In recent weeks, you have likely heard a thing or two about a certain play structure project in Mooney’s Bay. No matter where I have gone recently, people have asked me about it. Allow me to take this opportunity to shed some light on the matter and to give you my take on it. In case you have not heard about it, the project in question is a joint effort between the City of Ottawa and Sinking Ship Entertainment. The building of this $2M playground will be featured on a TVO children’s show called Giver. The site of this playground is where the current Sue Holloway fitness park is situated. That park was at the end of its lifecycle and will be relocated, with new equipment, in 2017.
First off, it is important to note that I found out about the project the same time that many of you did; Friday, May 13th. Being Friday the 13th, someone at the City should have known things were about to get a little messy. The full history on the project, though, dates back to January with many meetings with various stakeholders conducted in February. Again, the members of Council, save one, were not in the loop at this point. However, several well known groups that are users of the park were being consulted and were attending these meetings. In my mind, if any issues arose or concerns were presented, the right people were at the table to address it. From the press release that announced the project on May 13th, you wouldn’t know anyone had concerns. Of course, then the public outcry surfaced.
As soon as residents began to push back on the process, people started getting thrown under the bus. There is absolutely no question that this process could have been better. Any confidentiality could have been respected while a modest public consultation was conducted. That didn’t happen and hindsight is 20/20. Regardless of the flawed process, the project got to a point where it was approved following Council-approved policies and it was moving forward. Any efforts to derail the project at that point were purely political and disingenuous.
The effort made to bring this to Council retroactively was merely an attempt to save face and have Council be the fallback for the lack of process. I voted against the item coming to Council for a retroactive discussion because, in my estimation, the intent was just so that those who made the decision on the park could pass the buck. I’m not here to be someone else’s scapegoat. If you make a mistake, you own that mistake, you defend your position, you stand strong for what you believe in and you move forward. Far too often, elected officials cannot see beyond the next election and because of that, they make poor decisions. We aren’t here just to get re-elected, we are here to lead. Residents of Ottawa would be better served if all elected officials remembered that.
At the end of the day, a play structure will get built at Mooney’s Bay. It will take up 1.3% of the 72-acre park. It will be paid for by private funding coupled with just under $1M from the development funded city-wide cash-in-lieu of parkland account. I didn’t vote for it or against it but I can tell you this much, my kids are going to love it and I’m sure many others will also.
What's going on this summer?
Register Now for Summer Recreation Fun
Don’t miss out on the fun this summer, register now for a City of Ottawa recreation program offered at our many locations throughout the city. The online Recreation eGuide offers a wide variety of instructional and recreational opportunities to choose from, and for all ages and abilities. The great selection of day camps, including specialty camps, themed camps and leadership programs, will keep your children entertained and active this summer.
If aquatics is more your style, you can take swimming lessons at the many City-run indoor and outdoor pools, learn to dive or kayak, or get certified in lifesaving and leadership. Why not try out a new sport like tennis, create an artistic masterpiece, or whip up tasty snacks and beginner meals in the kitchen? The City of Ottawa also offers year-round fitness programs including aquafitness, cycling, group fitness, workouts and weight rooms. Get pumped and increase your health and fitness.
Please note that a client barcode and family PIN numbers are required to register for recreation programs. For more information on all City programs and services, visit ottawa.ca or call 3-1-1 (TTY: 613-580-9656).
Household Hazardous Waste Depot
Last week, many of you should have received my newsletter in your mailbox. In it, we highlighted the household hazardous waste depot schedule. However, we only listed the dates and not the actual times. This first one on that schedule is this weekend, Sunday, June 12th, from 8:00am to 4:00pm, at the Progressive Waste Landfill, 3354 Navan Road. All depots operate the same hours.
As noted in that newsletter, or in case you didn’t receive it, the City also hosts several hazardous waste depots at locations across the city throughout the year. For information about upcoming dates, visit ottawa.ca/hhw.
Watson’s Mill’s Fifty Five Twenty-Five Music Festival
Lynn Miles, Vince Halfhide and Terry Gillespie are the June artists scheduled to play at Watson’s Mill’s inaugural Fifty Five Twenty Five Festival, followed by Tyler Kealey Trio, K.E.W.T. (Kathryn Briggs and Terry Tufts) and Suzie Vinnick in August. Shows dates are June 14th, 15th and 16th and August 16th, 17th and 18th and begin at 7:30pm. Single and multi-show packages are available starting at $30 and $80. Members of Watson’s Mill receive 10% off ticket prices. Tickets can be purchased at the Mill office (credit card and debit accepted), by calling 613-692-6455, and at Manotick Office Pro, 5541 Manotick Main St. This is a fundraising event in support of programming at Watson’s Mill.
In last week’s column, I made reference to the planned crosswalk for Manotick Main Street. Next week, I’ll include the drawing of the crosswalk which is slated to be installed over the next several weeks.
If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491.