A review of ward boundaries to be used in the next three or four municipal elections is being undertaken by consultants for the City. An options report outlining five scenarios was tabled at City Council this month. Four of the five options being presented would have Hintonburg split between two wards.
You can find out more about the boundary review here
A round of stakeholder consultations took place in the spring with a second round to take place in August. We will keep you posted when specifics are revealed.
The HCA Board of Directors reviewed the Options paper and responded to the consultant with Mayor Watson and Councillor Leiper copied. You will find the text of the reply below.
To: Beate Bowron, Project Manager, Ottawa Ward Boundary Review 2020
From: Linda Brown, President, Hintonburg Community Association
cc – Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, City of Ottawa
– Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa
Regarding Ward Boundary Review 2020
Thank you for your email of June 25th, 2020 providing an update on Ward Boundary Review 2020 including the release of the Options Report, its five proposals and news on phase 2 of public consultations.
The Options Report has been reviewed by the Hintonburg Community Association’s Board of Directors. We are taking this early opportunity to express our opposition to all five options as proposed.
Four of the five options presented would split Hintonburg between two different wards. Option Five, the mega-ward option is the least desirable of all the options.
Option Five provides so many challenges in terms of reduced effective representation, citizen service and manageability, it would require a separate note. But, at least it does not bisect Hintonburg.
With respect to options one through four, after reading the report’s methodology, it is difficult to see a manifestation of the guiding principles of respecting our natural and recognizable boundaries and recognizing our community’s unique characteristics and history.
Consider our community boundaries, which are:
• Scott Street to the north
• The O-Train railway line to the east
• The Queensway (Highway 417) on the south, and
• Holland Avenue to the west
These boundaries should be easily incorporated into one ward without too much difficulty.
Instead, in three of the proposals, Fairmount Avenue becomes a ward boundary. It is neither a main artery, natural boundary or clear delineation between communities. In option 1, Parkdale Avenue becomes a boundary contrary to Holland Avenue where some of Hintonburg’s earliest settlements occurred. We would also argue that the O-Train line is the only reasonable natural boundary near this community.
In terms of respecting established communities of interest and character, the proposals ignore Hintonburg’s rich history. Hintonburg as a community is long established. We were an early streetcar suburb, having been incorporated as a village in 1893 and annexed into the City of Ottawa in 1907. We have evolved into a vibrant, diverse, cohesive and active urban community that draws many to live, work and play in the neighbourhood. As you have stated in your ward boundary review, communities should not be divided and the unique characteristics, history and natural physical barriers should be respected.
The impact on community associations and Business Improvement Areas must be considered as well. Community associations, by nature communities of shared interest and character , would be provided with the extra challenge of dealing with issues of policy advocacy and community service with two different councillors and their staffs. . Bear in mind that these are volunteer organizations. It would seem that no good deed goes unpunished.
Business Improvement Areas are established by the City of Ottawa to improve coherence, character and business strategies in established business districts. It would seem that bisecting their district amongst two wards would be somewhat crippling to their mandate.
We recognize the importance of the Ward Boundary Review and its role in establishing fair and equitable representation in municipal government and are supportive of the initiative overall. We are thankful for the opportunity to see the Options Report and look forward to participating in the second round of public consultations in August.
We look forward to the review resulting in a equitable result for the city as a whole and a fair outcome for our cherished community of Hintonburg.