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Equality East Citizens Coalition
1612 Baie Verte Crescent
Orléans ON  KIC 3K2
(613) 837-7950

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Media Centre - Chair's Message

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Equality East E-News
January 14, 2003
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In this issue...

1. Chair's Message - Arts facility victory no time to rest on our laurels
2. Chamber Forum this Thursday crucial to an east end development action plan
3. Our E-mail Policy

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1. Chair's Message - Arts facility victory no time to rest on our laurels

News has been spreading like wildfire throughout the east end community about our victory at last Wednesday's city council budget meeting. In an 18-4 vote, members of Ottawa City Council voted to insert $9.1-million into the city's 2005 capital budget forecast for the construction of the long-awaited east end arts and culture facility.

From Equality East's perspective, this is of course a major victory for our new citizen's coalition, for the arts and for the east end community as a whole. There is a caveat, but we'll get to that in a moment.

The arts facility budget vote is a victory for Equality East in that, in our first initiative as a new citizen's coalition, we surpassed our campaign objectives while demonstrating what we as a community can accomplish when we set aside our competing interests, and work together to move forward priority projects that benefit the entire community.

It is a victory for arts groups in that, after 14 years of studies and hard work, there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel. Council's funding pledge allows city staff and the arts community to work together to leverage funding from other public and private sources to ensure that construction of the arts facility proceeds as planned in 2005. East end arts groups can now look forward to creating and performing in a home of their own - in a centre that is sure to become the heart and soul of our community.

It is a victory for the east end community as a whole in that, the arts and culture facility is a first step towards - and perhaps the cornerstone to - moving Orléans-Cumberland beyond a "bedroom & box stores" community. By diversifying the types of amenities and facilities available in the east end, we are making our community a more vibrant and a more attractive place in which to invest, visit, live, work and learn… and that benefits us all.

While the arts facility campaign victory gives us all cause to celebrate, we cannot afford to grow complacent. Now more than ever we need to ensure the east end community stands united, to ensure we have a strong and effective voice in city affairs.

When we look beyond the smoke and mirrors and examine more closely the budget numbers, reality sets in. In 2004 alone there is a funding gap of $52-million in the city's capital budget forecast. In other words, the total anticipated cost of projects proposed for next year seriously outstrips available municipal tax dollars. Similarly, the 2005 capital forecast predicts a $25-million shortfall.

With little appetite for tax increases, it begs the question as to how city officials plan to address the $77-million funding deficit. Likely, a host of projects across the city will be on the chopping block over the next two municipal budget cycles - and beyond.

As such, projects like the proposed aquatics centre and the Cumberland ice pad scheduled for 2004 are far from a sure thing. Ditto for the arts facility in 2005. Never mind the fact that there are other worthwhile projects, both new and old, that merit attention. The St.-Joseph Boulevard Revitalization project and the Academic Athletic Community Partnership proposal for a sports school spring to mind.

Until shovels are in the ground and construction begins on these facilities listed in the city books, the east end will not have seen the tangible benefits of amalgamation. We must remain on guard.

Equality East is ready, willing and able to play an active role in our community's development… but we need your help. As a first step, I strongly encourage you to participate in the Orléans Chamber of Commerce's public forum this Thursday night, to help us identify priority projects and develop an action plan towards building an even better community (see below for details).

Our community is our responsibility… let's take ownership together.

Yours in civic action,


J.-F. Claude, Chair
Equality East Citizens Coalition
equalityeast@sympatico.ca 
http://equalityeast.tripod.com 
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2. Chamber Forum this Thursday crucial to an east end development action plan

Last week, the City of Ottawa unveiled its draft Official Plan. Over the next 20 years, the City predicts that the strongest growth areas will be in the south and west ends of the city. This is cause for concern for the east end. If the development of Orléans-Cumberland does not keep pace or surpass the south and west districts, we will further lose economic clout at the City, and our voice will be weakened at the Council table. However, this is also an opportunity for the east end to seize the initiative and develop innovative solutions to the challenges that lie ahead for our community.

The Orléans Chamber of Commerce is holding a public forum this Thursday, January 16, at 7 p.m. at the Cumberland Branch of the Ottawa Public Library (next to the Ray Friel Centre on Tenth Line, in Orléans). The objective of this meeting is to identify priority projects for the east end and move forward on a community development action plan.

What is your vision for Orléans-Cumberland over the next 5, 10 and 20 years? Your participation at this Thursday's public forum on the future of our community is crucial if we are to be the architects of our own destiny.

Please confirm your participation by sending an e-mail to Chamber president Diane Boucher at dboucher@magma.ca.
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3. Our E-mail Policy

We value our relationship with you. If you do not wish to receive future editions of Equality East E-News, please send a message to equalityeast@sympatico.ca  with the following in the body of the message: unsubscribe E-News youremailaddress.

Your e-mail address is kept in confidence by the Equality East Citizens' Coalition for the purpose of corresponding with you on Ottawa east end community matters. Your name and e-mail address will not be used for any other purpose and will not be disclosed to anyone else without your consent.
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Equality East E-News is a periodic news communication from the Equality East Citizens' Coalition.

© J.-F. Claude, 2002