Third of three parts:
The $600,000 environmental assessment only gives the impression of progress in Barrhaven. In fact, it is wasted money.
There are no plans to get LRT to Kanata or Barrhaven past 2031. Environmental assessments expire in five years. In these cases, they are worthless except to the re-election aspirations of Harder and Mayor Jim Watson. That $600,000 could buy a lot of things. Maybe some work on solving the vandalism problem in Barrhaven. Instead Watson and Harder are throwing that money out the window.
Furthermore, very disappointing is that the city has not even produced a promised grade-separation study on the horrific OC Transpo-Via rail crash north of Barrhaven which claimed six lives in 2013. All this time, millions of car trips have travelled this deadly level crossing not waiting for construction, but a study which might point to when construction might begin.
The chairwoman of planning committee not only can’t get LRT to Barrhaven, she can’t produce a study on fixing a deadly level crossing that tens of thousands of her constituents use daily.
Not a politically correct term but that’s the name. That’s what has happened to Jan Harder and city staff. They identify more with the development community than with the public they are supposed to serve.
The mayor knows what Harder is doing and he could change that if he didn’t approve. He approves. All Harder represents is the wishes of the mayor who just wants to stay above the dirty work and maintain his lovely and voteable persona of good ole Uncle Jim. Nothing could be further from the truth.
The situation has become so serious that when one staffer was asked why 900 Albert was rushed through at city hall, the person said the city didn’t want to offend the developer. Destroy participatory democracy, make a joke of the rule of law, ruin the inclusiveness of municipal process, don’t represent the wishes of the public and curb free expression on municipal projects, but god forbid you offend a developer.
Harder and city staff have lost their way.
So too Watson. The mayor knows what Harder is doing and he could change that if he didn’t approve. He approves. All Harder represents is the wishes of the mayor who just wants to stay above the dirty work and maintain his lovely and voteable persona of good ole Uncle Jim. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Harder is the business end of the club Watson uses to back the development community..
Our municipal political system is at its lowest ebb. It’s what you get when the public doesn’t care, the media gets smaller and public servants and politicians think they can get away with anything.
This sad crew at city hall must be turfed out in the Oct. 22 municipal election.
Ken Gray is the editor of The Bulldog and spent seven years covering Ottawa City Hall for the Ottawa Citizen. He was also a member of the Citizen editorial board and worked for five major Canadian newspapers over a 40-year journalism career.
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