Waterfront Ottawa calls on residents to help bring Ottawa river stakeholders to the table
Dear residents of Ottawa,
After a week of new drama symbolic of the relationship between the NCC and the City, the Ottawa Taxpayer Advocacy Group (OTAG) is once again calling for the City and the NCC to take joint action in the creation of 'Waterfront Ottawa'.
In discussions with all levels of government the same divide emerges almost every meeting. The squabble around the location of the western LRT route that played out in public last week is indicative of the difficulty we have in Ottawa bringing different levels of government together to work in harmony on behalf of Ottawa-area residents and all Canadians. In fact, its starting to seem like a grade 2 confrontation in the playground! This time, we think its time for the teacher to make the NCC stand in the corner for not supporting LRT along the parkway.
The theory behind 'Waterfront Ottawa', based on the enormous success of 'Waterfront Toronto', is to bring all of the property stakeholders together including the City of Ottawa, The Feds, the Province and the NCC. Several other stakeholders have a role to play as well. The aboriginal community, Hydro Ottawa, the Riverkeeper and the residents of Ottawa should all play a fundamental role in determining the future of Ottawa's waterfront.
Our hope is to keep politics out of the boardroom. If we are reading about this kind of stuff in the papers, imagine what we don’t hear? How do interested organizations pursue opportunities when doors are constantly closing on them?
We've made good progress in our goal to establish 'Waterfront Ottawa'. There are plenty of open minds downtown and even on Parliament Hill, we just need to take the extra step to get it done. We've had encouraging conversations with Domtar among other interested parties. While we don’t doubt there will be plenty of hurdles, likely a few egos as well, the residents of this City deserve the quality of waterfront incumbent on the capital of our great country.
The key lies in the City’s ability to bring forward a motion for the creation of 'Waterfront Ottawa'. A similar motion is what fueled the birth and eventual success of 'Waterfront Toronto'. Toronto’s call to action was in losing the Olympics to Beijing, China. Our catalyst is Canada's 150th birthday combined with the new sewer project that will provide our families more opportunity to make better use of the 8th largest river in North America.
The Ottawa Taxpayers Advocacy group is hounded by questions from politicians wondering why they should advocate for such an organization. While its fine for us to sit on our pedestals and complain about high taxes and financial waste, its hard work like this that leads to an economic boon and a waterfall of 40 000 new jobs, like Toronto experienced. We don’t have a clue about what type of development will eventually be approved, it could be as simple as a play structure on the parkway or as visionary as another Granville Island where Domtar's old facility is located.
Building the projects will be the easy part. What we need to build now, in order to be successful, is a governance model that will ensure meaningful, respectful conversations can take place between all levels of government, all concerned stakeholders and you, the residents of Ottawa.
Please help us make 'Waterfront Ottawa' a reality by writing to your political representatives at all three levels of government. You can located your City Councillor at: http://ottawa.ca/en/city-council.
With your support we're confident we will succeed in improving Ottawa's waterfront!
Kevin MacDonald, President
Ottawa Taxpayers' Advocacy Group