Second City, Second Metro: Carleton County “is a form of regional government”

Carleton County officers in 1956. Image: City of Ottawa Archives, CA036364.

Carleton County Council, as the representative body most geographically aligned with the study area, had a whole lot to say to Commissioner Jones in its favour. 

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It is understood that there will be a further opportunity for submissions after publication of the compilation and analysis of all briefs.

Traditionally, there are certain fundamental areas of County responsibility, and certain others capable of inclusion through new provincial legislature departures and current municipal thinking. Presumably the higher authorities see certain virtues in the County government form.

Every County wants its students to receive and education consistent with the demands of the expanding world and the municipalities' ability to pay. If municipalities are unable to reach this standard then administrative forms must be reviewed and, if necessary, altered and extended.

Pursuant to the 1964 school legislation, a Public School Consultative Committee was appointed; it has reported to County Council and is presently active in local educational problems, notable within North Gower Township on Township School Area problems. The Committee generally agrees that a form of consolidation can prove beneficial, but the Council feels that the establishment of the Township School Area system is a giant step, the benefits of which cannot as yet be accurately measured. This system could encounter difficulties in financial adjustments among old school sections as well as adjustments in thinking within municipalities and should not be discarded in haste. If, after a trial period, the new system proves inadequate, a larger County unit would seem to provide the answer.

The Ottawa and Carleton Childrens' Aid Society has operated satisfactorily for nearly seventy years and no other arrangement could improve on the existing service.

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The County Home for the Aged was erected in 1959 at a cost of $1 million, $425,000. of which was debentured by the County. The Home with 130 beds, 100 of which are occupied, can serve the expanding community. It is well managed and provides an excellent service to the rural and suburban community areas; it has permitted the County to discontinue purchasing such a service elsewhere.

The County Health Unit established in 1964, has a gross 1965 budget of $209,235. It is staffed by five qualified Public Health Inspectors, seventeen qualified Public Health Nurses, one Medical Doctor and three part-time assistants, and a clerical staff of four. A full-time assistant and two nurses will be added by August, 1965. The Unit operates fifteen Child Health Clinics one afternoon a month, which represents more area service than the recommended basic coverage. In 1964, 17,000 innoculations [sic] were given, and Public Health nurses served all schools and provided Home Nursing services. The present County ratio of one nurse to 4,500 persons exceeds the provincial average of one to 5,000 persons. The new County health program is untested, but the County is confident that steady expansion of facilities, staff and programs will meet area needs.

The present County and Ottawa Suburban Roads jurisdiction is serving the area satisfactorily by providing a superior system of roads. It is hoped this standard will not be sacrificed if a pooling of resources and effective cooperation is required to provide adequate road systems elsewhere in the review area. The County believes the quality of roads in certain areas is basically a problem of ability to pay. A possible solution to improving the ability to pay may lie with the grants to cities and has no direct bearing on the structure of government.

Planning is recognized as an important factor and the most significant problem in the County today. In 1962, after meetings with Mr. J. O. Pearson, Department of Municipal Affairs, the County

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considered establishing a County Planning Board. Letters to this effect were sent to all townships under the Ottawa Planning Area Board and all agreed to forming a County unit. The Department of Municipal Affairs was formally requested to define the County of Carleton as a planning area so that the County might be empowered to establish its own planning unit and employ staff, initially a Planning Director, a Technical Assistant and a Stenographer with further additions dependent on planning programs and municipal needs. Nothing further came from that request. The Ottawa Planning Area Board has not and is not now functioning as an area board, but as a City board. This is due to the problems confronting it, peculiar to the City and further aggravated by the problems of the areas annexed in 1950. It is feared that, under a joint or large Planning Board, the complexity of urban problems might overshadow those of the County municipalities. While there is good reason for overall planning, this field is one of municipal jurisdiction requiring recognition of local considerations. Therefore, the County still feels that a County Planning Board can best serve the rural and suburban needs which are different from those of the urban areas; co-ordination between City and County authorities for such things as transportation systems and studies, could be a joint basis. It is expected that the same high degree of cooperation would exist between the National Capital Commission and the County Board as presently exists between the National Capital Commission and the Ottawa Planning Area Board.

It would follow that if Carleton County is constituted as a Planning Area, the proposed County Planning Board would be responsible for road planning in the area served by the Board. This area is considered the proper size for comprehensive road planning and is not so large as to be unmanageable.

The present municipal responsibility for parks and recreation facilities might possible be expanded to the County level if over-all area planning should become a reality. The County already has 640 acres

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in Marlborough Township, purchased in 1964 as a County Forest, which might serve as a nucleus for County system of parks.

There is no County Police Force though certain of the County municipalities have forces of varying sizes. Gloucester and Nepean Townships operated a joint force for some years, but now have separate forces which appear to provide a better standard of law enforcement through being tailored to the needs of their respective municipalities. There seems to be no need to interfere with the arrangements of those municipalities served by their own police forces or by the Ontario Provincial Police.

Adequate cooperation in fire protection exists between County municipalities, some of which have agreements of long standing; there is a 'Fire Protection Area' in effect thought perhaps not in fact. A County Mutual Aid agreement once proposed with Ottawa was not accepted by the City.

The Court House operation is carried out under an arbitration award with the cost borne proportionally by the City and the County. The present jail is obsolete and the City has approved the proposal for a new jail. Consultations with Provincial and other authorities have been conducted with a view to acquiring a site.

Assessments are carried out by each Township assessor in the constituent municipalities. The County Assessor, appointed since 1961, advises municipal assessors and equalizes the assessments in the County. Although equalization has helped to balance the burden of municipal services, the different bases of municipal assessment remains a basic problem. A Special Committee of County Council, appointed in February, 1965 will report shortly on the cost and feasibility of a County assessment department.

It is understood that there will be a further opportunity for commends on matters raised at the public hearings. While regional

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government is frequently discussed, we urge an examination of the existing governmental forms which might be usefully adapted to meet present day problems; County government is a form of regional government which might provide the basic administrative machinery.



The submission was presented by Dr. W. A. Taylor, Warden of the County and Mr. W. D. Baker, County Solicitor, who agreed that while opinions might differ on the virtues of County government, general approval was evidenced by the expansion of permissive legislation allowing counties to take on assessment, planning, education and health functions.

It is considered to be too early to decide on the financial and other implications of township school areas; the Public School Consultative Committee of Council has made not recommendations as yet. It was felt that much discussion should precede the extension of the Ottawa Collegiate Institute Board's administration over more of the County.

The Eastview Suburban Roads Commission was recently formed to obtain grants for local roadwork; the County feels it is not worth keeping as a separate commission. However, the distinction between County and Suburban Roads Commissions is useful from a financial if not administrative point of view and the Ottawa Suburban Roads Commission has been financially advantageous to the County. Assumption of financial responsibility for Ottawa's roads by integration of road systems might sacrifice the high quality of County roads; it was felt that standardization of Provincial grants would provide a better solution to Ottawa's road problems. Misgivings were also expressed about assuming Cumberland Township's road problems although the financial aspects pf this have not been considered;

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the Township, however, had been considered for inclusion in the proposed County Planning Board. Future decisions would be based on the County Road Needs Study and the Regional Transportation Study.

It was considered that all municipalities outside Ottawa would join a county planning agency to assist them and the growing urban centres beyond the Greenbelt in matters of land use, road, and service planning and probably prepare an official plan. No insurmountable difficulty was expected in getting the municipalities to agree to adoption of a County plan.

The differences between urban and rural planning problems and their solutions, the fact that the Ottawa Planning Area Board has of necessity a city-oriented staff, and experience with the attempt to combine rural and urban planning under the Ottawa Planning Area Board, lead the County to support separate City and County Planning Boards. The County is familiar with is own problems and financially able to hire experts to solve them whereas on a unified City-County Board rural interests would it is feared be under-represented and made subservient to the urban. Voluntary coordination and cooperation between the City and County Boards would, it is felt, be adequate to deal with joint planning problems. Local boards in Gloucester, Nepean and other municipalities would probably have to be retained for local planning and zoning functions but should be subservient to the County's plan. Although suburban-rural planning conflicts would be faced within the County, it was felt they could be resolved because they would be within the single political jurisdiction of the County.

No suggestion was made as to a County Planning Board's composition or its future relationship with the National Capital Commission. It was felt that past cooperation between the County and the National Capital Commission could have been improved.

Arrangements for fire protection and agreements were considered adequate and there have been few complaints about the

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service. There is a County mutual aid agreement in practice though not in reality, but it would be preferable if Ottawa participated.

Other points discussed were as follows:
1) The total county mill rate has been stable over the past few
years but will increase on the assumption of new functions.
2) No county parks system is contemplated.
3) Individual municipalities are best able to determine their
own police protection requirements.
4) The County Home for the Aged is readily accessible and as
satisfactory in the sociological sense as possible.

Cooperation between the County, City and other municipalities was felt to be ensured by the long history of their good relationships, as presently seen in the new jail discussions. While provincial financial assistance would have been 50% of construction costs for a jail service two or more Counties, it was decided that a one-County jail, although it will only receive a 36%-37% provincial contribution, would be easier to administer. The City-County capital and operating cost split will be determined on a time-population-usage basis.

The County would consider it a moral responsibility to share capital and operating costs of any new hospital serving the County from a location inside the Greenbelt.

It was felt that County problems could be handled within the present legislative framework.