PPP: City Council Should Exercise Its Authority

whopper.watch .12.26


“During the Emergency Preparedness and Protective Services Committee meeting of March 21, 2024, staff were directed to explore the feasibility of creating a Problematic Property page on the City of Ottawa website, which included the definition of a problematic property, links to report to 3-1-1 and other resources, including a flowchart to assist communities and a list of departments involved in a problematic property.”

Memo from Roger Chapman, director, bylaw and regulatory services


Isn’t this special.

Staff was directed to “explore the feasibility” of putting up on the city website a Problematic Properties page.

Wait a second.

Explore the feasibility and posting the page are two very different things. Exploration in the world of Chapman is presenting a working webpage that is already receiving complaints … at least if you can believe the page.

By Chapman’s own words, he understands what Ottawa City Council said and then exceeded it by putting it into action. Doesn’t council have to approve the PPP? If Chapman’s own words are correct, he was asked to explore. But look at the PPP, it’s operating. He wasn’t asked to build the webpage. He was asked to “explore” the possibility, not put it into action.

Missing are the small details of consulting with the public, presenting it to council, debating it and having it approved. In Chapman’s memo, there is no mention of delegated authority but he looks to have taken it upon himself to go forward with it. The proof is that the page is there and operating.

Was this memo just to “inform” council, hope they blow it off and bylaw can go forth with it … which it is already doing.

This is disrespect for council (not that it hasn’t earned it over the years), disrespect for the citizens of Ottawa by slighting their elected representatives, flying in the face of democracy and the rule of law.

Bylaw works at the pleasure of the people of this community through city council. Just doing it is not democracy. It is representative of another form of government.

City council does itself a disservice if it doesn’t rein this action in. Not doing anything shows no respect for the populace and electorate.

And one more thing. If bylaw services doesn’t listen to council, just how attentive will it be when a wee, small citizen complains they have been wrongly given a scarlet letter?

Democracy matters. Council is the caretaker of it and is not taking that grave responsibility seriously. Accordingly, staff is not taking council seriously. How long will it be before the public questions city hall’s legitimacy.

Council acts like a glee club rather than a sacred protector of democracy. Democracy is in peril around the world so council should make it clear that it runs city hall, that the public service reports to council and not unto itself.

Strike this PPP fiasco down, council. Practise oversight.

Ken Gray




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4 Responses

  1. Been There says:

    All true and well said Ken. How many meetings have the EPPS held in the past 14 months where councillors Brockington and Hill should have followed up on the request to explore. As chair and co-chair it is their responsibility to know what is being delivered.

  2. sisco farraro says:

    Interesting timing on the PPP (yet another 3-letter acronym for the city of acronyms). While the city is trying to reduce the 4-legged rat population it is encouraging the 2-legged ones to rat out their neighbours. I wonder how this story will be marketed in Happytown News.

  3. The Voter says:

    And where’s the protection for residents if a neighbour decides to use this list to harass them? That has to be built in to any program such as this.

  4. The Voter says:

    Been There,

    Very good point! In the old days, if a Committee or Council directed staff to go away and do something, there was a report-back date attached to the direction. That way, a question had to be answered by a specific date or staff had to come back with an explanation for the delay and ask for an extension. That ensured that referring something to staff wasn’t a way of deep-sixing it because councillors didn’t want to deal with it. That seems to have fallen by the wayside and staff are more or less free to respond as and when they wish.

    Another example of the cart leading the horse.

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