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Second City, Second Metro: an “inflexible solution to accommodate change”

John I. Butler, Chair of the Gloucester Planning Board, was owner/builder of the modern gem at 1 Kindle Court. Source: Ottawa Journal, June 26, 1965, pp. H4-5.

In 1965, John Butler appeared before the Jones Commission in his own capacity as a private citizen rather than as Chair of the Gloucester Planning Board.

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JOHN I. BUTLER


BRIEF
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     Acceptance of the aims or principles set out on page 211 of the Research Findings implies a [sic] inflexible solution to accommodate change in the review area's make-up and addition of such areas as those in Quebec.

     The Research Findings point up the present inequitable provision of services among the review area of municipalities and the increasing need for services to pace future population growth expected largely in Ottawa, Nepean and Gloucester. Future employment increases will be proportionally greater than population growth in the City while the opposite effect is true for Nepean and Gloucester townships. The present imbalance of employment over population between municipalities results in inability to provide equitable services at an equitable tax rate; this situation will deteriorate in the future. Lack of co-ordination between governments in the area has brought uncoordinated planning and development control. Further, there is a large disparity in the population ratios per elected representative in the various municipalities.

     It is impossible to reconcile aims and principles of good government with the problems disclosed by the "Research Findings" within the present administrative structure. Municipal agreement to provide services on an equal basis would be impossible without equitable resources (dependent upon a common assessment base) or at reasonably equitable tax rates throughout the area. It is similarly impossible to coordinate planning and development under the present structure where municipalities need infrastructure and commercial assessment to improve their financial position. Further, equitable representation could not be achieved. 

     It is apparent that present municipal boundaries are unrealistic and unrelated to development problems. Annexation by Ottawa of the portions of Gloucester and Nepean within the inner

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greenbelt limits would not solve the service problems of the outer municipalities and would complicate the problem of Gloucester and Nepean by removing their largest sources of revenue. 

     In view of the foregoing, it is submitted that pooling of resources must take place under a form of central government. The establishment of a central government should include the formation of at least six semi-autonomous boroughs or wards to handle local matters and administer the central authority's social services. They should be established on the basis of some common element (e.g. cultural background, developments, etc.) with central government representation by population. Each division should be assured of an actual or projected population of around 100,000 (subject to adjustment after detailed study) and a local council with a mayor or reeve and 10 councillors, with the reeve and three senior councillors sitting on the central council.

     The central council should also include a provincially appointed Chairman and representatives of the National Capital Commission, Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation and other senior government departments necessary to coordinate senior government activities with those of the central council. Appointed members shall not exceed one third the total council complement. 

     Area administration would be on a regional and local basis with control over major governmental functions as follows:

- the central council shall finance all services with revenue collected from the area;

- and area Board of Education, consisting of the chairmen of the boards of each borough, shall establish a uniform standard of education for the area, set salaries and hire teachers, control educational facilities including special facilities, buy materials and establish a budget for all area educational needs;

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- Local Boards of Education will administer local facilities, determine local requirements and prepare local budgets for submission to the central Board;

- a central Health and Welfare Board would derive funds equally from each borough and be responsible for area health and welfare such as Old Peoples Homes etc. Local borough centres should be formed to accommodate clinics, guidance services and dealing with local welfare cases, etc. Provision of public housing would be the responsibility of the central board, with local board administration.

- a Central Planning Board should prepare an area Official Plan including land use, major roads and development policy. Zoning by-laws, development control by-laws and area-wide transportation would be under this Board. Local borough boards could process subdivision plans, determine population densities, local community facilities, etc. within the broad requirements of the central government's official plans. Committees of Adjustment should be formed at the local level.

- a regional Public Utilities Commission would control sewage treatment facilities, main collector sewer extensions, construction and operation of water purification facilities, reservoirs, major pumping facilities, large distribution mains and the provision of regional hydro-electric power possibly with zone rates. Sanitation services including garbage collection and street cleaning would be on a local basis with disposal facilities provided by the Public Utilities Commission. 

- local Boards would look after community parks, playgrounds and programs; major parks, sports arenas, beaches, etc. and coordinating sports functions would be under regional control. 

- a central Library Board would levy and area rate and procure and circulate books through local library boards;

- routine police duties could be done on a borough precinct basis with specialized police functions specialized;

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- a central fire station would handle and coordinate calls, and provide specialized fire fighting services. Borough stations would serve local needs.

- justice administration is a regional problem and should be continued on a basis similar to the present county system.

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HEARING
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     Mr. Butler, who is Chairman of the Gloucester Planning Board, made the submission in his capacity as a private citizen. It was stated that the Brief's objective was to propose a flexible plan, a practical division of labour and specialization and a municipal structure to which additional municipalities, like the adjoining Quebec communities, could be added in the future. 

     There appeared to be no way of providing this under the present municipal structure as it offered no logical means of pooling the area's financial resources. Even an extension of the County function was inadequate as a long range solution as it mistakenly overlooks the influence of Ottawa on the dormitory communities of the County. Further, it was felt that Ottawa's wealth would increase more rapidly than its population, this making it more financially able to provide future services than the remaining area. A strong City and strong County coordinated by a formal or informal administrative bridge would solve nothing but would only continue a system of competitive units on a larger scale than at present. The problem is a regional one which cannot be solved from a local and insular approach. The annexation of urban sections of Gloucester and Nepean Townships would place Ottawa in a more dominant position than it holds today; a better solution would be to reduce the City's size. Equitable representation was felt to be a municipal structural problem rather than one of administrative practice.

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     The recommendation was made for the formation of a central government agency to encompass the entire review area, with pie-shaped boroughs forming a local or second administrative level. The defining of borough boundaries, irrespective of present municipal boundaries, would require detailed study with the number of boroughs dependent on the study and its results. 

     The central authority would be the sole taxing authority and the high-level policy making unit responsible for financing, providing area services, collecting provincial grants for education, decisions on the need for and type and location of specialized educational facilities (such as trade, vocational and technological schools), cooperation with the area's transportation authority on coordinating area service, approval of local borough budgets, distribution of funds to ensure equitable borough services, mediation with provincial authorities, and other area matters. Most functions would be handled by boards (school, health and welfare, planning, parks, recreation and community service boards) as committees of the central council composed of members of council and others appointed by them; their functions would be financed generally by the whole area. A Public Utilities Commission would also be appointed by Council; provision of local water and sewer pipes would be paid on a local improvement basis by those benefitting while trunk mains would be paid on an area basis. An urban services district might serve this purpose as well as hydro. The central government would also be responsible for such things as a library levy throughout the area, the procurement of books, etc. but would make no attempt to control borough government expenditures beyond budget approval.

     It was felt that the borough administrative units should be given as much responsibility over local, specialized matters as was justifiable within the limits of the central authority's control. 

     Further opinions expressed were as follows:

1) The suggested "senior" councillors would be those getting the

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most electoral votes.

2) No consideration has been given to the formation of a ward system within the boroughs. 

3) The suggested central government would be similar to the present county form in that it would be delegated government from the local units rather than a separately elected government. Council would also consist of representatives from the senior governments (e.g. Federal Public Works, National Capital Commission, Ontario Departments of Education and Highways, Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, etc.) to provide a framework for greater coordination; they should be appointed by the agencies or government they represent and have voting rights on council.

4) There was no objection to area Members of Parliament and area Members of the Legislative Assembly sitting on the central council.

5) It was felt that the National Capital Commission should remain a separate agency to carry out its special role but that if there was conflict or if it was found that it could function better within the central government framework, it should be absorbed.

6) It was agreed that extensive legislative amendments would be required to accomplish the recommended municipal structure, but the results would be worth it.

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