AV Club

A few days ago, I noted that Alta Vista candidate Perry Marleau apologized for his behaviour during the televised candidates debate. I also noted that he didn’t really need to apologize for his behaviour. He was feisty and passionate, but those aren’t bad qualities. His bigger (valid) regret may be the way he helped Jean Cloutier’s campaign.

Cloutier is an experienced community leader. He also has the blessing of outgoing councillor Peter Hume. These two facts make Cloutier a formidable challenger. Still, he’s not the incumbent. He’s just like the other challengers.

From the very start of the debate, Marleau challenged Cloutier on the record of council. This attack made Cloutier look like the established incumbent. Worse for Marleau (and the rest of the field), Cloutier came to the debate incredibly well-prepared with facts and data to both support his policy preferences and clearly explain many of the issues to the audience. Marleau, for all his good intentions, became Cloutier’s set-up man. Marleau would attack and Cloutier would respond in a reasonable and informed manner.

The two candidates dominated the debate, which is unfortunate for voters in Alta Vista. As the debate wore on, it became clear that there were only two viable candidates in the race, Cloutier and Clinton Cowan, but with Cloutier being the prime focus, we heard less from Cowan, and we saw very little direct engagement between the two.

Like Cloutier, Cowan came prepared. But he wasn’t all numbers and figures. Cowan is the idea man in this race. He clearly has a vision for the ward and the city, and he can explain his approach to municipal issues through homegrown observations and developments in other cities.

And here we have the true choice in front of Alta Vista residents. Jean Cloutier displays competence and a thorough comprehension of the workings of City Hall. Clinton Cowan offers voters a vision and an understanding of how Ottawa can move forward. Both candidates appear dedicated to the ward. Both have devoted their time and efforts to improving their communities. I imagine either one would make a solid addition to city council.

I have no idea why Perry Marleau felt the need to apologize

I missed the Alta Vista debate on Rogers on Wednesday. Well, I didn’t miss it, I DVRed it and didn’t watch it right away. (Yes, I know.) On Thursday morning, candidate Perry Marleau tweeted this:

As you might imagine, this made me want to watch the debate all the more. (YES, I KNOW.) So, what did I see? I saw a candidate get into a passionate and spirited debate with another candidate. There were no low blows, no personal attacks, nothing that would warrant an apology. In fact, it’s the sort of back-and-forth we should want during the campaign.

So, apology not accepted, Perry. Apology not needed.

Attacks on Trees

It was a bad week for trees in Ottawa as the city was victim to two incidents of old trees being sacrificed for development. On Thursday, residents of Rodney Crescent in Alta Vista witnessed 50-year-old trees being abused and limbs being cut off in order to move a bungalow off a private residence. Rodney Crescent is a lovely little street, and some residents weren’t too happy about the actions of the house movers:

Margaret Buist, 55, who lives across the street, was concerned about the project and said she previously asked the city to send an arborist to monitor the move, but the first signs of trouble came around 12:30 p.m. as workers manoeuvred the truck carrying the home down the narrow street.

“It’s a beautiful, quiet, green neighbourhood with old mature trees and these neighbourhoods are rarer and rarer in the city,” she said, adding that many of the trees were planted in the 1950s when the subdivision was built.

When a city arborist arrived on scene shortly before 1:15 p.m., one of his first comments was that the situation seemed very unprofessional. His supervisor, who arrived on scene shortly after, refused to comment.

The Citizen‘s Andrew Nguyen tweeted a photo of the some of the wreckage:

Sadly, the owner of the property had good intentions; he is building a new home on the lot and didn’t want the old bungalow to become landfill, so he sold it. It is unfortunate that his attempt at conservation had some opposite effects. It also seems as though the moving company was less than honest with him about the process.

In a much more nefarious situation, Metcalfe Realty surreptitiously destroyed an old forest in Kanata. The forest was scheduled to be assessed for heritage status, but in a clear move to skirt the law, Metcalfe had their henchmen clearcut the middle of the forest, leaving tree cover at the property’s edge so as not to be detected. Neighbours heard the noise, but city officials could not respond in time to stop the destruction.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a developer destroy forests in an attempt to force development. It’s a clear it’s easier to seek forgiveness (or pay a token fine) than ask permission. Metcalfe can be fined up to $100,000 for their transgression, but that’s merely the cost of doing business. If it allows them to build a shiny new development, it’ll be worth it.

Clearly, the maximum fine isn’t enough. Perhaps a maximum fine of $100,000 per tree would be better. We should probably also repossess the land, whether it’s granted heritage status or not. Metcalfe clearly can’t be trusted.