December 8, 2020
Ottawa Ward Review, Vars leaving Cumberland Ward to join Osgoode Ward
On December 7, 2020, members of the Vars Community Association (VCA) held a special meeting to review the recent City proposal to split the Cumberland Ward into three segments one of which would have the communities of Vars and Carlsbad Springs joining the Osgoode Ward in 2022 or later.
While this proposal was never entertained with the VCA before being introduced as a viable “option 7” in the City’s ward review exercise, we have had the opportunity to review the pros and cons of this merger with the Osgoode Ward and are confident that, in the best interests of our village and our commitment to keeping it as rural as possible as described to City Council in 2009 through the Vars Neighbourhood Plan, at the outset, we cannot support this latest option without further consultations with officials and our residents.
While being part of Osgoode Ward would most likely allow Vars to prosper economically and socially faster while maintaining its special status as a rural community within our City instead of a being a small suburban extension of an overwhelming growing community like Orléans, we do have to factor in the matter of our linguistic representation, the impact on school zoning, high school attendance, sports competitions, community organizations, etc. Over a century, our community has built a partnership of eastern Ottawa rural communities, along with the support of all parties within the City. We continue to strive to work for the development of the 417 corridor to ensure a fair balance between our farm lands, our forests and any potential economic and environmentally friendly growth to benefit all our residents.
Over the past few years, Vars has become an even more vibrant community where new residents, young families, professionals and retirees, join the community to enjoy the tranquility, the open air of country living while remaining some twenty minutes away from the City’s urban centres. Vars might be enjoying the best of both worlds with an historical and cultural background, a proud community offering spiritual, educational and sporting availabilities. Vars is a community where Anglophone and Francophone residents have built a united front to foster a bilingual country style living environment for generations. It has done so with Navan, Carlsbad Springs, Sarsfield and even as far as Cumberland… We are not convinced that being segregated from our long time neighbours to fit into the Osgoode Ward is in our best interests.
Vars continues to work with other communities from other Wards as we are all part of the same City. However, this “Option 7” needs to be reviewed, openly debated with concerned parties and professionals in the field while respecting the political implications and consequences of the final outcome. We therefore recommend that Council delay its decision until further proper public consultations be held on this latest option.
Sent to Mayor Jim Watson and Councillors Catherine Kitts and George Darouze