Councillor’s View – 2016 in Review

Dear Residents,

 

As 2017 and Canada’s sesquicentennial anniversary are officially rolling into motion, I thought that I would take this opportunity to reflect with you upon some of the obstacles, achievements and opportunities for growth that received  some attention in 2016 by the Stittsville community.

 

2016 saw a large variety of projects. These items are an excellent illustration of just how varied each individual resident’s viewpoints can be but also an example of how by listening to concerns of community members, we are able to find compromises to build upon the future of our 21st century village.

 

Stittsville is now the fastest growing ward in the City of Ottawa and communities must work together toward ensuring that our public safety comes first.

 

Traffic concerns are some of the most common issues raised by community members. Fortunately, with the City’s recent Temporary Traffic Calming Measures budget, traffic calming initiatives are continually being considered by myself and City staff to provide good traffic calming results A very real challenge is that while many residents agree that traffic and speeding is a concern in their community, some residents disagree on just how to manage these obstacles and unfortunately, the reality is that in many cases, it is neighbours on the streets that are the drivers who are causing these concerns. As a community, we all need to work together to improve the safety in our communities. I have already been in talks with traffic staff for a variety of new initiatives to be undertaken in 2017 and look forward to seeing their results.

 

As Stittsville is part of the City’s urban boundary, we will also continue to see development in our community for many years to come. Sometimes, residents identify concerns regarding these developments; however, it is important to reiterate that I do not have the ability to oppose development that meets the requirements in the City’s Official Plan for residential development in our area.

 

As has been the case in the past, even if the City opposes a development, developers have the right to appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB). This complicates instances in which community members might feel require review that developers might not always initially consider. That said, there were some instances in 2016 which saw some degree of compromise from the developer on the community’s behalf such as the OMB appeal for the development at 6279 Fernbank Road known as the Chenier lands..

 

In this development, community concerns were represented by establishing the need for additional review and precautions taken before moving forward. Likewise, in the Potter’s Key development, I worked together with members of the neighbourhood Community Association and managed a compromise that provided a development plan that was better than what was originally presented.

Another large discussion this year focused around the re-location of local heritage structure, the Bradley-Craig Barn. This was one of the items I can say I saw the most diverse opinions from residents, many in agreement with the position and others in opposition. My goal was to find a longstanding home for a structure which will soon be in-filled with development surrounding it at all sides which will diminish the landmark value we currently have from the building and potentially jeopardize the integrity of the building. While the structure has not yet been moved, I do still feel that this decision was the best move to ensure the heritage of the building remains for many future generations. And as communities continue to grow, I would like to thank residents for sharing their input on new developments issues.

 

Perhaps one of the most intricate items that arose last summer was that of an unlicensed marijuana dispensary opening within our ward on Iber Road. Many community members reached out to my office with concern for public safety regarding the facility’s close proximity to local schools and daycares and safety implications of an unregulated product. Still others with pre-existing medical conditions or otherwise reached out in support of the immediate access comparable to that of the current mail-order medical marijuana system the provincial government has in place.

 

As your City Councillor, it was integral that I take the side of public safety in this debate in addition to the very simple fact that the dispensaries which opened up across our city were operating illegally. While I am not against the benefits of the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, the fact is this type of storefront service is not legal in Canada or permitted within the City By-laws. The City must uphold the laws we currently have in place, and as a City representative I need to also support the current policies and laws on the subject.

 

Though this item has yet to be entirely closed, until we receive the final resolution from the Federal government, the City of Ottawa Police Services will continue to closely monitor the situation with public safety in mind.

 

Overall, it is very apparent that Stittsville is a vast community of people made up of unique ideologies and perspectives. As your City Councillor, it is my role to bring these perspectives together and work toward building our future.

 

I would like to thank residents for their involvement in City processes and their continued care for what exactly the future holds. Of course, I am always ready to listen and respond to your thoughts and would like to invite residents to continue emailing me their concerns at Shad.Qadri@ottawa.ca or calling my office at 613-580-2476. Thanks for being a valuable member of our community.

-Shad