Five things: Mayor Watson gives his last speech on the city

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Jim Watson’s speech on the state of the city on Wednesday was his last as mayor, and he used the opportunity to reflect primarily on his work leading the city of Ottawa over three consecutive terms.

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Watson, who was elected in 2010 and is not running in the local elections in October 2022, recalled major projects and major events during his tenure – including, of course, the fan-favorite La Machine performances in 2017.

But along his walk down memory lane, the mayor went into some project updates along with a few observations that might indicate he’s trying to cement his legacy at City Hall.

People need to remember the good things about Ottawa, says the mayor

Faced with a struggling LRT system and a tough city council, Watson urged people to remember how amazing Ottawa is.

“I hope in the coming years we can find a return to balance and a more objective assessment of how big this city is compared to others,” Watson said.

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Watson said “we can not ignore the hardships and challenges we have been through” before highlighting the city’s investment in affordable housing and crediting residents’ work to pull each other through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I agree that we should all be critical of the legislative reports and proposals before us, and there is a lot of work for us,” Watson said, “but we also have a duty to recognize the good things. which makes Ottawa one of the best cities in the world to live in.

Bridge work done in the fall, ōdisōke breaks into April

Watson said the Chief William Commanda Bridge, which is being transformed into an interprovincial multi-use transition, is set to open in the fall.

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Not far from the bridge, the future Ādisōke library and archives will have a groundbreaking planned in April, he said.

According to Watson, Algonquins of Pikwàkanagàn First Nation is pursuing an “urban addition” in the city of Ottawa and is working to locate a development site. The project “would create economic and cultural sharing opportunities in our city for members of Pikwàkanagàn,” Watson said.

Algonquins from Pikwakanagàn is also a member of Algonquins of Ontario, which is collaborating with Taggart to build a satellite community in eastern Ottawa.

Old-fashioned Ex will celebrate the second life of the Aberdeen Pavilion

An old-fashioned trade show this summer will celebrate 30 years since the council voted to save the Aberdeen pavilion, Watson said.

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Watson has often cited his efforts to save the historic building as one of the things he has been most proud of in his chosen office. He was a city councilor in the Old City of Ottawa when the municipality approved a restoration plan on July 2, 1992.

On Wednesday, the mayor said he has asked city staff to work with the Central Canada Exhibition Association to host the fair.

“I know it will bring back some fond memories for many residents who enjoyed the Ex and probably create some new ones for those who were not present at the time,” Watson said.

Ryan Reynolds gets a street name; Dr. Etches gets a key

Actor Ryan Reynolds, who spent some of his childhood in Vanier, will have a street named after him in the Cumberland department that recognizes his philanthropy to local charities. The council approved a proposal by Watson to allow the street name.

Ryan Reynolds Way will be located in a Caivan Communities subdivision called Cassette, near Mer Bleue Road and Brian Coburn Boulevard.

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The city can hold a long-awaited key to the city ceremony in 2022.

Watson said that Dr. Vera Etches, Ottawa’s health worker, and Ottawa Public Health will receive the key to the city this year, in recognition of their work during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Keys announced by Watson in 2020 will also be awarded to golfer Brooke Henderson, former Gov. Michaëlle Jean, TV station James Duthie and the Ottawa Citizen. The city has not been able to hold a ceremony due to the pandemic.

Early farewells for current and future councilors

Watson said he hopes local politicians will keep an eye on the bottom line after he leaves town hall.

“I certainly urge all those who will stand for this election and then our future advice to take a similar fiscally responsible approach going forward,” Watson said.

He celebrated his unbroken streak of budgets that have met property tax promises he made at the time of the election.

Watson also suggested that politicians should not be so angry when talking about Ottawa.

“I think there is a lot that we can be proud of as a city and a community, and I believe that it is also our role as elected representatives to speak our city up as opposed to talking it down,” said Watson.

jwilling@postmedia.com

twitter.com/JonathanWilling

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