It is the duty of elected officials to protect the rights and safety of Ottawa residents. I am appalled at the way our Mayor conducts himself in managing city business. He has become a dictator in presiding over City Council and rides roughshod over our communities, ignoring their input. Jim Watson freely disregards provincial and municipal laws in order to force his own developer-friendly agenda upon Ottawa. Without apology, he blatantly changes enacted bylaws to conform with his illegal manipulations of our planning act. This document would better serve him as toilet tissue rather than as legislated protection for citizens.
Mr. Watson’s insistence on forcing approval for the Salvation Army’s disastrous proposal to build a 350 bed homeless men’s emergency shelter on Montreal Road is a prime example of what propelled me to challenge this political despot. With no accountability, he concocted a secret deal to enrich his developer friends and destroy a vulnerable community’s prosperity and safety for all time.
Never mind that this location is protected in law as a ‘Designated Heritage Main Street’ intended to guarantee economic prosperity for vulnerable communities, such as Vanier, that are already in a state of decline. No problem for the Mayor and his political cronies, he simply championed a new bylaw to remove this protective statute after the fact. Be aware that this special provision strictly prohibits emergency shelters as a land use because of the adverse ‘social consequences’ they generate; violent crime; drug trafficking, abuse, addiction, overdose emergencies and death, child and adult prostitution and arson. This list of human degradation goes on. I have witnessed it all firsthand and say, Enough! It’s time for a new Mayor that has compassion.”
Mr. Watson ignores an overwhelming world body of evidence which clearly shows what a shameful act he is precipitating. His move can only bring discredit upon our G7, world class capital city and lasting devastation by creating a large inner-city urban ghetto. Over a short time, this will spread and create dire repercussions to adjoining communities such as Rockcliffe Park, New Edinburgh, Lindenlea, Manor Park, Overbrook, Lowertown and Sandy Hill. Historical locations like the Beechwood Cemetery, Notre-Dame Cemetery, and The Grotto will be overrun not to mention every community park in between. This degradation process has already begun. We can stop this from happening before it’s too late.
I am centrally involved in a huge effort to stop this as a lead community activist and fundraiser with SOS Vanier, as an appellant to the Ontario Municipal Board with three appeals in my name, as a humanitarian, as an adversely affected citizen, as a property and a business owner, as a defender of francophone rights, as a strong advocate for our city to fully adopt ”Housing First”, and now, as a mayoral candidate strongly opposed to Mr. Watson’s regime.
Here is the real domino effect of this situation if it’s allowed to proceed:
An unnamed, secret developer will buy the Booth Centre property from the Salvation Army for a value far exceeding it’s worth and build three extravagant high-rise condo towers there. The Salvation Army will purchase the Concorde Motel for a value far exceeding it’s worth and triple the number of their current shelter beds from 160 to 350, with a guarantee from the city to pay rent every night for each room. The same unnamed developer will get the contract to construct their new $55 million facility. The Mayor will provide political cover to the Salvation Army and change any laws necessary to get the deal done.
The Salvation Army will remain silent other than when ordered to provide comment and spin. I expect that the Shepherds of Good Hope emergency shelter on the Market will also be relocated to Vanier and their property on Murray Street will also be purchased at an inflated value. More extravagant buildings will be built on that property as well and on the adjacent property to the west – the one with the infamous posters. Barriers and imposed legal conditions will prevent the homeless from venturing to the Market area and restrict them east of the Rideau River. The mayor will get credit for ridding the ‘homeless cancer’ from the Market once and for all – recall Mr. O’Shaughnessy’s infamous petition this year with over 2,500 signatures on it before he was ordered to quash it Another feather will be added to Mr. Watson’s tarnished political cap and he will smile at lots of ribbon cutting ceremonies highlighting what a great achievement this is for Ottawa.
There is hope. The deal has been stopped with several appeals that I have jointly launched with others.
Our first appeal to stop the shelter was rejected by the City solicitor, Rick O’Connor, after council approved the project on November 22 of last year. He informed us that no decision had been reached in the matter. The objective of this ploy was to delay accepting our appeal until after December when appeals would then be heard by the new council friendly Local Planning Appeal Tribunal rather than the more impartial Ontario Municipal Board. We then launched another appeal to have our first appeal heard by the OMB. This was eventually approved. Confused? There’s more.
We have also launched yet another appeal against council’s recent approval to remove the Heritage Main Street Designation from the Montreal Road location.
I have helped the Vanier community raise $165,000 towards its goal of $200,000 required to pay legal bills for this fight. Drew Dobson, Coventry Connections, Shelter Corporation and myself are severally and jointly liable for all legal costs.
Anyone wishing to help us reach our goal can contribute at: https://ca.gofundme.com/sosvanier
You can also help by signing my worldwide appeal to the Salvation Army’s Global General, Brian Peddle, and his wife, Commissioner Rosalie Peddle. Information and a petition for this can be found on my website: https://brucemcconvilleformayor.ca/category/online-petitions/
I took a stroll today with Matthew Best, a reporter from Carleton University, to show him firsthand the devastation that has already occurred in the area. We paused in front of the Concorde Motel. The owner, Lou Malouf, came out to speak with us. We shook hands and I challenged him to reconsider the sale of the motel to the Salvation Army and let the community and I help him find an appropriate buyer for his property. He reiterated falsehoods about how the project would be beneficial to the community and to the homeless and declined my offer.
As we shook hands in parting, he said to me, “No hard feelings Bruce, this is strictly business!”
Please enjoy my video on the irony of this shameful failure of Ottawa’s leadership, namely Jim Watson and the City Councillors he hoodwinked into trading their votes to approve this mega-monstrosity.
Follow this Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0AevhFRq6A&t=6s
He won’t get my vote. What about yours?