The Carlington Summit

Who are you going to call when there is a pot-hole on your street? It could be the National Capital Commission, the Regional Municipality or the City - it all depends on exactly which street you live on and in some cases, it even depends on which end of a street your house is located. Local government, the level of government closest to the people, should not be that confusing.

The pot-hole scenario is the most obvious argument in favour of one-tier government in Ottawa-Carleton. The question is of course more complex than that and so the City of Ottawa has recommended that a neutral body be engaged to conduct a region-wide public education and consultation program on the topic. It is vital that we become familiar with all the possible options and with their effects on us before taking any action.

The financial and economic impact of four options has been explored by the City of Ottawa. A paper released in June defines these options, which include two three city models, one two city model and one city model.

The paper also provides information on how high technology can affect a one-tier environment and explores the possible school board structures. If you would like to receive a copy, please call my office at 244-5380.

I hope that, following public consultation, voters in all eleven area municipalities will be able to select their preferred governance option during the 1997 municipal election.

Core Vitality Threatened

Just when it was getting started, Regional Council's recent decision to reinstate residential development charges in Centretown could spell the end of "restoring the core", and as goes the heart of a region, so goes the whole.

Families bring life to any neighbourhood and the downtown core is no exception. Families need affordable housing. The decision to reintroduce development charges will add at least $7000 to the cost of each new residential unit, a figure that is more than the downpayment required on an affordable home in Centretown. As well, the charges are likely to kill plans for the construction of at least two new housing projects currently in the final stages of planning for the downtown core.

Provincial approval is required before the region's charges can be imposed. I continue to urge the Province to reject the Region's proposal.