Rick Chiarelli has been re-elected as councillor of College ward following the municipal election on Oct. 22.
Chiarelli won with 46.8 per cent of the overall vote, followed closely by candidate Emilie Coyle, who had 38 per cent of the vote. Candidate Ryan Kennery ended the night with 15.2 per cent of voters.
According to statistics pulled from Open Data Ottawa and the City of Ottawa website, only 44.8 per cent of eligible voters showed up to the polls. While higher than the city-wide average of 42.55, it is still a fairly minimal turnout. Out of 34,101 registered voters, only 15,238 votes were cast, of which 2,079 were for Chiarelli.
Chiarelli held a celebration at the Ottawa Nepean Canadian Sports Club with his friends, family and supporters. Speaking directly to his people, he reflected on his lengthy career and those who had helped him along the way.
“It’s fantastic,” said Chiarelli, soon after finishing the speech to his supporters. “It’s really great to be able to continue on with the work we’re doing and to have the mandate from the public.“
Of special interest to the Algonquin community, Chiarelli has promised he will crack down on improper living conditions for students and others living in the ward.
“For students, I think the big thing that they’ll be interested in is the illegal rooming house bylaw that we’ll be dealing with,” said Chiarelli. “It ensures that the places they’ll be renting will be safe, because they’ll be inspected by the fire department for wiring issues and escape roots and things like that. They won’t be overcrowded, they won’t be shoveled off into some basement apartment with no exit.”
He said he’ll also focus on improving a variety of issues ranging from crumbling roads and infrastructure to core services like snow removal and policing operations.
On the topic of the other candidates for College ward, Chiarelli said that he admired the hard work and dedication of his competition.
“I’d like to say congratulations, they ran a great campaign. I know they spent a lot of money and they organized very well. I imagine that they’ll run – whether at this level or some other level – at some time again in the future.”
While both Coyle and Kennery were unhappy with their loss, they both offered words of encouragement to the councillor.
“I wish him the best in his upcoming term,” said Kennery. “I have a lot of respect for the length of service he’s had in our community and the trust he has earned from a lot of folks.”
When asked if he will run again in the future, Kennery said “right now we’re just taking a breath, trying to understand how real life will come back into play. It’s a big sacrifice to run for office.
“For the past six months I’ve had to put a lot of things on hold. I’m getting married next year, so I plan on focusing more on my personal life. This was an incredible experience just to be able to do all of this, I have no regrets.”
While Kennery mulls his future, Coyle is adamant that she will be competing in the next election.
“I do certainly intend on running for office again,” said Coyle. “Over the next four years I’m going to spend a lot of time working for this community in the ways I would have as an elected representative. I’ll find ways to contribute to making this community really fantastic.”
On the topic of Chiarelli’s re-election, Coyle says she is going to hold the councillor to a high standard.
“I hope that he works really hard for the people of College ward,” said Coyle. “It’s time that he really steps up, goes to his committee meetings, shows up and does the work that people require him to do.”