Kanata North Votes 2022 – Hear from the Mayoralty Candidates

The Mayoralty slate for the 2022 election is 14 candidates long. To ensure this exercise is respectful, inclusive yet manageable we considered the results of the Mainstreet Research poll of September 14, 2022, and the specific poll question below to identify emerging candidates as of mid-September. We sent our letter to the eight candidates receiving 1% or more of the poll responses (essentially 8 or more favourable responses in a poll of 777). We fully expect our next Mayor is represented in this group of candidates.

Below you will find the letter we emailed to the candidates on September 18, 2022. We included some background relevant to our issue along with two questions important to our cause – the first addressing the larger issue of the provision of urban greenspace across Ottawa and the second, specifically, the protection of the Kanata Golf Club lands. There were no restrictions placed on their replies other than a response deadline of September 30 to ensure you would receive this information ahead of the Advance Polling Days. The responses have not been edited.

September 18, 2022 Email to Mayoralty Candidates from the KGPC

As I believe you know, I chair an organization, the KGPC,  funded and supported by thousands of Ottawa voters.   We remain locked in a fight with ClubLink and local developers Minto and Richcraft to prevent the development of 175 acres of open urban greenspace in Kanata North.

We have the following background and two questions for you to answer as a candidate for Mayor.

Not all of Ottawa’s residents and neighbourhoods have walkable access to any significant open space.  Kanata North is fighting to keep ours.

Our Kanata North residents and taxpayers have raised and spent over $500,000 opposing the plan of ClubLink/Minto/Richcraft to develop 175 acres of urban greenspace and protect this large tract of multi-use recreational open space central to a dozen neighbourhoods.

We are joined in opposition by all elected representatives and the high-tech business community of Kanata North.
The right to use this space is deeded to thousands of surrounding homeowners by the singular 40% Agreement.
The City of Ottawa has opposed the development in the courts (in support of the 40% Agreement) and at the Ontario Land Tribunal on the basis of risk to the fragile stormwater management (SWM) system in the area and the absence of an acceptable SWM plan.

1. If elected Mayor, will you support the need to expand and develop accessible urban greenspace across all of Ottawa’s wards?  How should Ottawa make that happen?

2. Will you commit to protecting the communities of Kanata North by working to ensure the City remains opposed to this ClubLink development in Kanata?

Before the Advance Voting Days, we will publish your response (or non-response) in our e-News, which is followed by thousands of supporters.  Kindly consider September 30 your response deadline.

[Candidate], thank you for your time today.  I look forward to seeing you at the Mayoralty Debate on the Environment on September 28.  And, in the meantime, take good care!

Warm regards,

Barbara Ramsay
Kanata Greenspace Protection Coalition

Question 1
If elected Mayor, will you support the need to expand and develop accessible urban greenspace across all of Ottawa’s wards?  How should Ottawa make that happen?

Bob Chiarelli – https://bobchiarelli.ca 
September 26, 2022

To the first part of the question, yes, of course, I will support the need to expand and develop accessible urban greenspace across all of Ottawa. The answer to the second part of the question is complex.. There are many worthy, competing, and often conflicting demands on the city’s priorities. Greenspace is an important one of these. Should a space become a park or do we build essential housing on it? Where do we rebuild our tree canopy, and where can we have pollinator and community gardens? Do we add to the cost of housing by imposing greenspace and other requirements on the builders, and make housing affordable only for the rich? And that’s just the beginning.

Unfortunately, for those who want simple answers, the complex answer is that we need politicians with experience and good judgment, applying responsible priorities and principles, to balance the various needs of the residents of the City, including sound fiscal management, and ensure that greenspace is treated as a necessary resource and its availability and access maximized. Platitudes and wishful thinking get us nowhere. My approach has always been to get real results for actions that benefit the residents of this city.

Catherine McKenney – https://www.mckenney2022.ca/
September 27, 2022

Catherine recently released their plan to fight climate change and protect greenspace in Ottawa. You can access the whole plan here:  https://www.mckenney2022.ca/climate_plan_details

As Mayor, Catherine will fight to protect greenspaces in Ottawa’s urban and rural areas. Ottawa needs greenspace for our communities to enjoy, and a tree canopy to cool our neighbourhoods. We will work to halt and reverse nature loss to ensure a healthy ecosystem. Catherine will work with the National Capital Commission, Parks Canada, Indigenous communities, and local elected officials to turn the Greenbelt into a national urban park.

We will invest in new protected greenspaces, and increase protection of existing greenspace. We will focus on city cooling by increasing the tree canopy to 40% by 2030 across Ottawa, focusing first on the neighbourhoods that need it the most, such as Barrhaven and the downtown core. This will cool our city by reducing the impact of heat waves. We will help homeowners across Ottawa plant trees by expanding the Trees in Trust planting program, especially in the aftermath of tree loss resulting from severe storms. We will protect our rivers and watershed to ensure that Ottawa continues to have the safest drinking water. It must be safe for residents to swim, fish, and play in our rivers.

Catherine’s also planning other strategies to make our city greener, like green roof bylaws.

Mark Sutcliffe – https://marksutcliffe.ca/
September 30, 2022

Yes.  Within 30 days of taking office, I will bring together Ottawa Community Housing, not-for-profit housing providers, homebuilders, building trades, unions, planners, colleagues and universities, citizen groups, other governments, city staff and others to create a detailed strategic plan, with concrete actions and timelines, to break down the barriers to getting the housing we need to be built with no expansion of the urban boundary.

I will improve the community consultation process to ensure meaningful and timely input from more people across the community, including a seamless digital participation process to gain a full range of views. For those building market housing, rentals, affordable housing and community housing (including transitional and supportive housing), I will focus development in the downtown core, along the LRT, and near LRT stations, following community consultations. While seeking intensification opportunities to meet housing needs, I will also look for opportunities to create more green space alongside taller buildings than exists at present. I will not pursue symbolic options, such as the conversion of the Greenbelt into a national urban park, which is already 100% owned by the federal government through the National Capital Commission that has no plans to commercialize or sell one square metre of its property.

Brandon Bay – https://www.brandonbay.ca/
September 30, 2022

I completely support protecting and expanding our urban greenspace. As we intensify the communities we already have and continue to develop those already in progress, we need to ensure that we are building complete communities, not just a sea of houses. We need accessible green space that allows everyone to enjoy the wonderful environment Ottawa has to offer, not to mention all the additional benefits greenspace provides.

Celine Debassige, Nour Kadri, Mike Maguire and Param Singh did not respond to our letter.

Question 2
Will you commit to protecting the communities of Kanata North by working to ensure the City remains opposed to this ClubLink development in Kanata?

Bob Chiarelli – https://bobchiarelli.ca
September 26,2022

Let me make this crystal clear. I have supported the community from the very beginning of its fight against the golf course operator and I will be behind them every step away of the way moving forward.

Catherine McKenney – https://www.mckenney2022.ca/
September 27, 2022

I voted to oppose ClubLink’s application to develop this greenspace and I also voted to call on the Province of Ontario to intervene.

I believe it is essential to preserve greenspace where we can. This is one of the most important ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to reduce the costs of highway expansion.

As Mayor, I will continue to use all of the tools at Council’s disposal to support the community and stop the development of this important greenspace.

Mark Sutcliffe – https://marksutcliffe.ca/
September 30, 2022

100 per cent.  I stand with the residents of Kanata North, and all in Ottawa who are worried about this loss of promised green space, in opposing the Clublink development.

Brandon Bay – https://www.brandonbay.ca/
September 30, 2022

Yes! The agreement must be upheld, and the land should continue to serve its important infrastructural and personal benefits to its community. I could support a re-wilding of the lands, but the proposed plan is bad, in spirit and in detail.

Celine Debassige, Nour Kadri, Mike Maguire and Param Singh did not respond to our letter.