Kelly: Celebrating the first anniversary

The Councillor's Column

As the leaves fall and we all finish up the last of our soup made from Thanksgiving leftovers, I wanted to take the time to thank all the residents of West Carleton-March for their assistance and support during this first year as your councillor.

A column header for the councillor's column.

I have been thoroughly impressed with the community’s willingness to reach out, offer support, and let us know what they, as residents of this city, were hoping to see from their Council. I will spend the next three years working to make sure your voices are heard and am grateful for the opportunity to do so.

There has been a steep learning curve and that support has been vital as council works its way through numerous important files. From a discussion of the future of our buses, to one about the future of our garbage, many of these decisions will impact the residents of Ottawa for years to come and I would like the residents of West Carleton-March to add their voices to that decision-making process so that we see the sort of city we would like to see.

West Carleton-March Draft Budget Consultation

To that end, I hosted a draft budget consultation this past week at our municipal offices in Kinburn and was delighted to see members of the community stop by for a conversation. This is the second of these consultations that we have hosted and if you missed it, you can watch the video here. We had the City’s Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer join us to discuss what kind of things are possible and what the city’s priorities might be moving forward. I spoke about the sorts of investments I would like to see in our city and heard the concerns of residents.

Those concerns included:

• the conditions of roads and the money required to address the issue
• the city’s financial position and how it may be impacted by council decisions
• water quality
• investments into infrastructure
• housing

While this was not a meeting to provide answers to the extremely complex issues of infrastructure or housing, it was a meeting to help residents understand what Council can do to guide the use of funds for the City, and to understand how residents feel those funds should be used.

I will be arguing for the inclusion of many West Carleton-March roads to the resurfacing schedule. Anybody who lives here knows that we deal with long drives on less-than-ideal roads, leaving our residents on the hook for car repairs and replacements.

I will also be advocating for increased investment in emergency response. Road safety and speeding are top issues, and we need to see increased police presence and enforcement in our community.

Ambulance response times remain unacceptable. Further investment and a re-thinking of our current model are extremely important steps we need to take to address this issue.

Rural Summit

One way we are hoping to address the issues of our residents is with the renewal of the Rural Summit. In 2005 and 2008, summits were held to hear from rural residents, and bring forward their concerns. In December of 2022, Council passed my motion to investigate bringing back the summit. Going door-to-door during the election campaign, I heard varied concerns from many people, but one thing I heard repeatedly was that there was nobody to listen to rural concerns.

The fact that many in our area feel as if the City is not listening only strengthened my resolve to bring the summit back. I think it can be a constructive, eye-opening experience that will allow residents to bring their concerns forward and have them logged, categorized and actually understood by City staff. Rural living is not for everybody, and there may be a disconnect about some of the major issues we face among those who do not see those issues day-to-day. Having an avenue to allow resident concerns to be brought directly to City staff is one way we can increase engagement and help West Carleton – March residents feel like they are also Ottawa residents.

Stay tuned for more information about the Rural Summit.

Happy 90th to Barbara Vance

This past weekend, it was so nice to see the community come together to celebrate Barbara Vance’s 90th birthday. Barbara is a longtime volunteer with 4H and has mentored many kids in West Carleton-March and right across the Ottawa Valley. She is an amazing woman, and we are lucky to have her as part of our community.

As we move (far too quickly) toward the winter season, I would like to again point out how grateful I am to be your Councillor. I will continue to meet residents, hear their stories, and bring the sort of representation they would like to see to the Council table. There is much we can accomplish together.

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