Consider carving out a bit of time to help your community

By Manor Park Chronicle

Manor Park Community Council’s Rock the Block community festival roared back to life in October with vendors, food, music and the pie-baking content. Community events like these depend on local volunteers. Photo: Manor Park Community Council

From the desk of Manor Park Community Association President Natalie Belovic

As I write this month’s column, the first word that comes to mind is ouch!

Our new mayor will soon take office and hopefully keep his promise to be a mayor to all of Ottawa, including the urban core that largely supported his opponent. When you look at the make-up of city council, there is more representation from the suburbs and rural areas than from the inner greenbelt communities. This was a real problem on last council, hopefully not on this one.

We need visionaries for the greater good of the entire city and region to get Ottawa to be all that it can be.

That being said, it seems that the provincial government has knocked the wind out of the sails of municipal governments by loosening rules for developments and reducing the steps and checks at all levels in order to create more affordable housing. To a large extent, desires of city councils will be trumped by the new provincial rules.

As an urban neighbourhood, Manor Park will certainly see some pressure for development whether on the large scale of Manor Park Estates or on your neighbour’s property.

The MPCA could use your help as “watchdog” and participant in the upcoming zoning bylaw review. If you have some interest in this, please reach out and learn what that might entail.

Sixth crossing

As many of you have come to hear and notice, the federal government has been doing geotechnical investigations in the Ottawa River and the three crossing locations studied some years ago.

The Crossings Committee is ramping up and is meeting regularly to strategize on next steps. However, we are getting mixed messages from our elected officials and from government actions.

It seems so strange to me that the NCC has just completed an $18 million refurbishment of the New Edinburgh Boathouse, is thinking about creating a public swim dock like the one there in the last century, has installed the Ottawa River Keepers as their tenant on the top floor and yet is moving along with the government on “studying a sixth crossing” which by all accounts might likely land smack in front of the boathouse!

I think we can all agree that the trucks winding their way through the downtown streets of Ottawa is appalling and that we need to find a solution to that, but the Quebec MP pushing the bridge agenda so strongly doesn’t care about our trucks. He cares only about cutting the car commuting times of his constituents. Data is far different today than it was in 2013 or before. We can’t just “refresh” the previous findings to find the best solution.

We would appreciate more “hands on deck” on this file so please contact Crossings Committee Chair Mike Trudeau.

On a more positive note, the city elections had 44 percent voter turnout which was, I believe, the highest of any municipality in Ontario in this election. Some communities had as few as 25 percent of eligible voters bother to exercise their democratic duty.

Volunteers needed

Everywhere volunteerism is down but the need for it is so much greater than ever before as the province keeps downloading responsibilities to communities who then download them to us.

Whether its going to read to the kids at school once a week, or stocking shelves at the foodbank, or participating in some committees, garden clubs etc… please consider carving out just a little bit of time to help us all be in a better place.

Thank you front the bottom of my heart to all the board members. Elizabeth McAllsiter, Adam Robb, Diana Poitras, Michael Trudeau, John Forsey, Eugenie Waters, Mary Goldfield, Assma Basalamah with whom I have had the pleasure of working, thank you for all your time and dedication to your community and neighbours. It is truly heartwarming and so very much appreciated.

And to all Manor Parkers, I wish you all the happiest 2023.