Why I am running for City Council in Ward 9
I am running for the office of Councillor in Ward 9 (Knoxdale-Merivale) because I love this community. My wife and I, have called Nepean home most our adult lives. We have lived in Woodvale for almost 15 years and we are grateful for providing us with a great environment to raise our family.
The events of the last four years have convinced me that we need a new Ward representative at City Hall. I believe that the incumbent has failed in matters of paramount importance for the Ward and the City.
I believe that transparency, accountability and oversight at City Hall did not evolve in a beneficial direction and in my view Mr Egli has some blame to shoulder for this outcome. The lack of debate around the Council table on important issues, the lack of meaningful public consultation and the diminishing importance of the public advisory committees are all contributing factors.
It is paramount that councilors are able to obtain the information that they request from Staff in a timely manner, before voting. It is unacceptable to have situations when councilors are denied access to information, yet expected to vote on issues. My opponent has done just that. If elected I will not vote on any item where information is withheld. That is akin to writing blank checks, and I believe that is foolish.
Currently the balance of power at City Hall is too tilted toward Staff due to the laissez-faire attitude by our elected representatives. Council must involve itself significantly more in important decisions. That is especially crucial where large amounts of taxpayer dollars are at stake. If elected, Ward 9 residents can count on me to rationally question every proposal they put forward. I will make sure that the proposals benefit the residents of Ward 9 and the City.
I believe our Ward needs a strong independent representative that will help build a livable city that enhances the quality of life of our residents. Speaking plainly I believe our Ward needs representation at City Hall that serves its residents. Community input in matters that affect it directly must be a binding position for our Council representative.
I believe the key to making decisions that lead to positive outcomes is the continual involvement of the community. Our Ward needs a Council representative that engages and empowers its residents, is accountable and transparent. We need a Council representative that responds to the needs of the communities that form our Ward.
Community engagement must be a process not an afterthought. The community must be allowed to drive solutions, not be fed pre-ordained results, sometimes presented as fait accompli. Community information dissemination and opinion gathering must become a continuum. Combined with the expanded availability afforded by my proposed Ward Office, this will allow the Ward residents to have a say that matters in City governance.
The city collects a sizable amount of property taxes from Ward 9 and the residents would like to make sure none of it is wasted. We are continuously increasing taxes, fees and debt. That is not sustainable. Over the past four years taxes have increased every year and the current proposals are to continue to increase taxes for the next four. Not only have taxes increased, but also so have fees and debt. We are in a historic low interest rate environment that is bound to change. It will increase our debt servicing costs and put the City in a precarious situation. This will most certainly lead to an increase in the tax burden for residents if spending is not properly addressed. I believe we should be paying down our debt while interest rates are low, not increasing it so our debt load will be even greater when interest rates rise again.
If elected I will vote against any such increases. We must improve the overall efficiency of the City’s operations. If elected I will make it a priority to tear down the internal barriers inside the City of Ottawa that prevent real operational efficiencies from being achieved, and will work toward implementing a proper organizational structure that will ensure information is shared across departments and with Council. Transparency and accountability must be an integral part of this strategy.
This is why I am asking the residents of Knoxdale-Merivale to allow me to be their voice at City Hall.