By Charlie Senack, Barrhaven Independent
A change of leadership will be coming to Barrhaven this year after some major shake ups will be coming to Ottawa’s city council.
In 2018, Barrhaven city councilor Jan Harder announced she would not seek re-election. Harder has seven elections under her belt, and was city councillor for the former City of Nepean from December 1997 until January 2001. In the two decades since, she has served as Barrhaven’s city councillor for the City of Ottawa.
“A lot of people are saying are you crazy? Why are you saying that?” Harder told the Barrhaven Independent in December 2018 when she announced she won’t seek re-election “I’m going to tell you that I have lots of plans for this next term — one of them is to find somebody who is going to represent Barrhaven really well (in the next election.”
“I still have another career in me,” she added. “I really can do anything. I’ve been in the customer service business since I was nine years old. Every job that I’ve had has been all about customer service.”
The next municipal election will be held in Oct. 2022, and names are already coming forward as to who will run.
Barrhaven will be an interesting race to watch as the community is being split into two wards, with Riverside South becoming its own ward. Ward 3 will become Barrhaven-West, and new ward 24 will be Barrhaven East.
Barrhaven-West will feature the community east of Greenbank if leaving Barrhaven, and most of Stonebridge and Half Moon Bay. It also includes the homes near the Cedarhill Golf Course.
Helen Crawford, who has chaired various parent councils for over a decade and a half, says she is considering a run for the councillors seat.
“I have Lived in Barrhaven for over 20 years! raised my two boys here, and feel there was no better place to raise a family,” she said. “I became involved in all of the kids’ activities at the school, hockey, and more. I love how Barrhaven has evolved over the last 20 years and now everything you need can be found in Barrhaven. I am considering running because I love this community and have spent my entire adult life here.”
In 2019, Crawford won the Ottawa Carleton District School Boards Chairs Award, and is current president of the Nepean Minor Hockey Association. She is also communications manager for a national not for profit, and chaired the Push for your Tush for colorectal cancer Canada — a cause very close to her heart. In December 2018, Crawford’s sister Julie passed away at the young age of 48 from colon cancer. Now she wants to keep her spirit and passion alive, while saving others through early screening.
“While Barrhaven has grown so much over the years, now some infrastructure needs to catch up,” Crawford added. “Schools, transportation, activities and opportunities for our youth, are all areas we can improve on. I am not a politician and I know I have a lot to learn, but am committed to learning and will always do what is best for Barrhaven. I want it to continue to be the best place to have and raise a family.”
Community event planner Darrell Bartraw, who organizes Canada Day in Barrhaven, the annual Santa Claus Parade, and many other events, has received a lot of support from the community who wants him to run. But despite the well wishes, he has decided against the idea.
“I feel I could do so much for the Barrhaven Community and the City as a whole as Councillor, having lived in Ottawa for all of my 64 year and having seen the good, the bad and the ugly,” he said.“I have spoken to a number people that have shown interest in running for Councillor for the new Barrhaven West Ward and I feel that a number of them would represent our community well and will work with community leaders. I feel I will better serve people by doing what I do.”
Michael Wood, former co-owner of Ottawa Special Events, has told the Barrhaven Independent he is considering a run for council, but hasn’t made up his mind just yet. Since the COVID-19 pandemic started, he has spent his time advocating for small and medium-sized businesses, while advocating for them in meetings with politicians from all levels of government.
Jay Chadha, who has been involved in the Barrhaven community for multiple years and works for the City of Ottawa, also says he will run.
“I feel a city councillor has the most impact on everyone’s day to day life, and plays a significant role in developing communities at the grass root levels,” he said. “Barrhaven is one of the fastest growing communities, and the next few years will be crucial for development and infrastructure. We need to plan and execute well thought out transportation, Infrastructure, employment, and social economic strategy to succeed. I believe with my 19 years of public service with the City of Ottawa and decades of community work will assist me with achieving it and making it successful.”
Chadha has won the Governor General of Canada Sovereign Medal for Volunteering, the City of Ottawa Community Builders Award, the United Way Community Builders Award, and Canada 150 awards from both Nepean MPP Lisa MacLeod, and Nepean MP Chandra Arya.
He is the past Volunteer Director of Barrhaven Food Cupboard, past President of Barrhaven East Community Association, and past Vice president of India Canada Association
Barrhaven resident Sadaf Ebrahim, who recently received the Order of Ottawa, says she will also put her name on the ballot for Barrhaven West.
“I believe and work for community building and have a passion to serve all the communities,” she said. “I will share my mandate in May of 2022.”
Another name who has not yet been announced publicly plans to share his intention to run in late January.
Riverside South and Barrhaven East
The new Barrhaven East Ward will cover the west side of Greenbank if driving out of the community, all the way to the Rideau River. It also includes the community of Hearts Desire.
The Riverside South-Findlay Creek ward will cover both communities.
Carol Anne Meehan, who is current councillor of Gloucester-South Nepean, also known as ward 22, has told the Barrhaven Independent she will run for councillor again, but is not sure where. It will either be in Barrhaven East (ward 24) or Riverside South-Findlay Creek (ward 22). She expects to make a decision soon.
Former Gloucester-South Nepean councillor Steve Desroches says he is also considering a comeback.
“I have been approached by many residents in the Riverside South and Findlay Creek communities to put my name forward,” he told the Barrhaven Independent in a statement. “I have been away from city hall for the last eight years and I feel very recharged with the energy to serve the community. I am giving the matter serious consideration.”
No matter the outcome of the next municipal election, one thing is for certain: there will be change in Ottawa.
Mayor Jim Watson has announced that he will not seek another term, leaving the door open for a fresh voice. Two current city councillors have already announced their intention to run for the top job, opening up their two council seats. That’s on top of the two new wards being created, and at least three other councillors announcing they won’t run again.