Councillors find major hole in city bylaws

Councillors on the city's Transportation Committee think they have discovered a major flaw in Ottawa's bylaws.

In considering  an updated parking strategy for the Kitchesippi area, staff said that the main street through Westboro - Richmond Road, Wellington West, and Somerset West - now meets the requirements for paid parking.

The goal is to help keep parking spaces turning over and establish consistency with other business districts in the city.

Council has delegated authority to make those decisions to city staff.

But the Wellington West B.I.A. and three local community associations have opposed the change so, according to the bylaws, city staff can't change the parking rules if there is opposition.

Councillor Diane Deans is shocked to realize that the committee, and council, don't get a say.

"I don't think I ever understood that council couldn't pull back the 'delegated authority' and make the decision themselves.....because we, as council, make these decisions." Deans said.

City solicitor Rick O'Connor says he was surprised to find that the committee is not allowed to bring the issue back for debate in these parking cases.

"Council has not specifically said, 'Hang on, if we disagree, we want this coming back to committee and council,'" O'Connor told the committee.

It would require a vote by full city council to change the bylaw.