CITY OF OTTAWA WARD BOUNDARY REVIEW
Greely Community Association Input
Greely Village is one of the three (Greely, Manotick and Richmond) largest Rural Villages in the City of Ottawa. Currently, Greely has a population of 7,119 (approximately ¼ of Osgoode Ward’s Population). The Greely Community Association also represents a significant area surrounding the Village Boundary that has an additional 2,000 residents. Greely is a unique Village that encompasses numerous communities of single family homes, a high density multi-residential community, an industrial park, and a number of mineral extraction areas. Our Village is located approximately two kilometres from the southern point of the City of Ottawa’s Urban Boundary.
Ward Boundary Review
Following the 2001 Amalgamation into the City of Ottawa, a Ward Boundary Review took place in 2005 that added two suburban Wards. Currently, the 2020 Ward Boundary has six options for consideration in the second round of consultations due this September.
The City of Ottawa currently has 23 Wards (7 suburban, 12 urban, and 4 rural – Cumberland, Rideau-Goulbourn, Osgoode and West Carleton). Geographically, 80% of the land mass of the City of Ottawa is rural and is home to 20% of Ottawa’s population. Rural residents and rural businesses continue to be very concerned in regard to the lack of City support for rural Ottawa.
The City of Ottawa has had a very exciting history of representation of Elected Officials. Amalgamation in 2000 and the Ward Boundary Review in 2005 have inherently, to a great degree, heavily involved Rural Representation on City Council.
The 2020 Ward Boundary Review is no different. Our focus is on proposals related to Osgoode Ward. To date recommendations have been centred around adding Rural Cumberland Ward to Osgoode Ward. We firmly believe this scenario is short sighted, an abrogation of the fundamental principle outlined in the 2000 amalgamation and the City of Ottawa’s long standing affirmation that Rural Ottawa is an important part of the vibrancy of the City.
Rural representation on Ottawa City Council currently sits at 4 members who represent a geographical area of 80% of the City land mass and approximately 20% of the City population. To some people this is an unfair rep by population scenario.
As Canadians, we have historically dealt with massive geographical size of our Country and the issue of representing not only the population but the huge expanse of Rural areas. It has been the true essence of our history and our current political system.
The current proposal to add approximately 365 sq. kilometres of Cumberland Ward to the existing 465 kilometres of Osgoode Ward is unfortunately a bizarre strategy in that the geographic size would be almost double of the current size of Osgoode Ward. The population of Rural Cumberland would add approximately 12,000 to the current Osgoode Ward population of close to 28,000. Not only would it make the Ward Councillor’s daily workload of working with constituents issues that are inherently different than in Urban and Suburban Wards but would cause a further decimation of City resources allocated to Rural areas. The loss of historic rural geographic communities of interest, the loss of ¼ of Rural Representation on City Council and the loss of respect for the values of the history of Osgoode and Cumberland are simply not acceptable to the residents of these areas.
The Greely Community association strongly urges that the City Council not reduce the Rural Wards from four to three. First Round Ward Consultations strongly recommended adding Rural Cumberland Ward to Osgoode Ward. This action would eliminate ¼ of existing Rural Wards in the City of Ottawa. This recommendation is totally unacceptable for the following reasons:
- Loss of historic rural geographic communities of interest;
- Incapability of political representation of such a huge geographical area;
- Loss of ¼ of rural political representation at City Council; and,
- Loss of respect of the Ward history of Osgoode and Cumberland
There are alternative solutions to the whole question of the Ward Boundary Review Proposal that pertain to Rural Cumberland and Osgoode Ward:
- Re-align the Osgoode Ward Boundary to follow Russell Road to Carlsbad Springs and south on Boundary Road to Mitch Owens;
- Blais Road to be the northern boundary from Bank Street to Hawthorne Road
- Additional funding for Wards whose population has substantially increased. There could be a formula developed to add a percentage of monetary increases to the Office Budget based on the population increase over the past 5 years. Additionally Councillor’s staffing would remedy the disproportionate population figures.
Rural residents appreciate the need for Ward Boundary changes. Just as suburban and urban Wards are concerned about population size, rural Wards are concerned about the geographic size of any realignment.
The Greely Community Association supports minor changes in the boundaries of Osgoode Ward.
Greely Community Association