By Councillor Scott Moffatt
As the Federal election winds down, another one is around the corner. If you are a Provincial politics buff, you might be thinking I am referring to that election, likely to come in spring 2022. However, I am referring to the 2022 City of Ottawa municipal election, to be held on October 24th, 2022. We have a lot of elections. I know.
When that election comes, the residents of Ottawa will be voting for one new member of Council as our ward boundary review created a new ward, bring the total number of wards to 24. The new ward will be in Barrhaven, splitting the heavily populated suburb in two while Riverside South and Findlay Creek become their very own ward. Out in the east end, we see some changes as well with some reconfiguring of the wards in Orleans and Cumberland. With these changes, come new ward names and a report is forthcoming on that very matter. Included in the mix will be a new ward name for our ward as well.
As you may have read in this very column and elsewhere, I am proposing that we retire the Rideau-Goulbourn ward name at the end of this term. I am cognizant of the opposition many have shared with me toward dropping the Goulbourn part of the ward name, but I feel it is the right decision. As I have said many times before, changing the name of the ward is not about erasing the history that is and was the former Goulbourn Township and all the communities that fell within it. Goulbourn Township existed from 1818-2000. Nobody can change that, and nobody is trying to. This is just a ward name. Ward names change from time to time and the time has come for this one to change as well. Contrary to some comments I have received over the last year, changing the name does not bury the history of Henry Goulburn and the over 250 slaves that he owned in Jamaica and it certainly does not bury the history of former Goulbourn Township. It does mean, though, that we no longer commemorate him in the name of the ward.
In the weeks that followed the announcement of the ward name change last fall, many residents provided suggested new ward names. I truly appreciate the dialogue on this and the interest in developing this new name. With a list of suggested naming ideas, I reached out to several local historians and other organizations within the city as well as meeting with a number of community leaders to discuss what we should look for in a name. The consensus was that we should focus on geography. Another main theme was that we keep in simple and try not to deviate too much from what we already have. This was good advice because I have been known to overanalyze things from time to time.
With all the various feedback and discussion and suggestions, there was only one name that fit the bill. A Richmond resident, very early on in this process, suggested the name Rideau-Jock. Of course, the Rideau and Jock Rivers are the two primary rivers that touch much of our ward. The Rideau River runs along to entire edge of former Rideau Township while the Jock River snakes its way through former Goulbourn Township and through the large portion of Nepean that also sits within the boundary of Ward 21. Quite simply, it was an ideal fit.
Therefore, when the report comes to Committee and Council in October on the ward boundary next steps, it will include new names for six wards, including Rideau-Jock as the new name for Ward 21.
If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491. For information on Ward 21 issues, please visit TeamTwentyOne.ca.