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Ottawa councillor wants to break up planning committee to control 'wild west' of development

Councillor for Capital ward Shawn Menard released a report and plan to split up the city's planning committee, in hopes it will bring structural changes and amplify the democratic process at city hall.
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Ottawa City Councillor Shawn Menard, December 2018. Mike Vlasveld/ OttawaMatters

Councillor for Capital Ward Shawn Menard is calling on the city to break its planning committee into two parts, in order to creating more representative decision making.

A report released by the councillor on Monday features 30 expert community planning representatives from across the city, giving reasons why the committee should be broken-up.

A couple themes of the report include: a lack of community consultation and transparency, as well as the idea that Ottawa developers have too much influence at City Hall.

"I think there's a chasm between what residents want and what ultimately gets approved," Menard told 1310NEWS. "It's the wild west out there when it comes to development."

Two recent projects Menard points to are the Chateau Laurier addition and the changing of the official plan in old Ottawa east.

The recommendation pushes for two separate committees where one deals with development for rural wards and another focuses on urban issues.

This split would mimic other committees which are already separated, such as the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

Menard's goal for this split is to put the power back into people's hands.

"I think there is a lot of democratic deficit at City Hall at the moment and this would help to restore some of that on the planning side," said Menard.

This item will be considered at the mid-term governance review of council in 2020.




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