By Charlie Senack
Journalist and business owner Mark Sutcliffe is getting set to become Ottawa’s next Mayor after winning with over half of the vote.
It was a landslide victory for Sutcliffe who dominated the suburbs, winning 19 of Ottawa’s 24 wards. He took 51.4 per cent of the vote, with Catherine McKenney coming in second place with 37.9 per cent, and Bob Chiarelli coming in third with five per cent.
“I am feeling a lot of emotions right now. Humility, excitement, joy, relief. But most of all I am feeling incredible gratitude,” Sutcliffe said in his victory speech. “I’m so thankful for the experience that (my wife) Ginny and I have had throughout this campaign. And I’m especially grateful for the tens of thousands of people who support our vision for the future of Ottawa.”
In Barrhaven East, Sutcliffe took almost 60 per cent of the vote with McKenney taking almost 29 per cent. In neighboring Barrhaven West, Sutcliffe took 67 per cent with McKenney taking a little over 26 per cent. In Riverside South-Findlay Creek, Sutcliffe garnered almost 58 per cent of the vote with McKenney taking 27 per cent.
After losing the election, McKenney noted that while it wasn’t the results they hoped for, their commitment for fighting issues won’t stop.
“It’s tough and it’s disappointing, but we are going to move forward,” said McKenney. “Tonight, we’ll share some drinks —but not on me though, I’m unemployed.”
McKenney wished Sutcliffe success saying: “he believes in this city and its potential.”
Throughout the campaign, Sutcliffe made multiple stops in Barrhaven. A few days before the election, he released a press release expressing an interest in fast tracking the Greenbank Road realignment.
“I’ll fix our roads and get the Greenbank Road realignment expedited,” he said in a video taken outside of the Minto Recreation Centre. “Instead of spending $250 million on bike lanes, I’ll get Phase 3 LRT out to Barrhaven and invest in Police and paramedics to make your neighborhood safer.”
In a previous interview with the Barrhaven Independent, Sutcliffe said existing plans for Phase 3 LRT out to Barrhaven need to be approved, despite the $5 billion price tag and low ridership levels.
Sutcliffe, a former 1310 news radio personality who founded Great River Media, also said we need to “modernize and invest” in the Ottawa Police Service. Barrhaven West saw a 20.7 per cent increase in crime last year — more than any other ward in Ottawa. Sutcliffe wants to hire more police officers and cut down on speeders.
“I think a lot of people want to see change at Ottawa City Hall. They want to see the right kind of change, change that works for them,” he told the Barrhaven Independent. “I’ve been working and living in this community my whole life, I’ve worked in the media, I’ve been a small business owner, a volunteer, and I want to help deliver the change people want.”
The new term of council, which will see 11 new faces, will officially be sworn in on Nov. 15. Barrhaven West, Barrhaven East, Riverside South-Findlay Creek, Rideau-Jock, College, and Knoxdale-Merivale are among the wards getting set to see new representation.
David Hill will replace incumbent Jan Harder in Barrhaven West, whereas Wilson Lo has been elected as the first councillor in Barrhaven East. Steve Desroches is making a comeback in Riverside South-Findlay Creek after Carol Anne Meehan decided not to seek re-election. Sean Devine replaces Keith Egli in Knoxdale-Merivale; Laine Johnson replaces Rick Chiarelli in College; and David Brown will take over for Scott Moffat in Rideau-Jock (formally known as Rideau Goulbourn).
Sutcliffe will be the first new Mayor in Ottawa since Jim Watson won the position in 2010. This was the biggest shakeups city hall has seen since amalgamation in 2001. With Harder and Chiarelli no longer on council, their are no representatives left from the former City of Nepean.
Sutcliffe has been well known in Barrhaven for years beyond being a city-wide media personality. He has been involved as a spokesman, host and participant in the Barrhaven Run for Rogers House and the Barrhaven Lung Run. The former marathoner is also well-known among Barrhaven’s active running community. Early in is joirnalism career, Sutcliffe was also an occasional contributing writer for the Barrhaven Independent.
Voter turnout in Ottawa was 44 per cent, the highest in the city since 2010, and the highest in Ontario this municipal election season.