David Brown does not become the Ward 21 Rideau-Jock councillor until Nov. 15, but he is not waiting until then to get started.
“There are 15 issues I have identified and have already set up meetings with city staff,” Brown said. “I said in the campaign that I would hit the ground running, and I wanted to get started right away.”
Of all the newly elected councillors in the City of Ottawa, Brown is the one councillor who does know his way around City Hall and is able to hit the ground running. Before being elected, Brown served as the executive assistant for Ward 22 Councillor Carol Anne Meehan. Before the 2018 election, he was Ward 21 Councillor Scott Moffatt’s EA.
The experience in both of those positions has given him valuable insight into the local issues, as well as a thorough knowledge of how the systems work inside City Hall to get problems solved and to get things done.
While there are issues that affect the entire ward, Brown said that each village has particular issues and challenges that are unique to them.
“When I was door-knocking in Manotick, it was clear that the big issue is getting trucks off the streets of Manotick,” Brown said. “Truck traffic in Manotick is certainly the biggest issue in the village.”
Last month, residents of Manotick Place demonstrated on Bridge Street to protest the large number of heavy trucks that rumble through the village, usually more than once per minute during business days. Brown showed up at the march to join the protestors.
During Brown’s campaign in Manotick, there was also some controversy. One of his opponents, Kevin Setia, campaigned as a Manotick resident and claimed to be a Manotick resident despite the fact that his election papers stated his address as being in Rideau Forest, which is in the Osgoode Ward. Brown’s campaign team cried foul, saying that Setia was deceiving voters.
Despite losing some support in Manotick to Setia, Brown won by a comfortable margin, winning with more than 50 per cent of the vote.
“I think if Kevin did not run, it would have been a lot closer between myself and Leigh Andrea Brunet,” Brown said. “She ran a very good campaign and was a good candidate.”
Brown said he was going to reach out to his opponents to discuss some of the issues that they would like to see brought to the forefront for the ward at City Hall.
The unfinished building
While Manotick’s issues seem to be focused on one major issue, the issues in Richmond are more spread out. Brown said that like Manotick, Richmond has an issue with truck traffic, particularly on Franktown Road on the western edge of the village. There are other issues that were also brought to the forefront in the campaign.
“Richmond has a shortage of sidewalks and paths,” Brown said. “For example, people living in Fox Run have to walk across broken concrete at the edge of the road with trucks going at high speeds to get to the core of the village. We need a sidewalk between Fox Run and the fire station. We also have other areas that need sidewalks and road repairs.”
Beyond the roads, Brown said there is also the empty, half-built apartment building that has dominated the Richmond skyline for well over a decade.
“It’s time something was done about that building,” he said. “Right now, it’s just somewhere for teenagers to hang out and drink and party. The police are called there frequently.”
The building was originally earmarked as an apartment building for seniors. The developer went bankrupt during construction. Other plans for the building have fallen through over the years.
North Gower issue
Brown said that in North Gower, there are also a number of issues. The one that stands out to him is a need for a sidewalk on Church Street.
“There is a stretch of Church Street where children are walking along the side of the road after school with cars driving by them at high speeds,” Brown said.
Although he said he did not hear a lot of talk about the proposed mega warehouse while doorknocking in North Gower, it will also be an issue.
“We have to make sure that the infrastructure is in place to handle the traffic that the proposed warehouse would bring,” Brown said. “We have to make sure the roads are ready and that we have traffic lights in place.”
Brown said that in addition to his initial meetings with city staff to focus on issues, he will also be focusing on opening up his offices at City Hall and in North Gower. One of his challenges will be to hire staff for those offices.