Thursday 5 November 1992

London-Middlesex Act, 1992, Bill 75

City of London

Tom Gosnell, mayor

Jack Burghardt, deputy mayor

Paul Yorke, councillor

London Home Builders' Association

Michael Zebregts, president

Lars Bygden, vice-president

London Development Institute

Ric Knutson. representative

Speyside Corp

Ben Lansink, representative

London Public Utilities Commission

George Avola, chairman

Municipal Electric Association

I.H. Jennings, chief executive officer

Middlesex County Board of Education and teacher affiliates

Donna McIllmoyle, chairperson, board of education

Ted Anderson, director, board of education

Ruth Jackson, Middlesex Women Teachers' Association

Town of Westminster

Barbara Mitrow, councillor

Township of London

Albert Bannister, clerk-administrator

Township of West Nissouri

Allen Budden, reeve

Canadian Union of Public Employees, Ontario division and locals 4, 101 and 107

Doug Wheeler, president, Local 107

Mariana Grube, president, Local 101

Syd Ryan, president, Ontario division

Len Forster, representative, Local 4

Town of Westminster employees

Ken Brown, representative

Middlesex Federation of Agriculture

Doug Duffin, representative

Bill Irwin, president

Middlesex Women for the Support of Agriculture

Carol Small, chairperson

Ben Veel and associates

Ben Veel, mayor, town of Westminster

Tom Mulligan, chair, parent advisory board, Regina Mundi College

Bill Neville, vice-principal, Regina Mundi College

Harry Froussios, representative, Hellenic Community Centre

Joan Norris, chair, Lambeth Citizens Recreation Council

Pauline Nanni, resident, town of Westminster

Gene Ennis, councillor, town of Westminster


*Chair / Président: Hansen, Ron (Lincoln ND)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Sutherland, Kimble (Oxford ND)

Caplan, Elinor (Oriole L)

*Carr, Gary (Oakville South/-Sud PC)

Christopherson, David (Hamilton Centre ND)

*Jamison, Norm (Norfolk ND)

Kwinter, Monte (Wilson Heights L)

Phillips, Gerry (Scarborough-Agincourt L)

Sterling, Norman W. (Carleton PC)

Ward, Brad (Brantford ND)

Ward, Margery (Don Mills ND)

Wiseman, Jim (Durham West/-Ouest ND)

Substitutions / Membres remplaçants:

*Cunningham, Dianne (London North/-Nord PC) for Mr Sterling

*Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L) for Mr Phillips

*Ferguson, Will, (Kitchener ND) for Mr Jamison

*Grandmaître, Bernard (Ottawa East/-Est L) for Mr Kwinter

*Mathyssen, Irene (Middlesex ND) for Mr Christopherson

*Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND) for Mr Wiseman

*Wilson, Gary (Kingston and The Islands/Kingston et Iles ND) for Mr Ward

*Winninger, David (London South/-Sud ND) for Ms Ward

*In attendance / présents

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Mills, Gordon, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs

Riddell, Brian, assistant deputy minister, municipal operations, Ministry of Municipal Affairs

Clerk / Greffier: Decker, Todd

Staff / Personnel: Campbell, Elaine, research officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1008 in committee room 1.


Resuming consideration of Bill 75, An Act respecting Annexations to the City of London and to certain municipalities in the County of Middlesex / Loi concernant les annexions faites à la cité de London et à certaines municipalités du comté de Middlesex.

The Chair (Mr Ron Hansen): Good morning. I'd like to call the standing committee on finance and economic affairs to order. It being Thursday, November 5, we're going to be on Bill 75, An Act respecting Annexations to the City of London and to certain municipalities in the County of Middlesex.


The Chair: This morning, the first witness is Mr Tom Gosnell, mayor of the city of London. Your worship, would you identify your colleagues also for the purposes of Hansard? You may begin. You have one hour, until 11 o'clock.

Mr Tom Gosnell: Thank you, Mr Chairman. Joining me today in putting forward the city of London's presentation is our deputy mayor, Jack Burghardt, and Councillor Paul Yorke. Our city administrator, John Fleming, is also here to answer any questions that you or the committee may have for any of us.

At the outset this morning, let me say that the issue of boundary adjustment or annexation has been on the table in the London-Middlesex area for over a decade. Deputy Mayor Burghardt, myself and, over the years, various members of city council and city administration have been involved in open, extensive, intensive negotiations that bore little fruit in the way of a made-in-London-Middlesex solution.

We, as a committee representing London, come to these hearings not only to demonstrate the need for boundary adjustment but to point out the substantial amount of work that is already under way to facilitate the future.

Following our brief, we look forward to answering any of the questions you have on these issues.

The city of London views annexation as the key issue facing both London and Middlesex. Bill 75 will have a dramatic and positive impact on the development not only of London but the entire region.

With all due respect, the real issue before you is the question of urbanization: orderly urban growth to meet the economic, environmental and social wellbeing not only of the city of London but the entire London-Middlesex area. A wide range of sensitive issues from land use to environmental controls to social planning must be addressed so that the citizens of London and our neighbouring municipalities clearly have a vision for tomorrow. A shortsighted, piecemeal solution is simply not adequate.

London firmly stands behind Bill 75's proposal for a one-tier government system responsible for a large urban area, for several reasons, including a reduced cost in delivery of service and duplication often found in two-tier systems.

Bill 75 accomplishes a broad spectrum of answers to serious concerns. It places lands having the greatest potential for industrial development, like those abutting the Highways 401, 402 and 100 corridors, as well as the London airport area, under the city's control, thereby improving viability of servicing for these areas and taking full advantage of the city's economic development services and programs. We believe London is in the best position to provide services efficiently and reap the benefit of economies of scale necessary in this competitive marketplace.

In fact, in recent months the positive impact of Bill 75 has already come to the forefront. Dimona Aircraft of Austria has purchased a vacant manufacturing facility and will begin the construction of light aircraft, hopefully within the year. This plant requires municipal water, sewers and services to become operational, services that only the city has the wherewithal to provide. Without boundary adjustment, this facility and the potential for literally hundreds of jobs and millions of dollars in investment would have been lost, not only for London but our entire region and Ontario as well. It is the confidence of investors like Dimona that built this province. We simply cannot lose sight of that in an economy that is facing unprecedented challenges from a global market.

Annexation -- the clear delineation of the urban and the rural -- including the buffer zone that Bill 75 creates while new official plans are being developed, will eliminate much of the intermunicipal planning disputes and competing interests for development by placing the urbanizing areas along the city's current boundary under the city's control. Further, it provides greater consistencies in policies, procedures, permit fees and development charges in the area subject to economic development pressure. We believe that too will maintain investor confidence in our area.

Boundary adjustment also enhances the city's ability to implement transportation and transit planning to improve the efficiency of the movement of goods and people within, through and around the urban area.

The passage of Bill 75 should facilitate the extension of city sewer and water services within our existing capacity to accommodate development in substantial portions of the boundary expansion area, thereby expediting the creation of growth opportunities, investment and jobs.

The strategy also incorporates all of the drainage areas that are serviceable through the extension of existing city sewer systems as identified in the pollution control planning study currently being carried out by the city of London through McLaren Engineering. City water services can also be extended to these areas.

Bill 75 provides sufficient lands suitable for urban development to provide for a minimum of 20 years' growth and a potential population growth of 100,000 and more, while allowing for a reasonable element of choices among sites with various locational attributes.

Mr Jack Burghardt: We strongly believe that every measure must be taken to protect the environment. Bill 75 avoids urban sprawl and improves the efficiency of land use by providing for development on full municipal services at appropriate densities in an orderly sequence of development. It reduces the competition for assessment growth and the resulting potential for the introduction of urban uses at inappropriate locations. And Bill 75 provides the optimum solution for existing and potential environmental problems associated with the inadequacies of private waste disposal systems in the Lambeth and Hyde Park areas with an extension of city sewer systems.

Another important factor is that it will allow for the creation of affordable housing opportunities in all parts of the urban area.

Bill 75 recognizes that London has an appropriate policy framework and planning capacity to provide for the protection of natural features such as flood plains, ravines and steep slopes, wetlands, woodlots and other areas of ecological significance. Designated open space systems or areas that extend to the current boundary, such as the Medway Valley, Meadowlily Woods, Warbler Woods, Westminster Ponds complex and the north branch of the Thames River Valley, can be appropriately extended into the annexed areas.

The city of London will provide for the protection of farm land and rural character in the areas not required for development through the adoption of appropriate official plan policies. Such policies would require the orderly staging of development and infrastructure expansion, area planning to achieve reasonable densities of development, and the adoption of consent policies and zoning for the rural areas that will discourage non-farm-related land uses and land severances.

The orderly management of growth within the urban area will discourage land speculation and encourage the retention of land in agricultural production.

Some basic facts simply cannot be overlooked:

The city is the only municipality within the greater London area that has the financial resources to undertake the cost of the major infrastructure projects necessary to achieve effective growth management and environmental protection.

The extension of city services to the serviceable portions of the proposed amalgamation and annexation areas is the appropriate form of infrastructure investment to expedite economic growth.

Amalgamation of the city and Westminster avoids the problem of assessment loss to the town and provides some cost saving by eliminating the duplication of some administrative functions.

Bill 75 will result in a more equitable distribution of social program costs across the whole of the urban area.

The assessment loss to the surrounding townships is kept at manageable levels by not expanding the boundary to include communities such as Arva, Thorndale, Dorchester and Delaware.

As deputy mayor of the city of London, I'm also charged with the responsibility of being budget chairman. During the past few months and in conjunction with ministry staff, our city administrator John Fleming has presented our council with a sketch of the potential impact of Bill 75 on London ratepayers.

In 1993 the service levels to be provided in the merged areas will be the same as what was provided in 1992. Our research indicates that the costs of providing these same service levels in the merged areas in 1993 will not be significantly greater than what was incurred in 1992.

As a major consideration, council will have to determine the appropriate levels of service for the annexed areas and the rate at which improvements will be phased in. It should also be emphasized that any capital costs will be financed in accordance with the city's financing ratio.

A chart prepared by our city administration and provincial staff is attached for your review as part of our brief. Taking into account the proposed compensation package to the annexed municipalities and transition assistance from the province, the bottom line reveals a 2.7% increase in costs directly attributable to annexation. On an average property tax bill in the city of London that translates to $23.40. That quite clearly dispels rumours of taxes doubling overnight as a result of annexation. And those figures reflect a level of service to annexed areas that in many instances is beyond levels enjoyed today.

The figure of $23.40 reflects the long-term fiscal responsibility and planning demonstrated by the city of London for many years. As a matter of fact, we have already received reports from our various department heads that show the figure of $23.40 can be pared down.

Londoners already enjoy the lowest municipal taxes of any city over 100,000 in Ontario. With annexation, that position will only strengthen.

Mr Paul Yorke: Mr Chairman, it would be remiss of us if we did not also mention the extensive work that is already under way in an effort to facilitate the January 1 deadline for boundary adjustment. Various committees, boards, commissions and councils have come together to begin the planning necessary to bring about as smooth a transition as possible.

Council has approved this week the mailing of offers of employment to all those affected by Bill 75, subject only to the bill becoming law. We have done that because we believe that staff affected by the bill deserve some certainty about the future of their employment and their careers. The task force on local government restructuring has already made several substantial motions which have been adopted by council.

The interim boundary transition committee, established by the London city council, is well into reviews of matters concerning not only social planning, but emergency services, human resources, financing, the buffer zone and the public utilities commission amalgamation.


In the area of that amalgamation a coordinating group, consisting of senior city officials and the PUC, has been established to work out the details of the appointed hydro-electric commission.

Several resource groups have been established and are currently meeting to:

(a) verify the services that have been identified as being provided;

(b) determine the recommended allocation of services, whether to the hydro-electric commission or the city, or whether they are shared and delivered by the hydro-electric commission or the city;

(c) identify staff required for each service.

It should also be noted that the city council supports the concept of an appointed hydro-electric commission, for reasons I can elaborate upon later, if you wish.

As well as those efforts, city staff and Mayor Gosnell have been actively involved in ongoing boundary transition meetings involving technical and related matters with elected and administrative representatives from all municipalities affected by annexation. Under the guidance of ministry staff, those sessions have produced excellent results.

There has also been a great deal of conjecture about land use and planning by the city of London within the lands annexed in 1961. We have the evidence for you that demonstrates responsible densities and population projections.

First and foremost, London compares favourably to other municipalities. The built residential density in London is comparable to other municipalities: for example, London, 16.4 units per hectare; Kitchener, 14.4; Etobicoke, 14.1; Windsor, 17.9.

London has provided for higher-density residential development. The planned residential density for new areas in London is even greater than the present residential development densities: in our new subdivision to the southeast, Jackson, 28.6 units per hectare; for Kilally Road in the northeast, 25.6 units per hectare.

London acquired already developed residential areas in the 1961 annexation that had low-density residential development. Most of them were on septic systems. Some areas that were already developed at the time of the 1961 annexation at generally low densities were Byron, 7.9 units per hectare; Oakridge, 6.2 units per hectare; and, Orchard Park, 5.7 units per hectare.

Since 1961, new development has been at higher densities than existed in the annexed areas. The residential density in annexed areas of London developed since 1961 exceeds the density of annexed areas that were developed prior to 1961: in Stoneybrook to the north, 15.4 units; Westmount to the southwest, 18.9 units; White Oaks, 24.3 units per hectare.

It should also be stressed that the recent development activity outside the city has been at lower densities than development within the city. The residential density in new subdivisions in areas adjacent to the city have been low-density residential developments: for example, Lambeth Walk in Westminster, 5.8 units per hectare; South Winds in Westminster, 5.4 units per hectare; the Monteith subdivision in Thorndale, 5 units per hectare; proposed OPA number 12, Westminster, 12 units per hectare; and, OPA 25 in London township, 4.3 units per hectare.

The composition of housing stock indicates that there is less single detached housing stock in London than in other Ontario municipalities. The percentage of single detached units in London is generally lower than in other Ontario municipalities: London, 50.5% of our housing stock is single; Hamilton, 52.1%; Waterloo, 56.5%; Sarnia 68.5%; and, Windsor, 62.7%.

Also, London provides proportionately more apartment units of five stories and greater than other Ontario municipalities: London, 19.8% in apartments; Hamilton, 18%; Waterloo, 12.3%; Sarnia, 9.5%; and, Windsor, 13.7%.

We believe this data graphically show responsible planning, responsible land use and a rational projection for future needs.

Mr Gosnell: In conclusion, boundary adjustment is essential. London has demonstrated since the 1961 annexation an excellent fiscal, land use and planning strategy. This community is one of the top Canadian cities, not only from an economic standpoint but from a planning and lifestyle standpoint as well. Annexation will not only solidify but improve that position.

London is poised to provide the municipal leadership and infrastructure needed for responsible growth in this vital part of southwestern Ontario. We are challenged and excited by the opportunity and the need to plan in an entirely new way.

As I said at the outset of my remarks today, this is an issue of urbanization and of which community is best poised to provide affordable municipal services. It is our belief that following January 1 of this upcoming year, the strong and prosperous relationships that have grown and developed between London and its rural neighbours over many generations will continue to thrive.

Londoners, under Bill 75, have many challenges to face but will continue to prosper. We are committed to supporting the efforts of Middlesex county as it too defines a new role for itself in southwestern Ontario. Middlesex will prosper, with expectations and responsibilities clearly defined, not only for the remainder of this century but well into the next as well.

Thank you for the opportunity of making this presentation.

The Chair: Thank you. We'll have about 10 minutes per party, and Mr Mills has some comments from the ministry.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): To enable the committee to focus and perhaps understand the overview of the financial impact sheet, page 12 of the presentation, I'd like to ask the assistant deputy minister for Municipal Affairs, Mr Brian Riddell, to come forward and expound on that financial impact for a few moments, if that's agreeable.

Mr Brian Riddell: I'm Brian Riddell, assistant deputy minister, Municipal Affairs. Further to the comments made by Controller Burghardt about the compensation and the work that's been done in cooperation and partnership between the city and the Ontario government, I just want to say that a lot of work has been done to try to put some precision to the compensation figures. The reality is that people in the area are very concerned about what the impact of the annexation will be, and particularly concerned about the impact on their taxation. That was a concern the minister certainly had when he made the announcement, that the annexation in the London-Middlesex area shouldn't have an impact in the area on municipal tax bills. Certainly, the work the city has been doing is working along to try to minimize that.

I should say there's a fair amount of additional work to be done. The work you see in that table is based upon some preliminary information. There is more work that has been done to put some precision to those figures, but I think we have to recognize that there are some unknowns. Things like the new official plan in the area is one that neither the city nor ourselves are able to put any precision to at this time, but we're working towards doing that.

There are other elements of the compensation or the cost elements, particularly in 1993 and 1994, which really require more what I refer to as pre-engineering or detailed design. The new communications system is one that involves a new technology in terms of providing those kinds of communications services for protecting the area, and there has to be a lot more work done to determine the actual cost implications of that. At the same time, the city is looking at some of its other departments in terms of how they might respond as well in terms of the services they will provide in the annexed areas.

The Chair: For the committee, has there been any ballpark figure of the mill rate increase? There was $23.40, which would look like an increase. Are there any ballpark figures?

Mr Burghardt: If I may --

The Chair: No, from the ministry. Have they done any studies on that?

Mr Riddell: No, the information provided by the city is really the information as we know it now.

The Chair: Fine, thank you. We'll start off with Mr Eddy.


Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): I'd like to welcome the delegation from the city of London. I appreciate their input and a well-prepared brief.

As an opposition member, of course, I find myself at a great disadvantage when it comes to talking about the compensation to and by the city of London, noting that the parliamentary assistant has said that compensation will be paid to county and, I believe, affected local municipalities now by the city and/or the province. Were those the words: and/or the province? I believe that's because negotiations are presently ongoing, so we may not know what that actually is by the time the government passes this act. I'd like to ask a few questions primarily about the compensation package.

Realizing that the amount of land is far in excess of what was requested and perhaps wanted by the city of London, I can understand the council's acquiescence to the package, because it's being offered on a platter. But I wonder, first of all, if you could comment on the compensation package. I don't know what it really is at this point in time. Does the city find the compensation package for the deal proper and acceptable?

Second, on the matter of compensation, realizing that the city is taking on tremendous additional responsibilities, and I expect will want to proceed with considerable development, and being advised by individuals, and knowing indeed, that the water supply is in question at the present time and that sewage treatment facilities are, in some cases, either at or over capacity, I've been advised, does the compensation deal include very large provincial funds for those particular services? I hope you've nailed the province to the wall for an additional Great Lakes water supply, because now's your chance, this is the chance -- and the sewage treatment, realizing that the town of Westminster does have a sewage treatment plant that's shared by the city and the county.

Mr David Winninger (London South): Is there a question in this, Ron?

Mrs Dianne Cunningham (London North): Three, David.

The Chair: You have 10 minutes.

Mr Eddy: We can start over and do it one by one, if it's confusing to the member opposite.

Mr Gosnell: I think I kept track of the questions. We don't want anyone to have the misunderstanding that the package that's being put forward in terms of land is one being foisted upon us. This reflects what we asked for in April 1991, prior to the arbitrator being appointed, so it's very consistent with what we had asked for, and we stand very strongly behind that request, which is what is in Bill 75.

Secondly, on the compensation package, we're satisfied that the numbers that we've worked out are responsible and reasonable. London never did this as a tax grab, and we said that right from the beginning, that we wanted to show fairness and equity as it related to the neighbouring municipalities. Our understanding is that that has been accomplished.

Further to that, we've agreed that the suburban road payments, which Mr Eddy of course would be very familiar with, being clerk-treasurer of Middlesex, would continue not only for the 10 years that we've agreed to but in perpetuity, as it has for so many years in the past in London's area; that will continue. So we feel confident that in reviewing the services we're providing, we've been on the small-c conservative side of the estimates. We've made sure that we've accounted for as many different costs as we can, including over $3 million for official plan work, and we have no questions or reservations that we have adequate services for the expansions within the next five to 10 years.

In fact, by the summer of 1994, we anticipate picking up an additional 11 million gallons per day of water from the Elgin pipeline system. That has now gone out to engineering and environmental review; it's basically completed, the environmental part. We expect to have that supply of water in place by the summer of 1994.

In terms of sewage, we have capacity in our system. It's something that we are continuing always, as most cities do, to upgrade and review from time to time.

That's why it's so critical that we determine now the extent of the land. The piecemeal solutions of the past don't work, because we cannot adequately plan for the tens of millions of dollars of future service requirements for urbanizing in the London area. By knowing the area of the watershed and the areas that can be urbanized, we can make the proper planning decisions, which not only saves the taxpayers of London dollars, but also saves the province of Ontario many hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars worth of expenditures.

We've given a lot of thought, Mr Eddy, to your considerations. We recognize the responsibility we're taking. As most members here will recognize, larger cities develop new areas with development charges, which are those charges placed on the sale of lots or apartment units or commercial development, paid for by the consumers of those new products at the time of development or purchase of the property, so we've taken that into consideration.

London is in a unique position. It's very strong financially. It has an AAA credit rating and the lowest taxes of any city over 100,000 in Ontario. In no way do we wish to jeopardize that, but it's given us an opportunity to financially and responsibly plan for the future.

The Chair: Mr Eddy, you still have some time left.

Mr Eddy: We note the fiscal responsibility of the city of London as you've set out in the paper and that's certainly to the city's credit.

In regard to the Lake Erie water pipeline, will the province be participating in that? Maybe you've said that. I'm not clear on that. Who will be paying the costs of the extension of the east Elgin water system?

Mr Gosnell: The total cost of that system is, I believe, 10% to 15% provincial and the rest is user pay. As you know, with the Huron system, which is about $60 million to $70 million, the taxpayers of London, who are about 95% of the use on it, have paid for that system. Any review of the need for that system clearly indicates that it's required. It can be financed properly and it keeps the water rate to the municipalities of London and surrounding areas which can avail themselves of that service among the most enviable in the province in terms of cost.

Mr Eddy: That's important news. In view of the fact that we are told the negotiations, with the city at least, are ongoing regarding the compensation package, I'd like to know if that's so. I suppose as changes are proposed, that's up to city council's approval and we'll be hearing more about that. Is it ongoing or finalized?

Mr Gosnell: I can give you an example if you look at the sheet that we provided, page 12. When it relates to policing costs due to annexation and the improved service levels, the 2.7% we're talking about has a positive impact on the areas that are being annexed in terms of fire protection and police protection, just two of those services. Now if the city wants to go back to providing on January 1, 1993, no more than the services that are being provided now just for policing, that mill rate increase would drop from 2.7% to 2.2%.

The question that we'll be asked by our council at budget time is, at what level are we going to provide services to the new area? Obviously, they're paying for X level now. Our intent is to try, over a very short period of time, to bring it up, as much as possible, to the level that's enjoyed by the city of London, within reason. You obviously cannot have the same response times on fire and police calls as you do in a more dense area. I think it's an indication that we have overestimated the costs, that we have not underestimated them. On the other side of the ledger, it's very difficult for us to predict what the new revenues will be.

The reason we're here and the reason the government -- not only the past government but this government -- is proposing this type of an annexation or boundary adjustment is for the opportunity for enhanced revenue to the province. That will mean revenues not only to the city of London but to all taxpayers in the province of Ontario. I think all of us, whether we're at the local level or the provincial level, have a responsibility to create jobs, to create investment opportunities and to get our public back to work. London represents that opportunity.

The Chair: I'm sorry, Mr Eddy, that I have to cut you off; the time's up. Ms Cunningham.

Mrs Cunningham: Welcome. I thought I did a good job of talking about London down here, but you guys really do a very good job, so that's nice.

Mr Eddy: Is this London day?

Mrs Cunningham: I was about to give you a good one too, Mr Eddy. The member for Brant-Haldimand has been so involved in this for so many years that I appreciate the questions he asks, because they're very technical and not the kind I could ask. You're going to notice a distinct difference in the questioning now.

This is a very important issue, of course, both to Middlesex county and the city of London and there's no one questioning the tremendous need for annexation or the long overdue decision on this. Certainly, we all know what it's going to do to the southwest Ontario economy, hopefully, and those are certainly the projections we have. But there are some concerns, and I'm glad the mayor and the deputy and the councillor are here today, because I want to get their responses on the record. It'll help me in my work as I try to represent the citizens of London, and many in Middlesex, who are writing.


I'm just going to ask four questions and you know you can take your time in responding to them. The biggest issue I have to respond to is the size of the annexation. I think that almost without exception, and it may be your view as well, people are concerned about the large size. I'd like you to respond to that in any way you feel is appropriate.

I'd also like you to respond to the process, because that's the next largest concern I have, in two ways: first of all, the timing. There's a great deal of confusion as to how many times the county and the city have gotten together, and the length of time. Sometimes there's a great deal of animosity around the use of the terms "10 years" or "5 years," if you could clarify that.

The second part of the process question that I think is extremely important to the members of the Legislature who represent rural Ontario, which may be facing this kind of an amalgamation in the future, is that they want to know if you think this is a good precedent, meaning "arbitration," for future annexations. If I could get your opinion on that, it would be helpful, because you've now gone through it and you've watched other annexations in the past.

The last question, and I think equally important, is the whole issue around the preservation of farm lands as far as possible, whether it be within the annexation area or in this belt thing around us, which I don't understand.

I've given you three things to talk about. You can imagine that we need them to be clarified. We just simply haven't had the opportunity, your worship, to have you speak directly to these.

Mr Gosnell: Maybe we can divide these questions up. I'll start off, if I could, with the question of size. Again, I would not want this committee to misunderstand, other than that London is very much in favour of the size of this annexation. There were obviously discussions over many years as to how big that would be, and there's been some discussion recently that while the city would be prepared to negotiate something different, that's not the case.

We are satisfied with this recommendation by the minister. It is consistent with our recommendations in April 1991. There was an opportunity at one point to look at a lessening of the size to the south end. I believe you called it the Mathyssen response. We had some discussion by the minister on that.

We had a meeting here in Toronto with the minister and the deputy minister at the end of June or the first part of July -- I'm not sure which -- at which one of the members here, the minister and the reeves of North Dorchester and Delaware and the mayors of Westminster and London spoke and directed us to that request to look at a lessening of the area that would be taken in Westminster. All four parties agreed in writing that it should be part of the city of London and should not be left on its own, that it should be part of the new city of London because it would not have the assessment base or the tax base to stand by itself as a township. Neither Delaware nor Dorchester were interested in acquiring it because of the costs that would be incurred by those townships, and they obviously would need to bring in development to pay for those costs if they were to assume it.

At that point it was recognized that this area in Westminster would remain as part of the new city. Further to that, for years we had heard from Westminster: "It's all or nothing. We don't want our township being apportioned and piecemealled and put into different directions."

To make sure we're very clear on the question of size, we're satisfied with it. It gives us a long-term horizon for planning and it allows us to do the servicing and engineering studies required, and we believe it's very much in the interests of our region.

On the question of process, maybe I could ask the deputy mayor to answer that one.

Mr Burghardt: Thank you, your worship. To Mrs Cunningham, we certainly went through an extensive process. As you're well aware, the most recent position of course came about in 1988. Prior to that, the city and county had negotiations dating back 11 or 12 years. Mr Eddy will remember that. The most recent one began in 1988, when we put forth a proposal to the county, to the surrounding townships. At that time we did not include two of the townships which are now involved. It was to Westminster and also to the county as a whole and to London township to the north.

Unfortunately, Westminster at that time wouldn't talk with us -- plain, simple, and I can't put it any more simply than that -- it would not talk with us.


Mr Burghardt: The county would certainly talk with us --

The Chair: I'm sorry, there can't be any catcalls from the audience.

Mr Burghardt: I'll go on with it. The ministry established a fact-finding process that we went through. We sat around the table. All parties were represented. We put forth position papers. Ministry staff of various departments -- agriculture, finance, the environment -- many of the ministries took part in that process. From the fact-finding a position paper came out and then we began negotiations that went on for an extensive period of time, again under the chair of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

As we're all aware, of course, we couldn't arrive at a local solution. We were given a deadline of April 26 of that particular year, but I have to say that following that we still had informal, ongoing discussions with the county and with some of the townships involved. Again, it did not involve the town of Westminster. You know what happened then. The ministry and the minister appointed an arbitrator and here we have Bill 75. But the process was extensive, Ms Cunningham, and we tried our best to work out a local solution. Unfortunately, that didn't come about.

Mrs Cunningham: Could you just respond on the future? Could this be used elsewhere, do you think, or is it unique to London? Just take it a step further. I get asked that question all the time. What's your view on that?

Mr Burghardt: That this is unique to London, this particular process?

Mrs Cunningham: I don't know if it is or not. What would you recommend? We've got a lot of rural people saying this could happen again.

Mr Burghardt: No, I don't see this as a precedent; I really don't. I believe it is unique to London because of our location, because of Middlesex county and because of the importance of southwestern Ontario. In my personal view -- people may not agree with me -- I don't see it as precedent-setting.

Mr Yorke: As it relates to farm land, if I can answer that particular question, Londoners do not have the perspective of regional government like you do, because there are no regional governments around London. So they really --

Mr Eddy: Amen.

Mr Yorke: I beg your pardon?

Mrs Cunningham: We all say amen to that.

Mr Yorke: As a result, then, they don't understand the concepts. As soon as they think of an urbanization, they think of it going right out to the boundaries.

Those of us who have been around for a while know what happens in regional governments. We know, like the regional municipality of Niagara, that when you enter into Niagara, you enter the fruit land long before you get to the Falls and urbanization, and that there are policies to protect the rural areas.

We look at ourselves as a single-tier regional government. We're going to put those kinds of protections into our official plan. We're mandated under section 30 of the act.

In addition, we have established already the principles for a rural agricultural committee to report to council, and we're looking forward to make sure that the leap-frog type development that's been taking place in our area doesn't take place and that we have a logical development from the centre. We feel that in the long term the farm land will be more protected by a single-tier regional government to the scale with proper planning policies than what would take place now.

Mr Kimble Sutherland (Oxford): I want to pick up on that question. First of all, thanks for coming and for your presentation.

In the brief, Mayor Gosnell talked about the annexation, about an issue of urbanization. You've talked about some of the things in process in terms of what the city is going to do to protect the farm land.

I live in a town now, but grew up in the country, and certainly all the rural people I talk to are always very sceptical about how urban people will protect agricultural land. I think that's a reality in this case. It would seem too, though, that regarding the most southern part of Westminster, primarily farm land, there isn't going to be a lot of development there. Why would the city necessarily be interested in the most southern part?

Obviously, we know you need some land to expand and have some annexation, but I guess people really want to know how the city is going to prove it actually can manage that type of agricultural land. Would it not possibly be better run by some type of rural municipality? I guess what really people have a lot of scepticism about -- I would say the people I've heard from would have that scepticism as well. The track record of urban municipalities looking after agricultural land leaves many people sceptical. What assurances are you giving to everyone that this is going to be a different situation?


Mr Gosnell: That's a good question. It's very much to the point of what's gone on for the last year in terms of discussions in our area. Right from the beginning, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food indicated to the discussions at the fact-finding that Controller Burghardt spoke to you about that agricultural lands can be as well protected in a city official plan as a county official plan. Those aren't my words; those are from the ministry representatives who appeared at the fact-finding.

It's interesting that once those discussions were held, never again with our discussions, until the very end, was there any discussion about farm land. This has been an issue about development and urbanization, who best was in a position to provide the resources, the planning and the finances to make it happen. But our new official plan -- and it's mentioned for Bill 75 -- must include not only official plan land uses and a social plan; it also has to have some discussion on agricultural zones and how we intend, within a city official plan, to protect and preserve farm land within the community of London.

With our new committees we have gone as far as to look at how we can make sure we have representation from the agricultural and rural communities on the committees that affect these new lands that are coming into London. One of the opportunities, as I'm sure you're aware, Mr Sutherland, is the county-city liaison committee, which should really have more opportunities to communicate and to discuss these issues between the county of Middlesex and the city of London. We see it providing the leadership in areas such as regional environmental planning, waste management, transportation planning and certainly as it relates to the agricultural and rural character of the new lands coming in.

We take that seriously. We know that it's a very divisive issue. As I said earlier, we had an opportunity, through Ms Mathyssen, to look at some of those lands in the southern part of Westminster being in other than London. But the tax base was not there to allow it to continue even as a separate township, and the townships to the east and the west, Delaware to the west and Dorchester to the east, felt that it would be inappropriate and signed off on their interest in having those lands come into their jurisdiction. That was looked at. We're trying to make sure the people in that area are protected. Our official plan is required to show how we do it and we think we can meet that challenge.

Mr Winninger: I too would like to thank the city for its very detailed and well-prepared presentation. From time to time we have our disagreements, but I'm still hoping the city will see the light with regard to our proposal on apartments in houses, which I think ties in very nicely with the strategic vision that the city is engaging in for the greater London area.

I think one thing we do agree on is that we need to develop the new official plan within the context of a strategic vision for London. I know there's a lot of work going on, and of course that strategic vision has to combine opportunities for economic growth and development with protection of environmentally sensitive areas and agricultural lands.

So my question to you is, is it your understanding that the development of the new official plan that's required under Bill 75 will address not only the land to be annexed but also the lands that are currently within municipal boundaries? That was one part to the question. The other part is, do you agree with my understanding that development will not go ahead in the annexed areas until the official plan is complete and until we've identified with the very real inventory of environmentally sensitive areas and agricultural lands that need to be preserved and protected?

Mr Gosnell: To your last question first, the city and the province are committed to no major development in the new areas that will be annexed into the city until the new official plan is adopted, unless it is something of a very urgent nature. A new manufacturing facility could come in and be on our boundary, contiguous to services, and perhaps could have ministerial regulation or order to have it proceed. Unless it was something urgent -- and I think we'd all have to agree that there are some areas that could be urgent -- the new official plan will have to be in place. We expect to have that done by January 1, 1996.

Regarding the new official plan, the province is challenging the city of London to come up with the idea of a social part of the official plan, which is really quite new in Ontario. At first blush we didn't know what it meant and we didn't know if we'd be very enthused about it, but it really does provide an opportunity to look at things we are already doing in terms of affordable housing, intensification and a number of different programs.

The new official plan will contain land use, environmental and social issues in parts for the new area. The only part that will affect the existing city will be the social part because, as you know, we just passed a new official plan within the last year or two. I think we're quite comfortable that our intensifications and zonings are appropriate for our city, but we would then still apply the social part of the new official plan to the entire area of the city.

We think it's an opportunity to really put into words some of the things that we think are important for our communities that we sort of take for granted and perhaps had never really characterized before in a plan. We think it's quite an interesting challenge, quite frankly.

Mrs Irene Mathyssen (Middlesex): I appreciate your coming here. I'd like to begin by saying that I must disagree. I don't think if we were to ask the people of North Dorchester or the councils of North Dorchester and Delaware whether they wanted that land in Westminster to go to the city of London that they would be all that enthusiastic.

Secondly, on this whole question about OMAF, under its mandate OMAF cannot comment on agricultural lands until they're in jeopardy.

The Chair: Irene, could you hold on for a second.

[Failure of sound system]

The Chair: Could you start over again?

Mrs Mathyssen: All right. Basically, I disagree that the councils of North Dorchester and Delaware would want that land to go into the city. Secondly, on this whole question about OMAF being quite content with the city being the stewards of agricultural land, the reality is that OMAF's mandate is such that it cannot comment upon the situation of agricultural land until it's in jeopardy.

But my questions are a little more specific. I'm quite pleased that the city has the financial wherewithal to meet the compensation needs of the county. That leads me to a question regarding servicing, particularly in South Winds and in Canterbury Estates. They have very real and significant environmental needs there.

My question is, when will those pipes be in the ground? Obviously, that should be very soon. Secondly, this rural agricultural committee is very important. I wonder what your perception is of its mandate and how it will be constituted, how it will effect a voice for those people in rural areas to be annexed within the city of London council.

Mr Gosnell: The first part relates to the sewage problems at South Winds and Canterbury. I think this highlights the reason why we're here today, that you can't have urban development taking place outside a municipality on anything less than municipal infrastructure or you end up with the environmental nightmare that happened to the residents in South Winds development in Westminster.

I think the question is very appropriate. We intend to have that done as soon as possible. An environmental review will have to be done on that line to make sure it's put in the right place under the Ministry of the Environment guidelines and we would expect that to be within the next couple of years. But certainly, we would be interested in doing it as soon as we can. The province has already indicated, through the Ministry of the Environment, that funds would be made available to do that. We obviously have the capacity and we have the will to do it as quickly as possible.

I would just correct a couple of things. North Dorchester and Delaware signed off wanting to have these lands in their townships. That's on record. I don't know where the member gets the supposition that they would want it. They've already signed off and said that they did not want it. In fact, the ministry of agriculture --

Mrs Mathyssen: That wasn't my question.

Mr Gosnell: -- was brought in not by the city of London but by the negotiations branch to have some input into the whole question of agricultural land. It was their view that whether the agricultural lands were part of a city official plan or a county official plan, measures can be put in place to protect those lands. That was, again, not the city's position, that was from the ministry of agriculture representatives at that meeting.

Finally, I think the most important question is, how can we make sure that we represent the agricultural and rural communities and the lands that will be brought into the new city? We've asked our interim task force on standing committees to look at that whole issue.

As well, Controller Burghardt and I are members of the county-city liaison committee and we see, through a number of our advisory and standing committees of the municipality and through that liaison committee, an opportunity to make sure that men and women are represented from these areas on very important committees as they relate to land use, the committee of adjustment and environmental advisory committees.


So it is our intent to respect very much that we have a difference in the way land has been treated outside our boundary. It has a different flavour in terms of agriculture and rural, and we intend very much to listen and to work with our friends in the county and the township around us to make sure that there's representation as it relates to those very important issues that you've outlined.

Mrs Mathyssen: But this was to be a separate committee.

The Chair: Excuse me; time's up. I'm sorry, Irene. Mr Mills.

Mr Mills: A couple of points I'd like to make in closing: One is about the impact of annexation. Based on the city's current figures, because the city's portion is only part of the property tax bill, the impact of annexation is only $23.40 per household, or 1.3% of the total tax bill.

Secondly, to a point that you made, your worship, any new urban development within the annexed area that could occur before the approval of the new official plan, one, would have to be on full services and, two, would require the approval of the Minister of Municipal Affairs.

The Chair: Okay. I'd like to thank you for appearing before this committee, your worship, and your colleagues.

Mr Gosnell: Thank you, Mr Chairman.

Mr Eddy: Mr Chairman, before the delegation leaves, a point of information: I think it's very important to correct the record. It's information, I assure you.

I wanted to clear up this point about the role of the township of Westminster in the previous council and to state that the officials, the elected and appointed officials of the town of Westminster, participated fully in the fact-finding process, number one. Number two, they participated fully in the boundaries negotiations process and Mr Taylor was present as the negotiator. Negotiations were not successfully concluded; there's no doubt about that.

Mr Gosnell: That's true. It would be a fair characterization.

Mr Eddy: Okay, and I know we're all in agreement.

Thirdly, I must recognize the role of the council and the appointed officials of the town of Westminster in subsequent meetings following the breakdown or the discontinuance of the boundaries negotiations process. Indeed, all of those people were on call to come to meetings organized by the county at any time, almost. So I just wanted to clear the record in that regard, and I know we're all --

The Chair: Okay. Irene wanted to make a comment to clear something up there, I believe, when I cut you off.

Mrs Mathyssen: My concern was that I asked about the constitution and mandate of the agricultural committee and I didn't receive an answer about how they would be determined.

The Chair: Okay, fine.

Mr Gosnell: Mr Chairman, did you wish a little bit more clarification on that?

The Chair: Yes, just to cover that, since you didn't. So we've gone back and forth here to be fair to all sides.

Mr Gosnell: The province has put the onus on the city to indicate how we can represent agricultural and rural interests. We're still working with that with a standing committee of our council to find every way that we can to involve them.

We've already passed a few things at our council to include representation on advisory committees, on the committee of adjustment, and we're trying to find the best vehicle, whether it's the county-city liaison committee or a new committee, to represent those interests. We're still working on that. We take it very seriously, and we want to make sure that whatever committee structure we come up with, it's not just for window dressing, but that it has some real impact on the decision-making in London.

The Chair: Okay, thank you for appearing before the committee.

Mrs Cunningham: Mr Chairman, while the other group is coming forward, could I just have a clarification on process today? I think we should do it now or we're going to miss an opportunity.

As you know, there's been some discussion around people not being able to be heard, and there's a great deal of controversy. Whether we like it or not, that's the case. It's nice to go along in a nice, neat way, but I have to answer my phone and deal with people. So I want to just have a brief discussion. Perhaps the government members can respond to this.

If there's going to be any change, and you know there was a window for another day if necessary, it's going to have to be done this morning. So I just want you, as the chairperson, or the government to let us know, because I am going to leave for about 10 minutes to go to a House leaders' meeting and I can tell you that I have not been satisfied as to the way people have been invited to appear before this committee. I want you to make some kind of ruling or have a discussion. I don't care what you do, but I need some direction.

The Chair: Perhaps we could meet just after the last witnesses are in. Having a discussion on extending the time frame for submissions made to this committee also could be looked at.

Mr Sutherland: If I can make a couple of comments, I think everyone's aware that the amount of time that's been allocated for witnesses and what have you is negotiated between the three House leaders. If there are to be specific changes to that, it needs to be discussed at the House leaders' level and should be done there.

I've had phone calls as well, and it needs to be put on the record that written submissions become part of the official record as well. Many people think the only way they are officially heard is by actually appearing, but any written submissions are a part of the official record. I'm certainly open to extending the time on the written submissions.

The Chair: That's important. The written submission either comes out of Hansard with the research staff and presented to us or it comes out of their briefs, so it's exactly the same.

Mrs Cunningham: If you'll just allow me 10 seconds, if I were to tell somebody he could have a written submission, I'd be laughed off the other end of my phone. That's the first thing. The second thing is that I am going to the House leaders' meeting right now, so I will be taking my concern, and they can negotiate what they like. I will only be gone for 10 minutes, and I will be back, because I want to hear the submissions. But that's my role in my party, so you know my feelings on this.

Mr Eddy: There is a great deal of concern, and we've heard it in this caucus as well. I've taken the liberty of talking to the other members of the subcommittee, including Mrs Cunningham, Mr Sutherland and Ms Mathyssen, on the matter, and we are all agreed that the way it has to be handled, if there's more time, is by the House leaders. I've advised my House leader that we're in some agreement that they deal with the matter and hopefully approve some more time.

Mr Sutherland: I'm sorry that people may not have the perception that a written presentation is just as important and is still part of the official record; it always has been for every committee and shall continue to be. So people need to be aware and take that seriously, that a written submission becomes part of the official record on this issue and is a chance for people to be heard who can't make a presentation in front of us orally.

Mrs Mathyssen: I would like to table a written submission for the benefit of the committee members from the Citizens Against Annexation.

The Chair: I have a list I'm having the clerk make copies of, of all the calls I've received at my office, either as Chair or as a member of the government, and I will share that and the comments made with all members of the committee. I think there are approximately 12 people who have written to me or called me on the telephone, so I'll be tabling those and putting them on the record.


The Chair: We'll start with the next group. I'd like to welcome the London Home Builders' Association and the London area developers. We have a half-hour. I would like you to introduce yourselves for the purposes of Hansard, and your position also.

Mr Ric Knutson: My name is Ric Knutson, and I represent the London Development Institute.

Mr Michael Zebregts: I'm Mike Zebregts, the president of the London Home Builders' Association.

Mr Lars Bygden: I'm Lars Bygden, first vice-president of the London Home Builders' Association.

Mr Ben Lansink: My name is Ben Lansink, Speyside Corp. I own land in the town of Westminster.

The Chair: If you can start your presentation, and leave some time at the end for the three parties to ask questions.

Mr Zebregts: I'm Michael Zebregts, president of the London Home Builders' Association. First, we would like to express our sincere appreciation for giving LHBA the opportunity to express our support of the recommended annexation.

I represent over 200 member companies made up of home builders, subtrades, suppliers and professionals. Over the last 10 years, we have expressed our great concern to the city of London about the declining available serviced land in this area.

We at the London Home Builders' Association believe there are two fundamental principles to approaching the housing needs in our city: the right of all our citizens to decent, safe and appropriate housing, and the right of all Londoners and newcomers to our city to a reasonable opportunity to own their own homes.

We strongly believe that with the annexation that has been proposed in the report by Mr Brant, it is not only timely but essential for the provincial government to grant the proposed annexation as submitted.

At the present time, our city has vacant land available for approximately 10,000 to 11,000 housing units. We have built, on average in the last 10 years 2,688 units per year. We believe the land supply is at a critical low point. There is only a four-year supply, as submitted in the consultant's report to the city of London for the lot levy study. Let us not forget that any annexed land will take a minimum of four years before zoning and services are in place to start new housing units on any new annexed land.


In most parts of Canada, land supply is one of the key elements of the affordability problem. The solution lies in ensuring an adequate and timely supply of serviced land.

Effective leadership does not come about accidentally. Rather, it is the result of deliberate actions and policies. We therefore respectfully ask this committee to recommend to the Legislature to proceed with the annexation report submitted by the Honourable Mr Cooke.

In the last piecemeal annexation a couple of years ago, one developer had control of the majority of the land annexed, thereby creating an unhealthy situation. With single-family housing starts rebounding at the present time, without sufficient annexation, this will dramatically increase land prices in the present city, in our opinion.

Some of our members were forced to start building outside the city boundaries at a greatly increased level to provide the housing which our customers were looking for.

Mr Bygden: The London Home Builders' Association members did not cause the growth in our area. We only serviced the levels that our customers demanded.

As you are well aware, all this building on the outskirts of the city of London has caused environmental problems. Septic tank failures are a common thing. It's getting so bad that the Ontario New Home Warranty Program is now demanding, in some instances, that builders of new homes provide a $5,000 bond for septic tank failures for a period of two years, thereby causing housing costs to increase once again.

We all know that Canterbury Estates, a subdivision just on the outskirts of the present boundaries, already has major septic tank bed failures, with only 14 homes built in this 73-house subdivision. Let's not forget that presently, governments are spending millions of dollars to rectify environmental problems in South Winds subdivision in the town of Westminster.

Proper and long-term planning would have avoided wasting taxpayer dollars. Unless annexation is allowed to proceed, the London Home Builders' Association believes that we are inviting more environmental problems.

Existing services, like police, fire protection, water and sewer services, just to mention a few, will be much easier to expand and less costly to provide than providing all these services in the surrounding areas. Proper annexation will enable the planners and politicians a much better way of planning the future of this whole area for a better environment. Our city needs sufficient land to properly plan long-term growth for the future generations in the years to come.

We at LHBA do not believe the municipalities outside the city of London have the financial capabilities to provide us with a reasonable alternative at an affordable cost.

One of our greatest concerns should be the environment. Building on unserviced land no matter what the soil conditions are has put a tremendous strain on our area. There are soil conditions that have worked well in the past and will work in the future, but as the demand grows to the levels of the past 10 years and we start to build full subdivisions on all kinds of poor soil conditions, the environmental problems will start to surface.

We at LHBA respectfully urge this committee to consider our opinions and give our customers in the future the affordable housing units they deserve.

Again, I would like to express our deep appreciation for providing us with this opportunity to voice our support of the annexation as submitted by the Honourable Mr Cooke.

Mr Knutson: While I share the views of the members from the LHBA, there are a number of additional issues I wish to raise on behalf of the LDI. I'll be concentrating on five general points and two specific issues on the draft legislation and amendments thereto.

The first point I wish to raise is affordable housing. Annexation will provide for a secure land supply for all land uses into the future. The result of that promotes healthy competition between developers and builders in reducing the speculation value of land prices, thereby keeping the cost down.

The city in the past has tried to ensure a healthy supply of approved land, resulting in London not having the land price fluctuations that many municipalities such as the GTA have experienced, particularly in the last boom. The net effect of this, measured statistically, is that 58% of London's total supply of housing in all forms is affordable under ministry guidelines as set out under section 36 of the Planning Act and the policy statement under section 3.

The second area I wish to speak to is the land supply issue, and elaborate on some of the points my colleagues from the LHBA have addressed.

The ministry has undoubtedly provided the committee and the Legislature with a vast array of statistics dealing with the uptake of land over the past number of years, the supply of land that's approved, draft approved and raw land. At an average utilization rate, we have a 2.1-year supply of approved land and a 2.3-year supply of draft approved land. We are critically short.

The average time it will take to go through the planning exercise in the new area will be a minimum of four years. If we use the recent official plan in London as an example, it was enacted by council in 1989. That's after the study period, and that study period started approximately four years before that. That official plan is still in front of the Ontario Municipal Board, with the last remaining issues to be resolved. The total time frame for that planning exercise was about seven years. Subdivision approval after that planning policy work is done will require a further two to three years.

We are pleased that the draft legislation includes amendments to section 31, to allow adjacent land that is non-agricultural, based on the approvals, to come on stream in a quicker time frame. That may help alleviate a very serious supply problem if a 10-year or longer horizon would be required.

I'd like to speak to you about planning for a moment. My background as a developer is that I have a degree and am an experienced planner.

We've seen over the last number of years many government initiatives where we can no longer take a neighbourhood approach to planning but rather a more holistic approach based on ecosystem planning, and having concern and regard for a wide variety of environmental, social and other features, including transportation etc.

The area proposed to be annexed provides the city with an opportunity to develop that vision and to put the approvals in place in terms of where a variety of land uses should go.

It has a further benefit. Many of us have seen hotly contested debates before the Ontario Municipal Board, where an environmentally sensitive piece of land takes great time and expense to adjudicate. Having the planning put in place at the outset will avoid many of these. Developers will simply avoid it in terms of their acquisition schemes.

Further on the planning, related to section 30 of the bill, we are concerned that there's been a new layer being applied to the city of London, treating it as a special situation, in that special policies, regulations and ministerial control are being exercised. We believe there is sufficient control currently in the Planning Act, through provincial policies, through the issues in section 2 of the Planning Act and the general requirements of section 17 to put an official plan in place.

While we certainly understand that London is setting some level of precedent with the size of annexation, we caution greatly against significant time delays by greater intervention of Queen's Park. Further, London does have a very competent planning staff, and we've had situations in the past where those from Queen's Park, who may not be as familiar with local issues, thereby have a shield in advancing certain solutions that may be appropriate in the GTA or in other municipalities but may not be appropriate in local London circumstances.

You've heard at length about servicing. London does have the ability, both technically and financially, to extend services to bring new lands on stream. The adjacent rural municipalities, as we've heard about their environmental problems, do not.

We've heard about the cost of retrofitting these areas that have environmental difficulties.

The net public cost of servicing is reduced when we have large centralized facilities as opposed to small remedial treatment plants to look after issues.


One of the greatest benefits in an urbanizing municipality is the efficient use of land. We, the development industry, are in fact the stewards of that land, controlled obviously by official plans.

Due to land loss for septic tanks and typical rural development forms, we believe it's inappropriate to waste land, as it has been in the past.

For example, residential development can occur at a maximum of 1.3 units per acre, and medium-density forms of development cannot be accommodated when septic systems are the servicing scheme.

Full municipal services allow for densities up to a planning maximum of 60 units per acre, and single-family development will achieve up to eight units per acre. It's altogether an efficient service. Outside of sanitary sewage concerns, water would be available for fire protection, roads would be of sufficient quality to handle the traffic demands etc, and there's a long list.

The absence of services is now causing havoc with a number of industries that are currently not able to expand due to environmental problems. These are issues which will have to be remediated in the near future.

The last major point has to do with industrial land supply.

One of the reasons for London being a growth centre has been an adequate supply of industrial land.

The city has played a strong leadership role in the direct development and marketing of industrial land, resulting in low land costs, therefore an encouragement of new industries to locate in London.

We at the London Development Institute, and in fact the London Home Builders' Association, enthusiastically support the city's initiative in this.

The result of new industry through more jobs being created is a corollary need for housing and commercial and office space provided by developers and builders, their subtrades and suppliers. The net effect is more jobs through all sectors of London's economy.

These jobs, with a healthy economy, require far lower levels of social assistance and a further ability for the city to provide a higher level of service generally.

A specific comment I wish to make on a draft regulation is regarding section 18 of the draft bill with respect to development charges.

The city of London has in place a development charge bylaw. The town of Westminster has in place a development charge bylaw and it's currently under appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board. That hearing is scheduled for February 11 for two weeks. We believe a lot of expense can be avoided by trying to rationalize and favour urban forms of development charges in favour of the city of London at the regulation stage.

We believe that the bill as it currently exists, where the city of London simply inherits the development charges bylaws of adjacent municipalities, will cause some level of chaos.

At the same time, we understand that no development will occur unless it's on full services. But there are a number of issues, and we will be going back through the whole issue of development charges between our industry and other parties involved in the city in the very near future.

We would ask that you consider changing that proposed regulation so that development charges be in accordance with the city of London standards and perhaps ask the city to add one section that deals with rural and farm-related development on which their bylaw is silent.

Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, for your patience. We'd be pleased to answer any questions you might have.

Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): Thank you very much for your presentation.

The Chair: We have about three minutes each.

Mr Carr: Okay. I'll go very fast then.

If this proceeds and goes through, how many homes do you anticipate being built over what period of time? Could you give us a ballpark figure?

Mr Zebregts: We have built an average of 2,688 units per year, depending on the economy. If you take the last five years, the average has been 3,900 units.

Mr Carr: Yes, but knowing the economy and knowing your projections now last year, what do you anticipate coming up over the next couple of years, knowing the interest rates --

Mr Zebregts: Each year, 2,600 to 3,000.

Mr Carr: So it would be about the same as it has been. Even in spite of the fact that we've had some problems with the economy and so on, you still anticipate the same growth?

Mr Zebregts: Well, we went through a recession in the 1980s, which is part of this 10-year average, so we feel confident that we're still going to be needing those units.

Mr Carr: And if it doesn't go through, knowing the amounts you need and the land available, what do you see happening?

Mr Zebregts: Land prices will definitely increase, because there are only a few controls on the remaining land.

Mr Carr: How much land would you say would be available for homes?

Mr Zebregts: About four years' supply.

Mr Carr: Four years' supply regardless of the cost, based on the gross numbers, you anticipate.

Finally, with regard to the industrial base, knowing that regionally things are very different, you drive around the greater Toronto area and you can't go past an industrial area without seeing "For Lease," "For Sale." There's a tremendous glut on the market in the greater Toronto area. Knowing that situation, maybe you could fill us in on what is happening in London, specifically with regard to the industrial, what you presently have. Looking at the two scenarios, if you stay where you are and if we go ahead with this bill, could you give us a little bit of an update -- I'm running out of my three minutes -- just on the industrial side of it? Again, how many years do we have if we don't go ahead, and what do you anticipate happening if we do?

Mr Knutson: Mr Chairman, I'll field that question. To the member: The company that I work directly for, Z Group, has a significant supply of light industrial space. Our vacancy rates are about 6%. The Toronto vacancy rates, I understand, are significantly in excess of that. The London light industrial market has not seen the vacancy rates that you've seen in the GTA. We've seen a continuation of building. In fact, our company has built two buildings during the last two years and one's currently under construction. We anticipate a continuation of that. With a number of potential announcements that we're aware of, there could be a significant shortage of industrial land very shortly.

Mrs Mathyssen: A quick question: The question about the supply of industrial land has come up, and I would suggest that probably the most optimal use of industrial-commercial land is something London should strive for, and I'm wondering if you could comment. There is a head office, 3M, actually, in the city in London east that has quite extensive land holdings, a vast expanse of lawn. Is that the best and most optimal use of commercial and industrial land? Does London need to do better than that?

Mr Knutson: Through you, Mr Chairman, a very difficult question to answer. The industrial parks that have been developed by the city are developed at a very efficient level and at approximately 40% coverage. A head office of international exposure having a wide boulevard in front of it for aesthetic reasons to encourage an attractive approach I don't believe is a waste of land. If that were the situation generally, there would be a difficulty if we were wasting land. But typically the densities we develop on are 40% to 50% on full municipal services. On the other hand, in the Westminster industrial park those densities that have been achieved are in the order of 15% to 20%. The rest of that land is being taken up by septic systems.

Mr Winninger: I just have one question about development charges. Correct me if I'm wrong, but the last time I checked, London had the second-lowest development charges, apparently, of any municipality in Ontario. I think that has generated quite a bit of criticism, given the high cost of sewer and water hookups, roads, schools and so on. So some people are suggesting that in London, new home owners aren't paying their fair share of the increased cost to the municipality of all of those hookups and services. I wonder if you could comment on whether it's myth or reality.

Mr Knutson: Mr Chairman, if I might try to field that question, London has been involved in development charges through a variety of forms for in excess of 20 years, starting with the boundary roads and outlet sewers bylaw passed in 1968 and actually going back to 1927 on the sewer rental charge bylaw that it enacted.

We believe we've kept our fund in reasonably healthy shape over that time, or at least over the last 10 years, to provide for the physical infrastructure. We have a pooled financing, where the municipality receives the money on each individual building permit, pools those funds and then pays developers for the oversizing that they provide. It has worked well. We've been able to install services, and I believe we have had a fair situation.

Our advantage is the history that we have with it. When development charges were reviewed by London council a year ago, they were frozen at that time, having regard to a deep recession that we're still experiencing. It was also known full well at that time that development charges were going to be reviewed as annexation proceeded, because there are costs that have to be accounted for, and we have no difficulty, as an industry, paying our fair share for the physical development and the infrastructure needed to accommodate that development.


Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): I understand that the serviced land supply of any municipality is critical to make it a viable community. But I also understand that of the 64,000 acres, only 7% of those lands are presently developable. Don't you think that 7% is very low, and that you're depending on a new official plan to create more developable land, commercial and industrial?

Mr Knutson: The 7% are those lands that are currently designated for non-agricultural purposes. As London grows over time, there will certainly be increased demand for land over that 7%. What this gives us an opportunity to do is to develop a vision for the future, to understand those lands which should in fact be developed for urban purposes and those which should not. It gives us opportunities to do planning on a watershed basis and deal with environmental issues far more fully than has been done in the past. The 7% currently designated in official plans I think is misleading. London will have an ongoing need for land as long as it's a growth centre, and that will be able to be accommodated and staged and dealt with through a vision that's created through the new official plan which has been mandated by Bill 75.

Mr Grandmaître: If you think that the 7% is misleading, then the Ministry of Municipal Affairs is misleading us. Is that what you're telling me?

Mr Knutson: No, sir. What I'm suggesting to you is that 7% of the 64,000 acres is now currently designated for non-agricultural uses. The remainder, the 93%, is likely in some open space or agricultural designation. With the new official plan, there will be a vision into the future which will apply to those agricultural lands, and some of them will be redesignated.

On the issue of agricultural lands, although a fairly small percentage of the 64,000 acres has been owned by members of our institute for many years, we are some of the largest agricultural producers in the county of Middlesex. We've continued to do that for many years and will continue to until those are needed for urban land uses.

The Chair: I'd like to thank you, gentlemen, for appearing before this committee. What we have is a vote coming up at 12 o'clock, and I want to make sure that the other party has an equivalent amount of time. Yes, sir?

Mr Ben Lansink: I haven't spoken yet, sir. We still have another 10 minutes.

The Chair: Oh, you haven't --

Mr Lansink: No, I haven't.

The Chair: I'm sorry, but we are going to have to go with half an hour on each group.

Mr Lansink: We started at 10 after and my paper will take five minutes. I'm on the agenda.

The Chair: I didn't realize that there were -- we won't have time for any questions after. Just go on with your short brief there.

Mr Lansink: It will take about five minutes.

The Chair: Okay. I just took it that everybody had spoken because that's when we got into the questions.

Mrs Cunningham: In fairness, the half-hour isn't up, because I know when I left. On the other hand, they've come a long way and we've asked them to be here, so I don't think any of us are going to be arguing. If we have to come back after the vote, then so be it.

The Chair: Okay, if the committee is agreeable to come back after the vote then go ahead, sir.

Mrs Cunningham: I never used my five minutes.

The Chair: I just took it that all people had presented. I was out of the room for about five minutes.

Mr Lansink: My name is Ben Lansink.

It's time to end the boundary adjustment debate and adopt the Brant report and Bill 75. Growth in the metropolitan London area will occur with or without annexation. By arguing against boundary adjustment, environmentalists and others are advocating the pollution of our environment.

I am president of Speyside Corp, the owner of 233 acres located in the town of Westminster. Our land is situated on Colonel Talbot Road, between the South Winds subdivision and the city of London. In addition, my family's corporation has an interest in an 18-acre vacant development parcel situated in the hamlet of Lambeth.

I am strongly in favour of Bill 75.

A Ministry of Treasury and Economics demographic bulletin dated July 1989 suggests Ontario is projected to grow from 9.1 million as of June 1986 to 12.8 million by June 2011. A paper prepared for my company, Speyside Corp, by Strategic Projections Inc of Oakville estimates that Ontario will grow by 2.2 million in the 1990s, double the 1980s pace. Metropolitan London, in other words, Middlesex county, is expected to increase its population by more than 100,000 persons between 1991 and 2001, driven in part by an industrial base that favours job creation and the attractiveness of its relative income and house price position within the province.

South Winds Village is a recently developed subdivision of about 165 upscale homes in the $250,000 general value range. Local wells supply the subdivision with water that is treated, at this time, to remove iron. Sanitary sewage disposal is individual-lot septic tank leaching and subsurface disposal. The area has encountered a major problem of seepage to basements and surface ponding.

Assessments by the Middlesex County Health Unit and the Ministry of the Environment have resulted in both agencies supporting a program for remedial measures. South Winds has been declared a public health hazard. The solution will cost Ontario taxpayers $3.6 million and local taxpayers $1.6 million, for a total of $5.2 million. If you include interest at 10%, based on a 20-year amortization, the total cost is about $11.8 million.

Westminster's solution is a gravity sanitary sewage collection system and local sewage treatment plant, with discharge of the treated effluent to Dingman Creek. Additional future development needs will not be met to any significant degree by the proposed limited-capacity plant. In other words, much of the cost is wasted unless the plant can be readily upgraded. The problem would not have occurred had South Winds been situated within the boundaries of the city of London.

Private sewage is a pollutant and is probably the largest contaminant that is discharged into the ground. The cumulative effect of clustering septic systems, each with its tile bed emitting waste in a small-lot subdivision, has proven too much for soils to bear. In the short term, septic system failures mean public health hazards from exposure to sewage and its attendant diseases. In the longer term, drinking water is at risk of contamination.

The town of Westminster does not have the financial resources to create the infrastructure necessary for development. The city of London does.

Environmentalists and other groups show an uncanny willingness to accept the environmental damage now being wreaked upon the aquifer systems surrounding the greater London area by arguing against boundary adjustment. It is difficult for me to understand their agenda. The continued use and aging of septic and leaching beds will ultimately cause major health problems.

Opponents argue against destroying farm land, but crop and food production are more efficient now. Farm income is at all-time low because Canada can produce more food than we can consume. The food market is now global in scale and our international competitors are similarly more efficient. It takes fewer farmers to feed more city folk every day.

Is the land within the proposed boundary adjustment Canada's best farm land? The land has been fragmented into many smaller parcels over the years. Use of large, complex farm equipment is prevalent. It is not economically feasible to farm on small parcels. With minor exceptions, farms that raise animals for milk, eggs or slaughter are not operating in the areas close to the city.

Much of the annexed land is traversed by ravines, both branches of the Thames River, Dingman Creek and Medway Creek and their tributaries. Large areas adjacent to these waterways are not farmed and will remain in their present natural state once development occurs. Protection is afforded through agencies such as the Upper Thames River Conservation Authority. Large portions of the land to be annexed is used for Fanshawe Lake, London airport and the hamlets of Lambeth and Hyde Park. Substantial industrial areas are in the vicinity of Hyde Park and the southerly boundary of the city, White Oaks Road and Highway 135. Some land is recreational, such as golf courses. Yes, there will be some excellent farm land lost, but on a percentage basis it is quite insignificant.

It has been suggested that London for the last 30 years has wasted land and should not be rewarded with future annexation. Containing the city within its present boundaries will damage its society, its economy and the environment. Land scarcity will occur and the value of real estate will increase dramatically. Affordability will decrease and the need for subsidized housing will go up.

If annexation does not occur, people will be forced to live in outlying communities that would ultimately take up more land than what is proposed by Brant or Bill 75. This is already evident in the hamlets of Lambeth, Dorchester, Kilworth, Komoka, Arva, Nilestown and Melrose.

To conclude, London is financially sound, well managed, responsive and accountable to the electorate. The city has the assessment base and financial strength to create the necessary infrastructure for future expansion. Economies of scale to ensure the lowest possible cost are available to the city.

The Chair: Thank you. I'm sorry you were overlooked at that time.

Mr Lansink: That's quite all right.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing before the committee.



The Chair: The next group we will hear from is the London Public Utilities Commission. Would you come forward, please. I'd like to welcome you to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs.

If the bell goes for a vote around five to 12 or 12 o'clock, we'll come back for the remaining time to ask questions after. We might wind up stopping in the middle of your presentation. It's like being at school: The bell rings and we have to go up there.

Mr George Avola: I understand your predicament, Mr Chair.

The Chair: That's why I've been trying to move the groups along.

Mr Avola: We may pick it up afterwards then?

The Chair: Yes. Would you introduce yourselves and give your positions, for the purposes of Hansard.

Mr Avola: With me are Mr Al Gleeson, assistant general manager of the London Public Utilities Commission; Alex Dobronyi, general manager; Maurice Chapman, commissioner; and Tony Jennings, the executive director of MEA, the Municipal Electric Association of Ontario.

I've kept my presentation a little shorter so that Mr Jennings, when I'm finished, can put in the five minutes we'd like from his organization.

I appreciate the opportunity to appear at these hearings and provide input on behalf of the London Public Utilities Commission.

There are two separate issues in Bill 75: the original and main issue of London's annexation, and the briefly considered issue of the status of the London PUC.

The passage of Bill 75 as proposed will eliminate the London Public Utilities Commission. The responsibility for water, parks and recreation will go to municipal council, leaving a hydro-electric commission of undetermined status.

While claims have been made that the dissolution of the PUC will result in better planning and the saving of millions of dollars, none of these claims has been verified. The fact is that just as annexation costs money, the dissolution of the PUC must cost money. These costs might be justified if the result were going to mean a better service delivery system to the community, and that point has not been proven at all.

In our opinion, the dissolution of the London PUC, with the separation of electricity and water, as proposed in Bill 75, is a step backwards, especially if such a move is looked upon as setting a model precedent for other PUCs in the province. The PUC issue requires far more in-depth consideration in order for an intelligent, informed decision to be made.

Common sense would have determined that the annexation recommendations be implemented before the status of the PUC was considered. Doing both things together against a very tight deadline has prevented thoughtful analysis. People would not deal with the PUC issue for fear that the annexation would be scuttled. This is evident in our own city council, where it was a 10-9 vote in favour.

That is our main quarrel with the process. Much has been made about the fact that the provincial arbitrator, John Brant, arrived at his recommendations without consulting the PUC or its ratepayers. These protests are valid. Mr Brant, while he lives in London and is the owner of a local travel agency, does not have the experience, background or knowledge to make such a far-reaching recommendation as the dissolution of the London PUC without appropriate consultation of the other bodies affected.

Obviously, if the boundary adjustment issue had been settled by the London politicians, as it should have been, then the status of the London PUC would not have been an issue at all. It would never have arisen.

The status of the London PUC was never discussed during the 11-year boundary adjustment dispute -- never. Nor was it brought to the table by the city of London during the negotiations or at the hearings conducted by Mr Brant. The PUC issue came into the annexation process, in some puzzling fashion, in the final 60 days. This was at a time when the city and the PUC were working together, through a unanimously approved joint task force, to achieve a better delivery of services. We had already taken these steps through a mutually agreed committee, with council and the PUC, to go forward. Neither the PUC nor the task force were alerted or consulted by Mr Brant regarding the future of the status of the PUC.

The arbitrator's role in this instance approached a judicial form of decision-making, in view of the acknowledged intention of the minister to implement whatever decisions were put forward by the arbitrator.

Reaction right across the province was swift and predictable. People objected not only to what was done but to how it was done. This autocratic approach not only disengaged the PUC and its ratepayers from the process but averted meaningful, factual input. It would have been far more productive if those embroiled in the issue had been able to direct themselves towards setting up a utility delivery system that would meet the needs of its customers and be in tune with today's market.

The implementation of Bill 75 as proposed will meet neither of these criteria. As it applies in the utility business, Bill 75 is out of tune with the direction of forward-looking businesses. Successful businesses in the 1990s are moving away from centralization and bigness. They are decentralizing and delayering bureaucracy in order to become more flexible and more responsive to customers' needs and expectations. Businesses today, in order to survive, must put the customer first. Bill 75 is a step backwards because it ignores the customer. In fact, the arbitrator's report never once even mentions the customer.

The London PUC wants what is best for the customer. We believe there is a better way of meeting their needs than what will result from the implementation of Bill 75. The question now is, will anybody listen? We present our recommendations to you in the hope that goodwill and common sense will prevail.

We put forward our belief that an independent public utility responsible for electricity and water, under a separately elected commission, will provide the optimum utility servicing to the customer. Keeping water and electricity together as a PUC will eliminate many of the operational and human resource problems now surfacing during the city-PUC transition meetings. Water and electricity are a natural fit, because they are purchased by the same customer and they share the same customers and operational support systems, thereby creating great economy of service to the customer. There's no duplication.

These are strong arguments in support of the public utilities. Here are additional factors:

Water and electricity are essentially businesses, which differ significantly from other services provided by the municipality such as roads or solid waste management. Specific expertise and enterprise are required to manage water and electricity, especially in today's environment. If the PUC is dissolved, the water enterprise will merely be another function among a multitude of others with which the municipality must contend.

There's a significant difference between serving a taxpayer and serving a utility customer. The utility customer pays for a specific product through user fees and has a set of needs and expectations that the utility must satisfy continually. The utility is a business enterprise and is measured by the customer at every point of contact. The utility organization must be aligned to meet the needs of the individual customer. The taxpayer does not pay a fee for service and is not regarded as a customer. As a result, the municipality is not set up as a service organization.


Separate bodies that are responsible for their own budgets are better able to account for their funding, services and projected costs. This statement is argumentative to those who believe that special service bodies should be eliminated, but we are talking practical business sense here, not espousing an academic philosophy.

In Metropolitan Toronto in 1991, money was diverted from environmental services revenue to cover costs in other areas of municipal services. This was an attempt by politicians to keep tax increases to a minimum and yet provide a "balanced" budget. Needless to say, such a move was met with great protests.

There is nothing to prevent future municipal councils in London from diverting water revenues to other municipal purposes, and this is one of our main concerns. Pressure to do so will build as financial constraints escalate the war between the hard services, such as water, and the multitude of soft services that councils must finance.

A separate utility must operate from its revenue base. It is directly accountable to the ratepayers and therefore can operate far more effectively. You heard our mayor say earlier today that our rates are among the most favourable in all of Ontario, and that's only by good management, not by politicians.

This initiative calls for utilities, primarily water purveyors, to be established independent of other budget centres --

The Chair: You are not knocking the chair, are you?

Mr Avola: Hey, listen, you've got to wear the hat.

The Chair: Carry on. Sorry.

Mr Norm Jamison (Norfolk): Try wearing it.

Mr Avola: I have, probably longer than you, sir.

The dissolution of the PUC is contrary to the current provincial initiative through the Ministry of Natural Resources, which is entitled Toward a Water Efficient Ontario. This initiative calls for utilities, primarily water purveyors, to be established independent of other centres.

Two principles established in the initiative, namely full-cost pricing and dedicated funding -- water funding used only for water purposes -- are best guaranteed through an independent utility.

One could argue that it could be more productive to incorporate waste water issues under a PUC than to transfer water responsibilities to a municipality. This provincial initiative has been under review for some time, whereas the decision to dissolve the PUC was made in simply 60 days.

Let's take a longer look at water management and the role of local utilities. An electric and water utility in London is the best structure for providing quality customer service. Mr Brant's rationale for transferring water to the city is that water and sewage are a single subject in both the planning and provisions of an area's infrastructure and cannot be managed independently. He ignores the fact that they have been operated independently, and successfully, for years by the London PUC on the water end. He might be right from a technical perspective. However, he is wrong from a customer perspective.

The question is: Who do we serve, the customer or the engineering system? You must understand that all the customer services for both water and electricity will continue to be provided by the customer services department at the hydro-electric commission. Mr Brant's approach joins the operational end and disjoins the customer service end.

Currently, through cooperative integration, the customer service, electric and water departments of the London PUC deliver quality utility services at rates and delivery costs that are among the best in the province.

To tear apart and duplicate the existing customer and operational support systems will only add to the delivery costs for water and electricity. It can only add to the costs.

On that one issue, we had a directive from board of control in our last commission meeting instructing us to raise the water rates to the consumer in London a little more than we normally would to cover some additional cost of piping.

It's easier to join pipes than to coordinate service to the customer, which is ongoing and constant. Mr Brant's recommendation to separate water and electricity creates confusion for the customer, especially given the annexation and a host of problems for staff.

In summary, including the dismantling of the PUC in the annexation issue has proven to be the wrong approach. It introduced an issue requiring consultation and analysis into an already confrontational area. Whatever chance existed for reasonable dialogue was pre-empted by the arbitration process which was not inclusive, but in fact exclusive.

Something has gone terribly wrong. A successful business employing some 540 full-time people is about to be dismantled and restructured without one single piece of evidence on how that will impact on delivery costs and the quality of customer service.

The Chair: I'm going to have to call for a recess, in time for the vote. There are five minutes until the vote and maybe another five minutes on the vote, so we should be back between 5 and 10 after. Okay? This committee is recessed until a little after 12.

The committee recessed at 1158 and resumed at 1224.

The Chair: We'll bring this committee back to order. Would you like to carry on where you left off.

Mr Avola: In summary, including the dismantling of the PUC in the annexation issue has proven to be the wrong approach. It introduced an issue requiring consultation and analysis into an already confrontational arena. Whatever chance existed for reasonable dialogue was pre-empted by the arbitration process, which was not inclusive but exclusive.

Something has gone terribly wrong. A successful business employing some 540 full-time people is about to be dismantled and restructured without one single piece of evidence on how that will impact on delivery costs and the quality of customer service.

We concede that it's too late in the game to start all over. With regret, we accept the transfer of parks and recreation to the city. But it's not too late to pause and to do what is right for the electricity and water customers. Moreover, this can be done without obstructing the transition process. In fact, removing water-related issues will facilitate a smooth transition.

The committee should know that notwithstanding the good efforts of both administrations, the transition of most of the functions will not take place before January 1, 1993. Those transitions cannot be handled until well into 1993, and possibly even beyond.

Leaving water and electricity together will eliminate a host of problems. It will alleviate employee problems, both union and non-union, and minimize customer confusion. Finally, it will send a message to other utilities across the province who still feel threatened that reason can prevail and that cooperation and consultation can work.

We request the members of this committee to support our sensible position by recommending the appropriate amendments:

(a) That a public utilities commission responsible for electricity and water be established (subsection 21(1)); and

(b) That the public utilities commission shall consist of five persons, of whom the head of council shall be one by virtue of his or her office and others shall be elected by general vote at the elections held under the Municipal Elections Act (clause 21(3)(b)); or

The question of elected versus appointed commission be put to the electors for decision by way of plebiscite during the 1994 municipal elections.

With that, I will pass it over to our executive director of the MEA at this point.

Mr I. H. Jennings: We appreciate the opportunity to be here. I'm here for our chairman, who's elected by the 312 municipal utilities that MEA serves. Doug McCaig is an elected commissioner in Fort Frances Public Utilities Commission. We also have an elected president, who currently is Keith Matthews, the general manager of Brampton Hydro-Electric Commission, which has an appointed commission.

As you might expect from that, the MEA is not taking a position consciously for or against PUC versus HEC, for or against the elected or appointed nature of commissions, but we have responded to concerns expressed by our member utilities across the province about the process, and you have a brief in front of you.

Just a quick word. The Municipal Electric Association, as I mentioned, serves 312 municipal electric utilities, about half of which also provide water and/or other services. That's not our area of responsibility. Most of MEA's activities are focused on cooperative action to reduce costs or improve services within the member utilities. But on issues where there is a collective concern, we also try and serve as the voice. The spokesman would normally be here. Let me, if I may, draw your attention to just a couple of points in the brief you have, towards the bottom of page 2 and the top of page 3. As I've said, we've not taken a position except on the process.


Bill 75, as it's currently worded, would override the local ratepayers' past choice of how the utility is organized and their right to elect a local commission.

As recently as the last municipal election, such issues were on the ballot in two municipalities. The Public Utilities Act processes are there and can serve this purpose. As it says at the top of page 3, it is important to recall that the restructuring of the utilities commission was not an issue before the arbitrator. It's our understanding that the public utilities commission provided input at the staff level simply to indicate that they were capable of handling the service in the expanded area.

At the bottom of page 3, I think you'll see several things which Mr Avola has already referred to, so I won't run through them, but there have been several indications that the citizens strongly support maintaining the status quo. For instance, at the open meeting held with the London city council, in the over two hours of discussion of the PUC, it's my understanding that virtually all of the 30 presenters spoke in favour of the PUC. Only one person questioned the process; nobody spoke against it. The impression our board of directors has is that the citizens who are interested in the issue have expressed a strong interest in maintaining the current arrangement.

We've made some recommendations. I won't go through them in detail. They or other wording would suggest simply amending part II of the bill to allow the PUC to carry on. We have not spoken about the annexation issue at all. We've also offered an alternative, which relates to what Mr Avola has just said to you. If in fact you don't believe that the citizens have had an adequate opportunity, or that the expressions they've had in the petitions and so forth are not adequate, then there is the possibility of a further referendum.

Mr Avola: If I may add just one thing, in an official poll that a pollster was hired to do, the percentage was astounding: 79% of the people polled favoured an elected commission and favoured that the PUC be left where it is and not be taken over by city council.

The Chair: Looking at your amendments at the back -- just for some clarification, I don't know -- in London would that be elected by wards or at large?

Mr Avola: At large.

The Chair: Okay, fine.

Mr Winninger, I thought you had a question there.

Mr Winninger: No.

Mr Eddy: Not on this issue he doesn't. He's afraid of this one. He knows he's wrong.

I calmly approach this, of course, but I want you gentlemen to know and appreciate that what the people want has nothing to do with this bill whatsoever. You better realize that right now. What the citizens want has nothing to do with this process.

I would like to ask, because I cannot find out, how did this issue of the PUC become part of this bill? PUC was never mentioned by any person at any time, elected or appointed, during the fact-finding process, the boundaries and negotiations process and all the negotiations afterwards. I don't know, but it's my understanding it never came up in any of the arbitrator's hearings. Perhaps it did. But enlighten me.

The title is wrong. The title of this bill does not recognize that the PUC is involved. If there's one thing a local council is capable of -- because we've heard of many things that the city of London is equipped and capable of doing -- it should be dealing with an internal city of London position. Could you tell me, did you ask for this to be included in the bill? Where did it come from?

Mr Avola: The date that we found out that the PUC was included in this annexation paper was the day the minister came to London and read the report to us, to all interested parties of the annexation process, and in that there was a paragraph that said "and the PUC." That was our first knowledge the PUC had any involvement in this whatsoever.

Mr Eddy: So it wasn't part of the arbitrator's hearings, it wasn't in the arbitrator's terms of reference or mandate or anything like that.

Mr Avola: Nor one interview nor one question.

Mr Eddy: Do you believe it's time for the New Democratic Party to change its name to the New Dictatorial Party?

Mr Sutherland: Excuse me, Mr Chair --

Mr Eddy: That's what it is.

Mr Sutherland: Let's be quite clear that all governments have to make decisions. I can cite examples from when the Liberals were in, from when the Tories were in, when people didn't feel --

Mr Eddy: There were many mistakes made and that's why we're not the government.

The Chair: We have questions of the witnesses here, not the performance of past governments or this government.

Mr Avola: Thank you. I agree with that.

The Chair: Just to clarify for me, what is the date that you first found out about this? Was this in April or was that in September?

Mr Avola: April 3.

The Chair: Okay, fine. You know, the two dates when the minister was down there for the hearings --

Mr Avola: Which was the announcement date of the decision.

The Chair: So you had a chance at the end of September to make a submission to the minister at that time in London?

Mr Avola: This past September?

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Avola: Yes.

The Chair: I was a little confused with the questions that Mr Eddy was asking there.

Mr Eddy: We weren't invited.

Mr Avola: No. It was more or less a one-man commission. I believe Mrs Cunningham was there.

Mr Sutherland: And Mrs Mathyssen, Mrs Boyd and Mr Winninger.

Mr Avola: Yes. But the minister had mentioned it was a done deal, as far as he was concerned.

The Chair: Mrs Cunningham, would you carry on?

Mrs Cunningham: Yes. It's interesting, Mr Chairman, our former mayor of London here sitting so nice and calmly in his new CEO position, as opposed to our former, illustrious CEO from Middlesex. You can see the stress it does take when one becomes an elected official. Having said that, we get along very well.

I have a couple of questions, because I think I'm on record as saying I was absolutely shocked to see that this became part of the process. It was a very grey area, I felt, in the mandate, if it existed at all, and I think it's really shed a negative light on what could have been a very much more positive end result with this, because it was the biggest issue in discussion for a number of months, and now some of the concerns have been discussed, so that at least employees have a feeling that they know what may happen.

I know one of the reasons the public is very concerned about an arbitration process -- and we talked about the land before -- would be this one, and that's the dismantling of an elected body. So I want you to speak to that and talk about it in the future. I don't know what we can do about the present, but we are going through clause-by-clause and I do thank the Municipal Electric Association for its amendments, which I hope will be taken seriously.

The second one is on the whole process of this public utilities commission affair and I'd like to ask you what you think the best organization would be, either for London or anywhere, because a lot of people are confused about who should be responsible for water, electricity and, in our case, parks and recreation. I'm sure you've given it some thought.

Mr Avola: As an elected person, I've been sort of on both sides. I was on city council for many years. I was on city council when we first started talking about this annexation. This next annexation that was to take place some time in the 1980s was to be sufficient to provide land to the city of London to the year 2020. Mr Gleeson there was mayor at the time, as a matter of fact. At that time it was determined that we would ask for 15,000 acres, and that would do us to the year 2020. We could in fact be argued down to 7,500 acres.

As it's turned out, and I don't know how, some 73,000 acres have been turned over to the city of London for annexation purposes. That should last them to the year 2200 and something, I would guess. But that's neither here nor there.

As far as operating the public utilities commission, the water is concerned, let me give you a brief example of what happens now with electric and water when we are budgeting. Our budgets are set, they're brought before us, we go over each item and we try to be very responsible in setting budgets. They're pretty well determined by Ontario Hydro and the ministry here as to what your water rates or electric rates are going to be. We will then budget for that year. At the end of an operating year, if there is money left over -- and oftentimes there is -- in either electric or water or both, that money is reduced from the next rates that are given to us by Ontario Hydro or the ministry for the water. So we reduce the rate by whatever happens to be left in that budget. That will never, ever happen again if the water's taken over by city council.

As I said earlier, in our last meeting of the public utilities commission, the mayor came in with a directive from board of control asking us to increase the water rates an extraordinary amount to look after the pipes, the new water connection. The mayor's been on the public utilities commission for seven years because he's been mayor for seven years. He should know that the business end of this, which is run by these people, the administrators, had looked into this many years ago and they had made provisions for a slow increase in rates to look after the expansion of the water required for the city of London and the annexation.

We have in fact in excess of a $14-million reserve to look after these costs. Right away the politicians in council want to raise rates. I'm going to tell you, every percentage it goes up, that just keeps multiplying, Mr Chairman, as you well know. This is happening, and going to happen, with electric, though electric isn't really affected, because you're going to have a hydro-electric commission. It's going to be stripped down so much, but you still have over 300 employees who will remain with the hydro-electric commission.

They say there's not going to be duplication of services. That's not possible, not to have duplication of services. So it's going to cost us more to give electric to the users in the city of London. Down the road five years, I'm going to tell you, we won't be able to sit before you and brag about the reasonable cost of providing water and electric to the citizens of the city of London if you separate water and electricity. It's just foolishness to even think about it that way. It's like saying, "I've got to go get a tooth out, but I'm going to go to my general practitioner."

The Chair: I'd like to thank you for appearing before this committee. The clock has run out. I think actually we gave overtime because of the break we had there.

Mr Avola: On behalf of the MEA and on behalf of the public utilities commission, I wish to thank you and all of your members, Mr Chairman. You've been very fair with us and very kind.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing.

This committee will be recessed until 3:30 this afternoon.

The committee recessed at 1243.


The committee resumed at 1551.

The Chair: I call to order the standing committee on finance and economic affairs, on Bill 75, An Act respecting the Annexations to the City of London and to certain municipalities in the County of Middlesex.

Mr Sutherland: Just a point: I think it's important to let people know at this time that the House leaders did meet this morning. What they decided is that while we originally were going to have two days of clause-by-clause vote, we'll only be having one day so we can have one more day of hearings from interested parties. Is that your understanding?

The Chair: That's my understanding, and I'm glad you brought that up at the beginning. The other thing is that we agree that written submissions handed in until next Friday will also be on the record; it is extended from this Friday until the following Friday. Agreed? Okay, fine.


The Chair: The next group we have is the Middlesex County Board of Education and the teacher affiliates, if you could start off.

Ms Donna McIllmoyle: My name is Donna McIllmoyle and I am the chairperson of the Middlesex County Board of Education. With me are Mr Ted Anderson, the director of the Middlesex County Board of Education; Ruth Jackson from the Middlesex Women Teachers' Association, who is representing the three affiliates; and Jack Sifton, the president of Ontario Secondary School Secondary Teachers' Federation for Middlesex, and chief negotiator for the teachers.

The Middlesex County Board of Education wishes to extend sincere appreciation for the opportunity to submit its position on the London-Middlesex Act and its impact on our education system. We hope to represent the interests of a number of stakeholders in our county education system, many of whom made impressive presentations in support of the system during the arbitration hearings held at numerous locations throughout the county.

For the benefit of the standing committee members who may not be familiar with the county's school system, we would like to provide some detail. The Middlesex County Board of Education provides education to over 11,000 elementary and secondary students, as well as adult students, in a number of sites throughout the county. These services are provided in 27 elementary, five secondary and five special-program schools as well as an adult education centre.

Students come to these community schools from both small urban and rural settings. As a result, the schools have a noteworthy community atmosphere that is valued by county residents. In many situations, these schools are central to community activities.

In 1969, the province joined many small school boards to form the Middlesex County Board of Education. Our system has grown since then to the point where, within the province, we are an average-sized board with an average assessment base. The board's staff and its ratepayers are justifiably proud of the county education system that has evolved and are eager to maintain its viability.

Excessive adjustments to municipal boundaries will diminish the capacity of the board to continue to provide quality programs. Therefore, trustee concerns as they relate to the institution of education centre around such issues as assessment, school size and availability of community schools.

Indiscriminate adjustments of boundaries have the potential to reduce dramatically the commercial-industrial assessment base of the board, to take away some schools and to reduce the enrolment of other schools, making their operation educationally and economically difficult.

The lines established in this legislation do just this, so we must clearly indicate that we are not insignificant in this whole issue. While the Board of Education for the City of London has over four times as many students and staff, it is not operated in isolation from the Middlesex County Board of Education.

For instance, in areas where the county board of education is unable to mount special education and French first-language programs due to insufficient enrolment, the Middlesex county board has been able to purchase programming from the Board of Education for the City of London.

Furthermore, a number of cooperative projects have been undertaken by the boards over recent years. For the past year, the two boards, along with the London and Middlesex County Roman Catholic Separate School Board, have initiated numerous detailed studies of areas where cooperative services can enhance the delivery of service within the systems while reducing the cost to local ratepayers. Both boards recognize that this matter is not one of their own making, but is brought on by municipal action. Neither board has had any strong desire to alter its current jurisdiction.

Both boards were pleased that the Minister of Education agreed to adopt one of the arbitrators' recommendations, that being that the two boards be left to reach a local agreement on the educational implication of annexation.

At the hearings held in London on September 24 and 25, 1992, the Minister of Municipal Affairs admonished the Middlesex county board for its interpretation of his very important open letter that was published in the London Free Press regarding the impact of legislation on boards of education. He indicated that while his letter stated that there will be no changes to the two boards as a result of the legislation itself, the two boards should be meeting in order to resolve educational boundaries.

A review of the ministry amendments to Bill 75, finance, page 11, confirms that the legislation has no direct application to educational jurisdictions, "Given that school board boundaries are not changing by virtue of this act."

The boards have also been criticized for looking for a solution out of Toronto, when that has not been the case at all. What the boards have been looking for is some guidance or guidelines out of the ministries that would help us get on with the local solution. Asking for such guidelines and guidance should in no way be interpreted as trying to hand over the decision to provincial officials so that the boards can criticize any decision after the fact.

On the surface, it may sound easy for such negotiations to take place and an amicable solution be reached forthwith, but it must be recognized that local municipal discussions on annexation have taken place for 10 years, and intensively within the past four, with no local resolution.

The county board appreciates the dilemma its county officials have faced, since it is apparent that when you enter such negotiations that you do not do so to win or lose but to determine just how much you are going to lose.

We would like to outline some of the difficulties in coming to a local agreement. First, we like what we have, and ratepayers and the parent community have solidly supported this board in its efforts to maintain its viability in this process. Where there is a lack of support for our board's position, it is clearly understood by the board as to the circumstances for this position. Furthermore, there is confidence that this lack of support is confined largely to one area of the county.

Any people -- educators, politicians -- who tour our schools are impressed by the quality of programs and services offered to students. While these schools may not have as extensive program offerings as in larger urban centres, they have received program recognition at both the regional and provincial levels. Only those familiar with the funding limitations on rural boards of education truly appreciate the quality of programs offered while responsible financial limitations are maintained.


Second, we realize that to accept the unusual provision of school boundary legislation currently represented by the new Bill 20 under the Education Act has serious implications for our board. Specifically, if we were to concede the area to be annexed as outlined in the legislation, we would be giving up educational tax revenues from the most assessment-rich commercial and industrial land in our county. Coupled with the loss of residential revenue in the affected areas, the very viability of our board is threatened.

Those who suggest that educational grants will make up the difference because we become a poorer board would be wise to understand that such grants will not cover the over-ceiling expenditures of the board. We trust that you are aware that almost every board in the province is operating over Ministry of Education ceilings. In short, the commercial-industrial assessment included in the annexation legislation is critical to the operation of the Middlesex County Board of Education.

Third, we have had no encouragement from the office of the Minister of Education that any type of compensation would be awarded to the board, in spite of the precedent being set in the municipal provisions of this legislation. It is our position that enhanced revenues are necessary for our Middlesex County Board of Education to continue to offer the quality of programs that it has over many years.

The spectre of amalgamation looms large in the minds of many involved in the educational aspects of this matter. Both boards involved are on record as opposing this alternative, for reasons that become readily apparent on the financial as well as the jurisdictional side, yet we are negotiating with this provincial interest hanging over us.

Finally, if we were to take the alternative that suggests that Bill 75 has no impact on the jurisdictions of the two affected boards, we run the risk of alienating the ratepayers in the annexed areas. These people would be asked to pay the city level of taxes without access to the city level of programming and services. The county would not be in a position to offer such enhancements either to the annexed areas or to the whole Middlesex system. The Middlesex board also fully appreciates the London board's concern over this alternative, as it clearly interferes with any desire that it might have to operate all schools within the boundaries of the city.

In summary, we submit that as the affected boards attempt to work their way towards a local agreement, the Middlesex County Board of Education retains its vision that the appropriate political structure requires that the future needs of the public school ratepayers be met by two viable public boards of education, one for Middlesex county and one for the city of London.

The tremendous impact of the legislation on Middlesex county is exemplified by the expectation that approximately 29% of the county's tax assessment base will be lost due to annexation. As a result of this dramatic loss in the tax assessment base and the serious loss in revenue, the county has expressed genuine concern to the Minister of Municipal Affairs about its ability to provide quality services to the residents of the county.

If the county cannot continue to provide services to its residents without financial assistance from the city of London or the province, then the county school board is in no different position. Applying the boundary lines established in the London-Middlesex annexation bill confirms that the Middlesex County Board of Education stands to lose approximately 35% of its commercial-industrial assessment and approximately 10% of its residential assessment base. These two figures combined indicate that the board would lose approximately 24% of its assessment base, when in fact it would be reducing its costs by somewhere between 6% and 9%.

It is our opinion that the extension of the educational boundaries to the new municipal boundaries would in fact end up as a windfall of revenue for the city board and a threat to the viability of our county board. We do not believe that this was the intention of those setting out to establish new boundary lines. In short, it supports the position that the county board of education is most reasonable in seeking enhanced revenue to replace that loss if educational boundary lines were consistent with municipal boundary lines.

The Middlesex County Board of Education must remain on record as opposing the current annexation boundary lines. We feel this is a land grab of excessive proportions. We find it difficult to believe that city officials are seen as better planners for agricultural land development and more concerned about protection of the environment. We believe it is more a response to the developer lobby.

We join with the county of Middlesex in supporting the option of the boundary lines suggested in the 1988 city of London proposal to the then Minister of Municipal Affairs, John Sweeney. At that time, even the city was satisfied with requesting the annexation of approximately 23,000 acres of land. This proposal also included the recommendation of coservicing and a shared cost-of-service arrangement between the city and the county. This proposal was, we understand, unanimously accepted by London city council, but did not get beyond the proposal stage because of the opposition of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

We believe this 1988 request by the city of London would still provide the city with enough land to expand and is the least costly proposal for the citizens of London, since residents would not face large increases in their municipal taxes to cover the cost of a compensation package to the county. This proposal would also leave the three schools included in the current annexation boundaries within the jurisdiction of the Middlesex County Board of Education. All schools would remain viable institutions and the retained industrial-commercial assessment would continue to ensure the viability of our Middlesex County Board of Education.

We understand there is a reluctance to consider such proposals at this point in the legislation due to your time lines, but we also respectfully submit that the 1988 proposal was never given a full hearing, just as the submission by county council over three months ago does not appear to have been given any serious consideration.

We conclude with the strongest exhortation for a reconsideration of boundary lines and a reduction of this excessive land grab. Failing any consideration of such a reduction, we must seek your support for a resolution of the educational matter that will satisfy the ratepayers within the annexed area as well as those in the remaining municipalities of Middlesex county.

We reiterate our vision that the appropriate political structure required to serve the future needs of the public school ratepayers is that of two viable public boards of education, one for Middlesex county and one for the city of London. I thank you for your attention and consideration of our presentation.

The Chair: I just want to say to anybody standing back there, you can take some of these chairs and just move against the wall. It'd be a lot better. You'd be able to hear better, too.

It looks like we might have about three minutes for questions from each party. We start off --

Ms McIllmoyle: Mr Chair --

The Chair: Sorry, I thought that was the end of the presentation.

Ms Ruth Jackson: This brief is being presented on behalf of the three Ontario Teachers' Federation affiliates of Middlesex county: the Middlesex Women Teachers' Association, the Ontario Public School Teachers' Federation, Middlesex district, and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation, district 41.

Collectively, these groups represent over 800 educators who provide learning opportunities for the more than 11,000 students served by the Middlesex County Board of Education, the largest employer in Middlesex county, with an annual budget approaching $75 million. Thank you for affording us the opportunity to speak today on behalf of our members.

We also made our concerns known to the annexation arbitrator, John Brant, during the hearings last March. For too long the impact of annexation on the operation of the Middlesex County Board of Education and its students and staff had been overlooked while city and county municipalities have met privately trying to reach a consensus on the future shape of the county and, until last April, denying board officials and the general public access to the debate.

During the process of creating the Middlesex County Board of Education in 1969, the Ministry of Education responded to pressure from Middlesex county, recognizing that the residents wish to maintain a school system which could better relate to and empathize with the needs of rural students. The ministry recognized the immensity of the area to be administered and that special leadership needs different from those of a large urban school board would better serve the rural community. In the 23 years of its existence, the county board has developed both a philosophy which recognizes the unique nature of rural education and a variety of programs geared to the needs of county students.


Children in Middlesex county schools are well-rounded students, receiving an education that goes well beyond the basics. The bond between the school and the community seems to be stronger in rural areas than in large urban centres. The Middlesex County Board of Education delivers the special kind of spirit that lives in our schools. The strong relationship that exists between the schools and their communities allows the schools to tap into resources unique to a rural community. These special resources only serve to enhance the programs, many of which reflect the historical, agricultural and natural resources found in our small towns and villages.

In his April 3 report, which made recommendations leading to Bill 75, John Brant stated, "The Middlesex county board is justifiably proud of its distinctive character responsive to community needs throughout the county."

In many cases, schools provide the focal point of the community. Programs are tailored to rural needs, parents take an active role in school programs and small schools thrive and provide a special education in small communities.

In her comments to the Legislature on October 19, the member for Middlesex indicated that "the Middlesex County Board of Education provides a very unique service for our children and for the county of Middlesex, inasmuch as it provides the kind of education that is geared for rural students and meets their needs in a remarkable way."

It's a board that has provided the kind of education our children need to take their place in Ontario society. Inasmuch as 35% of the tax base on which it depends will be gone, lost through this annexation, we have serious concerns whether our children will continue to receive the excellent quality of education we've come to expect and appreciate from the Middlesex board.

I'd like to outline some concerns of our Ontario Teachers' Federation staff members:

(1) Career aspirations: Many teachers have already made or have begun to make plans for career advancement within the Middlesex County Board of Education.

(2) Attitude towards staff: When the county board was created in 1969, there was a merging of equals into one board, where all learned from the experience of others. There were neither large nor small boards.

(3) Staff adjustment: If schools are annexed into the city, staff will experience stress as a result of the clash caused between the distinct corporate cultures of the London and Middlesex boards of education.

(4) Loss of identity: Being associated with a small rural board has permitted staff members to appreciate the close-knit relationships that have developed with other teachers, administrators and elected trustees over the years.

(5) Employment conditions: Although the continued employment of annexed teachers is guaranteed through the Ministry of Education, regulation 56, section 3, teachers are concerned about maintained seniority, transfer policies, placement in appropriate salary categories and contractual benefits.

The teachers of the Middlesex County Board of Education, while not being immediately affected by the enactment of Bill 75, have an interest in that section 56 of the bill empowers the Minister of Education to alter the boundaries of the school divisions of the Middlesex County Board of Education.

There are no historical or legislative precedents that would lead teachers to believe that altered school board boundaries would be allowed to differ markedly from municipal boundaries, and in fact, politically, have every reason to believe that the London board of education would expect that its boundaries would coincide with those of the city of London. Although the local boards have been directed to arrive at a local settlement, we believe that outside constraints from the province, and the interests of city residents, will in fact mandate the nature of that settlement.

Since the release of Brant's report, our concerns have been heightened by the large area of the county to be annexed under Bill 75, the major impact of the loss of taxation revenue without a corresponding loss in responsibility to provide services to residents and by the continued failure of the government of Ontario to provide or mandate a funding model to keep Middlesex county and its component municipal jurisdictions viable entities.

In fact, the arbitrator suggested restructuring and looking for new partners, which has already resulted in talks such as those between West Nissouri township of Middlesex county and Zorra township of Oxford county. This could only lead to a further breakup of our county.

We, as teachers, have every reason to believe that the provincial government will take the same approach to educational jurisdictions. No additional external funding will mean that the Middlesex County Board of Education will no longer have access to sufficient revenue to offer the same high-quality programs county students need and want. It also seems clear to us that the London board of education would have little or no reason to forgo any of the additional revenues that would be generated from the additional assessment it would require.

What choices are there then to be made to provide educational services within the remnant Middlesex county? We offer three.

Choice 1: Maintain the current boundaries of the educational jurisdictions, both from a student and an assessment perspective. But there are problems. City of London residents would be without the London board of education services. There would be an inconsistency of boundaries as compared with those of the Education Act. London city council would indeed be setting the mill rate for the Middlesex County Board of Education levy and therefore there would be two educational mill rates within the city of London.

Choice 2: Alter the educational boundaries according to the municipal boundaries. Again, there are difficulties. The Middlesex County Board of Education would require additional funding to maintain services, either from the province and/or the city of London board. Other problems would include: increasing average per-pupil costs, especially at the secondary level because of smaller-school student populations; the transferring of three elementary schools -- students and staff -- to the London board; and losing up to 35% of the commercial-industrial assessment of the county.

Choice 3: Amalgamate the boards of education. However, this would create problems by creating many extra costs to make the systems compatible -- staffing, busing, collective agreements, levels of services and types of services -- which will not nearly be offset by any economies of a large system, and dramatically decreasing the representation on the board from rural areas.

It should be noted that this process is an almost exact parallel to the municipal regional government difficulties where the overwhelming population numbers from the city of London would result in those representatives dominating the board. We'd like to point out that during the Brant hearing this municipal scenario was strongly repudiated.

We as representatives of the teachers of Middlesex county strongly support maintaining the current boundaries or, failing that, adopting the new educational boundaries to coincide with the municipal boundaries, provided that adequate compensation for current and further funding needs are forthcoming from the province and/or the city of London.

It also seems obvious that the best way to achieve these objectives would be to greatly reduce the area to be annexed under Bill 75, as we proposed in our presentation to the arbitrator, John Brant.

Thank you for your consideration.

The Chair: Thank you. One question, Mr Eddy, or Ben?

Mr Grandmaître: One question?

The Chair: We went 25 minutes in the brief alone, so --

Mr Grandmaître: Can I take one half of the question and he take the second half of the question?

The Chair: One question.

Mr Grandmaître: I find it very surprising that two of the most important elements or components of a viable community, the county board and the PUC, were not invited to participate in this annexation, maybe the largest annexation to ever take place in the province of Ontario.

I was listening to the previous speaker, who mentioned the loss of 24% of your total tax base, was it? How will you be able to budget for 1993 with this kind of loss of assessment and no compensation coming from the provincial government?

Mr Ted Anderson: Essentially, I think we'd be in great difficulty to do it at all. I think that's the bottom line. Our per-pupil costs would be quite different --

Mr Grandmaître: Just a second --

Mr Anderson: Essentially, I'm saying that our per-pupil costs for what we could spend on our students in our area would have to be drastically reduced because the local taxpayer could not foot the load.

The Chair: Sorry I cut you off there short. Ms Cunningham.

Mrs Cunningham: I had the pleasure of visiting the Middlesex county schools a week ago on a Friday and it was just as you described them, so I thank you for being here today.

There is a sense of urgency here and I'm just wondering if you have heard from the Minister of Education at all since the last time we talked, which would have been two weeks ago now.

Ms McIllmoyle: No.

Mrs Cunningham: Mr Chairman, I would suggest that you as Chair make a phone call, because I've tried, the board has tried, the teachers have tried and I think it's high time the minister got together with these people.

Mrs Mathyssen: Very quickly, Mr Chair, I have a number of questions.

The Chair: One question.


Mrs Mathyssen: I'd like to begin by acknowledging the excellence of the Middlesex board. I've been looking over some stats regarding skills with mathematics and science, and I note that Middlesex county students scored higher than the provincial average. So I think it speaks well of what happens in Middlesex county.

Very briefly, the cost of this annexation or amalgamation or whatever comes of this is going to be very high. What cost analyses have been done by the Ministry of Education? If, as was described, there is a dismantling of the Middlesex board as a result of this annexation, what do you think the ultimate results of that will be for students -- and I think students are important -- teachers and parents in Middlesex county?

Mr Anderson: It appears abundantly evident that the costing would be associated with some of the more enhanced programs that a city could provide, basically, technology into grades 7 and 8, instrumental music.

As far as basic programming is concerned, we feel that we would compare quite well, but those are very expensive programs. They are capital in nature and the supplies needed for those are very high.

As far as the amalgamation of the two boards is concerned, it would produce differences in representation. Related to trustees, for instance, three trustees would probably represent the county when right now 16 trustees overall represent the same area. So the individual's contact with the local trustee within communities would diminish.

As far as the staff and people within the system are concerned, I think it's very fair to indicate that probably everybody on the staff would receive a pay raise, and that raises the question as to why people teach in the county. It's essentially because there are other factors that attract them.

So those would be the major costs that we would see in any changeover as far as that is concerned. Teachers would benefit on that basis, but I think they teach in the county for different reasons, not better or worse reasons, but just simply for different reasons.

The Chair: I'd like to thank you for your presentation, and I'd like to have the PA give a few comments.

Mr Mills: I'd like to comment. Perhaps this will help with some of the comments that have been made. Bill 75 is designed to provide time for the two boards of education to negotiate a local solution, and we must assume that both boards are equally concerned with the provision of the best possible education to the students throughout the region and wouldn't be so parochial as to be unwilling to negotiate fairly to that end. That's the position of the minister.

The Chair: Thank you for your presentation and for appearing before the committee.


The Chair: The next group is the town of Westminster. Come forward, please. Everybody has the brief in front of them.

Mr Sutherland: Mr Chair, while they're coming forward, can I just clarify that you said each group now is having 25 minutes because we got started late?

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Sutherland: Okay, thank you.

The Chair: I'd like to welcome you here to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. There's a time frame of 25 minutes per group, but we've had to cut it down. We've got a vote coming up at about quarter to six, and we want to make sure we get everybody on and get as much time out there as possible. I'd appreciate it if you'd identify yourselves from left to right. You may begin.

Ms Barbara Mitrow: My name is Barbara Mitrow. I'm a councillor for the town of Westminster. Douglas Stanlake is the town administrator. Mr Stanlake and I are here today on behalf of and at the request of the town council in Westminster to give an alternative proposal to Bill 75. Sharing the same time spot as the town are Mr Albert Bannister of London township and Allen Budden, reeve of West Nissouri township. Due to the brief time allotted for the town of Westminster, I'll be omitting some sections of our written brief during the presentation.

The council of the town of Westminster is on record as supporting a modest annexation of town lands, leaving the town economically viable. We do not believe that Bill 75 is in the best interests of the London-Middlesex area. A better agreement on annexation for the county and the city is available.

The municipal elections of November 1991 reflected the need for a change in the leadership of council and several new members of council were elected. However, the minister's action of directing a provincially imposed solution immediately after the election deprived this council of the opportunity to negotiate a local solution.

Recent Ministry of Municipal Affairs reports on the cost to implement Bill 75 have confirmed council's worst fears that the true costs of Bill 75 are not known. We are now aware the province is going to contribute a minimum of $7.5 million to offset the costs of annexation to the city. A better solution at far less cost to all residents of the area must be found as the correct solution.

Westminster council approved a November 1988 proposal of the city of London as a basis for consensus as an alternative to Bill 75. The 1988 proposal has received support from the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, the county of Middlesex and North Dorchester and West Nissouri townships.

The November 1988 proposal is a lower-cost alternative to Bill 75 for all taxpayers in the area. The proposal manages agricultural land in a more sensitive manner and allows the agricultural land to remain in the county of Middlesex. The growing city compensation package to the county, now to be added to by provincial grants, is an added tax which will further burden the property owners and businesses of the city of London and any lands annexed to the city.

A more equitable and fiscally responsible solution is available. Its basis is found in cooperative agreements and mutual use of resources for the area. A local solution could have been pursued except for provincial intervention in 1989 by the then Minister of Municipal Affairs, John Sweeney. His terms of reference, attached as an appendix, prohibited the alternative being discussed. The November 1988 proposal still represents the basis for a local solution which has the least financial impact on all parties, including the province.

Cooperative servicing and agreements can and do work and are the key to reducing the large costs of Bill 75. The 1988 city proposal recognized that the industrial base in Westminster is vital to the economic wellbeing of Westminster and the county of Middlesex. To quote from the city's proposal, "London has no wish to cause serious damage to the tax bases of Westminster and Middlesex through annexation." The city's proposal further states that the cooperative service area is not strategic to the city's land requirements. The city's offer was for shared service at fair cost to the town.

The minister's arbitrator, John Brant, in his report also endorsed shared services. He recommended that intermunicipal services be provided by the city to adjacent communities wherever possible, but only in circumstances where the city received complete cost recovery for services.

Joint service agreements do work, as exampled by the town-city W12A landfill agreement and the town's agreement to provide the city with sewage treatment service, boundary road agreements etc. Brant recommended shared services be acceptable, the city offered to share services and surrounding municipalities have had a history of shared service agreements. The only party not willing to accept the idea of shared services was, and apparently still is, the province. It was not possible to develop a local solution when the provincial agenda dictated roadblocks to a local solution. Minister Cooke said he wants a local solution, and the November 1988 proposal is the basis for a lower-cost alternative based on shared but fair cost-servicing plans.

The city's 1988 proposal was based on future needs following existing policies and the total amount of land needed was 23,202 acres. The Sewell commission report, due out in early 1993, will serve as new policy direction for urban areas. No doubt the amount of land needed by the city will be affected by the Sewell commission report by reducing the amount of land required. Why make a major error now by allowing the city to annex nearly three times the amount of land the city says it needs for its purposes? The only practical answer that should be considered is the 1988 proposal.

The 1988 proposal would mean a loss of about 20% of the assessment and real tax dollars for Westminster. While this is a significant financial drain, there would be some savings on the expense side, but the loss would still leave the town as a viable municipal unit. The greater impact would be far fewer dollars to the county of Middlesex in the form of compensation payments. The result: The taxpayer gains in the millions as fewer nonproductive dollars are spent in the form of compensation.

The landfill site located in Westminster and nearly five miles from the city's current boundary is the subject of a shared service agreement, currently to terminate in 2006, between Westminster and the city. There is no logical reason to permit the annexation of an additional 40,000 acres of land from Westminster just to let the city control 500 acres of land it already owns. To address the city's concerns, the town is willing to renegotiate the shared service agreement to ensure the city of London has long-term use of this facility. This concession alleviates any need by the city to take a large portion of Westminster, of mainly farm land, just to ensure the long-term use of this existing landfill site.


We believe the alternative now accepted by town council and adjusted to reflect any substantive changes since 1988 is a reasonable local solution, benefiting all in the London area, and is far less expensive a solution to the taxpayers than Bill 75.

Bill 75 is not based on the public hearings chaired by Mr Brant and does not represent the majority of public opinion presented on this annexation issue. The solution should not be a result of developer-driven objectives whose interests are not aligned with the general public interest. The people, if you care to listen, have been telling local politicians and members of the provincial House that they do not want this massive annexation. The rural community of Westminister is very fearful that under the control of the city of London council its economic survival will be threatened and its community will be shattered.

The November 1988 proposal is a local solution which meets reasonable growth expectations of the city of London, does not subject the city of London residents and any annexed residents to potentially excessive tax increases and further ensures the economic viability of the county of Middlesex.

I urge the government to give careful consideration to this proposal and the alternative contained herein and to show that it cares for and respects the wishes of the majority of the residents of Middlesex county.

Regardless of the extent of the annexation, town council supports area rated services which means, through the property tax bill, a property owner would pay only for the services he receives. Area ratings should be mandatory, not permissive. In addition, all costs associated with area rated service should be included in the area rates. Diverse interests of rural and urban mix require a different accounting and cost recovery process of services than those currently followed by the city. A complete paper on area rated services is attached.

The financial impacts of Bill 75 can only be determined by a full financial impact study based on accurate figures. This should be completed before proceeding. Council supports the federation of agriculture in its request that the right-to-farm legislation and the code of practice be part of Bill 75.

The council has been fortunate to have loyal and valued employees who are affected. They should not lose by the passage of any annexation legislation. We would urge that regulations be implemented under section 19 of the bill to protect security of employment and benefits.

To assist the committee, we have completed a clause-by-clause review and it is appended to this submission.

We believe a consensus and agreement on the principles to be included in legislation could be worked out in time to allow Bill 75, in an altered form, to be passed before year's end. We would respectfully request the minister allow the parties one last opportunity to formulate a proposal which would be a lesser cost proposal than Bill 75. Our concerns are for the people of the area and financial future they will face if changes to Bill 75 are not made.

Blind faith that the final legislation will be good for the residents of London and Middlesex is simply not acceptable. In general terms, we believe that a number of sections of the bill must be rewritten to delete reliance on minister's regulations and be replaced by specific wording in the legislation.

Thank you for your time. We would be pleased to answer any questions.

The Chair: We will be having three minutes per party.

Mr Albert Bannister: Mr Chairman and accompanying panel members, thank you for the opportunity to appear before the committee on behalf of the township council and provide comments concerning Bill 75.

London township has put forth its best efforts in arriving at a suitable solution to the boundary adjustment but still has concerns in the following areas: shared services; asset and liability adjustment; adequate compensation; buffer zone.

Shared services: The Brant report, pages 18 and 27, recommended shared services to Arva and Ballymote. There is no mention of the shared services in the existing legislation. The two areas recommended for shared services are within the proposed buffer area. The cost of connecting to the services of the city of London by intermunicipal agreement would be borne entirely by the township in conjunction with the development industry. Shared services are already well established both for the city of London and other municipalities; examples are gas lines and water lines. An agreement in principle for a boundary adjustment with the city of London dated September 13, 1991, provided for shared services for both water and sanitary sewers to serve Arva and Ballymote, with a maximum growth of 1,000 units for Arva and 500 units for Ballymote. The city of London jointly with the county of Middlesex and the townships of London and Delaware requested the Honourable Mr Cooke to conclude the boundary adjustment agreements in principle in September 1991.

Asset and liability adjustment: London township is concerned that assets vital to its future operation may be in jeopardy, and a particular concern is the existing township-owned sandpit, which also provides sand to the county of Middlesex.

London township will retain approximately 175 miles of roads, not including county and provincial roads, which will require winter sanding. London township has a total of 110 bridges and culverts. Only eight of this total will be in the annexed area.

The assets of London township were adjusted by the major annexation of 1961, which reduced the township of London from approximately 40,000 to 5,500. How many times must we give up our assets? The existing assets should remain totally with the township, except for those which are clearly area-specific, for example, water systems.

The sandpit should be excluded from the provisions of subsection 13(1) and remain in the ownership of the township of London.

Assessment revenue lost for all time would be considered as part of the asset and liability adjustment process. The tax base is an asset, as far as London township is concerned.

Adequate compensation: The ability for the township of London to remain viable is dependent to some extent on the compensation to be paid. The following is presented for your consideration:

The township's estimated shortfall after adjusting for reduced expenditures and loss of assessment revenue amounts to $501,256. The ministry has provided various analysis figures to demonstrate the annexation impact. None of those provided to date has been proven accurate. The ministry has tried to show annexation costs as net overall, when general municipal rates are calculated in some municipalities to increase by as much as 52%, according to the ministry figures. The public is being misled with the information being provided through the financial impact analysis. London township is losing approximately 35% of its tax base assessment.

The buffer zone: The buffer zone as it has been described will allow for growth on full urban services. The control of the buffer zone can be and is presently being provided for as follows:

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food requires justification reports for the use of agricultural land for purposes other than agriculture.

Ministry of the Environment approval is required for all water, storm sewer and sewer treatment facilities required to service any development.

The Minister of Municipal Affairs must approve all official plans to allow for any development not presently designated in an existing official plan.

Development on the boundary of the city of London since annexation in 1961 has been virtually nil.

The city of London has urban-sprawled to create the present situation and now wishes to further that urban sprawl on to the rural areas, including good agricultural land.

In conclusion, the township of London is of the opinion that Bill 75 presently before the Legislature, and the current Ministry of Municipal Affairs proposed amendments, do not encompass all of the matters set forth in the Brant report, nor does the compensation package offset the impact of the assessment loss over a reasonable period of time, and allows the city of London to virtually steal the jewels of the county of Middlesex and at the same time place an additional tax burden on the city of London ratepayers.

The legislation as proposed brings with it additional uncertainty beyond the Brant report, as a result of several sections giving the Ministry of Municipal Affairs regulatory powers.

In addition to the items previously mentioned in this presentation, we also draw to your attention the fact that the W12A landfill site is not made mention of in the legislation.

We appeal to this committee to bring forth amendments to Bill 75 before its third and final reading to reflect those issues which have been brought forward by the concerned parties, so as to maintain the financial stability now existing and the current level of service to the lands remaining after annexation; or, as an alternative, that the legislation provide for the boundary adjustment to reflect the agreement in principle, which would at least reduce the magnitude of the financial impact on the ratepayers of the township of London.

We strongly recommend that the members of this committee review the township of London presentation and accompanying documentation which was presented to the panel members at the public hearings in London on September 25, 1992.

I would be happy to elaborate on any of the concerns expressed in the presentation or answer any questions the committee may have.

The Chair: We'll have time for one question from each party.

Mr Sutherland: There's one more to hear.

The Chair: Oh, I'm sorry. West Nissouri.


Mr Allen Budden: If the committee would like to follow along, it's the document with the township logo on it. The township of West Nissouri is pleased to have this opportunity to briefly outline our major concerns with the London-Middlesex annexation process in general and Bill 75 in particular.

It should be noted that the council of the township of West Nissouri has always been, and continues to be, opposed to the annexation of any lands from the township to the city of London. This position is based on the fact that neither London nor the province has ever put forth any compelling justification as to why a federally owned and operated airport has to be within the city of London municipal limits. Our submission to the office of the greater London area arbitrator in February 1992 outlines in detail our rationale for this statement. I trust that each member will review that submission, having regard to the original terms of reference, and I am sure you would acknowledge that West Nissouri's position is a valid one.

However, being in the situation we find ourselves in today, council has asked me to highlight its concern with Bill 75 in the event that it should become law.

Due to municipal restructuring, council has serious concerns over the fairness of section 13 of the bill, which may require a cash payment to the annexing municipality if a particular asset is not taken, but compensation has to be paid. The council also sees an inequity in the fact that no compensation is to be paid for any assets taken by the city.

Under planning, council continues to oppose the concept of the buffer area as being onerous on the remnant county municipalities and should not be necessary with proper provincially approved official plans, and many of them are just being approved now.

Council feels strongly that the W12A landfill site should be made available to all municipalities within the county of Middlesex, as recommended in the Brant report. The huge loss of assessment base in West Nissouri township, coupled with the closure of the Green Lane landfill, where we disposed of our residential waste, has made garbage disposal a very costly item. We now ship our waste to the Ridge landfill near Chatham, adding enormous transportation costs to our ratepayers. W12A seems to be a logical and reasonable solution to our waste disposal problem, which has been compounded by the financial impact of the annexation as proposed in Bill 75.

Council would formally request that this matter be included in Bill 75, permitting all Middlesex municipalities to use W12A.

Under financing, this is the most important aspect of what council feels about the position we are in. We have had a chance to review the financial impact documentation of the London-Middlesex annexation report from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs of October 1992 and would like to stress in the strongest possible terms our dismay with the quality of the report.

Staff have reviewed the document, and their comments are attached as appendix 1 to this submission. Without going into all the details, concerns have been raised over the accuracy of the demographic summary, the roads network transfer summary, the assessment transfer summary, the lower-tier adjustment summary, the local annex assessment impact calculation, the equalization factors used, and ultimately the overall compensation figure arrived at. Without clarification and justification by ministry staff, council is not satisfied that the $350,000 figure is accurate and reliable.

The document has raised, in council's opinion, more questions than answers and therefore begs the question, how reliable is the impact analysis and does anyone know the true cost of this massive proposal?

It is council's view that the financial impact must be accurate when it affects over 370,000 people and, until such time as it is, the process should not proceed any further.

Council also suggests that to evaluate the true impact and cost of this annexation, the school board taxes must be included. I think it's obvious to everyone that there will need to be a change of some sort with the two school boards involved, but we have been told that there will be no change as a result of Bill 75. The actual per cent of our school board's tax bill in West Nissouri is well over 60%, yet it is missing from the bill.

This does not, however, mean that there will not be a change in school taxes at a later date once the two boards go through essentially the same process the municipalities have gone through over the past two years. Council stresses that this is a cost of implementing annexation and it should be known before Bill 75 is enacted.

In summary, if Bill 75 does become law, council would urge this committee to allow the local municipalities to govern their own land use planning and therefore eliminate the buffer. They would urge you to, secondly, review the impact analysis for accuracy and completeness and, finally, ask you to include a provision in Bill 75 for the use of W12A for all local municipalities within Middlesex county.

The fact that there is no compelling planning or public policy reason for the city annexing the London airport; the fact that the city of London, in its own submissions, originally withdrew its demands vis-à-vis West Nissouri; the fact that these issues were only returned to the bargaining table by the initiative of the province; and the fact that to date, no compelling provincial rationale has been expressed for this can only lead one to conclude that there is no foundation or basis for boundary adjustments involving the London airport lands.

The township of West Nissouri is a rural municipality. It has never planned in any way for urbanization, nor has it ever threatened through urbanization or the demand for services the role of the city of London as the urban focus for Middlesex county. The township's lands adjacent to the city of London remain active and viable as rural agricultural lands and as lands to be used for their aggregate resources. There are no drainage or watershed issues which suggest annexation. There is no solid rationale for the London airport being within the city of London, and there is every financial reason for keeping it within the township of West Nissouri.

Without in any way meaning to intrude upon the interests of the city of London vis-à-vis other municipalities or the interests of those other municipalities, the township of West Nissouri respectfully submits that the only reasonable solution to be arrived at with respect to the city of London's boundary adjustment requests would involve a reduced annexation involving no annexation of West Nissouri lands whatsoever, all of which is respectfully submitted.

The Chair: Thank you. Do you have any comments, Mr Stanlake? No. Okay, I didn't miss anybody.

We've run up to 25 minutes; we won't have any time for questions. I think it would be appropriate if we had a telephone number to reach your group in case of any of the members want to call. Do you have that on file, Todd?

Ms Mitrow: May I make a comment? As a member of Westminster's council, I want to make a comment to all the elected people sitting around this table. We travelled down here this morning to make this presentation on behalf of this council. We are a 175-year-old municipality, and Bill 75, this proposed legislation in its current form, would erase this municipality from the map of Ontario for ever.

You have given us 10 minutes -- no questions, just 10 minutes. I strongly object to that. I think it's an abuse. I am very angry about this. The city of London had a full hour. I don't know what this means. I suppose it means that to get the government's attention, you have to be a big municipality. Obviously, the small municipalities don't get any.

The Chair: I'm sorry, but this was decided by the subcommittee. I'm the Chair here. I run the time and that's --

Mr Sutherland: If I could just comment on that, let's be quite clear. We had more people than we could accommodate on the speakers list. It was agreed upon by the subcommittee, representatives from all three parties, that first of all the county would come in for an hour and that the city would come in for an hour. That was agreed by the representatives and that is what occurred, and then the other groups came in. That is how they were chosen.

We thought we were only going to have the one day and we tried to accommodate as many people as possible. I understand people's frustration. There are many committees where many people feel they're directly affected and they don't get as much time as they like. That's the unfortunate reality.

The Chair: A short response, Mr Eddy.

Mr Eddy: We could have arranged for more hearing time. That was a distinct possibility and should have happened, in my opinion.

The Chair: But we are following the House leaders on this.

Mr Eddy: Well, they've changed their minds now and there's more time; there is to be more time than we were originally allotted.

The Chair: I'm sorry. I just follow the direction of the House leaders. I'm the Chair and I follow the direction of this committee.

I'd like to thank you for coming before the committee.


The Chair: The next group is the Canadian Union of Public Employees and the Westminster employees group. Would you please identify yourselves. You have 25 minutes between the two groups.

Mr Doug Wheeler: I'm Doug Wheeler, president of Local 107.

Ms Mariana Grube: Mariana Grube, president of Local 101.

Mr Syd Ryan: Syd Ryan, president of the Ontario division of CUPE.

Mr Ken Brown: My name is Ken Brown. I'm representing the employees of the town of Westminster.

Mr Len Forster: My name is Len Forster. I represent CUPE Local 4, PUC.

The Chair: Fine. Who is starting off?

Mr Ryan: I'll start off. Before I get into the presentation, I'd like to make a few comments also. CUPE is the biggest union in the province of Ontario. I'd like to say that I find this process to be totally inappropriate, inexcusable and, quite frankly, an insult to the membership I represent.

I sat here this morning and listened to you say just a few moments ago that you gave the township and the city of London one hour to come in and make their presentations. We have had 15 minutes to make our presentation today. The insult I find is that we have Ken Brown, representing the unorganized workers, having to share a spot with CUPE. The employees who are most adversely affected by this process are the ones who have the least amount to say.

To be quite honest, I'm very very disappointed by the NDP, a party that I helped to elect and a party that I knocked on doors for. I'm absolutely shocked and dismayed that we would be treated in such a shabby manner. I tell you, you'll be hearing further about this beyond this process.

I'd like to get off by saying that this brief is presented on behalf of the Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 4, Local 101 and Local 107. Local 4 was created in 1945 and now represents approximately 400 employees of the public utilities commission of the city of London. Local 101, created in 1944, currently represents approximately 650 office, clerical and technical employees of the city of London. Local 107, organized in 1941, currently represents about 450 outside employees of the city of London. The history of these locals in the community is long and rich and they are among the oldest labour organizations in the area.

Bill 75 will dramatically alter the structure of municipal government and the provision of municipal services in the London region. Undoubtedly the legislation will have an effect on the citizens of the area, but certainly its most dramatic impact will be upon the employees of the municipalities and the local boards directly affected.

These individuals look upon Bill 75 with understandable anxiety, fearing a possible loss of employment-related benefits, opportunities for advancement or even their employment. Their anxiety is understandable because Bill 75 offers no concrete answers to their concerns. All it really contains is a promise that something may be done to address their concerns.

In particular, important matters such as job security, protection of benefits, seniority and pensions are not dealt with expressly in this legislation. Bill 75 provides only that these matters may be the subject of regulations to be enacted at a later date by the minister. In other words, these employees are expected to rely upon a leap of faith, and hope that satisfactory regulations will be enacted to address their concerns.

Similarly, their concerns have not been allayed by the city of London, which has responded to attempts by Locals 101 and 107 to address the workplace transition issues flowing from Bill 75 by suggesting that such discussions should commence after the legislation has been passed. It is unconscionable to expect our members to simply wait and hope that these issues will be dealt with at some later date in a way which protects their interests. Instead, we propose that Bill 75 be amended to deal expressly with the worker adjustment problems that may result from its impact.

We now turn to deal with these potential problems separately, so that jobs, working conditions, benefits and job classifications be preserved and guaranteed.

On job security, we believe the vital concern over potential job loss is probably held most acutely by those employees of the London PUC, currently members of Local 4, who, as a direct result of this legislation, will cease to be employed by their present employer. However, it must be recognized that there is also legitimate concern by the present employees of the city of London. These employees face the distinct possibility that as a result of the transfer of other employees into their bargaining units, some of them might be deemed redundant or surplus to requirements.

The job security protection contained in Bill 75 is very limited. It simply requires the city to offer employment to those employees of annexed municipalities who were employed as of April 1992 and who continued to be employed as of December 31, 1992. A similar provision applies to employees of the public utilities commission.

Apparently the only obligation imposed upon the city is to offer employment to these individuals. There appears to be no guarantee or assurance that these individuals will be offered employment in positions that are similar or comparable to those which they presently hold. Thus, a highly skilled person could be offered an unskilled position which would obviously be unsuitable, with the sole protection that his or her wage rate could not be reduced below its April 1992 level.

Secondly, there does not appear to be a continuing obligation to employ these individuals beyond January 1, 1993. If this is so, then the requirement that they be offered employment could be of little consequence.

Furthermore, we find the job security provision for surplus or redundant employees to be particularly weak. While the city or a local board is required to offer employment to any person deemed surplus during the six months following January 1, 1993, an employee declared redundant or surplus after that date does not appear to have any protection whatsoever. This short six-month period of protection can be contrasted with the Brant report, which recommended that such protection extend for a period of at least two years.

More alarmingly, even this very limited protection applies only to employees who were previously employed by one of the annexed municipalities. Specifically, this protection is to be found only in clause 19(2)(b). There is no similar protection for employees transferring to the city from the PUC or from the town of Westminster. Furthermore, there is no job security protecting employees presently employed by the city or the PUC who may find that their jobs are declared redundant as a result of annexation.

It is our position that Bill 75 should contain the assurance that any employee who may be adversely affected by this annexation should be provided with full and complete job security. In particular, the city or local board should be required to provide each transferring employee with a position that is equivalent or comparable to his or her previous position. In addition, there should be an express provision that no employee shall be declared redundant or laid off as a result of the annexation. The complete lack of such guarantees obviously fuels the anxiety of all concerned.

The employees of the affected boards and municipalities have neither initiated this annexation nor have they any power to stop it, but justice and fairness surely demand that they be protected from losing their employment as a result of it.

We note that there is legislative precedent for such job protection provisions. In particular, we refer to Bill 30, the legislation that dealt with the expansion of separate school funding and the transfer of employees from public to separate school boards. We also refer you to subsection 136(1) of the Education Act.

Protection for salary and benefits: Bill 75 provides only limited protection of the salary or wage of an employee transferred as a result of its effect and contains absolutely no protection for benefits.

With respect to benefits, we can appreciate that it would be difficult to draft protection for all the specific benefits currently received by employees. We also recognize that there may be some conflicts between the benefits currently received by employees and those which they will be entitled to receive as employees of the city of London. However, these technical difficulties cannot excuse the absolute failure of Bill 75 to deal with this problem.

It surely must be recognized that benefits form a substantial part of the compensation package received by an employee. In order to ensure that employees are not disadvantaged, we propose that Bill 75 be amended to include a provision for harmonization of benefits. Such a provision would require that where there is a difference in benefits, the city would be obligated to ensure that the affected employees receive the superior benefit.

Bill 75 does contain some protection for the salary or wage of the transferred employee. Sections 19 and 24 require that the transferred employee "receive a salary or wage at a rate no less than the person was receiving on the 1st day of April 1992."

It is our understanding that the date of April 1, 1992, was chosen to avoid the possibility that an employer might grant an exorbitant increase to its employees before the December 31, 1992, transfer date. While we can appreciate this concern, it does not seem to be relevant to scheduled wage increases under a collective agreement that was negotiated before April 1992. In such cases, there can be no suggestion that an employer has agreed to artificially inflate the wages of its unionized employees in contemplation of this legislation. In addition, this provision has an unfair impact upon an employee who has received a promotion to a higher-rated position after April 1992.

Accordingly, we suggest that these provisions be amended so that employees subject to a collective agreement be entitled to protection for their rate of pay on the transfer date of December 31, 1992.

Another problem which is not addressed by Bill 75 is the possibility of city employees being required to perform the same duties but receiving different rates of pay. The disharmony that could result from such a situation is not hard to imagine. Accordingly, we propose that provision be made for wage harmonization so that in such situations the affected employees will be entitled to receive the higher wage rate.

We appreciate that these amendments might involve some additional costs to the city, but we expect these costs will not be significant. If it is shown that these costs are significant, we would propose that the province assist the city with the cost of providing wage protection and benefit harmonization.

On the establishment of the hydro-electric commission, CUPE believes that the proposed hydro-electric commission be an independent commission, that it be deemed the successor employer of the London Public Utilities Commission and that the certification certificate be amended accordingly.


CUPE also believes that the collective agreement negotiated between the London Public Utilities Commission and CUPE Local 4 be maintained, including all rights and benefits, and shall cover any employees working for the public utilities commission who may be affected by the annexation. Finally, CUPE asks that all rights, benefits, customs, practices and working conditions which employees now enjoy, receive or possess, shall continue.

On the question of retired employees, we recommend that the benefits negotiated for retired employees who have served the employers and the community faithfully be maintained and enhanced to the point that all retirees receive the best package available.

To assist those employees who are close to retirement or considering early retirement, Bill 75 should contain a severance package for those employees between the ages of 55 and 65, due to the fact that those who may qualify under the OMERS 85 factor do not qualify for Canada pension until 60, at the earliest. Also, many employees between the ages of 55 and 65 do not have the required years of service in the OMERS plan to qualify for early retirement under the 85 or 90 factor.

Over the next five years, retirees could solve many of the concerns the employers may have over retaining employees surplus to the requirements under the proposed annexation.

In general, we'd say that locals 4, 101 and 107 have jointly agreed to the following concerning employees transferred to the city:

(a) That the current Local 4 agreement be maintained for its duration;

(b) That locals 101 and 107 administer the agreement with the city of London under a letter of commitment; and

(c) During the time frame between this date and the expiry of the Local 4 agreement, locals 101 and 107 negotiate with the city of London to merge transferred employees into the city agreements, with the intent of maintaining the superior rights, benefits and wages for all employees.

This position was tabled with the representatives of the city of London and public utilities commission at a joint meeting held between the parties on October 27.

The remainder of our presentation deals with some suggestions we would have to improve the process. However, in the interest of getting on and allowing Ken Brown to make his presentation, we conclude by saying that we find the provisions of Bill 75 to be lacking in specific protection for the employees who will bear the greatest brunt of its impacts. It is absolutely unfair to expect these workers to continue to live with this uncertainty in the hope that subsequent regulations will answer their concerns. Therefore, we propose that Bill 75 be amended to include the specific protections suggested in this brief.

Mr Ken Brown: My name is Ken Brown. I am employed as a municipal law enforcement officer for the town of Westminster. I am here today representing the employees of the town of Westminster, who have identified several concerns that have very serious implications towards their careers within municipal government. Answers for these questions have not been identified from any party involved with the transition process.

My number one topic is to deal with the terminology "employees." The town of Westminster defines the word "employee" as any person who is employed as at the date of the transfer on January 1, 1993, and includes those working full- and part-time hours, permanent and temporary staff, voluntary firefighters and contract people. Under the definition section of Bill 75, it's suggested that the following definition should be included: "`Employee' is a person who is employed by the town of Westminster as at the date of transfer."

Item 2 deals with termination or transfer. The employees of Westminster concur and support the recommendations of the director of the TCOC in her report to the steering committee of September 22, 1992, in particular item 1, that legislation should state that all employees are transferred to the city of London -- and not terminated by Westminster, to then take employment with the city of London.

Item 3 deals with benefits. There should be no loss whatsoever of any benefit coverage to an employee as the result of the annexation. It's conceivable that a give-and-take situation could occur. However, if the employee is to receive less coverage with the city, a compensation package should be addressed for each individual -- for example, a payment into a retirement fund or a bond or an RRSP or something of that nature.

Item 4 deals with wages. Wages for all persons involved in the transfer should be the same as they are receiving on December 31, 1992, or the date of transfer. Westminster is a performance-based system for merit increases, and numerous performance reviews will be outstanding because of their anniversary date. There are 21, to be exact. The employee has worked for and earned any increase that was received during 1992 and should not be punished by losing any increased remuneration because of the annexation issue.

Item 5 deals with probation or initiation. No employee should be required to serve any probationary period with the city of London or any initiation period with CUPE. The employee's probationary period has already been served with the town of Westminster and any further proof of his or her capabilities would be a duplication and completely unnecessary.

Item 6 deals with seniority. It should be stipulated in legislation that each employee's seniority should be the same in the city as in the town of Westminster for all purposes. For example, five years' employment with Westminster should equal five years' employment with the city and five years' seniority within the union. If the union were to require a catch-up fee, this should not be the responsibility of the employee. "For all purposes" would also include vacation time, various allowances that are available, sick days etc.

Item 7 deals with job security. All employees at Westminster should receive job parity with all city employees. Job security should not be addressed by a time period: for example, 6 months, 12 months or whatever.

Number 8 deals with time-oriented jobs. If an employee of Westminster is involved in a time-oriented job, such as the transition process or some type of planning project that deals with the annexation process, what will happen to that employee when the transition is completed in one or two years?

Item 9 deals with overtime, vacation and sick days. An employee should be able to carry forth his or her overtime, vacation time and the number of sick days accumulated with no loss whatsoever to the employee. If this is not possible or proposed by the city, all of the abovementioned items should be bought out at no loss of any kind to the employee.

Item 10 deals with the offers of employment, which we have not received. Legislation should be amended to read, "All employees who are made redundant either by annexation or county restructuring within the next two years shall be employed by the city of London at salary levels no lower than those of December 31, 1992, or the date of transfer."

Employment offers should include: where an employee will be positioned, including the location; all conditions of the employment; the training available or what is provided. To effectively deal with the transfer, the benefits, wages and seniority, a separate section in Bill 75 should be created as follows: continuity of employment. In the next two paragraphs, it goes on to describe my suggestion for the transfer of employees into the city of London.

In concluding, as January 1, 1993, fast approaches, there are 76 employees of the town of Westminster and their families who are still asking the above questions and we're not receiving any answers from anyone involved in this transition process. I appreciate that we're all under a severe stress load and we, the employees, respectfully ask that this committee assist in lifting a big load from the 76 employees and families by providing answers to the concerns raised in this report.

In closing, I respectfully request that this committee take the necessary action to ensure that no employee will lose because of the actions of this annexation process. I thank you for allowing me to appear before this committee. I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.


The Chair: I'm going to go to Mr Mills, PA for the ministry.

Mr Mills: I'd like to make a few comments in relation to the statement that was made at the beginning of this presentation. The representatives of the government have spent many hours meeting with representatives of the affected workers in order to address their concerns and as the presenters well know, the government representatives have undertaken to ensure, through regulation if necessary, that any negative impacts on workers will be minimal.

I'd like to comment about the amount of time allocated to the presenters appearing before the committee this afternoon. To say that the lack of time is a reflection of a lack of regard for the affected employees and their welfare I think is grossly unfair. CUPE has been represented on the technical coordinating committee since May, and many of the issues that you've raised here this afternoon are in fact on the agenda of the technical coordinating committee at this time.

Mr Brown: I'd like time to respond.

Mr Ryan: You'd like a response. Gee, I've only got five minutes here, so maybe I'll respond and you can respond after me.

Gord, I don't know how much you know about the ongoings of the committees down there, but we've had nothing but problems from day one in attempting to address our concerns and get our concerns on to the table. We spent yesterday morning having meetings and discussions, attempting to get clarifications around wages and benefits. Now, it's a little bit late in the day to be turning around and saying we've had access to the system when in fact three and a half months after the system began we're still trying to get provisions and protections around the issues we've raised here today.

In terms of the process that's been followed, this is an open process. These are public hearings and our opportunity to have our say. I would expect that the employees, in terms of the pecking order, would at least rate up there with the employers. If you sit down and organize and give the employers one hour to make a presentation, I think it's a bloody damn -- I won't get into it. I think it's wrong and I think it's inexcusable to turn around and give the employees 15 minutes and say to the unorganized employees, "You've got 15 minutes and both of you can go and share it." That to me is what I find unacceptable.

I find it unacceptable from a government that I walked the streets and knocked on doors and worked for and attempted to get elected. That's what I find inexcusable. What I say is that maybe you should take a look at who your friends in this room really are and stop treating them as shabbily as you've done in the past. That's what I'm saying.

The Chair: Mr Brown, do you have any comments to make?

Mr Brown: The only comment I have, sir, is that I would appreciate it if this committee would look at this report and give some serious consideration to bringing in some form of legislation to protect the employees. We did not ask for this annexation, and it would appear at the present time that there's a very good possibility we could lose as a result of it. I don't really think that's fair in terms of the employees.

The Chair: I'd just like to make a short comment on the presentations made by the city of London. These concerns were brought forward already in these particular areas and this are just more enlightenment a little bit further than they have, but they've touched on all these issues as they've come before the committee. They weren't there just for the city of London. They were concerned about the employees also. I'd like to thank you for appearing before the committee.


The Chair: The next group is the Middlesex Federation of Agriculture. Would you come forward, please.

If you weren't in the room a little bit earlier, we've had to cut it down because we have a vote in the House and we got started a little bit late. If there's time left after your presentation, we'll go up to 25 minutes and have a question period, but you have a full 25 minutes for your presentation. I'd like to welcome you to the standing committee on finance and economic affairs. If you don't mind, identify yourselves and your positions.

Mr Doug Duffin: I am Doug Duffin of the Middlesex Federation of Agriculture.

Mr Bill Irwin: I am Bill Irwin, president of the Middlesex Federation of Agriculture.

Ms Carol Small: I am Carol Small, chairperson of the Middlesex Women for the Support of Agriculture. I'm going to start off tonight. I'm here on behalf of the Middlesex Women for the Support of Agriculture and wish to thank you for allowing us to speak and give our presentation to you today.

From the time of the Brant hearings until this hearing today, we in the Middlesex Women for the Support of Agriculture have opposed the annexation bid. Although we recognize that some annexation is required, we are opposed to the massive land annexation of 64,000 acres of prime agricultural land. Therefore, the first section of Bill 75 that we propose for change is section 2. An alternative proposal for this section, with which we are in agreement, is the Middlesex county proposal of July 1992. We have appended that to your brief.

We support the Middlesex county proposal for the following reasons: importance of agriculture in the life and economy of Ontario; London's record of land mismanagement; the lack of rural representation proposed for the new city, and a confiscation of 38% of the county's commercial and industrial tax base and the further confiscation of all of southwestern Ontario's tax base.

Let's discuss these issues in further detail. We have a valuable non-renewable resource. I stress that most emphatically: non-renewable resource. That resource is land. Not just any land, for in Middlesex county we have the good fortune to live in one of the richest agricultural areas in Canada. Middlesex county has the unique features of superior land quality, favourable rainfall and the moderating climate of the Great Lakes basin. These factors cannot be reproduced anywhere else in Canada.

When people eye our land for development, they are overlooking the fact that this land is already developed. That industrial development is agriculture, the manufacturing industry ranked second only to the auto industry in manufacturing in this province. In Middlesex county, 3,244 farms have $1.2 billion invested in this business of farming. In the London region, farmers produce $2 billion worth of products each year.

In Middlesex county, agriculture is a megaproject that happens every year, not as in the construction business, where it is the boom-and-bust cycle, or an industry that moves south of the border when the head office orders the branch plant closed. Every farm-gate dollar generates $7 into the economy. Job spinoffs in agriculture are significant. One out of five jobs, or 20% of the jobs, depend on agriculture. In the London-St Thomas area, more than 3,500 jobs are in the food processing and beverage industries alone.

Prime agricultural land is less than 1% of this province's vast land mass. The Ontario farmer, the most productive of all workers, has increased productivity from feeding four persons at the turn of the century to feeding 120 people per farmer now. Despite further improvements in technology and productivity, one essential key component is still necessary to produce food. That key component is soil. Recent research from the University of Guelph states that with the current land base -- that's right now -- and a 30% increase in production by Ontario farmers, in the year 2000 there will be a 4% food shortage in the province of Ontario. That's just eight very short years from now. And in Bill 75, you want to take 64,000 acres of prime agricultural land and give it to a major urban centre for eventual urban development and a regional garbage dump? Mind-boggling.

When you confiscate our Middlesex county land to create an enormous urban centre that will be 80% the size of Metropolitan Toronto, you confiscate the tax base not only for Middlesex county, but for all of southwestern Ontario. You intend industrial and commercial development to concentrate in London only, and not in the remainder of southwestern Ontario. London alone benefits from the larger commercial and industrial tax base.

We in Ontario have witnessed the concentration of a rich commercial and industrial tax base in the Metropolitan Toronto area deprive the rest of Ontario of equivalent services, no matter how many grants are given to try to equalize it in Ontario. A larger urban centre in our midst will further compound the issue and make remnant rural Ontario a deprived region. The remaining meagre tax dollars of the surrounding counties will not allow support of our schools, recreational facilities, senior citizens' homes and roads.

How will the province offset a 38% increase in county taxes or the 10% increase in school taxes and the local municipality tax? Surely not by trying to buy us off with some extra dollars for a few years. Here goes the seed money scenario again, and we all know who picks up the tab on that one: the local taxpayer.


Long-term planning in agriculture is essential. Ten years and even 20 are insignificant in the time of the land. Agricultural stewardship and husbandry require time and money. Farmers living within the annexed territory are not going to upgrade their land or make improvements to their property, because ultimately that land will be within an urban area. The land, in effect, is in a holding zone for development. It is then mined, not farmed.

Speculators are buying and will continue to buy the land at high prices. This makes land too expensive for farming purposes. In the London area, the value of land for farming has already dropped to the point where the Farm Credit Corp has expressed concern over land values. Already apparent in the Toronto area, another effect of speculators' purchases is the cheap rental fee charged to renters of land waiting for development.

In our own province, where farming is in a a slim- or no-profit margin, this certainly upsets the level playing field, as farmers in the rest of Ontario cannot compete against these cheap rents. You can never, ever, protect agricultural land in an urban area. Can we afford to lose 64,000 acres of prime farm land?

One of Ontario's richest agricultural counties, the county of Middlesex, is to become an impoverished area because of Bill 75. Our county is about to lose 38% of its assessment and then is expected to be content with token dollars. Now London has asked for help to pay for annexation costs and you have given it money. So now, with the rest of the province, we are helping to pay for London taking our land and assessment base. The province really has lost its sense of economic reality.

Who is going to pay as the province continues to dictate yet shirk its duties at the same time? Can London even maintain the good services the annexed area currently enjoys?

In closing, WSA wants to caution you that Bill 75 is being watched carefully throughout this province. In its current form and the methods you devised for its conception, you have given a whole new meaning to democracy or the lack thereof. You have stripped a municipality of its duly elected council. Where in any democratic country could this happen? Why did our ancestors settle our country and why have we fought in many conflicts to protect our democratic rights? Surely not to have them taken away by our provincial government. Look at your poppy and think about that on November 11.

Remember, perception becomes reality, and reality is not set on Bay Street but on the concession roads and in the towns and villages of Ontario.

From a local shop window, I wish to leave you with this thought: "A country without farms is a country without a future."

Mr Duffin: At no time has London had to publicly justify anything in this procedure. London's record on maintaining densities and providing hard services is suspect at best. London's density has gone from 32.01 people per hectare in 1960 to 16.89 people in 1989. The average density in southern Ontario cities in 1989 was 27.7 people per hectare. In fact, if what we are to read in the London Free Press is true, the province is going to pay for London's costs in this annexation. A city assuming the tax base and ready to service such a large area should hardly need to be begging for handouts yet.

While Mr Cooke is officially on record as still welcoming a local decision, the actions of his ministry have greatly hindered any efforts. By not having proper figures available as to the net cost of compensation to London and therefore having to take compensation off the table for now, London council has no incentive to continue negotiations.

Level of service in municipal government: Under the present municipal government structure, the area to be annexed is served by approximately 12 elected officials. If people in that area have a concern to raise with council, they can establish personal contact with a councillor, or one phone call to the township clerk can usually get them on the next council agenda.

Under Bill 75, the annexed area, twice the size of the existing city, is represented by one appointed official on a council of 20. After the next election there is a distinct possibility, under representation by population, that there will be no one voice for that annexed area. Rather, the area will be split among several wards.

London city council operates on a standing committee and board of control system. Consequently, city council deals with recommendations from these bodies but does not hear delegations directly.

In matters of planning and policy, agriculture has only been offered advisory committee status. This means that the agriculture advisory committee would report to the appropriate standing committee, which will vary depending on the issue, and if that standing committee decides to take action, it refers the matter to board of control, which decides if this matter is worthy of the attention of council as a whole.

To ensure that agricultural concerns are properly administered and dealt with, we need a committee with teeth. We propose that included in the legislation is an amendment requiring the city of London to establish a rural committee with the appropriate powers to make representation directly to board of control and council on matters relating to agriculture, the environment, transportation, community services and planning for the rural portion of the annexed area. This committee would function as an equal to the three standing committees of council and also comment on its activities from an agricultural perspective. For the purposes of developing the new official plan, this committee would report to the special planning projects committee.

The city's arrogance and paternalism in any dealings we have had with it forces us to demand provincial inclusion of this matter. One city councillor went so far as to tell us that she could relate to agriculture: She had owned a horse that she boarded in the county during the 1960s.

Planning: Bill 75 as presented poses several problems from an agricultural viewpoint in the general area of planning.

(1) The perception of the province is that through the official plan process the city will be able to regulate the amount of land available for development. The reality of the situation is that at the present time developers are assembling tracts of land and they will lobby the city to get these included for development in the new official plan.

(2) There is no mechanism to regulate the amount of land moving out of agriculture and into commercial-residential use. City council has not shown itself able to regulate building to the appropriate density. In an interview this week, the mayor said that the combination of lots of available land and low development charges will be used to attract industry. Maybe the 100-year solution will only last 20 years.

(3) In the development of the new official plan, the city starts with a clean slate and can designate as little land "agriculture" as it sees fit. Those in the annexed area have no choice as to the future of the land they own. In the meantime, the city can get the minister to change zonings without any public input.

(4) When the zoning is changed on agricultural land without your consent, the tax rate goes up. Market value assessment will also increase annexed agriculture's tax burden.

At the time of the zoning change, the previous 10 years' farm tax rebate becomes due and payable without any offsetting increase in income or capital gain from the sale of the property.

(5) Lands designated "agriculture" in the city's new official plan maintain that designation for 10 years from the date of the new official plan, not the date of the zoning change. Any subsequent official plan requires only a five-year time delay. This gives agriculture, an industry with a very long-term vision, a minimal planning horizon. When John Brant proposed the 10-year delay in implementation, it was to take effect the day of the zoning change so that farmers always knew 10 years in advance.

Urban planning: Future planning for urban land use must have significant agricultural input. Development fees, densities and redevelopment will have an impact on the amount of land coming out of production. This annexation has been developer-driven. The city readily admits this and is pro development. The inclusion of such a large acreage in the annexation will entice larger developers with bigger projects. Without a tight rein on raw land supply, there is no pressure on redevelopment of the existing city.

The city's municipal tax structure must be reworked to end discrimination against higher-density housing such as apartment buildings. A city that claims to need more land when it still has enough zoned land for 50,000 units of higher-density housing needs significant provincial guidelines in planning. Once out of production, the land is gone for ever.


On the buffer zone, we feel this is not needed if the official plans of the surrounding townships are as strong as we are led to believe London's is going to be.

County structure: The terms of reference laid down by the province from which Mr Brant made his report, the basis of Bill 75, were markedly slanted towards the development of a much larger and more powerful city of London. What was noticeably missing was an offsetting concern for the viability of the remnant county.

The minister has promised no annexation-related tax increases for the surrounding municipalities for a period of five years and then, on a declining basis, for the next five years. After the 1961 annexation, it took the surrounding municipalities 20 years to recover their tax base. London's large area will make it more difficult this time for the adjoining municipalities to attract new industry. With all the commercial-industrial assessment and the federal grant in lieu of taxes for the airport stripped from the municipalities, agriculture is the one left to pay, and believe me, the cupboard there is almost bare.

The magnitude of income losses for the surrounding municipalities has already prompted some of these municipalities to seek new alliances in regard to boundary restructuring. Bill 75 anticipates this and calls for restructuring within the county. However, the amalgamation of two non-viable municipalities does not create a viable municipality. The desire to maintain the continuity of community could lead to the splintering of the county, as municipalities would prefer to associate with their closer rural neighbour, not necessarily in the same county.


(1) Implement an agriculture committee for the city of London.

(2) Before compensation is settled, ensure that the ministry numbers agree with the township and county numbers and that it extends until the remnant townships are viable, in whatever form they're in.

(3) The W12A dump: Amend the act to get the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to pressure the Ministry of the Environment to expand the dump for the use of the entire county. The Ministry of the Environment should fast-track this and do it at least cost.

(4) Development charges: Amend the act to force the city to charge realistic development fees. This will promote the conservation of land. Present city residents, some of whom have never received services from the last annexation, should not be forced to subsidize new, extravagant development.

(5) Official plan: Ensure that the redevelopment of the existing city is prioritized over new development. London is headed for a Detroit-ghetto type of downtown, as it is rapidly being abandoned. For this reason, the official plan needs to consider the entire city, not just the new parts.

(6) Amend the act to force the city to rework its tax structure that favours urban sprawl by discriminating against higher-density housing.

(7) Force the city to restrict the raw land supply for development. This will increase the price of land and promote conservation of land.

(8) Enact 25- and 50-year agriculture designations for remote lands. Major decisions are made on more than a 10-year time horizon in farming.

(9) Enact regulations to force the city to be a responsible steward of the land. We have improved the land in the last 150 years that we have farmed it. Do not give the city the right, in a two-hour council meeting, to destroy it for ever through urban sprawl.

(10) Show in the legislation that you are serious about allowing agriculture to flourish in the new city. As a start, put in the agricultural code of practice with the strength and right to farm in the city's new official plan. Do not wait for London's official plan to do this, as the ruination of the agriculture industry in the new city has already started. A 50,000-acre wasteland in the midst of southwestern Ontario, Canada's prime agricultural land, is quite a legacy for one man and one government to create.

Mr Irwin: In the interest of time, I'll just make a few points.

It strikes me that the rationale that agricultural land can be protected by being put within a city, the city of London in particular, is a little like arguing that you're making love for virginity. I just don't understand the whole concept of "We're going to save the land by throwing it within a large urban municipality."

To me, the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food did the single biggest disservice to the rural constituents when it made the presentation to Mr Brant -- and I believe it's the ministry's official position -- that boundaries don't protect agriculture; legislation does. It seems strange that when we talk about protecting something, we're always protecting something somebody else owns.

As the president of the federation of agriculture -- the Middlesex federation; I haven't gone beyond that yet -- I think it's important that the only people, the only sector of society, that can protect agricultural land are the farmers, the people who own it. They will only protect it when it is worthwhile and they can farm it unhindered.

One of the most important things, in my mind, for agriculture is to be able to take the municipal concerns you have as a farmer before a council of peers, a council that understands your concerns, hopefully a council that knows exactly where you live and whether the problem you have is personality-based or drainage-based. There are a lot of things that can't be legislated, and it's attitude.

We have worked with the city of London to try to come up with some solutions that we think might represent agriculture and allow farming to carry on within the city of London. Doug has itemized those, and I believe everyone has a copy. We came in a little late. But it gets back to me that the Halton model keeps being put forward. I don't think it works. We're not dealing with a regional municipality here; we're dealing with a city that has a large area of farm land that will probably never be developed, by its own admission.

Representation by population is the ideal in our society, but it's based on the fact that the people within the constituency would be of similar social and economic backgrounds. We have rural municipalities for rural people and urban municipalities for urban people, and ne'er the twain shall meet, in my mind. There are very big differences between the levels of expectation. Carol has said that as rural people we tend to think two phone calls should do it, and those phone calls can be between the hours of 10 at night and midnight, and that's when your council had better be there and better be responding. I'm William the third, and William the second was the reeve, and there were a lot of wrong numbers between the hours of 10 and midnight.

Mr Veel has put forward an idea that bears some consideration. He's talking about equal representation on population within the annexed area. He'd like to see about three wards in the annexed 64,000 acres. That means three wards for 8,000 people. The city of London doesn't seem to be too enthusiastic about that. The idea put forward by the city of London really borders on insulting. They're talking about an off-the-shelf advisory committee -- Doug explained it -- that goes to this committee, goes to that committee and filters through a couple of levels of administration. That's not going to work. It's not very fast, it's not very effective, and at the end of it, you're going to hear, "I'm sorry, the councillor can't be with you right now."

By their own admission, their special projects and planning committee says, "This special committee has established a council to undertake reviews of the three matters mentioned above," those being commercial policy reviews, zoning reform and official plan review. It goes on to say, "It is anticipated that this committee will dissolve when these projects have been completed." That's the committee that they're going to have agriculture report to. That doesn't sound like a long-term committee with a long-term plan.

It's very frustrating. The other thing that they thought might work to represent agriculture on city council -- there's a rumour that the Western Fair board was being considered. It seemed that they were already in existence, and they had some rural knowledge, you know.

The shortfalls in this committee structure were pointed out to Mr Hopcroft at a meeting in Irene's office. His response really offends me, and I think this is where we have real problems dealing with rural concerns in the city of London. He suggested that farmers would be heard because the best two rallies he had seen recently in Ottawa and Toronto were put on by farm groups and that the urban people had a nice warm feeling towards farmers, so you wouldn't want to tick them off anyway. So the rural community is being asked to give up representation by population and taking its concerns to a council of peers in exchange for our ability as activists and advocates and the nice fuzzy feeling urbanites have towards us. I find that insulting.

We're running short on time here, and I would like to have time to answer questions. I believe that an appointed advisory committee can never take the place of an elected council of peers. I don't understand the logic that some people have when they say, "I didn't like the township council I had, so put me in the city of London." One fellow said, "And if they start jerking me around, Bill, I'm going to phone you." That's not the way it works.

The way it works is that anyone should realistically be able to go to the council and be listened to. They should also have the ability, if they're really mad at their council, to stand and get elected and sit where either you people are sitting or the township councils are sitting. That is part of what we call our democracy, and I think it works reasonably well. We have two very different levels of expectations here, two levels of taxation, two levels of servicing. We've got two municipalities.

Any questions?


The Chair: Thank you, Mr Irwin. We won't have time for questions, but we do have a comment from Mr Mills, the PA, and then you can comment back on his reply.

Mr Mills: I'd just like to refer to amendment 26. The bill is amended by adding the following section:

"57.1 The Minister of Municipal Affairs may by regulation,

"(a) provide for the creation, size, composition and functions of a rural issues advisory committee in the city of London;

"(b) require council of the city of London before passing a bylaw pertaining to a rural issue to consult with the rural issues advisory committee; and

"(c) define rural issues for the purpose of this section."

The Chair: Would you like to comment back, Mr Irwin?

Mr Irwin: Sure. That's a start, and I think we've been lobbying very effectively, but I don't think it addresses some of the concerns. First, you can argue that anyone can stand for election. It's an advisory committee. It's making comment to, and if you don't have a council that really understands your needs, you might as well make comment to these pictures on the wall. This is where we have to be careful, I guess. We might get a wonderful council, but I don't know. We haven't had a lot of luck.

The Chair: Ms Small, do you want to make a comment on that?

Ms Small: Yes. Mayor Gosnell might have something to say to you about that, Mr Mills, because the Middlesex farmer says, "Annexation destroys farm land but creates jobs." We don't think it, meaning agriculture, applies to the annexation talks. So much for city council.

Mr Irwin: It's very fine. You're talking legislation; we're talking attitude. I think there's a big difference. I applaud your endeavours.

The Chair: I'd like to thank you for appearing before this committee and for your brief.


The Chair: I'd like to welcome you here before the standing committee on finance and economics on consideration of Bill 75. I've got about six names here. Is there anyone else coming forward?

Mr Ben Veel: Yes, Mr Chairman, there will be later. As these people leave, the other people will come forward.

The Chair: Okay. You can take a spot at the end there, if they'd like to slip in the end there. But you can start. Would you please identify yourself from left to right so Hansard can pick up on who's speaking?

Mr Veel: We'll do that through the process as we introduce each person.

The Chair: Okay, that's fine.

Mr Veel: We appreciate the opportunity to present to you this afternoon some of our concerns. My name is Ben Veel. I am a long-time resident in the town of Westminster.

Annexation was not my choice, but a decision had to be made. Long-term planning is what I believe in: no Band-Aid solution, but planning for a future that amalgamates as equal partners the land of the town of Westminster with the services of the city of London. Bill 75 offers an opportunity of controlled growth into the 21st century.

I would like at this time to introduce our first presenters: Mr Bill Neville, vice-principal of Regina Mundi College, and Mr Tom Mulligan, chair of the parent advisory board of Regina Mundi College. Bill is immediately to my left and Tom is next to him. Go ahead, Mr Neville.

Mr Tom Mulligan: My name is Tom Mulligan, and I will start instead of Bill. Our support for Bill 75 arises out of our concerns for the safety of our children.

At the present time, those students attending Regina Mundi who don't have a full day of classes and either arrive late or leave late are obliged to take public transportation. Public transportation is approximately 4.5 kilometres from the school. It is on a very busy road. It has a great deal of commercial traffic. The road, for two kilometres, has an 80-kilometre-an-hour speed limit and for the bounds has a speed limit of 60 kilometres. They are obliged to cross through the entry to and exit from Highway 401, which is the busiest cloverleaf in the London area.

Because there are no sidewalks on this road, we feel that our children, the students, are at risk from the vehicular traffic. In addition, the road is bordered on both sides by open fields. This, we believe, places them at risk from physical attack and even, as is occurring, as we all know, abduction.

The winter conditions only serve to compound the problems that we see. We believe that if Bill 75 is inducted into law the city of London and the London Transit Commission, which has shown itself in the past to be very aware of community needs, will be receptive to an application for extending public transportation as far as the school.

Thank you for your attention and consideration.

Mr Bill Neville: I'm Bill Neville, vice-principal at Regina Mundi, and on behalf of the students and the families in our school community I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to address you today.

Regina Mundi high school is one of four English high schools operated by the London and Middlesex County Roman Catholic Separate School Board. The school is located in a rural area south of London's current city limits. The student population is drawn from the southern portions of London and the surrounding area as well as southern rural communities in Middlesex county.

Some of the highlights of the history and population growth of our school would be these:

In 1960 the school opened as a junior seminary housing 100 people. In 1969 it became a private high school housing 210 students. The growth in numbers will be increasingly important. In 1983 we continued to have a boarding school but admitted grade 9 day students. Between 1984 and 1987 there was an addition of one grade per year, to the point where we have students from grade 9 through OAC. Current student population has reached 1,800 students; we're over 1,800 students.

Picking up on what Tom mentioned about transportation, there are concerns from an academic point of view as well. It's our hope, as a school administration, that the current annexation will include Regina Mundi. We look forward to a time when the London Transit Commission will extend bus service to the school and its area.

Extending the bus routes to service an expanded south London, including our school, would meet a number of student needs. At present RMC offers over 100 activities that must be operated outside of school hours. As well, the extra help provided by staff and peer tutors must frequently fall outside the regular school day. These activities are available to every student in the school. However, the students and their parents remind us that a large number of the students must experience high school without the benefit of these services because of transportation problems.

While RMC is located outside the city of London, it should be noted that over 70% of our students and 70% of the families in our community live within the current city boundaries and pay residential and commercial taxes to the city. We also see that the 30% who live in Middlesex county would make regular use of transportation services to the city of London.

The second area I'd like to touch on is the area of water and sewage treatment. Regina Mundi high school utilizes a private water supply and sewage treatment system.

In September 1990 MacLaren Engineers was retained by the Catholic schools of London and Middlesex to evaluate and monitor the operation of the sewage treatment plant serving Regina Mundi. MacLaren Engineers is responsible for maintaining sampling records, interfacing with the Ministry of the Environment and preparing an annual status report. The monitoring program also includes maintaining well water pumping records and performing quarterly analysis to determine the quality of the well water.

The water and sewage systems are 30 years old -- there's one well -- and these currently provide adequate service for the school population. However, the systems are operating at maximum capacity. The age and the demand on the system are of concern. The city of London water and sewage services would be most welcome.

The water supply for fire fighting has been deemed adequate by the appropriate authorities. The water source in emergencies would include the school storage tank which services the everyday needs of the school. It would also include access to the water in the adjacent ponds, feeding by gravity, to a water chamber beneath the west end of the school. Again, city of London water service would be most welcome. I know from conversations with the neighbours that city of London water and sewage service would be most welcomed by them.

There is a long-standing working relationship between the London and Middlesex RCSS board and the city of London. This relationship has been characteristically one of cooperation and combined effort. This effort has included the Regina Mundi facility and community. A good example is the common use of the school recreational facilities by both groups.

On behalf of the students of Regina Mundi high school, I thank you for hearing how annexation can benefit some 1,400 of our families who live in both London and in Middlesex county.

Mr Veel: Thank you, Mr Neville. I'd like to now introduce you to Harry Froussios of the Hellenic Community Centre.

Mr Harry Froussios: Mr Chairman, members of the committee, ladies and gentlemen, my name is Harry Froussios and I'm here on behalf of the Hellenic Community Centre.

Our centre is located on the south side of Southdale Road in the town of Westminster. The city of London boundary presently runs down the middle of Southdale Road. Because we are located within the town of Westminster, we are unable to be connected to city services which are located at our property line. The town of Westminster is unable to provide us with water and sewage services.

Our community, consisting of a substantial number of citizens, is planning to expand its present facility to include a church as well as implementing educational, social and cultural programs. Unfortunately, we are unable to do this due to a lack of important services.

So far as we are concerned, we support Bill 75 and urge you, the committee, to implement it as soon as possible.

Mr Veel: Thank you very much, Harry. I would now like to introduce you to Joan Norris, chair of the Lambeth Citizens Recreation Council.

Ms Joan Norris: The Lambeth Citizens Recreation Council is a community association representing 12 service clubs and athletic organizations. We formed in May as a response to the proposed annexation.

Our group of dedicated people was, and is, committed to maintaining our small-town spirit. We are a vital and active community where the goodwill between local associations works together to benefit Lambeth children and adults.

Our primary goal is to keep our special identity. We wanted this unique spirit to continue and felt through cooperation we could best protect our interests and foster our neighbourhood spirit within the larger city of London.

It was and still is a concern that even though John Brant identified our unique situation, the issue is not mentioned in Bill 75. It should be stressed, however, that working as a citizens group with the ongoing support of Mayor Ben Veel has been fruitful and rewarding.

The Chair: Excuse me. This will be on Bill 40. There's a 15-minute bell.

Mrs Cunningham: You guys can stay here. I'll go vote for you.

The Chair: It doesn't say up there. Okay, what we're going to have to do is recess until after the vote. You'll have your time after the vote.

Mr Veel: Approximately how long will it be, sir?

The Chair: We're looking to see if it's a 15-minute bell, but it could be only a five. It's only a five-minute bell.

Mr Mills: Twenty minutes.

Mr Veel: Twenty minutes; thank you very much.

The committee recessed at 1754 and resumed at 1823.

The Chair: I bring this committee to order again. Mr Veel, you've used up 10 minutes of your time. You've got 15 minutes left.

Mr Veel: I think we'll go back to Joan Norris. I informed her that she could start at the beginning and she informed me she didn't need my permission; she was going to do that anyhow.

The Chair: Okay; go ahead.

Ms Norris: The Lambeth Citizens Recreation Council is a community association representing 12 service clubs and athletic organizations. We formed in May as a response to the proposed annexation.

Our group of dedicated people was and is committed to maintaining our small-town spirit. We are a vital and active community where the goodwill between local associations works together to benefit Lambeth children and adults.

Our primary goal is to keep our special identity. We wanted this unique spirit to continue and felt that through cooperation we could best protect our interests and foster our neighbourhood spirit within the larger city of London.

It was and still is a concern that even though John Brant identified our unique situation, the issue is not mentioned in Bill 75. It should be stressed, however, that working as a citizens' group, with the ongoing support of Mayor Ben Veel, has been fruitful and rewarding. The city of London task force on local government restructuring and the parks and recreation department of the city of London have been receptive to our request to maintain control of our recreation facilities.

We are currently working towards securing an agreement. I am confident our unique community will be able to be maintained. There has been a spirit of true cooperation evident in all our dealings with the city of London. We are anxious to work together to secure our citizens' future recreation.

Mr Veel: Thank you, Joan. Our next speaker was to be Mr Gene Ennis, but what we'll do is go to number 5, who is Pauline Nanni, a resident of South Winds subdivision.

Ms Pauline Nanni: Dear committee members, at this time I would like to offer a videotape to the committee of several citizens of the town of Westminster. They're representative of the agricultural community and the business community. Upon viewing the tape, you will see that they have had extensive community involvement over many years. The tape was made during the time frame of October 30 to November 2, 1992. The citizens were aware of Bill 75 and its contents and wished to make some concerns known before the bill moves to clause-by-clause analysis and final reading.

The input of many hundreds of citizens, presumably with similar concerns, could have been accumulated for this tape. I was directly involved in presenting a petition to the town of Westminster council on May 11, 1992, that asked council to cooperate with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in setting up effective transition teams for annexation.

The petition, unanimously passed by council in a recorded vote, had 1,357 signatures obtained over a 13-day period, 365 of whom were farmers from the rural areas of Westminster. If time had permitted, many of those people would have gladly offered their final concerns over Bill 75. I am confident they would have echoed the sentiments of those on the tape. Please give your fullest attention to all recommendations on the video as you complete clause-by-clause examination of Bill 75.

Mr Veel: Thank you, Pauline. I'd like to now turn it over to Mr Gene Ennis, a long-time resident of Lambeth, which is in the town of Westminster.

Mr Gene Ennis: There's going to be some overlap between the previous speaker and myself. That's not an oversight on our part. It's our way of underlining what we want to communicate to you.

You, Mr Chairman, members of the committee, ladies and gentlemen, and I have heard many, many presentations from many, many people claiming to speak for the citizens of Westminster. My purpose in presenting this information to you today is to present to you what many of my fellow citizens have indicated in writing, some 1,300 of them, people of Westminster.

I wish to present to you with a copy and an analysis of a petition that was presented to the council of the town of Westminster last May. The nature of this petition has a background. A number of citizens had been concerned with council's negative attitude towards setting up a transition team and dealing with the arbitrator's report. A meeting was called and people were asked to bring a friend.

The petition wording, a copy of which you have before you, was drafted by consensus and a vote of the people present at that meeting. Views voiced ranged from total agreement after stalemates for such long periods of time, to resignment to the situation, to disappointment but wanting a look towards the future.

These citizens then circulated this petition for a period of only 13 days. Verbal responses from the canvassers indicated widespread support for the need to work cooperatively with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs during the transition process. This support was evident in rural and urban areas alike.

I brought forth a motion to council that spoke to this petition, and council voted to cooperate with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in the matter of transition in order to ensure that all the interests of the citizens of the town of Westminster are protected. Immediately following this, council voted to appoint a representative to the transition steering committee other than the head of council or his/her designate.

Going to the analysis of the petition, you have the figures, you have the areas from which they were taken. I only want to emphasize time and time again that of the 1,335 signatures, 364 came from residents outside the urban areas of Westminster. The 1,335 signatures were from residents of Westminster, not of London, not of Middlesex county per se and not outside the area. They were from residents of my municipality. Some 364 of those signatures were from rural residents. We have the breakdown there for you. We also have the breakdown by ward of the urban area.

Going back to the beginning, it is my purpose to present to you from my fellow citizens -- not from what I think my fellow citizens want, but from what they themselves have signed -- and you have the copy of the petition before you.


Mr Veel: Thank you very much, Gene. Two issues that must be addressed and remain unresolved I would like to bring to your attention. The first one is representation. Other people today have already alluded to it. Now is the time to put in place a plan that will accommodate the projected future growth. Most of this growth will occur in Westminster. We must recognize this need and create a new ward within the city boundaries consisting of the merged areas of Westminster.

The buffer zone is the most unpopular item in Bill 75. Again, we are dealing with a Band-Aid solution. Long-term planning is the key to controlled growth. When the official plans of the city of London and its neighbouring municipalities have been approved, the buffer zone should become redundant that same day. These two items need to be addressed in Bill 75.

I would like to thank you for the amendments that you have proposed, as they meet many of our concerns, concerns raised by our citizens at public hearings and discussed at transition committee meetings.

Thank you very much for your attention. We'll be glad to answer any questions you may have. We brought a number of people. Some of the people have an asterisk beside their names. If you'll notice, almost all of them are farmers and they're spending 24 hours drying their beans right now. Most of those farmers are actually on the tape you will be receiving, so you're not losing their input.

The Chair: Thank you. What we do have is about three minutes for each party. We'll start off with Mr Eddy.

Mr Eddy: I'm not clear on Mayor Veel's statement about the buffer zone. Did you say once the official plan is in place for the town, once it becomes part of the city of London, that the -- would you repeat what you said about the buffer zone?

Mr Veel: I can repeat, but I can explain better, I guess.

Mr Eddy: Okay, please.

Mr Veel: What I am talking about is that the buffer zone requirement is a result of negligent planning right now, so it's a Band-Aid. Once the county, which has to come up with the plan, and the surrounding townships and the city, which has to come up with the new plan -- planning is one of my serious concerns that needs to be addressed more seriously. Once they have been put in place and approved by the ministry, then obviously the need for a buffer zone is redundant, because hopefully they'll address the concerns that we have in the buffer zone now. If we're not going to address that in planning, we're doing something wrong.

Mr Eddy: So that's your request to the government?

Mr Veel: Yes.

Mr Eddy: Has it been submitted yet or is it part of your presentation?

Mr Veel: Actually, we have consensus of that, even finally with the mayor of London. He concurs with the same view. We brought it up at the steering committee, and Mr Riddell will be bringing it to the minister's attention.

Mr Eddy: I see. So that's a request you have of the government?

Mr Veel: Very much so.

Mr Eddy: We'll try to support that. The other point was about making the town of Westminster a ward. That would be following the next municipal election in London. The town of Westminster and the annexed areas would become a ward and not be worked into other wards -- or what was your viewpoint?

Mr Veel: London has anywhere from a 45,000- to a 65,000-people ward.

Mr Eddy: Yes.

Mr Veel: If we go in there -- and I don't need to repeat what Mr Irwin and Mr Duffin said; they were very eloquent in their presentations -- there's a difference.

My view is that this is a unique situation that requires representation by population of the annexed area. We would prefer more than one ward, for example, a ward in West Nissouri and London township. Those areas could be ones that are being amalgamated. We'd like three, but you probably think that's unrealistic.

That's why I put in here that we would like to be at least a separate ward and considered, that we don't lose our identity by being absorbed with 6,500 people into some huge London ward where we were would have absolutely no representation.

Mr Eddy: May I ask then, has that been presented to the government and has there been a response to that?

Mr Veel: The city of London cringes every time I bring it up. However, I'd like to point out that there is already an example of it, being Sarnia-Clearwater.

Mr Eddy: Okay.

The Chair: We go on to Mr Sutherland.

Mr Sutherland: I just have a question for Ms Nanni regarding the South Winds issue. Could you give us just a bit of update of where that stands right now in terms of the problems being corrected?

Ms Nanni: As I left my house this morning, I had to walk down the street to get in my car because the equipment is in the subdivision putting in the sanitary sewer lines in the streets. We don't know when the hookups will be to the homes themselves. My particular lot has been an example of sewage rising to the surface in the backyard three months after I moved in. The Environmental Appeal Board has written a summation of what it feels about our lot, and it's just a scathing condemnation of planning and of the approving bodies.

Mrs Mathyssen has one, as well as the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the Minister of the Environment and Premier Rae. We are an example of a place that should never have been built on the kinds of services that are there. Long-term planning and full municipal services should have dealt with us in the very beginning.

The Chair: I'd like to thank you for appearing before this committee. On Hansards, I had quite a few calls in my office from people who are sitting out there. If they could call the clerk's office, as soon as they're ready on the sittings today, maybe your office can fax them out.

Thank you for attending the committee here.

Mr Veel: Thank you very much.

The Chair: I was just talking to the clerk. We can arrange a day to see the video before the clause-by-clause which is mutually agreeable to all the committee here. We'd like to have a subcommittee as it is right now. This committee is adjourned for today.

The committee adjourned at 1837.