Matthew Pearson, Ottawa Citizen
Mayor Jim Watson has tapped experienced councillors to chair committees at Ottawa City Hall, but several rookies are also pegged for key posts.
The recommendations were introduced and approved Tuesday at a brief nominating committee meeting and are likely to pass without much debate at Wednesday's council meeting. The chairs are to serve for the entire four-year term.
Chair: Jan Harder, Barrhaven
Vice-chair: Tim Tierney, Beacon Hill-Cyrville
This is a promotion for Harder, who served as the committee's vice-chair under Peter Hume until his retirement last month.
Harder says she's represented the largest growth area in the city since amalgamation and considers it a point of pride that throughout that time, only two applications from her ward have gone to the Ontario Municipal Board.
"That's about relationships, and I intend to work very hard with my colleagues to get an understanding of what their concerns are, what their community believes, and work really hard to approve applications that fit within our (community design plans) and our official plan," she said.
Harder has close ties to the development industry — many leading companies sponsor her annual charity golf tournament — but says she's already spoken with the city's integrity commissioner Robert Marleau to "make sure that I'm in a position that no one would be raising concerns."
Community and protective services
Chair: Diane Deans, Gloucester-Southgate
Vice-chair: Riley Brockington, River
The veteran councillor takes over from Mark Taylor, who wanted to keep the post but was named deputy mayor, a ceremonial title that mainly means standing in for the mayor at events.
She previously chaired CPS from 2003 to 2010 and says she is looking forward to tackling the broad range of issues the committee deals with, which includes everything from the arts and seniors to homelessness and firefighting.
One of the top priorities is reviewing and updating the city's bylaws and addressing the issue of ride-share programs, including Uber. "We need to figure out a strategy," Dean said, adding she has substantial history with the file and was probably "best positioned" to address the issue.
Poverty reduction is also on her radar, as some communities in Ottawa "have not been lifted up the way they need to be," she said.
Chair: David Chernushenko, Capital
Vice-chair: Rick Chiarelli, College
Having spent most of his adult life working on environment and sustainability causes, Chernushenko says he knew there was a risk of being stereotyped as a green guy during his first term of council, so he was low key.
But now he's stepping up and says he hopes to serve as a bridge between environmentalists and a city some don't think is moving swiftly enough.
"Since the early '90s, when I first became very active in environment and sustainability issues, I've felt very strongly that most of the time it was better being inside the tent working on something than being on the outside throwing rocks at people," he said.
The councillor added he's clear about where society needs to go in terms of adopting more sustainable behaviours, but he's practical about how to get there.