Column: Dickinson Square, Richmond Development and more

The most awkward vote an elected official ever has to make is the one that pertains to his/her own salary. Be it municipal, provincial or federal elected officials, we all have to vote at one point or another on what we should make. This issue has been in the news lately with the proposed cost of living allowance to City Councillors, effective January 1, 2013.

During a debate in North Gower in the Fall of 2010, all five Rideau-Goulbourn candidates for Councillor were asked whether or not we would support/accept a pay increase during our term, if elected.  Coming from a job that paid less than half of what I would make if elected, I said no. In my effort to keep my word to the individual who asked the question, I dissented from the proposed increased at Council on February 13.  However, along with Councillor Mark Taylor, I put forward a motion that would allow me to opt out of the pay increase and remain at the same salary for the remainder of this term.  This motion was rejected at Council on a vote of 15-6.  I am now forced to accept the pay increase that I had committed not to accept.  Councillor Taylor has committed to giving the money back to the City, Councillor Peter Clark has already donated the increase to a charity of his choice.  What I want to ask of you is: where should my increase go?  It would be wrong of me to vote against the increase and then turn around and accept it, therefore should I write a cheque for the difference back to the City of Ottawa or should I donate it to a charitable or community organization?  I want to hear your thoughts on this issue.

Dickinson Square: Request for Expressions of Interest

As many of you are aware, the City of Ottawa acquired six properties in Dickinson Square in 2008.  At that time, the Manotick Mill Quarter Community Development Corporation was formed with a mandate to protect and preserve the heritage nature of Dickinson Square but also to repay the expenditure to the City of Ottawa through sale or lease of any or all of the properties.  The properties included Watson’s Mill, Dickinson House, the Carriage Shed, the Ayres Building, the Weaver’s House as well as the properties to the north, known as the Clapp and Holloway properties.  Shortly after, Watson’s Mill was sold to Watson’s Mill Manotick Inc. and further, the Holloway property was deemed unsuitable for construction.

The Requests for Expressions of Interest is the stage in the process where we seek interest in the properties.  No resolution will be determined through this process, nor will any sale.  Its purpose is to gauge interest in any or all of the properties and to make aware to any proponent the objectives of the MMQCDC in preserving the heritage qualities of the Square.  This process will conclude in April and will involve City staff meeting with proponents, providing information concerning the properties and explains the objectives for adaptive reuse and redevelopment.  As with the rezoning, much of the direction has been derived from the Manotick Secondary Plan and the visioning sessions that were conducted by the Manotick Village Community Association and Dickinson Square Heritage Management Inc.  This direction helps staff inform the proponents as to what would fit in the Square and respect the village and its history.

This issue will be discussed at the March 7 meeting that I will be hosting to discuss a variety of Manotick issues.  That meeting will take place at the Manotick Arena at 7pm.

Richmond Development

On February 13, the City hosted a meeting to discuss a development application from Caivan Developments at 6335 & 6350 Perth Street.  This meeting was well attended by many residents from Richmond and I want to thank them for their attendance and comments during this meeting.  Many of the comments made were consistent with the comments heard during the Community Design Plan process for Richmond.  Issues such as drainage, communal well systems and sewer services were key issues raised.  These are outstanding concerns from the CDP process and as per Council direction in 2010, must be resolved prior to any development outside the current serviceable area in Richmond. Other comments included transportation issues as well as parks and recreation.  As soon as possible, we’ll make comments heard at the meeting available to the public. More information about this application can be found at www.ottawa.ca/devapps.  Please provide any comments on this proposed development to myself or to Cheryl.McWilliams@ottawa.ca.

North Gower Cooperative Nursery School

Straying from the usual dance and silent auction, this year the NGCNS will present their first ever Casino Royale & Silent Auction at the Alfred Taylor Recreation Centre in North Gower on Saturday, February 23.  The evening will include black jack, poker, martinis and some appetizers provided by AJ’s Catering as well as The Whalesbone Oyster House.  The Master of Ceremonies for the evening will be yours truly so come on out and enjoy a great night all the while supporting the Nursery School.  Doors open at 8:00pm and tickets are available at Roxy’s Salon in North Gower, Kit & Kaboodles in Manotick and from any NGCNS parent at a cost of $15.  Tickets will also be available at the door.  For more information, please visit www.ngcns.com.

And now a message from Watson’s Mill…

Watson’s Mill Presents…Manotick Files De-Classified

On Wednesday February 27 at 7:00 pm, local resident and man-about-town, Rich McDonald will open the de-classified files on Manotick’s political past. If there is one thing Rich knows, its politics. He served as a municipal councillor in the Ottawa area for 24 years and was the Chair of a number of municipal committees including: Planning, Recreation, and Transportation. He has seen it all and through first-hand accounts, he will reveal what really went on when Manotick Main Street got its first traffic light. It’s time the public hear the real stories of the village from the construction of the public library to the icy reaction of Manotick’s first Recreation centre.  Rich was there for it all and he is not afraid to tell the back stories behind them all.

Watson’s Mill Presents … is a community lecture series offered to the public as a way of educating, entertaining and creating a conversation. The village of Manotick has large number of interesting and knowledgeable residents with engaging stories to tell and on the last Wednesday of each month we have the opportunity to hear them speak. Admission is $2 for Watson Mill Members and $5 for General Public, in support of Watson’s Mill programming.  Call for more details: 613-692-6455.

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If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please email me at Scott.Moffatt@ottawa.ca or contact me by phone at 613-580-2491.