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Second City, Second Metro: Gloucester Township and Ottawa’s Hungry Eyes

Gloucester Township, new fire engine. August 10, 1956 Source: City of Ottawa Archives, CA039925.

With memories of 1947-50, Gloucester Township’s Council was not supportive of additional annexations, but did see additional roles for Carleton County.

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COUNCIL
THE TOWNSHIP OF GLOUCESTER

BRIEF
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     The Review is of great significance to Gloucester Township and its future. While the Federal government is the area's largest employer and the National Capital Commission its most significant area agency, a federal district proposal that could lead to loss of local autonomy and neglect of local considerations cannot be supported. Rather, a regularized system of cooperation, such as a Consulting Committee, should meet, discuss and solve existing problems between the National Capital Commission and local governments.

     The township, representing Gloucester ratepayers, cautions against further annexation by Ottawa to the inner greenbelt limits; the 1950 annexation brought no real advantages to either the township or annexed portions.

     Rather than impose another level of government, the County system can be extended and enlarged to incorporate certain local functions for the area outside the City of Ottawa, as follows: 

1) A County Planning Board, with area representation, can set out an overall planning scheme with local boards implementing local aspects of the plan. This more coordinated and economical County authority could utilize Planning Act powers and consult with the Ottawa Planning Board on mutual problems. 

2) The type of assessment equalization done by the County Assessor does not remedy the problems caused by the different assessment bases within the area. While County Council and the township generally favour County assessment, further consideration should await the Report of the Special Committee of Council on its feasibility.

3) The County Health Unit should be continued and services added when necessary. A County hospital system would alleviate the increasing load of City hospitals and encourage medical practitioners

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to reside outside the City. A County Hospital would benefit the heavily populated townships of Nepean and Gloucester as well as County areas presently served by Arnprior, Kemptville and Winchester Hospitals.

4) Police protection should be a County jurisdiction. The joint Nepean-Gloucester Police Force, dissolved due to municipal difficulties, was less expensive to operate than separate forces; it is assumed this would be true for a county system. 

5) Fire protection should be conducted with a County Fire Chief and Deputy Fire Chief in each municipality. The incorporation of fire protection services existing in all County municipalities and a Mutual Aid agreement with the City could result in an effective area service.

6) The present system of education should be retained. Most of the separate schools and all of the public schools have been built since the 1950 annexation. As ratepayers do not favour a larger unit of administration, the new public school system of a Township School Area Board should be allowed to prove itself. Similarly, the present agreement under which the township provides the secondary school plant for the Ottawa Collegiate Institute Board to administer has proven satisfactory and requires no change.

7) Transportation for present and future needs could be administered on an area basis by way of agreement.

8) The purchase and operation of a regional hydro system might be considered.

9) The township's present satisfactory water agreement with the City of Ottawa does not appear to warrant change. Similarly, the township's present sanitary sewer service by agreement with the City of Ottawa is considered adequate for the foreseeable future; the Ottawa system has built-in capacity for 4,000 acres in the township.

10) The 205 mile township road system (37 miles of hardtop asphalt and 20 miles of double surface treatment) coupled with the

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excellent suburban and county roads, services the township with a well built road system. It is believed that a mile of township road can be built more cheaply than a mile of City or County road.

     The above areas of township and county service are comparable and in some cases better than could be obtained through annexation by the City. Further, the township cannot visualize metropolitan government as a simplifying solution, so favours an expanded County authority and a minimum disruption of the present area municipal structure. Expansion of the more responsible County Council should be considered; it is suggested that it might be given five additional members through adoption of a member-per-vote system. This would raise present representation in Gloucester and Nepean Townships from to to four members each, and produce and overall ratio of once councillor for every 4,000 to 5,000 County citizens.

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HEARING
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     Mr. E. Armstrong, Reeve, Mr. T.C. Keenan, Deputy Reeve and Mr. F. Meldrum, Township Clerk made the submission which proposed a strengthening of the County government functions and opposed further annexations by Ottawa, A Federal District Commission or a metropolitan form of government. 

     The township felt it would have developed and serviced the portions annexed in 1950 much quicker than Ottawa has. It was suggested that Ottawa's debenture debt has increased because of annexation and that further property acquisition would have a similar effect. Ottawa presently proposes to annex 50% to 60% of the township's total assessment and population; this would affect the operating size, efficiency and economy of all services to the remaining township (e.g. fire, police, roads, etc.). The proposed area is the township's most important developing area whereas it might be the 

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least important area in an expanded city. The township felt that with its resources, it was as capable of providing for the area in question as anyone else. 

     Within a strengthened County government, the township would be removed from the Ottawa Planning Area Board and become a planning area under a County planning agency. Mutual concerns between the National Capital Commission, Ottawa and the County would be handled by informal cooperation. Support for a County hospital of sufficient size to provide adequate facilities would be approved; it it [sic] was to be small and poorly equipped, the township would rather see cooperation with Ottawa on the provision of a County wing for a City hospital. IT was felt that the County has to get behind some hospital and pay for their share of the facilities used. 

     A County assessment was favoured; the township's present assessments are about 88% of County equalization. A County police force, with cost based on a "benefit" of service formula as opposed to share of county assessment would save money it was assumed; costs for special benefits would be borne by the benefitting municipality. A County fire service was not expected to cost appreciably more as basic fire services are already being provided; it was assumed that the County would reimburse the townships for their facilities and that payment for services would be on the basis of assessment. It was agreed that public transportation on an area basis might present some problems as previous extensions of Ottawa Transportation Commission service have been on the basis that deficits would be borne by the township and ratepayers involved.

     Further opinions expressed were as follows:

1) The township contemplates extensive urban development north of Manotick; it will be served by wells, and a sewage disposal plant on the Rideau River has been approved by the Ontario Water Resources Commission initially for 10,000 persons in that area

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of Gloucester and Nepean.

2) The immediate township growth will occur within and without the greenbelt near the Ottawa River. It is not anticipated that putting roads, water and sewers through the greenbelt will necessarily increase servicing costs; the National Capital Commission will be giving financial assistance.

3) The County seat should remain in the City.

4) The township has proved by experience that they can build a better road than Ottawa, at less cost. 

5) They would approve the inclusion of Cumberland township in the County if their road system was brought up to County standard by a special grant perhaps, rather than at County expense. 

6) Township education costs to the rural areas increased substantially with the previous change from school sections to three school areas. The township does not foresee a large increase in costs with the change to a township school area; school transportation costs are rising and may present a future problem, however.

7) The township hydro commission will be appointed for a two year period but it was suggested that hydro on the basis of a township was too small a unit. It was contended that Ontario should be split into hydro regions with the units under Ontario Hydro rather than function under the local government.

8) Council membership should be increased to math municipal votes. Although municipal representation at present is disproportionate to population, this has not caused any difficulties for the township.

9) A system of direct election to county council was not favoured since it was felt that different township personnel at the municipal and at the county levels would be a disadvantage. 

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