Tag Archives: Rideau-Vanier

2018 Ottawa Elections, here’s four more wards for you…

Ottawa Vote 2

This is a third in a series about the Ottawa Municipal elections taking place October 22, 2018.  I have covered 10 of the seats around council and in this post I will consider four more. In the last post I mentioned I would write about Kanata North, Bay, Knoxdale-Merivale and Rideau-Vanier wards. I am going to make a small change and save Bay Ward for next week and talk about Capital ward, as something recently happened that could have an impact on both the sitting Councillor and the Mayor.

Kanata North

Kanata North supposedly was to be vacant in 2014, Marianne Wilkinson had alluded to the fact that she was done, she then changed her mind and what could have been an interesting race turned into a re-election romp.  This election Wilkinson is out, at least she is not running.

I have a belief that elected officials that are not seeking re-election should stay quiet and not get involved in the race for their replacement. In Kanata North Wilkinson has endorsed Jenna Sudds – however that does not guarantee a victory for Wilkinson’s favourite.  Kanata North with the incumbent Wilkinson out has a good list of candidates to replace her.   There are five names on the ballot in Kanata North.  Matt Muirhead is back for his third attempt at the seat. The profile names on the ballot however are David Gourley and Jenna Sudds; Gourley is no stranger to the goings on at City Hall having worked in Mayor Watson’s office and Sudds is the first Executive Director of the Kanata North BIA, stepping down to run for council.

From the outside looking in (from the downtown core) it looks to be a Gourley and Sudds race and likely a Watson machine vs. a Wilkinson machine type of campaign.  May the best political machine win!

Knoxdale-Merivale

Unless residents of Knoxdale-Merivale are extremely unhappy with Ottawa roads, potholes, the upcoming delays in LRT and other transportation issues the quiet Keith Egli may just as quietly keep his seat.

Unlike 2014, when Egli faced one challenger, this election sees four others that want to represent the ward.  Back after sitting out 2014 is James Dean who, according to his website compares the current tax policy of the current council to that of a Ford Pinto. He says that council has cut services to pay more than $200 Million for the city debt, that the cuts will cause trouble for the city as citizens lose the services and programs they rely on. The current 2% tax policy may blow up and hurt the city if the debate on services vs. tax hikes continues to be won by a cap on taxes that according to Dean unfairly increases burden of the tax debt on taxpayers.  Unlike James Dean, the two other candidates have not fully laid out their plans for the city though transparency, tax spending and their community involvement are mentioned.

Though Egli has serviced the ward competently for two terms and incumbents are tough to defeat, of the three challengers James Dean has the best opportunity to shake things up in Knoxdale-Merivale.

Rideau Vanier

Was Mathieu Fleury in a sophomore slump in the first half of his second term as the Rideau Vanier councillor?  If he had been he must be extremely happy that the arrangement to move the Salvation Army to Montreal Road from the By-Ward market can along.  In it he found a voice for an issue that has united Vanier communities and has shown Fleury is someone who will fight Mayor Watson.   Since the inception of the SOS Vanier campaign, Fleury has lent his name to the fight and has spoken publicly about the Mayor giving public support for the move before the application from the Salvation Army was off the printer and emailed to the city planning committee.

While being able to show he will fight for Vanier, Vanier also is home to many qualified community activists that choose to fun for council come election time.  This time around Fleury has fewer challengers, and of the three other candidates only Thierry Harris seems capable of mounting a challenge that could topple Fleury come October 22nd. Will Fleury and SOS Vanier be the one thing that saves him and keeps him fighting Watson for another 4 years?

Capital

Long ago, Capital ward was where Jim Watson was first elected to the old un-amalgamated Ottawa City Council.  So it makes sense that the ward still holds a special place in his heart.  This was demonstrated a few weeks ago when Capital ward candidate Shawn Menard acted, along with other community members to save century trees from being cut down. The city was expected to issue the cut permit by mid-august.  With no action from City Hall being taken Menard took up the fight and started a petition to prevent the cut.  In his actions, Menard seems to have awoken Watson and David Chernushenko, the current councillor.  In a series of tweets on August 8th, the Mayor and Councillor celebrated the saving of the trees while ignoring the work that Menard did on bringing the issue forward.

With three other candidates vying for the seat, they will have to so something short of canvassing while standing on their heads to take the attention away from a Chernushenko vs. Menard race.  Chernushenko doesn’t make the loudest noise at council and the voters in the ward want the same type of leadership that Watson gave them as a councillor in the 80’s Menard could be joining the current “Urban Caucus” of Leiper, McKenney, Fleury and Tobi Nussbaum, which would certainly turn the volume up on urban issues.

With this post you now have my thoughts on 14 of 24 races.  My next Ottawa Election Primer will focus on Bay, Somerset, Alta Vista, Cumberland and Osgoode Wards.

Thank you for reading #RedHeartBlueSign, to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawaand on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97.  If you prefer email, please contact me at rdmedia@bell.net

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The Battle of Vanier: Land use vs. Building Use

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Out of the most divisive issues comes unity.

Last week saw an unprecedented Planning Committee meeting, it lasted three days and on the third day the meeting it went late into the evening. At stake was either safe shelter for 350 or the future of Vanier and its financial growth. The heart of the matter revolved around the Salvation Army relocating to Montreal Rd in Vanier from their George Street location in the Byward Market.

In what has become a war of words over the future of Vanier, the Battle of Vanier is clearly between two ideals; land use versus building use. City staff is on the land use side while Rideau Vanier Mathieu Fleury is arguing the building use will have severe impacts on Vanier.

In the middle of summer the Salvation Army filed a proposal to build a new large 350 bed facility that would locate all its services in one location (the current Concord Hotel) on Montreal Rd, which is classified a “mainstreet” by the city’s official plan. Ottawa now prohibits shelters on its mainstreets. Mainstreets by definition are meant for commerce and community gathering and keeping people moving. For the Salvation Army, the official plan will need to be amended.

It gets confusing and bewildering because City staff support a proposal that clearly goes against the Official City Plan, which City Staff had a huge hand in writing. With its support, planning staff is saying that the needed amendment ‘won’t be a problem at all’.

If you have trouble understanding how the mainstreet argument works consider other Mainstreet and “Main” street locations across Ottawa as examples. How about a large shelter on Strandherd Drive in Barrhaven, or on Meadowlands Drive in Keith Egli’s ward. Try selling a huge 300-bed shelter to Stittsville residents on Hazeldean Drive and I doubt anyone would allow a shelter beside a shiny condo on Richmond Road or even putting a shelter at the corner of Bank and Somerset downtown instead of rebuilding Somerset House.

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Photos courtesy of Danno Saunt (Sideman Ottawa)

There was another aspect in the Battle of Vanier, one which could have been avoided – The Mayor. The ink on the proposal was barely dry when Mayor Jim Watson came out in support of the Salvation Army’s plans. He voiced his support before the proposal was looked at by staff, was debated at Planning Committee, before residents could have a say and before the full Council vote. The Mayor holds great sway in council. He’ll try to tell he is one of 24 votes, honestly though, his “yeah or nay” will sway about a quarter of council seats. Coming out early on this forced Councillor Fleury to publically fight against the Mayor and most of council.

Whether the Mayor intentionally or accidently played his cards, he should have stayed quiet. I expect that he will lose votes in the fall, as SOS Vanier will make sure Rideau Vanier voters don’t forget who supported them and that the Mayor did not. By stating his support early in the process, the Mayor muted Councillor Fleury and virtually snubbed the 100+ residents and businesses that went to committee and stated their reasons for objecting to the proposal.

Clearly the Salvation Army did not expect such uproar. They almost admitted it, but could not find the right words when the Salvation Army spokesperson appeared on CBC Radio Ottawa Morning after the Council vote of 23-7 (Rick Chiarelli claimed a conflict). They admitted they had a lot of fence mending to do, but could not commit to saying they did not know the community well enough to foresee the outrage against the plans.

It was clear from the moment that SOS Vanier was formed by Vanier business owner Drew Dobson that who ever came up short in the vote at council would be appealing to the Ontario Municipal Board. Depending on the OMB outcome there could a lawsuit, which all means that it could be years before the wrecking ball comes down on the Concord Motel, which sits on the proposed Salvation Army building.

Speaking of the Concord Motel, there is a complication. The City of Ottawa is very tight for space for families that need emergency shelter, for days weeks or months. Guess where some families are put up, paid for by the City of Ottawa? The Concord Motel. Where will the City find the rooms lost with the demo of the Concord for the families that need the space? Good Question. The City better home the new Federal National Housing Plan works, and fast!

There is some good that comes out of the Battle of Vanier. The community has come together, again. The last time that happened was with the proposed closure of the Montfort Hospital. The Ontario government stood down from that because the community banded together. The Salvation Army shelter plan was the spark that brought Vanier back to its feet; I hope they don’t underestimate the community as Mike Harris did. SOS Vanier is here for a while and plan on keeping this issue alive.

Secondly, Councillor Fleury stood on his head defended his residents; I have not seen a councillor do that in some time. It was an “All-Star Performance” in the defense of Vanier and preserving Montreal Road. At worst he has almost secured a re-election with his efforts to protect his community with something he saw as being a bad fit.

The leaders of SOS Vanier have publically declared they will appeal the decision at the OMB, the Battle was won – the war wages on.

Thank you for reading this post; to catch all my posts and be notified as new ones come up please follow me on WordPress. I can be found Twitter @robertdekker, @rdmediaottawa and on Facebook at http://tiny.cc/n5l97. I can be reached at rdmedia@bell.net