Jean Cloutier won't seek re-election in Ottawa's Alta Vista ward

·3 min read
Coun. Jean Cloutier, the vice-chair of Ottawa's transit commission, will not seek a third term in Alta Vista, he has announced. (Jean Delisle/CBC - image credit)
Coun. Jean Cloutier, the vice-chair of Ottawa's transit commission, will not seek a third term in Alta Vista, he has announced. (Jean Delisle/CBC - image credit)

After two terms as the Ottawa city councillor for Alta Vista ward, Jean Cloutier says he will not run for a seat on council in 2022.

In a newsletter sent to his residents on Thursday, he told them it had been an honour to serve but he looked forward to taking part in the fall election as a constituent and would like to spend more of his time with his family.

"I have been able to accomplish many of the goals I set out to achieve when I first ran, and to respond to the challenges which arrived unannounced, as they so often do," he wrote.

During the eight years Cloutier will have represented Alta Vista ward, the most high-profile issue has been the mass evictions of tenants in the community of Heron Gate, beginning in 2015. By the time the massive redevelopment of that site was approved last fall, he had negotiated a "social contract" with developer Hazelview to preserve affordable housing.

"It has laid the groundwork for community expectations of developers in Ottawa and set a bar which I hope others continue to raise," Cloutier told residents in his newsletter.

Alta Vista residents were also very vocal during last year's debate over the City of Ottawa's new official plan because the early draft proposed allowing infill development to intensify the area fourfold. Ottawa city staff ended up changing the boundaries of the area called "inner urban" to leave out much of the city's oldest suburb.

Cloutier told residents in his letter that Alta Vista had fought for a better outcome, "but it requires thinking beyond our own backyards and even beyond our own generation." That would be a "significant challenge" for some neighbours as Ottawa embarks on a three-year review of zoning city-wide, he wrote.

Tight race in 2018

Cloutier was first elected to council in 2014, endorsed by his predecessor Peter Hume. Before politics, he was the chief financial officer of Tubman Funeral Homes and president of the Canterbury Community Association.

Cloutier then won re-election in 2018 in a tight race, receiving a third of the votes and just 201 more than second-place candidate Raylene Lang-Dion.

Developer influence became an issue for Alta Vista in that 2018 election, after CBC News reported Hume and local developers planned to host a fundraising lunch for Cloutier's campaign and sent the invitation to many members of the development community. Cloutier cancelled the fundraiser.

This term, Cloutier has chaired the city's audit committee, and is vice-chair of the transit commission. He also has seats on several other committees, including planning, finance and economic development, environment, and the board of health.

With Cloutier's announcement, Ottawans can expect to see change for at least five council seats when the vote is held on Oct. 24.

Mayor Jim Watson will not seek re-election, while councillors Catherine McKenney and Diane Deans have said they will give up their seats in bids to replace Watson. Coun. Scott Moffatt, meanwhile, announced he will not seek a fourth term in his large rural ward.

Nominations for the next municipal elections in Ontario, and for those seeking to replace Cloutier in his ward, will be open from May 2 to Aug. 19.

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