High-Rise Report: The Problem Is City Hall Arrogance



What’s really bothersome about the actions surrounding the high-rise report is the arrogance.

Here is a group of moderately educated people telling us how Ottawans will live. And, effectively by not allowing residents to contribute to this high-and-mighty document, they’re telling taxpayers and other residents they aren’t smart enough to contribute to their perfect creation. And when they do allow an audience with their inflated egos at a consultation, they don’t listen.

What could the little people offer to such an extremely intelligent high-rise document? Leave only two business days between an inadequate meeting and Ottawa City Council meeting and bulldoze this measure through. Participatory democracy at its highest.

You know, forget the little people such as the scientists at the National Research Council or the ground-breaking engineers out at QNX designing the driver-less car. Strangely, they are much more sophisticated than the driver-less planning department.

Or two presidents of two fine Canadian universities and all the intelligent educators and researchers within. They’re residents, too.

Or the miracle-workers at our hospitals and, though they would be too humble to be so highlighted, the life-saving medical people expanding the boundaries of life at the Ottawa Heart Institute.

Or the chief clerk of the privy council, or the prime minister, or the leader of the Opposition.

Not only are the graduate of three-year communications degree and his minions in planning saying Ottawans don’t have any input into this document, the planning elves are telling taxpayers how they should live. Arrogance.

This from a city staff that is causing accidents on Laurier Avenue by its poorly planned bike lanes (and so perfect and stubborn that they won’t change them), that has over-spent by billions on light rail and creates life-threatening sinkholes when it tunnelled through downtown. On this score, we could go on (and on).

Not only do the people at city hall look pretentious, stupid, misguided, undemocratic, incompetent, elitist and pompous in the high-rise report instance, they cut into the legitimacy of their own institution by acting in such a ridiculous fashion.

As in “Really … these guys at city hall who act so mindlessly and without my best interests in mind (that’s a nice translation of what some residents really said) want me to do this? Not a chance, pal. These characters treat me like I’m a nuisance and they want me to recycle?”

Or in other words, residents believe the legitimacy of the City of Ottawa (for which they pay and is supposed to serve them) is found wanting.

Want to know why Ottawans don’t vote? They don’t think the city is important enough or responsive enough to warrant walking down the street to put an X on a piece of paper. Ottawans can’t be bothered to care about city hall and why not? Because they are not listened to or treated with respect as in the high-rise report situation. If Ottawans ever thought about municipal government here, they wouldn’t care.

Ottawans have been frustrated too often by an unintelligent city hall to give a damn or consider the government legitimate enough to warrant interest.

So what is the crux of the participation problem at city hall? In this instance of the high-rise report, let’s start with Mayor Jim Watson, the planning department and city manager Steve Kanellakos.

Want to see the problem city-hall folk? Buy a mirror.


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One thought on “High-Rise Report: The Problem Is City Hall Arrogance

  1. 1) I remember when Jim Watson was elected mayor after Larry O’Brien’s four years in office he noted “I want to hear what the people have to say”. At first staff from city hall would attend community association meetings, business association meetings, etc. The problem, in my experience, was not that they didn’t hear but they neither listened nor acted on the comments attendees made. Now it appears Jim Watson doesn’t want to hear what people have to say. So I guess his original agenda was to get re-elected through his magnanimous gesture and now his agenda has become ruling the roost.
    2) I think you forgot to include the words “multi-million dollar bicycle lane on Laurier that extends for just more than one kilometre plus”.
    3) With regards to the number of residents who show up to vote at municipal elections, I think most people have just given up. This is a sad comment in light of the fact we are impacted more on a day-to-day basis by what transpires municipally than we are either provincially or federally.


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