Reconsider ! Postpone ! Delay ! These are the words which immediately jump to mind when contemplating the decision-making process currently in favor in the council chamber at Ottawa's city hall.
So Councillor (and mayor wannabe) Alex Cullen did not disappoint when he took a look at the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG)'s magnificent plan for Lansdowne Park and loundly proclaimed that any decision on moving forward with the plan should be left to the new council which will be elected on October 25.
We can only hope that he, along with several other councillors who also exhibit a reluctance to make the hard decisions, are put out to pasture by weary taxpayers who've had a bellyful of tax, spend and nothing to show for it.
Citizen Ellie likes the OSEG plan. She also likes Plan E which is one of the five plans for the parkland adjacent to the canal which were released earlier. All of these plans can be viewed on the city's web site and Citizen Ellie suggests that before you make up your mind, take a good look at what's on offer so you'll be in a position to make an informed decision.
Citizen Ellie is also sick and tired of efforts made by certain community groups, aided and abetted by their elected representatives, to "demonize" the principals of the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group in the hope that this demonization will turn the citizenry against Lansdowne development.
On the contrary. While public-private partnerships are hated by unions and their left-leaning supporters, most thinking people see such partnerships as a reasonable way of getting things accomplished at a time when public funds are stretched to the limit. It's time everyone realized that the property tax base is not cash cow which can be milked incessantly. When homeowners' property tax payments exceed their mortgage payments, something is drastically wrong with the system.
Citizen Ellie believes it's time to get on with it at Lansdowne. OSEG's design for rehabilitation of the stadium/Civic Centre along with retail and residential components is good for the city and will turn the current wasteland into a showpiece. OSEG has met all the city's requirements, and for someone who wants to be mayor to suggest at this late date, after OSEG has spent a ton of money on architect's fees etc., that decisions be delayed until a new council is in place is a slap in the face to Roger Greenberg, Jeff Hunt et al, and tantamount to asking for another lawsuit. It's no wonder Ottawans shake their heads and snicker when talk turns to municipal affairs.
Shall We Dance ?
Try as hard as he might, Councillor (and mayor wannabe) Alex Cullen can't get his chief opponent (some say shoo-in) for the mayor's chair, Jim Watson, to engage in debate.
Earlier this week Councillor Cullen had a campaign ad in the local newspapers setting out some of the things he would do if elected mayor and he's miffed that Jim Watson hasn't done the same.
One of these items is giving Citizen Ellie and her property taxpaying friends heartburn.
Due to the province uploading some of the costly services it downloaded on municipal ratepayers a decade ago, the city will have approximately $23 million in revenues which it doesn't have to send to Toronto.
One might reasonably expect that this $23 million could come back to the ratepayers in the form of a rebate cheque or perhaps a reduction in next year's taxes. Not if you elect Councillor Cullen as mayor. He has plans for that $23 million and it does not include benefitting Joe and Jane Ratepayer.
He wants to use this money for the homeless. This begs the question: why is homelessness still an issue, given the amount of money governments at all levels collect in the form of taxes, given the much-vaunted social safety net we all pay for, and given the generous donations made to charitable organizations set up to help the less fortunate ? Citizen Ellie is tired of being "guilted" about homelessness by politicos, social agencies and professional do-gooders. How about you ?
But back to Cullen vs. Watson. Jim Watson is a very skilled, wiley politician and he ain't going to engage himself in a pissing contest any time soon
Ottawa Voters' Coalition Event
Citizen Ellie will be MC-ing a "Candidate Focus Session" being presented by the Ottawa Voters' Coalition (OVC) on Saturday, June 12 from 10.30 a.m. to 12 noon at the Royal Oak (800 Hunt Club Road at Uplands Drive).
Ottawa SUN columnist Walter Robinson will open the event, outlining what voters will expect of candidates in the upcoming municipal election on October 25. He will also review the Ottawa Voters' Coalition founding principles which include revamping the governance structure at city hall and establishing term limits for mayor and councillors.
This is a "by reservation only" event -- you can get your name on the list by contacting OVC at: www.ovc.name/candidatefocus.html