Wednesday, December 15, 2010

New transit commission dominated by suburban councillors

City council's nominating committee submitted its list of councillors slotted on to the various boards, committees, and commissions on Tuesday. Although they will still need to be approved by full council, the new transit commission has eight councillors on it, according to the Ottawa Sun: Stephen Blais, Rainer Bloess, Diane Deans, Steve Desroches, Keith Egli, Shad Qadri, Tim Tierney and Marianne Wilkinson.

One thing you'll likely notice immediately is the heavy presence of suburban councillors, and very little in the way of true 'urban' representation among councillors. Five of the proposed members serve ridings outside the Greenbelt (Stephen Blais [Cumberland], Rainer Bloess [Innes], Steve Desroches [Gloucester-South Nepean], Shad Qadri [Stittsville], and Marianne Wilkinson [Kanata North]), while another two (Diane Deans [Gloucester-Southgate] and Keith Egli [Knoxdale-Merivale]) are just inside the Greenbelt, with their ridings encompassing the outskirts of Ottawa proper and significant portions of the Greenbelt.

Only Tim Tierney (Beacon Hill-Cyrville) represents a ward entirely within the Greenbelt. There is no downtown representation among councillors on the commission.

That's not to say these councillors won't be able to serve admirably on the commission, but it does mean that their direct constituents will rely on, at worst, a hybrid transportation strategy that will almost certainly include the bus complemented by a personal car. How this might affect the strategy OC Transpo employs moving forward remains to be seen.

The transit commission still needs to be filled out with four public citizens. It also remains to be seen how these commission members will be selected. According to Wilkinson, the position will be advertised in local papers and on Ottawa's website; according to Deans, the advertisements should be posted early in the new year.


guyincognito said...

Seems like David Chernushenko would have been a natural choice to serve on the Commission. Mathieu Fleury likely would have added some fresh perspective and his ward is heavily transit dependent.
Not impressed so far, especially with the choice of Deans for the chair.

Anonymous said...

Really astonished at the commissioners comments in regards to the incident on a bus where the bus driver actually told a passenger to shut up - how can that be defended by anyone especially by the commissioner - I wonder if her opinion would change if she was the individual being told to shut up - think about it - a concerned citizen of Canada

Dwight Williams said...

Seconded re: Chernushenko. He'd be a natural for this committee.