Note: This is an "Archived" Page.

Former Election Home page of Michael Kostiuk. River Ward. City of Ottawa. 2014.


Hello from Michael Kostiuk

Welcome to the Election home page of Michael Kostiuk. I am a geographer, a teacher and an International Consultant based in Ottawa, Canada. I am a life long resident of River Ward. I am running as a candidate for Councillor in River Ward.

I have undergraduate and graduate degrees in Education and Geography and a Diploma in International Trade. I hold the following professional certifications: OCT (Ontario Certified Teacher), and a CITP (Certified International Trade Practitioner). I am also the president of a local Professional and Business Association.

I have provided many years of volunteer service to a variety of community groups and special interest groups such as museums and heritage organizations. I was the president of the Carlington Community Association (in the north section of River Ward) for three years. I also participated in the monthly meetings of the Federation of Citizen's Associations of Ottawa (FCA). I am also a member of Canadem, which is Canada's Civilian Reserve.

I believe that All governments must operate on the principles of Transparency, Accountability and Justifiability.

The main items of my platform are shown below. More information about these items are available on the menu to the right of the screen. Essentially this listing of information, ideas, opinions and proposals shown on my home page are an example of how I think and view the world. They derive from a combination of my many years of education, work experience as well as my own particular personal biases.


My 25 Point Election Platform:

1) Establish an ISO form of management for city of Ottawa. ISO creates clearly defined roles and responsibilities for City Staff. This increases both Transparency and Accountability. This means there will be no more project problems such as the Airport or Standherd Bridges! The management and organization style at the City of Ottawa needs vast improvement, and I propose that the city should be organized along the “I.S.O.” management style. Basically ISO certification requires that an organization document all the steps that are required for each section, and each individual to perform in order to carry out their duties. What this does is force the organization's departments to justify WHAT they are doing, and HOW they are doing their tasks. Redundant tasks and duplication is removed, resulting in a more efficient and streamlined operation. And most importantly, an ISO approach to management and governance creates a precise "paper" trail so that everyone is ACCOUNTABLE for their duties in the organization. Let us have a system in place that will eliminate the chance of repeating costly mistakes such as the Airport Parkway Pedestrian Bridge, and the Green Bin Program. Accountability is what is needed in the City of Ottawa, and this item is probably the most important part of my election platform. It would also be useful if outside contractors could also adopt an ISO system so that there can be a greater degree of compatibility between City of Ottawa operations and contracted operations. For more information, please see the ISO item on the legend at the top right section of the screen.

2) Zero Base Budgeting. All expenses must be justified for each new period. Zero Base Budgeting starts from a “zero base” and every function within an organization is analyzed for its needs and costs No item appears in a new budget because it was in the last year’s budget. This system allows staff and council to question assumptions and allows for review of all or some programs each year. Every item in the budget must be reviews based on:

•Value of program
•Cost and effectiveness of alternative courses of action and delivery methods
•How to Measure Performance
•Impact of eliminating a program(s)

3) Demographics in decision making. All government should be using Demographics (which is the study of the population) to justify and plan ALL of their projects. We need planning solutions that will fulfill the needs of EVERY Demographic group in Ottawa. Right now we are in a baby boom, and that means that families want living accommodation of at least three bedrooms. Yet most of the high rise developments we see going up inside the greenbelt are designed for people who want one, or two bedrooms (since that is the only layouts available in those high rises). Now there is nothing wrong with Condominiums, or people who want to live in them, but we must have a diversity of housing styles that match the needs of our diverse population. At the same time, we put an unfair surcharge on suburban home building outside the greenbelt even though those New homes are exactly what the many new, young families both want and need. We need to design the city for ALL of the people who live here, or planning will FAIL to achieve its objectives.

4) NPI and CDP for Carlington and other areas. Since the Carlington Section of River Ward has the lowest overall ranking of any Neighbourhood in Ottawa I propose that a Neighbourhood Planning Initiative as well as a Community Design Plan be implemented for this area and other parts of River Ward were it could be useful.

5) Employ Best Practices. We must use the best ideas and methods from other cities, but apply and modify it to the unique region of Ottawa..

6) Create a costing committee for City purchases. Many of the items which the city purchases appear to be far too expensive. For example, did you know a park bench costs $2,800, or sand for a play structure costs $33,000? or that the Transit station at Algonquin College cost over $200 Million? By establishing a costing committee of people from a diverse section of the community we should easily be able to come up with more a common sense and reasonably priced alternatives than what is currently happening at City Hall. Be smart, and pay less. This means lower taxes.

7) Focus on Governance versus Marketing. Councillors should be concerned about running the city efficiently and effectively, not using tax dollars to promote themselves. A Business card is enough! For example, Councillors should not have approved a budget of over $200,000 (Source: Ottawa Sun Article "Swag worth 200Gs for city councillors" ) for the use of personalized gifts to promote themselves. And Councillors should not be placing their names on traffic calming signs, especially during an election year.

8) Investigate the Weekly Garbage Pickup Issue. Garage collection is an issue in this election with many people wanting a return to weekly garbage collection, but also with many people who are strongly in favour of the Green Bin. I will consult with River Ward residents on what they want on this topic. We need to find a common ground where all residents are satisfied. Those who want a return to weekly garbage pickup feel that garbage should be picked up on a weekly basis, especially in the hot Summer Months. One common complaint is maggots in the garbage in the summer time. However, whether it is a Green Bin, or a return to weekly garbage pickup, it is still 7 days between pickups regardless of which method is used. The green bin is also competing with the old, and more established back yard composters that the region gave out some time ago. When you design a "Green" system, the various components must complement each other. But in Ottawa's case they are in direct competition with each other.

This is called "disjointed incrementalism". i.e. adopting a new method without any regard for a method already in place. Ottawa's contract with Orca World was not negotiated properly, and I doubt it will every reach its goal of 80,000 tons.

As for Green Bins, we should be able to make them more user friendly by allowing plastic bags. I do believe in cost effective government services, and taking a common sense, and practical approach to both planning and delivering essential core services. And that means delivering basic essential services such as Weekly Garbage Pickup to the Citizens of Ottawa, if that is what the majority of River ward and Ottawa residents want. As I have already stated above, I will consult with River Ward residents on what they want in this important topic. I also think that the Green Bin Program, while it is good at diverting material from the landfill is NOT set up in a cost effective manner. I say this because the amount of material in tons (80,000) that is required to make it successful is not being met unless leaf and yard waste is included in the collection. Therefore, the city is currently losing money with this program as it is designed. The City Of Ottawa Auditor Ken Hughes in his report said one option would be to cancel the Orca World Contract.

See link here: Ottawa Auditor Ken Hughes on Green Bin Program.

I also think the City of Ottawa (and the Province of Ontario) should look at the option of incineration for our waste. Incineration can be used for the generation of electricity, and toxic metals that are not diverted into recycling can be properly handed at such a facility instead of going into the landfill. There are Pros and Cons to Incineration. The Pros are that there are less landfills, which saves money, and existing landfills can be used as a source "fuel" for incineration. The Cons of incineration are possible dioxins that are produced in the burning process, and how to dispose of the heavy metals that are left over. Building incineration plants are also very expensive. It is also important to know that residential garbage can be as low as 30 percent of the total amount of material that goes go into the landfill sites, since up to 70 percent can come from institutional sources. The information on this can be found here: Ottawa Garbage Stats.

The following link is an excellent article by Ottawa Citizen Reporter Joanne Chianello. It outlines many of the important facts that every Ottawa resident should be aware of: Some truths on trash: What you need to know before Oct. 27.

9) Lobby the province to lower Electrical costs for businesses and consumers by purchasing electricity from the Province of Quebec. Ottawa should be able to purchase electricity from the cheapest sources. Not only is this good for residents, but it also helps businesses and industries which need cheaper power in order to produce their products and service in a cost effective way.

10) Create a Common Sense Transit System that is based on existing Rail, Road and Transitway infrastructure for Ottawa.. Only 20% of the people work in the downtown core of Ottawa. Our LRT system will miss the other 80%! Yet our system requires transit users to go through downtown regardless of their transit destination. This is inefficient and not cost effective. We must use existing rail and road infrastructure that is ALREADY in place to allow people to go where the employment , shopping, and entertainment centres are located.

11) New Urbanism and Satellite Cities. Use modern planning and architecture techniques to create dense employment centres in the urban cores (Satellite Cities) outside the greenbelt (Kanata, Barrhaven, Orleans). If people can work close to their homes then there is less pressure on public transit. As well, instead of spending more TAX money on very expensive Public Transit, we can let the private sector invest in employment centres. This creates a more efficient city, which operates on LESS tax dollars. The Greenbelt was purposely created to allow new Satellite cities such as Kanata, Barrhaven, and Kanata to develop into their own self sufficient, and fully integrated cities. This has NOT happened yet, But it CAN happen if we chose to continue the process to its natural and proper fulfillment.

12) Turn the Councillor's Newsletter into your Newsletter. Community groups often have a difficult time getting their message out to the public. I will let community organizations have space in the newsletter to promote their own activities and events.

13) Rural Transit. Allow private competition outside the Greenbelt. Rural transit allows seniors to live in their homes if they no longer have access to their own personal transportation.

14) Improve Senior care. Use of home care allows seniors to say in their own homes instead of having to live in a nursing home or senior residence. Rural transit allows seniors to live in their homes if they no longer have access to their own personal transportation.

15) Reduce surcharge on Residential Development in Orleans, Kanata and Barrhaven. This especially not fair for young and new home Buyers. This can be made more progressive when higher rates are levied for higher property values.

16) Create denser centres in the urban core, AND outside the greenbelt. This will promote both local employment in Kanata, Orleans and Barrhaven, and it will also support mass transit on both sides of the Greenbelt.

17) Create more Library/Learning Centres. Areas of River Ward such as Carlington are greatly under served, and no libraries are within walking distance of the community. By building more of these learning centres young people will have a quiet, safe and supporting environment to learn, study and network. Such centres will reduce the influence that gangs play in our city since it has been shown that if young people are engaged in a meaningfully activity between the end of the school day and supper time, then their chance of joining a gang is drastically reduced. I will also seek out funding from private foundations for these learning centres.

18) Revisit amalgamation! Amalgamation has NOT worked. Bigger government has only raised taxes. The promised tax savings have NOT occurred!!! Smaller government is better since it is more democratic and it spends less. For more information, read the article: Ontario municipalities spending more since amalgamation: report.

19) Get control of the Graffiti problem. The current Councillor and city is not responsive enough in regard to graffiti in our neighborhoods. It gives the impression that crime is in the area, and that gangs control the community. This is wrong! This creates a "Stigma" which also lowers property values. Lower property values creates a net loss of people's personal wealth, which in turn causes a neighbourhood to decline, instead of prosper.

20) East End Ottawa River Bridge, and Trucks in downtown Ottawa. Solution: Connect the Vanier Parkway to the MacDonald Cartier Bridge. A simple, but a possibly controversial solution. This WAS the original plan, and it is the most cost effective way to fix the problem of trucks in downtown Ottawa.. We could also put in an exclusive "Peak Period" Bus Lane on the Vanier Parkway so that Transit users from the east who need to go to Gatineau, can get there WITHOUT first going through downtown Ottawa. Lets complete this connection, and fix the bridge problem now!

21) Use local knowledge. Better use of volunteers and citizen participation in city. No one knows more about an area than the people who live there. We must have meaningful public consultation and INPUT for our planning process.

22) Meeting minutes must be complete and available in both languages. Accountability also means having proper minutes of meetings! Currently the City of Ottawa only has an audio recording of committee meetings. This is unacceptable for several reasons. For one, a citizen or a member of the news media should be able to read a committee meeting report to see what happened, and how it happened. It is not fair to expect a person to listen to just an audio recording since it is both time consuming, and it is too easy to miss an important phrase or word. An audio recording also does NOT work if a person is hearing impaired (therefore, it is not universally accessible). It is also not effective if a person's first language is not the language spoke in the recording. My proposal is to have full written minutes of all City of Ottawa committee meetings at all times.

23) Improved methods for Winter Road and Sidewalk Maintenance. . We must look at various cost saving methods for winter maintenance such as Snow Fences which can keep snow off the roads in open areas. Snow fences cost only 1% compared to street equipment. Alternatives to salt such as Beet Juice should be investigated.

24) More Gardens. We should promote the growing of more food in Ottawa, as well as composting their waste in their backyards.

25) Develop local leaders. Or future community, and replacements for councillors and mayor. That is where you as the taxpayer and resident comes in. What are your ideas? Tell me. Lets work together to build a city that we can all be proud of.

Resume of Michael Kostiuk.CVofMichaelKostiuk2014.pdf

  • M.A. Degree in Geography, Carleton University, Ottawa. MA Thesis Topic: “Determining the Spatial Data Requirements for a Geographic Information System to Support Coastal Zone Management. Cobscook Bay, Maine. A Case Study”. November 2001.
  • Bachelor of Education Degree, University of Ottawa. April 2006.
  • Diploma in International Trade, sponsored by the Forum for International Trade Training (F.I.T.T.). Courses taken at Algonquin College and The Entrepreneurship Centre - Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI), Ottawa. 2002.
  • Honours Degree in Geography, Profile: Regional Development. University of Ottawa, Cum Laude, 1996.
  • Concentration Degree in Slavic Studies (Ukrainian), University of Ottawa, 1994.
  • Certificate in Business Administration, University of Ottawa, 1991

. Read the complete Resume here: Resume of Michael Kostiuk.

Transportation Geography

I am geographer and a teacher, but I also have been a student of local planning in Ottawa since the mid 1970s. I recall that when the Bus-based Transitway was first proposed in the 1970s that it was designed and built so that it could be converted to rail-based transit service when the density of bus use reached a certain threshold. Stations, grade separation and roadways were designed so that Light Rail could be quickly and economically built and operated on the Transitway when it was time to convert the system to light rail. I participated in a series of videos on this topic and I also began to produce my own videos and to upload them onto the Youtube site. These maps are produced to help the user of this site to gain a better Geographic perspective to these many transportation topics.

This page is useful and works well when used with the Award Winning Ottawa Light Rail Video pages at:


My Submission to Traffic Grid Committee create a more balanced employment rate throughout the region of Ottawa MORE employment needs to be directed to Orleans and South Nepean. Using new Urbanist techniques we can take small portions of the parking areas that are allocated to their
suburban Shopping Centres and Big Box Malls (that are located along the main road
ways), and use that space for the construction of office towers. At the base of these office
towers, stores and services would be located. Wide sidewalks are then built in the front of
these office towers, and the main streets upon which they are situated can either have on street
parking, and/or dedicated lanes for public transit. Greenery and street furniture are
placed on the sidewalks to create a pleasant walking environment. The end result is a
main street that has employment, shopping and services in a very condensed area.

Read more here: Traffic Grid Lock

How to control taxes by changing the way the City of Ottawa does its budget. I propose a system called “Zero Base Budgeting".All expenses must be justified for each new period. Zero Base Budgeting starts from a “zero base” and every function within an organization is analyzed for its needs and costs No item appears in a new budget because it was in the last year’s budget. Allows staff and council to question assumptions and allows for review of all or some programs each year. Every item in the budget must be reviews based on:

•Value of program
•Cost and effectiveness of alternative courses of action and delivery methods
•How to Measure Performance
•Impact of eliminating a program(s)

Read more here: Zero Base Budgeting

Ward Councils and the Councillor’s Newsletter

Democracy works much better if citizens feel that they are part of the system and their views are heard, and understood. They must feel that they can participate in discussions about the well being of the community, and that everyone has something to contribute to make their city a better place to live. One of the easiest methods to engage citizens on local issues is through the use of Ward Councils. Some councillors and school board trustees use Ward Councils to help develop municipal policy and to address specific concerns raised by the community. To better represent the community the ward councils should be composed of local community leaders such as presidents of community and tenant's associations and other groups that operate in the community.

Read more here: Ward Council.


Ottawa Needs a Rail and Road Transit Grid instead of a Downtown Focused System

Instead of focusing most of our Transit resources in the core, we must have a combined bus and rail system that allows all transit users to go anywhere in the region. People also need to be able to use the transit system OUTSIDE of the peak hours, and on weekends!

What I am proposing is that we return to the original plan known as the ORTEP, or the Ottawa Rapid Transit Expansion Plan. The previous Mayor's (O'Brien) Task force members also recommenced a transit style grid for Ottawa. The City of Toronto is using a Transit gird for its future transit network called "Transit City". Ottawa should do the same. We need a transit grid that serves all of the Ottawa Region, not just downtown Ottawa. That is how you build a sustainable society. Read More here: Transit Grid.


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