Ottawa downtown councillors talk of 'urban caucus'

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Somerset councillor-elect Catherine McKenney pitches idea to 4 counterparts

CBC News

The councillor-elect for Somerset ward said there is strong support from other urban councillors to form a caucus to discuss issues that affect all of the inner-city wards.

Fresh off her victory Monday night, Catherine McKenney is set to take over for Diane Holmes in Somerset ward when the new council convenes.

But she's already held informal talks with winners from Kitchissippi, Rideau-Rockcliffe, Capital and Rideau-Vanier wards about creating an "urban caucus."

David Chernushenko returns as councillor for Capital ward, while Mathieu Fleury returns as councillor for Rideau-Vanier. In the other two wards, there will be two new councillors — Jeff Leiper in Kitchissippi and Tobi Nussbaum in Rideau-Rockcliffe.

They would likely discuss common issues such as cut-through traffic, cycling and infill developments.

She said the idea came to her on the campaign trail.

"Maybe if we had five people on an urban caucus, that they might have a bit more leverage," she said.

McKenney said she isn't worried about creating a rift with sub-urban and rural councillors.

"No, not at all. You know we have a rural affairs committee as an example, and that doesn't do that," she said.

Prior to the election, McKenney's predecessor Holmes had lamented that despite having a large percentage of the population, urban wards were often outnumbered at council meetings.

David Chernushenko retains Capital ward

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James Bagnall, Ottawa Citizen

David Chernushenko won convincingly in his bid for re-election in Capital Ward.

Councillor David Chernushenko took on six challengers in Capital Ward four years ago during his first run at the job and won with just 41 per cent of the vote. On Monday, the ex-consultant faced just two rivals and he blew by them with 77 per cent of the tally.

His main challenger, Scott Blurton, had singled out high unemployment rates for students and poor relations between developers and residents as major issues.

But, while the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park had once triggered lawsuits and criticisms of the city’s planning ability, the unfolding of the project has prompted a re-assessment.  The city’s partnership with Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group has more recently been seen as a plus, at least for homeowners. Indeed, among the issues that arose during the campaign was rising house prices, which are making the ward unaffordable for younger families and seniors. It is something Chernushenko says he intends to address during his second term as councillor.

Ward results

Scott Blurton 1788
David Chernushenko 7206
Espoir Manirambona 322

Eligible voters: 24975

Ballots cast: 9696

Turnout %: 38.82

With eight new faces, two thirds of City Council now made up of members in their first or second term

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Sarah Anderson, CFRA

It was clear from the outset of Ottawa's municipal election Monday there would be six new faces around the council table after the vote but upsets in two other wards mean there will be eight new councillors headed to city hall.

That means more than two thirds of the city's councillors will be in their first or second term.

Councillors Stephen Blais, David Chernushenko, Keith Egli, Mathieu Fleury, Allan Hubley, Scott Moffatt, Mark Taylor and Tim Tierney were all re-elected for a second term, as is Mayor Jim Watson.

Two councillors did not keep their seats. In both Kitchissippi and Rideau-Rockliffe wards the incumbents lost to challengers.

In Kitchessippi Katherine Hobbs fell to newcomer Jeff Lieper who said he'll improve upon consultation in the ward.

Chernushenko didn't 'mess up'

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Emma Hyde, Ottawa Sun

The man whose ward includes the Lansdowne redevelopment was sent back to council Monday night in a resounding victory.

David Chernushenko represents the area around Lansdowne and Carleton University, on top of the Glebe, Old Ottawa South, Dows Lake and Billings Bridge.

The main concerns facing the Capital ward, which has a population of 37,250, are connected to Lansdowne, with many residents questioning how the city reviews and approves new development plans.

The city is expecting to complete the Lansdowne development by next summer.

"I'm relieved as the incumbent who didn't think he messed up in any way," he said. "I worked very hard for four years and I'm glad that counts for something. Thank goodness that the vote reflected that."

A pedestrian bridge, expected to be completed by 2020 over the Rideau Canal at Fifth Ave. and Clegg St. is meant to provide people with a more easily accessible route to Lansdowne from the east side of the canal.

Another issue that concerns residents is the high cost of housing, which is forcing people to move out of the area.

"I feel a responsibility to not just say 'not my problem' and see it as a city problem," he said.

A LRT station will be installed in the ward at Lees Ave. in 2018.

Candidates: (unofficial)

Scott Blurton: 1,788
David Chernushenko: 7,206
Espoir Manirambona: 332