Hill To Replace Harder In Ward 3

By Charlie Senack

For the first time since amalgamation, Barrhaven West (Ward 3) will have a new representative at city hall.

David Hill won the ward with 44 per cent of the vote, receiving 6,230 ballots cast under his name.

“I’m really excited about moving onto a platform that I think really resonated with people and has a lot of great potential for the future of Barrhaven,” Hill said after his election win. “I’m excited to work with my colleagues locally like Wilson Lo and Steve Desroches, but also with those across the city.”

With four candidates in the race to replace outgoing councillor Jan Harder, Taayo Simmonds came in second place with a little over 33 per cent of the vote; Jay Chadha came in third place with over 15 per cent of the vote; and Sadaf Ebrahim came in fourth with about seven per cent.

Out of the 31, 446 eligible voters in Barrhaven West, almost 46 per cent cast their ballot.

Hill was seen by many as a frontrunner in the race, being the first candidate to launch his campaign. In the winter he started a well-signed petition encouraging the Greenbank Road realignment to be fast tracked. It garnered thousands of signatures.

The new Barrhaven West councillor takes over for Harder, who announced in 2018 she would not seek re-election after two and a half decades in council chambers. She served as a Nepean city councillor for one term before amalgamation, and six terms as an Ottawa city councillor.

“Councillor Harder is an institution of Barrhaven. She’s worked tirelessly to grow this community,” said Hill. “I have the greatest respect for the work she’s done here in the community and I look forward to reaching out to her from time to time. She’s passionate about this community and it means a lot to her.”

After being sworn into office on Nov. 15, Hill plans to advocate for a better transit system in Barrhaven, a file he admits will be a “long term issue.”

On roads and infrastructure, Hill said he wants to look at traffic patterns and has a list of about half a dozen or so intersections where concerns have been raised.

One of those crossings is on Jockvale Road near Barrhaven United Church, where community members have brought up safety concerns since the mid 1990’s.

“It’s just down the street from where I live and I cross it regularly to go to church or bike to the retail stores,” said Hill. “This has been an issue that has come up regularly for the folks in Steepleview Crossing. We have a senior citizen demographic in Barrhaven we need to pay particular attention to with pedestrian issues and accessibility.”

Out of the 88 people living in the affordable housing complex, roughly 40 per cent struggle with health challenges and 20 of the residents use wheelchairs or mobility devices.

A public meeting was held in September where many of the residents shared their concerns about the crossing. Ideas for solutions included putting a median in the middle of the road, erecting traffic lights at the site, and moving the existing OC Transpo bus stop closer to the church.

Hill is also hopeful the Greenbank Road realignment project can be fast tracked. Current plans have construction starting in 2030 with a completion date in 2032 — a decade and a half after plans for the infrastructure investment were first made.

“Residents were under the impression this was coming for years,” Hill said. “I will continue to work as hard as I canin order to advance this project. It’s genuinely important from a transit perspective, a safety perspective, and an economic perspective”.