Second City, Second Metro: Unaccountable Capital Commission

Messrs. D.C. MacPhail, O. Fisher, and Mrs. F.T. Graves appeared before the Jones Commission to raise the issue of a secretive and unaccountable National Capital Commission making liberal use of its powers of expropriation.

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     The development of Ottawa and area is complicated by apparent duplication of planning authority. There are many instances of plans, made or approved by local government, being nullified by previously unknown plans of the National Capital Commission imposed by extensive use of private property expropriation. 

     Examples include the recent expropriation of an apartment building at the beginning of construction, at Sparks Street and Bronson Avenue; expropriation of a model on Highway 31 a few weeks after completion; and expropriation of several new houses in Rothwell Heights, whose construction a few years before had been sanctioned by the National Capital Commission.

     This raises the following questions:

a) Should not the building permit issuing authority be required to protect the resulting buildings from expropriation for a reasonable amount of time?

b) Why should citizens in compliance with the requirements of elected Provincial authorities be uprooted by the National Capital Commission which has no elected area representatives on its Council?

c) Should not the senior governments consider how to avoid the kind of anarchy which results when officials plan late, arbitrarily and secretly, then impose their plan on one already existing? 

     It is suggested that the arbitrary over-ruling of elected authorities by appointed officials is unworthy of a democratic country and that the senior governments should outline the limits of their constitutional authorities over municipal matters for the citizenry. Unless Ontario intends to cede its authority over such matters, it should contest this duplication. 

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     The provision of regional services such as hydro, water and sewers would be shared by agreement of the two municipalities, with the Board of Arbitration enforcing cooperation in the event of disputes and dictating the degree of integration. The Board of Arbitration would thus adjudicate rather than legislate, and would not constitute a senior level of government per se.



     There was no hearing in connection with this Brief, as none was requested.