Should Ottawa De-Amalgamate?

This topic contains 9 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Ken Gray 7 months, 4 weeks ago.

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  • #741857 Reply

    Ken Gray
    Keymaster

    Ok de-amalgamate isn’t a word but the idea is being floated on The Bulldog by some readers.

    Did we do the wrong thing in 2001?

    Are your services worse now than in 2001?

    Is planning better in the city now than in 2000?

    Is our council performing better now than all the small-city councils in 2000?

    What do you think? End amalgamation?

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    #741876 Reply

    The Voter

    That’s a tricky one.
    If I just responded on the basis of your question on whether this Council is performing better or worse than pre-amalgamation Councils did in the old municipalities, it would be pretty hard to say “better”. There were, of course, some very “interesting” Councils, Mayors and individual Councillors in days past – interesting in the Chinese proverbial sense. By and large, though, when I consider the quality of their approaches to governing; the level of discussion and debate; the integrity of process and procedure plus the involvement of the community, there’s no comparison – the old Councils win hands-down.
    If I’m looking at the efficiency of the old versus new, I think we’ve gained something. In some areas, there are still adjustments being made so the amalgamation process isn’t quite complete yet. I’m amazed/amused to see that there are still duplicate street names being dealt with.
    I would expect that a de-amalgamated city would not look the same as the pre-amalgamation communities. There would probably be a western Stittsville/Kanata community; an eastern Gloucester/Orleans; south-western Nepean/Manotick and two or three rural communities in addition to Ottawa in the centre. The boundaries would likely be somewhat different from the old ones with urbanized areas of former rural communities being attached to their urban neighbours, i.e. the southern parts of West Carleton or the northern part of Cumberland. Likewise, the rural southern areas of the former Gloucester and Nepean could find their way into the adjacent rural communities.
    Would there be any gain to splitting the functions of the City? There would still need to be some form of organization to run things like social services which are mandated by the province to the City and formerly to the RMOC. Some City operations gain through economies of scale. Ordering road salt for the whole city is cheaper than Rockcliffe or Vanier doing it on their own. I’ve heard some good arguments for returning some parts of Parks & Rec to the local community.
    The other question becomes would you retain a second tier of government to provide the cross-regional services and, if so, what would that look like? Is there an advantage to having one voice when dealing with the province and the feds?
    The bottom line for me would be an assessment of what we would lose and what we would gain by going back to multiple municipalities. It would need to be based on something much bigger than trying to deal with the foibles and shortcomings of our current Mayor and Council. Even with a different municipal structure, a dysfunctional Council and a power-seeking Mayor could still appear and pervert the proper operations of Council and the municipality. We need to be sure that the remedy will cure the sickness, not just change its letterhead.

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    #741878 Reply

    Ken Gray
    Keymaster

    Voter:

    Outstanding answer.

    We certainly need better leadership.

    We need a better city staff as well.

    I can’t believe how planning operates. It’s appalling.

    cheers

    kgray

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    #741881 Reply

    Chaz

    There is an operating two-tier model already in Ontario. It isn’t perfect.
    Some have been advocating for years for complete one-tier versus the current two-tiers.

    A local council can be more aware of what its town’s issues are while the top tier looks after area wide issues such as getting better deals on bulk purchasing and mega projects like water treatment, etc.

    One tier seems to devolve into one person being Simon. Maybe more than one saying, ‘Simon says’, isn’t such a bad idea.

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    #741883 Reply

    Ken Gray
    Keymaster

    Like many people, I’m not happy with this government.

    That said, it probably comes down to people rather than the structure.

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    #741900 Reply

    Bob LeDrew

    I think structure has a lot to do with it. Look at the way urban vs suburban vs rural votes go down.

    I live in the city, in the most infill intensive part of the city. How much common interest do I have with someone in west Carleton or Cumberland?

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    #741898 Reply

    Kosmo

    The City of Ottawa is running as a two-tier system in many aspects, everything from public sector vs private sector and most notably lately we have a two-tier system on council with the mayor having favorites and not so favorites.

    2+
    #741905 Reply

    Chaz

    Kosmo,
    Again, Your comment hits the nail on the head.
    Quite scary.
    skoal,
    Chaz

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    #741930 Reply

    The Voter

    Did you just use “planning” and “operates” in the same sentence when speaking of Ottawa? The only operators in that realm are the developers and I’m not using the term as a compliment. ;-)

    1+
    #741932 Reply

    Ken Gray
    Keymaster

    Uh-oh. Sorry.

    2+



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