Tuesday, November 13, 2007

I'm ready to call it quits.

Somehow I get the feeling that the Ottawa City Council is actually anti-urban. It is understandable that this is the result of the four downtown ridings voting overwhelmingly for Alex Munter in the last election. Every single day I hear about more inevitable cuts to the core amenities that make any city worth living in. This mayor and city council are all but ensuring that Ottawa will be a burnt out husk of a core (yes, more so than it is already) and a suburban wasteland that treats any non-home owner as a burden.

I see a future that is much bleaker than any Orwellian dystopia because it isn’t fictional. It is inevitable that this will be a city of retirees because it simply won’t have the amenities that attract young talented individuals to this city. In fact, it’s getting to the point of driving me away. The city is about to eviscerate itself and ensure that nobody will want to come here.

If anyone remembers what Ottawa was like in the seventies and eighties, get ready for a flashback. This will be a government suburb, with little else. And you better have a car because you won’t be able to afford the bus if you are lucky to actually find one. You better not have any form of disability or addiction because there won’t be any places to get a roof or meal. Think you could just kill time at the library? Think again, it'll be gone too. Etc. etc. etc. And most importantly, you better not want to live anywhere outside of the suburbs because it will be made the most inconvenient place to live in Ontario.

Congratulations. I guess they really are running city hall like an Ottawa based business. I just wonder if they realize they can’t actually sell it to an American company like IBM.

1 comment:

Jan Triska said...

Besides the business-obsessed mayor, what is the root- cause of our current problems?

Is it the fact that with the tax revenue Ottawa collects, we can not afford any new amenities - or is it the fact that our amenities and services are so badly managed? Which is more to blame?

(and, bear in mind, I am not cognizant of some of these issues...)
A very telling comment came from an acquaintance of mine this weekend. She's been in the city for about a decade. Her impression is that Ottawa and Gatineau suburbs have grown hugely over the ten years but that the inner city has not changed a great deal. If anything, she says, the inner core has been developed a bit, more density added, some showpiece buildings erected, etc...but the 'story' of Ottawa is that for every inner-city dweller we add, there are three or four suburbanites.

Kind of reminds me of the Calgary or Edmonton dynamic. Those are places where you really are hard pressed to find decent downtown living, for sale or rent...and that's in an era when they're experiencing massive growth and almost all those people will need to rent places, at least initially.

The other cent I have to throw into the discussion is that as a person who works out on a regular basis (and also use the swimming pools), Ottawa has a shortage of affordable, drop-in fitness facilities. If you want to buy a membership, there are plenty of places - and they are affordable, for what it is. But if you want to drop by the YMCA one week, got to the Clarica centre the other week, etc, it will add up. This tells me one thing: the structures in place are geared at an indentured civil servant with a decent income, not at a young person or at someone new to the city, or at a family with kids.