Kelly: Out and about in the community
The Councillor's Column
These past two weeks have seen blizzards, biting temperatures, and major budget talk around the Council table. The 2023 Budget was passed after weeks of discussion and tinkering.
Election years present unique challenges in crafting a budget for City Staff and the accelerated timetable means that the type of meaningful public consultation I am hoping to foster in this community, was not possible.
We held a budget consultation meeting in February to help answer questions and hear what residents had to say and we will continue to host these events regularly moving forward as we roll up our sleeves and begin work on a 2024 budget.
Stay tuned for budget consultation session notifications as our office works to bring the needs of Ward 5 residents to Council.
As always, I have enjoyed the opportunities to attend events and interact with members of the community. I would like to thank Jennifer McAndrew, Director, Marketing & Special Events for West Carleton Minor Hockey Association for dropping off a copy of The Barn Burner Cookbook being sold to raise funds for a scholarship for graduating players.
As a former West Carleton Warrior, I am very grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this initiative for West Carleton Minor Hockey. I am excited to heat up the oven and crack it open to see what recipes are being shared in our community.
I had the pleasure of attending Mike and Peter’s fishing derby this past week in Constance Bay. Many thanks to all the organizers who put on such a great event.
I was able to visit the Dave Smith Youth Treatment Centre in Carp with Mayor Mark Sutcliffe and Deputy Chief Steve Bell on March 2, to show off their new building project and explain the work they do for struggling youth in our city. The Centre is marking thirty years of helping hundreds of youths and their family members in the community and, together, we applaud their successes.
I met with the Friends of the Carp Hills, a group that offers landowners and people options for supporting and preserving the Carp Hills, a Provincially Significant Wetland Complex that houses turtles and trails, offering residents the opportunity to experience some of the ecology and biodiversity that Ward 5 has to offer.
During a week celebrating International Women’s Day I also got to meet with representatives of the Dunrobin Women’s Institute to talk about the great work their group and the larger Women’s Institute movement do for women in rural Ontario. The Dunrobin WI started in February 1918 and puts on an annual Christmas tree lighting in the vacant lot at the Dunrobin corner, while also maintaining a flower garden and installing benches and a commemorative plaque for the Younghusband family who ran the store until 1985.
Our office hosted the presidents of our local Community Associations and I would like to thank everyone who made it out. We had a great discussion about the city’s engagement with smaller communities in the rural area and asked for common concerns and issues brought up by the residents of Fitzroy Harbour, Dunrobin, Carp, and Constance Bay. Roads, garbage pickup, and parks and recreation programs were the primary topics.
I am working at delivering something that can help rural residents feel more connected to the city they call home and perhaps even entice some to reach out to volunteer for their local community events. I also met with the head librarian in hopes of improving service in the rural area to emphasize the importance of reading and knowledge, especially for the children in our Ward.
I know that many people in our Ward have been struggling with internet access and I am sad to hear about the loss of a local provider. I invite those most affected to coordinate with our office. We’re working very hard to come up with quick solutions to ensure residents do not feel disconnected.
Another of the ways rural residents connect to each other is through the use of our trails. Hiking, snowmobiling, and running on the vast network of Ottawa trails allows us to experience the beauty of this area for ourselves. Now that a transportation master plan has been passed, I am looking into finding more city-owned spaces, like old railway corridors, to open for snowmobiling, skiing, hiking, and walking dogs in the spring. We are working on getting interest groups together to determine the best way to go about sharing these spaces.
As we move forward into spring, keep your eyes open for City road crews clearing ditches, repairing potholes and guardrails. Please let our office know if you’re aware of areas with more urgent needs. Together, we can try to make sure that our rural roads, that we depend on so much, work for all of us. They are also working at improving water flow for the upcoming thaw. With a large snowpack, flooding risks are increased, and residents are encouraged to keep an eye out as concerns begin to emerge.
As always, it is a pleasure to serve the great people of West Carleton-March and I look forward to providing my next update. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to the Ward 5 office with your concerns, challenges, and ideas on how to make life in Ward 5 better.
To read all Coun. Clarke Kelly’s columns, click here.
The preceding column was written by City of Ottawa Ward 5 Coun. Clarke Kelly, part of the councillor’s ongoing, bi-weekly column for West Carleton Online, made available to the entire community through an agreement with the publisher.