more bad news

First it was Rick’s Robertson Road “compromise”, which didn’t fool anyone – even the community papers published Rick-unfriendly stories, with the renaming fiasco called a self-indulgent political stunt. Local businessmen lamented the fact that Rick’s madcap plan will cost them dearly.

Dan at Dan’s Automotive said it’ll cost him around $1,000 and, like most business people on the strip, he wishes that Rick had never hatched such a wasteful idea. John at Louise’s Belgian Chocolates said that changes to cash registers alone could top $1,000 per business. Ottawa City Council Watch pegs the total cost at $7,000 for an average business.

More bad news – a local institution dear to the hearts of many will be closing soon. Our Goodwill store in the FreshCo plaza is hightailing it out of Bells Corners to the old Future Shop store on the Merivale strip. Possible reasons for closure: the BIA tax levy and renaming costs; having Alex Lewis and the BIA office next door; a leaky roof and dubious plumbing; the absence of a loading dock out the back; a rent hike. It’s a real shame they’re leaving, especially for Westcliffe residents.

There’s also some good news – Bells Corners now has the best place in the city to recycle electronics and appliances (behind Shoppers on Bexley).

They’ll take televisions, computers, telephones and many other items for free. There’s a $5 fee for small appliances like toasters and irons. “White goods” that the garbageman won’t take (fridges, microwaves, stoves, dehumidifiers, etc.) cost $10.

In other good news – the Bells Corners FREE Bike-taxi is proving popular. I picked up these two shoppers at the Giant Tiger and dropped them off at Hammill Court.

A sure sign that the summer’s half-over – the Loblaws Garden Centre is all packed away. Will the Zellers store still be there when it reopens next year? Target has bought out Zellers and it’ll be closing underperforming stores.

The Zellers sign is missing on the other side – a bad omen?

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30 Responses to more bad news

  1. TonyL says:

    They will be missed. I’m sure Goodwill Inc. did not enjoy having the BIA and Alex Lewis beside them.

    Unfortunately this is only the beginning. Rick and Co. have managed to tear Bells Corners apart. No wonder the businesses are screaming!

    Tell me, Alex, how is the re-branding going? The BIA doesn’t even have a lousy webpage up – it’s been many weeks since you took the crap flash site down. Your BIA banners are fading, and you’ll soon be history along with them!

    – Something tells me that the next BIA secret meeting won’t be as tranquil as the last one, which took place under murky circumstances just before the doo doo hit the fan.

  2. Rick isn’t smart enough to actually consider the consequences of his decision to force the universally opposed “compromise” on the business community. One of the greatest disincentives to moving is the cost. By forcing every business on the commercial strip to undertake those costs he has effectively lowered the barriers of relocating their business.

    Commercial rents in Bells Corners are too high when compared to other options. By forcing an owner to change their address it gives them the idea to consider those other options. Once they do that the decision to leave Bells Corners is an easy choice. They can get equivalent space for less or considerably better space for the same cost in a different community so why wouldn’t they move? They are spending all the money for an address change anyway so they might as well actually move and take advantage of the better opportunities.

    We are already seeing the results of Rick’s brilliance — nine businesses have moved, closed, or indicated that they will be moving in the next year since the renaming fiasco started. That is 5% of the businesses on the commercial strip. We have heard Rick blabber on about the 17 empty businesses and that something had to be done. I guess when that number balloons up and doubles he’ll try to find an excuse to escape responsibility but it is completely on him. There is a way to fix Bells Corners but Rick is too clueless to ever do it himself.

    – Bells Corners has the right “bones” so its long-term future is bright – too bad we have to waste so many resources and so much time spinning our wheels because of the councillor’s poor decisions.

    Is it megalomania? Is it incompetence? Is it secret backroom deals? I’ll guess we’ll have to wait for Rick’s memoirs, scheduled to come out sometime post-2014, to find out!

  3. margaret says:

    Sad to see Goodwill go – one of Save Robertson/Richmond’s strong supporters and where a petition was always found – they will be missed by many.

    Interesting comments though on possible reasons why they are leaving…

    Target has not purchased this Zellers – or at least will not be using it as Target – they’re rebranding the Bayshore and Hazeldean stores. This is part of BCs problem with commercial/retail outlets – there are others close by and the market/profit can’t take them all. I’m surprised Winners stayed and that Staples opened here. Why did Holiday Inn set up shop here – for what?

    Now if the city of Nepean and the regional government had gone with the water park proposal on Carling in the late 90s – then we’d have something to draw people to the area other than the camp site and horses.

    Next to go will be Loblaws. They have to either buy out Zellers and make it a superstore or move. They no longer provide what they used to – it’s dead there most of the time. I have to shop elsewhere for what I used to think were basics, items that are available in the superstores. I shop by car, so I go elsewhere.

    – One of the greatest things about living in Bells Corners is the abundant consumer choices we have in close proximity: three large grocery stores, two goodwill stores, excellent small local businesses and a full range of big corporate names.

    Now that people can buy food just about anywhere, even in Canadian Tire, the traditional stores must be feeling the heat, and Rick’s drive-thru drugstore is going to make things even worse.

    Loblaws closing? Say it ain’t so, Joe.

    • Loblaws owns the entire property including the space that is currently Zellers. A Superstore is a possibility but it depends.

      The Holiday Inn makes sense when you consider the new economic model for hotels. It is really boring so I will spare you the full explanation but the short version is that a combination of lower break-even occupancy rates and a shift in how people book hotels leads to it making sense for economy hotels to set up shop in places like BC.

      The problem with Rick’s hospitality folly is that hospitality doesn’t really help Bells Corners. The vast majority of the businesses in Bells Corners don’t see any benefit from an increase in hospitality. Perusing a revitalization program that benefits less than 10% of the businesses is retarded. I have no idea if Rick is just unfamiliar with the businesses or if he just don’t realize that tourism doesn’t help all businesses. To be honest I don’t think he thinks at all. The Holiday Inn set up shop and so that is likely the genesis of the hospitality idea — so the typical Chiarelli MO of taking credit for something that he had nothing to do with after it has already happened.

      – I like the idea of a community-based hospitality focus for Bells Corners – our strategic location and abundant unexploited resources give us so much to offer. I agree with you that Rick’s BIA hospitality focus model is lame – it just drags down all of the businesses while only paying dividends to a few.

      • margaret says:

        Remember that long lost windmill deal that was being offered a few years back?

        Maybe this is where it could be … on the stream running through Bells Corners surrounded by tulips where Turpin is/was … we’d have a real link to the tulip festival then.

        – I think the Dutch embassy was looking for a higher profile location for the giant windmill. Plus they wouldn’t want the bad publicity from being associated with RC and Alex.

  4. margaret says:

    So THAT’s where the infamous DON Robertson is – in paradise on the Richmond-Robertson strip having a Richmond-Robertson massage and Richmond-Robertson tan.

    – Don’s been laying low lately, but he’s been spotted all over Bells Corners, so his explosive story won’t remain secret too much longer. Who’d have thunk that RC was actually telling the truth when he told Earl about the long-lost Robertson grandson!

  5. Eric says:

    This is silly.

    It makes perfect sense to me why the Goodwill store would move, and it might not have anything to do with the renaming. Or do you have proof of the opposite?

    While I think it’s sad to see businesses move or close down, the people of Bells Corners have decided that they wanted the street renamed at the expense of businesses. After all, they voted for Chiarelli at the last elections in a big way even though he started the street renaming process almost a year before.

    I know you and the Ottawa City Council Watch person/group/whatever like to say that voters didn’t know what Chiarelli was up to when they voted for him, and that’s ridiculous. If people are not able to read or watch any news whatsoever for an entire year leading up to elections, then they don’t deserve to vote and then cry over the fact that the person they elected continues to do what they started. I didn’t vote for him at the last elections partly because of this, but most people did. The message was clear: rename the street. We already complain when the people we elect don’t do what they said they would, but if we now start complaining because they keep their promises, then what is the point of it all?

    On another note, it’s easy to see the bad that’s happening with businesses, but let’s be fair and acknowledge that there’s also good stuff going on: the renovated Shoppers Drug Mart, a new butcher (ed. note – the Butchery has been in the same plaza, at three different locations, for 30 years!), a new drugstore near the FreshCo (I’ll be able to walk to a drugstore now!), rebranding of Price Chopper to FreshCo (it’s just so much better), new Dollarama, opening of A Putt Above (last year I think?), interior renovation of McDonald’s and, while I know you disagree, the move of Tim Horton’s next to Canadian Tire that will replace the eyesore there. I’m sure there’s more that I didn’t mention too…

    – Thanks for posting. Obviously I don’t completely agree with your take on things, but I’m posting your opinions more or less verbatim, with only a few minor changes (eg. replace “eye sore” with “eyesore”). If you look at the about this blog page, I’ve committed to posting everything, even if it’s something I disagree with.

    I rail at RC, saying “we need more transparency, we need to really consult Bells Corners residents and businesses, to really see what people want.”

    So it would be pretty hypocritical of me to censor your views.

    So go ahead, fire away, what do Bells Corners businesses and residents really want?

    Your statement “The people of Bells Corners have decided that they wanted the street renamed at the expense of businesses. After all, they voted for Chiarelli at the last elections in a big way.” is both naive and inaccurate.

    • The people elected Chiarelli argument is not really valid. Even if we accept the claim that Rick made the street renaming public in his election materials– I haven’t seen any evidence of this despite looking at everything that could be located– that doesn’t change the fact that Rick ran in College ward and that Bells Corners is a small part of College ward. It also doesn’t change the fact that Rick keeps winning elections because no one has run against him that has a reasonable alternative — something that will not happen in 2014.

      When it comes down to it if Rick truly believed that he had the support of the people he wouldn’t have approached the re-naming in the underhanded way that he did. There would be no need to rush the item from committee to council in 24 hours, no need to have the BIA do a rigged survey rather than allow the usual process, no need to lie to the media about fictional relatives or any of the countless other lies. Rick fought hard and very dirty to try to get Lloyd Francis and that is simply not compatible with a claim that he thought the community supported this.

      Further, it doesn’t explain why Rick alone prevented correcting his mistake when all of Council was fighting to correct it. It isn’t hard to figure out the motivations for naming the street Lloyd Francis but once that failed the “compromise” had no justification and was done just because of ego. Rick has never been able to articulate anything close to an argument for why this makes sense from a business perspective. At best he just babbles on dropping meaningless jargon about revitalization but never actually explaining what he means in any detail. I’ll give you a hint — he can’t because there is no business case to be made.

      Lastly, taking credit for the renovation of McDonald’s, FreshCo, and Shoppers is rather comical and typical of Rick’s behaviour of taking credit for stuff he had zero to do with. All of those renovations are part of the chain-wide plan — it had zero to do with Bells Corners or Rick. All PriceChoppers are now FreshCo across Ontario. Every McDonald’s has been upgraded or will be upgraded by the end of the year. Shoppers has been converting all their pharmacies to the new format as part of a four year program. None of these decisions have anything to do with Bells Corners and certainly nothing to do with Rick.

      – I ran into Rick, Jay and the guy from the Best Western Hotel last night (I forget his name, but I believe he’s on the board of the BIA) – they were scheming at D’Arcy McGee’s.

      I said hi to Jay but after a curt “I’m not talking to you!” he, Rick and Rick’s iPad scuttled away and out the door past the festooned bike-taxi. An offer of a ride home wasn’t acknowledged – Jay and Rick hopped in their vehicles and zoomed away. The guy from Best Western was friendlier and even engaged in a little debate, describing himself as the “worst enemy” of the Save Robertson movement.

      • Well it is nice to see Jay is allowed in public again.

        That is a very odd statement from the Best Western guy. As far as I know he did not play any role or do anything in his capacity as Worst Enemy. He supported All Robertson on the survey but that is hardly a big deal. I have no idea why he would think that he is the worst enemy of anyone. For that statement to make any sense he was either fed some lies by Rick or he suffers from the same delusions of grandeur that Rick is prone to.

        Are you sure it was Shawn Rutters and not Jim Sourges of Electrical Plumbing?

        – It definitely wasn’t Jim. The hotel manager was probably just joking around when he said “worst enemy” – he didn’t say it with a sneer or anything.

        But he’s definitely bought Rick’s line. If he can back up up his assertion that “many businesses back Rick” I wish he’d post it here.

        Maybe the big hotels, some restaurants and General Dynamics are on board Rick’s leaky ship, but the others?

        Let’s have something other than the laughable 70% figure that Alex Lewis gave to the CBC.

        70% of the businesses who responded to the BIA’s rigged survey chose all-Robertson over all-Lloyd Francis. Big deal, everybody knows that three-quarters of a bucket of squirrel poop is better than a full bucket, but how about no bucket at all?

        Let’s see the business case for Rick’s Folly – the businesses and the residents want to know. Why the secrecy, why the lack of transparency, why the backroom deals? Bells Corners deserves better.

      • Eric says:

        Thanks for posting my comment. I appreciate your blog posts and good discussions. For the record, I was never “for” the name change… I just now happen to be against the people against it based on vote results.

        How is is inaccurate to say that the people of Bells Corners vote for Chiarelli? If you look at the results, you can see that he got more than 50% almost everywhere (yes, in Bells Corners as well). I’m well aware that a lot of people decided not to bother voting, but it was their decision not to have their voice heard. There wasn’t a reasonable alternative, sure, but I don’t think it matters in this case because if people don’t want someone in, they will just vote for anyone else. In this case, he got 65%. People wanting him in is really the only way to interpret the numbers.

        I didn’t mean to say that Rick Chiarelli made the renaming public in his election materials, I was simply pointing out that various medias reported multiple times during the year leading up to the elections that he was in the process of renaming the street and what was chosen as the new name. Here are two examples:

        February 2010:
        April 2010:

        I also remember seeing it mentioned in the community papers once or twice. Whether it had a positive or negative spin on it doesn’t matter, you still heard about it. You were still able to think about it and make up your mind about whether or not it was needed. I never said he did everything the way things should be done, and I am certainly not saying I know the “motivations” for the Lloyd Francis name (here is where you’ll say it’s political). The only thing I have said – and the only thing I care about really – is that more than 50% of the people who voted picked him while more than half of the residents decided to not bother to vote at all. The way I see it, it is their fault and no one else’s. I did not want the street renamed, so I voted for someone else. Most people did not.

        “All of Council” fought to correct the name change? I didn’t hear anything about that. I read that a few of them wanted it back to the way it was, but not even half, much less all of them. Where could I read or see that?

        I also never said that any of my business examples had anything to do with Chiarelli – I was simply pointing out that not everything that is going on with businesses in Bells Corners is bad. I know very well about some of them being chain-wide, and I also know that The Butcher was in that same plaza before (next to Shoppers), but you can’t deny that it is much better now and even serves delicious burgers!

        Bells Corners isn’t going to implode or disappear as a result of this… Richmond/Robertson Road is already an ugly mess as it is, it can’t possibly get any worse.

        – Rick was elected because of:

        a) public apathy – most people didn’t vote
        b) the many advantages of incumbency – he uses his $240,000 annual budget to hire political advisors, distribute largesse to supporters, produce and distribute “newsletters” just before the election, etc.. Old election signs are plastered all over the place, partly at taxpayer expense, so Rick wins on name recognition alone
        c) a $30,000 campaign war chest financed by his corporate buddies, the better to drown the ward in RC propaganda
        d) powerful connections – he’s part of Ottawa’s “power elite
        e) compliant community newspapers
        f) a boring dull race – the 7 or 8 fringe candidates on the ballot (thereby splitting the anti-Rick vote) had no serious money, no serious political experience and no serious community credentials. Everyone knew it was Rick in a cakewalk – no drama there. Rick ducked all the locally-organized debates.
        g) the handful of residents interested enough in the College ward election to vote were suckered by the Mr. Nepean brand that Rick’s been dining out on since he was in diapers. In other words, they only know RC-the-image, not RC-the-man.

        After the renaming fiasco most of the above advantages won’t be there for RC in 2014 (if he makes it that far).

    • margaret says:

      Eric – the people of Bells Corners never wanted this road change – they never had a say in it. It was the businesses – or so we would be led to believe – who wanted it. We now know, from the impartial survey done for an independent group of businesses, that even the businesses (74%) didn’t want it.

      So who did want the road name changed? You tell me.

      And for what reason? Again – you tell me.

      The people of Bells Corners didn’t vote for renaming – in fact you are the first person I’ve heard of who voted against RC because of it. I can assure you the people I’ve talked to about the last election voted against RC for much stronger reasons, and a lot of irate people have spoken to me in the past few months.

      Only 57% of BC voters went for RC in the first place – that’s not a clear mandate for a local person and an incumbent at that! That makes a statement in itself that the residents of BC aren’t buying into the RC image and vision … whatever.

      I attended a local candidates meeting last year – and guess what … RC wasn’t even there.

      Politicians – you can take most of what they say in an election year with a large pinch of salt, it’s just electioneering.

      I read a lot of local stuff – and ok yes, renaming was mentioned, but as an idea. It was mentioned in the same way that it was mentioned that the Vox was going to be replaced by a hotel, and a load of other things that sort of fade away, like the skateboard park, only to be resurrected again in election year.

      The renaming topic was mentioned mostly in relation to the BIA – and I’ve been told very strongly recently that I’m not part of that.

      Why was there no community meeting for the residents to look at this so-called plan ?

      Why was this issue related only to the BIA and not to the community itself?

      10,000 people should rate a little more than under 200 businesses – or do they?

      Not in Bells Corners.

      – Not in Rick’s Bells Corners anyway. So sad. There’s so much unexploited potential that could make Bells Corners a better place for both residents and businesses.

      • “In this case, he got 65%. People wanting him in is really the only way to interpret the numbers.”

        No. If you have no one to vote for you don’t vote. I think the more important trend is that total votes for Rick declined by 23% between the elections despite a large increase in the size of the eligible voter pool. Rick will never win an election against a qualified opponent — he wins because no one even remotely qualified has run against him.

        I fail to follow what significance you put in the fact that one story, one blog, and maybe the community newspaper ran a story. That doesn’t change the fact that people did not know about it. It also doesn’t explain why Rick felt the need to rush it from committee to council in under 24 hours. That is very unusual and there is no reason to do it other than to entrench it so it couldn’t be reversed. Had he waited two weeks for the next council meeting the motion never would have passed. The Commemorative Naming Policy requires that he wait 60 days but Rick choose to violate that policy.

        Rick choose to run the consultation process rather than allow the City to do it, as is usually the case, because he knew that if the City ran the consultations they would discover what Rick had already discovered — that the community strongly opposed it. How do you honestly expect anyone to believe Rick wasn’t trying to slam this through, when from day one he was lying and manipulating the system? People who believe there is support for what they are doing don’t lie.

        “I did not want the street renamed, so I voted for someone else. Most people did not.”

        This is a fairly ridiculous statement. The road renaming was not a make or break election issue. Rick was elected by College Ward and this is a Bells Corners issue. Even if everyone who voted in Bells Corners voted against Rick, he would still win, because Bells Corners is a small part of the ward. Further, electing a candidate does not mean that you are giving him carte blanche and endorsing all of his policies. This is a minor issue and wasn’t part of his platform. Furthermore, the number of people who signed the petition against the name change is larger than the number of people who voted for Rick in Bells Corners!

        ““All of Council” fought to correct the name change? I didn’t hear anything about that. I read that a few of them wanted it back to the way it was, but not even half, much less all of them. Where could I read or see that?”

        You can listen to it here Click on the link that says Robertson Road to fast forward to the relevant part.

        There was a core of seven councillors who actively fought to try to find a way to get the status quo restored and an additional eight councillors who had pledged to support the motion. That is a majority. Unfortunately because Rick rushed the issue from committee to council in under 24 hours a super majority of 18 was required. If all that was required was a majority the status quo would have been restored. Listen to the audio. It is pretty horrible and shows exactly what kind of person Rick is.

        – I agree that it’s pretty awful. I listened to it and ground nearly a quarter inch off my teeth. My blood pressure shot up and steam came came pouring out of my ears. How can Rick and Jim Watson’s Liberal slate of councillors get away with it? Politics is sure a dirty game. Spin doctors, big money and backroom scheming – this is democracy in Ottawa?

        Damn, I wish Randall was still writing for the Citizen instead of going after Bob Chiarelli’s scalp. Earl and the other journalists (even the community paper reporters!) have done a great job of slicing and dicing Rick, but no one tears a strip off of dishonest politicians and pompous self-serving bureaucrats like Randall Denley. He saw through Rick a long time ago – he was writing nasty sarcastic things about him long before it became fashionable to do so.

      • Gravy says:

        Maybe in Wilkinson’s Bells Corners, or Holmes’s Bells Corners, or Bloess’s Bells Corners. Qadri’s Bells Corners would be great, or Harder’s, or Clark’s. There are a half-dozen others whose names escape me, but those six really stuck their necks out for us to defend us from Rick that day.

        Eric, shouldn’t it be the other way around?

        Sure, he was elected. He’s the only guy who runs. And “winning” such a position confers a certain amount of authority over one’s ward, but Rick seems to have mistaken it for license. He sat there pouting, after a year of hearing sound objections from the public, the businesses, community leaders, his fellow councillors, and three solid months of bad publicity, and what does he do? Once again he lets his pride get in the way of seeing the truth. Indeed, through two rigged surveys, laughable propaganda, and by spreading childish slander he was determined to ignore– and when that failed, suppress– honest inquiry into the advisability of his chosen course.

        The renaming process, such as it was, might have started a year ago. Despite this, only five percent of the businesses reported being adequately consulted. Rick had a year to do so but didn’t bother.

        Nevertheless, we’re still a year away from the name change taking effect. There’s no explanation other than vanity for not turning back, but that returns us to the distinction between authority and license that distinguishes the statesman from the hack.

        Personally, I suspect Rick thinks he’s special, and being “in charge” reinforces and validates him. Backing off a Rick-approved initiative would injure that porcelain-fragile ego, so he didn’t, simple as that. Choosing that course of action was not a sign of fortitude and determination; it is evidence of the mindset of a princess.

        – Some of the candidates who ran against Rick last time weren’t just clowns like me, but none of them seemed to understand what it really takes to get elected: MONEY, connections, political experience, a large team, and above all, not splitting the anti-RC vote. Every last one of the fringe candidates told me that they sincerely expected to win in 2010, which was their justification for not uniting behind one anti-RC candidate.

  6. TonyL says:

    I thought I saw Don also, he was walking around the Vox property that’s still for sale, gabbing about condos to Doug Hempstead.

    – Many people have reported sightings of Don in all three parts of Bells Corners (Lynwood, Westcliffe and Bellwood).

  7. TonyL says:

    I can’t speak for all in Bells Corners, but here we went for ages with only sporadic delivery of the EMC and its wad of junk ads.

    Even now they still miss, I didn’t get last week’s EMC. As for voting for Rick, I voted ABC…. because of what he did to the people of Bellwood and for other reasons. Rick is a sure sign that term limits are badly needed!

    – Very few career politicians are in favour of term limits, just like very few want some sort of serious electoral reform. If Rick couldn’t count on his corporate buddies and the taxpayer to help him spend his way to power he wouldn’t have a chance of getting reelected.

    • margaret says:

      As far as I know, the only way to be sure of getting the EMC is if you have Citizen delivery or offer to do the delivery yourself.

      I complained that we never got the Ottawa/Nepean This Week – how else do you manage to get RC pix and ramblings otherwise? – and now I get 2 a week, so will have no excuse. Their community press-contact also asked for feedback on Facebook.

      If these papers are not getting to the customers, then the advertisers are not getting their money’s worth.

      And talking of businesses … wonder if anyone has done a survey on how long the present ones have been there and ask for their opinion on why/how they have survived … would be an interesting little project.

      – If so many people don’t get Ottawa/NepeanThisWeek, it’s because the media giant pays its carriers next to nothing. I did a route once myself to see if it would be a good job for one of my daughters.

      After I had stuffed all the flyers in the papers (a very tedious job) and RAN through the route (my aerobic workout for the day), cutting across people’s lawns and trampling their flower beds I STILL couldn’t more than about $5 an hour, no matter how fast I worked.

      So no wonder they can’t get enough carriers to cover Bells Corners.

      As for the EMC, as far as I know it only comes with the Citizen. My mom has a subscription so I read her papers when she’s done, but since she lives in Kanata I get the Kanata version of the EMC. I used to be able to read the Nepean version in the library, but it doesn’t seem to be there anymore.

  8. Rich Littleton says:

    Hmmm, I have to believe that Eric is RC himself or one of his paid stooges – wow, good use of our tax dollars, that’s nice. I hope RC is NOT taking advantage of of his sweet little interns, compelling them to do this nasty job.

    I spotted “Don Robertson” on the strip riding the free bike-taxi. Maybe Alex Lewis and the boys would enjoy a ride home.

    – I too was suspicious of Eric – it wouldn’t have been the first time a Chiarelli employee (or Rick himself?) has adopted a false identity to comment on this blog and send me nasty emails.

    But Eric is exactly who he says he is (I’ve exchanged emails with him) – a Bells Corners citizen who is seeking the truth.

    He may have been influenced by all of the taxpayer-funded propaganda that flows out of the councillor’s office but he’s certainly no RC stooge. I’m hoping he’ll eventually join the Good Guys, but in the meantime it’s great to have a dissident voice here.

    Don Robertson is very pissed at Rick, and may even run against him in 2014. He doesn’t have a lot of political experience, but raising tens of thousands of dollars to match Rick’s corporate/taxpayer-funded war chest is no problem for Don.

    As for giving Alex and Jay a ride home on the bike-taxi – forget it! The Bells Corners FREE Bike-taxi only serves Bells Corners – there are no plans to extend service to Barrhaven.

  9. Eric says:

    Quick last response as this post is old by now…

    Just to be clear, I didn’t vote against Chiarelli solely for the name change issue. I never said I did. It was but one point against him in my decision, and a fairly weak one at that as I ultimately don’t care that much about whether it stays the same or not. However, it sounds like quite a few people who did vote for him see this as a deal breaker as they say they will never vote for him ever again.

    The fact is that the community had a say in the road name change multiple times… The whole issue was going on for many months leading up to the elections and nobody ever heard a peep out of anyone during that time. Then the elections came and Chiarelli easily won with a vast majority (57% of the vote in Bells Corners alone is actually a clear mandate, especially since there were 6 other people to choose from!).

    If Chiarelli had barely any votes in Bells Corners, I would agree with all of you that nobody here wanted this, but that is not the case.

    “If you have no one to vote for you don’t vote.”

    And if you don’t vote, you don’t have any right to complain afterward.

    The reason why I said that this whole deal was mentioned multiple times in various media (the links I provided were simply to prove my point; they were not meant to be a complete list) is just to show that it was not hidden and it didn’t come out of nowhere like a lot of people like to say. I am fully aware that “people didn’t know,” but I can’t bring myself to understand and respect them. One example of someone who “didn’t know”: my wife brought up this issue to the person who started the petition in the beginning of 2010 and she said “it will never happen.” Fast forward to 2011, right after it was reported that it was passed, my wife tells her about it again and all of a sudden she is shocked and ridiculously furious over it and starts a petition right away. She “didn’t know.”

    I really am not related to Rick Chiarelli in any way, but I can’t prove it. I’m not “for” the name change; my point has always just been that I blame the people who voted for him and those who didn’t vote at all. Call me bitter if you want, but I can’t stand career politicians or people who vote for someone because their name was on a sign or because they always have.

    – Ha! Ha! Nobody suggested that you were related to Rick. I was a bit suspicious at first – it wouldn’t have been the first time that someone from Team Chiarelli has posted under a false identity.

    In fact, I got one today that had me scratching my head, trying to figure out whether it was Jay or Alex. I’m starting to be able to recognize their writing styles and the type of grammar and spelling mistakes they make (shudder!), but I can’t tell them apart yet. I’m flattered every time they contribute to this blog – it shows that they care.

    If I ever get a clever, eloquent, grammatically-correct pro-RC post I’ll know that the councillor himself is getting itchy fingers.

    “57% of the vote in Bells Corners alone is actually a clear mandate, especially since there were 6 other people to choose from!”

    Considering that Rick was running virtually unopposed, with the ENORMOUS advantages of incumbency and
    a $30,000 corporate-and-taxpayer-funded war chest, 57% is NOT a mandate. I don’t share your contempt for people who didn’t bother to vote. In College Ward there was NO electoral race, NO drama, NO motivation to get out and vote, unless you found the Larry O’Brien vs. Jim Watson tussle (another boring race, even Larry didn’t try to pretend that he expected to win.)

    MANY people, like yourself, are fed up with career politicians who talk with forked tongues. My neighbour’s opinion is fairly typical: “Why bother voting? ALL politicians are dishonest, nothing will ever change.”

    He has a point – do you have an answer for him?

    • “The fact is that the community had a say in the road name change multiple times…”

      I don’t know how much time you think most people have, but, as a general rule, you can’t expect people to read everything. There was some media coverage of the road change but it was minimal. If you read the comments on those stories they were all negative. There were 52 e-mails to the City on the issue before the Committee decision and they were all negative. 7-8 people went to Committee and spoke out against it. People did oppose it.

      The reason the City has a Commemorative Naming Policy is to allow people to comment on stuff like this after it has been to Committee but before it goes to Council. Once something goes to Committee it starts to get a lot more attention from the media. Rick choose to violate the City’s own policy so people didn’t have the chance to respond.

      If Rick thought there was support for this why did he rush it from Committee to Council in under 24 hours?

      The only answer is he knew it was strongly opposed and he wanted to lock it in before people found out it was happening.

      “my wife brought up this issue to the person who started the petition in the beginning of 2010 and she said “it will never happen.”

      Saying it will never happen is actually a pretty reasonable position. Look at all of the other things Rick campaigns on that never happen. I mean how many years is he going to get dressed up in phat pants and take kids out to look at skateboard parks? — it is never going to happen. Where are the condos he claimed would be announced in two weeks for the old Vox property? It has been two months and the land is still for sale with no interest. Where is our Blue Jay’s farm team? Rick just makes endless promises he has no intention of keeping. Nobody actually pays attention to what he says because 99% of the time it is just lies.

      “However, it sounds like quite a few people who did vote for him see this as a deal breaker as they say they will never vote for him ever again.”

      The road renaming isn’t really why people are angry. They are angry because of the way Rick handled the issue. He just constantly lied about everything. People don’t like liars and they don’t want someone like that in elected office. If Rick was willing to lie and manipulate this much for something like a road renaming what is he willing to do for bigger projects where there is a lot more at stake?

      – After the Don Robertson whopper anything Rick says is suspect.

      Rick’s road renaming blunder, while an extremely important issue for the residents and businesses in Bells Corners, is small potatoes compared to the bigger story that has emerged – the Councillor has no clothes! And many of the other councillors are almost as bad.

      The “My name is… Robertson” campaign attracted a lot of media attention, and Rick’s unethical behaviour was exposed.

      The fallout for Rick was immediate – not since the days of Lying Brian Mulroney has a politician plummeted so rapidly in popularity.

    • Eric says:

      I was mostly responding to Rich Littleton when I said that I wasn’t related – or affiliated – to Rick Chiarelli and his team in any way.

      I know people like that neighbour of yours too… It’s too bad that people feel that way, but there’s not much that can be said to them. I guess the one thing I would say is that despite what it looks like, not everybody is the same and some people become politicians because they really want things to change for the best. Get informed about your choices, I personally like to go for people who have had some real life experience out of politics (so yeah, Rick Chiarelli, Jim Watson and Pierre Poilievre are out).

      I’d like to think that people will invest the 30 minutes it takes to make their voice heard every four years in order to vote, even when the electoral race was fairly boring or non-existent.

      – The turnout at elections is absymal and getting worse – every year fewer and fewer people even bother. To turn it around we need electoral reform, but don’t hold your breath – the current rules suit the career politicians just fine.

  10. margaret says:

    “blame the people who voted for him and those who didn’t vote at all… (people) who vote for someone because their name was on a sign or because they always have”

    Unfortunately this is how some people do vote – name recognition and nothing to do with what their election campaign is about. Take the name Chiarelli as an example – one area used to have three candidates with that name running for mayor, councillor and school board …. a name can become powerful. Even now – there are people who can’t sort out the difference between the two of them.

    Why do people vote for a specific school board candidate – we never get any information on their platform. We look for a name we recognize since we feel it’s our duty to vote for someone, even if we have no idea who they are or what they believe. I remember one year voting only for the mayor, but how many feel they have to fill in all the options? Most people. So who are you going to vote for if you’re not sure? …. a name you know.

    Why do people vote whichever way they vote? Who knows. But please, don’t keep saying the people of Bells Corners voted RC in for this road name change. We didn’t. Those who voted for RC did so for one reason or another, likewise those who voted against, but I seriously doubt that a road name change was top priority for anyone.

    Why didn’t people raise concerns earlier when the information had been around for months? I’ve tried in the past to comment on issues with the councillor, never to be acknowledged. So who else do you go to when it’s only an RC idea and nothing official with the city? I had heard about it – sort of – in the distance – but never anything official, and this is what I was waiting for, and it never came until late March. I then responded ‘officially’ .

    I, like the ‘petition-founder’, had come to believe it would never happen because there was nothing official.

    Learn the hard way. Trust no one. But make a noise and keep on making it, in the hope that you might eventually be heard by someone.

    – Name recognition is HUGE! I’ve voted fairly randomly myself many times, back in my younger days, before I was politically aware. I’d reluctantly go out to the polls because of a nagging sense of duty, but I was too busy working and raising kids to pay much attention to politicians – only the media jingles, the garish signs and the odd slick brochure caught my attention during the campaign.

    After ticking off my choice for mayor, I just went by name recognition or other random factors like ethnicity or gender. It’s been proven that being first on the ballot is a definite advantage – this is where a random choice is most likely to go.

    It makes me laugh when someone suggests that Rick’s tainted electoral victory was a mandate for renaming the strip – that’s NOT how it works.

  11. TonyL says:

    Sorry to alter the current conversation here, but more bad news: “Pizza Hut” (from what it looks like in this ad is jumping ship, getting the heck out of Bells Corners, for reasons only known to them.

    I did the math myself, and the Pizza Hut restaurant matches the approximate size of one of the units in this ad. It will join a long list of iconic Bells Corners businesses that have withered since Rick took over.

    Ricky was quoted in one of the early newspaper stories – when he took over BC from Jan Harder, he photographed 17 boarded up/closed businesses, including the former Vox and Hooters.

    – I’m not surprised. Every time I go by the Pizza Hut the place is deserted, even after the costly renovations. Maybe running a corporate all-you-can-eat greasy artery-clogging pizza pigout palace is no longer the gold mine it once was?

    Now he can easily snap pictures of a good 25 examples of broken dreams – they’re dropping like flies here in BC! I hope he’s happy, and kids, ya still ain’t getting yer skateboard park!

  12. Gravy says:

    Unit 108 is the pho place, I think.

    4000 sq ft seems larger than the Pizza Hut; I wonder if it isn’t a Putt Above that’s folding its tent.

    – I hope not. I love the Putt Above.

  13. Gravy says:

    My mistake — according to their site they occupy 9000 sq ft. There are two vacant units right next to each other, which might add up to 4000. If not, yeah, I think it might be Pizza Hut.


    – Can’t you get better, cheaper pizza elsewhere in Bells Corners?

  14. Gravy says:

    I’m hoping for Big Mort’s Bigger Pub.

  15. TonyL says:

    I’m pretty sure that Koi Asia is unit #109. Good thing, as it’s a terrific place.

    Lets hope it survives the BIA/Rick’s dirty deeds done dirt cheap.

    – Some of their dirty deeds are NOT dirt cheap – businesses and the taxpayers are taking a huge hit.

  16. margaret says:

    It does say #108 and that’s Pho Mi – pity – nice little place and good prices too.

    That is a very old photo – pizza hut with a red roof … never could understand why they changed to black when their logo is a red roof!

    Sad for all these eateries closing, but there are so many others cropping up elsewhere that people are not just coming to BC like they used to. BC food places are mostly for BC area people.

    I remember when BC was THE place to eat – the new companies would use this area for a trial run to see how it might work elsewhere. At one time we had something like 30 eateries in one size, taste or another – could eat out every night for a month without visiting same place twice.

    Our fast food haven has lost Wendys and Burger King, but still have the anchor of all anchors (once the best in Canada I believe) – McDs.

    Just look at downtown now – the choice is unbelievable. It used to be nearly dead as far as eateries were concerned – dynamics change.

    – We also had the first Tim Horton’s in Ottawa (the one that will soon be demolished). Back in the old days my favourite place to chow down in Bells Corners was the Ponderosa Steakhouse, which morphed into Hooters and is the site of the soon-to-be-constructed mega Double-Double Drive-thru Tim Hortons.

    Since I didn’t live in Bells Corners in the 80s my strongest memories are of the Ponderosa Steakhouse and Consumers Distributing.

  17. TonyL says:

    Goodbye Goodwill Inc. I went down there today, it’s the last day (Friday. Aug 26).

    Sad to see it’s going!

    We lost a fighter today! It seems like only yesterday, when I wrote to this blog to mention that I found a mysterious petition at the Goodwill store…

    – Yup, it seems like only yesterday when people started to to realize that something was seriously wrong in Bells Corners. Nancy Robertson was first off the mark with her petition, quickly followed by an inquisitive Citizen journalist and a whole bunch of old farts folk, but many others stepped up to the plate and took a swing on behalf of grassroots democracy.

  18. Anonymous says:

    As a former employee of the Bells Corners Goodwill Store, I have to say that it was a sad day when it had to close.

    Many people in Bells Corners and nearby rural areas depended upon the services of the Goodwill. Times are tough for everyone and having the Goodwill Store in its Bells Corners location was great for seniors as well as people with young families.

    The Goodwill Store’s employees made shopping there a wonderful experience for the customers. Since its closure, I have met several residents who greatly miss the store, especially the social aspect. It felt like a club, a place to come and feel good.

    Music would play as shoppers were greeted with a smile by employees eager to help them in any way needed. Bells Corners Goodwill was unique in that it served rural residents as well as local people.

    Folks would plan their week just to drop in to Goodwill and shop, bringing their business to the other local stores as well.

    In times of economic hardship this unique store’s location and community spirit brought a lot of happiness to many people, as well as financial relief when it came to clothing their families as well as furnishing an apartment or home, etc.

    Due to high rent, and also a lack of space to house all the great donations received from kind and generous donors, the Bells Corners Goodwill had to be closed and moved to a larger, more “cost-efficient” location. It was a very sad day for our community.

    In closing, I would like to challenge our city council to come up with a plan to find a suitable, affordable location for the Goodwill Organization, so that the people of Bells Corners and rural areas can once again be part of a very unique shopping experience, one which gave them hope and comfort in these very tough economic times.

    Many people feel that the closure of the Goodwill Store has left a huge hole in Bells Corners. Hopefully, one of these days, it can come back to the people.

    Thank you for your time.

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