By Alyson Queen –
The countdown (and voting) is on for the upcoming municipal election on October 22.
There are two candidates vying to be councillor for Kitchissippi Ward – and both have experience running for the position.
Incumbent Jeff Leiper, 48, is the incumbent hoping to be re-elected and end the trend of one-term councillors in Ward 15. Daniel Stringer, 72, is a previous candidate for the ward and is back in the race hoping residents are ready for change.
Here’s what they had to say about opportunities and challenges for Kitchissippi and their own aspirations in recent discussions with the Kitchissippi Times.
This time, it’s all about development
When asked about challenges and opportunities for Kitchissippi in the next term of council, Jeff Leiper had the same answer for both questions: development. “We need gentler intensification.”
“The opportunity for us is to try and get it right”, which Jeff says is also the biggest challenge. “If we get it right, then we can start to reap all the benefits that intensification is supposed to provide. If we get it wrong, then our neighbourhood isn’t going to be sustainable.”
Daniel Stringer agrees that the biggest opportunity is gentler intensification, along with “keeping traffic and taxes down.”
“I understand about the problem of re-development and there’s been an awful lot of talk about doing something about slowing intensification,” says Daniel. “The policy of intensification is the problem. But there hasn’t been very much that’s changed in the past four years. I think we need to change the mindset on council about intensification, spread it out along the LRT and have other wards take their fair share of the responsibility for intensification.”
On this topic, Daniel Stringer hones in on bike lanes. “I think we spent four years focusing on bicycles and bike lanes, many of which are unsafe. My focus would be on paving the streets. I’ve identified 27 disgracefully neglected streets that are crumbling and need to be re-surfaced. That’s a priority for me.”
He specifically cites the lane on Holland Avenue, where there was recently a collision, as an example of what needs to change. “[It’s the] most narrow bicycle lane I’ve ever seen. Cars parked on the right and you could have a bus on the left.”
Jeff Leiper, on the other hand, touts safer streets as a source of accomplishment in the past four years. On his website, he states that he has taken action with “traffic calming measures throughout the ward to reduce the speed of aggressive cut-through drivers.” He also mentions, among other items, that he has “successfully advocated for a common-sense approach to bikes and the LRT to give cyclists safer options.”
On his website, Jeff Leiper states that the next term of Council will debate a new solid waste strategy. “I’ll continue to advocate for long-term environmental thinking that protects our climate, trees and waterways. In our review of infill zoning rules, I’ll advocate strongly for better street tree protection.”
Daniel Stringer hones in on protecting the Ottawa River. Constituting a third of the ward’s boundaries, he says is “very concerned about the building of a five-storey containment tank at Chalk River”, which is located one kilometre from the river. “The chances of leaching carcinogens are 99%,” he says, adding that “Montreal city council has spoken out, but not Ontario.”
What can we expect from you?
Jeff Leiper pauses to reflect when asked about what constituents can expect if he is elected. “I think residents have a good idea already of what to expect from me in the next term of council. I’ve established myself as a member who is present, thoughtful, communicative and open-minded. I’ve put, I think, an extraordinary level of effort into this job and that will continue.”
But he also addresses feedback. “I have heard, and feel, that residents are also hoping that I’ll become even more vocal on issues, especially larger city-building issues, and that is something I’m taking to heart.”
Daniel Stringer says “there hasn’t been very much that’s changed in the last four years.” His approach will be to do things differently by building alliances and coalitions on council to get things done. “I bring a long record of genuine cooperation,” adding he stands for a “more welcoming and inclusive community.”
So how’s it going?
Daniel Stringer says his campaign is going well. “We are coming down to the final stretch and I’m excited about it.”
Jeff Leiper had a busy end of September helping navigate the emergency response for Westboro during the tornados, but is generally optimistic about the upcoming election. He is hosting a series of final campaign office hours over the course of the month.
Special advance voting is open October 4-7, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., at six select locations throughout the city. Voters can cast ballots at any of the stations, regardless of ward. Regular advance polls will be open on October 12 and Voting Day is October 22, with polls open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Information is available on your Voter Notification card or online at elections.ottawa.ca.
Extract from Daniel Stringer’s platform at danielstringer.ca:
- Paving our crumbling streets and stop installing unsafe bike lanes, especially on Parkdale and Holland
- Protecting the Ottawa river from cancerous water leaching from a 5-storey nuclear waste tank at Chalk River
- Doing more and talking less about slowing down re-development through gentler intensification
- Building “school-kid friendly” and safer communities including organizing a family-fun Kitchissippi winter carnival
- Fixing Ottawa’s housing seniors’ bed-bug and cockroach problem
Extract from Jeff Leiper’s platform at jeffleiper.ca
- Collaboratively develop the big picture of how our community will grow through thoughtful and predictable planning;
- Achieve progressive policies on transit and transportation, housing and the environment;
- Protect our quality of life in a vibrant city; continue to focus on communications, accountability, ward-wide cooperation and customer service.