Rural residents well advised to attend City's poorly publicized
March 24th workshop, in order to defend rural interest --once
again-- from the ravages of urban-serving planners.

From: Terry Boland, Associate Editor   
The West Carleton Review Weekender                                                          
March 16, 2007


Urban/rural divide

   A workshop is coming up on March 24 from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Confederation High School to start the ball rolling on a rural settlement strategy for the City of Ottawa.
   The strategy is a follow-up to the Rural Summit held in 2005 and will take a closer look at land-use issues in the rural areas of Ottawa.
   At first glance it is a logical next step in the amalgamation process but, unfortunately, it is premature, particularly since the city planners have yet to get it.
   What is meant by “get it” is the failure of the City of Ottawa to understand there is a “cultural” divide in the national capital region.
   It’s ironic we have welcomed the cultures from many nations and consider them to be a positive addition to our way of life, but city staff have yet to learn about the culture of our rural communities.
   The one size fits all approach is one of the main factors rural residents have not embraced the style of governance at Ottawa City Hall.
   Rural residents were either born and raised within communities or rural areas, many on farms, and for well over a century, have developed their own lifestyle, quite different than those in urban Ottawa.
   In fact, new residents to the rural territories of Ottawa have moved out to the hinterland because they want the same type of lifestyle, a much simpler and less stressful way of doing things.
   It is this rural culture which should have been the first thing considered when efforts began to amalgamate the municipalities because, in effect, the city is imposing it’s will on the territories without consideration for their way of life.
   The main culprits in this divide are city planners who are only interested in either supporting developers without any consideration for rural opinion or trying to fit the square city peg in the round rural hole.
   Planners are more interested in getting things done and if the look of the city is a sign of success maybe we should just pass the rural settlement strategy by.
   The move to develop one set of city by-laws is another example of attempts to remove the rural culture in favour of a generic city landscape.
   The province has made it clear the city can apply a city by-law in different ways in different parts of the city, so why the rush to consolidate.
   The March 24 meeting is crucial for rural residents to attend to ensure the rural culture is maintained and development is on their terms, not eager development beavers at city hall.

- West Carleton Review Weekender -