Me and My Obsession
I grew up one mile inside The Ottawa Greenbelt, and I never once questioned its existence when I was much younger. I just took it for granted, like the vast majority of the local people still do. It was created before us, and we all just learn to live with it, and around it.
I didn’t use the many recreational areas much as a boy, but I do fondly remember riding my 100cc Honda trail bike through it many times as a teenager, mostly around Bruce Pit. I have always been a rebel, and will always be one.
I started driving a taxi in Nepean (a suburb of Ottawa) when I was only twenty-two years old. And over the next twenty years driving cab, and driving across the Greenbelt dozens of times a day, I slowly developed this feeling that something wasn’t quite right.
I drove mostly nights, and loved the job. Cab driving is the most underrated job in the world, as far as I am concerned. I got to drive around all night, which I enjoyed. But I mostly enjoyed the freedom, and the adventure of dealing with diverse people in diverse situations. And being self employed, as almost all cab drivers in the world are.
It was as a cab driver, that I developed my growing lust for activism. I fought the greedy taxi management, the dreaded taxi union, and the incompetent city management. After my proud City of Nepean was forced to merge with incompetent Ottawa, and other suburbs, the local taxi industry went to hell. And it slowly left a hole in this essential public service that is now being bulldozed by Uber.
I said Nepean was “proud” for one reason only. My small city had the only sensible body of government that I have ever heard of. They strictly adhered to a “pay-as-you-go” policy. I love telling the story about how Nepean paid $68 million dollars in CASH for their beautiful new City Hall in Centerpointe, with a Theatre and Central Library. THEY HAD NO DEBT!
Yet we were forced to give up all of our assets in this merger with Ottawa, that has a disgusting growing debt problem, that all governments seem to have these days.
All those, often lonely, but usually interesting nights, driving across the wasteland that is much of this Greenbelt, gave me much time to think how it is such a huge mistake.
I am Peter Westaway. I own and operate Bikemobile. A small mobile bike service.
I intend to first change my City, and then proceed to change our World.
You are all invited to join me on my Crusade.