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City to be a playground in Doucet's vision

The Toronto Star
Mohammed Adam, The Ottawa Citizen

Clive Doucet announced Thursday that Ottawa will become a city of great community parks, playing fields and affordable recreation to rival some of Canada's largest cities -- if he becomes mayor.

At a news conference to unveil his culture and recreation platform, Doucet said he will: increase the $42-million recreation budget, create a reservoir of land for playing fields, reduce the cost of renting rinks and playing fields, and create a new city committee for parks, recreation, culture and environment.

To underscore the high priority leisure and recreation would receive under his administration, Doucet said he'll appoint a new deputy city manager for culture, recreation and environment. Doucet said the likes of Toronto and Montreal are expanding their recreation and leisure facilities to become more alive and livable and Ottawa should not be left behind. He says parks are places where "cities become alive" and Ottawa must become a place where culture and recreation thrive.

"There is something gravely wrong when a city approaching one million (people) cannot sustain its outdoor wading pools. There's something wrong when every year, there's a fight to maintain a tiny community hockey budget. There's something wrong when the city's response to creating parks is 'We've got the NCC'," Doucet said.

"I will be lowering the cost of renting playing fields and indoor rinks. We will be increasing the budget from four percent to five percent as a start and we'll be creating a land bank for playing fields. We won't be decommissioning parks, we will be commissioning them."

And as part of the grand plan to turn Ottawa into a city of parks, Doucet says he will stop the Lansdowne redevelopment project by invoking the exit clauses in the agreement, and begin a new process to turn the site into a community park worthy of the city.

"If I am elected, we will create a different kind of park with a different kind of cost, and we will build a stadium in a place that will work -- not a place that has failed twice. I will invoke the same thing Larry O'Brien invoked to cancel the light rail project," he said, referring to the cancellation of the north-south rail project in 2006.

"Lansdowne Park will become our great icon, our great central community park from which others will grow and be sustained. It needs to become a 21st-century version of the great Ottawa Valley gathering place."

Doucet believes one of the problems Ottawa is facing is that it is getting less and less natural ice because of climate change. According to Doucet, the city once regularly had four months of ice for inexpensive winter skating, now he says it is hard to find a six-week window of ice. He said this year, there were only 36 days of ice on the Rideau Canal, and one of the first things he'll do as mayor is to commission a climate-impact study to determine what, if anything needs to be done.

Doucet has said his campaign is built around frugality, and asked where he'll find the money to pay for his promises, he said money can be redirected from other less desirable projects.

Upcoming election debates


- Mayoral candidates
Kiwanis Club of Ottawa
Chateau Laurier, 1 Rideau St., Drawing room
12:05 to 2:05 p.m.
- Mayoral candidates
Ecology debate
Saint Paul University, 233 Main St., Laframboise dining hall
7 to 9 p.m.

El contenido de las noticias que se presentan en esta sección es responsabilidad directa de las agencias emisoras de noticias y no necesariamente reflejan la posición del Gobierno de México en este u otros temas relacionados.


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