Second City, Second Metro: Eastview Planning Board – “[Eastview] feels more like a family”

The Eastview Planning Board wanted to keep it this way. Image: Muséoparc Vanier.

When it came to discussions about what a Metropolitan or Regional Government would mean for the Ottawa region, the small municipalities that came to be surrounded by Ottawa were just as reluctant to enter into civic matrimony as many of the township municipalities at the city’s edge. 

The predominantly Francophone and Roman Catholic Eastview was considered (and considered itself to be) culturally distinct and separate from Ottawa and wished to remain so. Many voices in Eastview were nothing if not practical however, and were willing to cooperate with Ottawa on the more physical matters of civic governance, like water, sewer, and transportation.

Some of the reluctance also likely came from the fact that Eastview did not get formal city status from the province until 1963 and, from a political point of view, was not about to be dissolved without breaking those new powers in a little.1Phyllis Wilson. “Eastview turns city with big plans,” Ottawa Citizen, December 31, 1962, 1. 

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EASTVIEW PLANNING BOARD

BRIEF

It is inevitable that the Board, most of whose members are not versed in regional government matters, should consider Eastview's position vis-a-vis Ottawa. There is little contact with other Review Area municipalities.

It is assumed that some form of annexation, amalgamation or metropolitan government may be suggested, and it is the purpose of this brief to present the Board's attitudes toward such proposals rather than to discuss local government for the entire region.

It is strongly felt that Eastview should remain an independent political entity. It is already separated from Ottawa by the Rideau River, Rockcliffe Park and in part by the Federal properties and the Queensway. It has only recently been linked with the Ottawa transit system and has little else in common other than water and sewer services.

Also to be considered is Eastview's population, 63.3% of French Origin, 84.4% English [sic] speaking. A regional or metropolitan government with limited Eastview representation would be less dedicated to this municipality's cultural and social ideals.

The Board was created in 1963 to recognize the physical, economic and social structure of the new city. These aims can best be realized under autonomous control.

Nevertheless much of the routine servicing can best be achieved in concert with Ottawa as water, sewage disposal, hydro and public transportation are already provided. Garbage collection, snow removal, road and sidewalk maintenance and fire protection

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could possibly be brought in the same way through a central agency without affecting Eastview's social values.

If a metropolitan form of government is decided upon, the City's participation should be confined to the administration of services, with all review area municipalities retaining their political identity.

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HEARING

Mr. Fred Butler, Chairman, Mr. Mark P. Heitshu, Director, and Mr. Charles W. Leclerc, Member of the Board, made the submission and stated that the brief was written with the assumption that some governmental changes would occur.

It was explained that identical assessment procedures are felt to be used by both Ottawa and Eastview so that tax differences were considered due to tax rates; commercial assessment on Montreal Road seemed higher than on Ottawa's Rideau Street.

The co-operation and co-ordination felt to be necessary between Ottawa and Eastview has increased in the last 4 years; still such matters as traffic control co-ordination are needed. This is particularly true at the junction of Montreal Road and Rideau Street where there is no integrated control of traffic devices and no study has been made to this end. Public transportation problems have arisen for similar reasons; the point was made, however, that the Ottawa Transportation Commission operates in Eastview by franchise without financial obligation on Eastview's part and irrespective of municipal boundaries.

The desire to retain local autonomy stems from the City's ethnic, religious and social character primarily. The predominantly French speaking community feels more like a family and at home with

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its own churches and organizations; this permits residents to do business in French if they so desire. Eastview residents would have to re-establish themselves if they moved elsewhere, and they would lose this family feeling.

For this reason, as well as its geographic location, it was stated that Eastview desires to retain its political identity and control over sociological, spiritual and ideological matters but is prepared to participate, through negotiation with a central government, on physical functions and provision of services. It was suggested that services to people such as recreation, welfare, health, planning and police protection might be under local control with physical services like hydro, gas, fire protection, garbage collection, road and sidewalk maintenance subject to negotiation with the central authority. There was considered to be room for improvement in the present degree of co-ordination of municipal police forces; Eastview and Ottawa forces have no integrated radio system.

It was felt that this approach, excluding the ethnic factor, was similar to that submitted by the Eastview Public School Board.

An eastward expansion of Eastview has been considered only briefly; the City's main objectives are retention of its political identity and controlling its growth through an Official Plan and an urban renewal program. The financial aspects of such planning programs have not been considered as yet but all proposals, such as rebuilding to a higher assessment, will be studied for economic feasibility, with reliance on the financial support of senior governments.

It was stated that the City's Official Plan need not be approved by the Ottawa Planning Area Board, and while opposing anything that might affect control of their own destiny, it was agreed that the plan should be subject to an overall area plan. With a basically autonomous Eastview as an integral part of the whole area, it was felt that conflicts in planning interests and problems in area financing could be satisfactorily discussed and detailed on a step by step basis at a later date.

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Eastview was renamed Vanier in 1969 in honour of the then recently-deceased Governor General Georges Vanier.2The municipality voted to change the name in 1967, petitioned the Province to allow it in 1968, and it was made official for 1969. See Dan Karon. “Eastview name game on again,” Ottawa Citizen, September 21, 1967, 13; “Vanier City: Eastview’s new name,” Ottawa Citizen, December 21, 1967, 1; “We’ve Changed Our Name to Cité de Vanier / Vanier City,” (Ad Insert) Ottawa Journal, January 17, 1969, 21-28.

Notes   [ + ]

1. Phyllis Wilson. “Eastview turns city with big plans,” Ottawa Citizen, December 31, 1962, 1.
2. The municipality voted to change the name in 1967, petitioned the Province to allow it in 1968, and it was made official for 1969. See Dan Karon. “Eastview name game on again,” Ottawa Citizen, September 21, 1967, 13; “Vanier City: Eastview’s new name,” Ottawa Citizen, December 21, 1967, 1; “We’ve Changed Our Name to Cité de Vanier / Vanier City,” (Ad Insert) Ottawa Journal, January 17, 1969, 21-28.

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