rural residents jammed a hall at the Nepean Sportsplex last
night for the launch of a new organization called the Rural
Representatives of many rural organizations spoke in
support of the creation of the alliance, which supporters say
will allow rural residents to a consolidated and stronger
voice at Ottawa city hall.
While no single issue was behind the dissatisfaction, it
was clear from the speeches and applause the vast majority
were in favour of de-amalgamation.
Bob and Sally Charron came from Kars because they are
unhappy since their area became part of Ottawa. "Amalgamation
has done nothing for us ---we have less service now than we
did before," said Mrs Charron.
Dennis Beaudoin of West Carleton said he was also unhappy
about the way rural residents have been treated by the city.
"It goes without saying that most of us are here tonight
because we have lots of concerns and issues." said Mr.
Beaudoin, who would like to see if things can be fixed before
resorting to de-amalgamation. "Our first course is to gain a
stronger voice," said Mr. Beaudoin.
Steven Lewis, a former Goulbourn councillor, said he has
never seen such a groundswell around an issue and said he
believes it will continue to grow, although he doesn't know if
de-amalgamation is the answer.
"I don't know how far you take it." said Mr. Lewis. "But I
do know that something's got to change."
City councillors Doug Thompson and Glen Brooks, who both
represent rural parts of the city, were also at the meeting.
In addition to supporting the creation of the Rural Council,
handed out a petition against the proposed closing of the
Osgoode ward centre. He said he had organized a protest in
Metcalfe earlier in the day that about 200 people attended.
"I think what rural people are beginning to say is 'we've
had enough'," said Mr. Thompson, who said he thinks the recent
budget woes were the galvanizing factor in so many rural
residents voicing their unhappiness, adding rural residents
feel they've been hit with much harder than those in urban
Whatever the reason, those who attended made it very clear
they'd had enough.
Samantha Angell said she came to last night's meeting
because she and her partner are building a new home outside
Stittsville and are very concerned about the way the city
handles rural issues. "I think we've heard some very
interesting arguments tonight and we will definitely become
members (of the Rural Council)," said Ms. Angell.
It was clear that many of those who spoke were angry.
"Our rural economy and lifestyle is under attack from urban
politicians," said Randy Hillier, who spoke on behalf of the
Lanark Landowners Association. "This is a rural revolution and
it is just beginning," added Mr. Hillier, to healthy applause.
But Bob McKinley, on of the founders of the Rural Council,
said that while de-amalgamation definitely was the popular
choice among those at the meeting, he didn't know if the Rural
Council would be lobbying for separation.
"Our first order of business is to send out a questionnaire
to all rural residents and see how many others feel about
remaining part of the new city."