(Photo: Barry Gray)
One year ago today Glen Gower was sworn in as the Councillor bringing a fresh voice for Stittsville to City Hall. The campaign win against an incumbent who had held the seat for 12 years came as a surprise for Gower. A community minded resident for several years, he was ready to represent Ward 6 with aplomb.
Stittsville Central sat down with Glen for a glimpse into his world over the past year. It has been a tumultuous year to be a Councillor at City Hall, but Glen said it has been a “positive experience personally”. He spent the first few weeks after being elected staffing his office. With a communications background in hand and having worked in governance and risk management in the private sector, it is only natural that Gower would be quite inquisitive in wanting to understand the how and why of City Hall mechanics as he adjusted to his new civic duties during the first few weeks.
(Councillor Gower with his community initiative #GetInvolved signage in his Shea Road office. Photo: Stittsville Central)
Not everything moves at a fast pace and he has “learned to appreciate the complexities of the processes in place”. Gower quickly learned of his successes and failures when getting things done. Appreciative of his west-end councillor colleagues – Scott Moffatt, Jenna Sudds, Eli El-Chantiry and Allan Hubley – they have been able to team up on shared issues important to residents.
Over the year, Gower has looked forward to the opportunity to talk everyday with people in Stittsville at his Councillor’s Chats and on the street hearing their ideas and complaints. “Many of which have been constructive” he stated. Working together with the community to find a solution to an issue is one of the things he loves best.
(Councillor Glen Gower presents his report to the Stittsville Village Association on November 24, 2019. Photo: Stittsville Central)
Gower has had to deal with a number of voiced concerns from transit issues, garbage collection to snow clearing problems. He feels that some of these have been sorted. Using the Waste Management contract as leverage, a new contract will be coming into effect in the Spring of 2020 for garbage collection that “should address the issues”. Glen was happy to share “a new supervisor is in place in our area for snow removal. It was discovered that some Stittsville sidewalks were not on the snow-clearing maps and these are now added. Suggested one-sided parking on some side streets during winter will be put in place.” Although these issues may sound minimal to some, “the changes should reflect real progress in the community overall” he said.
Some high profile issues have been dealt with at City Hall, but here in our community, Glen is proud when he was able to announce that the northern, approximately one kilometre, extension of Robert Grant Avenue would be moved up to nine years from the current 2026-2031 time frame completion dates. He continues to push on this project overall. “Front ending finances are now an option to get it done, the developer will initially pay for the road extension, with the City reimbursing the developer upon completion.”
(Councillor Gower speaking at his hosted Stittsville Volunteer Awards in June 2019. Photo: Stittsville Central)
He is constantly working on transit issues, but currently is glad that through sharing concerns from residents and his own personal ridership issues with OC Transpo, additional buses are being added to the existing schedule in the new year. He is addressing the issue of bus service in Blackstone where it needs to be improved. Phase 3 of the LRT to Stittsville is another high priority with him — “accessing federal funding for the LRT extension is dependent on the rail line being brought out here”.
Then, there is the one-year project that he was successful in putting in place — the traffic lights at Parade and Main. From day one he was told this couldn’t happen by city staff, but he dug in his heels and was determined to make it happen. Various traffic calming measures are being looked at for neighbourhoods; the new pedestrian crossing at the Trans-Canada Trail and Rouncey Avenue was a significant moment with two more coming – at St. Stephens School and one to be determined between Abbott and Brae on Stittsville Main Street.
The development at 1531 Main Street was another win for both the community and Gower. Prickly feedback from residents and nearby neighbours was heard and he worked closely with the developer to ensure major changes were made that, in turn, were more favourable to the residents and the look for Main Street. The proposed development for 1000 Robert Grant Avenue may very well be a different story when the 15-storey and two other smaller scale buildings will be presented at a yet to be announced open house.
“I could not have accomplished these things without my staff – a good team – who are working hard behind the scenes for the residents of Stittsville. Nothing is impossible to them in supporting me,” Glen proudly stated about his office team.
(Councillor Gower at his ‘Free Community Skate’. Photo: Barry Gray)
All in all it has been a good year for Glen, and he ended by saying “you have to plant the seeds” for more ideas and projects to be implemented. Stittsville has so much potential that he wants to continue to improve upon — we are the envy of all the other communities.”
To keep up to date on the Councillor’s activities, you can subscribe to his newsletter at https://www.glengower.ca or follow him on Facebook or Twitter where he provides important community updates on issues.