Rural representation an issue in Osgoode ward debate

George Darouze had to defend his voting record on council, including on the contentious stormwater management fee, as he faced off against his four challengers Thursday night.

Incumbent George Darouze facing 4 challengers

Mark Scharfe addresses residents at an Osgoode ward all-candidates debate at the Stuart Holmes Arena on Sept. 13, 2018. (Kate Porter/CBC)

George Darouze defended his voting record on council, including on the contentious stormwater management fee, as he faced off against his four challengers Thursday night at the Osgoode arena.

Darouze is seeking a second term as councillor for the rural ward that also includes the villages of Greely and Metcalfe.

He said he was proud of the millions of dollars in roadwork done in the ward and said he had fulfilled his promises from the 2014 election.

But Darouze found himself being asked more than once how he defends Osgoode's interests at city hall, when he voted for a stormwater fee many residents despise and also almost always votes on the same side as the mayor.

Darouze explained the fee goes toward culverts and roads that his residents use.

"I was not elected to go fight and be the opposition. I was elected to get stuff done in my community," he said, noting a councillor has to work with colleagues from urban and suburban areas in a big city.

George Darouze takes part in a debate at the arena in the village of Osgoode. He faces four challengers in the 2018 municipal election: Auguste Banfalvi, Mark Scharfe, Kim Sheldrick and Jay Tysick. (Kate Porter/CBC)

Five choices

Jay Tysick promised to do what's best for Osgoode residents and tackle what he sees as frivolous spending at city hall downtown.

This is his second election campaign this year — he ran in the riding of Carleton under the Ontario Party banner in the Ontario election after seeking the Progressive Conservative nomination.

Tysick said he disagreed with Patrick Brown's leadership and fought against the cap-and-trade system and the 2015 sexual education curriculum, so he's pleased with developments at Queen's Park.

Jay Tysick is running for councillor in Osgoode ward. (Kate Porter/CBC)

"Everything I wanted to see happen, I got … And now I'm going to take that success to city hall," Tysick said. 

He has worked for Coun. Rick Chiarelli and former television channel the NewRO.

He has three children and lives just outside the ward, but said a candidate's ideas are more important than his or her postal code.

Rural champions and university student round out ballot

Mark Scharfe and Kim Sheldrick both have deep family roots in the area and both ran against Darouze in 2014 in a 11-way race to replace longtime councillor Doug Thompson.

Scharfe has railed against the green bin program in the past.

His big bugaboo this election is the storm water fee. 

Sheldrick, who shared a long list of community organizations for which she has volunteered, pitched herself as wanting to help the "humans" of Osgoode ward.

For instance, she would look to help seniors stay in their homes and preserve their rural way of life.

Of the five people running, only 23-year-old Auguste Banfalvi has never campaigned before and cheerfully presented himself to voters as "the naïve university student who does hands-on work."

Policing, hydro 

The fifty or so people at the debate were encouraged to write their questions on a piece of paper when they entered.

One asked why so few police are assigned to the rural south.

Another asked what could be done about Ottawa residents who still receive their electricity from Hydro One rather than Hydro Ottawa. 

And while the debate touched on perennial rural topics, Jennifer Andrews said a debate like Thursday's can miss some topics that are relevant to people in the ward, such as clogged roads, children's programs and environmental issues.

"Greely and Osgoode [have a lot of] young families, but they don't come to these things. They don't have time," she said.