One Size Does Not Fit All In Rural Ottawa

By Ward 21 Councillor David Brown

Ottawa is massive, in fact, it is the largest municipality in North America at just under 2,800 square kilometers. Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver all fit within Ottawa. Every urban and suburban ward fit our Ward. This fact alone should be eye opening when we discuss service delivery that impacts rural residents.

No matter how you look at, Ottawa is large enough that any policy, regardless of what it is, merits a targeted approach that reflects the realities of living urban, suburban and rural.

Priorities in Orleans are different than the priorities in the downtown core and certainly different than our priorities in rural Ottawa.

We in rural Ottawa do not have the same level of access to City services, recreational programming or community infrastructure that urban dwellers do.

One of the challenges that we face through the development of our villages is the lack of parking being included in new developments. If you look at homes built ten, twenty and even thirty years ago and compare them to today, you will notice that not only are the lot sizes much smaller, but driveways and garages are too. Many single-family homes can barely fit a car in their garages let alone the driveway forcing many to park their vehicles on the road. This leads to many other problems within these communities.

Service delivery for snowplowing is another major concern, and certainly one I have heard much about given the record snowfall we have had this winter. Regardless of where you live in Ward 21, you need access to a road to move around. We are fortunate to have a great roads team out here, but for many, if the roads in your community haven’t been plowed in time for you to get out of your house, not much matters until that happens.

Taxpayers want to know that their money is being spent wisely on their priorities. One challenge is the “standard” approach Council uses across all 2,800 square kilometers to ensure every resident has the same level of service. Perhaps though, providing the same service city-wide is not the best use of tax dollars. Targeting service levels based on rural, urban and suburban merits a review.

The one size fits all approach has failed. It’s time Council and the City admits this and move forward building a city were we recognize that it is ok to be different!

David Brown is Councillor of Ward 21