This week I had the opportunity to tour Stittsville with Stephen Willis who is the General Manager of Planning, Infrastructure & Economic Development at the City of Ottawa. Stephen Willis is one of the eight General Managers at the City of Ottawa who reports directly to the City Manager, Steve Kanellakos. Previously a consultant with the National Capital Commission (NCC), Stephen possesses a great deal of expertise and insight and I was honoured to familiarise him with our community firsthand.
As a resident in a suburban community, Mr. Willis is well of aware of the typical challenges a growing community faces. I invited Mr. Willis out to Stittsville so that I could show him first hand the growth of Stittsville and the challenges we face as a result of that growth. This was also a great opportunity to highlight the uniqueness of Stittsville and demonstrate how development has impacted our communities.
Our tour began on Stittsville Main Street with a discussion of sites currently under construction as well as potential future development sites. We discussed how the Stittsville Main Street Community Design Plan provides an important plan for the future of the street. From there, we visited a number of existing neighbourhoods as well as developments under construction. We discussed some of the lessons learned through growth that the City is addressing with policy changes recommended by the City’s Building Better and Smarter Suburbs initiative. I also raised a number of concerns related to infrastructure items that are important to the community including those relating to planning such as parking, new parks, pedestrian and cycling pathways as well as the need for educational and health care services in Stittsville.
I would like to thank Mr. Willis for taking the time to join me on this tour of our community. While planning processes is one thing on paper, I am a firm believer that seeing and experiencing communities firsthand is the best way to understand their needs. I look forward to the opportunity to conduct similar community tours with other Department Managers moving forward into the future.
The growth in Stittsville has a significant impact on the residents in the community and I continue to work towards resolving existing issues and ensure that we plan development properly for the future.