Office of Councillor Jeff Leiper, Kitchissippi Ward, Ottawa | (613) 580-2485  |
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Candidacy for Vice Chair, Planning

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As many residents are by now aware, the departure from Committee work by Councillor Blais has had a ripple effect on committee memberships. Yesterday, the urban caucus of Council put forward a slate of nominations for positions as member-at-large and vice-chair of the Finance and Economic Development Committee, vice chair and member-at-large of Planning, chair of the Built Heritage sub-committee, member of the board of Shaw Centre, and chair of the Library Board.
I've put my name forward as part of that to become vice chair of Planning. When the Transportation Chair position became vacant and expressions of interest in the position solicited, I notified all of my colleagues that I was interested in the position. There was no opportunity at nominating committee or Council to speak to my interest, and as everyone now knows there was a second candidate who was ultimately succesful.
Councillors who have to date put their names forward for the new crop of vacancies have been including reasons for their desire to serve in those respective positions. Following is what I wrote to colleagues to let them know why I consider I deserve consideration for the position.
Good morning, colleagues.
As indicated in the collective submission by Councillors Fleury, King, McKenney, Menard, and myself yesterday, I am putting my name forward for the vacant Vice Chair of Planning Committee position.
I have served on Planning Committee for five years now, and believe I enjoy recognition among colleagues, Planning staff and the public for an in-depth understanding of planning issues and processes. I have sought to be pragmatic. Over the course of five years, I've developed a respectful relationship with community associations, the Federation of Citizens Associations and the development community, variously challenging and supporting each after careful, independent thought.
In my time on the Committee, I have engaged with colleagues, staff and multiple planning issues, including contributing to and collaborating on submissions to Queen's Park with respect to inclusionary zoning, Planning Act changes, OMB reform and more. I believe it would be widely recognized that I am one of the most engaged councillors on the Committee, frequently engaging with delegations on both policy and specific application issues. While I have attempted an analysis of this Term of Council's Planning meetings, the transcripts are often not available. However, I believe that you will indulge me when I suggest that I am one of the Committee's most active members, always from a perspective that is informed and based in the statutes.
I have also undertaken to work with colleagues not on the Committee to frequently ensure their motions are appropriately debated by introducing those to the floor, even if those motions don't necessarily enjoy my support - traditionally the role played by the Vice Chair. I firmly believe that the work of Committee is important to bring transparency to the workings of City Hall, but am always careful to ground my work in the relevant planning law and policy, and with an interest in ensuring the Committee is doing substantial, meaningful work.
I would be pleased to discuss this further with you at your convenience. Thanks for your consideration.
Posted February 19, 2020