Crickets on the blog for the rest of August, folks. I’ll be back after the Labour Day weekend.
Big shocker today at Ottawa City Hall as the most respected councillor around the table announces he’s not seeking re-election. Here’s his message to residents:
Peter Clark says he’ll defend his council seat for Rideau-Rockcliffe ward in the Oct. 27 municipal election.
Up until Friday, Clark had been coy about his plans but it sounds like his mind was made up a long time ago about seeking re-election.
It probably won’t come as a big surprise to challengers. Many heard rumblings that he would be in the race.
“I didn’t have an epiphany,” Clark said.
“I have several bits of unfinished business that have taken a long time to get in place.”
Clark said he wants to continue work on policy for backyard lanes, the strips of municipal land behind homes in the Overbrook area and other communities.
He said he still has interest in fiscal policy at City Hall.
Clark said some people did question if he could get the job done with the energy required. He’s 76 years old but he doesn’t think it will prevent his ability to contribute on council.
This is going to be another good race in a very diverse ward with a total of six candidates.
The challengers are: Cam Holmstrom, Jevone Nicholas, Tobi Nussbaum, Sheila Perry and Penny Thompson.
The Ottawa Chamber of Commerce has been polling members on various business issues in the city this year. Abacus Data has been doing the research. From what I can tell, the July survey is the second one and 109 businesses in Ottawa responded. Businesses with “valid email addresses” were invited to participate in the online survey.
The respondents seem to like Mayor Jim Watson, giving him an approval rating of 71%. That’s a score based on people saying he’s either “extremely effective” (20%) or they simply “approve” of the job he’s doing (51%).
Compare that with the approval rating for city council, 38%. Of that, only 1% said they think council is “extremely effective.”
Meanwhile, the city staff approval rating is 36%.
There are some interesting differences in the survey between January and June.
More people think there are “barriers” to doing business in Ottawa. The rate was at 74% in July, up from 56% in January.
The survey also gauges businesses’ opinions on three issues: Lansdowne Park, LRT and Canada’s 150th birthday (aka, Ottawa 2017)
In the recent survey, 50% said the Lansdowne redevelopment will have a “positive” impact on their business. That’s up from 42% in the previous survey.
On LRT, 74% said it would have a positive impact on business, up from 59%.
On Ottawa 2017, 62% said the initiative would have a positive impact. Another 28% said it would have no impact. It looks like that’s the first time the chamber asked the question.
I’m guessing 109 is a small representation of chamber members. But if Watson is fairly popular with the business crowd, that might tell you why there hasn’t been a big business leader throwing his or her hat into the mayoral race.
Finally, some semblance of a pedestrian bridge over the Airport Pkwy., like it was originally envisioned.
Work is progressing on the Airport Parkway bridge. The final piece of the bridge deck was installed last night! pic.twitter.com/JuZIMObs7i
— City of Ottawa (@ottawacity) August 20, 2014