Make your own free website on Tripod.com

(Excerpts from "The President's Message", November edition of The Newsliner, Queenswood Heights Community Association)

Equality East

At the last QHCA executive meeting, we passed a motion to sign a declaration of support for the objectives of a new group that has formed in the east end that calls itself Equality East.

Equality East is an independent, non-partisan community-based coalition of residents who want a stronger voice in community affairs. It has a primary objective of working to bring more amenities to the Orléans community. It recognizes that government cannot tell businesses where to locate. However, government can provide amenities to a community that would create a more vibrant and exciting place in which to live, and this would, in turn, encourage the location of new businesses (and jobs) in that community. This would improve the quality of life for many residents who would be able to work where they live and would help to reduce demands on infrastructure such as the Queensway. Furthermore, more amenities would mean an increase in property values.

As a first step, Equality East is asking Council to restore the $8 million dollars (that was cut by staff from last year’s budget) for an east end multi-cultural, multi-disciplinary arts facility in the east end.

Arts and cultural programming is the preferred form of recreation for over 14,000 east end residents. A multipurpose facility would also address the shortage of conference, banquet and meeting spaces in the east. Nepean has Centrepoint Theatre and the downtown has Arts Court, but no such venues exist east of the Rideau River. The east deserves the same types of amenities as exist in the rest of Ottawa.

For more information, visit their website at equalityeast.tripod.com or call Equality East at 837-7950.

* * *

Boy, was I wrong.

Over the course of the last two years, I have attended a number of public meetings but during the last six months, I’ve noticed residents in the east end are becoming increasingly frustrated with the new city.
That the Orléans Chamber of Commerce has called its visioning meeting and a group like Equality East has formed is evidence of this frustration.  [Ed. Note: Chamber meeting called for Nov. 28, 7 p.m., South Fallingbrook Community Centre in Maple Ridge Elementary School on Valin Street]

Friday, I was informed that the group that was proposing the major east end sports facility near Carine Wilson School was turned away by city staff. The group had a great design. Their financing was in place. All that was required was getting the appropriate approvals. All this, and then to be turned away by city staff. Fantastic message.

I remember a conversation I once had with Peter Clark when he was mayor of Cumberland and he had a seat on what was then Regional Council. I remember him saying that he kept track of the tax dollars that left Cumberland and went the Region. 

He wanted to make sure that at least as many dollars (and usually more) came back to Cumberland as was sent to the Region. He arranged for the Tenth Line widening and interchange and had the Place d’Orléans transit station included in the capital forecast. Since then, we’ve had next to nothing out here, unless the City of Cumberland paid for it.

The last Cumberland council had a strong will to build a new arena in Cumberland. With the growth in what was Cumberland, the money would have been there to start construction of an arena this spring or summer, and there would have been stands and change rooms at the sports park.

The fact is: we are sending one hell of a lot more money to the new city than we are getting back.
It also appears city staff sabotaged efforts by Phil McNeely to stop the hog factory in Sarsfield and has dragged their feet on the work on the beach at Petrie Island. And remember, a good part of the funding for that beach will come from Cumberland reserves that were transferred to the new city.

I admit it. I was wrong. I believed that Cumberland residents would benefit from being part of an amalgamated city. I thought we would benefit from lower taxes and increased access to services.

The small tax decrease that we did receive came as a result of the new city drawing on its reserves. This means we will eventually be required to pay higher taxes to pay for capital projects. And, in Cumberland we are getting less, not more, service than we received prior to amalgamation.

I share the view of the Chamber and Equality East. Its time we started getting our fair share.

John J. Morgan, President
Queenswood Heights Community Association

* * *

I welcome your comments and suggestions. Please contact me at:
Days: 834-5478, Evenings and weekends: 824-6111, Fax: 824-8290 E-mail: johnjmorgan@rogers.com