Deserted Metcalfe street in the evening in downtown Ottawa.

The Malaise in Ottawa

My comment in Reddit, to the thread ‘Ottawa has changed and I can’t seem to put my finger on how’.

Ottawa needs to be a city but its city council is running it like a suburb. The result is that most city functions – from policing to transit to city life – have become dysfunctional.

Their idea of growth is another distribution centre by the highway and another patch of row houses overwhelming some forest or farmland. It’s all just sprawl now (like Toronto and most other cities) enabled by a council basically owned by the developers (and I would add that this extends to the rural communities around the city). Everything exists only to serve the sprawl.

The hockey team is located somewhere near Peterborough, the train station (and the baseball stadium) is out in some industrial area and for some reason nobody thought to connect the main sports and entertainment complex to any form of rapid transit.

And as a result, people are beginning to resent each other – the suburbanites resent having to come into the city (don’t blame them, it’s so low-density and unattractive it’s not fun), the people who live in centretown resent paying all the prices of inner-city living without any of the benefits.

It doesn’t help that we’re being squeezed by corporations and governments who consider any money that goes to average citizens as a net cost, with spending on things like education and hospitals and social services to be avoided. So people who should be getting help are on the street, which makes it less fun for everyone.

Ottawa is a fantastic city, I grew up in the region and I’m really happy to live here. It’s miles ahead of places like Moncton and Edmonton (where I’ve also lived). But it’s being destroyed by its civic politics and politicians who have no real interest in the city, just how to monetize their own little corner of it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.