Now The Little Oligarchs Want Your Opinion

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Well lookie here. City staff wants your input.

This after railroading through high-rise policy changes and giving the public 27 hours to prepare their input. Then two business days later, ramming it through council where the public can’t participate. Slick.

Obviously there has been a sea-change in the attitudes of city staff. Earlier last week they didn’t give a damn about your input, now they do. Must be born-again democrats. A revelation.

No doubt the origin of tweet below was to try to cover up city staff piddling all over itself by shafting the public on consultation on high-rises. And why did the city not want input on high-rises?  Because it is controversial. And in the Jim Watson epoch, those who create controversy are sent into a black hole of obscurity from which they never return.

But it’s more than that. High-rise policy is delicate because you can’t offend the development community which supports both the planning department and our city politicians who receive much of their campaign funding from builders. And the reason the media didn’t even cover the public meeting was because stories could offend big developer advertisers. Such is the weak-kneed state of the media.

Want to see something funny? Watch what happens when a prominent developer enters the city council chamber. He or she is mobbed by politicians and staffers. Pathetic.

Anyway, here is the new enlightened, reborn era of democracy in the form of a press release from the city:

The City of Ottawa wants your input on the projects, policies, programs and services that affect your daily life. From open houses to workshops and online consultations, your feedback helps to shape City decisions.

The following opportunities are available next week:

Tuesday, May 22
Information Session for Parents to Learn about Cannabis (in French)
École secondaire catholique Garneau – 6588 rue Carrière
6:30 to 8:30 pm

Wednesday May 23
Information Session for Parents to Learn about Cannabis (in French)
École secondaire publique Gisèle-Lalonde – 500 Millennium Blvd
6:30 to 8:30 pm

  • The Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario and the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est, in conjunction with Ottawa Public Health (OPH), are hosting information sessions for parents to learn about cannabis(link is external). The sessions will tackle the myths, cover what is known about the upcoming new laws, discuss how to have that talk with your youth, look at ways to protect youth and give an overview of available services. Representatives from OPH, Ottawa Police and the School Board will be available to answer questions.

Open House: Kanata Town Centre
Richcraft Recreation Complex Main Hall, 4101 Innovation Drive
7 pm

  • Join City staff and Councillor Marianne Wilkinson for a public consultation on plans for the Kanata Town Centre, including the Official Plan Amendment, Environmental Assessment and park design.

Thursday, May 24
Public information session: Combined Sewage Storage Tunnel – Cumberland at Wilbrod (Site 3CR)
5 to 8 pm
Tabaret Hall, 550 Cumberland Street

  • Construction of an underground access shaft for future inspection of the CSST tunnel is planned for Cumberland Street, north of Wilbrod Street. Attendees at this session will be provided with background information on the CSST project, as well as details on specific construction activities and impacts for this particular site, known as Site 3CR.

The following consultation is also available next week:

Here’s some advice. Don’t go. If they don’t care about what you say, as taxpayers, voters and residents who public servants are supposed to serve, don’t show up. Save your time and theirs.

And then on Oct. 22, vote out this mayor and council and replace it with people who want to clean house of the little oligarchs on city staff.

They could start in the planning department. They played their hand way too strong on this.

Don’t you think so, city manager Steve Kanellakos?

 

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7 thoughts on “Now The Little Oligarchs Want Your Opinion

  1. Go to any of the city run “public consultations” and you waste your time.
    They will ignore your thoughts and comments and be able to say they held well-attended events. Of course there is rarely open discussion so they can say the public supported them.
    Been there, done that and fooled me once

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  2. Is there a website somewhere that lists the names of candidates who have registered to run this fall or do we have to wait until nominations close?
    Here in Bay ward, we know his deputy worship is not running, but who is? Incidentally, we got a phone call from Mr. Taylor last week thanking us for something.
    I’m pretty sure it’s the only time in his eight years on council that he’s called us about anything. Not that I’m complaining.

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    1. It’s available on the city website actually. I’m not sure if links are allowed but just google ‘ottawa Municipal election’ and it’s the 2nd hit. Shows all the ward candidates, mayor, and school board.

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  3. Merrill. Was the call from Mark Taylor up close and personal or just a recorded message? If it was the latter, maybe you should be concerned.

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  4. Ken, your cynicism is understandable but where does it lead us? There are actually small groups of people in city hall who are trying to change the culture and the practice of public consultation, specifically on planning matters. The news release you received is one way they’re trying. There are now two web sites where you can look for opportunities to participate in a public consultation.

    On the by-date page there is limited ability to filter by date, but also by category and ward.

    On the by-project page one can do keyword search and one can filter for type (Construction, Other, Planning), by category (9) and by ward.

    Believe it or not, getting to this has been over a year in the making.

    I also know of individual planners who try hard to be responsive to public input. Take a look, for example, at the consultation document for the rezoning of the future new Ottawa Hospital, an item that is before Planning Committee on May 22.

    At the same time, last April staff tabled a cut-and-dry report about the department’s accomplishments with Planning Committee which shows huge declines in performance of Site Plan Control processing (which was already low), a fact that went without comment in the report.

    So all is not well in Ottawa’s planning department, not by a long stretch. But let’s encourage the few good things that do happen.

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    1. EajD:

      If you think a press release giving 27 hours notice of a public consultation is an improvement, I’m afraid you are not very critical.

      cheers

      kgray

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