When Ottawa Mayor Don Reid and a team of other municipal politicians and officials appeared before Murray Jones, they highlighted the need for an amalgamated single-tier municipality inside the Greenbelt. While the City of Ottawa clearly did not get its wish granted by the Jones Commission, it would as part of the 2001 amalgamation – and then some.
Perhaps unsurprisingly at this point, the Jones Commission heard from another Greenbelt community that independence was preferred.
It was not just the Townships of Nepean and Gloucester that had a hard time with the National Capital Commission’s approach to the Greenbelt: those who owned property in what became the Greenbelt weren’t entirely impressed either.
Picking up from the last one, it’s worth noting that it is not been entirely frequent that a planning, development, or housing issue particular to Ottawa has been considered to merit much more than the cursory attention of Ontario’s policymakers at Queen’s Park and its environs. To be certain, while these are absolutely within the Province’s purview, Ottawa has tended to be treated as something of a peripheral concern. Or at least to a greater degree than most of Ontario’s other municipalities, a bit of a self-governing colony, and even if not, it was normally easier to leave most issues to the City and the Dominion.
As I continue my brief hiatus from transcribing the materials from the Ottawa, Eastview & Carleton County Local Government Review (1965) chaired by Murray Jones, it occurred to me that something is missing. One of the central difficulties pointed to in the dozens of testimonials and even in Jones’ analysis is the existence of the National Capital Greenbelt. For the rural and new suburban municipalities of the day, the Greenbelt represented a significant restriction and a loss of potential revenues, and for others it made any sort of urban typology for the Ottawa region hard to establish and operate.
The so-called “Green Belt” was, at its inception, incredibly contentious. Even today, Ottawa’s greenbelt is not free from controversy or conflict and those elsewhere in Ontario can be even more of a lightning rod.