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Sent to the Rural Council MAILBOX:

Democracy loses out to bureaucracy
The 'Shortliffe Amalgamation Scheme' seen as a pre-ordered 'fix'

To:     contact@ruralcouncil.ca
Date:  Sat, 1 May 2004

   After reading the fine print on my fire permit and reading what the fire chief said about rurals being allowed to burn yard waste I would like to have him explain just how that is possible with all the regulations attached to it. I thought this was to be modified and made sensible.
   I have burned yard waste for years and been told by the fire dept my burn area was safe. Now I had to pay ten dollars to find out it is now illegal. Let's get the hell out of Ottawa before we pay for much more of their excesses of the past.

   


   Also suggest you do not put too much emphasis on quotes from Glen Shortliffe. I suspect he was a political tool with a set of instructions on how to play the charade of being democratic.
   There has been nothing democratic about this from the very start and I have often wondered how constitutional the process was. Please do not reference the "vote", that was so blatantly rigged it was not funny.

Doug Gordon
West Carleton


 
 Bob McKinley says there is widespread  dissatisfaction among rural and suburban residents with the efficiency and effectiveness of an amalgamated Ottawa.
 CREDIT: Michael McGee, The Ottawa Citizen

Re: Rural citizens belong in city, March 26.

Rural residents of Ottawa must thank the Citizen editorialist for leading us down the path of enlightened understanding. Your editorial might more appropriately have been headlined: "Rural citizens belong to city."

The Citizen's assurance that "rural Ottawans" can depend upon their new Big Brother for help when needed is comforting. After all, we've never been capable of looking after our own affairs, nor have we ever had a sufficient tax base to support a proper police force or our own public-health unit. I guess we were just darn lucky for
the 111 years prior to amalgamation.

I'm equally enlightened to learn that rural representation at city council should decline to bring representation more in line with our population. I wrongly assumed rights to representation were protected by the principles enunciated by the Supreme Court of Canada and reinforced by the Ontario Municipal Board when it repealed the city's odious ward-boundary bylaw.

The new Rural Council has been instructed by its members to re-evaluate the relationship between rural taxpayers and the amalgamated City of Ottawa. The current relationship is not acceptable. De-amalgamation is one option to be studied.

Megacities have been studied across North America and have been repeatedly identified as failures. Rural and suburban municipalities outside the Greenbelt once functioned as a public service, responsive to the needs of their constituents.

The level of dissatisfaction with city government has reached an all-time high since amalgamation. Rural Ottawa is not alone in expressing its dissatisfaction with the inefficiency, over-regulation, and big-spending practices of the new city. Many suburban taxpayers also believe that inefficient government poses a dire threat to providing essential services and to sustaining social programs and culture.

Bob McKinley,
Rideau

© The Ottawa Citizen 2004
 
 

 

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:

 


Rural voices can't seem to be heard.

The Ottawa Citizen             April 11, 2004
Re: 'Barnyard circus' a tale of hardship, APRIL 7.

   As columnist Kelly Egan points out, the "coalition of rural interests" is broad in focus, but there's good reason for that -- if we press individual causes, we just can't get anyone to pay attention to our concerns.
   Case in point: Richmond residents have been warning of the potentially disastrous consequences of installing a sewage forcemain through our village. Why anyone would route a sewage forcemain through a village where residents rely on shallow wells is beyond us.
   We have tried numerous avenues to get our point across but no one is listening -- even our councillor dismissed our petition with 690 signatures opposing the forcemain. We were told the matter was closed, that all environment assessments were done (however, one was never done within the village of Richmond), and the city

 


was going to proceed with a forcemain since the city says the on-site solution would release an unacceptable amount of phosphorus into the Jock River -- but only the equivalent of one tablespoon a day.
    Somehow this "contamination" of the Jock outweighs the potential contamination of our well water. Where's the respect and attention there?
    And why can the city now decide to reopen the issue about handling leachate from the Trail Road landfill: "Due to concerns expressed by the public regarding the proposed pipeline route, the city is now re-evaluating all ... options, including on-site treatment with discharge to the Jock River." What up with that? Are Richmond's concerns about one pipeline somehow less worthy than Nepean's about another?
   The coalition is so broad because sometimes it's the only way to be heard.

Diane Cloutier,
Richmond

© The Ottawa Citizen 2004

A widening split

 
The Ottawa Citizen              April 11, 2004
Be it municipal, provincial or federal government issues, it appears that the split between urban and rural concerns is getting greater. If this continues, we will be seeing more demonstrations. As time passes, frustrations and the sense of "not being listened to" do not make for a good atmosphere.

At the municipal level, the passing of the Ottawa budget highlighted the great differences between urban and rural. With regard to the last provincial throne speech, there was no mention of any rural

 
Ontario problems. Federally, how can one forget the boondoggle of gun-control registration?

With all the ongoing regulations, it has come to the point of literally changing rural lifestyles. It is a shame that society has come to the extreme point of rural versus urban, as the number of urban voters greatly exceeds those who are rural.

Douglas Scheels,
Arnprior

© The Ottawa Citizen 2004

 
 
 

National Post - April 21, 2004 - Lawrence Solomon:

In a major turning point, an Ontario government report
suggests a restructuring and eventual abandonment of
much of the provincial hinterland
:
  "Rural phase out"

Related - NATIONAL POST...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR:

 

 

Phase-out city standards in rural Canada

 

Randy Hillier
Financial Post
Monday, May 03, 2004

   Lawrence Solomon's column illustrates the contempt and ignorance with which the far-removed urban and bureaucratic mindset views rural communities (Rural Phase-Out, April 21).
   It's no wonder the "Rural Revolution" started in Eastern Ontario is gaining wide acceptance and broad support when such people as Mr. Solomon have the government's ear and common people and common sense are absent from our democratic process.
   The only dangers and obstacles threatening the rural economy and culture are government intrusion: legislation such as the Nutrient Management Act, which slowly starves family farms; new Ontario water regulations that parch all rural businesses of profits; the gun registry, which creates lifestyle criminals; the Environmental Protection Act, which cuts down our logging operations because sawdust is thought to be toxic; and the Species at Risk Act, which endangers all property owners with legislated theft of our lands.
   These are but a few examples of the government's assault on rural communities, but the list is as endless as a bureaucrat's quest for meaningful tasks. Leave rural people and communities alone and we will thrive and survive long past the cities' demise, just as we have for hundreds of years, and throughout history.
   It is evident the rural economy is being dismantled, and its people are under siege, but this is being done by people such as Mr. Solomon and urban bureaucrats who legislate misplaced

 

urban standards and regulations upon rural residents and their businesses.
   Metropolitan legislation intended to protect urban dwellers from the dangerous effects of an intensive and dense living environment has no place or purpose in the wide-open and clean countryside.
   The consequence of urban legislation on rural communities is hardships and a dying culture and heritage.
   Clearly, the same consequence would befall urban communities if rural living standards were allowed in densely populated cities.
   To suggest that rural residents and communities cannot sustain themselves and require the guidance and support of the cities is to have a complete lack of knowledge or understanding of rural people and our lifestyle. It is a clear contradiction of reality: It is the densely populated cities that need rural people and their communities, in order to protect Canada's environment, food supply, culture and heritage of democracy.
   Government academics are building fences that divide rural and urban, causing each to look upon the other with disdain, but rural people know who will climb to the other side first.
   The only question is will we in the rural areas let them in and allow them to escape the culture of socialism that entraps them? Or will we create a new rural province first, in order to protect our rural heritage, culture, property and democracy -- and separate ourselves from the dangers of academic minds empty of reality and filled with ignorance.

   Randy Hillier, president, Lanark Landowners Association, RR2 Carleton Place, Ont.


© National Post 2004

 

Terrence MacLaurin
Financial Post
Monday, May 03, 2004

   Rural Phase Out suggests that financial support to rural areas in Ontario be phased out because "most of rural Canada cannot sustain itself."
   The comment goes on to applaud the government of Ontario's Panel on the Role of Government, saying its report has spoken with rare courage and clarity.
   To add to the panel's courageous suggestions, perhaps the government should examine a few other unsustainable programs. Welfare, subsidized housing, breakfast programs in schools and drug needle programs should be phased out. Employment Insurance only encourages workers to take government-funded holidays and should be abolished. Arts and culture programs, libraries, museums and publicly funded recreational centres should be 100% privately funded. The government cannot afford to support public entertainment.
   All irony aside, we don't have to look far to find programs that heavily burden the taxpayer. Some

 


 


 tax-supported programs or services should be eliminated immediately, namely the Ontario government's Panel on the Role of Government.
   This panel has conveniently overlooked the high cost of supporting the infrastructure of high-density urban areas and has focused on the lightly populated rural areas with fewer votes.
   The motive for this report is transparent and serves only to alienate urban and rural dwellers and further the government's attack on rural residents. The government of Ontario is waging a war against the rural lifestyle through studies such as this, onerous environmental regulations and complete disregard for property rights.
   We will not back down from the attack and will not surrender our rights. We pay taxes, as do all other citizens, and demand the services and respect normally expected by other residents. What we really need is to phase out the government of Ontario.

Terrence MacLaurin, Woodlawn, Ont.


© National Post 2004

 

 

The rural burden

 

Frances Thurlow
Financial Post

Monday, May 10, 2004

Re: Lawrence Solomon's Rural Phase-Out, April 21.

Slowly and methodically over the past years, rural communities have had their post offices, schools and churches (all community establishments) closed. The latest affront has been the forced amalgamation of our townships. It now appears the Ontario government's Panel on the Role of Government is recommending relocation of communities.

Rural areas are burdened with regulation heaped on regulation. They are harangued by every conceivable government ministry. They are tired of being the fall guys for major pollution problems, which are actually traced to heavily populated urban areas -- e.g., regular urban sewage spills that are polluting our rivers lakes and streams. Infrastructure in urban areas is so old and fragile it is unable to contain the vast amounts of waste coming from heavily populated areas. Urban centres seem to be allowed to continue on their regular pollution kick without too much government intervention. If that were to happen in a rural area, the

 



 

authorities would sit on our doorstep and impose stiff penalties or even incarceration. As for polluted air, just step out in the city and take a deep breath.

The panel suggests rural communities are not worthy to receive funds for assistance. Let me assure them, urbanites are just as quick to sidle up to the trough as rural folk. Listen to the news, read the papers. Who cries for financial assistance any more than city politicians? As for giving support to rural communities, Mr. Solomon, our hard-earned tax dollars are just as valuable as urban money. We deserve good roads, education and health care as much as any citizen of this province.

Farmers are the lifeblood of the nation. The slogan "If you ate today, thank a farmer" should be emblazoned in every home. Dedicated farmers work their soil, tend their animals and harvest their crops so the likes of columnist Solomon and other Ontarians will have food on their tables.

Frances Thurlow, secretary,
Frontenac Landowners, Godfrey, Ont.


© National Post 2004


 Two-Billion-Dollar, Botched Gun Registry Topic:

Related -  OTTAWA CITIZEN...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR...



 

Liberals out of touch on gun registry

 

The Ottawa Citizen
May 4, 2004

Re: Voluntary gun registry idea irks MPs, April 30.

   MP Marlene Jennings's comment summed up nicely how out of touch she and the Liberal party are with the mood of most Canadians. Responding to a proposal for a voluntary firearms registration, Ms. Jennings said, "The overwhelming majority in every single province want compulsory gun registration."
   It's obvious Ms. Jennings has no grasp of what the term "overwhelming majority" means.
   Since December 2002, four separate polls (two by Ipsos-Reid and two by JMCK Communications) have shown national support for the gun registry ranging from 37 per cent to 43 per cent.

 

   In January, an Ipsos-Reid-Globe and Mail-CTV survey that asked "Is it time to scrap the Canadian gun registry?" garnered nearly 27,000 responses, 71 per cent of which said "yes."
   Just as surreal was Ms. Jennings comment that "the gun registry ... is vital for police to track illegal firearms that are used in crime." This statement ignores the obvious fact that illegal firearms aren't included in the registry.
   The firearms registry is the poster issue for Liberal waste and corruption that a real "overwhelming majority" of Canadians is fed up with. It's unfortunate that Ms. Jennings and her Liberal colleagues are too busy living in their fantasy world to realize it.

Gerry Gamble,
St. Catharines


© The Ottawa Citizen 2004


 
 

Right to protection

 

The Ottawa Citizen
May 4, 2004

   I find it hard to believe that some people, especially some women, still advocate this worthless, ineffective firearms registry that has cost taxpayers almost $2 billion. I am a law-abiding taxpaying family woman who believes that God gave me life and only God will have the right to take it. Therefore I choose never to be a victim.
   To me, victimization is a myth; you make your own destiny. If someone chooses to try to harm me, I have the right under natural law to preserve and defend myself and my family. No one, not even the government of Canada or misguided lobbyists, can ever take that away.

   


   I don't understand why some women are allowing the government to coddle criminals while leaving themselves and their families unprotected. Why do criminals have more rights than law-abiding citizens?
   It's time to scrap the firearms registry and put the money into something that will help: a registry for criminals.

Tracey Kleim,
Moose Jaw, Sask.,
Canadian director,
Women against Gun Control


© The Ottawa Citizen 2004

 

 

Absurd waste

 

The Ottawa Citizen
May 4, 2004

   Given that the majority of gun-related homicides and crimes in Canada are committed by career criminals using unregistered handguns, it seems absurd that the federal government has wasted nearly $2 billion on the gun-registry program that targets rural duck hunters and their long guns.
   Rather than reeling out the same old diatribe, it's time the Liberals scrapped the registry and

   

 diverted the hundreds of millions of dollars that will be needed to run it each year into programs that have a proven track record of saving lives, such as putting more police on the streets and providing more money for health care.

Chris Rumbold,
Vancouver


© The Ottawa Citizen 2004

 

 
 

The OTTAWA CITIZEN - May 3, 2004 - Kelly Egan - Commentary:

Re: Who can afford 'clean' water? May 3 - by Kelly Egan
...on the new "Safe Drinking Water Act" of Ontario:
Link to Article

Related -  OTTAWA CITIZEN...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR...


Rural folk need urban help

The Ottawa Citizen
Thursday, May 06, 2004

Re: Who can afford 'clean' water? May 3.

   Columnist Kelly Egan likened Ontario's clean-water legislation enacted in 2002 to taking a hammer to a flea. At a meeting a few weeks ago, I likened it to a cannon against a mosquito -- either analogy works to describe the situation.
   This is not to say that clean water is not a major issue and the Walkerton tragedy is to be taken lightly or readily forgotten, but enough has to be enough. The law's requirements could bankrupt many in rural Ontario, forcing the
closing of churches, community centres, corner

 


stores, tent and trailer parks, motels, resorts, and eco-tourism providers.

   The most disturbing part of this issue has been the lack of coverage and solidarity. This is front-page news and should not to be buried in the city section. We rural folk need the support of our urban partners in Ontario. Maybe by raising the visibility of this issue we can rally around it together. We, in rural communities, are all trying to catch the same tail -- if we could get together, maybe we can catch the dog.

Rev. Lynn Watson,
Carleton Place,
Boyd's-Franktown pastoral charge,
United Church of Canada


© The Ottawa Citizen 2004
 

 

The OTTAWA CITIZEN - May 18, 2004 - Randall Denley:

Re: Mayor belongs on hydro hot seat:
Link to Article

Related -  OTTAWA CITIZEN...
                                              
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR...
 


Hydro sets dismal example

The Ottawa Citizen
May 25, 2004

Re: Mayor belongs on hydro hot seat, May 18.

 
 


It is shocking to learn that Mayor Bob Chiarelli and his cohorts run a public utility with virtually no governance and based on the facts known, appear to be engaged in unethical activities. This is unacceptable.

 

 
 

   Congratulation to the Citizen, especially columnist Randall Denley and reporters Ken Gray and James Gordon, who have obviously done a lot of investigation and produced excellent articles on the Hydro Ottawa fiasco.
   In the last few years, shareholders of many corporations have not been properly served by unscrupulous corporate executives or directors. In many cases, this result was facilitated by poor, or nonexistent, corporate governance.
   It is shocking to learn that Mayor Bob Chiarelli and his cohorts run a public utility with virtually no governance and based on the facts known, appear to be engaged in unethical activities. This is unacceptable.
   Perhaps it's also time to do an assessment of Telecom Ottawa, the secretive and wholly owned Hydro Ottawa communications subsidiary. We might discover that we are getting a good bang for our buck, or we might unearth another fiasco.

Rene Trumpler,
Gloucester

                                                          © The Ottawa Citizen 2004

 

Letter to Environment Minister,
regarding water Regs-170/03.

Letter to Env. Minister argues that Regs: 170/03 would do more harm than good


 

 
 

The OTTAWA CITIZEN - July 27, 2004 - EDITORIAL

We are one city
Amalgamation hasn't caused the City of Ottawa's budget problems...


Related Ottawa Citizen...

Letters to the Editor

 
 

Yes, we are one city -- a very unhappy one

The Ottawa Citizen
Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Re: We are one city, July 27.

As your editorial notes, we are indeed one city -- one very unhappy city! Amalgamation was supposed to save us money. It has failed to do so. Our taxes are rising but our services are declining.

It is not only the "rurals" who are complaining. Comments sent in to our rural council website (www.ruralcouncil.ca) indicate that our urban and suburban neighbours are unhappy, too. In fact, I don't believe there is a community anywhere in Ottawa that has benefited from amalgamation.

Ottawans aren't alone in their misery, however. From Sudbury to Hamilton, throughout Ontario the people are unhappy with their new, unmanageable municipal structures. Michael Prue, the MPP for East York, told the audience at the Ontario Local Democracy Conference in May that the amalgamation of Toronto was still the topic that most people wanted to talk about at their doors during the last provincial election campaign. They felt it wasn't working. A recent poll by a TV station in Sudbury covering all six former cities amalgamated into the City of Greater Sudbury showed that 93 per cent of the respondents were in favour of de-amalgamation there.

The editorial suggested that our online survey samples "only people who visit our website." However, on July 28 alone, the site, which is not restricted to members, received more than 1,000 hits. That's a lot of interest shown in just one day.

Adele Muldoon,
Ottawa,
Director, Rural Council

© The Ottawa Citizen 2004


 

Democratic deficit

The Ottawa Citizen
August 4, 2004

Your editorial is correct: "Amalgamation hasn't caused the City of Ottawa's budget problems."

What amalgamation has done is take away rural residents' democratic right to have any meaningful influence in stemming the political and bureaucratic excesses that are the real cause of the budget problems.

A worsened "democratic deficit" is the true legacy of amalgamation for rural residents. The regional-government governance model we had before was far more responsive to all of its component parts. That is why, as wasteful as the region was with our tax dollars at times, it was far less wasteful than the abomination we have now.

If de-amalgamation is not the ultimate way this will be solved, then there will have to be a brand new deal struck, similar to the former model, where rural representation is brought back to where it was before ... both within each community and at the council table.

Richard Bendall,
Goulbourn

© The Ottawa Citizen 2004



 

Sent to the Rural Council MAILBOX:

Continued Rural Inequalities

Date:  Thu, 5 Aug 2004 12:07:29 -0400
From:  Bruce Webster <bruce_webster@sympatico.ca>
To:  contact@ruralcouncil.ca
Cc:  Glenn Brooks <Glenn.Brooks@Ottawa.ca>, Doug Thompson <doug.thompson@ottawa.ca>, Rob Jellett <rob.jellett@ottawa.ca>, Peter Hume <Peter.Hume@Ottawa.ca>, Clive Doucet <Clive.Doucet@Ottawa.ca>, Shawn Little <Shawn.Little@Ottawa.ca>, Diane Holmes <diane.holmes@ottawa.ca>, Jacques Legendre <Jacques.Legendre@Ottawa.ca>, Georges Bedard <georges.bedard@ottawa.ca>, Michel Bellemare <Michel.Bellemare@Ottawa.ca>, Diane Deans <Diane.Deans@Ottawa.ca>, Gord Hunter <Gord.Hunter@Ottawa.ca>, Rick Chiarelli <Rick.Chiarelli@Ottawa.ca>, Alex Cullen <Alex.Cullen@Ottawa.ca>, Janet Stavinga <janet.stavinga@ottawa.ca>, Eli El-Chantiry <eli.el-chantiry@ottawa.ca>, Peggy Feltmate <peggy.feltmate@ottawa.ca>, jan Harder <Jan.Harder@Ottawa.ca>, Rainer Bloess <Rainer.Bloess@Ottawa.ca>, Herb Kreling <herb.kreling@ottawa.ca>
Subject:  Continued Rural Inequalities

              -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sirs:

I attended a meeting in Richmond last night (Aug 4). It was convened and hosted by The Lanark Landowners Association, a group of people who have Rural Issues and support of the Rural Populace as a prime concern.

   
Two items of significance were brought to my attention. They are:
1) The complete lack of noxious and poisonous weed control by a major property owner
    ...namely The City of Ottawa    
2) The callous disregard for PUBLIC safety by Taggart construction, while building the sewer
    forcemain between Richmond and Munster.

I believe these issues are a violation of Provincial Statute, and in the first instance, the city should be held accountable for its abysmal stewardship and not be allowed this 'DOUBLE STANDARD " when dealing with rural situations. Farm crops are being ruined by the allowed proliferation of invasive, noxious, weeds from the road verges and the city must recognize this fact and make amends.

As to the second item: If this construction were taking place within the urban area, the contractor would NOT DARE to have unfenced pits of such depth half filled with water. These are an open invitation to a child`s death or other mishap, but the contractor -when approached on the subject- replied that those were not of his concern, only the active site on which he was working was of interest to him. DOES THIS MEAN A RURAL LIFE IS WORTH LESS than the life of one who lives on Lisgar St. or Holmwood?

The Ministry of Labour does not seem to think so, yet a city official (also on site) had no interest.

If the city has its way, most of the people along the sewer route will die of pollution by way of sewage influx into the aquifer, so why should this continued attitude surprise anyone?

Bruce Webster,
a 35-year resident of Rural Richmond who sees no gain for the Rural component of Ottawa ...only loss..
 
 


 
 
Sent to the Rural Council MAILBOX:

August 18, 2004

Nepean resident finds Website:
"like a breath of fresh air"
To Concerned Citizens:

Reading your Web Site was like a breath of fresh air. I think the rurals have every reason to
be upset, and those of us who are not in the rural area are also upset. I live in Nepean having
moved here in 1962. Before amalgamation we were debt free and had reasonable taxation.
Now it's the other way around! I forget the name of a former mayor in the east who said
after amalgamation it was costing something like $160 million more than the sum total of the
previous 12 municipalities combined per year. In theory amalgamation should save money
but I have yet to hear of one that has. I hear that already the city is expecting a shortfall
of about $40 million next year unless we have more services cut.

I would suggest advertising your Web Site even more so that those of us who don't live in the
country can add our voices to yours. Keep up the good work.

Sincerely.   
Jim Rennie
Nepean


     

The OTTAWA CITIZEN - August 22, 2004 --- LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

 

Boat bypass
fails on finances
and environment

Re: Committee delays decision on Fitzroy Harbour boat bypass, Aug. 18.

Councillor Rob Jellett tried unsuccessfully at the City of Ottawa's corporate services committee meeting on Tuesday to delay the Chats Falls Boat Bypass project.

The motion that was subsequently passed simply passes the buck to another level of government. The city voted to accept the staff report that recommends that a 150-metre rock barrier or berm (almost as long as two football fields) be built out into the Ottawa River at Willola Beach to serve as the downstream terminal for the bypass. The city will strongly encourage the upper levels of government to conduct an environmental assessment.

Staff made it clear that if the other levels of government do not order an assessment, the project will go ahead. Councillor Rainer Bloess pointed out that he couldn't even have a calming bump built in his ward without an environmental assessment. He supported the Jellett motion that the city has a responsibility to insist on a review for a project of this size on public property.

As a taxpayer, I want to know which level is taking responsibility for overseeing the undertaking. Who is holding the company behind the plan accountable and examining the books? Millions of taxpayers' dollars are flowing into the Ottawa River Project. The lack of substantial financial information was a glaring deficiency in the developer's presentation.

I was outraged when several former politicians dismissed the protest by the Willola Beach Property Owners Association as a NIMBY (not-in-my-back-yard) protest. When the city is prepared to allow a project of this magnitude to go ahead without ensuring that an environmental assessment is going to be done, all Ottawa citizens are affected. The Ottawa Riverkeepers, the Sierra Club and Greenspace Alliance and the Rural Council supported the position of the Willola Beach residents.

Evidence was presented to show that Hydro One has a contractual obligation to see that boats that want to get around the dam do so and that a private company working on the Quebec side provides a bypass service there. Are city taxpayers, who have had to sit back and see their services cut in many areas and who face another tax increase this year, prepared to allow the city to spend more than $350,000 on this questionable project?

Adele Muldoon,
Dunrobin

 

Biological diversity

The proposed boat bypass around the Chats Falls Dam has raised numerous questions with local residents, river stewards and City of Ottawa taxpayers.

Former Ottawa councillor Dwight Eastman is pulling the wool over our eyes when he refers to the opposition to this project as NIMBYism. True, there is a strong contingent of local residents who oppose the project and do not want to see a 150-metre rock pier built into the river where their children swim, canoe and fish. But if local residents are not looking out for the health of the river, who is?

The remarkable riverine vegetation found in abundance at the Willola Beach Road access point (the proposed site for the development) represents a vegetation type never before reported in the Ottawa Valley and contains both provincially significant and regionally significant flora.

This area is biologically rich and diverse. If we want to maintain a healthy, biologically diverse Ottawa River we must begin to protect our shorelines. Otherwise, Ottawa residents will be forced to travel upstream to Petawawa and Timiskaming to experience biodiversity and beauty on the Ottawa River.

We have these ecologically rich areas in our own backyard -- let's do everything possible to protect them.

Meredith Brown, Ottawa,
Ottawa Riverkeeper

Waste of money

The boat-bypass project has only been excluded from an environmental assessment because of a loophole in municipal and provincial regulations. But even if an assessment is done, that will not address the fact that this project is a waste of taxpayer money.

The project supporters claim that when complete the bypass will attract between 500 and 1,000 boaters a year but, in fact, similar operations upstream of Ottawa (Rapides des Joachims, Chapeau, Desjardinville, Bryson, and Portage-du-Fort) are struggling to stay afloat. Upstream communities such as Deep River, Petawawa, Arnprior and Renfrew County have withdrawn support for the operation as the economic benefits have proven negligible.

The City of Ottawa has committed $350,000 to the project in hopes that new boat tourist traffic will appear. This money would be better spent promoting Ottawa as a destination on the long established and successful Rideau Waterway.

Sean Stuart,
Arnprior


© The Ottawa Citizen 2004

 

The Toronto Star - August 25, 2004 --- LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

 

What citizens want is important

Return power to the people

Letter, Aug. 24.

Current provincial and federal governments need to quickly accept the fact that democracy needs to be returned to the people. Leaders who elect to ignore this loudly spoken "back to the people" requirement, clearly do so at their own political peril.

In a true democracy, it is not what government wants that is important; it is what the citizens want that is. Today's political leaders need to clearly understand this basic aspect of democracy and to once and for all, stop pretending they know what is best for us.

It is we who know.

Bob Beyette,
Campbellville, Ont.


 

The Ottawa Sun  -  LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

 

(New voice for 'democratic advocacy')

September 24, 2004

Re "Rurals press the issue," (Sept. 19): Great story by Derek Puddicombe. Timing is everything and I believe the timing of the Free Press Advocate is perfect in order to address the municipal and provincial issues that plague urban and rural residents alike. We are being overrun by costly amalgamations that nobody wanted, bureaucracies that are out of control and we have hitherto lacked the press scrutiny required to stay on the tails of so many inept and lying politicians.

I was intrigued to hear that the FPA editor feels that, "This is not just an issue in the small towns or the countryside." It involves everybody. Kudos to Derek Puddicombe, and to the Ottawa Sun for doing the story and bravo to the Free Press Advocate for creating a newspaper for "democratic advocacy." Their motto has become: "Ontario -- Yours to Recover!"

Richard Bendall
Ottawa

(We wish them well -[SUN Editor])


 

The Ottawa Sun  -  LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

 

(Amalgamation to create efficiencies?)  

September 24, 2004

With regard to yet another property tax increase, I am completely confused. Amalgamation was supposed to decrease duplication and offer us the same services for less cost as a result of new efficiencies brought about by amalgamation.

Why is it that, prior to amalgamation, the separate cities of Kanata, Nepean and Gloucester were able to provide top-notch services without significant tax hikes every year? Why is it that the amalgamated City of Ottawa has allowed Kanata (I cannot speak for the other former cities) to suffer from reduced public maintenance (check out the long grass and weed-infested boulevards), while raising our taxes each year on top of the out-of-line property evaluations which bear little or no resemblance to actual sale prices?

We had a $20-million shortfall this year and a corresponding rate hike. Our new deficit is in excess of $50 million. It would appear that our city is grossly mismanaged. Perhaps we should be restored to our pre-amalgamation state.

Richard Lane
Kanata

(We're still waiting for those promised efficiencies  -[SUN Editor])


 


Sent to the Rural Council MAILBOX:                  October 5, 2004

Urban agenda is out of step with past
suburban and rural governance successes

Amalgamation has only created greater inefficiencies

I have reviewed your site and for the most part am in complete agreement with the views that you are expressing. I used to live in Dunrobin but have since located to Marchvale (rural Kanata) in order to reduce commuting times for my wife.

I believe that it is foolish to implement one governance structure for an area as diverse and large as the current City of Ottawa. Furthermore people live in rural areas because they cherish the autonomy that comes with such a decision. The city does not seem to understand this and is really focused on the imposition of an urban agenda for all of us, with all the associated baggage.

I love it when they talk about tax hikes and the reasonableness of an additional 3–6%. I am currently paying $5500 per year on a nice but not overtly extravagant home so these kinds of increases have a real impact to my family’s finances as opposed to the 70 dollar per home increase that was touted in the last budget debacle.

I will close now but for the record, I just returned from a visit to my sister-in-law in Georgetown. She and her husband live in a beautiful subdivision in a home currently valued between $410,000 and $430,000. Their property taxes are $3200 annually and their township is impeccable.

Shame on you Mr. Chiarelli  !!

Keep up the good work. Regards

Joe Vermette
Kanata

 

The Ottawa Citizen  -  LETTERS TO THE EDITOR


Council must seize power

The Ottawa Citizen
Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Re: Staff urges more council secrecy. Oct. 15.

Citizens elect councillors to make informed, considered and at times courageous decisions. That can't happen when they don't have reports early enough, yet still allow themselves to vote. They do have the power to amend the agenda, giving them final control over whether items linked to late reports are reviewed at that meeting or a future one.

My expectation is that most citizens would rather an item not be voted on if councillors, and the public, haven't reviewed the report, rather than having another uninformed vote contributing to the flip-flops this council is noted for.

As we head into budget season, we all should be thinking about the relationship between expected performance and cost. If there's a disconnect, as there is when reports are not available in time for considered decisions and city business is slowed, we need to look at the cause and ensure it is rectified. If necessary, council should use its existing right to review personnel matters in camera to hold staff and departments accountable.

It's time council stood up for minimum performance standards, like reports being publicly available seven days ahead of meetings and most meetings remaining open.

Peter Childs,
Ottawa

© The Ottawa Citizen 2004


City secrecy shows disdain for taxpayers


The Ottawa Citizen
Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Re: Do business in open, council told, Oct. 16 and Staff urges more council secrecy, Oct. 15.

Just when taxpayers were giving increased scrutiny to city abuses of the public trust, what do the mayor and staff try to do? You guessed it: hide behind closed doors. This is one more example of our how some of our public officials discharge their obligation to serve the public interest.

Since we lack the safeguards of impeachment legislation or provision for "recall,'' which some other jurisdictions can employ, it is critically important that, come election time, we remember such displays of public disrespect by our elected officials. That will be our very last opportunity to finally remove from office those who have been consistently dismantling, or circumventing, every remaining vestige of our feeble -- post-amalgamation -- democracy. Be heard in 2006 ... or forever hold your silence!

Richard Bendall,
Ottawa

© The Ottawa Citizen 2004


Outrage is justified


The Ottawa Citizen
Wednesday, October 20, 2004

What in the world is going on at City Hall? First, city council calls for the Ontario Municipal Board to be disbanded because it is too restrictive (allowing pig farms the councillors don't want, perhaps). Now, the city staff are seeking what may be total secrecy from those who pay their salaries and fund all city services by way of taxes.

We should be outraged! What are they trying to hide -- besides a budget totally out of sync with the public's wishes? Is the mismanagement so bad that these people are trying to hide behind smoke and mirrors?

Bruce Webster,
Richmond

© The Ottawa Citizen 2004


Rural request ignored

The Ottawa Citizen

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Re: Rural residents unreasonable about wards, May 6.

In setting up the framework for the 2005 ward boundary review, city council agreed that the overriding principle would be effective representation.

This was the principal lesson from the Ontario Municipal Board appeal launched by the rural wards against the 2002 boundary changes. It seems this was a lesson that was not learned.

While many of the rural residents at the public consultations supported the consultants' option of adding two to five councillors to balance the large populations in the suburban wards, we asked that the rural wards not be reduced in number. We were willing to pay for the increased number of suburban councillors if our wards remained rural and did not decrease in number. Sadly, the review became a revision based on population numbers, not on effective representation, so our voice is reduced.

Yes, the urban centres enjoy many economic, social and cultural opportunities subsidized by taxpayers' money. I invite letter-writer Adam Bentley to come out to the rural wards and experience caring, connected and vibrant communities, thanks in large part to the dedication and hard work of our many volunteers, where theatre, the arts and sports are

de rigueur, where helping your friends and neighbours in good times and bad is the custom and, incidentally, where many of us live and work.

Mr. Bentley says amalgamation means that the rural areas can get urban services but fails to give examples of what urban services we might want out in the rural areas.

Amalgamation has meant fewer services and many hours of wasted time spent travelling downtown to speak at public consultations and committee meetings to try to explain our views on such issues as ward boundaries and one-size-fits-all bylaws.

We don't presume to know what's best for the urban areas. I don't know why some urbanites think they know what is best for the rural residents.

Shirley J. Dolan,
Woodlawn

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005


The Ottawa Citizen  -  LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Rural residents ill-served by city

 

The Ottawa Citizen
Saturday, May 14, 2005

Re: Rural residents unreasonable about wards, May 6.

Letter-writer Adam Bentley says that he supports amalgamation because it means that rural areas can get urban services. Just the opposite is happening.

The few municipal services that we had are being reduced: road maintenance, snow clearing, garbage pickup and client services.

The city's Official Plan states that water and sewage services will not be extended beyond the rural and urban boundary. Rural residents have made it quite clear that they do not want OC Transpo service because it cannot meet our needs in a cost-efficient way. We also want nothing to do with the problems of Hydro Ottawa.

Rural Ottawans have faced more changes due to amalgamation than any other area of the city. We have gone from being masters of our own destiny to being subjects of uncaring rulers.

Some councillors argue that they do not want to add more councillors because of the cost involved. There are other ways that council could save money, including looking for a less expensive way of setting up the new councillor's offices and phasing in councillor's salary increases instead of taking a 25-per-cent increase all at once.

The one area where this council has shown a strong desire to save money is in the area of providing citizens with effective representation, which is a democratic right. Keeping the number of councillors down has the effect of increasing their own power.

In the end, the decision belongs to council. Will it continue to use the divide-and-conquer approach or is it ready to try conciliation?

I hope that council looks at what is best for the city as a whole. If Ottawa is to become a strong, united city, it is absolutely imperative that all areas have effective representation at City Hall.

In his column ("Worn down by ward baloney," May 5), Randall Denley showed surprising insight and an understanding of the rural issue with the proposed ward boundary changes. I appreciate Mr. Denley pointing out that the "it's-too-late" argument is a bunch of self-serving baloney.

Adele Muldoon,
Dunrobin,
Director, Rural Council

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005


Re: Farmers, city hall clash over selling roadside produce:, May 27.

Once again the urbanites of City Hall are trying to tell the people in rural communities how to live.

The only reasonable concern about roadside produce stands is safety: They should be located in places where there is room for passing motorists to stop without obstructing or endangering other road users. Apart from that, those offering their own produce for direct sale at the roadside should be allowed to do so, as many have done for years, offering the consumer a fresher product, often at a better price than that in the supermarkets.

For many, the roadside produce stand is also a significant portion of their income, and to disrupt it could cause real financial harm.

Clive Horne,
Cumberland

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005


Re: Farmers, city hall clash over selling roadside produce, May 27.

For the humourless city officials, the ban on farmers selling produce at roadside stands probably doesn't go nearly far enough. It would probably take a ban on farming anywhere in the city to make them smile.

Why make bylaw officers drive all over the expanse of Ottawa to nab these naughty farmers, when we could just make the practice illegal and be done with it?

Like most people, I want my produce in the supermarket -- fresh from the United States. These farmers are a small fraction of the city population and are causing such a hassle. Who needs it?

Alan Viau,
Kanata

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005


The Stittsville News  -  LETTER TO THE EDITOR


Rural Goulbourn residents are being robbed

May 3, 2005
            The Stittsville News

Dear editor:

Rural Goulbourn residents are being robbed of $1.5 million and no charges are expected to be laid.
          I was very disheartened while attending the recent meeting at the former Goulbourn municipal building.
         
To see the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources attempt to rezone almost 650 acres from general rural to wetlands with very little input from the people who own that land is what I call criminal.
          City of Ottawa and MNR staff told those present that their land will be rezoned and that there is very little that they can do about it.
          People were told that even after hiring someone from MNR’s list of qualified biologists to reassess their property, the MNR may still not accept the results.
          People were also told that they could appeal to Ontario Municipal Board. However, my experience with the OMB is that if you are going to show up there, you had better have a lawyer, an engineer and a biologist at a cost of thousands.
          What I find not fair about the process is that if I wanted to rezone some land, I would have to post it, have the public meetings and provide an opportunity for people to object to it. When the government wants to rezone people’s private property, it just seems to do it and not care.
          So, average, everyday taxpaying rural residents from Goulbourn will be seeing their rural land go from a value of around $2,500 per acre to about $200 per acre as wetlands, with no consideration or compensation or even an apology.
          Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty should take some responsibility and get the MNR under control and stop abusing rural landowners.

Steven Lewis
            Ashton


The Ottawa Citizen  -  LETTER TO THE EDITOR


Carp market shows that local farmers can grow produce

The Ottawa Citizen
Sunday, June 26, 2005

Re: The Byward Market secret, June 18 and Ottawa's homegrown markets, June 19.

John Andrew of Queen's University School of Urban Studies is writing off very successful Eastern Ontario producers when he says that "people in Ottawa, everybody, would like to see local farmers showing up on a Saturday morning selling their own produce that's just come out of the field. But the economy may not support those kind of retail operations."

Mr. Andrews must never have visited Carp on a Saturday morning.

 
 
Carp is the largest producer-based market in Ontario.

 
 

The Carp Farmers' Market vendors have seen steady growth over the last decade -- Carp is the largest producer-based market in Ontario.

What this means is that all of its products are either grown or made by its vendors. What it represents, even showcases, is that given an equal playing field, farmers can produce a lot more of the food for this region.

The same cannot be said about the situation at downtown city-regulated markets in city-funded facilities. When well-meaning bureaucrats decide to become involved, markets inevitably run into problems.

 
 
If the city is serious about increasing the number of local producers, it should start by abandoning its plan to impose licence fees on the market food-court vendors in all the various communities including Carp.

...City officials and their bureacratic red tape will surely make it more difficult for markets like Carp's to remain in business.

 
 

If the city is serious about increasing the number of local producers, it should start by abandoning its plan to impose licence fees on the market food-court vendors in all the various communities including Carp. The fees will place in jeopardy the viability of many small businesses and entire producer-based markets.

Health department regulations are also a troubling issue for vendors. The current system of serving food at the markets has been run very well without health problems in the past, so why does the city need to insist on running hot and cold water for each food court?

Expansion of local food production through viable farmers markets will improve the health of the general public. City officials and their bureacratic red tape will surely make it more difficult for markets like Carp's to remain in business.

Grant Dobson,
Cobden,
Connaught Nursery

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005


The Stittsville News  -  LETTER TO THE EDITOR

July 19 -  2005   650 acres of land are dry forest, not wetland


The Ottawa Citizen  -  LETTER TO THE EDITOR

In Harris's footsteps

The Ottawa Citizen
August 7, 2005

Your article states that "Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty promised that Ottawa won't de-amalgamate on his watch." I must admit to being surprised at Mr. McGuinty's stance and can only conclude that he has more admiration for former premier Mike Harris than he led us to believe. If he so strongly supports the changes the former premier made to the structure of our cities, he must feel that Mr. Harris made the right decisions.

Was it because of all the money the larger, amalgamated cities of Toronto and Ottawa were supposed to save, or the taxes that the residents were suppose to have seen reduced?

Perhaps Mr. McGuinty can take a minute out of his busy schedule to clarify his stance. I'm sure voters, especially those in rural ridings, would love to hear why he believes amalgamation was a good decision.

Jane Campbell,
Richmond

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005


The Ottawa Citizen  -  LETTER TO THE EDITOR


Farmers want farm-gate rules at organized markets

Re: Farmers' markets must follow health rules, OCT. 24.

The issue is simple. I can no longer buy my fresh eggs from Pearl at the Perth Farmers' Market. I bought her eggs because it was from her that I first tasted "fresh eggs," which are spectacularly different in taste and texture from the eggs I buy at the big-box stores. She raises endangered species of various fowl and has traditionally sold the eggs produced at the Perth market.

She has educational displays for the delight of the smaller customers who may never have seen where eggs come from. These birds are free range, not factory birds. You needed to get there early since her very limited supply would disappear quickly. Now, since her eggs are "ungraded," it is illegal for her to sell at the market.

 
 
If health were really the issue, I shouldn't be able to buy them under any circumstances.

 
 

Officials all the way up to the federal minister of agriculture insist that this is done to protect my health. However, the reality is that if I hop in my car and drive to Pearl's farm, I can buy those eggs quite legally there. If health were really the issue, I shouldn't be able to buy them under any circumstances.

All that the farmers' markets across Ontario are trying to do is get "farm-gate rules" extended to farmers' markets. Instead of 200 or more customers jumping in their cars and driving all over the county, a couple of dozen farmers bring their legal produce to a central location, hence preserving the environment and a scarce resource.

This will hardly lead to "chaos in the food industry," as Ian MacDonald Gemmill asserts in his letter.

I wonder what the agenda really is? My wonderment increased when the market received a list of allowed things to sell, that included pop, candies, gum and other junk food that no self-respecting farmers' market would even think of selling.

I trust the farmers at the market far more than I trust the global multinationals. At least the farmers are not distracted with the need to deliver double-digit return on investments to their shareholders. They are only concerned with delivering quality farm goods to willing customers.

It is also useful to note that any "rules" about healthy food supply ultimately originated from the people who have been doing this for a living for centuries -- the local farmer.

Hugh Chatfield, Nepean

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005
 

Most recent...

The Ottawa Citizen  -  LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Incineration experts

The Ottawa Citizen
Saturday, March 04, 2006

Re: Snuff out incinerator idea, councillor says, Feb. 24.

The recent debate over garbage dumps versus incineration is long overdue, both in this city and in the province at large. The knee-jerk reactions against incineration point to an urgent need for education or this debate get bogged down in the usual shortsighted "we-can't-afford it" or NIMBY arguments that typically arise in this city to derail everything from the Congress Centre expansion to light-rail transit.

It was good that Ottawa city officials ("Staff, councillor off to Spain to talk trash," Feb. 23) went to Spain to see Rod Bryden's Plasco facility. Now other officials should head for Europe to take a tour of the other 400 waste-to-energy facilities that are to be found from Sweden to Spain and from Britain to Hungary. What they will find is that this is not new technology as some seem to think, nor is it polluting as others think.

On May 18, they will be able to attend the third congress of the Confederation of European Waste-to-Energy Plants in Vienna where they will learn about waste-to-energy in European policy as well as the experience of EU member states in developing alternatives to landfilling.

The CEWEP website (www.cewep.com) states that its membership includes "waste-to-energy plants from across Europe: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland." These plants, operated both by municipalities and by private companies, generate both electricity and heat depending on local needs and infrastructure. Denmark alone, a tiny country of fewer than five and a half million people and geographically about the same size as Eastern Ontario, has 31 such facilities treating more than three million tons of garbage annually.

So yes, this discussion is long overdue because we can't keep expanding dumps, and we need to find alternatives to generate energy instead of burning scarce oil and natural gas.

Ron Whitmore,

Ottawa

The Carp Road Landfill

© The Ottawa Citizen 2006


 The Ottawa Citizen  -  LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Councillors' failure

The Ottawa Citizen
Saturday, March 04, 2006

Re: Incineration the solution for Carp Road landfill: Tory, Feb. 25.

Ottawa councillors have ignored the important issue of waste management in our city until the final year of their mandate although they knew that this landfill site would soon reach its capacity.

I raised this concern at a city corporate services committee meeting three years ago when I addressed the proposal to establish a buffer zone around hog farms. I pointed out that there was a greater need for one around the dump because the smell was worse and there were water-pollution problems in the area that did not exist on modern hog farms. I asked if councillors would take this into account when selecting a new site.

Yet council waited until Waste Management Canada put forward its proposal for expansion of the present site without looking into alternative solutions themselves. Councillors who are now proposing incineration as a solution should be prepared to name a suitable site and outline clearly what it will cost taxpayers and how soon it can be in operation.

Without a concrete proposal, these councillors are simply going through the motions of opposing a project that they know will not be popular with their constituents.

Ontario Conservative leader John Tory states that the application process for new or expanded landfills takes years and that getting approval for and constructing incineration-powered plants takes several years. We have less than four years left until we run out of space at that dump.

Either council members have been negligent in their duty and simply ignored this growing crisis or they have known what they were going to do for a long time and have been waiting until the last minute to inform the public. If there is only one proposal before council, how can citizens be sure that they are getting the best solution for their tax dollars and their environment?

Adele Muldoon,
Dunrobin

© The Ottawa Citizen 2006

 

The Ottawa Sun  -  LETTER TO THE EDITOR

Politicians' about-face in election year

The Ottawa Sun
March 18, 2006

What great coverage the Ottawa Sun is giving to the Carp Dump mountain and how nice to read about one councillor who chose to dissent on the expansion request in 2001.

Jacques Legendre and Eli El-Chantiry seem to be the type of councillors Ottawa is sadly lacking. We need representatives who have the concerns of the city and residents as their focus with some foresight. Not the type who vote for a motion then wonder what they voted for and find they need to do an about-face in election years.

If all our representatives acted in a concerned and inquiring fashion, we would not have this garbage mountain but would reuse and recycle more and might even be in the 21st century rather than the dark ages of garbage "disposal." Who knows, we could even be using our time more productively considering an improvement to the east-west transit chaos!

Bruce Webster
Chair, Rural Council of Ottawa Carleton

(Sun Editorial Comment: "You crazy dreamer, you")

 


 

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