Gatineau - Services Part 2

The second totally inadequate service in the city is the Bylaw enforcement.

The 2 major issues?
1. On Street Parking
2. Construction Noise Violations.

1. Parking - People in the city of Gatineau seem to park wherever they want.

On my street, cars often line BOTH sides of the street (where all these cars are from since every house has a double driveways is beyond me). Even if there is space on one side, people often park directly across from a car on the other side. This means that every day a section of my street is LESS than one lane wide.

Why Gatineau lets this slide, I will never know.

2. Noise Violations.
Did you know there is a 7am to 9pm, Mon to Sat construction law in Gatineau? Seems the contractors, police and by-law officials don't either.

Outside of those hours, and never on Sunday or Holidays can construction take place. So why is it that for the last 4 months I have had to listen to hammers, chainsaws and whatever else until 2 in the morning sometimes?

And don't think I don't complain - I have written 3 e-mails to the City and had a phone conversation with a "Steve Wong" about this issue ... but I still had to listen to a gas powered electric generator until 11:30pm yesterday ...

Gatineau - the Tax I almost forgot ...

I forgot in my taxes post to include this one ...

The Gatineau Tax de Bienvenue

Loosely translated that means "Gatineau Welcome Tax" and roughly it is about 1% of whatever you paid for your house. So about $2500 for your new $250,000 house.

And what services does that tax pay for? Well, nothing really. You just pay it for the privilege of moving in ...

Seriously ...

Gatineau - What about the Services?

The city of Gatineau, or at least those who try to sell houses here, talk a lot about the world class services in this city. Well, let me start with health care services ...

I will summarize by saying this - I have leaved here 4 years now and have yet to see a Quebec Doctor.

No, not by choice!

My family Dr. is in Ottawa because the waiting list for doctors in Gatineau is an estimated 6 years. Even my 1 year old daughter has to see an Ontario Doctor because there are no pediatricians taking new patients in the City of Gatineau.

Now, there is one part of the health care service that is adequate. The CLSC Gatineau has provided free immunizations for my daughter, and they sent a nurse to our home for the 48 hour and 1 week check-up of my daughter.

Does this make up for having to drive to Orleans Ontario (35 minutes) last month with my sick daughter because she is refused a 6 clinics (Yes, 6 Gatineau clinics refused to see her - a 14 month old!) - absolutely not.

If you have health issues, do NOT move to Gatineau!

Gatineau Taxes - the Biggest Lie

Lets start with property taxes:
A 2000 sq.ft home in Ottawa on a 50 x 100ft lot (approx) taxes are about $3,000 a year.
In Gatineau : $5,600 a year!

Difference? $50 a week

Income taxes:
Based on a Salary of $60,000
Ontario net per paycheck : $2,000
Gatineau net per paycheck : $1,600

Difference? $200 a week

So if you are a home owner with a $250,000 house and a $60,000 a year job, you WILL PAY about $13,000 more taxes PER YEAR than your conterpart living in Ottawa. Read that again - Gatineau taxes are THIRTEEN THOUSAND DOLLARS more ...

Why Gatineau?

3 years ago I started looking for a house. As a Public Sevant working on the Quebec side of the river, I thought I would take a look at Gatineau.

Accoring to the site "avec un agent" these were the advantages:

Advantages of Living in the Outaouais
The situation that currently prevails in the real estate sector at the national level mirrors what we are seeing in the Outaouais region.
Several factors increase the appeal of the Outaouais:
Municipal tax rates are relatively low;
New housing developments are located near urban centres;
Building lots in the Outaouais are usually larger with more extensive wooded areas;
Couples with young children can obtain quality childcare services at a cost of $7/day;
A wide range of businesses can be found nearby;
Sports facilities are widely accessible;
Quality school and health care systems are available in both French and English;
The economy is thriving.
A number of factors relating to quality of life may also be considered:
Proximity to Gatineau Park, rivers and lakes
Numerous golf courses
Exceptional bike paths
Breathtaking scenery
One final thing to consider: Gatineau is rated as the second best city in Canada in terms of quality of life. (Source: Economic Profile of the City of Gatineau, February 2004)

Well, allow me to dispell these myths one by one.

Check back often for more stories about the real Gatineau.