Ward 21 Report by Rideau-Jock Councillor David Brown
Over the last few weeks, my office and I have been finding time to knock on doors in the community to get to know residents, hear their concerns, and offer our assistance in addressing issues that matter most to them. So far, we have spoken to residents in Munster, North Gower, Richmond, Carleton Golf and Yacht, and some rural roads throughout the ward. We also hosted a free BBQ as part of the Kars Family Fun Day, serving free food to dozens of families and well over 100 individuals.
I wanted to take a moment to share some of the feedback that we have received from the community through door knocking and events and discuss some common challenges facing residents in the ward.
Residents have comments and feedback regarding infrastructure and road maintenance, recreation opportunities in the community, drainage challenges, tree and brush management, safety and security matters in the community, and more. Generally, we heard from folks that they were grateful to connect with us directly at their doorsteps, to hear about what’s going on at City Council, and to have the opportunity to get their priorities on the agenda with my office.
Though residents are happy to meet the team and share their views, many are also quite honest about what they see as challenges with the City. High tax rates for low services in rural Ottawa remains an ongoing issue. There is a real sense that rural Ottawa has for too long been funding the priorities and excesses of the urban core; I will make sure that at Council, I am always putting our communities’ interests first.
Additionally, one of the biggest concerns that we’ve heard from the communities in our ward so far is with respect to traffic issues. On nearly every street and rural road where we spoke with residents, issues regarding speeding and traffic management were mentioned. Traffic issues are the most frequent concerns that we hear about both in person and via emails and phone calls.
My office is currently working on addressing over 70 specific requests that we have received since November for traffic calming or traffic infrastructure measures throughout the ward. A major challenge in addressing these concerns stems from current City-wide policies. The ward budget for new traffic calming measures only allows us to add between 5 to 10 measures every year, depending on their cost. Measures such as stop signs, stop lights, and roundabouts are based on warrant conditions and the determination of where and when these measures are introduced is determined by City staff.
To address these issues, my office is working on developing and passing through Council a new policy framework that would significantly increase traffic calming budgets in each ward, would allow rural Councillors to more easily request necessary and cost-effective infrastructure like stop signs, and would expand the use of automatic speed enforcement in rural villages.
Going door to door has given me and my team fantastic opportunities to hear from many residents who might not otherwise have reached out. We have been grateful for the time and interest that folks have had in hearing about what we are working on for residents, and we are also truly fortunate to be able to get so much feedback to help shape our priorities in the years to come. Based on the response from the community, focusing on traffic and infrastructure remain my top priorities.
For those who have yet to see me and my team at the doors, thanks for your patience. We are trying our best to balance the need to be responsive to residents’ requests with the need to be proactive in introducing ourselves to the community. I look forward to meeting you at your door to discuss the issues that matter most to you and your family and how my office can assist.