Clive Doucet calls strategic direction meeting a charade
A city councillor stormed out of a public meeting yesterday because he believes the process of developing Ottawa’s municipal priorities has been hijacked.
With more than 70 speakers scheduled to address council yesterday about the city’s strategic directions, Coun. Clive Doucet walked out, calling the meeting a charade and saying he didn’t think anything new would be brought to the table, nor would council achieve results.
“What’s happening in Ottawa is we’re dismembering four years of work and this process is hurting,” Doucet said, a reference to Mayor Larry O’Brien’s sessions to set municipal priorities.
After spending months in “visioning exercises” to outline the city’s future priorities, council has compiled 52 recommendations that cover a wide range of areas such as transit, garbage and improving municipal finances, for example.
But Doucet thinks many important issues were not addressed in the final report, including social services. And he didn’t see the point of hearing from delegates that council hears from at other times.
Some colleagues were not impressed with Doucet’s actions.
“Once he starts talking, most of us stop listening,” Coun. Rainer Bloess said.
He understood some of Doucet’s frustration, but Bloess said councillors have an obligation to listen to the public. The unfortunate part, he said, is a wider range of the public doesn’t bother to attend and discuss the issues.
Delegates pressed forward with presentations to outline their concerns over Ottawa’s priority list.
Perry Rowe of the Alliance to End Homelessness said affordable housing was conspicuously absent from the report. Spearheading the development of 1,000 social housing units per year was needed to rectify the problem, according to Rowe.
The Carleton University Student’s Association was another group that sees problems with the city’s strategic directions.
CUSA’s Shelley Melanson was critical of holding public consultation meetings in the summer, when many of the city’s 100,000 students were not around.
Melanson was concerned whether students’ views were being heard, especially in the areas of transit, environment and privatization of services.