15 December 2011

Ottawa City Archives

When Councillor Maria McRae said "Ottawa has a garbage problem" she wasn't referring to Council's approval of naming the building at 100 Tallwood Drive for James Bartleman. It would have been appropriate to the process. With one vote in the negative, that of Rainer Bloess, Council approved the product of a highly flawed commemorative naming process.

While this is a distant concern for many readers I'll take the opportunity to wrap up the story for those who may be curious.

At Wednesday's Council meeting Rick Chiarelli championed the proposal for the mayor.

A few council members expressed reservations, and concern about the process.

Rainer Bloess found the process sufficiently flawed to speak and vote against the council committee recommendation.

David Chernushenko express concerns with the whole commemorative naming process, although he didn't see the actual recommendation as enough of a problem to vote against it.

Bob Monette contemplated a vote against while being most concerned about finding a place to commemorate former City Librarian Claude Aubrey. He received assurances from Jan Harder, Library Board Chair, that a suitable building to bear his name would be found.

What I saw at the meeting was Council showing team solidarity, which is good for the community most of the time. When you find yourself on the wrong end of position championed by the issue leader determined to have his way by riding roughshod over public opinion, in this case the mayor, one endures the consequences.

The commemorative naming process needs an overhaul.

Meetings were held in secret despite assurances they were not automatically in camera.

The official public consultation result was manipulated by ruling the majority of responses non-compliant, even without recourse to hanging chads.

No account was taken of the petition signed by 115 people showing more people opposed to the proposal than all who responded to the official consultation. Petitions are always a feint hope but a last resort to put the public opinion on the record when the official consultation process is so grossly manipulated to provide the result desired.

The consolation is that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Thanks to the efforts of many Ottawa enjoys a serviceable, if architecturally mundane, archives is at 100 Tallwood that will serve for many years to come.

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