Mayor, El-Chantiry: WC election priorities

CONSTANCE BAY – Mayor Jim Watson says his choice for Canada’s next prime minister will be the one who brings infrastructure money to West Carleton.

Both Watson and Ward 5 Coun. Eli El-Chantiry engaged in a bit of campaign conversation with West Carleton Online following the third annual Kicking Breast Cancer in the Butt fundraiser held last Sunday (Oct. 6 – more on that in an upcoming story), and both municipal politicians agreed, they are hoping to see more infrastructure funding come their way from whomever wins the Oct. 21 election.

“Obviously we have a significant backload of roads that need to be re-done, and particularly here in West Carleton as a result of the flooding, “ Watson told West Carleton Online. “A lot of the roads here have been degraded and we would like to get the support of the provincial and federal government. We can’t do it all on our own.”

Coun. El-Chantiry says last spring’s extreme flooding did significant damage to Armitage, Greenland, Bayview, Moorhead, Allbirch and Lighthouse roads in West Carleton specifically, as well as others.

“We’re going to need $3 million to rebuild from the flood,” El-Chantiry said. “That’s just for the roads.”

Watson says, from the campaign so far, the election promises look good, although vague.

“All the parties are certainly touting the need to invest in infrastructure, whether that’s roads or culverts or bridges or transit, and that’s a good sign, we just want to get specifics,” he said. “That’s why we asked specific questions about transit.”

Watson says he has avoided attending debates in the ridings that cover the City of Ottawa so far but is still following the campaign closely.

“I haven’t been to any of the debates, I have followed through social media and through the media themselves and what they’ve been saying,” the mayor said. “There’s a common theme that we need to continue to invest in infrastructure, affordable housing, transit. Roads and culverts and bridges in rural Ottawa are obviously a big concern to people.”

The mayor held a joint press conference with Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin in late September highlighting the two cities’ priorities for the upcoming election. Watson hopes party responses will start filtering in so he, and the city’s residents, will know exactly where each party stands on Ottawa’s priorities.

“What we tried to do is pin down the candidates so that we know exactly what they are committing to so that when the election is over and whoever wins, we can go back to them and say ‘great, now let’s start working on the specifics,’” Watson said.

City council is already working on applications for federal culture and recreation funding.

“There was a program announcement from the federal government for recreation infrastructure and they had to get the province to release the applications and they’ve done that, and the deadline was Friday (Oct. 4) for applications and that’s for community centres and field houses, libraries etc.” Watson said. “Every member of council has put in a request for something in their ward and we’ll submit all of those and hopefully a number of them will make the grade and we’ll be able to get some cultural and recreational infrastructure in different parts of the city.”

Watson said he hasn’t checked on responses from the parties yet and will check back after the deadline passes.

“I really don’t know, I haven’t checked,” he said. “We gave them a deadline which to the best of my knowledge is this week. The ones we get we will be put on my website so the public will have a chance to review the answers to the questions that we asked.”

To view all of West Carleton Online’s election coverage so far, click here.