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New Ottawa councillors eying city budget, rules around pot shops

Theresa Kavanagh of Bay ward describes training for her role as a city councillor like, "drinking water through a fire hose."
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2017-11-01 Ottawa City Council Chambers MV
Ottawa city council chambers, November 2017. (Photo/ Mike Vlasveld, Village Media)

New Ottawa City Councillors can all agree on a couple of things so far -- they're learning a lot about what they will and will not be able to do in their new roles, and the budget is going to come up really fast.

Ward 7's councillor-elect Theresa Kavanagh, Capital ward's Shawn Menard and Innes' representative Laura Dudas spoke on 1310 NEWS' Ottawa Today with Mark Sutcliffe about how "council boot camp" is going, Thursday.

Listen to the full conversation:

 

Dudas comes from a career at city hall, so she said there haven't been many surprises, other than finding out that some issues are provincially mandated.

Kavanagh said the amount of information has been incredible, but she's really enjoying digging into all of it.

Menard explained that it's been a good chance to remember what campaign promises he made, and figure out which members of the city's administrative staff he will need to talk to.

Cannabis legislation is expected to be an interesting issue, according to the three soon-to-be councillors.

Kavanagh sees zoning being an issue, as she doesn't want to see any retail pot shops near schools. She was hoping the province would stick with its original LCBO-style model for retail. 

But the most pressing issue on the minds of Dudas, Menard and Kavanagh is next year's budget.

"In previous years, you might get a budget cycle starting earlier with the council that's going to be there for that year and through December, whereas we are coming on right away and there will be a budget tabled very quickly," said Menard. "So we're going to have to be prepared for that $3.5-billion budget that's going to be coming."

The next term of Ottawa City Council kicks off officially when all members are sworn in, December 1.




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