"Why should a person in the Glebe be
making decisions for the rural areas?”
                                                                                          -Jack MacLaren

 
From the August 5, 2005 issue of the...

--------------  Ottawa Valley News  --------------


Re-creation of Carleton County invites rural residents back to the future

El-Chantiry dismisses CC advocates as small group disconnected from city

By Karen Secord

Ottawa Valley News

The need for rural folk to take back the governance of their affairs, from an urban bureaucracy that is neither equipped nor interested in understanding their minimalist approach to government, was the subject of a rally on the Maclaren homestead on July 31.

About 40 area residents, including representatives from several landowner groups, assembled on the historic property, high above the Maclaren Landing cottage community where the Ottawa River once supported a vibrant logging industry and where residents came to board the G.B.

 
Carleton County host Jack Maclaren and Lanark Landowner President Randy Hillier.
Greene and Weldon river boats on their way to Ottawa, to launch the drive for the “re-creation of Carleton County.” 

Proposed by Jack MacLaren, with the support of numerous rural groups and two city councillors, the creation of Carleton County would mean the separation of rural and city governance. That might mean de-amalgamation or the adoption of another model of governing where rural areas would have control over local decision-making.

 
 
"What we’re talking about here is getting back good government… Not only could we pay our own way, we could do it a lot cheaper."

                - Dwight Eastman, former West Carleton Township mayor

 
 

“Congratulations on your vision and your initiative,” said former West Carleton Township mayor and city of Ottawa councillor Dwight Eastman in his address to the group. “Because what you’re trying to do here is what we all need. What we’re talking about here is getting back good government… Not only could we pay our own way, we could do it a lot cheaper.”

 
“When I was mayor here,” Eastman continued “my
salary, the salary of the councillors and the salary of
any assistants wouldn’t come close to what my salary was with the City of Ottawa and
 
Former West Carleton Township mayor and Ward 5 city councilor Dwight Eastman stood on the porch of the Maclaren family homestead and professed his support for a new governance structure for rural Ottawa. He called the idea of Carleton County “the best thing since sliced bread.”


my office budget. So anyone who thinks this is cheaper, that there are efficiencies here, give yourself a shake. There’s absolutely not.”

Representatives of Augusta Township, the Leeds Grenville Landowners Association, Dundas Storemont Landowners Association, Richmond Village Association, Goulbourn Landowners Group, the Rural Council, West Carleton Rural Association, and the Lanark Landowners Association offered support for the drive back to Carleton County. M.P.’s Scott Reid and Gordon O’Connor, city councillors Doug Thompson and Glenn Brooks and former Rural Council president Bob McKinley all indicated support but sent their regrets.


Sunday afternoon was a casual gathering of a few invited guests, all interested in the recreation of Carleton County.
 
City of Ottawa residents in attendance at the launch of the Carleton County concept say they won’t listen to the naysayers whose favourite word seems to be “can’t.”

“It is important that we regain local decision-making on many local business and farm issues that impact so heavily on our way of life,” said Rural Council President Janne Campbell. “The very survival of our rural businesses, farms and communities depends on us being the masters of our affairs and not to continue being managed by clueless urban bureaucrats who are falling over themselves trying to produce bigger and better social engineered programs.”

There was a general feeling during the late afternoon get together that rural areas within the city, and indeed within the province as a whole, are “over-managed”, that taxpayers are not getting good value for their dollar, and that the city’s operations are “unsustainable.”

 
 
“The very survival of our rural businesses, farms and communities depends on us being the masters of our affairs and not to continue being managed by clueless urban bureaucrats who are falling over themselves trying to produce bigger and better social engineered programs.”

                                     - Janne Campbell, Rural Council of Ottawa-Carleton President

 
 

“We don’t need government help to revitalize agriculture. We need less government in our lives to revitalize agriculture,” stated the LLA’s Randy Hillier to applause. “We’ve lost control of our government just as we’ve lost control of our lands, with urban-dominated government and politicians who have taken control of our government and minimized our influence and control in decision-making. We need to take back ownership of our government.”

“Carleton County – it makes sense,” added Campbell. “To have our government truly represent us, because I’m not sure that can happen within the City of Ottawa.”

Since January 1, 2001 there have been only five rural councillors around a table of 22 city officials, including the mayor. If a new ward boundary bylaw is adopted rural residents fear that their representation would fall to three.

Coun. El-Chantiry, a Constance Bay business owner who resides in Kanata, is not supportive of the Carleton County proposal.

On Monday evening he told CJOH newscaster Max Keeping that because of the money and effort the city is putting into the upcoming Rural Summit, “this (Carleton County) couldn’t have come at a worse time.”

 
 
“It was the Rural Council that brought the idea of a rural summit to the city in December 2004...

In his address to the city in January Mayor Chiarelli made it sound like it was his idea. The rural summit should have happened at amalgamation.”
                                                              
 -Janne Campbell

 
 

El-Chantiry went on to say that rural dissatisfaction is “a perception more than anything else and this is a small group.”

Although he said the city does recognize the “disconnect with rural residents” he defended the municipality’s record in West Carleton by saying, “In my area we are very well served. We’re fixing roads and bridges that we could never have done before (as a township). He also insisted that rural residents are now better served when they are faced with a tragedy, such as last weekend’s drowning in Fitzroy, because they have access to city resources.

Effective Representation

Despite the upcoming Rural Summit, speakers such as Campbell worried out loud about the ability of the current municipal structure to provide effective representation to all its residents.

“(The city) is a poorly designed concept,” said Jack MacLaren. “I think those councillors who represent us are good people they’ve just been given a job that’s impossible to do. Why should a person in the Glebe be making decisions for the rural areas?”

Although Campbell said that members of the groups she represents are planning to participate fully in the Rural Summit, they remain cautious. She was also quick to correct the perception that it was the mayor who pitched the idea of a rural summit to the rural people.

“It was the Rural Council that brought the idea of a rural summit to the city in December 2004,” she clarified. “In his address to the city in January Mayor Chiarelli made it sound like it was his idea. The rural summit should have happened at amalgamation.”

 
 
"Why should a person in the Glebe be making decisions for the rural areas?”
                                                                                                                              -Jack MacLaren

 
 

Eastman called the municipal level of government the most important level of government because it administers services that affect residents on a daily basis, such as fire, police and road maintenance.

“Our roads aren’t in the best shape, particularly in the rural areas,” noted Campbell. “Dwight told me that when we were the Township of West Carleton they undertook every year to re-do seven roads. This year we’re having one road re-done and I think it’s because it’s so dangerous the city is worried they’re going to get sued if something happens. It’s been needing serious repair for four years.”

Obvious Solution

Maclaren called the re-creation of Carleton County, which was dissolved in 1969 to form the Regional Municipality of Ottawa Carleton, a beautifully obvious solution.

Supporters agreed that they would not take “can’t” for an answer, and although they acknowledged that it would likely not happen without a struggle they voiced their commitment to seeing it through to the end.



History of Carleton County

1800 – Carleton County created

1969 – Carleton County dissolved. The Regional Municipality of Ottawa-Carleton (RMOC) replaces old Carleton County and takes Cumberland Township from Russell County.

Within the limits of the RMOC are the cities of Ottawa and Vanier, the villages of Richmond, Rockcliffe Park and Stittsville, and the municipal townships of Cumberland, Fitzroy, Gloucester, Goulbourn, Huntley, March, Marlborough, Nepean, North Gower, Osgoode, and Torbolton

1974 – Goulbourn township and villages of Richmond and Stittsville amalgamate as Goulbourn. The townships of Fitzroy, Huntley and Torbolton amalgamate as West Carleton Township. The townships of North Gower and Marlborough, along with pieces from the townships of Gloucester, Nepean and Osgoode amalgamate as Rideau Township.

2001 – West Carleton, Osgoode, Rideau, Goulbourn, Cumberland, Nepean, Kanata, Gloucester, and Vanier are amalgamated with the City of Ottawa.

- Ottawa Valley News -


 

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