We sent a questionnaire to all of the candidates for city council and school board in Stittsville. We’ve already published answers from the English Public Board and Catholic Board candidates, and today we have Part 1 of the answers from Dave Lee and Shad Qadri, the two candidates running in Ward 6 for Ottawa City Council. (Read Part 2 here.)
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING IN THIS ELECTION?
LEE: I am running because I have lost complete faith in our current city council. The Orgaworld audit confirmed all my fears about how our elected city officials are conducting business at city hall. There is no debate. No due diligence. No questions asked. Saddled with a $1.7B debt, our city can no longer afford this pattern of reckless spending . It is time for a change.
QADRI: I have been significantly involved in our community of Stittsville for over 21 years. For the past eight years, I have had the honour of representing the best interests of the people of Stittsville as their City Councillor. I am seeking re-election so I can continue my work representing the best interests of our Stittsville in the City of Ottawa with passion, integrity and diligence.
IN YOUR OPINION WHAT ARE THE THREE BIGGEST MUNICIPAL ISSUES IN STITTSVILLE WARD?
LEE: In speaking with the people in Stittsville ward, the three biggest concerns are:
- Rising property taxes and the careless manner in which our hard earned tax dollars are being spent.
- Green bin and bi-weekly garbage pickup.
- Establishing proper Infrastructure to support new development.
QADRI: From the feedback I have received from the residents of Stittsville, the three largest issues facing our Ward are:
- Community Safety on our streets – concerns with speeding and traffic flow in our community is the number one issue brought to my attention
- Managing the growth of our city and how it will impact our community – this includes infrastructure concerns, traffic flow and maintaining our community identity.
- The effective management of garbage. Working with community partners are areas of major concerns that impact Stittsville, such as the Carp Road landfill.
IN YOUR OPINION WHAT ARE THE THREE BIGGEST CITY-WIDE ISSUES?
1. Transit – LRT expansion
2. Garbage collection
QADRI: The three biggest issues facing the City of Ottawa are:
- Managing the cost of tax increases while facing the demands of growth and aging infrastructure such as roads, sewers and water.
- Managing the traffic flow of a growing city and planning for the future growth we will experience. Key investments such as the Light Rapid Transit systems are costly but necessary for our future
- Better management of the costs of necessary services such as garbage removal, emergency services and community services. Many of these services involve working with other levels of government for funding and legislative requirements.
STITTSVILLE MAIN STREET IS LOOKING QUITE RUN DOWN THESE DAYS, WITH EMPTY LOTS, BOARDED UP BUILDINGS, AND TRAFFIC CONGESTION. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR IDEAS FOR REVITALIZING THE STREET?
LEE: We need to attract more small business to the area to fill in the empty lots and boarded up buildings. To address the traffic congestion, we will need to look at rerouting traffic where possible and looking at alternative ways to enter and exit new developments. We need to do a better job and creating infrastructure before adding more development.
QADRI: I have been working on long term growth plans for our community and have brought forth a vision for our Main Street, through a Main Street Community Design Plan. The traffic congestion will be alleviated by building a new north/south traffic artery that will divert the truck traffic away from Main Street, which will enhance traffic flow patterns and safety. This new N/S artery will take traffic from Fernbank north to the 417. Main Street cannot be widened in the near term as buildings are situated right on the street especially south of Abbott Street. My plan allows for managed intensification along Main Street and I would like to see development that has character.
I would also note that your reference to “boarded up buildings” is not accurate. There is a new coffee shop that is going to open near the corner of Abbott and Main, Tony Greco’s has already moved in the vacant property near Carleton Cathcart and Main, and the Community Bible Church has taken over the old Home Hardware Store. I think that there is ongoing interest in our community and Main Street with good planning will continue to be revitalized into the future.
TRAFFIC AND TRANSIT (OC TRANSPO) ARE ONGOING CONCERNS FOR RESIDENTS IN STITTSVILLE. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS FOR HOW TO IMPROVE EITHER OF THESE?
LEE: Since we will not be served by Phase 1 of the LRT expansion and Phase 2 will only go as far as Bayshore in the west, we need to improve the bus service with faster, more direct routes to downtown. Adding more buses will cost much less and can be done quickly.
QADRI: These two areas are directly related and will continue to be of concern as the City of Ottawa continues to grow. I have been instrumental in enhancing the better management of traffic flow and public transit through my work as Councillor and the various committees that I sit on (Transit Commission and Planning Committee). I have brought traffic calming programs to reduce speeding and enhance community safety, brought more express bus services to serve our growing community, widened Hazeldean Road, brought the Park’n’Ride to the Canadian Tire Center for commuters, brought traffic lights to areas of high traffic volume, introduced the traffic circle at Shea Road and Fernbank Road. I have also been instrumental to ensure that the Light Rapid Transit System will extend from Tunney’s Pasture to Bayshore in the second Phase of the LRT expansion. I will continue to work to ensure that the planning for extending the LRT closer to our community remains in the plans for our future. Some of these programs require significant capital expenditures. If re-elected I will be representing Stittsville’s interests in the long term future growth of Ottawa.
THERE ARE TWO UPCOMING PROJECTS THAT ARE CAUSING SOME ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS: THE EXPANSION OF THE CARP ROAD LANDFILL AND THE TRANSCANADA PIPELINE. WHAT SHOULD THE CITY OF OTTAWA’S ROLE BE IN THESE TWO PROJECTS GOING FORWARD?
LEE: The City of Ottawa’s role in these projects is to advocate for its citizens and make sure environmental concerns are addressed in a responsible manner.
QADRI: I am and have been concerned with both projects. I have been representing our Community’s interests with respect to the Carp Road Landfill by attending every community consultation for the past eight years, pushing for waste diversion programs so we can meet the 60% waste diversion requirement. As we know the Province of Ontario will only issue use of other technologies after we divert over 60% of our residential waste.
Plasco would be a great example of alternate technologies. It is a process that converts waste into energy through plasmafication. I have and will continue to oppose expansion of Carp or any Landfill.
The TransCanada Pipeline has been here for many years, running through the Rideau Goulbourn Ward. The recent issues have arisen due to a change in the product that will be shipped through the Pipeline (gas to oil).
That being said, the City should continue to take an active role in working with the other levels of Government that have jurisdiction over these projects to ensure that local residents are not negatively impacted by them. We need to bring forth our community concerns and potential solutions to address them. By working together, we have a better chance of influencing any decisions that will impact our community by other levels of governments.
GARBAGE/RECYCLING/GREEN BIN COLLECTION HAS BEEN BROUGHT FORWARD AS AN ISSUE IN THIS ELECTION. WHAT DO YOU THINK COULD HAVE BEEN DONE DIFFERENTLY IN THIS AREA, AND DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS FOR IMPROVING WASTE COLLECTION?
LEE: How about reading the actual contract before approving it? The Councillors should have insisted on a two to three year ramp up period, as the city lawyers advised. Where was the data to support the figure of 80,000 tonnes a year? Why is the deal 20 years when other municipalities have five year deals?
You can try to educate people all you want about green bin use but in the end, it’s their decision to use it or not. We would not be in this mess if the Orga contract was negotiated properly. We would only be paying ~$70M for the 20 year deal based on actual usage.
The city staff voted for bi-weekly pickup to force people to use their green bin. Unfortunately, this resulted in maggot infestations and unhappy taxpayers. We need to look at instituting weekly garbage pickup from May to August and if possible, re-negotiate the Orgaworld contract to better meet our needs.
QADRI: The management of our waste is a major issue that has a significant impact on Ottawa and especially on Stittsville. I have been actively involved in addressing our concerns with the Carp Road Landfill for the past eight years. It is imperative that we continue to reduce and manage our garbage to reduce the negative impact on Stittsville. I support recycling and the green bin program because it is the right thing to do for the community in the long run. Cost of not having a green bin program could be as much as $250 million dollars for the siting of a new landfill.
Going forward the City manager has committed to bringing a full report to Council in the next term including the possibility of making changes to the contract. One such change could be that we include the use of biodegradeble plastic bags. The effective use of green bins will reduce the volume of heavy organic material going to the dump, saving us tax dollars and eliminating the rotting smell of organic waste that has had a negative impact on Stittsville.
Watch for Part 2 of this article on Saturday.
OVER TO YOU READERS: What issues are important to you in this election? What do you think of the candidates’ answers to these questions? Add your comments below or email email@example.com