By David Brown
Check out any local newscast in Ottawa; you will usually see a big-ticket item discussed at City Council. This could be the LRT boondoggle, the original Lansdowne deal, of which the taxpayer has seen nothing in return for their more than $200 million dollar investment, or most recently, the Lansdowne 2.0 scheme, where councillors have set in motion an overall plan to spend $332 million.
I have nothing against the City spending money to ensure residents in Ottawa have access to recreation and entertainment. After all, building a complete city means residents need places to have fun, relax and get out to enjoy what Ottawa has to offer. What I do take issue with is the mega-spending that seems to distract from the meat and potato issues that residents care about.
Have you called the City recently to inquire when a pothole would be filled, or when a new traffic light at a busy intersection would be installed, or when a new community center might be built to accommodate the rapid growth of our villages?
The likely answer for any of these is “years.” It’s frustrating as a taxpayer to hear that money is often the reason cited for lack of action in our communities. However, money is never an issue when there is an expensive project in the wings with the potential for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
City Council under-funds infrastructure maintenance annually by about $40 million dollars. This has been the case for the last twenty years. That means repairs that need to be done aren’t. Look around your neighbourhood; I’m sure you won’t have to look long to find an example of this chronic lack of care.
Although not sexy, everyday concerns like speeding, traffic calming, adequate recreational facilities, roads, pathways and police enforcement are things that residents care about. Not multi-million dollar lavish sports venues that will fail without the support of Ottawa’s tax base.
Let’s fix the crumbling roads, community centers, and sidewalks. Build new recreational facilities, parks and playgrounds for our families. Install desperately needed traffic lights and expand our roads to match the development across the city.
Get Ottawa’s dismal transit network working so residents can move around our city.
These critical concerns must be addressed to benefit Ottawa’s residents before City Council spends $332 million on a big headline-grabbing project.
Tackling these every day concerns is what residents expect- that is what I’m focused on.
David Brown is a candidate for council in Ward 21.