Second City, Second Metro: An Upgrade for Manotick

A.Y. Jackson was one of Manotick’s best known residents. He would later abandon the Long Island idyll for Centretown. Image: Library and Archives Canada / National Film Board / Acc. 1971-271 NPC Box 70 Item 89167.

Swinging westward, the next contribution came from the Trustees of the Police Village of Manotick, which was then caught between four separate townships, far from their main centres, and unable to have problems solved at that level.

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THE TRUSTEES
THE POLICE VILLAGE OF MANOTICK

BRIEF

  Located at the only crossing of the Rideau River between Hog's Back, twelve miles to the north, and Kars, six miles to the south, Manotick has long been a natural centre for trade, service and social activities. Recent growth has brought many residents who work in the urban or suburban areas but prefer to live in a village, tending to reinforce rather than dilute Manotick's unique identity and character.

  The village lies in three townships, surrounding settlement in four however, and in each case Manotick is remote from the main centres of township interest and lacks sufficient votes to influence any of the township councils, particularly when parallel action by the other townships is necessary to effectively meet a Manotick problem. Yet the population of the settlement at Manotick approaches, equals, or exceeds that of Rockcliffe Park, Fitzroy, Huntley, Richmond, Stittsville, Marlborough, Torbolton and March.

  The Trustees are responsible for streets, sidewalks, snow removal, street lighting and garbage collection in the village, each of which compares favourable with other areas. In matters such as planning, building control, recreation and park acquisition however, responsibility lies with the townships and the dealings which the Trustees - and the community as a whole - have had with them have been notably less than satisfactory, due to the present system of local government. Widely different assessment practices are also evident in the four segments of the community, giving the appearance of injustice.

  Incorporation of Manotick and a reasonable part of the surrounding area as a Village and subsequently as a Town appears to be the only reasonable solution. Planning for the wider area should also consider Manotick's distinctive identity and provide room for its growth.

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  Annexation to bring Manotick entirely within Gloucester (or one of the other townships), possibly followed by dissolution of the Police Village, would be bitterly opposed because it would ignore the vital social characteristics of the settlement and the fact that there is no focus for Manotick people in the settled part of Gloucester. Failure to consider such social characteristics is a serious shortcoming of the Report on Research Findings. 

  The Trustees would be reluctant to see our community merged with any municipality. But the future Town Council of Manotick might well be able to get along with rather less authority and responsibility than is provided for towns or townships in present legislation, relinquishing to a regional agency those functions which have become essentially regional rather than local in their nature. 

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HEARING

  The submission was made by the three trustees, Messrs. D.V. Carroll, D.W. Bartlett and J.S. McNeil.

  In illustration of the difficulties which arise from the Manotick community's location in four townships, Gloucester Council's reluctance to contribute to a fire hall and volunteer brigade in Manotick was cited. From Gloucester's point of view, a location some three miles away which could serve a larger portion of the township is preferred; from Manotick's viewpoint, a fire hall in the village near the only river crossing for miles would serve the region better.

  Similarly the trustees stated that the large population growth anticipated for adjacent areas in the four townships should, under proper regional planning, be organized into a cohesive satellite centred on the existing community of Manotick. Experience has convinced them that they could deal more effectively with a regional

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authority than with the township councils on such matters of wider concern, provided that the Manotick area is given municipal status and a voice on the regional council.

  With such a regional authority to respond to area-wide needs, the view was expressed that a municipality of Manotick while sharing in water, sewer, drainage and planning programs, would not be required to provide significantly more services than supplied by the present police village, yet would still meet the need for meaningful local autonomy. The present assessment of about $1,000,000. is viewed by the trustees as an adequate base for such municipal independence, a view supported by a social auditor's report prepared a couple of years ago.

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If you’re curious about the Police Village in Ontario’s constellation of municipal statuses, click here.

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