Volume 12 Week 5

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(Posted 8 a.m., Oct. 20)

Mayoralty candidates square off over east end issues
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Ottawa Mayor Bob Chiarelli looks on as his chief rival makes a point during an all-candidates meeting in Orléans Wednesday night featuring five of the seven candidates in the running for the mayor's job. Fred Sherwin/Photo


The top three candidates running for mayor did their best to pick up crucial support in the east end during an all candidates meeting at the Orléans Client Service Centre Thursday night.

Bob Chiarelli, Alex Munter and Larry O'Brien did their best to lay out their respective platforms while trashing each other's plans at every opportunity.

By far the biggest bone of contention was the controversial light rail project. Chiarelli continued to defend the project while arguing that the other two candidates would either kill the project, or delay it by at least five years.

"The one guy on my left would kill light rail altogether and the guy on my right would delay it for five years," said the incumbent. "Both positions are totally irresponsible from a fiscal point of view, from a transit point of view and from an environmental point of view."

For his part, Munter said that he wanted to freeze the current process and take a sober second look at the project with input from the entire community.

"Nothing has divided this city more than the current light rail project. It's pitted community against community," said Munter. "We need to bring people together so we can fix light rail rather than nix it."

During his opening address, Chiarelli reeled off the long list of east end projects which have come to fruition under his watch including the widening of Innes Road; the expansion of the Ray Friel Complex; the Superdome indoor recreational facility at the Hornet's Nest; the Petrie Island beach and park develop.m.ent; the creation of Team Ottawa-Orléans which he helped co-found and the Orléans Town Centre project which he says will be an economic develop.m.ent hub.

Munter challenged Chiarelli's record, especially on economic develop.m.ent, claiming that the mayor has done nothing for the east end past nine years.

"After nine years of inaction, now you're making a blizzard of (campaign) promises," said Munter.

O'Brien couldn't resist taking a shot at the mayor's record as well, especially on how he's managed the city since amalgamation.

"I believe the amalgamation process has been a failure. The city needs to get back to delivering basic services to every citizen in a cost effective and creative manner," said O'Brien.

Although he didn't get into specifics, the self-made milliionaire questioned the wisdom of building an east end arts facility.

"Is it a priority or an essential service? I think the city has lost its way in setting priorities," said O'Brien who promised to freeze taxes if elected.

By comparison, both Munter and Chiarelli promised to limit future tax increases to the rate of inflation.

On the topic of economic develop.m.ent, Chiarelli and Munter both said they planned to make the east end a priority while O'Brien would only promise to make sure that the east end was an "equal partner" in the economic develop.m.ent of the entire city.

Businessman Piotr Anweiller used the all-candidates meeting to argue in favor of personal rapid transit system to replace what's currently being proposed. A personal rapid transit system would use pods suspended from a monorail. Each pod would carry a maximum of four people.

Social activist Jane Scharf said the city needs to create an Inspector General's office that would have full autonomy to investigate resident's complaints and controversial city projects such as light rail. The two other candidates, Barkley Pollock and Robert Larter, did not attend the meeting.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

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