Gatineau mayor-elect wants to partner with Ottawa

The incoming mayor of Gatineau and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson are promising to improve the relationship between the two cities.

Transportation, economic development seen as areas of collaboration

The incoming mayor of Gatineau and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson are promising to improve the relationship between the two cities.

Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin was the surprise winner in Sunday's municipal election in Gatineau, defeating incumbent Marc Bureau.

Pedneaud-Jobin has spent some time thinking about the relationship between the two cities, having focused his Master's thesis the state of the relationship between the Outaouais and the City of Ottawa.

He said transit is an obvious area for collaboration.

"During peak hours ... 72 per cent of people on buses are going to Ottawa [and] from Ottawa. We should look at integrating bus routes, tickets, fees," he said.

Light rail to go east, west and south, says Watson

Watson said for now, Ottawa will not change its plan for light rail and will not push north from Bayview across the Ottawa River to Gatineau.

"We have to live within our means and our first priority is to make sure we get transit farther east west and south in Ottawa because it's an Ottawa project," said Watson.

"But we know there are a lot of people who live in Ottawa and work in Gatineau and it's important that we continue the dialogue to try and find ways to get people across the river more efficiently," he said.

Watson and Pedneaud-Jobin have spoken since Pedneaud-Jobin's victory and they plan to meet soon after the new Gatineau mayor is sworn in.

Watson agrees there are a number of issues where they can collaborate, including Canada's 150th anniversary, economic development and job cuts at the federal level.

"We're one economic region divided by a river and connected by bridges," said Watson.

Guy Chiasson, a political science professor at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, said with the National Capital Commission playing less of a role in planning, now is the time for the two cities to start talking.

"That might leave room for more local coordination between the cities basically, as opposed to more upper-level NCC-led planning," he said.


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