Groups working to settle a number of rural issues


From the...

Manotick Review

 

De-amalgamation groups tackle various issues

Margaret Sambol
Review Staff Reporter

Nov. 10, 2004

The number of Web sites advocating for de-amalgamation has been on the rise lately, along with the number of issues that de-amalgamation groups are tackling.

Out of Ottawa, the Free Press Advocate, and the Rural Council are just a few of the local groups asking for change.

The Rural Council is the most broadbased in its mandate, as de-amalgamation is just one of the goals of the members.

“We’re a coalition of a number of organizations across Ottawa,” says Bob McKinley, president of the Rural Council, adding that members come from smaller community organizations, businesses and farm organizations.

 
 
The Rural Council is the most broadbased in its mandate...

McKinley says that while a number of the problems they are dealing with are a result of amalgamation, there are also many issues that are wider.

 
 

The mission of the Rural Council is the “preservation and protection of rural rights, values and freedom from unwarranted urban regulation, through education, advocacy and political leverage.”

McKinley says that while a number of the problems they are dealing with are a result of amalgamation, there are also many issues that are wider.

For example, the Rural Council is working with the City of Ottawa to try to get the provincial government to re-consider the stringent water-testing regimen laid out in the Drinking Water Regulations 170/03. Under the current regulations, well owners are forced to shoulder the burden of paying for frequent water sampling and testing. City staff have been working on a report that the Rural Council hopes will be brought forth at the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee meeting on Nov. 25.

Another issue that the Rural Council will be following closely is the ward boundary review, which starts on Nov. 17. McKinley says the Rural Council supports adding three new wards to deal with the imbalance in representation in the growth wards of Kanata, Bell-South Nepean and Gloucester-Southgate.

“We’re strongly urging the task force to leave the rural representation alone, while fixing the other problems,” McKinley says.

The Rural Council is also working with the Ottawa Farmers Business Association, which is currently taking the City of Ottawa to the Ontario Municipal Board to challenge restrictions on farming practices in the official plan. The OMB appeal states that the by-laws are out of the jurisdiction of the municipality. McKinley says he expects the appeal to come to the OMB this winter or spring.

“Because we’re a broad-based organization, we’re not simply dealing with amalgamation,” McKinley says. “So long as we’re stuck with the city, we’ve got to learn to live within it as well.”

For more information on various Rural Council projects visit www.ruralcouncil.ca.

In the meantime, North Gower resident Doug Clark has produced the second issue of the province-wide de-amalgamation newspaper, the Free Press Advocate. The newspaper advocates for the de-amalgamation of the numerous municipalities that were amalgamated under the Tory government in Ontario, including Ottawa. The first issue of the newspaper is available online at www.freepressadvocate.ca.

Kars resident Mike Maguire has launched his own Web site specifically working to get rural residents out of Ottawa. Maguire is planning a day of action on April 14, 2005 when he is asking residents to send mass e-mails, faxes, letters and phone calls to Premier Dalton McGuinty to let him know that people want a referendum on de-amalgamation or they won’t vote for him again. Maguire’s plan is laid out at www.outofottawa.ca

Manotick Review


 

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