More transparency at city hall, making Ottawa a “music city,” and revisiting Ottawa’s environmental policy.
Those were the main promises that some Ottawa mayoral candidates promised on the campaign trail on Wednesday. Here’s a closer look at the details.
Coun. Catherine McKenney pledged Wednesday to bring more transparency at Ottawa City Hall and “end the influence of money in Ottawa city politics.”
McKenney said they would make the language in the annual budget easier for the public to understand and start public consultations on the budget earlier. They also pledged to make all city committees balanced in terms of gender and geography, if elected.
“It’s time to get the influence of money out of City Hall. Our decisions should be influenced by people, not money,” said McKenney. “We deserve a City Hall we can trust. As Mayor, I’ll change the culture at City Hall to put people first and build a city that works for all of us.”
McKenney would also create a chief architect for the city of Ottawa.
The Somerset Ward Councillor also said they would commit to a “three per cent approach to property taxes” if elected, calling it a “fiscal anchor” for the city. McKenney had previously been critical of Mayor Jim Watson’s tax cap of three per cent, saying it limits flexibility.
Mark Sutcliffe is promising to make Ottawa a “music city.”
He says this would be achieved by reviewing city bylaws to help support musicians, including buskers, and by creating a music office, which would serve as a single point of contact for musicians looking to perform in Ottawa.
“Residents are tired of searching for their favourite artist’s tour schedules, only to see Ottawa not make the list – and I’d like to see that change. To build a world-class city, we need a community that is safe, reliable, and affordable. But we also need to build a city that excites people and offers diverse cultural experiences. Making Ottawa a Music City is one way we can achieve that vision,” Sutcliffe said.
He added that the last concert he attended was Sum 41 and Alexisonfire at Bluesfest.
In 2020, the city launched three core music programs: Music on Hold, OC Transpo Busking Program and City Sounds. Music on Hold gives local musicians the opportunity to have their music featured when callers to city phone lines are on hold. The OC Transpo Busking Program was meant to allow buskers to perform at O-Train stations, but it has been on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. City Sounds City Sounds is an annual streamable playlist featuring local musicians.
Mike Maguire is pledging to review the city’s environmental policy, saying city council has “allowed environmental considerations to take priority over too many other aspects of running a city including, livability and affordability.”
Maguire is proposing that Ottawa revisit its Official Plan, which was approved by council last October but has yet to be approved by the provincial government. He is critical of a plan to add wind turbines to the electrical grid and wants to reconsider the rush to transition to electric vehicles, particularly on public transit.
Ottawa’s energy evolution plan includes building approximately 710 large scale wind turbines by 2050. OC Transpo is aiming to have a zero-emission bus fleet by 2036.
He also says he would work with the provincial government to have Ottawa’s electrical grid powered by nuclear energy.
Ontario has three nuclear power plants: the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station northwest of Kitchener, the Pickering Nuclear Generating Station in Pickering, and the Darlington Nuclear Generating Station outside of Oshawa.
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