Second City, Second Metro: Carleton County Federation of Agriculture Offers Its Vision

Carleton County Federation of Agriculture’s 1962 Executive, from left-to-right, Arthur Manchester of Carp, Donald Munro of Carp, and John Campbell of Vernon. Source: Ottawa Journal, December 16, 1961, 3.

The Carleton County Federation of Agriculture’s wide-ranging and detailed presentation to the Jones Commission highlighted the “strong need for a close urban-rural relationship in community planning, development and local government.”

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     The Federation, serving to improve the social and economic life of rural people in the County for the last twenty-five years, is affiliated with many Ontario commodity groups and is part of the Ontario and Canadian Federations of Agriculture. The Federation's interest and study has shown strong need for a close urban-rural relationship in community planning, development and local government.

     Water and land are an area's most important physical resources, yet the trend in urban growth has been to overlook the best natural use of land. There have been two major examples of land use planning in the review area; the County Forest (and several smaller forest projects) and the Greenbelt. The latter controversial program has not contained urban growth by preventing the extension of services, though it was designed for this purpose as well as to beautify the Capital area; its ultimate success depends on government co-operation at all levels.

     Water control should remain under the Ontario Water Resources Commission, with local cooperation.

     Rural people are attempting to preserve some of their history with County Council assistance. Independent, they prefer home ownership to renting and though sometimes apparently apathetic to community affairs, they have often shown the desire to retain their autonomy.

     Local government, important to the agricultural economy in the past, will be more so in the future. Both Federal (Agricultural Rehabilitation and Development Act) and Provincial (Extension Services of the Department of Agriculture) program will

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be brought closer to, and largely coordinated at the local level.

     The Research Findings indicate only 1.9% of the area's employment in agriculture; this seems questionable - are farm owners included? There are also many people employed in processing farm products and providing services to agriculture. Agriculture should be maintained as a necessary and important part of the review area.

     The Report on Research Findings omits reasons for the present structure of local government, and fails to give a comprehensive picture of the role of County Council, or of County Finances.

     The County is an existing form of regional government; its role should be expanded in the provision of services for people, and as this occurs the members of County Council may have to become directly elected to avoid conflict of interest with township affairs. The logical role of township government is in the provision of services to property, and the present structure is satisfactory for this purpose. Local councils, boards and commissions should be kept as close to the people as possible, and the trend toward greater control of local government by senior governments and particularly their administrators should be resisted; administrators should not make policy.

     Population and employment trends indicate rural Carleton is becoming a dormitory area; the area supplying the jobs must accept some responsibility for maintaining such dormitory areas. Rural renewal will be required if rural living standards are to equal urban standards; housing and renewal should be a County responsibility for the County area.

     Rural children should have educational opportunities equal to those in urban areas but there is concern over the education tax

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burden on farm properties. The Ontario Federation of Agriculture has recommended to the Provincial Committee on Taxation that it explore the theory that such "services to people be paid for by people" rather than property taxes, but it is realized this is beyond the concern of the Review. Perhaps a percentage of school taxes should be levied on the pooled industrial assessment of the County or region, with a portion of the Federal grants-in-lieu-of-taxes included in the industrial share. Local school boards under the new township area plan should retain the fullest control over policies however.

     Welfare services should be made a County of regional government responsibility. 

     Additional hospital accommodation is needed for part of the County although many donations have been made to hospitals in Winchester, Almonte, Arnprior and Carleton Place. Better ambulance service is also required. 

     A regional planning board should be established, representative of the total area, to coordinate all planning activities of all levels of government. Related controls such as building inspection and physical conditions in subdivisions should remain under local government however, as should sanitation.

     Planning and construction of arterial roads could be under regional jurisdiction with maintenance under local government; the present high standard of county and township roads should be maintained. The Provincial highway system is satisfactory and need not be affected. A County committee or the recommended Planning Board could assist in expanding public transportation.

     Several public beaches should be acquired; the Municipal Act, if utilized, provides sufficient scope for provision of parks and recreation services.

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     Police staffs should be increased, and all fire departments should coordinate their efforts but remain under local government.

     The Federation would likely oppose a form of regional government other than the County because rural representation on it would be ineffective. If such a form of regional government is established, representatives to it should be directly elected and its role should be limited to planning, services for people and coordination of provincial administration. Public hearings should be held on any such proposal before it is implemented. 



     The submission was presented by Mr. Arthur Manchester, President, Mr. Donald Munro, Past President, Mrs. J.D. Campbell, First Vice President, Mr. Harold Cowan, Member of the Executive, and Mrs. Macartney, Secretary-Treasurer. 

     It was explained that the Federation, founded 25 years ago as township units now operates as a County unit on a direct grant from County funds. Townships are recognized on the Federation Board which in turn is represented on the provincial organization. The Federation works towards the general economic and social good of the farmer and protects him in such things as marketing matters. While the Federation's program under the Agricultural Rehabilitation Development Act has been taken over by the Agricultural Committee of County Council, the Federation has set up its own committee to make representations to Council.

     The following subjects were discussed:

1) With present levels of productivity, the rate of decrease in good agricultural land and the anticipated future population growth, long range land use planning should plan future urban needs to ensure that good soil is saved for agriculture and

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marginal land is used for development. The 'speculation or farming' conflict of interest faced by farmers could be resolved by government purchase of development rights rather than by expropriation. 

2) A decreasing water table has caused some dependency on natural flow as a water source for livestock; the contamination of Green Creek is being solved and precautions to preserve the purity of the Carp River have been undertaken.

3) The attitude of Carleton County people is one of independence. 

4) Federal legislation such as the ARDA program should be closely related to and coordinated by the County level of government.

5) Water supervision should continue under the Ontario Water Resources Commission.

6) Generally, physical services and those to property such as roads, public elementary schools, water and sewer services and agreements, garbage collection, fire, police, etc. should be a local responsibility; services for people such as health, conservation, housing and renewal, school financing, public beaches, transportation, welfare, justice, hospitals and ambulances, planning and zoning, assessment, etc. should be an area of [sic] county responsibility. Some facets of provincial legislation and authority should be expressed through local agencies which represent and understand the local scene.

7) Tax money collected for public school purposes from equalized industrial and commercial assessment in Ottawa and the County ought to be put in a common fund and distributed to the area's school boards on a per capita basis. The provincial school administration agency could distribute the funds collected by the local government agencies. This financing approach, if successful, could be applied to secondary schools and other services such as public transportation.

8) The Federation generally opposes a consolidation of school units to the extent that students become numbers rather than individuals with specific and varying problems. 

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9) Elderly persons should feel that they remain a part of the community.

10) A County Planning Board should be the authority if a regional agency will not function; the City planning agency should not control the county operation.

11) Servicing costs should be borne by the areas they benefit. 

12) The Suburban Roads Commission should be dissolved and most roads should be a local responsibility, financed by means of an adjustment of the present grant system.

13) There should be a guide rule for the proper time to set up a full-time fire department rather than a volunteer force.

14) The present structure of local and county units is adequate to solve the problems of the area. The provincial authority should define and direct the duties of the two separate units and perhaps suggest where and how coordination should take place. 

15) There should be a provision to permit townships to use the ward system to elect municipal councils.