Electing more women to city council

The other day, I wrote about the announcement by Emilie Taman that she would be running for city council in Capital Ward. It’s too early to make any grand pronouncements on her candidacy. The campaign hasn’t officially started, so she’s not technically running yet, and we’ll still need to see a platform and hear what she (and any other candidates) has to say.

One thing I did note, though, is that it’d be good to elect a woman, all things being equal.

There’s been a lot of talk in the last few years (and earlier) about the dearth of women running and winning political office. After the last election, we went from a paltry six woman on council (out of 24 members, mayor included) down to four. Groups like Equal Voice have been working to change that, but this is going to be a long struggle.

I made a decision a while ago, and I’m going to share it now. If presented with two candidates of roughly similar merit, one a man and one a woman, I’m voting for the woman.

In 2014, such a commitment would have meant choosing Michelle Reimer over Jeff Leiper in Kitchissippi, Catherine Fortin-LeFaivre in Rideau-Vanier and Catherine McKenney over the field in Somerset. It would have meant Laura Dudas over Jody Mitic in Innes (well, Dudas was clearly the better candidate, anyway). It probably would have meant choosing Kim Sheldrick in Osgoode, and either Sheila Perry or Penny Thompson in Rideau-Rockliffe (I’m hedging on these ones, because I can’t really remember the races as well…give me a break; it was four years ago).

This isn’t about tokenism. It’s not about getting women elected purely for the sake of electing women. There are important reasons to do this.

First, the experiences of woman and men tend to be different, and, too often, public policy is tilted towards the needs of men, as they’re the ones making the decisions. This can present itself in rather obvious ways (say, taxing tampons because they’re a “luxury” good), or it can be far more insidious. Stockholm recently instituted a gender-equal snow plowing policy. Studies showed that women were more likely to walk, whereas driving was dominated by men. So, city government shifted their priorities to ensure that sidewalks, bus lanes and bike lanes got cleared first.

Now, this isn’t to say that all women have the same experiences, certainly not. But, the more women we get on council, the more likely it will be that the needs of women are given equal priority to the needs of men.

Second, representation matters, beyond specific policy. It is important that all members of the population are able to feel properly represented by council. It’s important for everyone to feel that people like them have access to political power.

Finally, I’m doing this to combat any latent biases I have. I’d like to think that I always and forever judge everyone fairly, but I know that, as a society, we judge women differently, and it would arrogant of me to feel that I’m magically above all this. Last time ’round, I caught myself falling into this sort of trap while watching a Kitchissippi debate. Here’s what I wrote:

I was quite interested to see how Reimer was to fair. At first, I wasn’t too impressed. She didn’t jump into the back-and-forth as much. She wasn’t getting her message across, and she seemed tentative, almost as if she just didn’t have enough of a grasp of the issues or solutions to hold her own against Hobbs and Leiper.

Then I caught myself.

It was Reimer’s tone and style that undermined her candidacy, not her actual arguments or policies. I realized that Reimer was speaking in a manner that society often conditions women to speak. If a woman is too assertive, she can be labelled as bossy. Strong women, who wear their strength on their sleeve, will either be undermined or demeaned, or they’ll be ignored or mocked for not knowing their place. Politics is still very much a man’s world–that’s obvious in this municipal race, and obviously a problem, too–and a female candidate has a fine line to walk. You have to play the game and stand up to men. If you don’t, you’re not strong enough to do the job. However, if you play the game too well, you’ll be cast a bitch.

So part way through the debate, I started listening to Reimer with this firmly at the front of mind. I noticed that she was polite and deferential. She demonstrated humility and acknowledged, implicitly, that others had valid perspectives to offer. I had to ignore these aspects of her performance to properly judge the candidate and the platform.

Her arguments were just as strong as the other candidates, more or less, and she displayed the intelligence and wisdom that we should all want in a civic leader. Her primary failing was that she too perfectly played the role that society tends to impose upon women. That’s absolutely no mark against her; it’s a mark against us.

This is the biggest reason why, if presented with two roughly equal candidates, I will select the woman: it is quite possible that I will be subconsciously discounting her candidacy; if I think the two are roughly equal, then there is a good chance she is the significantly better candidate.

So, no, a move to elect more women to council isn’t about tokenism; it’s about finally giving women something close to a fair shot at winning (putting aside all the reasons why women may be deterred from running in the first place).

Now, I think you could read all of this and say, what about other marginalized people, will you do the same thing? Pretty much everything I wrote would apply to other under-represented members of our city, so, yes, I think  I will

 

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It’s always about cars

Back before Christams–I can’t remember when exactly–the Percy bike lane got its own dedicated light Catherine (right where it goes under the Queensway). This made sense. When going south, cars have a no-right-on-red. A dedicated bike light should, thus, reduce conflicts between poor/negligent drivers and bicyclists. Now, I found that most drivers were observant of bicyclists, and it driver behaviour was getting better and better.

Nonetheless, it only takes one careless driver to kill someone, so, sure, let’s be proactive with safety.

The first day I came across this, I didn’t realize it had been put up (there was no *New* sign that they always put up for new car traffic lights). So the light changed to green and I went and it turns out I didn’t have the right-of-way. Crappy. I felt bad about that, and I was committed to not making that mistake again.

In the coming weeks, I wasn’t getting a bike light, at all. I notified the councillor. Soon, the bike light was working and everyone was getting their turn to go.

I was on the bike route on Sunday. The car light went green. I didn’t go. I waited. The bike light never went green.

I was on the bike route again last night. The car light went green. I didn’t go. I waited. The bike light never went green.

Both times, there was basically no traffic, so I just went on the red. So much for safety.

The lesson here isn’t that the loop system needs to work better (though, yes, it would seem it does). Nor is it that lights need better timing (though, again, yes, they do).

No, the lesson here is that these bike lights were not installed for the safety of bicyclists. They were installed for the benefit of drivers. If they were not there, I could have just gone on the regular green. Instead, I was expected to sit through a red.

This is not the first time this sort of thing has happened. Too often, measures to improve driving are dressed up as safety initiatives. These… favours… we do for vulnerable street users are really just means of moving more cars faster through our city.

A familiar face joins the Capital Ward race

So we have our first (pseudo) official candidate for Capital Ward. Emilie Taman, who ran for the NDP last year, has announced that she’s gunning for a seat at council:

According to the Citizen‘s Jon Willing:

Taman said her platform will be about “public accountability, increased public engagement in planning and development, evidenced-based decision-making in public health and strengthening environmental sustainability across city projects.”

Assuming David Chernushenko runs for re-election, Taman should pose a serious challenge that was sorely lacking last time (Chernushenko got over 77% of the vote). That’s not a shot at his main rival from 2014, but Scott Blurton didn’t have the public profile that Taman does.

Here are some quick thoughts on the announcement:

  • Taman’s description of her platform sounds good, but it’s also rather vague (which is fine, for now). I can see how those principles could form a quality platform, but we shall see.
  • Her description speaks to what she sees for the city–which is good! Too many councillors lack such vision–but I’d still need to know what she sees for the ward.
  • Taman ran for the NDP, but that doesn’t necessarily tell us anything. Provincial and federal partisanship doesn’t track well to municipal issues, even though many people try to do just that. People assume that the NDP/left wing politics and urbanism go hand-in-hand, but various NDP parties have been against road tolls and have supported subsidizing hydro use in recent years. I’m not going to assume much from that part of her background.
  • She was involved with Bookmark the Core, fighting to keep the main library downtown. I didn’t agree with everything they did (I think that the city could provide library services to downtown/Centretown/Golden Triangle without having the “main” branch in the core), but it did display a desire to have city services align with city/urban living. So that’s, generally speaking, a positive.
  • Swapping a woman for a man would be a good thing, ceteris paribus.

The campaign doesn’t officially start until May, and we don’t know who else will step up to challenge Chernushenko, or if Chernushenko will even run again (he hasn’t said either way, yet). But more ideas, more candidates and more women running will be a good for the ward and the city.

Requiem for a marginal hockey fan

Note: I came up with the idea for this blogpost before the news about a Lebreton deal broke. This doesn’t have anything (directly) to do with that news.

I like hockey enough. I am, nominally, a Senators fan, at least those times I’m paying attention, they’re who I root for. I’ve been to at least three games in my life, maybe a couple more (one back at the Civic Centre). I watched every game of the Cup run a decade ago. I watched most of the games in last year’s playoff run (at least in part). Before having kids, I knew the roster, the players and the usual lines and D-pairings. However, life often gets in the way, and I haven’t followed too closely for the past seven or eight years.

I don’t write this to establish any bona fides, just to let you know where I’m coming from.

So here’s where I am right now: there are times when I sort of want the Senators to fail, to go bankrupt, to move, whatever. There are times that part of me want them gone.

Now, before you sharpen your pitchforks or send out your “energy” line, let me be clear, I don’t actually want that to happen. I’ve derived varying amounts of enjoyment out of the team over the years, and may again in the future. And regardless, other people derive enjoyment (well, not so much this year) from the team, and I’m not looking to rob anyone of that.

But I am worried about the development of Lebreton Flats. I am worried that “we’re” going to completely screw up the whole thing. I’m worried that it’ll be abandoned or the Senators will go belly up and the arena will sit in disrepair. I’m worried that it’s just a stupid plan that’s really only being undertaken to prop up an otherwise-failing team.

I don’t have enough faith in the Senators organization to be able to feel comfortable with Rendez-Vous Lebreton. For me, it would cause much less heartache (and have far fewer negative side effects) to have the team fold quickly than to watch the Lebreton project slowly, continuously fail over and over again for the next two, five, fifteen and fifty years*.

And don’t try to tell me this fear is unfounded.

This is a team that, structurally, can’t consistently field a competitive line up. It’s a team that can’t pay a roster anywhere close to the salary cap (that will only keep rising, no doubt). It’s a team that often has attendance woes (and, yes, part of those woes should be alleviated with a central arena).

And, of course, it’s more than the team. It’s the owner.

It’s an owner who pulls out of community work when he doesn’t get his way. It’s an owner who openly muses about moving the team right before the team’s biggest game of the year (in terms of public interest). It’s an owner who regularly embarrasses himself (and, by extension, the team and the city). It’s an owner who got laughed at by a former star player’s wife about how that player wound up being traded. It’s an owner heading a management group that seemed to be playing head games with a generational talent, probably the greatest player in Senators history.

It is this owner and this team to which we will hitch the prospects of Lebreton Flats.

It cannot be overstated just how important this project is. There aren’t a lot of large parcels of land in the central neighbourhoods just waiting to finally be developed. This is a chance to create something great, something vibrant, something lasting.

I don’t trust Eugene Melnyk to be able to do that. There’s no reason to believe he will spearhead a viable, worthwhile city-building initiative–and even though he’s (hopefully) surrounded himself with smart people who can take the lead, there’s no reason to believe he still won’t cock it all up somehow.

Further, I don’t trust any development based around a sports team to be great, vibrant and lasting. Hell, I don’t trust Eugene Melnyk or the Senators to stick around.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s possible this whole thing will work out well. There are some very intriguing aspects of the proposal (and some aspects that they probably need to re-think). It is certainly possible to build something great around a sports team (hell, Lansdowne may be failing at that right now, but the possibility is still there).

And, yes, I hope that everything is going to work out. I will be happy for a healthy Senators franchise to move into a thriving central community and stay there for generations to come.

But there are just so many risks, so many problems surrounding this team and this owner, that it’ll be a long time before I’m actually comfortable with this relationship (if I ever am). And if my fears come true and this whole thing goes to hell, it’ll be a long time before I’ll be able to forgive the NCC, Eugene Melnyk or the Senators.

For me, the city’s future isn’t worth a hockey team.

*Who am I kidding, I’m not living another fifty years…so let’s say fourty-nine years.

A life is worth $2000. The system works.

I’ve seen a couple of news organizations (the Citizen and the CBC) cover the heartbreaking story of a driver, Felix Laframboise, who killed Kristine Cadieux and was forced to pay a measly $2000 fine. To add insult to the deceased’s family’s injury, they weren’t even allowed to make a statement in court…they weren’t even told about the court date until after the punishment, such as it was, was handed down.

Seeing the coverage of this story, all I can think is: Where the hell have you been?

In 2014, a driver killed a pedestrian and got a $1000 fine and three demerit points (as I wrote about in the Citizen three years ago). In that context, I guess a $2000 is pretty good.

(The cynic in me would note that it appears that we consider a driver’s life twice as valuable as a pedestrian’s, but I swear I’m trying not to be so cynical.)

Hell, you’re lucky if there are any charges

Years ago, Mario Theoret was killed by a driver on Hunt Club. All evidence, including reports from the police, demonstrate the driver was in the wrong; he dangerously and illegally crossed the bike lane when Theoret was there.

The driver was never charged.

Meg Dussault was run over by a truck driver on Bank at Riverside. She regularly gets blamed for it, as she was filtering (driving up beside a vehicle at a red light), even though filtering is legal.

The driver was never charged.

Laurie Strano was run over by a garbage truck driver during the Ride the Rideau event.

The driver was never charged.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad there’s coverage of this. My second reaction to seeing these reports was that I was very happy to see multiple media outlets care…because too often, there’s no evidence of that.

Now, I know that media outlets are understaffed, and I know that traffic “incidents” probably aren’t the most attention-grabbing stories (without some exceptional circumstances), but still, there’s hardly any follow up to the injuries and deaths in our streets.

Remember when someone was hospitalized when they were struck by a cabbie as they walked on the sidewalk on Elgin Street? I’ve seen no updates on any charges.

Remember when someone was killed by a driver while they were walking in the parking lot of the Metro in New Edinburgh? I’ve seen no updates on any charges.

Remember when Brian Thompson was run over by a pick-up truck driver while crossing the street at Somerset and Rochester? I’ve seen no updates on any charges.

There’s more, but it’s too time-consuming and way too depressing to research them all. Despite the challenges, it would be nice if we could get more follow-up on these issues…if we could actually remember the people whose lives are lost and drastically altered by car violence on our streets (and sidewalks and parking lots).

But for that to happen, society would have to care, and as Cadieux’s family is finding out, it doesn’t.

A handful of blocks downtown will be closed to cars, and Ottawa’s economy is absolutely doomed

Bell Canada needs to do some work on some manhole covers or something, so five blocks of Somerset O’Connor (man, I’m making some dumb mistakes these days) will be closed to cars for a few weeks. This unexpected-but-not-particularly-earth-shattering development has brought out one of our most storied types of news…er…stories: how will businesses survive? 

Per CBC:

In a release, the City of Ottawa said the closure was necessary to allow Bell Canada crews to repair manholes where the street intersects with Gloucester, Nepean, Lisgar and Cooper streets.

Businesses along that stretch say the impact could be devastating.

“It’s going to destroy our business,” said Fortunato Calabro, owner of Tosca Ristorante, located at the northern edge of the construction zone.

All right, let’s talk about this, bullet-point style:

  • It’s five blocks for six weeks. It’s hard to imagine this as commercial armageddon.
  • One owner worked in a jab at the minimum wage increase, nice.
  • Sometimes, there needs to be roadwork. Sometimes, a road needs to be closed for a while. This isn’t like when they closed Bank Street for a year or two.
  • The road isn’t actually closed; it’s only closed to cars. It seems weird that these restaurants would be so dependent on car traffic. Your business is right downtown, well-served by transit and the area is quite walkable. I don’t get how they don’t capitalize on that.
  • These stories are presented uncritically. Do they have any actual data on their clientele’s modal share? Is it just a gut feeling that everyone (aside from the 9-5 crowd) drives?
  • We rarely get follow up on these stories. Other businesses have been in similar situations. What was the result?
  • Maybe businesses should stop claiming that it will be impossible to get to their location (especially since it’s not true). When Rideau Street was first closed to cars, businesses were apoplectic. The kept going to the media claiming (falsely) that the street was closed and that there was no way for their customers to get to them. It kinda seemed like a self-fulfilling prophecy.
  • The owners think the city should have consulted with them, but to what end?
  • One owner suggested that they shouldn’t need to close all car lanes, and should only close one. Maybe that’s true, but in my experience, the city does everything it possibly can to avoid inconveniencing drivers, so I’m skeptical that that’d be a viable alternative.
  • Bell is doing this in a compressed timeframe (they say), so the businesses may be getting off easy.
  • Could a journalist doing one of these stories please ask the owners (aside from pressing for actual facts) what they plan to do to adjust? Are they going to try new things to bring people in or are they just going to complain?
  • I think a story like this is really problematic, the way it’s been done. There’s no critical inquiry, no request for facts or data, no follow up to see if the end of the world actually happened and little exploration as to why this work needs to be done.

Okay, so I’m not particularly sympathetic to the plucky protagonists in this story, but I’m willing to take up their cause in one respect (even though they probably won’t like what I’m going to say):

The root cause of this neverending story is our addiction to cars, and the car-centric nature of Ottawa, as an institution. The city basically tells us that we need cars, that we have to drive.

We still have parking minimums for central, urban, walkable areas. BIAs consistently agitate for driving and parking (and generally get it). We don’t, by default, maintain bike infrastructure during the winter…hell, we generally refuse to build it in the first place. On evenings and weekends, we reduce bus service.

Yet we never have to refrain from building roads. We never close streets or reduce capacity (other than via added parking) in off-peak times. We think “Complete Streets” means letting people park on the sidewalk.

And every time a story like this comes up, there is little to no pushback, either from the media or the city.

Do you want a thriving downtown business that can weather a few construction periods? You need a livable, walkable area. You need various modal options. You need a healthy and reliable transit system.

If you decide to hitch your business to driving, you’ll be at the mercy of the smallest inconvenience.

And I’ll have very little sympathy for you.

 

I’m a bad citizen

A few weeks back, I wrote about the proposed redevelopment of Fifth Avenue Court (or “Bank + Fifth” as the owners marketers dubbed it, but pretty much no one calls it). They want to bust the zoning regulations (like the proposal at 890-900 Bank Street), and I’ve neither seen nor heard any justification for the bulk of it (there are a couple of minor encroachments that don’t seem like big deals).

There was a public meeting about it Tuesday, and I had mentally circled the date on the calendar. I mean, it was just two blocks away; it shouldn’t be much of a problem.

…But other matters have demanded my attention, and the family has been battling colds and/or flus, so I neglected to properly plan to make it there, and, really, it just wasn’t going to work out, no matter how well I planned.

I felt I should really do my damnedest to get there. I write about this stuff. I provide comments to my councillor and the city. I comment on these issues on social media (probably more than is healthy). I thought it would be prudent to go and hear what was to be said.

Then I thought a bit more about it. I thought about the multiple meetings I went to about 890-900 Bank Street. I thought about the community’s response and the way city planners and council summarily ignored it. I thought about the lies that the development team told over and over again. I thought about how the city planner assigned to the file carried water for the developer and repeated their easily-exposed lies.

I thought about Elgin Street. I thought about how the public response cried out for bike lanes and a Complete Street, and I thought about how we got neither. Elgin will still be a car-centric design. It may be slowed a bit, and we may get wider sidewalks, but even those sidewalks will be given over to cars.

I thought about the O’Connor bike lane. Years of planning went into that. Residents gave hours upon hours of their time over those years, only for the section in the Glebe to be scrapped at the last minute, because some businesses (or maybe it was just OSEG) complained. I thought about how the local councillor supported the change and praised a business owner rather than supporting the will of residents.

I thought about the recent decision pertaining to the Salvation Army and how the debate was constricted by city officials and how there lacked a solid planning rationale for the decision (since people were only supposed to speak to it in terms of planning, not service delivery).

I thought about all the time that gets wasted by public consultations. I thought about how cynical city staff and councillors often are when they embark on these missions of civic engagement.

So I read stories to my girls. We played Pick-Up-Sticks. It was a far better and, no doubt, a far more productive use of my time.

The Lansdowne Principle

Late last year, the city decided to do something about (some) of the illegal parking at Lansdowne. Drivers have been leaving their cars in the loop on Princess Patricia Way by the basketball court/ice rink. This is a No Parking zone. It’s supposed to be used for pick-ups and drop-offs, but as with every inch you offer Ottawa drivers, they’ll park for miles.

Now, the city isn’t going to crack down on these scofflaws, no. In their respective wisdom, city have recommended–and city council has approved–turning that stretch into paid parking.

(Councillor Tobi Nussbaum pithily asked how the city would enforce parking meters when it has been unwilling to enforce the No Parking zone. Staff had no meaningful response.)

Okay, this is bad policy. It encourages driving and congestion, and rewards bad behaviour, but since we’re stuck with it, let’s start applying the underlying logic more broadly.

So here’s my proposal: Anywhere we see a bicyclist riding on the sidewalk for want of a bike lane, make bicycling legal on that sidewalk. Anywhere we see pedestrians “jaywalking”, make crossing the street legal.

Oh, what’s that you say? Only drivers get such special privileges? Oh right. I forgot.

 

Bank Street and the “adjacent” neighbourhood

The other day, I wrote about the proposed re-development of Fifth + Bank (or, as everyone knows it, Fifth Avenue Court). There was a line about the stepbacks it’d have on the eastern edge of the property:

The proposed development intensifies the property while providing a sensitive transition to the adjacent residential neighbourhood, preserving the character and scale of the existing context.

This is flat-out wrong.

Bank Street is not adjacent to the residential neighbourhood; it is the centre of the mix-use neighbourhood.

I know, I know, this seems like an innocuous mistake, but it makes it seem like the developers don’t understand the area or urban development. In the proposal, they talk about Bank Street being a mix-use street and a Traditional Main Street, but then they totally ignore that it’s the main street of a mix-use neighbourhood.

This is important, because if developers want to come in and build up in a neighbourhood (which is generally a good thing), they should probably understand what that neighbourhood is.

This…mistake, we’ll call it…could be a beneficial misrepresentation of the situation. They’re talking about stepbacks that transition to the “residential” neighbourhood. This would make it seem like, perhaps, the development won’t be a significant change to the neighbourhood, but will be a change to the busy street “adjacent” to the neighbourhood.

Considering the recent history of one of the members of the development team within this very neighbourhood, I’m not really inclined to give much benefit of the doubt to the proposal.

And this isn’t the only they get wrong. The proposal also states that traveling south along Bank, the street is made up of one- and two-storey retail and commercial buildings until you reach Holmwood. This is absolutely wrong. It’s not even a matter of interpretation. A half block south of “Fifth + Bank”, there is a three-story residential (only) building–a pretty big demonstration of how the Traditional Main Street is a mix-use area.

I don’t know if this is willful ignorance, or if they just don’t care. And even though this particular falsehood doesn’t particularly affect their proposal, it says to me that they have little interest in understanding (or demonstrating an understanding) of the neighbourhood in which they want to build, the neighbourhood they want to alter significantly.

This proposal is pretty close to being a good project for the neighbourhood, but considering the information that has already been presented, there’s no reason to believe the current development team will get it there.

A new bad development along Bank Street

It wasn’t that long ago that city council capitulated to a dishonest and deceitful development group for a proposal along Bank Street in the Glebe. The group wanted to break the current CDP zoning (that was a dumb mistake), building higher than was allowed, bigger than was allowed and casting more shadows than were allowed.

It was also pretty ugly, but they at least tried to remedy that.

During the process, the development group lied about the size of development in relation to zoning limits, and lied about their reliance on the Lansdowne redevelopment and the Lord Lansdowne tower as precedence for what they wanted to do.

The community was pretty much in agreement that this development was inappropriate and that the developers should be made to adhere to the zoning (they offered no real trade-offs for all the allowances they sought).

Well, now there’s a new proposed development just a block away, and at least one part of that group is back to help spread falsehoods, once again

The proposal for the redevelopment of “Bank + Fifth” (otherwise known as Fifth Avenue Court) seeks to maintain the Bank Street retail strip, tear the rest down and put up an eight storey tower (seeking a maximum height of 26 metres where 15 metres is the limit).

Once again, the proposal is fairly ugly.

There’s a lot to get into, but here are a few quick initial thoughts:

  • They call this a “Minor Zoning By-law Amendment”. They’re asking to increase the height by 73%. Whether that’s appropriate or not, it’s certainly not minor. Maybe they put the whole thing in capital letters because it’s a name they’ve given it rather than an accurate description.
  • Will zoning regulations ever mean anything?
  • Where will the vaunted “urban caucus” be on this. For the development at 890-900 Bank Street, there was some resistance by councillors Leiper and Nussbaum, but it was limited (there was also a sense of futility in any opposition). Nussbaum is the one who forced a meaningful compromise for the development in Old Ottawa South. Will he, or anyone, do so for this? Where will Fleury and McKenney be on this?
  • I’m predicting the community will oppose this. Will Jody Mitic* apply the same standard for this proposal–deferring to the community–as he did when something came up in his ward, or will this be another OIMBY situation?
  • Will Bob Monette also fall into the OIMBY category, considering his opposition to a proposed development in Orleans?
  • Two other corners of that intersection are or have recently been under construction. There will be construction a block away. A few years ago, they finally finished Lansdowne. Is there ever a point where we say, no, it’s too much re-development in a small area in a short amount of time? This is an honest question that I don’t have an answer for.
  • Why the hell would we allow someone to add 122 parking spaces to the Glebe? The proper amount for this sort of proposal is somewhere around zero.
  • Worse, why the hell does the city require 56 parking spaces for this sort of proposal? That’s utter madness. The Glebe has a traffic problem already. Cars are destroying the planet and making us sick. The development will be on routes 6 and 7. We have one of the highest modal shares for bicycling in Canada.
  • Will there be any trade-offs for the breaking zoning regs? At this point, no, there are none that I could see in the planning document. But hey, how about you axe all the parking spaces and then we can talk about going a little higher.
  • Will the mayor sell the community out to developers again?
  • Will developers that are clearly misrepresenting facts (at best) or lying (at worst) and who demonstrate little understanding of the neighbourhood and urban development in general be held accountable for all their deceit?
  • Will city planners carry water for developers just like they did for the 890-900 Bank Street proposal?
  • Will the development team use the 890-900 Bank Street proposal, the Lord Lansdowne and the Lansdowne towers as precedent for what they want to do…oh wait, they’re already doing that. Will they lie about this?
  • Why can’t developers just play by the rules? Why can’t they be honest?

My assumption is that this will go exactly like the 890-900 Bank Street proposal. I assume that many suburban councillors will support it. I assume that these same councillors will then vehemently object to any similar proposals in their own wards. I assume that the same people who will claim we need all those parking spots will later complain about all the traffic.

Ottawa’s crappy political balance will continue, unchanged.

*As has been reported, councillor Mitic is currently dealing with personal issues and health issues. It is quite understandable that he may be away from his duties for a while. I don’t know what the timeline for this proposal will be. I’m operating under the assumption that he will at council when this comes up (if it comes up this term of council). I think it would be unfair to assume otherwise.