Second City, Second Metro: Parish of Bearbrook Joins the Chorus

Trinity, Bearbrook Anglican Parish on Russell Road. Image: Google Maps, May 2018.

Bearbrook Parish in Cumberland Township joined the existing chorus of township figures (somewhat reluctantly, it seems) and set out its conditions for joining with Carleton County.

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     Cumberland Township must have:
1) adequate representation to the proposed Regional Board on
   the basis of contribution to the gross regional and/or
   gross national product;
2) built-in protection against escalation of property taxes;
3) representation on Planning Boards and effective regional
   planning and development control;
4) affiliation with closer health units than the Prescott and
   Russell Health Unit;
5) library facilities which would be purchased from Ottawa;
6) improved medical facilities;
7) more adequate fire protection;
8) enforcement of legislation regarding waste disposal and 
   purity of water supply;
9) a more accessible location, such as Ottawa, to conduct
   township litigation.

     The township and Ottawa form a natural economic unit. The purchase of secondary education from Ottawa since 1962 and the incorporation of the township with the Carleton Deanery in 1961 have proven successful.



     Rev. R.L. Reaume and Messrs. Adrian Hayes, Erwin Hamilton, Hayden Coburn and Leslie Armstrong presented the submission. The Parish is Bearbrook is generally defined as covering the southerly portions of Cumberland and Clarence Townships with churches at Canaan, Bearbrook and Vars.

     While the brief was prepared on the assumption that a form of regional government would be recommended, it was stressed

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that the Commission had no preconceived idea as to what changes in form, if any, would be recommended.

     Considering that the average of Ottawa's present senior government representation and that resulting from the recent redistribution is higher per individual than Cumberland Township's, inadequate township representation on a regional government and its effect on the agricultural industry is feared. Population is not considered the basic criteria and representation on the basis of contribution to the gross regional product was recommended. If this proves impractical, it is felt that the township have a minimum of two representatives. 

     Concern was expressed that city assessors might not fairly appraise rural property so causing its assessed value to increase. There was doubt expressed as to the proper application of the Assessment Act in rural portions of newly incorporated metropolitan areas. However, the township should be prepared to accept its fair share of any increase in regional government costs but only commensurate with benefits received. Costs for new service installations, for example, should be allocated to those who benefit. Further, rural economic survival is tied to property values more than in an urban area; increased taxation could put some farmers out of business as it is close to this point now.

     While it was suggested that Planning Board representation ought to reflect the type of area economy, it was pointed out that strong rural representation will not necessarily insure better land use controls or decisions in the best interest of the rural economy, and that the solution might lie in more adequate planning machinery.

     Other points discussed were as follows:
1) Library facilities could be provided through a mobile unit from Ottawa to the township schools; there were no United Counties' library facilities at present.

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2) The control of water resources and wells against waste disposal contamination could be a health unit of conservation authority function. While some waste disposal regulations exist, the are not properly enforced.

3) Secondary education has become a regional or metropolitan government responsibility. The township's present arrangements with Ottawa are considered more advantageous for students than alternative arrangements with Rockland High School would be.

4) The annual township grant of $800. to each of the three fire units permits less than minimal equipment and service. As units must return any unspent grant portion at year's end, it was felt that there should be less control over grant monies.

5) Hospital facilities, health clinics and extension of doctor's privileges at Ottawa hospitals were considered necessary.

6) Distance and time make justice administration at L'Orignal more costly than if it was at Ottawa.