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Gun violence in southeast Ottawa

There has been a disturbing trend toward increased gunplay in my part of town. These are almost exclusively gang-related incidents where dealers are taking potshots at other dealers if they see the competition infringing on their territory.

Gang-related or not, there needs to be a stronger response from all community leaders, not only the Ottawa Police. And this needs to happen quickly, before a stray bullet hurts or kills a bystander like this 15 year old in Vancouver.

It’s really only a matter of time.

But like I noted, what should happen in addition to a stronger police response (whatever that exactly looks like) is a full community response to the crisis; and yes, this is a crisis. By “full community”, I mean the OPS, the City of Ottawa, the area Community Associations and the School Boards. Four distinct bodies that need to work toward common ends that will stop this trend in its tracks.

And yes, I include the School Boards as one of these four entities.

Speaking about the number 4, Ottawa has four, count ’em four, Boards within its borders. Yes. Four.

But I’ll leave that for another time…

Anyway, all of these Boards, but primarily the largest of them – the OCDSB and the OCSB – have a stake in the mitigation of this emerging crisis. They too have a responsibility to work with the CAs, the police and the City representatives and elected officials.

So, let’s get moving on this! And yes, I’m looking at you too, OCDSB and OCSB, because while we have been hearing about useful sessions with the communities hosted by the OPS and City Councilors, there has been nary a peep from our local Trustees.

At least nothing I’ve been told about…







Banning scooters from streets…

It’s about time that someone pushed this issue up a flagpole!

I don’t always agree with Councillor Clark, but the issue of scooters on city streets should at the very least be studied by city staff and recommendations put forward. There is going to be a tragedy one of these days and it would be a shame if the City simply sat on their collective hands until one happens.

Yes, I get that scooters are a great thing for residents with mobility problems. Without these mortised devices, many would be shut in their homes and completely reliant on family and social services to get around.

And I also understand that some City sidewalks are in pretty dire need of repairs and the scooter-ability of said slabs of concrete is somewhat difficult.


These devices are not suited to street use from a safety perspective. Pure and simple. I am a frequent user of St. Laurent Blvd. around the Elmvale Mall area. The sidewalks are wide and in good repair. Yet, it is not at all unusual to see a scooter or three pumping right down the street. And, for those of you who are not familiar with the area, St. Laurent is a very busy 4 lane divided main north/south artery.

One older gentleman has an annoying habit of powering his scooter right down the middle of one lane and giving the finger to anyone who honks at him!

Look, these things don’t have lights, move at a very slow speed and are difficult to spot at times.

Should the City be looking at those sidewalks in need of repairs and upgrades? Of course. But they also have to do the responsible thing and look at either regulating or banning scooters – at least in high traffic areas. Someone is going to get killed and a vehicle driver is going to have to live with that for the rest of their lives.


The challenge ahead for Ottawa’s new Mayor

Walter Robinson penned a good piece in the Citizen yesterday on the challenges that will face the new Mayor over the coming years. He rightly notes that keeping the next City budget increase to 2.5% will be a daunting challenge in light of the inevitable slew of “asks” by the new (and old) Councillors who will be eager to solidify themselves as champions for their Wards.

And he also rightly points out the following:

The other ongoing challenge for Mayor Watson will be council management. Yes, he is personable; yes, he is a consummate consensus builder; and yes, he has been the mayor before. Nonetheless, the Ottawa of 2010 bears little resemblance to the old City of Ottawa back in 2000.

Council management back then was simpler, with more predictable vote splits given the left-right divide on most issues. Today’s council can, depending on the issue, fracture across multiple fault lines including left-right distinctions, urban vs. suburban vs. exurban, partisan affiliations, east against west, language, homeowners pitted against tenants and community vs. community, both within and across ward boundaries.

Schisms are not just of the left/right spectrum any more. This can be seen at all levels of governments. For example, the ReformCons corner the market on much of the rural vote by playing to fears and issues that are predominately only issues in the minds of rural folks – the gun registry for example. While the Grits and NDP flip the coin around for their urban core base of support by playing on the fear that unregistered guns will make their ways into street gangs.

And it does not stop at urban and rural.  Faith-based versus fact-based. Those who have the opportunity of a higher education versus those are more “common-sensical” (not my term). Tim Hortons versus Starbucks (incidentally, we are almost certainly the only nation on Earth that draws a political line in the sand through the middle of a coffee shop!). Environmental prudence versus growth at almost any cost. Budget prudence versus spendspendspend.

And the City itself has its own “one side of the fence or the other” issues.  Pro LRT and against. Urban fringe development versus those who wish to can development altogether. Those for Landsdowne Live and those who are not. The list goes on.

All of these are divisions that play major or minor roles in the dynamics of decision-making by our various levels of government.

And our new City Council will be no different. Sure, there will be a honeymoon period where everyone is collegial and cooperative… but I suspect less so by, say, next summer perhaps?

I wish our new Mayor luck! He has quite a task ahead of him!