a peek inside the fishbowl

29 Oct, 2008

Westboro property assessment

Posted by andrea tomkins in: - Westboro

I’m sitting here with my coffee, trying to ignore the 15-or-so centimetres of snow that fell overnight. My kids are overjoyed, me, not so much. BUT I’m not too down about this sudden onslaught. I may have news that will make all this white stuff disappear from my personal radar. I can’t spill yet, but soon. I will say this. It’s fun.

A reporter from CBC-TV called me on Monday to see if I’d comment on camera for story he was working on regarding property assessment. As much as I would have loved to get my mug on the evening news, timewise, I couldn’t actually swing it.

We live in a small, wartime home in Westboro (one of the areas that was hardest hit by the property assessment). We’ve lived in the area for 11 years, before the MEC moved in and changed everything along Richmond Road. The business area is flourishing. And more people want to live here. There are giant homes being built, dwarfing our own. Many are gorgeous, big, but gorgeous, and fit the character of our little corner of Ottawa but many push the boundaries of size and taste. Aesthetics aside, all these giants are driving up the value of our own tiny little home. This would be welcome news if we intend to sell, but we like this neighbourhood too much to move.

A higher property assessment will affect how much we pay in property taxes, which has practically doubled in the amount of time we’ve lived here. I wonder about the senior citizens who have lived here their whole lives. Will higher taxes squeeze them out of the neighbourhood? Westboro isn’t all about high-end homes, there is actually a lot of mixed income housing in this area… what about those people?

And, as taxpayers, are we actually getting our money’s worth? There was a big reconstruction project planned for Churchill Avenue. If you’re from the area you know what an eyesore it is. It doesn’t need to be. The plan was to dig it up and redo the sewers, but also put measures in place to make it safer for children to cross the road, for people to gather after church etc. The plan was to make it a more attractive, more pedestrian-friendly environment. A forward-thinking concept that Ottawa has been slow to embrace.

Churchill reconstruction was postponed because there’s no money in the budget. There’s infrastructure work to be done in this area, yet we can’t help but feel like the hundreds of dollars we pay in taxes are going to new roads, and new infrastructure in the faraway suburbs.

As pointed out in this article, the “increases put a disproportionate burden on people downtown, even though suburban development costs the city more in terms of building roads, water pipes, sewers and hydro.” Yes. Yes. Yes.

The City of Ottawa can be so backwards in their thinking. The City needs to attract people to the core. Not feed the sprawl. Gah.


4 Responses to "Westboro property assessment"

1 | The Veg Next Door

October 29th, 2008 at 8:35 am

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Not an expert on city planning but we need to get rid of the baffoons (sp?) running this city. Very poor planning and foresight. Lots of money spent on studying this and that (like do we need garbage cans? Yes!) but not enough implementation. One of the reasons we’re getting out of here.

2 | Natalie

October 29th, 2008 at 10:50 am

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I saw the report on the CBC news Monday Andrea, so sorry to hear you’re affected by all this. Doesn’t seem fair.

3 | carrie

October 29th, 2008 at 12:00 pm

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Edmonton is going through similar growing pains – huge amounts of sprawl outside the city while the older established areas have crumbling sidewalks and deteriorating roads. Older schools are being closed while the folks in the ‘new’ neighborhoods are crying out for a place for their kids to go to school. It doesn’t make sense!

4 | Websites tagged "backwards" on Postsaver

November 8th, 2008 at 8:47 pm

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[…] – Westboro property assessment saved by missumusic2008-11-06 – little blog update saved by TRFon2008-11-03 – Macbook….I got one […]

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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