP he was able to escape the some responsibility for the problems of the Ontario Government, he now has no escape from accepting the accountability that has put Ontario in the hole, downgraded, jobless and looking for federal handouts.

In “Gone? Not Really…” I wrote that “Ontario will not truly be ready to be a leader in Canada until McGuinty is REALLY gone as is the Liberal Party of Ontario as the governing party.”  With a McGuinty Minister now as Premier and the Health Minister also serving as Deputy Premier, it looks like the Liberals will be icing the same team as before.

Drop the puck already, can the gloves for far behind?

I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97 and at www.robertdekker.ca.  Please follow me and send me your thoughts on this and other posts to rob@robertdekker.ca.

The Love you Take: The 5 minutes I spent with Deb Simms

I recently spent a few minutes talking community involvement and politics with Deb Simms, who has a wonderful blog I love to read.

Here is Deb’s blog post following our discussion.
Enjoy the read and make sure you read more of what Deb has written

http://debsimms.com/2012/04/06/the-love-you-take-5-minutes-with-rob-dekker/