lundi 22 février 2010

Why I would run for City Council - Cumberland Ward

It could be interesting to run for city council for Cumberland ward for numerous reasons during the upcoming elections. I’ll elaborate a little bit during the next few lines. However, this running for city council would only be done if I’m not accepted in a Master’s program in the fall and I’ve applied to a few of them in Sweden and Norway.

During most of my life, except an 8 month stint in Iceland, I lived at the same house in the eastern part of Cumberland. I was born a resident of the city of Cumberland and from a young age I was interested in seeing my city succeed. These were the days of Brian Coburn as mayor. He had a vision for Cumberland and was able to implement it, by reserving a passage along the river for the future expansion and by building a better Frank Kenny road that could connect to a bridge if it were to be built in the future. Then things went bad, he left to represent Ottawa-Orléans provincially, the city was amalgamated into the city of Ottawa and since then I’ve been angry.

Cumberland has been ignored by this new city of Ottawa. While taxes continuously gone up, the services haven’t. A green bin is useless to rural residents. Over the years, Coburn’s vision has slowly been destroyed: new houses have come up along the river crushing any possibility of a four lane road, the planned bridge at Petrie Island is all but impossible thanks to the work of Phil McNeely. The recent expansions of both Orléans and Rockland have been detrimental to Cumberland because the population surrounding us rises but the infrastructure does not, creating traffic issues without matching it with solutions.

If the rural areas and villages part of Cumberland ward are to have less and less weight in their attempts to secure the municipal services their residents need, then the ward either needs to be divided to take away the expanding part of Orléans, perhaps by changing the line to Frank Kenny road for the next elections, or to separate from the city either to return to the former status as city of Cumberland or join Clarence-Rockland. I was born a resident of the city of Cumberland and we managed our issues correctly, that is how I remember my hometown.

Unfortunately, I’ve needed to move away from Cumberland lately. Though Cumberland has changed a lot over the years, it has never been a place where students can be comfortable. The lack of transportation, employment opportunities and educational facilities makes it difficult to be a student and moving to the big city is an almost necessary task to avoid a long commute. It can be more difficult for a student than an employed person because of the lack of a 9-5 schedule and no access to a vehicle for example. To keep a distinct local culture and community, Cumberland must continue developing its own solutions like the Farmer’s market to avoid becoming another faceless bedroom for Ottawans.

These are some of the issues I want to see raised this fall for my community of Cumberland, On.

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