By Goldie Ghamari, MPP for Carleton
I want to start off this week by saying thank you to everyone who attended the annual Carleton Community BBQ at the Richmond fairgrounds Sat., Sept. 9. More than 400 people showed up to the event to enjoy the hamburgers, hot dogs and corn cooked up by the Richmond Volunteer Fire Department, Fries for Charity, the cupcakes and cakes from King’s Your Independent Grocer, the veggies from The Kitcheness, the SunTech tomatoes, vegetable samosas from Blue Diamond, the entertainment, face painting from Pina Cava Face Paint, Swords and Ploughshares Museum, the Firefighting Ghostbusters, the Jock River Alpaca and Llama Farm, Aroha Dance, and the bouncy castle.
Bobby B provided the music for the day, Dr. Kaboom was a big hit, and Ottawa Redblacks mascot Big Joe had a high five for everyone.
It was also an opportunity for people to sign the petition to start the process to re-open Munster Elementary School. Jennifer Bugden of Munster spoke about the positive impact that re-opening Munster Elementary School would have for the community.
Cheri Nixon of Osgoode also spoke about the difficulties facing local families who have had their school buses cancelled due to a shortage of drivers in the area. Adding to the problem was that the Ottawa Student Transportation Authority did not inform the parents of the school bus cancellations until just a few days before the start of school.
I can’t thank Jennifer and Cheri enough for rallying the community on these important issues and taking the time to meet with me. At the BBQ, I was pleased to announce that the Ontario Ministry of Education is providing an additional $1.8 million to the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and Ottawa Catholic School Board to help with their transportation pressures.
I was also pleased to announce that I had a very encouraging discussion with the Ottawa Catholic School Board. If the OCDSB will not entertain re-opening Munster Elementary School, perhaps another board can buy the school from them.
And last but certainly not least, I want to thank the staff in my constituency office and the many volunteers who helped make this event possible. Volunteers are the backbone of any community event or organization, and this BBQ was no different. We could not have put on this event without our volunteers, and I am truly grateful of their time and hard work on Saturday. Thank you to all of you!
OCDSB Trustee Behaviour
If you are concerned about the behaviour and performance of the trustees at the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, I would like to hear from you.
Over the next couple of weeks, I will be compiling feedback from local residents regarding the behaviour of the OCDSB trustees at their meetings. The report will be submitted to Ontario Minster of Education Stephen Lecce and Ontario premier Doug Ford.
Last week I was interviewed on the radio by both Sam Laprade and Bill Carroll, two excellent radio hosts who both happen to be residents in the Carleton riding. I told them there are four school boards in Ottawa, and I have a great relationship with three of them. I have the Minister of Education on speed dial because of the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, and the issues I have had to deal with because of them in the past five years.
This is a board that received funding to build a public high school in Stittsville long before the COVID-19 pandemic, and it’s still not done. They received funding to build a public high school in Riverside South in 2020, and they’ve just put shovels in the ground. They refused to prioritize building a second elementary school in Findlay Creek when the recently opened Vimy Ridge Public School has well over 20 portables. This is a school board that shamed local parents who were concerned about bathroom safety for their children. This is a school board who told a mother of a Grade 1 student in our riding who is an Ottawa Police Service officer that she is not welcome to the Grade 1 career day if she comes to the school in uniform and now, they are suggesting divorced parents affected by the OSTA school bus cancellations to change the custody arrangements of their children as a resolution.
I have been monitoring this situation for a long time, and I have made sure that Minister Lecce is also aware of what is going on. If you have an opinion on the OCDSB and you want to be heard at Queen’s Park, this is your chance.
Please send your comments to: www.goldiempp.ca/contact/
Congratulations to the Richmond Fair
It’s hard to believe that the Richmond Fair is 11 years older than the City of Ottawa, and 23 years older than Canada.
More than any other event in South Carleton, the Richmond Fair brings the community together. There are a lot of people who worked hard to make this fair the best to date.
Some of the people to thank for their hard work are Dave Seabrook – President of the Richmond Agricultural Society; Doug Seabrook – 1st Vice President, Richmond Agricultural Society; Duncan MacGibbon – 2nd Vice President, Richmond Agricultural Society; Cathy Craig – Homecrafts President, Richmond Fair; Ron McRostie – General Manager, Richmond Agricultural Society; Matt Covey – Treasurer, Richmond Agricultural society; Eleanor Kelly – Bookkeeper, Richmond Agricultural Society; Cydney Greene and Maryam Wammes – Co-Chairs of Richmond Legacy Pavilion; Cindy Brown and everyone from the Richmond 4H Club. Many young 4H-ers will be showing their cattle, horses and sheep for the first time at the fair this year. The 4H Club, along with Mikhaila and Mike Kavanagh and Queen of the Furrow Rhianna Gallagher, have worked tirelessly to promote and raise awareness for agriculture in South Carleton.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of more than 175 fall fairs in Ontario. The Government of Ontario understands that groups like the Richmond Agricultural Society are the backbone of rural communities throughout the province. The Government invested $1 million to ensure that fall fairs throughout Ontario would continue on into the post-pandemic era.
Last year, I was thrilled to join the Richmond Agricultural Society for an announcement that they had received a $54,500 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation Resilient Communities Fund. The grant was used to make improvements to the fair office and to create a year-round meeting room for the Richmond Agricultural Society, including the installation of heating and cooling systems.
But what the Richmond Fair means to every family is the magic of fun. A level of fun that makes forever memories. We often hear parents talk about the excitement of bringing their kids to the fair, and they reminisce about how they attended the fair when they were kids. Now, of course, the rides are better, the food is better, and the entertainment is better, and there is such a thing as wi-fi and QR codes, but the Richmond Fair will always be the Richmond Fair.
That could not happen without the incredible support from the Richmond Agricultural Society, the Richmond 4-H Club, the Richmond Lions Club, and the many other volunteers. I want to say, from the bottom of her heart, and on behalf of the Government of Ontario, a big thank you to all of the volunteers and organizers for making the Richmond Fair one of the biggest and best rural fairs in Ontario!
My office is open Monday to Friday, 9 am to 4 pm. If you require assistance on any matter, please contact me at any time. My staff and I will be happy to assist. Even if it’s not a provincial issue, I’ll make sure to connect you with the proper office.
Your voice at Queen’s Park