A year on…

… since the Ontario municipal elections. Time flies.

So how have things gone here in Ottawa, anyhow? Has the School Board addressed some of the issues around communication and transparency?… issues that I campaigned on last year. Are they any closer to solving their long-term infrastructure deficit?

Has the City Council lived up to its early promise given its new Mayor and several new Councillors? Are our local reps reaching out to their communities to a greater extent? Are they implementing into policy what they are being told?

Lots of questions. And maybe they are a bit unfair, a bit premature maybe? Like, give them some time, Trashy!

But guess what? I’m not here to slam our new and returning Trustees and Councillors – rather, I praise them!

Or at least some of them.

OCDSB Trustees
Some have performed better than others. That’s a given. This term has seen a few Trustees rise as cream does to the top. They are very active and effective in their use of social media. Some are also very active in engaging their constituents the old-fashioned way; by holding meetings and forums. They listen and they act.

In other words, they are carrying out their roles well and their communities should be proud.

Others, not so much.

Bronwyn, Bronwyn, Bronwyn. I had hoped that campaign last year might have twigged you to the fact that you need to be more actively engaged with your Zone! But where have you been? You need to get out more. Hit some School Council meetings. Some school events (woulda been nice to see you at the book sale on the weekend) wouldn’t kill you either.

If you need examples to draw on, talk to some of your colleagues like Mark, John, Donna and Cathy. You could learn a thing or three.

City Council

Overall, I’ve been pleased with what I have seen coming out of City Hall…. especially from my own councillor, Peter Hume, who seems to have solidified his position on Council as the one who speaks for the City vis à vis development and planning issues. I especially liked what he said a few weeks ago to the Ottawa Real Estate Forum – zoning by-laws are zoning buy-laws. Deal with it.

“We believe that community design plans are incredibly important. They are designed to tell you where height is and is not appropriate. And we believe they are not jumping-off points. Once we complete a community design plan, and we zone appropriately to the heights that are designated in the plan, it’s not a jumping-off point for more.

Wow. A Councillor standing up to developers. What a concept.

I do, however, wish that Peter was integrated into social media. It appears that the newbie Councillors like Steve Desroches, Mark Taylor, Tim TierneyMathieu Fleury and Stephen Blais have caught on to itand have carried on with what they started duuring their successful elction campaigns; that is to use Twitter and Facebook to engage in a two way conversation with their constitutents and the wider City community. And Council vets like Eli El-Chantiry have caught on too! Kudos to them!

But Councillor Hume is a smart cookie. He’ll figure it out eventually.

So overall, I’d say that from my own backyard point of view, high marks go to my Councillor but lower marks to my Trustee. But hey, she has three years to make it right…

From a City-wide point of view, I have been happy with the attempts at better engagement shown by many of the Councillors – and the Mayor as well. There have been some policies and developments that I have not been particularly enamoured with (e.g., the OC Transpo changes, the decision to cease the publication of detailed minutes, how Lansdowne has been handled)… but… ya can’t keep everyone happy all of the time, right?

Check back next year for the mid-term review!

 

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