By: Brooke Timpson
As a known face around Algonquin’s Woodroffe campus, Rick Chiarelli is no stranger to the local government or political science classes and often discusses the issues and most recent projects in the College Ward.
In his 101 Centrepointe Dr. ward office, it’s obvious that Chiarelli has led quite an active political life. Pictures, awards, and recognitions line the walls and tell the story of a young student-turned elected Councillor in the College Ward.
“I think if you look at the results of the last election, you’ll see that everybody who worked the hardest, won,” said Chiarelli.
Listening to the needs of the community is what every elected representative should do, said Chiarelli.
Currently, one of the issues that members of the College Ward and Algonquin community have been calling for is an overhaul of the current transit system and its efficiency.
Chiarelli, aware of these concerns, has been putting a great deal of focus and work into the expansion of transit in the west end, which includes a complete renovation of Baseline station.
“Centrepointe is called ‘Centrepointe’ because, well, it is actually the geographic center of the city,” said Chiarelli.
He notes that a disproportionate amount of transit improvement initiatives in the past have been made in the eastern and downtown areas of the city.
New plans for the College Ward will provide a multi-million dollar transit upgrade with the construction of Ottawa’s first underground bus and light rail station.
“After the completion of [Baseline station], I don’t see why anyone would want to drive their car to work or school when they can get off the bus and get to where they’re going underground,” said Chiarelli.
This station, which is still in its first stage of development, is set to replace the current Baseline station by Algonquin’s Woodroffe campus and is going to become a main bus and light rail hub in the west end.
In the coming months, other projects in the College Ward will focus on additional job and growth opportunities.
This economic development strategy includes improvements and diversification projects for Ottawa’s TV and film industry, transparency initiatives for city council, and reviewing and expanding the city’s Presto card program.
The work might appear to be never-ending, but for Chiarelli, it’s simply the nature of his job.
“You need to give people a reason for putting [their] trust in you,” said Chiarelli, who explains that the best way to do that is to, “…not pretend you know everything.”
“Go out and do something that helps the community.”