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Second City, Second Metro: A Regional Government is Favoured

Perkins Lumber founder and former North Gower Reeve Howard L. Perkins appeared before the Jones Commission to support the implementation of a regional form of government. Image: Google Maps.

Howard L. Perkins, former North Gower Reeve, appeared before the Jones Commission to support the implementation of a regional form of government.

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HOWARD L. PERKINS

BRIEF
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     Wide experience in local government service and first hand observations of local administration in Europe arouse concern for the Ottawa area's administration and economic development. 

     The Federal government through the National Capital Commission and the municipalities in the review area govern it with varying powers. This creates confusion. A regional government should be established for this geographic and economic area. Council members should be elected from each municipality for two years at least, with an appointed member from each of the Provincial and Federal governments. Council would elect a Chairman from its members and appoint committees to administer the area, the main ones being finance, education, planning, roads, health and welfare. Council could add citizens to these committees chosen from the area at large, having regard to population and qualifications. Committees would be guided by Council policy but administration would be carried out by trained personnel. Sidewalks, police and fire protection, garbage collection and other purely local matters, would be handled by local boards in villages and police villages revamped for the task; the regional government would handle such matters in the rural areas. 

     A central assessment department of the regional government would have modern computing equipment to prevent further development problems. Programs should be undertaken to provide reasonably priced housing in satellite communities, educate the people to the advantage of good planning and

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update and enforce municipal building by-laws; local boards of public spirited people could assist in this work. 

     Conservation of natural resources would be the responsibility of a Planning Board sub-committee. There are 34,000 acres in Carleton County suitable only for forest and recreational purposes and this land should be so designated in the official plan and protected against encroachment by substandard housing. A County Forest of 640 acres in Marlborough Township is a step in the right direction. 

     All review area municipalities have fire departments or agreements for fire protection. All fire departments should be co-ordinated and uniform bylaws should control fire hazards and regulate fire setting.

     One overall road authority, provincially assisted, would speed up construction of needed arterial roads and do away with present duplication and lack of co-ordinated planning, particularly in the rural areas. Similarly, one overall transportation system, Federally assisted, could provide quick commuter service; the curtailment of on-street parking in commercial areas would facilitate traffic. 

     All children must receive a high standard of education, yet lack of revenue in some areas prevents this. The newly formed township area boards should progress towards a regional authority, with administration by local boards and financing on an area wide equalized assessment. The responsibility for recreational facilities, including community use of school auditoriums, would rest with the sub-committee of this regional educational department. 

     The lack of rural hospital facilities and Ottawa hospital restrictions on non-resident doctors fostered pressure for a County hospital and participation by Marlborough, North Gower and part of Osgoode Townships in a district hospital at Kemptville. The regional

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government should immediately erect a hospital in the outer suburban area, to be administered by an independent board and financed by the current welfare levy. The newly formed County Health Unit could continue on a broader scale while motel type housing for senior citizens should be provided to supplement the Homes for the Aged.

     The Province should provide all necessary penal institutions and assume the costs of justice administration presently borne by the City and County.

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HEARING
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     The submission was made by Mr. Perkins, a private citizen and a former Reeve of North Gower Township, who stated that many of his recommendations were based on observations made while on a European tour with other Canadian municipal officials. 

     He felt that a regional government should include the City and rural areas alike, and perhaps extend into Quebec. It was noted that much of the Federal government labour force was resident in the rural County where demands for services, schools, etc. exceeded the townships' ability to pay. Allocation of the differing urban and rural costs was not seen as a problem; service costs should be borne by those receiving benefits. 

     The existing conditions new require a good planning authority and elected representation to the regional authority; the Board composition and form had not been considered. Local police would be co-ordinated under a regional under a regional police agency and with the provincial police force. 

     Motel type accommodation for the elderly is existing in England, located close to shopping facilities and this type of facility should be considered here; Carleton Lodge and other such homes should be used for chronic cases. Each hospital should have an independent Board of Directors composed of qualified people from the area; a regional group in liaison with the provincial government would be effective in coordinating hospital planning. 

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