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Doucet spreads scorn for developments that don't help communities

According to a report, mayoral candidate Clive Doucet On Thursday released an indiscriminate heap of scorn for development that he claims suck the liveability out of communities, not to mention eat up green spaces.  Doucet who is running for the post of mayor in the municipal election taking place Oct.22 spoke to reporters outside the fence surrounding the Immaculata High School's artificial turf sports field. The school is off Main Street in Old Ottawa East. Doucet enjoyed watching the s tudents play on the field, but he expressed his annoyance at the fact that the surrounding community was blocked from using the field.

The Immaculata field project is a collaborative effort between the Ottawa Footy Sevens and the Ottawa Catholic School Board. The soccer organisation paid $2 million for the field while the school paid an unreleased amount for a rubberised running track. A couple of neighbours are angry that they weren’t consulted before construction began.

Sounds of hammers started coming from across the streets, and that’s how residents knew that there was a residential development undergoing construction.

“My question is, ‘Where is all the money going?’ The city doesn’t have any money to protect any piece of community property,” Doucet said.

He then turned to LeBreton Flats and criticised a public-private redevelopment model that was quite similar to Lansdowne Park.

The city is not one of the primary development partners at LeBreton Flats. The National Capital Commission owns them.

Doucet went on to criticise the spending on Lansdowne Park, which was a redevelopment partnership between the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group, and the city. He decried the "$300 million of debt" spent on the project, as well as the city for, according to him, allowing itself to be strong-armed out of public land.

City media relations officer, Ian Miller, relayed an email to the Marian Sumulik, city treasurer, which said that the city borrowed $153 million to build urban park and the stadium. As at Thursday, the city still had about $146 million left to pay back.

“The finances of Lansdowne Park are shrouded in secrecy,” Doucet said.

The city publishes an annual report with some of the information.

“What I’m asking the people of Ottawa to consider is, can we afford this mayor?” Doucet said, referring to incumbent Jim Watson. “This mayor is a debt-and-spend mayor.”

The Watson campaign was quick to fire back at Doucet.

“Mayor Watson is proud to have kept his commitment to keeping taxes at or under 2.5 per cent in his last two mandates and to have maintained the City of Ottawa’s Moody Aaa credit rating,” Watson spokeswoman Livia Belcea said in an email.

“The mayor is also proud of the numerous investments made in communities across Ottawa, such as the new recreation facilities and park infrastructure, the redevelopment of Lansdowne Park, LRT and the newly expanded Ottawa Art Gallery.”

Watson’s camp criticised Doucet for being on the council that increased property taxes and reprimanded Doucet for fighting the Lansdowne redevelopment.