Councillor exit interview: Shad Qadri reflects on Stittsville’s growth over 12 years

Shad Qadri (centre) was the city councillor for Stittsville for last 12 years. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson (left) and city manager Steve Kanellakos (right) recognized Qadri, who was defeated in October's municipal election, for his public service during the final city council meeting of the term on Nov. 28, 2018. Christopher Whan / Global News

Shad Qadri won’t be serving a fourth term on Ottawa city council, but the longtime Stittsville resident says he’s not ready to pack in his community work altogether just yet.

Friday marked Qadri’s last official day on the job as councillor for the west-end community he’s called home for the past 40 years. His constituents voted for change on Oct. 22, electing Glen Gower, another longtime community volunteer.

READ MORE: Outgoing Ottawa city councillors bid farewell at final council meeting of term

Qadri immigrated to Canada from Pakistan as a young boy with his family and he said he lived in many different areas of Ottawa growing up. After he and his wife got married, they purchased their first home in the former Goulbourn township in 1978 and have been rooted to the area since.

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Before running for public office, Qadri was a small business owner and served in a number of roles on community associations, volunteer organizations and parent councils.

He was first elected to Ottawa City Hall in 2006, and won solid majorities in the following two municipal elections. During this most recent term on council, he chaired the board of Ottawa Public Health and sat on three committees: planning, transportation, and community and protective services.

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Global News sat down with Qadri on Nov. 28, after the final city council meeting of the term.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Q: How are you feeling on your last day of council?

A: Well, obviously it’s an emotional day, after 12 years of service to the public and to the city. But I’m leaving on a high note. I’m very proud of my record in Stittsville and in city hall and I know that I’m leaving a very strong community behind and the community will continue to grow. So in terms of that, I’m happy. In terms of the sentimental portion for me today, it is exactly that. It closes a chapter in my life of public service, for now. It’s been 12 years of dedication, more dedication especially from my family because they’ll almost live the same life as I do day-to-day.

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Q: What are you most proud of from your 12 years in office?

A: Like I said, (I’m) leaving a very strong community. I took that ward from its rural roots, when it was a basically a rural-suburban mix, to almost a suburban ward now. But I’ll tell you, Stittsville will always have the connectivity to its rural roots, which is a good thing.

The other thing about Stittsville that I really, really enjoyed is the fact that we have a well-defined main street. We produced a community design plan for it and some of it is starting to come to fruition. And that’s what you want – a good vibrant artery in the community that helps to flourish the rest of the community.

One piece that I’m very proud of is the acquisition of the Shea Road Woods for Stittsville. This is a piece of property that runs off of Shea Road … with mature cedar trees that the community’s enjoyed for almost 25, 30 years. I was very pleased to have the support of the mayor and city council to purchase that piece of property from the developer and that property now is preserved for the future of Stittsville.

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Q: Is there anything you feel you’re leaving unfinished?

A: One of those items would be the preservation of the Bradley-Craig barn that is now in its final place where it’s going to stay and I just want to see the outcome of that going forward. That is something I wanted to do but (it) obviously didn’t transpire but I will ask Glen Gower to make sure that he pushes that item forward and have it completed.

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The others are basically infrastructure projects that are based on revenues and money and one of those projects that for the community is very, very necessary is the Carp Road expansion and widening. And it is a project that I know the environmental assessment’s done, we’re just waiting for the money and hopefully in the next two to three years that money will be there in order to make it come to fruition.

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Q: What is next for you?

A: I was into community services way before I got into city council. Public life takes many shapes and forms… not just volunteering in the community, it could be also sitting on a board at the city. Anyways, that will come and I’m waiting for the doors to come around. Up until January, I’m going to be spending some time with my family.