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Comments about latest ward boundary recommendations for east end.

Note: this email below was sent to Catherine Kitts regarding our concerns in Carlsbad Springs for the latest ward boundary review recommendations for the east end communities of Carlsbad Springs, Vars, Sarsfield and Navan.

I am contacting you this evening as a resident of your ward, as an active member of our community, as a francophone, as one of the executive member of the CSCA (Carlsbad Springs Community Association) and also as a journalist responsible for our French local news on CJRO Radio in Carlsbad Springs and Vars. I wear many hats as you can see.

First I was very surprise and disappointed to hear the latest recommendation to separate Sarsfield and Navan from Carlsbad Springs and Vars. Why is this new option now being considered as it was never proposed originally and also residents were never consulted on this, strangely proposed by the finance committee, supported by Mayor Watson, yourself and other Councillors according to a CBC and CTV news story.

« So, finance committee approved bringing a rural swath that includes the villages of Navan and Sarsfield into a ward with growing suburbs in Orléans. Cumberland village was already to be joined to an urban Orléans ward in the north. That leaves only Carlsbad Springs and Vars villages to join a rural ward with Osgoode. »

« Mayor Jim Watson said the final decision for new ward boundaries falls with council and it needs to address residents' concerns, especially those of francophones in the rural east end. »

Well I am sorry to say but putting Carlsbad Springs and Vars with Osgoode does not address the concerns of residents, especially the francophones.

So does our mayor not know that Vars has an active french elementary catholic school with almost 300 students (St-Guillaume) and two francophone parish in the east end (St-Laurent in Carlsbad Springs, and St-Guillaume in Vars), many french social clubs (two very active Club Optimistes) in both communities and a large active francophone population?

I feel we in Carlsbad Springs and Vars are being betrayed by our municipal decision makers. Carlsbad Springs, Vars and Sarsfield and Navan have been together in the same ward for 20+ years and they have common grounds, common issues, similar demographics.

Additionally Carlsbad Springs and Vars have a large French population, French school, numerous French social clubs and similar history with the former Cumberland Township and currently with Cumberland ward. Carlsbad, Vars and Sarsfield developed amazing networking community relations with the former CASAVA group to advocate for the east end on various issues. Those community relationships that were created in the past are still active today.

It is in my opinion, the best solution is to leave Osgoode « as is » and simply put Carlsbad Springs, Vars, Sarsfield and Navan with the suburban Avalon area together. This would make more sense than separating and dividing our 4 modest historical east end rural communities. Please respect our democracy and please consult with residents before making recommendations and any decision on this important matter. At our last CSCA meeting that you participated in November you never mentioned this option, at no moment there was an option where Cumberland would be split in 3 sectors. Logically the section north that includes Cumberland Village joining Orléans seems to be a done deal with the last recommendations but not the other parts of Cumberland where it was recommended that they all be merged with Osgoode ward.

Merging all of them with Avalon (minus the section that is going to Orléans) area makes more sense and would create and maintain a francophone ward but also respect the history of our communities. I find it very frustrating that a week before Council makes a decision on the ward Boundary review a NEW recommendation is suddenly proposed with NO consideration and consultation from both Vars and Carlsbad Springs residents.

Denis Labrèche

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