In a televised debate on Rogers 22, Shad Qadri said he followed the advice of professional engineers and legal experts before he voted in favour of the Orgaworld green bin contract.
The contract is a 20-year, $160-million agreement between the City of Ottawa and Orgaworld for green bin collection service. An auditor’s report released earlier this year said that city staff mis-led councillors during the contract review process.
The contract and the auditor’s report have been a central theme in Dave Lee’s campaign. Lee, who’s challenging Qadri in this election, said that the contract and lack of due diligence by city staff is “a microcosm of how they’re doing business at City Hall.”
“Step one is to review the contract with Orgaworld and see what we can salvage,” said Lee. “We need to get a hard number on the cost to break the contract. $10-million or $57-million?”
As Qadri defended the value of green bin service, the debate started to get animated. Here’s an exchange between the two candidates:
Garbage was one of several topics debated. The debate followed a regular cadence with Qadri defending his work over the past eight years, and Lee emphasizing his concern for fiscal responsibility and accountability at city hall.
On light rail, and whether or not Stittsville residents are being short-changed compared to Orleans:
- QADRI: “Infrastructure beyond Bayshore isn’t there, and the ridership isn’t there in the west. The reason they went to Orleans is because they have high transit ridership.”
- LEE: “I didn’t hear a strong voice from our city councillor about moving light rail to the west end into his ward.”
On the balance between lower taxes and hiring more police officers:
- LEE: “As far as police services go, as I understand the number of calls has dramatically dropped in the last few years. As far as a request for an increase in budget, it’s going to have to be reviewed. If calls are reduced, what’s the reason behind increasing the budget?”
- QADRI: “Calls are up in some areas. The number one issue in my community has been about safety, traffic, community and neighbourhood safety. That’s where I want to concentrate on, working with our police department.”
On building a new central library near downtown, and whether or not Stittsville residents would support it:
- LEE: “We live in the information age, the world of internet. I have three kids going to school, they’re not going to libraries… What would be the best use of that money? Set up wi-fi centres. That’s how people are doing research and educating themselves. To put that size of capital expenditure to a library doesn’t make any sense at this time.”
- QADRI: “A library is an education centre. School boards are looking for libraries to be developed in the city to work with the school board so they don’t have to spend the money. The city can build a library that everyone can use. We’re not talking about Taj Mahal, we’re talking about a P3 partnership.”
This was the first time the two candidates have debated publicly. The debate will be re-broadcast on Rogers 22 on:
- Monday, Sept. 29 @ 9:00am
- Wednesday, Oct. 1 @ 10:30pm
- Monday, Oct. 20 @ 9:30pm
The next public debate is scheduled for October 9 at the Johnny Leroux Community Centre.
Did you watch the debate? What do you think about the Stittsville election campaigns so far? Add your comments below or email firstname.lastname@example.org