Thursday 29 October 1992

London-Middlesex Act, 1992, Bill 75

Ministry of Municipal Affairs

Brian D. Riddell, assistant deputy minister, municipal operations

Taras Myhal, negotiator, municipal boundaries branch

Zdravko Weing, senior planner, plans administration branch

Dr Kathleen M. Chinnery, senior economist, municipal finance branch

County of Middlesex

Frank Gare, warden

Michael Troughton

Grant Hopcroft

London Chamber of Commerce

Edwin A. Holder, chairman of the board

Frank R. Berry, board member



*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:

*Cooper, Mike (Kitchener-Wilmot ND) for Mr Christopherson

*Coppen, Shirley, (Niagara South/-Sud ND) for Mr Wiseman

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

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

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

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

*Mathyssen, Irene (Middlesex ND) for Mr Ward

*Mills, Gordon (Durham East/-Est ND) for Ms Ward

*Winninger, David (London South/-Sud ND) for Mr Wiseman

*In attendance / présents

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Klopp, Paul (Huron ND)

Murdoch, Bill (Grey PC)

Clerk / Greffier: Decker, Todd

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

The committee met at 1009 in committee room 1.


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 annexations faites à la cité de London et à certaines municipalités du comté de Middlesex.

The Chair (Mr Ron Hansen): The standing committee on finance and economic affairs will come to order. I'd like to say good morning. I see a lot of new faces on this committee for this particular hearing.

This morning we're going to have a presentation from the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in reference to Bill 75, An Act respecting Annexations to the City of London and to certain municipalities in the County of Middlesex. It's been sent to this committee.

At our last subcommittee meeting it was decided that we'd have the ministry in this morning and witnesses this afternoon; the following Thursday will be witnesses; two weeks later, on November 19, we'll have clause-by-clause and amendments. That's to give all members an update as to what's going on in these particular hearings.

I'd like to say that a request came into my office just about half an hour ago. It was from Doris Bond, a councillor from Westminster, requesting that proceedings of today's public hearings be televised. After discussion with Todd Decker, it wouldn't be televised back to the Westminster-London area, because right now we have private members' time in the morning, and then in the afternoon they'd be televising the House sitting, so our committee would not be televised out to Westminster and the London area. It's decided that it wouldn't be an advantage to switch this committee to another room to be televised. I take it that all members agree that it wouldn't make an impact? Okay.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): I have two questions. When the briefing is going on, will we be allowed to ask questions at that time, or should we wait till the end of the briefing?

The Chair: I'm going to take some direction from the PA.

Mr Gordon Mills (Durham East): At the end.

The Chair: At the end, yes. A lot of the presentations this afternoon will be half an hour, and if they take 20 minutes on the presentation, it's only going to leave three minutes for each party to ask questions. So keep in mind that if you have a question that's three minutes long, I'm going to have to cut off so the other parties have a chance to ask a question.

Mr Eddy: That will be explained to the presenters, of course.

The Chair: Yes, I will. But it can happen with the members if their question is three minutes long.

Mr Eddy: The other question I had was, are we able to accommodate some or the majority or all the people or bodies requesting to be heard? Have you any feel on that?

The Chair: I've got a list right now of people who have requested to appear on the committee. Mr Eddy, I believe you're a member of the subcommittee now. The three subcommittee members will be sitting down and doing a cross-section of people to come, because I don't think we'll have enough time for all of them. We've got about nine pages of people to come before this committee. There was some discussion at earlier subcommittee meetings that we cut it to 15 minutes to get more people on, but I don't think it would have done justice to people to appear for 15 minutes, and we'd have no time for any questions.

So possibly 15 minutes before we meet this afternoon, the subcommittee members can meet ahead of time and discuss some of the groups here so that we get a good cross-section. Maybe some of them have appeared already, maybe we have their briefs, and possibly we can have some new groups come forward. Is that agreeable with you, Mr Carr?

Mr Gary Carr (Oakville South): Yes. It's just that you said nine pages. Do you know how many that works out to, the number of people who want to come in?

The Chair: They did something wonderful for me: They numbered them. There are 37.

Mr Carr: Thirty-seven. So at the subcommittee we will go through that and be able to --

The Chair: I think we agreed that we'd have enough time for nine. Was it nine? Yes, at a half-hour, there were nine groups. Mr Sutherland, do you have any problems at, say, 3:15 for that subcommittee meeting?

Mr Kimble Sutherland (Oxford): No, that's fine.

Mrs Irene Mathyssen (Middlesex): Mr Chair, in connection with the broadcasting, while I understand that other things are going on so that there couldn't be a live or simultaneous broadcast, I would like you to consider the advantages of the people in the area being able to see a rebroadcast at a later date in terms of hearing what the people who come to this committee have to say both for and against Bill 75.

The Chair: With the scheduling of the different committees in the different rooms, I'd have to talk to the chief government whip. Maybe I can have a discussion after we break at 12 o'clock and see if there is a possibility.

Mrs Mathyssen: If you could find her, that would be fine.

The Chair: If I can find her, yes.

Mr Mills, would you introduce your guests? Okay, you're starting off.


Mr Mills: Thank you, Mr Chair. I'm going to start off here this morning, and I'm going to make the opening statement on behalf of the minister on the London-Middlesex Act, Bill 75.

The new local government structure that will be created by Bill 75 will position the greater London area for economic renewal while ensuring that the environment and valuable farm land are protected.

The greater London area is one of the most desirable places in which to live and work. It has the potential to attract new commercial and industrial development that can give a much-needed boost to its economy, the benefits of which will be shared by the entire province. The reality is, however, that London cannot accommodate new growth within its existing boundaries. London needs more land to provide for a viable future for all of the communities in the area. Managed growth is essential as we head into the next century.

For the past 11 years, various attempts have been made to arrive at a local solution to London's need for more land. All these attempts have failed. That is why in January the Minister of Municipal Affairs appointed an arbitrator, John Brant, to examine all options and recommend the most workable solution.

The Brant report forms the basis of the legislation that was tabled in the Legislature by the minister on June 18.

Bill 75 will resolve this long-standing local dispute. It will position the greater London area for economic renewal. It will financially prepare the county of Middlesex for a renewed rural community. It will give agricultural land in the annexed area the greatest protection in the province and correct the area's serious environmental problems. Regulations will protect farm land and control urban sprawl.

The legislation enshrines comprehensive planning, prevents piecemeal development decisions and creates a climate of certainty for the future of London-Middlesex farm land and the environment.

The city of London will be required to develop and adopt a new official plan. The regulations for Bill 75 will spell out the mechanisms for mandatory public and provincial participation, participation that will ensure meaningful involvement by a wide variety of local and area interest groups and guarantee consultation with provincial ministries.

The new official plan will address the issues of growth management, social planning and the protection of the environment and of agriculture. The regulations will call for the development of a strategic vision and a social services plan that will form the context within which the new official plan will be developed. All future land use decisions made within the new city of London must reflect the principles and values expressed in the official plan.

The county of Middlesex, through its own visioning and planning, and assisted by a compensation package funded by the city of London, will have an excellent opportunity to reaffirm its values for rural living. It is through good, sound planning that we protect the environment and renew existing rural communities.

It is critical from a good planning perspective that the same body that controls development and sewers also controls water services and parks. We believe the decision to have the city take over the functions of the two public utility commissions has common sense and good planning on its side. This will ensure that a single body will be responsible for the delivery of parks, water and sewer services.

Services currently provided by the two PUCs will not be cut off, and municipal employees who are affected by the annexation, including PUC employees, must be offered a job by the city of London.

A new hydro-electric commission will be established to administer the electricity functions of the PUC. The commission will be represented by the chairperson of the Westminster PUC and five London PUC members until the next municipal election. Thereafter, city council will appoint the five commissioners.

Since the release of the Brant report on April 3, 1992, we have listened to both sides of this debate. John Brant held extensive public consultations in the city of London and the county of Middlesex from January till March. He listened, and we listened.


When second reading debate of Bill 75 was interrupted in June, we were already committed to holding public hearings in the London area. On September 24 and 25 the minister kept his promise and heard presentations from 62 people from the city and the county.

A number of sound ideas were presented at the hearings and are reflected in the amendments we will propose to this committee. The amendments also address some of the concerns raised by four local members: Marion Boyd, Irene Mathyssen, David Winninger and Dianne Cunningham. They have been active participants throughout this process and were all present for the two days of public hearings held in London.

Proposed amendments to Bill 75 will deal with land use planning and financial matters, particularly in the area of the compensation package.

Changes to the planning sections of Bill 75 result from extensive consultation with the affected municipalities and provincial agencies. Part of the consultation took place through the transition team the minister established to oversee the implementation of the legislation. The transition team consisted of political and technical representatives from the five affected townships, the town of Westminster, the city of London and the county of Middlesex.

The amendments being proposed to this committee introduce some flexibility in the buffer area. These changes will accommodate future unforeseen land use activities that would not detract from the basic intent of the buffer area. The changes to Bill 75 will permit the minister to deal with these matters through regulation.

The buffer area will remain a truly long-term agricultural and open space area on the border between the county and the new city. There will be ample opportunity for planned urban growth within the enlarged London. The controls in the area are already in place today through official plans approved by the province. The regulations of Bill 75 will ensure that this control remains.

Additional changes would enable the province to ensure that the city of London prepares its new official plan within a reasonable period of time, as well as all the prerequisite studies and plans such as its strategic vision and a social services plan as outlined in the Brant report. These changes will also ensure that the protection of agricultural lands and the environment are dealt with to the province's satisfaction.

Ministry staff have already commenced consultation with the city of London on the process through which these documents will be prepared and on the methods for obtaining extensive public participation. The regulations will ensure that these matters are addressed to provincial satisfaction and that certain portions of the present city official plan reflect the latest provincial policies and standards.

It is gratifying to see the high degree of cooperation that has already been shown by the affected municipalities. We will continue to encourage this cooperation in the future and intend to reflect it in the regulations.

One example will be the formation of a rural advisory committee as part of the city of London's decision-making process and structure. The regulations will spell out the committee's composition, representation, function and reporting relationship.

In addition, ministry staff will be working with the city of London's staff and representatives of London's social service agencies in the development of the social services plan component of the bill.

Changes to the finance sections of Bill 75 result from consultations with affected municipalities and the public hearings held in September in London.

Given the concerns expressed by the county and affected municipalities, the compensation package will be amended to more accurately reflect the impact on the county. Amendments include a regulatory power that outlines payments directly to the county and four local municipalities to compensate for the annexation. The amendments provide for enhanced compensation to Middlesex county and annexed municipalities to ensure that no county resident will experience any annexation-related tax increases for five years.

As with all other municipalities in Ontario, the decision to move towards market value assessment is a local one and will be left to London city council.

For conservation authority levies, a regulatory power will be added to the act to permit the Lieutenant Governor in Council to alter the apportionment so that tax shifts among municipalities may be reduced. In order to provide additional time for the city to prepare for extending services to annexed areas, the city will implement urban service areas in 1994.

Given that the county will be responsible for suburban roads following the annexation, suburban roads payments will continue in perpetuity.

Additional changes to the finance sections of the act are technical in nature and relate to the amendments discussed above.

As a result of the transition process, a few amendments relating to the bill, not related to planning or finance, have also been deemed necessary. Affected township municipalities or boards will be given an extra six months, to January 31, 1994, to determine which employees will be considered surplus and then be employed by the city or its boards. A provision will be added so that Westminster volunteer firefighters can continue to operate in the new city.

A provision that would allow municipalities or boards to appeal a decision of a committee of referees on the distribution of assets and liabilities will be clarified to say that an appeal must be lodged within 30 days. Westminster libraries that were to continue to operate through 1997 will now do so under the London Public Library Board's direction.

Detailed explanations of each of the changes to Bill 75 are appended to the actual rewrite of the bill itself. You will find these appendices in your packages of material.

In conclusion, on behalf of Dave Cooke I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the four local members for their cooperation throughout this process, and particularly for their participation in the two days of public hearings held in London: London Centre MPP Marion Boyd, London North MPP Dianne Cunningham, London South MPP David Winninger and Middlesex MPP Irene Mathyssen. They have faithfully represented the concerns of their constituents while acknowledging the needs of the entire London-Middlesex area. The minister has appreciated the insight of his caucus colleagues and would like to acknowledge the fact that Dianne Cunningham remained non-partisan throughout the process.

I would also like to extend our appreciation to John Brant for taking on the responsibility of arbitrator and for doing such an outstanding job.

Annexation, amalgamation: Any change to local government structure or municipal boundaries is difficult. Redefining the parameters within which a community identifies itself is bound to elicit an emotional response. But true community is not defined by boundaries. True community grows out of a shared vision of strong values and principles.

The London-Middlesex area is expected to be one of the fastest-growing urban areas in Ontario heading into the next century. The potential for managed growth and economic, social and cultural opportunities cannot be realized without a change to the current local government structure.

The solution to this emotionally charged debate has been a long time coming. While this solution will not satisfy everyone, we believe we have now achieved the delicate balance between competing local interests and the good of the entire London-Middlesex area.

Now I am pleased to table the written submissions that were presented at the minister's public hearings held in London in September.


Mr Eddy: I am disappointed that the honourable minister is not here to answer some of the questions and be involved in the process, because I understand that he is the one who indeed is making at least some of the decisions in this matter. However, I want to point out that the Liberal and PC members had the opportunity to meet with the staff to have a briefing late yesterday afternoon, and I very much appreciated that. We were advised at that time of several amendments and were advised that we'd have them in writing this morning. Are they available at this time, or will they be -- they are available?

Mr Mills: They're in your packages here.

Mr Eddy: Oh, they are included?

Mr Mills: Yes.

Mr Eddy: Excellent, thank you. I was hoping we'd have access to them.

The Chair: No further questions?

Mr Mills: I'd like to introduce Mr Brian Riddell, who is an assistant deputy minister of Municipal Affairs. Brian has a presentation he would like to make. Brian, would you go ahead.

Mr Brian Riddell: I want to take the opportunity this morning to give a bit of context to how we got to this point in Bill 75 in terms of the London area as well as to provide some more detailed information and briefings to the members of the committee by staff of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, who will join me at the table following some brief introductory remarks.

Certainly, in terms of the context, and as Mr Mills indicated, the London area had specific needs that had to be addressed and have to be addressed. The fact that the Ministry of Treasury and Economics has identified this area as, I believe, the second-highest growth area over the next 20 to 30 years points significantly to the need to ensure that the area is prepared to deal with the kind of challenges that it's going to be faced with.

In addition, I think that a number of members of the committee will be aware of the environmental issues and problems that exist in a lot of areas of Ontario but particularly in the London area, in the area surrounding London and in some of the areas of Middlesex county. There have been a number of developments in the area around the city and in the county that have been developed on private services, particularly septic tanks and wells for water. In the case of the South Winds subdivision in the community of Lambeth within the town of Westminster, a subdivision that contains approximately 180 homes, after about two years the septic tanks failed, creating a very significant health and environmental problem. The costs to fix that are significant. The fixing of that is something that is going to require the installation of services and the ability to treat those wastes that come from that area.

In addition to that, there have been a number of other concerns expressed by the London-Middlesex health department about septic tanks and their operation and their capability within the area. The London-Middlesex health department has been very reluctant to approve new development on septic tanks because of that concern.

The other significant area, and it's an area that --

Mr Eddy: Point of information: Could I, just at this time, point out that the London-Middlesex district health unit is no longer responsible for septic tank health inspection. It relinquished that mandate to the Ministry of the Environment approximately a year ago, maybe a little longer. I think that's the case, is it not?

Mr Riddell: I'm not aware of that.

Mrs Mathyssen: Yes, that's the case.

Mr Eddy: Is that the case? Thank you, member.

Mr Riddell: Maybe we could point out some of these things at the end, but I guess all members --

Mr Eddy: Yes, I'm sorry. I don't mean to do it to interrupt; I'm doing it in a manner to correct the stance. I think it's wrong to be saying what the health unit says when the health unit is not involved and has not been involved. They were at the time of the South Winds development, but I point out that it was the Middlesex-London Health Unit, so it would have been approved by the health unit whether it was in the city or the county.

The Chair: Okay, that's fine; thanks.

Mr Eddy: It's just a point of information.

Mr Riddell: I appreciate the correction, and I would add that in discussions with the Ministry of the Environment, I think it's fair to say it is having the same kind of concerns. Nothing has changed, really, because there are no new technologies. It's the general question of, how do you safely provide services in rural areas where the costs of providing good pipe services or safe pipe services are prohibitive in many cases? That is an issue that either the district health unit or the Ministry of the Environment, depending on who is the delegated authority in any area of the province, is grappling with, particularly in areas like Middlesex county and some of the areas in eastern Ontario where the soils are not capable of handling the kinds of loads that are being put on them by today's demands.

The other significant factor in the London area, of course, is the fact that in this area, in Middlesex county particularly, you have one of the best agricultural areas in Ontario. There have been a number of indications in terms of the amount of agricultural land, class 1, class 2 land, in this area but it is significant, and that is one of the other issues that had to be dealt with: How do you adequately protect that very scarce resource, that non-renewable resource?

Bill 75 also undertook several ways of dealing with the viability of the county. I think certainly the fact that the county is losing a fairly significant proportion of its assessment is a factor that plays very largely in this bill.

In addition to that, the arbitrator, Mr Brant, identified the need to provide capital money, an amount of $2 million a year over three years beginning in 1994, from the city to the county, to be used to assist and stimulate good growth and development in those areas of the county that the county had identified through a new official plan, and that money would not be able to be used by the county until it had developed a new official plan.

The issue of suburban roads is probably one of the areas that was of most concern to the county. They brought this up very early in discussions with us at the transition committee meetings. We worked very closely with the county, the county engineer, the Ministry of Transportation, the regional office, the district office in London, district 2, as well as the head office in Timmins, to come up with a way of dealing with the suburban roads issue, as Mr Mills indicated, that would see the funding of suburban roads continued in perpetuity, similar to the Brantford model, which some of you may be familiar with.

The negotiations process in terms of boundary negotiations in the London area really commenced formally with an application by London under the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act in 1988. Fact-finding began in 1989. As a result of that, there was another round of negotiations with the parties during 1990 and 1991. Unfortunately, and maybe typically, though, in cases like this, there was no agreement among the local municipalities as to an appropriate solution to deal with the annexation issue. As a result of this impasse, the chief negotiator's third report recommended a consultation process leading to legislation with specific expression of provincial interest or the kind of things that should be included in any consultation process.


As you're aware, the minister appointed the arbitrator, John Brant, in January 1992. In his charge he was given some very specific terms of reference. Generally, those are to ensure that the economic development potential of the area, both London and the surrounding area, is maximized, to do everything to ensure that the environment and the natural areas are protected and in fact enhanced, and that servicing -- which is really one of the major issues in terms of how that area is going to grow and develop -- is done in a very cost-effective and environmentally sensitive way.

The minister indicated that the arbitrator would have 60 days during which he would consult and provide a report to the minister. The minister did at that time commit to implement the Brant report. That report was presented to the minister in late March of this year, and as a result of that, the minister accepted the report and announced, in early April in London, his intention to proceed.

Bill 75, in terms of its development and evolution, is based very much on the principles which are enshrined in the Brant report, particularly the principles of ensuring the separation of the rural and urban areas. As well, Mr Brant talks about the fact that the greater London area presents a co-opportunity. What he meant by that was that the county and that area, as well as the city, have coexisted for a number of years and that on the basis of that coexistence the whole area has benefited. The city has benefited because of the existence of the county. The county has certainly benefited, I think, because of the existence of London. That kind of coexistence and co-opportunity is something that should be looked at as a basic principle in terms of the future.

One of the elements of Bill 75 which will be discussed in a little more detail, but may be worth talking about now, is the fact that in terms of good planning in the area, there's a need for London to develop good new official plans to deal with the new areas that are going to be part of London after January 1, 1993. The critical components in those planning processes will certainly include compact development, environmental sensitivity and good, responsible development as well as the protection of agricultural and rural areas. A number of elements of the bill and the regulations and the amendments address how that can be done. The buffer zone particularly, I think, is a very strong indication of Mr Brant's intent to ensure the separation of the rural and urban areas.

In terms of financing, the bill and its amendments ensure that the county is compensated for lost assessment, as well as provided with a capital fund, which I mentioned, of $6 million, and certainly recognize the new cost arrangement for suburban roads, based upon the Brantford model.

The public hearings in London that Mr Mills mentioned were attended by a number of interested individuals and groups. Some 62 presentations were made at those sessions, and many of the good suggestions were incorporated, particularly in terms of land use planning, good development and the buffer zone. The idea of a rural advisory committee, again, was a suggestion that came out of those hearings, and is something we're moving on.

At the same time, the county made the very strong point that the compensation that was required to deal with the lost assessment was a very critical element to it. The minister at that time indicated that he would do whatever had to be done to ensure that the ratepayers in the area -- and by the area is meant the city, the county, the annexed area, as well as those areas outside the annexed area still remaining in the county -- would be protected from significant tax increases for a five-year period.

During his announcement in early April setting up this transition, the minister announced the formulation of a transition steering committee. That committee is represented by elected heads of the municipalities in the areas well as the public utilities commissions, both the PUC for London and for the town of Westminster, and a technical coordinating committee which is represented by the clerks, the CAOs, depending on where you are, or the city manager, for all the area municipalities plus the PUCs.

The transition teams have been moving together over this period of time to develop a very comprehensive work plan that was approved by the steering committee in June of this year. Work has been continuing on a very active front on things like workforce issues, service issues, financial issues, compensation issues and a number of other issues related to the transition, the move to new boundaries as of January 1, 1993. That work is continuing and the result will be that as of the end of December of this year, the kind of things that have to be done for the new municipalities on January 1, 1993, will be in place.

At this time I would like to turn it over to Taras Myhal who will talk a little bit more about some of the provisions in Bill 75.

Mr Bernard Grandmaître (Ottawa East): Is it proper, Mr Chair, to ask the deputy minister some questions on his presentation?

The Chair: I think if we had some questions before -- do you mind? I think there only seems to be one. Just a short one?

Mr Grandmaître: No, it's not a short question.

Mr Mills: I think, Mr Chairman, that if we had the complete package -- presentation and financial -- and both gentlemen will remain, then you can direct your questions to either one. I think that would be appropriate for the continuity of the presentation.

The Chair: Okay. We'll carry on. The people will still be there to be asked questions.

Mr Taras Myhal: My name is Myhal. I am with the municipal boundaries branch with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. I will be dealing with some of the general provisions of Bill 75 and its amendments and there will be two other staff persons: Zdravko Weing from the plans administration branch will be speaking on planning provisions of the bill and Kate Chinnery from the municipal finance branch will be dealing with some of the financial provisions of the bill.

On the question of the general provisions, I'll start with the boundaries, the actual annexations being dealt with through the bill. The major one is the annexation of 64,000 acres from the town of Westminster and four townships that surround London, the townships of North Dorchester, Delaware, London and West Nissouri, that will form part of the new city of London.

There are also some minor annexations being dealt with through the bill. Small portions of the town of Westminster will be annexed to the township of North Dorchester and to the township of Delaware. Part of the township of London will be annexed to the township of West Nissouri. There's also one other minor annexation being dealt with: The village of Belmont, which is part of Elgin county for municipal purposes, is receiving some lands from the town of Westminster and from the township of North Dorchester.

Those are the annexations. The bill also speaks to a buffer zone which does not encompass annexations or boundary changes but is a planning zone that surrounds the new city of London.

On the question of representation, the new London city council until the 1994 municipal elections will be comprised of the current mayor, the board of control, existing ward councillors and also, to represent the newly annexed areas, the current mayor of the town of Westminster. At the time of the 1994 municipal elections, the Minister of Municipal Affairs may, by regulation, redefine the wards of the new city of London. Subsequent to the 1994 municipal elections, the wards would be redefined by the standard Ontario Municipal Board process.

To ensure continuation of bylaws and resolutions on the annexed areas, the bylaws and resolutions of those municipalities whose areas are being annexed into the city of London will become bylaws of the city of London. For the other annexed areas, the bylaws and resolutions of those municipalities and of the county of Middlesex will be dealt with in a comparable fashion.


On the question of the public utilities commission, both the city of London and the town of Westminster have public utilities commissions that will be disbanded as of January 1, 1993, the implementation date for the bill.

The functions of water supply and parks and recreation that are currently part of the London PUC will become part of the city administration. There will be a new hydro-electric commission formed which will take over the electricity function of the current public utilities commission. The responsibility for the provision of electricity in the annexed areas will continue to be Ontario Hydro's until such time as the city decides to expand its service area into those areas, which can be done over time.

Representation on the hydro-electric commission until the 1994 municipal elections will be the existing city PUC members and, to represent the newly annexed areas, the chair of the Westminster PUC. After the 1994 elections the hydro-electric commission will be appointed by city council.

As part of the bill, the suburban roads commission will be disbanded.

On the question of libraries, there are existing libraries in Westminster within Glanworth and Lambeth, and they will continue to operate at least through December 31, 1997; they'll be operated by the city of London.

On volunteer firefighters, Westminster currently has volunteer firefighters. Through the bill and its amendments, there will be an ability for those firefighters to continue to provide services within the new city of London.

On the question of schools, Bill 75 doesn't alter school board boundaries. There is currently a committee of Middlesex and London public school board representatives that is looking at that issue.

Bill 75 and its amendments also provide for the establishment of a rural advisory committee within the city of London. That committee will address rural issues in the new city of London.

I'd like to now call on Zdravko Weing of the plans administration branch. He'll go through some of the planning provisions of the bill.

Mr Eddy: Could I just point out, while we're waiting, that I don't think it was clarified why the board of education boundaries are a problem? The city of London and Middlesex county were not united in one board of education. There were five cities in Ontario that were not joined with their counties when county boards of education were established. Three of the cities are now in regional municipalities, the other two are Windsor and London, and in those cases the counties have a public board of education and the cities have a public board of education. The separate school boards are joint. That's the reason it's more of a problem in this area.

Mr Zdravko Weing: My name is Zdravko Weing. I am a senior planner with the plans administration branch of the ministry.

My presentation today will last about 10 to 15 minutes and it will deal with two major areas. One is planning matters in so far as they affect the new, expanded future city of London, and another one is with regard to the buffer area surrounding the future city of London. I'll be referring to these two maps.

With regard to the first area, my presentation will deal with three components. The first component will deal with the new future official plan for the city of London, the second component with interim controls in the annexed area until the new official plan comes into being, and the third one is the area of subsequent control after the new official plan is approved by the province.

In so far as the new official plan is concerned, Bill 75 allows two years for the city to prepare the new official plan and to adopt it and submit it to the ministry for approval. The bill also stipulates that the new official plan should cover the total area, meaning the existing city of London and the 64,000 acres proposed to be annexed.

The ministry is now proposing two revisions to it. First, we feel that in order to prepare a strategic vision and social services plan, referred to earlier in the presentation, the city needs a little bit more time than two years. The revisions to the bill would allocate three years for the preparation of the new plan. In addition, the city will be preparing a variety of studies which are required by the Planning Act, and for that purpose it may need about three years. In addition, the revisions would allow the minister, through his regulation, to extend the three-year period if need be in the future.

There is another revision to this section of the bill. This revision would provide the minister with the opportunity to request the city of London to revisit some of the sections or some of the components of the present official plan, which was approved by the ministry in 1991. This is an up-to-date plan which was intended to govern the use of land for the next 20 years, and this plan might need some updating. Otherwise, the bill would request that the new plan be prepared for the annexed area of 64,000 acres plus components of the old plan.

In so far as the content of the official plan is concerned, the advisory committees and the public participation process, there are no changes proposed to the bill. Ministry staff is in the process of consulting the city staff with regard to those components that will be included in ministerial regulations. This is with regard to the official plan.

Interim controls on the annexed lands before a new official plan is approved by the minister: What we have done on this map is plot for you the boundary of the annexed area. We shaded in grey the present city of London area. In the area which is proposed to be annexed, we have plotted official plan designations, those official plan designations that are in existence today and that the city is going to inherit and be responsible for on January 1.

The majority of the area is designated agricultural. Some lands, which are shaded in green, are designated industrial; commercial in blue; and pink are the hamlets and the villages, the village of Lambeth and the village of Hyde Park.

Revisions to the bill would allow that in the agricultural area the use of land be governed by the existing official plans. In so far as four urban areas are concerned -- two industrial areas in the town of Westminster and the village of Lambeth and the village of Hyde Park -- the revisions to the bill will not permit any development to occur unless full municipal services will be provided. In addition, the bill provides for the ministry to control and give approval to the extension of municipal services from the city into these four areas.


The revised bill provides the minister with the ability, through his regulation, to add additional lands to the area which is subject to restrictions. For example, lands here or somewhere else which were controlled over urban development should be extended. The regulation would also allow the minister to delete lands from the four areas where restrictions apply. For example, if there is an existing lot in the middle of a village which would qualify for private services and would pass the tests of the Ministry of the Environment to obtain a septic tank permit, then the minister can amend the regulation to permit infilling on such a lot.

Now a few words about the land use controls that would be in place after the new official plan comes into being. Bill 75 provides for control of agricultural areas for 10 years after the new official plan is approved. We are proposing one minor revision to the bill, which would enable the minister, through his regulation, to permit minor official plan amendments and changes in so far as the list of permissible uses is concerned, if such uses are compatible with agricultural activities. Those types of uses will be listed in ministerial regulations. This is with regard to the city of London.

With regard to the buffer area, the buffer area is outlined with a red line. It consists of approximately 48,000 acres, and it covers five townships. We have plotted on this map all official plan land use designations. The white area is designated agricultural, brown is designated residential, green is designated industrial and blue is commercial. Only 5.1% of the buffer area is slated for urban development, in accordance with those official plans. Approximately one half of that has already been developed and another half is available to be developed, in accordance with those official plans.

The official plans are relatively new. They were approved by the ministry in the late 1980s and one in 1990. Two brand-new official plans are right now before the ministry, for Lobo and North Dorchester, and these two will be approved in December of this year.

Based on the very good protection of agricultural lands that these five official plans would provide, we are recommending changes to the bill which would in essence allow the use of land in the buffer area to be governed by those five official plans. In addition, revisions to the bill would permit the minister, through his regulations, to indicate which compatible land uses could be permitted in the future within the buffer area so the buffer area would remain truly a buffer. This is the extent of my presentation.

The Chair: Mr Mills, do you have anyone else presenting?

Mr Mills: Yes, one more person, Dr Kathleen Chinnery. She is a senior economist with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

Dr Kathleen M. Chinnery: Good morning. My name is Dr Kathleen Chinnery. I'm a senior economist in the municipal finance branch of the ministry. I'll attempt to give you a brief overview of some of the major finance provisions contained in the bill. There are some minor technical amendments which, if we have time or you wish, I will go through as well. But I suggest we spend the majority of time on the major parts of the finance provisions, which include the compensation package, the tax rate provisions in 1993 and subsequent years, urban service areas, as well as suburban road payments.

In addition, Taras, in his presentation, did talk briefly about an amendment with regard to the volunteer fire department. In section 19 and section 24 of the bill we have provisions to protect employees of municipalities and employees of the public utilities commissions. The only amendment we are proposing is to extend the date of declaring these employees surplus in the municipalities and in the PUCs.

The regulation that's contained in section 19 protects employees by defining employee or retired employee, their benefit package, as well as seniority and pensions. This is a regulation which will allow the steering committee and the transition team to have some input into how employees and what, with regard to employees, may be protected as a result of this act.

I'd like to switch into the more finance discussion. I'd like to direct your attention to section 42 of the act, which discusses the proposed reassessment of the city of London in 1993 for 1994 tax purposes. As Mr Mills did state earlier, it is the general policy of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs that a reassessment is a decision of a local municipal council. For this reason, we are going to propose to take this out of section 42 so that at a future date the London city council can decide if it would like a reassessment and what type of reassessment. There are some consequential amendments as a result of removing this. I don't think I need to go through those at this time.

In addition, in section 42, because we are not forcing changes to the school board boundaries, we have removed the rest of the subsection to eliminate requirements to have two assessment rolls which, as I'm sure you can understand, is an administrative nightmare. This makes it much easier. Again, this is a consequential amendment.

Perhaps I could just move on to a discussion of how we're going to handle the phase-in of tax rates from 1993 to 2003. As Brian mentioned earlier, the ministry has decided that for the first five years following annexation there shall be no impact on taxpayers in the county of Middlesex nor to taxpayers who are in the areas annexed to the city of London. In section 43 of the act, we provide that 1993 tax rates in the areas that are annexed to the city will not increase any more than the general rate in the city of London. In accordance with that, we have a regulation which will prescribe the manner in which the city of London shall levy rates of taxation for that year.

The amendment we are proposing, which is contained in your package, is that we extend this protection to the municipalities in the county of Middlesex, because at this point it protects only those in the areas annexed to the city of London.

For tax rates for 1994 to 2003, in section 44 of the bill we have a minister's regulation whereby the minister can describe the phase-in of tax rates and tax increases over that period. We will be amending that to include, again, the municipalities remaining in the county which are affected by the annexation. That will make this section consistent with section 43.

In section 46 of the bill we have a discussion of the implementation of urban service areas in the new city of London. As it stands in the bill now, these urban service areas were to be defined, the rates associated with those services and the extent of service provision defined by regulation for January 1, 1993.


Because of the difficulty in determining the level of service provision and the associated costs that will accrue to the city of London, we have decided to change this to an implementation the next year, January 1, 1994. It will not mean that taxes in the areas annexed to the city will be increased astronomically. What it means is that, in section 43, the tax rates for 1993 are protected. There really isn't any problem with removing that provision for urban service areas in 1993.

I'd like to move on to the compensation package. In the Brant report and in Bill 75, in sections 48 and 49, we have a discussion of the total compensation package from the city of London to the county of Middlesex. This compensation package, as it was in the Brant report and in Bill 75, included a $3.6-million payment over five years for loss of revenue due to loss of assessment. Another payment of $6 million in total over three years was to provide the county with funds for capital development projects.

The other part of a compensation package was payments to compensate the county for the capital and operating costs for the suburban roads. This was based on their 1992 payment of approximately $1 million, increased for any additional expenditures related to capital projects on roads. However, given, as Brian outlined, that we have made the decision to compensate the county of Middlesex and the local municipality so that no ratepayer feels any undue tax burden for five years, the compensation package will be enhanced.

The way in which we are intending to do this is to take out the parts of sections 48 and 49 which have specific reference to numbers such as $3.6 million. The amendment we intend to propose is to put a minister's regulation in there whereby payments will be made from the city of London to the county of Middlesex and directly to the four local municipalities in the county in 1993 for 10 years. This was also in response to the public hearings process and consultations with the local municipalities and the county of Middlesex, which expressed concern over the level of compensation.

At this point we have presented over the past several weeks some numbers which have become publicly available to all of the local municipalities, the county and the city of London. We are at the present time discussing some of the actual numbers and whether these estimates are the most appropriate to be used. That's another reason why we are introducing the flexibility for that compensation in a regulation.

If I could just move on to the suburban road payments, as Brian introduced, we intend to compensate the county for suburban road costs in perpetuity. Instead of being based on the 1992 payment of approximately $1 million and then inflated for expenditures on capital projects for roads, we intend to suggest that the payment would be based on one mill of the local assessment of the city of London, which is approximately $1 million.

However, due to the fact that we are not in a position to judge whether the city council at any point in the future will decide to have a reassessment in the city of London, we are going to suggest a regulation whereby the minister may adjust that payment of one mill rate in order to reflect actual expenditures on roads in the county of Middlesex.

Some other discussions which were presented at the public hearings with regard to the conservation authorities' levies concerned the municipalities that are being directly affected by the annexation, as well as other county municipalities, such as the township of Lobo, which are being negatively affected as a result of changes in the land area and the assessment base for conservation authorities in the London area. As a result, we are going to propose a minister's regulation whereby we can apportion the conservation authority levies in order that the levies are balanced among the municipalities remaining in the conservation authorities.

If you would like me to go on to some more technical amendments, I will do so, but I think that's enough.

Mr Mills: That's the ministry's presentation, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Mills. Ben, do you still have that question -- did you write it down? -- that you were thinking about asking about one hour ago? You've got the floor.

Mr Grandmaître: I've got the floor.

Mr Sutherland: Just before we start, we're dividing up the 45 minutes equally then?

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Grandmaître: Forty-five minutes?

The Chair: Whenever the bell goes. It looks about 15 minutes each.

Mr Sutherland: Okay.

Mr Grandmaître: Yes, I have a number of questions, so instead of waiting or expecting an answer, I'll make this brief presentation and we can take it from there.

I realize that annexation is a very emotional time in people's minds, especially taxpayers. We're experiencing a very tough recession at the present time, and there's uncertainty in the air and people are concerned about their future, their job and their children. I think the timing of this annexation is not the best.

I realize that for some time the ministry has tried -- even in our days as a government we tried to reach an agreement with London and Middlesex. At the same time, I find it very difficult to understand what the ministry or the minister is trying to do. I feel there's a rush job in this annexation and I'm very concerned.

I'm concerned not only for London, the London-Middlesex annexation; I'm very concerned about the process used to reach those conclusions. I'm concerned that the ministry will continue to use this high hand with future annexations.

Again, tripling the size of London is a big concern of mine, for a number of reasons. Back in the late 1980s -- 1988, 1989 -- it was not the intention of London to annex such a large portion of Middlesex and counties surrounding.

Why 64,000 acres, when only 7% of those 64,000 acres are zoned commercial or industrial at the present time? Why 64,000, when maybe 90% of the annexation is agricultural land? Yet the annexation process initiated or launched by London was to improve its growth or potential, and I agree. I agree that London has been a fast-growing municipality and we must give it the tools, the opportunities to improve not only services, but its economic situation.

Again, I find that 64,000 acres is way too much. This is the largest, or maybe the largest, annexation in the province of Ontario, so I want to find out the logic behind such a large annexation and also the compensation. I don't want to deal with the compensation package at the present time, but I don't like it when they tell us that the package may be enhanced or the minister, through regulations, can do this, can do that. There are all kinds of uncertainties before us, and if I'm not mistaken, we were told yesterday afternoon some 27 amendments would be introduced. Am I right, 27?


Mr Mills: They're in the book.

Mr Grandmaître: They're in the book? Well, I got it this morning.

Mr Mills: So did I.

Mr Grandmaître: So did you? That's called consultation. I feel a little reluctant -- not reluctant to accept what staff are telling us; I have great faith in Municipal Affairs, but at the same time I do question --

Mr Mills: Not me, I hope.

Mr Grandmaître: Never, Gord. I would never question you.

Mr Sutherland: Which side of the fence are you leaning to now?

Mr Grandmaître: No, no, not exactly. I've gone through annexation before, I've gone through expropriation, and if you want to talk about that compensation package, I call this expropriation. That's what it is. The final compensation package isn't finalized yet. So we're going through expropriation.

I might as well get into your compensation package. I want to know, has everybody been advised or consulted about those 27 amendments before us, Gord?

Mr Mills: Whom do you mean, everybody?

Mr Grandmaître: Everybody concerned -- the municipalities, the counties -- have they been advised?

Mr Mills: I think the amendments have come about through consultation.

Mr Grandmaître: Through consultation.

Mr Mills: Yes.

Mr Grandmaître: But they haven't been discussed openly and publicly. You haven't had public consultation on those amendments.

Mr Mills: No, but many of the amendments are through presentations made. We've listened, as I said. We listened; they listened.

Mr Sutherland: Just to add to that, Mr Riddell in his presentation indicated that the majority of the amendments coming forward were the result of input from local people by their --

Mr Grandmaître: No, no, the transition team, if I'm not mistaken.

Mr Sutherland: Okay, transition team, but there are local people involved in the transition team.

Mr Grandmaître: There's a difference between a transition team and the general public. If you call this consultation, that's up to you.

The Chair: I know you have a lot of points. The clock's running.

Mr Grandmaître: Is that right?

The Chair: Can you get some of the answers back maybe from the staff, as it is now --

Mr Grandmaître: If you can stop these interruptions, Mr Chair, maybe I can --

The Chair: I know; that's why I cut in here.

Mr Grandmaître: If I can go back to the $64,000 question. When only 7% of those 64,000 acres are presently zoned commercial or industrial and only 5% of the buffer zone is presently zoned for development, why such a wide buffer, Mr Chair?

The Chair: Okay, I'll ask.

Mr Grandmaître: No, that's only part of it. And how come the buffer zone wasn't expanded to the south side? Right now the buffer zone is only on three sides. Is this for future annexation or expropriation? I don't know.

Mr Chair, I know the time is running, but if I stop now to look at my notes, can I come back later with the rest of my questions?

The Chair: You have five minutes in your party time. Do you want any answers back on some of your comments here?

Mr Grandmaître: Absolutely.

The Chair: I think Mr Mills wanted to make some comments on your speech or question period.

Mr Grandmaître: Both. I hope Gord is not taking my time, though, in answering my questions.

Mr Mills: No.

Mr Grandmaître: Thanks, Gord.

Mr Mills: Perhaps Mr Riddell can make reference to the buffer zone.

Mr Grandmaître: The buffer zone and the logic behind the $64,000 question.

Mr Mills: Yes. It's to prevent annexation, but perhaps, Mr Riddell, can you just --

Mr Riddell: The question of the size of the annexation is an issue that certainly has been raised in a number of places, particularly in the public hearings in London. While I mention that, I might just make a point here regarding the 27 amendments. A lot of those amendments came from the public hearings in London. A lot of them came, as well, from the transition process, which is the municipal representatives, so there is a component of both in them.

Mr Grandmaître: So they're public amendments?

Mr Riddell: The amendments coming from the public hearings in London I guess are public, yes.

Mr Grandmaître: Have they been distributed to the affected municipalities?

Mr Riddell: Not yet. This is the first time this committee has seen them.

Getting back to the buffers, or the annexation area, I think in terms of the logic -- this is certainly something that I know the arbitrator went through when he was looking at the area and trying to make a determination as to the appropriate size. During the discussions among the municipalities that went on between 1989 and late 1991 there were a lot of different options that were on the table depending on which particular area you represented, I guess. Some of them were larger than others.

In essence, the thing that creates the difference is, if you look at the terms of reference that were provided to Mr Brant, the long-term economic recovery opportunities and the emphasis on long term, particularly the protection of the environment and the efficient provision of services to ensure economic growth and development, meant that certain areas like the Lambeth area and the area around Highway 135, certainly the key transportation corridors in this area, the 401 corridor specifically as well as the 402 corridor, were areas that should be included in the city of London, because the city of London would have the capability to deal with those kinds of objectives.

As well, the arbitrator felt that it was critical that the airport up in the northeast corner, currently in West Nissouri, be part of the city of London because that's really a key component in terms of London's long-term economic growth and development and the capability to service that as well.

When that was all looked at, and you look at the remaining lands, particularly in the town of Westminster, there was a very strong feeling that if you dealt with those kinds of objectives and criteria, there could be remaining a portion of land in the south, somewhere between the county line with Elgin and something to the north, a concession or two. But the question then became, how could this land be managed? It's essentially agricultural land. In some discussions that occurred during the summer months with a lot of the municipalities around, the concern, particularly of North Dorchester and Delaware when they were presented with this suggestion, was that they felt that unless somebody was prepared to compensate them in terms of pretty significant compensation into the future, although they didn't know the specifics of it, they weren't really prepared to take on these responsibilities for lands which would have to be serviced but for which there wasn't really development potential or return other than its existing agricultural use.

The Chair: You've got one minute left. Mr Eddy, do you have a question?

Mr Eddy: Yes. I am sorry; I had to go into the House. Did you make any statements?

Mr Grandmaître: Yes, I did. Statement plus questions.

Mr Eddy: Oh, you had the opportunity to make it. I wanted the opportunity for statements because I feel so strongly about this matter.

But coming back to the matter of the town of Westminster, I find it so strange that you consulted with the council of the township of North Dorchester and the council of the township of Delaware about giving them something but you didn't talk to the council of the town of Westminster about taking everything away. It seems strange to me; it's just so strange. However, I guess that's what has happened in this process. I think we should deal with everybody equally.


I was concerned that there weren't any members, other than the member for Middlesex, present today to be part of this procedure, noting that most of the members are from regional municipalities, including the restructured county of Oxford where there's not a separated city-county situation, because I think it's so important to recognize that it's two distinct, separate municipalities; however, with many joint services. I noted during the introduction by the parliamentary assistant, who is here instead of the minister, who, of course, is making at least some of the important decisions in this matter, that it wasn't recognized that the social agencies and services are indeed joint city-county services. They are all, the CAS and a whole host of them, indeed joint and serve both municipalities.

I was particularly concerned over the statement that this empowers or allows the greater London-Middlesex area to be prepared for great growth and development. There's no doubt about it; there's going to be great growth and development because of the superhighways that are in the area that are attracting-

The Chair: I've got to cut you off, Mr Eddy. I think you could read a whole text on this to us here.

Mr Eddy: Could I just finish my statement on this?

Mr Grandmaître: I think you should.

The Chair: How long is your statement?

Mr David Winninger (London South): Mr Carr will give you his time.

The Chair: Okay, Mr Carr's going to give you some of his time. It seems like Christmas here today.

Mr Carr: I'll give some to them, but I'll want it back at some point, and they'll owe me.

Mr Eddy: Yes, okay. You've thrown me, Mr Chair.

The Chair: You were throwing over the time. That's why I threw you.

Mr Eddy: Yes, agreed. Yes, you're quite correct. I agree with you.

The Chair: Okay, fine. Can you finish your statement then?

Mr Eddy: Yes, thank you. I've got it. Really, you're equipping the city of London because you're giving them everything. It's the city of London that's going to be equipped and you're disembowelling the county of Middlesex, because you're taking most of its industrial and commercial development and economic base, and indeed you're establishing a buffer zone of some 55,000 acres, neutering it. So there can be nothing.

The other thing I must correct is that Middlesex county is not an agricultural area; it's a mixture of towns and development. There are three towns, there are five villages, and there are many urban service areas in the county of Middlesex that are completely urban, but in townships and in township governments. There's a large urban population. It isn't strictly rural.

I'd also like to point out that several of the municipalities are fully serviced -- municipal water supply and municipal sewage treatment -- including the town of Westminster, the town of Ailsa Craig, the town of Parkhill, the town of Glencoe, the town of Strathroy. It's not just an agricultural area and I think that has to be recognized. What you're doing is you're eviscerating a county and taking a large part of it away, and it's not just a rural agricultural area that you're robbing. Was that given consideration during the process: The fact that the county is made up of rural and urban and, indeed, you are taking a large portion of its space -- not all of it, I recognize -- and then you are taking the right for a much larger area? I know why there's a buffer zone, but I would have handled it in a much different way.

You mentioned the Brantford situation in connection with suburban roads. Are you aware of the Brantford situation with the mutual advisory planning area, where the area annexed to the city and an area in the county is controlled jointly through mutual planning? I wondered if that had been considered, because I see it as a better solution. You may not agree.

Mr Riddell: Perhaps I can comment on the point raised about the county, and I certainly agree that while the county does have some strong urban communities within it, there are, I think, some real issues that have to be addressed in some of those communities. I know, for instance, Strathroy is on well water right now and there's a question about how much longer those wells will be capable of providing any further growth. Water supply is another issue that's very important to the county in terms of any future growth.

I think that because of the annexation, and particularly the contribution the town of Westminster makes to the county with its economic assessment base, as the member indicated, it is certainly a significant share of the county's assessment.

Recognizing that the county has some opportunities, I think, is important as well, the fact that the $6 million is important seed money for the county to use after it has developed its official plan, to try to identify in that official plan where the county feels the appropriate growth and development opportunities are as a county.

I am pleased to indicate that the county has already done a visioning session. They are entering into discussions now with consultants to do a strategic plan. They are hiring a replacement for the former CAO. As a result of all that, they will be developing, with our support, a new official plan which I think will go a long way in terms of providing those ideas to the county on how it can grow and develop in the future.

Mr Carr: First of all, I want to thank the ministry and the staff for going through the tremendous amount of preparation. I know Mrs Cunningham and Mr Murdoch were very pleased with the efforts last night. The packages you put together have laid things out. I want to thank you very much for that.

Hindsight being what it is, I wish members of this committee, with the ministry, could have done that outside the hours of this committee, because the big question we have this afternoon is that we've got 37 people and we're going to have to narrow that down to about nine.

There is some concern in the public, with the government saying there has been a lot of consultation and some of the public saying there has not. Unfortunately, the difficult task in the subcommittee this afternoon will be to pare that list down and try to get representation. If you look at the list, we've got agriculture people, people from the board of education, environmental groups and municipal officials. Looking back at it, I wish we had taken more time to do this and be together, which the ministry people can do along with the MPPs, and given more time to the public.

Having said that, I think from the information you've presented, we understand the government's position. I'm looking forward to getting on with hearing what the public is saying.

I know Ron was speaking in the House and missed the opportunity. I don't know what time is left, but in the interest of fairness, if he would like to take some of the time -- I think Ms Mathyssen may have some questions too -- I'd be prepared to give my time over to that, with the understanding -- I think this goes for all committees -- that as we go along, if there are any questions or concerns we do have regarding the ministry, we can go directly to you on that, and once we've had a chance to go through the amendments. So I would be prepared to divide up the time to the other two parties if the ministry will give us a commitment that if we do have any questions as we go along, it will answer them.

The Chair: I just want to note that at 3:15, the subcommittee can meet in room 2. That's just next door here.

The other thing is that my colleague is in the House speaking today on a bill that addresses this particular issue also, that of a minister for rural affairs. I would like to be in there to vote at that time when the bell goes. If it goes at 11:55, then this committee will be adjourned.

We don't have that much time. The Liberals had approximately 20 minutes. You took about three minutes. Looking at the other side here, let's see if we can get back if Ron has other comments. I know Mr Mills has a comment. Maybe you could just address that comment before we go to the government party.

Mr Mills: There was some question by my colleague about input into the amendments. I'd just like to say that groups will be given the opportunity to look at the amendments, to make input during this committee.

I don't want to rap you on the knuckles, Bernard, but you said you were frightened of the iron hand, that we seem to be taking over. I can tell you very straightforwardly that we encourage municipalities to make their own decisions, to make their own solutions; witness to that is the Simcoe county restructuring. But this was very difficult; 11 years they didn't get to it, and that's the reason.


Mr Grandmaître: However, however.

Ms Mathyssen: I have a number of questions and I would like to leave some time for my colleague Mr Sutherland. Just indulge me for a moment. Mr Grandmaître, you were a Minister of Municipal Affairs. When was that?

Mr Grandmaître: In 1985.

Ms Mathyssen: From 1985 to --

Mr Grandmaître: From 1985 to 1987.

Mr Mills: He was a better Minister of Revenue.

Ms Mathyssen: To 1987? Okay, thank you.

Mr Grandmaître: He wasn't a bad employee, either.

Ms Mathyssen: I have a number of questions. First of all, you mentioned that developments like South Winds were a significant problem in terms of the reason behind this extensive annexation. I just wondered how, when and by whom South Winds was approved.

My next question is, by whom was the 1988 London annexation proposal set aside?

My third question is, regarding this premise that regulations and a new official plan by the city of London will protect agricultural land within this new city, would regulations and a new official plan, or an official plan, period, in the county of Middlesex likewise protect this same agricultural land?

I pose my last question informally, but I would like to put it on the record because I would like clarification and I would like to see numbers. I understand that there will be a moratorium on taxes in the county of Middlesex and in the newly annexed area for five years and that London will be free to determine reassessments in 1993. But the whole cost of this package troubles me very much because some of my constituents are still city dwellers and they will, I fear, bear the cost.

I would like to put on the record that I am requesting:

-- A full costing of the annexation, and I would like included the cost of the compensation package. I understand it will be about $35 million. I expect it would be difficult to extrapolate the $1 million in perpetuity for suburban roads, but certainly some kind of number around that, if it's possible.

-- The cost of harmonizing PUC employees and city employees, because it's my understanding that PUC employees earn about $7,000 more in wages and benefits than city employees. I would expect that if they are working for the city as a group, there would be a need to somehow accommodate those city employees who have a lesser level of wages and benefits.

-- The cost of employing the county employees who will be displaced. I know that there are some 70 in the town of Westminster and I expect there would be more once this shakes out.

I know that in the interim, in the next year or so, the OPP will be looking after policing in the annexed area. However, eventually the city will have to pay for that, and it's my understanding that some 24 new staff people are required, a new radio service is required, obviously there will be some cars required, and if I'm not mistaken, there will be perhaps even more than one new substation for the police required, because it's not logical for a policeman or a policewoman to go from Adelaide and Dundas all the way down to the Elgin county line on a call.

I'd like to know what the cost of extended fire protection, maintenance, snow plowing and caring for this new, extended road and the library is. It's my understanding that the Middlesex county library will be needing $100,000 in compensation for the loss of tax base and the loss of benefits that it received by having that Westminster-Lambeth library. I would like to know who will pay for that compensation.

Lastly, education: If there is going to be a moratorium on taxes in the county of Middlesex, does that include education taxes? Because notwithstanding this local arrangement between the London and Middlesex board that still hasn't materialized, I have some fears around the impact of this annexation on the Middlesex board.

I know, for example, that London would like to simply service and take over the three schools in Westminster. There is a capital cost -- those buildings are worth about $3 million -- and the teachers who serve there have a retirement gratuity package with the Middlesex board -- London does not have such a retirement gratuity -- and the payoff of that retirement gratuity is between $1.5 million and $2.5 million.

There are support staff from the Middlesex board of education. Unfortunately for those people, London is downsizing its support staff. How will those people who will be displaced and may not be employed be accommodated? Is there going to be a compensation package there?

I haven't mentioned hard services. London is responsible for hard services to Hyde Park, to Canterbury Estates in Hyde Park, to South Winds. While I'm familiar with the $3.5 million that is coming from the Ministry of the Environment, I would assume there would be some future costs in terms of hard servicing in respect to the 135 White Oaks Side Road area. And obviously, viewing the map, we see that there are future areas intended for industrial commercial development; hard services must go there.

Whatever I haven't been able to mention here -- I'm sure I've lost or omitted something -- I would like to know, in as close a ballpark figure as you can manage, what the final cost to those taxpayers in the city of London will be and an anticipation of how soon we could see the effects of the cost on those London taxpayers.

The Chair: I don't believe they have all the answers up front --

Mrs Mathyssen: No. That, unfortunately, Mr Chair, is the problem: We don't have them all.

The Chair: But what we can do is that as soon as the answers are available, could they be addressed to the clerk here so the clerk can send it to each member of the committee before we meet next time? Is that --

Mrs Mathyssen: No, I wonder, about those first two questions --

The Chair: Are there any questions that can be answered today?

Mr Riddell: On the South Winds question, I'm sorry, I don't have the information with me. We'll have to undertake to get that to the committee in the next day or so.

Mrs Mathyssen: I believe it was in 1984-85, something like that, that it was approved.

The Chair: What was the second question?

Mrs Mathyssen: By whom was the London 1988 proposed annexation set aside?

Mr Riddell: That proposal, as we reviewed it in the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, was seen as not comprehensive enough in terms of its application. It didn't include the Lambeth area which it was felt was very important. As a result of that, that's why we made that decision.

Mrs Mathyssen: And that was in 1989?

Mr Riddell: In 1989, yes.

Mr Ron Eddy: Any reason?

The Chair: The thing is that with these questions that have been asked, rather than get them all at once, maybe if you have two or three that are answered or come through to the clerk and then maybe some would take a little bit longer, some of those --

Mr Grandmaître: There are so many questions, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Yes, there are so many questions. Send as many as you can through as quickly as possible for the committee, if that's possible.

Dr Chinnery: Can I just clarify one thing? Irene, the education taxes are not being protected in 1993 or succeeding years. It's the general mill rate for municipal purposes.

Mrs Mathyssen: So if Middlesex is financially disadvantaged, then the ratepayers in Middlesex will be looking at the consequences of that.

Dr Chinnery: What we're saying is that we're protecting the municipal taxes. Because we are not doing anything with the boundaries of the school boards, we're not putting any restrictions on the school boards. That wouldn't be appropriate, I don't think.

Mr Sutherland: I wanted to come back to the question of the farm land in the southern part of the town of Westminster and the proposal that was put forward.

At this time, I want to give some credit to my colleague the member for Middlesex, who has throughout this entire effort tried to see what compromises were available.

Mr Riddell, you mentioned in response to that earlier that there were some proposals to make the annexation smaller regarding some of the land in the southern part of the town of Westminster. That had been offered to a couple of the townships and those townships had decided that they needed significant compensation to receive them?


Mr Riddell: I believe that was the discussion that happened during the summer. There were discussions with all the municipalities in the area, and it's my understanding that as a result of a proposal on the table that looked at a new line in Westminster, both those municipalities that I mentioned expressed concern, as I indicated, around compensation, in terms of longer-term compensation, if they were to even consider taking those lands.

Mr Sutherland: Did the townships state at the time how much compensation they were looking at specifically for that?

Mr Riddell: I don't believe they knew. It was just an indication on their part that they were concerned that they would be asked to take over lands that they would have to provide services for but didn't have an ability to recover.

Mr Sutherland: The townships said, "We want compensation," but they didn't put any specific proposal on the table to be considered?

Mr Riddell: Not to my knowledge.

Mr Sutherland: Okay, thank you.

The Chair: Mr Eddy.

Mr Eddy: One follow-up question immediately is, were the people in the area consulted? The areas are so small. I really don't think they attract much attention, because the percentage in those two areas is so small in comparison to the vast agricultural class 1 and 2 lands in the town of Westminster that are going down the drain. That's why I say it's hardly worth talking about. We know, as a matter of fact, that with this deal the township of North Dorchester, if I may call it that, does not see its future lying with the county of Middlesex. It sees its destiny with the county of Oxford, and that's what you're doing because you're not looking at these things properly.

I cannot understand for the life of me why -- well, you are of course Ministry of Municipal Affairs staff -- the education mess is being left. Why is it being ignored and left? I think it's irresponsible to leave it, to ignore it to the extent you are, saying, "Oh well, the two boards of education, the Middlesex County Board of Education and the London Board of Education, can get together and work this out someplace, some time, perhaps." That is very poor. Everything else is being forced down people's throats, so to speak.

The Chair: Mr Eddy, I was trying to split the time as equally as possible. I thought you had a little comment to make or a question. Do you want a reply on that?

Mr Eddy: Is the education --

Mr Sutherland: Mr Chair, I want to just ask a question about time. Do we still have our time as the governing side?

The Chair: Yes. You stopped asking questions, so that's why I went back to rotation.

Mr Sutherland: I just wanted to ask that question. I think it's one thing to say you want compensation, but you have to put some proposal on the table before anything can be seriously evaluated in terms of any type of negotiation actually going on with respect to that issue. I just wanted to get that clarified as to whether something specifically had been put on the table by the townships.

The Chair: Any other government members with any more questions?

Mr Winninger: How much time remains, Mr Chair?

The Chair: You've got about three minutes, because we're coming up to the vote in the House.

Mr Winninger: I'd like to get back to the point raised by Mr Grandmaître about the 64,000 acres and why that's required. Unfortunately, because I had to debate in the House earlier, I couldn't hear all of your presentation, but I gather there are ongoing concerns with the extent to which London is presently growing. It's been identified as one of the fastest-growing centres. For sensible, rational future planning, we need to look at a wide area around London to ensure that we can protect valuable agricultural land and environmentally sensitive areas, so there can be proper planning for transit, schools and so on.

I wonder if the ministry, either through the parliamentary assistant or its senior officials, could respond directly to the question as to why we're looking at 64,000 acres.

Mr Grandmaître: I did ask that question: Why 64,000 acres?

Mr Eddy: The city doesn't want it.


The Chair: I'm trying to figure out who the parliamentary assistant is here.

Mr Mills: Well, they keep interrupting. Westminster didn't want it either. Once you've taken the tax base, Westminster didn't want it either. I think it's fair to say that the annexation, no matter how small or how big, the tax base would have gone anyway; and I just want to add the areas around wanting compensation in perpetuity, or the ability to develop it if they took the agricultural land.

Mr Winninger: I'm not sure you answered my question, but I think -- and maybe you can confirm this -- that the reason we're looking at this large area is for proper planning for future development, given that a lot of industry is attracted to London and needs well-serviced lands to develop on.

Quite frankly, in my own riding of London South, we're right at the boundary of the city; the neighbourhoods creep right up to the city boundary line. So in terms of the growth we're experiencing, particularly in the southern part of London, there has to be somewhere for those people to live. For that reason we need to develop some well-planned, well-structured residential areas and also industrial areas to service the growing need for industry.

The Chair: Any other questions?

Mr Winninger: No, Mr Chair.

The Chair: Fine. You've got a couple of minutes, Mr Eddy. Did you have other comments? I know you were thinking out loud there for a while; I could hear you talking.

Mr Eddy: I'm going to have a few problems. You're going to have some problems with me on this one, because I just don't understand the member's -- I don't think the member has really looked into this, because there was agreement. There is lots of open land that can be annexed to the city of London in the town of Westminster that will not destroy its tax base; that will not take a lot of land out of agriculture, because it's owned by developers; that will meet the city's need to the year 2026, as the city's report indicated. It's all there, it's all in place and it can be easily transferred and not destroy a county and not eliminate a municipality.

Mr Winninger: But it wouldn't be properly serviced.

Mr Eddy: Well, it can be serviced --

Mr Winninger: The history doesn't show that.

Mr Eddy: The city of London can service it. It's available to them; it's adjoining two areas that are serviced and being serviced. It has rail and road facilities. It's there.

The Chair: It'll be very important to the point that when you're picking your witnesses to come before the committee, maybe these are some of the issues you want to bring forward with your witnesses. Since you're on the subcommittee, you'll have an opportunity to bring people forward who could represent this point of view.

As it's getting close to 12 and it looks like they're just winding up in the House -- the vote will be coming -- I'd like to adjourn this committee until 3:30 this afternoon, and 3:15 for the subcommittee meeting. Thank you.

The committee recessed at 1158.


The committee resumed at 1605.

The Chair: I would like to call the standing committee on finance and economic affairs to order. This afternoon we're on Bill 75, An Act respecting Annexations to the City of London and to certain municipalities in the County of Middlesex. I'd like to welcome you all here this afternoon.


The Chair: Our first presenter is Frank Gare, warden, Middlesex county. Would you come forward, please, and start your presentation. This is a total of an hour. We're going to have to cut back a little bit because of the House, maybe to about 50 minutes, so we can get everybody in today. Perhaps you can leave some time at the end for questions from the committee members. Welcome to the committee. Would you please introduce your associate also, his name and position, for the purposes of Hansard.

Mr Frank Gare: Thank you. Of course, my name is Frank Gare, as has been mentioned. The gentleman with me is Don Hudson. He's the acting clerk of the county of Middlesex. I'm the warden of Middlesex county.

I believe it's important to stress at the very beginning that Middlesex county is not against annexation as such. We do, however, want to ensure that any agreement or legislation regarding annexation represents the best agreement or legislation possible for residents of both the county of Middlesex and the city of London. We do not believe that Bill 75, the piece of legislation we are discussing here today, represents the best agreement for the county or the city.

There are currently 41 annexation disputes under way throughout Ontario. We believe the Middlesex experience establishes a dangerous precedent for the settlement of boundary disputes and therefore goes beyond a local issue. In our presentation today, I'll outline the county's concerns with Bill 75, the economic impact this legislation will have on the county and the city of London and the county's alternatives to what has been proposed in the legislation.

The county's concerns with Bill 75 focus on four areas of the legislation: the establishment of the boundary lines and the amount of land to be annexed; the compensation to the municipalities in the county for the loss of revenues through annexation of land; the elimination of the suburban roads commission, and the establishment of a buffer zone. I would like to spend the next few minutes reviewing the county's concerns in these four areas.

With regard to the boundary lines and the amount of land to be annexed, currently Bill 75 proposes the annexation of approximately 64,000 acres of land, largely agricultural, from the county of Middlesex to the city of London. As a result of this legislation, the entire town of Westminster will be annexed to the city of London. In addition, the townships of West Nissouri, North Dorchester, Delaware and London township will all have portions of their municipalities annexed to the city of London. Through annexation, the city of London will also become 80% of the size of Metropolitan Toronto.

Annexation will have a tremendous impact on the county of Middlesex. The county will lose 28.6% of its tax assessment base and about 15% of its population due to annexation. As a result of this dramatic loss in the tax assessment base and this serious loss in revenue, the county has expressed serious concerns to the Minister of Municipal Affairs about its ability to provide quality service to residents of the county.

Also, annexation means that the county will be losing valuable agricultural land, since the majority of the land designated by the legislation to be annexed is undeveloped agricultural land. Only 7% of the land being annexed, 4,000 to 5,000 acres, is designated as land for commercial or development use.

Those townships that are directly affected by annexation and losing portions of their land base to the city of London have also expressed serious concerns about their ability to remain economically viable after annexation. In fact it's worth noting that the township of West Nissouri has been discussing amalgamation with a township in Oxford county. They believe that amalgamation is a better alternative for them than annexation and that it is more economically feasible to amalgamate than to try and operate as a township after annexation. West Nissouri has already alerted its municipal employees that it may not continue to exist after January 1, 1993.

With regard to compensation to the county and the affected municipalities, as mentioned, the county is losing 28.6% of its tax assessment base as a result of annexation. We cannot continue to provide services to the residents without financial assistance from the city of London.

Bill 75 proposes about $20 million in compensation. However, half of this $20 million includes money the county would have received anyway through the suburban roads program. The $10 million in compensation is simply not enough to offset the loss in revenue the county and the municipalities will experience as a result of this annexation.

Bill 75 also proposes that the compensation be paid in a lump sum to the county from the city of London and that the county be given the responsibility for distributing the financial assistance among the municipalities. The county believes that determining financial assistance is a provincial responsibility. Therefore, the compensation given to each municipality should be detailed in legislation and not determined at a later date by the county.

We go now to suburban roads. Under Bill 75, the suburban roads commission is eliminated and the maintenance of all arterial roads becomes the responsibility of the county. For those of you not familiar with the suburban roads commission, it's a joint commission between the city and the county which shares the funding and management responsibility for maintaining the arterial roads in Middlesex county that in fact do feed the city of London. If you increase the size of London, you increase the traffic on those arterial roads, you increase the cost of maintenance and everything else that goes with it. We drop our assessment but we raise the costs.

Bill 75 stipulates that while the city of London will compensate the county in lieu of suburban roads contributions, the money is to be placed in a special reserve fund to be used for water and sewer development, in addition to road repairs. Also, the county may not take more than 50% of the expenditures for the road repairs from this fund. This means the county must contribute half the cost of the road repairs, despite losing 28.6% of its assessment base. This is simply not possible with the economic restraints the county would be facing as a result of annexation.

Bill 75 also states that the city's contribution in lieu of suburban roads funding will stop after 10 years. Therefore, in year 11, the county could potentially find itself in the situation of no funding for suburban roads, since the money in the fund may already have been used for water and sewer development.

The buffer zone: In addition to annexing 64,000 acres of land to the city of London, Bill 75 also establishes a three-kilometre buffer zone around the boundary of the land being annexed to the city of London. No development will be allowed in the buffer zone without full urban services, with the exception of farm-related development. While the province has stated that this buffer zone would prevent urban sprawl, the reality is that urban development would simply jump over the buffer zone and continue on the other side. Also, a buffer zone will not protect the development of agricultural land, since development will simply go around the zone or delay until the zone is removed.

Middlesex county is one of the top three counties in all of Canada in terms of the value of agricultural assets and agricultural output. The only way to control that would be official plans properly put in, with the proper rules and regulations to control this. The buffer zone really isn't necessary if you put the proper plans in. If you have faith in the Planning Act, then the buffer zone really isn't necessary.

The economic impact of annexation: One of the county's gravest concerns with Bill 75 is the economic impact that the legislation will have on the residents of the county. As a result of this annexation, residents in the county face an estimated 45% increase in their county taxes, since the county is losing almost 30% of its tax base, most of that being industrial and commercial.

Residents of Metro Toronto are currently concerned about the enormous increases they face under market value assessment, yet the increase in Middlesex county municipal taxes resulting from annexation is as great or greater than any increase those residents face. At a time when people are dealing with the economic hardships of the recession, the people of Middlesex county simply cannot afford to pay the increase of 45% in their taxes.

The substantial loss of revenue for the county because of annexation will also have an impact on the services which the county provides to its residents.

The Chair: I'm sorry, we're going to have to stop. Have we got a vote going on?

Mr Winninger: It's on the introduction of a bill.

The Chair: Okay. We're just going to have to stop and go up to the House and come back and resume.

The committee recessed at 1614 and resumed at 1627.

The Chair: We'll resume the hearings here. Mr Gare -- actually, we started a little bit earlier. We didn't have orders of the day yet, but I tried to get the committee going a little bit earlier there. Sometimes we're like firemen: We have to put out a fire. So we're back again -- false alarm. Okay, carry on.

Mr Gare: Thank you, Mr Hansen. Back to the bottom of page 4, if I could.

The substantial loss of revenue for the county because of annexation will also have an impact on the services which the county provides to its residents. Despite the fact that the county will have less money, it will be expected to provide the same quality of service, whether it be roads, schools or health services, as it did prior to annexation. The compensation package, as outlined in Bill 75, is not enough to help the municipalities in the county maintain their commitment to offering top-quality services to their residents.

It's our understanding that the ministry indicated this morning that it will amend Bill 75 so the tax rates in 1993 in the annexed areas will not increase any more than the tax rates in the city of London. However, it should be noted that London taxpayers may face huge increases to pay for the enhanced compensation package and the provision of services to newly annexed areas and residents.

We're also concerned about the ministry's announcement this morning that the bill will be amended to permit the minister to make regulations to limit tax increases in the county from 1994 to 2003, and that tax increases in the county would be prohibited for the next five years. Annexation and the loss of 28.6% of our assessment base will have a severe economic impact on the county. We believe it's unreasonable that the minister will make decisions on tax increases for the county, since it is the county and not the ministry which will have to respond to the economic realities of annexation and continue to provide services to the county residents.

I'll go through a few of the activities of the county with relation to this bill.

The county has voiced its concerns regarding annexation since 1988, when the city of London formally applied under the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act to annex parts of the county to the city. The county made a presentation to the arbitrator, Mr Brant, during the arbitration hearings and later raised its concerns with the Brant report as well as the draft copy of Bill 75. Middlesex has also made its concerns known on Bill 75 to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Dave Cooke, to Middlesex and London area MPPs and to other government officials since the draft legislation was released in late May. The county also made a presentation to the minister at his hearings in late September in London.

I think it's important to realize that the county has not been sitting idly by, criticizing the current legislation without offering any input on how to make Bill 75 better. As I stated in the beginning, the county is not against annexation, but we want to ensure that the annexation legislation implemented recognizes and responds to the concerns of the residents of the county.

In June the county prepared a package of proposals which are alternatives to the current legislation. This package addressed the county's concerns with the four components of the legislation I spoke of earlier. Since that time, the county has been promoting its package of proposals as a possible alternative to Bill 75. In late July we met with the Minister of Municipal Affairs to review and discuss the county's alternative proposals. To date, the county has yet to receive any response from the minister on this package, and it does not know whether the province has accepted any of its suggestions or is willing to make any changes. We made several requests to the minister that the county be allowed to review the possible amendments to the bill prior to these committee hearings. However, the minister never responded to our requests.

It is significant that the county's alternative package represents the only package of options on annexation which has been agreed upon by all municipalities within Middlesex county. Bill 75 is an initiative of the provincial government and does not have the support of the county or its municipalities.

Our alternative package: As I just mentioned, the county's alternative proposals address four areas of Bill 75: the establishment of boundary lines and the amount of land to be annexed, adequate compensation for loss of revenue, elimination of the Suburban Roads Commission and the establishment of a buffer zone around the land to be annexed.

I think it's important to realize how stunned the county was when we learned that Bill 75 stipulates the annexation of 64,000 acres. This is an enormous annexation and is substantially more than has ever been requested by the city of London. For example, a 1988 proposal to the then Liberal government stated that it would require an annexation of approximately 23,000 acres. In the city's public presentation to the arbitrator, Mr Brant, in March 1992, London indicated it would require an annexation of 9,900 acres of industrial land to the year 2026. Furthermore, nine days later in a private letter the city changed its request from 9,900 acres of industrial land to 12,000 acres. The 64,000 acres of agricultural, residential and industrial land granted by this legislation is five times greater than what the city said it would need.

We believe that our boundary line proposal is a reasonable compromise that would meet the needs of the city of London and still leave the county with a substantial assessment base. The county's alternative on the establishment of boundary lines allows 23,977 acres to be annexed to the city of London, more than the amount of land that the city requested in 1988. Annexation of this amount of land accommodates the future economic development of the city of London while maintaining the town of Westminster, London township, North Dorchester township, Delaware and West Nissouri as viable municipalities. It is worth noting that the county's proposal on boundary lines allows for the annexation of the London airport in West Nissouri township to the city of London, but excludes the landfill site situated in Westminster.

In an attempt to reach a local solution on this contentious issue of boundaries, Middlesex county has discussed its own boundary alternative with the mayor of London, Tom Gosnell. The city, however, has expressed concerns regarding the omission of the landfill site in Westminster. While the county understands the city's concerns regarding access to and management of the landfill site, we believe it is not necessary to annex it in order to address these concerns. In fact, the boundary line as proposed in Bill 75 could be altered so that the landfill site remains in Westminster, and the city of London and Westminster could reach an agreement on access and perhaps joint management of the site, with the county having access for all municipalities for the life of the landfill site.

We have heard that one of the reasons the city of London wants to annex the landfill site is that it wants to expand the Westminster site and convert it into a regional landfill. Since the city of London has just recently purchased land around the landfill site at four times its market value and the town of Westminster and the county have already agreed informally to the expansion of the site, expanding the landfill site could occur regardless of whether the site was annexed by the city or remained in the town of Westminster. With or without the annexation, the city of London would still have to submit its landfill expansion plans to an environmental assessment process by the province. This process would allow citizens to appear before the environmental assessment board to voice their concerns, and the results of this process could potentially derail any expansion plans for the landfill site.

With regard to the aforementioned 1988 proposal, the county of Middlesex also supports the option of boundary lines suggested in the 1988 city of London proposal. As indicated, the city requested an annexation of approximately 23,000 acres of land. This proposal also included a recommendation of coservicing: a shared-cost-of-services arrangement between the city and the county. This proposal was unanimously accepted by London city council but did not go beyond the proposal stage because the Minister of Municipal Affairs stated at the time that the proposal was not comprehensive enough.

We believe that 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 option has only just recently resurfaced due to concern by citizens of London about the inability of the city of London to pay the necessary compensation to Middlesex county. Recent figures released by the ministry reveal that the city of London would be required to pay the county $34.5 million in compensation. That's an increase of $14.5 million over the $20-million compensation package suggested by the Brant report. The province has not indicated that it will assist London in meeting its financial commitments to the county. Therefore the city of London will be solely responsible for finding a tax source for supplying this compensation, and municipal taxes are the most likely source.

This $34.5 million is only the compensation; it does not cover any of the associated costs with servicing the extra area: policing, hydro and all of the rest of the servicing items that go with a package like this.

A smaller annexation of 23,000 or 24,000 acres, compared to the 64,000 acres according to Bill 75, will not only allow more municipalities to remain viable and operational but will also remove the burden from the city of London of providing increased compensation to the county, since the city and the county will share the cost of the provision of services.

Since the county has never received a response from the Minister of Municipal Affairs on whether an alteration of the boundary lines of annexation would be acceptable, we do not know if the government is open to suggestions for change. We realize that time is limited, with only two days of standing committee hearings and two days of clause-by-clause, but the county will continue to work to address the issue of boundary lines.

Middlesex County strongly believes that its alternative of annexing 24,000 acres of land represents the better solution for both the city and the county. We urge the minister to meet with the city and the county to review these alternative proposals. There are those who say this proposal comes too late to make any difference to this legislation. However, it is the county's view that it makes far better sense to amend the boundary lines now and implement an annexation agreement that both the county and city can afford. Once the boundary lines are drawn, it's very difficult to change them.

Compensation: Acceptance of the county's proposal on boundary lines would obviously result in a reduced need for compensation from the city to the county. Given the fact that the city of London will have to find additional funding to provide more services to the newly annexed residents of the city, a decrease in compensation to the county would certainly be beneficial to the city, which has yet to determine the impact of annexation on London's municipal taxes. The county's alternative proposal stresses that any compensation from the city to the county must be sufficient to keep the county and the local municipalities viable and enable them to provide the same level of services to their residents that existed prior to annexation.

The county's alternative proposal on compensation also recommends that a compensation process be established so that the province establishes the amount of compensation to be awarded to the municipalities on an individual basis. Neither the county nor the local municipalities favour the system of compensation outlined in Bill 75, whereby the county has a lump sum and it distributes the money.

Middlesex county is concerned that the amendments to the bill presented to the committee this morning did not address the issue of the county having to pay the city compensation for transfers of assets through the annexation. With the county losing 28.7% of its assessment base and the county taxpayers facing a potential increase in taxes of 45%, the county simply cannot afford to pay any compensation to the city of London. Compensation from the county to the city of London is not feasible. Any financial assistance to the city would come from the province, not from the county.


We are pleased that the ministry indicated in its presentation to the committee this morning that section 48 of the bill will be amended so the enhanced compensation package of $34.5 million over 10 years will be paid directly to the municipalities.

Suburban roads: The county cannot assume full responsibility for the repair and maintenance of all arterial roads in Middlesex county leading to the city. We believe some form of suburban road funding must be maintained and have suggested to the minister that an agreement be reached for suburban road funding which would allow joint funding between the city and the county for arterial roads. The county has suggested the province adopt the Brant-Brantford model of suburban road funding, where the city of Brantford contributes to the cost of maintaining arterial roads in the county.

The ministry indicated this morning that Bill 75 will be amended so that payments to compensate for Suburban Roads Commission payments will continue in perpetuity, with the payments being based on the local assessment of the city of London. We are concerned, however, that the ministry regulation will allow the minister to adjust the mill rate, and it is entirely possible, then, in the future that the contribution to suburban roads may decrease.

The buffer zone: We believe that the three-kilometre buffer zone around the land to be annexed to the city of London is too large and will not halt development of valuable agricultural land. Official plans will do this if they're in properly. The county has recommended to the ministry that the buffer zone either be eliminated or reduced to 1.5 kilometres.

It is our understanding that the minister has stated there will be no change to the size of the buffer zone. Instead, the official plans of the townships around the buffer zone will be allowed to remain in effect, and any development of land within the buffer zone already designated as industrial will be allowed as long as it does not contravene the official plans of these townships. Any use of the land other than that designated by the township's official plan may be permitted by ministerial order. We believe that this is a more effective use of this land within the buffer zone but we still question why the zone is necessary.

Concluding remarks: I've outlined to you this afternoon the county's concerns with Bill 75 and the alternatives to this legislation which we have proposed to the government and the city of London. The county has tried to maintain an open dialogue with the minister to discuss our concerns with the legislation and review our options, but unfortunately we have received no response to these suggestions. Although the minister has indicated that changes would be made to the legislation, the direction of these possible changes was never shared or discussed with the county.

This annexation legislation will force significant changes to the character and fabric of the county of Middlesex and the city of London. We are concerned that the annexation legislation recognize and respond to the concerns of the residents of the county and the city. As residents of the county, we must live with the annexation legislation you pass and implement. Annexation legislation must be done right the first time, because as this process has illustrated, boundary lines and compensation packages to municipalities are not easily changed. Middlesex county and its residents must be assured that this legislation, Bill 75, is the best possible agreement for all involved, and this can only be accomplished if the changes are made to the legislation which we have identified in our presentation.

Just a couple of other items that I don't have written on there: One is that if the boundary lines stay where they are, there will be a great impact on the education system in the London area. Increased taxes are almost a sure thing if these lines stay where they are. If you're talking about a 45% increase in your tax dollar, all of you are aware of the tax implications on the education end of your tax bill. You start applying the same percentages to that, and it becomes a real issue.

The other item is strictly a personal item. In section 5 you have made a note in the act to the effect that one person would be appointed to sit as an equal on an elected body, and I think that's a terrible precedent to set. Thank you very much for your time.

The Chair: Thank you. A right-up-to-date brief here. I noticed this morning you got comments, so you must have been pretty busy getting it all put together. Mr Mills has a few comments as the PA to the minister, and then we'll carry on with question and answer after that.

Mr Mills: I'd like to make a few comments, and it may alleviate a lot of unnecessary questions. To answer some of the points you've made, sir, first of all, you say that the settlement of boundaries establishes a dangerous precedent, and I'd like to say that the bill does not constitute a dangerous precedent because the London area presented many unique problems, such as the proportion of population in the city that made a regional government solution unworkable. The minister has clearly promised that this will not be a model for solving the restructuring problems, so I just address that.

I want to go on with the county's concerns with the legislation. The boundary lines were set to allow for good long-term planning for London's growth, to permit a solution to its environmental problems and to prevent a remnant leftover Westminster which isn't financially viable.

In so far as the compensation is concerned, it's been sweetened by amendment to prevent the annexation of related tax increases for five years and by changes to the suburban road compensation. There's $1 million in perpetuity for roads for London, and this should address roads-related problems and the amount will increase as London's tax base increases.

I'd just like a brief word about the buffer zone. The buffer zone is there to prevent fringe development and to protect farm land. I'm a little bit surprised to hear that you're advocating a form of development which is not in the long-term interest of the county and which will unnecessarily disrupt agriculture and remove land from production. Instead, the county should follow good planning policies and practices which will strengthen its financial base for the long term by developing in and around its existing centres.

You spoke of the alternate package. It has not had the support of any major group except county council, and due to the lack of support it doesn't seem possible. It isn't a comprehensive long-term solution to many of the existing issues. It seems problematical in some aspects such as joint service areas and necessitating joint planning.

I've got another one, the economic impact, with the tax impact in the first five years and phasing over the second five years to allow the county time to adjust and restructure. We've spoken about the suburban roads, and those are my comments, Mr Chairman.

The Chair: Okay. Thank you.

Mr Gare: Do I get to reply?

The Chair: You get to reply to them. Go ahead, Mr Gare.

Mr Gare: As far as it setting a precedent is concerned, I think it does set a precedent. You're allowing a city to try and administer over agricultural land, and London by its own admission is having trouble coming up with some way to do that. If you go to the Kitchener area, you will find it's having trouble looking after agricultural land, and it is a precedent that Windsor doesn't want to see, Kingston doesn't want to see, Stratford doesn't want to see, and any number of other places.

You mentioned that the major group hasn't supported it. I don't know what you would think Middlesex county is if it's not a major group. We're one of the foremost players in this. I live 35 miles from London out in Adelaide township. This is going to affect me. If this goes through, it's going to affect my tax dollars, and it's going to affect my pocketbook and my kids as long as I live on that property if I happen to hand it to them.

As far as planning is concerned, I really have my doubts that people are looking at this in the right and proper manner. To change a boundary does not change how you service people. You must have coservices to do this properly. If you keep drawing a line and extending this thing out, then you're only servicing the people in that area.

You must have the coservices and you must have it working back and forth so that everybody gets serviced, not just the people in London. I want the people in North Dorchester to be serviced too, and Delaware, and ultimately Adelaide township. You can't do that as long as you keep saying, "We're going to set the boundaries here and that's as far as you can go." If you can't get London to go coservices, then I think legislation should be put in to force it because the services, the water, sewage and waste disposal, are of utmost importance to the people, and that's what you have to remember.

Mr Grandmaître: Is there time --

The Chair: We're going to have to split it up there. I'm going to start off with the third party. We're looking at about three or four minutes apiece.

Mr Bill Murdoch (Grey): Is that all we're going to get?

The Chair: We're about an hour and a half behind.


Mr Murdoch: I certainly appreciate having you people here today to talk about probably one of the most undemocratic processes we've seen in the history of Ontario. We're upset about this and there doesn't seem to be anybody wanting to listen to you people and that's really unfortunate.

You mentioned that there were no other key players. I don't know what happened to the Middlesex Federation of Agriculture. I would call them a very key player and I was wondering -- I'd like to ask you, Gord -- are you going to set up a new London Federation of Agriculture? Is the government going to pay for that?

Mr Mills: They do everything.

Mr Murdoch: I'll ask you that question, Gord.

The Chair: The question isn't --

Mr Murdoch: All right. If you don't want, then maybe it's a good idea --

The Chair: We can discuss this out in the hall afterwards.

Mr Murdoch: Well, I don't like discussing -- that's the problem. What do you think about that? Do you see now we'll need a London Federation of Agriculture? Is that what's going to happen?

Mr Gare: Well, there has to be some sort of committee set up, whether it's a federation of agriculture -- they would certainly be involved in an effort to take their concerns to the city of London council. It's an entirely different process.

Mr Murdoch: You've been around for quite a while as a municipal politician. Have you ever seen anything like this where they just, on high, come down and say this is what you're going to do? You were prepared to talk about other ideas, am I not --

Mr Gare: Oh, sure. We have an alternative proposal.

Mr Murdoch: You have an alternative proposal?

Mr Gare: Yes.

Mr Murdoch: This government will not listen to that proposal, as we've just heard, I guess. How are you reacting with London now? We went through an annexation process in our area, but the government of the time forced us to talk and we did. I was reeve of the township of Sydenham and we had to deal with the city of Owen Sound and we sat down. It took two years to hammer out a deal, but we did get the deal and that was a democratic process because when we came out of there both of us were happy.

Do you see how you're going to be able to get along with London after this, because it's being forced upon you? I know it's not London's fault either, but the people who are going to be annexed that do not want to be annexed right now -- I'm talking a lot about the rural area -- they will never become Londonites, will they, in your eyes?

Mr Gare: You will always retain your identity no matter where you go, yes.

Mr Murdoch: But do you think there will always be this feeling of bitterness that this was forced upon you?

Mr Gare: That's always a possibility. The process that was taken does encourage some of that, yes.

Mr Murdoch: This is what I've been getting at. Maybe the government can listen. It will never work when you force people to do things like this in a democratic country. It doesn't work very well in socialist countries, but you're trying to force it on people in a democratic country and I think --

Mr Sutherland: Is that like regional government?

Mr Murdoch: It's maybe -- we can't talk, it's --

Mr Winninger: Maybe you would have found a local solution.

Mr Eddy: Oxford county was not forced.

The Chair: Order. Mr Murdoch has the floor and he's waiting for an answer.

Mr Murdoch: One of the members across the floor said maybe I have the solution. Well, there is a solution: You sit down. Middlesex has come back with a counteroffer; London can come back with a counteroffer. That's how things work out. If you have a government dedicated to working with democracy, then you can work things out. You sit down then.

You have the stick now because you've almost forced them into it with this bill. It hasn't passed yet, thank God, and maybe it won't get passed, but you have the stick there that you can do it. You can tell people in Middlesex they've got to sit down, and you can tell London it's got to sit down, but you just can't set up somebody to come in and say, "Hey, this is what you're going to do; tough it." It won't work in a democracy and there's going to be people upset. They have rights and you're taking their rights away from them.

The Chair: I have to cut you off there, Mr Murdoch.

Mrs Mathyssen: Just a couple of quick questions: One of the problems this annexation seeks to address is planning and environmental problems in Westminster. Also, it's been designed to compel the city of London to do extensive planning around environmental development. Is the county of Middlesex prepared to develop an equally rigorous official plan for the county, one that would be comparable to that of the city of London?

Secondly, I know the whole issue of restructuring in Middlesex has been a contentious one for years. I know you have a restructuring committee. I would like to know at what point that restructuring committee is in terms of its recommendations, and is that restructuring something we could look forward to in terms of addressing some of the very difficult problems Middlesex is facing and has faced?

Mr Gare: I might say that in July -- was it July we went to Centralia? -- we were away to what we called a visioning session. A lot of these problems were brought up on the table and discussed. From that visioning session, the county review committee received the first proposals last night for strategic plans which in fact would go to setting up the county with a plan for the future with regard to whether these are the right things for the county. I'm sure the strategic plan would go down those roads.

Mrs Mathyssen: Do coservicing agreements work?

Mr Gare: You bet they do.

Mrs Mathyssen: Can they work in this case?

Mr Gare: Absolutely. The lines are there. It's a user-pay thing, always has been. That's how you recover your money. As I say, you draw a line and then you exclude the people outside the line, and I think that's wrong. I think you cross the line with your service. Your waste disposal, your landfill sites and so on are going to be in a larger area. You can't have one in every municipality. Right there you've got coservices going on. You've got municipalities working together. The same thing can happen to your sewage treatment plants, your water systems and everything else.

Mr Will Ferguson (Kitchener): Can you tell me what the 1992 annual operating budget of the county would be?

Mr Gare: It's $23 million.

The Chair: Okay, Mr Eddy, you're on now.

Mr Eddy: I came down here as an elected member to represent the constituents of my riding. I hope to do that and try to do a good job to the best of my ability. Here I find I'm involved in an affair, a situation, a procedure, that is the most unfair situation I've ever experienced in my entire municipal life, starting on November 1, 1955, and that's it.

Warden Gare, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for appearing and to compliment you and your council on taking the time to make us aware of the fact of your deliberations in response to the city of London's annexation proposals and applications. There were originally four municipalities. Subsequently, two were withdrawn and it ended up with two municipalities, London township to the north and the town of Westminster to the south. I want to thank you for your response, recognizing that the city needs to grow. Indeed you want to grow and you recognize that and the local municipalities there do as well.

I also want to recognize your council for being at the forefront of county governments in any way: being the first county in Ontario to establish a library cooperative; the first county to establish a county library; the first county to establish a county official plan, indeed establish an official plan before there was legislation by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to allow counties to become designated as municipalities; the first county to establish a county-wide fire-alerting system through the cooperation of the good neighbour, the city of London, servicing some 22 or 23 fire departments, one in a first nation and one in another county. Exceptional. You have done very well and I thank you for coming.

I have some questions. The first question is, are you aware and have you been aware of a series of amendments to the bill that have been proposed by the government?

Mr Gare: Are you referring to the ones presented this morning?

Mr Eddy: Yes.

Mr Gare: Yes.

Mr Eddy: Does your presentation reflect any of those amendments in any way or was this prepared prior to them?

Mr Gare: This has been prepared since.

Mr Eddy: So it does take those into consideration?

Mr Gare: It takes them into consideration, but our primary presentation is still in there in its entirety.

Mr Eddy: Does that include the new compensation package, the figures and that sort of thing?

Mr Gare: Yes.

Mr Eddy: Okay, that's fine. I just wanted to be clear on that.

Another question I have is that on page 2, I'm very distressed to find that the two local municipalities in the county of Middlesex that will be left are now seriously discussing amalgamation with adjoining municipalities in another county, further injuring and disembowelling, as I say, the county of Middlesex. I would understand that's a different process and there'd be an application to the OMB, an amalgamation which could probably go through unless the honourable Minister of Municipal Affairs would want to interfere with that process. Are you aware that is a possibility and can happen?


Mr Gare: I might correct you that there was just West Nissouri. The other was on a rumour basis and I've been assured by the reeve --

Mr Eddy: And North Dorchester's withdrawn from -- thank you very much. I'm relieved at that.

The Chair: As the clock has run out --

Mr Gare: She's informed me that this is not up.

The Chair: I'm sorry we had a few interruptions there. I'd like to thank you for appearing before this committee.

Mr Gare: Can I -- just one little thing? In the changes, the amendments to the bill this morning, in the list that was given to us as a summary, it mentions these suburban roads and it says the subsequent payments will be made by the city to the county on the same basis in perpetuity, but when you look at the actual sheet here, it does not say "in perpetuity."

Mr Eddy: A slight slip of the hand.

The Chair: Okay, fine; we've got that recorded in Hansard.

Mr Gare: I'd like that noted and cleared up, because it's in here that "such other mill rate as the Minister of Municipal Affairs may subscribe." We might have it for a day and then we lose it.

Mr Grandmaître: That's why Gord had a terrible time pronouncing that.

The Chair: Fine, thanks a lot.

Mr Gare: Thank you very much, Mr Hansen and the committee.

Mr Eddy: I apologize to you on behalf of the committee for the little time you've had. I also resent the little time I've had to ask questions; I had a great many more

Mr Winninger: He went overtime this morning.

Mr Sutherland: You should know that it was his members who caused the vote in the House.

Mr Gare: I appreciate the opportunity to come before you.


The Chair: The next presenter is Mr Michael Troughton, professor, department of geography, University of Western Ontario. Sir, you have half an hour. In that half-hour, try to save some time at the end, because Mr Eddy here is just anxious to ask questions all day.

Mr Sutherland: Mr Chair, can I correct that? We have two other presentations besides Mr Troughton's, so I think we should be saying about 20 minutes each rather than a half-hour.

The Chair: Okay. We'll see the presentation, and try to get as many questions in at the end, not statements. Go ahead, sir.

Dr Michael Troughton: I appear before the committee this afternoon at the request of members of the committee asking me to come here and make some comments on the annexation, particularly in relation to these hearings on Bill 75. I haven't done this kind of operation before, so I prepared some notes for myself and then found out this morning there are 25 copies needed of my presentation. That's what you have in front of you. I do apologize for their rather rough form, the notes to myself for this presentation. I didn't realize they would be treated so formally.

What I tried to do on these notes was to indicate, first of all, that I have an ongoing involvement, both from an academic and a non-academic point of view, with respect to this process. I've been in a position to study the annexation and the urban-rural interactions in the London area since the late 1960s. I've followed this process fairly closely in a number of ways, investigated aspects of related urban-rural interaction, made presentations at various times. I suspect the reason I was asked to speak here today is because of that ongoing involvement in commenting, at least, on the process.

If I can turn to the section that I label "Overall Opinion," I'd like to contrast the fact that I recognize the need and the rationale for the 1961 annexation by the city of London, because at that time the city was grossly underbounded and had sprawled well outside its administrative boundaries. There was no doubt, at least in retrospect, that an annexation was justified; whether a specific size or not I won't go into, but there was certainly a need for annexation at that time.

However, I can find no similar situation and therefore no justification for the current annexation. I came to that conclusion back in 1981 and I've retained that conclusion ever since, through the various proposals made by the city up to the present and through the recent arbitration hearings.

I'm prepared to accept that a small annexation of lands immediately adjacent to the city may facilitate some rationalization of service provision and provide a cushion of land for both industrial and residential development. But from my viewpoint, there exists no justification under any rubric, be it planning, development, need etc, for the major annexation that's set forth in this bill.

As a general comment also, before I look at some specific items, may I add that I personally believe that the arbitration process came to be a flawed one. I sat through most of the hearings. I heard many of the people who made presentations. In my opinion, the recommendations of the arbitrator, as reflected in Bill 75, in no way reflect the majority opinion which was sought during those hearings. So there is to me a tremendous discrepancy between the stated purpose of the arbitration hearings, to get public opinion and input, and the results that came out at the end.

I have two what I regard as major objections to the proposal. My first one is that London, to my mind, has never demonstrated the need for more land beyond the most modest levels. I base this on the fact that, reviewing the situation that has developed in the city since 1961, even at the present density levels within the city, they're well below those of 1960; in fact, hardly more than half those of 1960. Even if we projected the suggested population of the city for the year 2026, which is the period that was looked at in the proposals, the density in the city based on London's own population projections would still only be about two thirds the level it was back in 1960. To go beyond that and provide the city with this tremendous amount of additional land to create a place that, as has been said, is approaching the size of Metropolitan Toronto, with 10 times its population, even at a population of 400,000 by the year 2026 it would result in densities -- in the note it says less than 19, but it should be less than 10 per hectare, or less than 30% of the 1960 density.

This will result -- and I base this on a professional opinion -- in a huge, inevitably low-density urban place that I find to be in direct contradiction to the current recommendations that are coming out of the Sewell commission on planning that is currently at the stage of making its recommendations. They have plumped very solidly for higher urban densities in this province. This proposed annexation goes absolutely in the opposite direction, as far as I can judge.

I think it will result in widespread urban sprawl. As has been mentioned earlier, I think it will be extremely costly in terms of servicing a huge peripheral zone in terms of public transport, infrastructure, services and so forth. Obviously, some of these additional costs are already being uncovered.

In addition, it will divert funds away from redevelopment of the present city of London, including its already severely impacted core, which several studies have pointed out, and the need for service and infrastructure repair and replacement, which is a common need among municipalities not only in Canada but right across North America. It will saddle an urban municipality and a planning department with rural and agricultural responsibilities for which it has neither competence nor desire, in my opinion. I've had relations with the planning department in the city of London over the years, and I base that opinion on discussion with planners in the city.

My second and equally serious criticism involves the loss of a large nationally and provincially significant area of prime agricultural land. The key classification of the Canada Land Inventory -- you have this on the table -- places over 95% of all land to be annexed in classes 1 to 3 capability for agriculture, and, within 10 miles of the city of London, 65% in class 1.

This land is well recognized -- one could produce voluminous literature to support the fact that this is a scarce national resource, and it's irreplaceable. Both federal and particularly provincial governments, including the present one, have called for its protection and its transfer to non-farm use only through thorough justification. I think that loss is a critical one, not only locally, not only provincially but, I would suggest, on a national scale.


I'll just note a couple of other criticisms. The gain for the city will be outweighed, I believe, by losses for the county. One that hasn't actually been mentioned, I think, is the very fact of not only territory but the geographic integrity of the county. The way that it will be shaped, literally, after the annexation, if it goes through in its present form, will create an unwieldy geographic area. Of course, the losses of population and revenue have been treated very well by Warden Gare.

In my estimation, the county was doing a credible job of both stewardship of its agricultural lands and the provision of education, government and services etc to its area and population. This has been challenged and potentially reduced in favour of a more expensive and inappropriate jurisdiction.

I might add, with respect to planning, that it was my impression that planning was somewhat on its way towards meaningful discussions between the city and the county. It seems to me that not only have these been swept aside by imposed annexation, but I think they will inevitably sour city-county, rural-urban relationships for years to come. There is some evidence that the 1961 annexation left a bad taste in many people's mouths for a considerable period after it. I suggest that this annexation would leave an even worse taste in most county mouths for an equally long period of time.

Conclusions: It's my opinion that the proposed annexation is unjustified in terms of the needs of the city, which have never been sufficient to require more than a modest increase to its present area, even over a 30- to 50-year period.

Secondly, the impact on the rural area, and particularly the loss of a huge area of prime farm land, far outweighs any benefits in planning, administrative or other terms. In a general sense, in an era of conservation and sustainable development, if these are to be anything more than terms, if they are to mean anything, the proposed annexation goes right against them. It's a throwback and is completely inappropriate to the goals of a conserver society.

Finally, the annexation, especially the proposed transfer of prime farm land to an urban jurisdiction, is antithetical to the stated policies for agriculture and rural planning in Ontario as they have been developed by successive governments in the province, be they Conservative, Liberal or the current NDP. Thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you. We'll start off with Mrs Mathyssen.

Mrs Mathyssen: Actually, Mr Chair, I think it would be fair to give some of my colleagues a chance; they haven't had an opportunity.

The Chair: Anybody on the government side have a question?

Mr Grandmaître: Professor, are you familiar with the 1988 proposal?

Dr Troughton: The one that's being suggested as an alternative at this time?

Mr Grandmaître: Yes.

Dr Troughton: Yes. I have documentation, as far as it was available, on each of the alternatives that have been suggested on the way. Yes, I've seen that.

Mr Grandmaître: Would you say this was more representative of the needs of the city of London?

Dr Troughton: Yes, I think it's more than reasonable in relation to the city's needs.

Mr Grandmaître: More than reasonable?

Dr Troughton: Yes. To me, they haven't necessarily proved the requirement for the area that is suggested by that 1988 proposal, so I would say it would be generous.

Mr Grandmaître: If you're familiar with the 1988 and the 1992 proposals, would you call this a land grab?

Dr Troughton: That's the appearance it gives. It's been defended as having some logic; I find the logic flawed. There may have been good faith in the suggestion that London should have the opportunity to develop, but I think it goes far too far and is unjustified and will be costly to the city and to the rural area.

Mr Grandmaître: I think it's only reasonable, as I mentioned this morning, that the city of London needed more room to expand; it needed more commercial and industrial land. My question this morning was, why 64,000 acres, and 95% of the 64,000 acres can be -- 5% can be developed, and yet the rest is all --

Dr Troughton: There was a reason, of course. I think the reason was the tactical mistake on the part of Westminster in creating itself into a town, which got itself into the situation of being analogous to Clearwater on the edge of Sarnia. This looked like a reasonable solution, but in fact it was anything but a reasonable solution. I think there was a political undersituation there that obscured the real facts of what this would do to the area from the point of view of both the city and the county.

Mr Grandmaître: Would you say that --

The Chair: I'm going to have to cut off because of the time. Mr Murdoch, do you have a question? I've got one from Irene over there, but go ahead.

Mr Murdoch: Okay. Thank you for coming. I appreciate this. I think you explained that you do see the need for London to expand; you're in agreement with that.

Dr Troughton: I can see that it might be appropriate to take in some extra area for certain key purposes here.

Mr Murdoch: But you don't see the need for the amount of land that's mentioned here in Bill 75.

Dr Troughton: No.

Mr Murdoch: Quickly, what do you suggest we do from here, then? What would your suggestion be to the present-day government and to this committee as to what we should do right here where we are? What should we do?

Mr Grandmaître: Call an election.

Dr Troughton: I think in many ways to take a step back would be a good idea. The question would be whether you go back to square one or whether you take a suggestion that had already been looked at. I suspect that probably the best way to go would be to look most closely at this 1988 suggestion because it is acceptable to the county, and in that sense it would more reflect the arbitration process, where there was a consensus, I think, by people speaking both from the county and from other areas, that a modest agreed-upon annexation would be acceptable. It would reflect that kind of thing.

Mr Murdoch: I think it's called democracy.

Mrs Mathyssen: Just very quickly, Professor Troughton, one of the concerns that I've heard over and over again is that, historically, urban centres are not able to safeguard agricultural land and the farmers as they go about their business. Bill 75 proposes stringent regulations to protect agricultural land, and I am wondering, since you are a geographer, will these be effective? Are the fears that I've heard voiced legitimate fears?

Dr Troughton: I think they're legitimate fears because of things that have happened in other areas. I would suggest that the regional government situation, for example in Niagara, has been absolutely chaotic as far as preserving prime agricultural land is concerned. In a general sense, urban municipalities' urban planning departments have other priorities, and agricultural land always tends to be looked at in a lesser priority. In fact, in some cases it may only be seen as land waiting for development. With those sorts of entrenched attitudes and the sort of residual status of agricultural land, I think there is always a tremendous threat that it will not be safeguarded or treated in any reasonable manner.

Mr Mills: A couple of quick points in so far as my colleague's query about perpetuity is concerned. Amendment 22 says, "The city of London shall on or before the first day of March in each year...." That, to me, is perpetuity.

Professor, I'd just like to comment that the annexation is consistent with the Sewell proposals, and the solution of producing government over the area is not the same as creating one large urbanized area. Agriculture and open space will be preserved within the London boundaries by strict regulation and requirements through the official planning process, and similar development in Westminster would require more land because it is unlikely to be on services.


Mr Eddy: On a point of information, Mr Chair: The city of Sarnia/town of Clearwater situation was alluded to, and I just wanted to point out the vast difference between this and that. In the case of the town of Clearwater being amalgamated with the city of Sarnia, the city of Sarnia was then brought into the Lambton county government. It became an integral part of it. There was no loss of assessment to the county ratepayers, nor to the county boards of education overall. It's quite a different situation.

Mr Sutherland: That couldn't be done here.

The Chair: Mr Troughton, did you want to reply to the PA's comment there?

Dr Troughton: Only to say that he and I would have to differ on the interpretation of the Sewell report, because I honestly think he's dead wrong in his interpretation.

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


The Chair: Could we have Mr Grant Hopcroft. Why we're trying to keep the tight time frame is that we have a vote coming up in the House at just about 6 o'clock. If we don't keep pushing on, we're going to wind up that we're going to miss one of the witnesses.

Mr Ferguson: Given Mr Hopcroft's vast experience in this field, perhaps he can give us the short version.

The Chair: Go ahead, Mr Hopcroft.

Mr Grant Hopcroft: I think Mr Ferguson knows me well enough to know I don't have a short version of anything, but I will do my best to keep my remarks brief. In fact, I had already tried to do that to leave lots of time for questions.

My name is Grant Hopcroft. I'm a member of the board of control of the city of London, and as well, I'm a member of the city's boundary negotiations committee. Following the announcement of the Brant report and the introduction of Bill 75, I've also been appointed chairman of the city's task force on local government restructuring, which is actively reviewing and has already made several recommendations to city council on restructuring of our council standing committees, advisory committees, and we will, in the new year, be making recommendations regarding ward boundaries and council structures as well.

Yesterday our task force introduced a number of motions to our board of control. The board of control's report, which will be going to city council on Monday, is attached as an appendix to my paper.

We will be giving further consideration to membership and terms of reference on committees dealing with important new agricultural and rural issues and also a restructuring of our advisory committees on environmental issues, as well as a standing committee of council created to deal with official plan and social planning matters in the new year. These will be the subject of further broad public consultation; we have already held two public participation meetings prior to finalizing that structure.

Let me say very clearly here today -- and my presentation today is a personal one -- that I am in favour of the basic thrust of Bill 75. London city council has pressed for well over a decade and presented a number of scenarios to interested municipalities on our boundaries and authorities from time to time. There was a time for discussion, there was a time for negotiation and there was a time for a local solution, but for a number of reasons a local, made-in-Middlesex solution was not possible. I'm also aware that there was yet another 11th-hour proposal brought forward in London last night.

I would urge this legislative committee to not seriously consider this last-minute alternative put forward by an ad hoc group of local politicians without the full authority of their respective councils. This proposal was on the table several years ago and was rejected at that time because it did not meet a number of key objectives, and now we are mere days away from the January 1 deadline set out in Bill 75. This last-minute effort is tantamount to Mission Control in Houston, at T minus three and counting, asking the astronauts on board to plot a complete change of course prior to taking off.

I recognize that Bill 75 has received province-wide attention amid concerns that it may represent a model for resolving boundary negotiations throughout the province. Minister Cooke has said, and it was confirmed by the parliamentary assistant, Mr Mills, today -- and I believe this position -- that the London model is not the model for the rest of Ontario. London and Middlesex county are unique in many ways, as Mr Eddy is well aware. The vast divergence in population is the key. Over 300,000 people call London home, while the county of Middlesex has approximately 65,000 residents. Those numbers speak volumes. I won't go into that in any more detail.

There is one deficiency in the process, as I see it -- and another as I read through the amendments, which I'll get into -- and it's with respect to the issue of compensation to the city of London for transition costs, which ought not to be borne by London taxpayers. Fairness in taxation is an important consideration, from my perspective. Currently, for example, the town of Westminster does not pay for OPP policing, even after attaining town status several years ago. These policing costs are approximately $700,000 annually, and the standard of service provided is much lower than that in the city of London. A 45-minute response time is not unusual.

The costs to upgrade and expand our police capabilities are particularly onerous to existing city of London taxpayers when you consider both the operating and capital costs, especially in view of the proposed tax freeze for residents of the town of Westminster, the town which froze its taxes last year and dug into its reserve funds, to make the city look even worse.

Similar types of consideration also need to be brought to bear with respect to fire services and other servicing considerations, which have been the subject of extensive consultations between ministry officials and local officials through the boundary transition process.

I'm particularly concerned, and this isn't part of my text, with respect to the proposed amendment reintroducing the suburban roads levy or an equivalent of it. I feel this was a very important part of the overall package the arbitrator put forward, particularly in light of the way that mill has been used in the past. I guess I'm gratified in part to see that there's going to be some flexibility in the application of that mill rate, because more often than not in the past it hasn't been based on any needs for suburban roads. It's been based more on how much money the mill of equalized assessment would bear.

But I point out, and this is borne out by the documents of the ministry's transitional technical coordinating committee, that there are some 46 kilometres of suburban roads that will be coming within the new city boundaries which will no longer be a suburban roads commission responsibility. Those will be a responsibility of the new city of London. In fairness, I think that needs to be considered.

Getting to one of the key points in my presentation, the legislation is really about fostering better planning and greater opportunities for economic growth in the London area. Many citizens in the areas earmarked for annexation have in fact expressed an attitude of, "Let's get on with the business at hand." In the city of London, the vast majority of elected municipal leaders are supportive of this process, are supportive of the Brant report and, with a couple of exceptions, that have been part of meetings with the county, there is support for this bill.

To the individuals who are concerned about farm land, I point out that the town of Westminster is already an urban municipality. Out of nine council members, I believe there are two, possibly three, involved in the active business of farming or agriculturally related businesses. It is the town of Westminster; it had already taken a decision to urbanize.

I think there are a number of red herrings that have been placed before the public and the members of the Legislature on the issues of protection of farm land. I take exception to some of the comments that have been made that the city is incapable of dealing with those concerns. We recognize they are very real concerns, and in fact we're not dealing with the needs of the city of London; we are dealing with the needs of the area, the need for planning and the need for coordination of services.

In fact, I think Mr Troughton's presentation in particular, in support of the 1961 annexation, seems to speak of a process of waiting until the situation is completely out of hand and the costs of retrofitting services are completely exorbitant before one takes action. I commend the government for trying to take the issue in hand and bring about some restructuring before those problems occur, so that in fact proper standards can be put in place, proper planning can take place and proper services put in place for development and growth, which are necessary to the economic wellbeing of our region and this province.

I'd like to cite one figure as an example of how expensive planning can be. Our 1988 report, which has been referred to, pointed out the lack of capacity to deal with some of those problems. We've estimated $2.8 million to deal just with some of the planning issues in terms of servicing studies as part of our official plan and servicing reviews, so we're not talking peanuts here.

To conclude, I think the city of London has shown a degree of excellence in terms of the planning that has taken place since the last annexation. I think the densities of the areas that have developed after annexation of those 1961 lands into the city, I think, reflect densities that are appropriate, given an urban context. Now is not the time for more piecemeal planning and short-term solutions such as the 1988 deal was. We have the components in place. Bill 75 can make them a reality that will benefit the entire region.

Thank you for the opportunity to appear today.

There is an appendix dealing with conservation authority matters, which I won't go into at this point. It is attached to my report, and I would just urge the committee to take those considerations into account, by way of regulation or otherwise. There are certain unfairnesses that will occur as a result of the legislation if further amendments aren't brought to bear.

The Chair: Thank you. We'll start off with the official opposition.


Mr Eddy: Thank you, Controller Hopcroft, for appearing before the committee to give us the advantage of your insight, your experience and your knowledge. It's very helpful.

I know you would want to be fair and would admit, I hope, that the reason for the quick response of the OPP within the town of Westminster is simply because the OPP detachment is stationed very close to the town of Westminster, with Highways 401 and 402 right there. That does help substantially, I suspect.

I thank you for the conservation matters. I will look with interest and read those. I'd like to look at them.

The dictate of the government is to transfer 64,000 acres, the entire town of Westminster and some other municipalities adjoining the city of London. I believe 7% of that, some 4,000 -- why does the city want 57,000 acres of permanently zoned class 1 to 3 agricultural land? Why would they want that if it can't be developed? The city of London needs and wants, I think, land for development.

Mr Grandmaître: It can't be developed for now.

Mr Hopcroft: I think the key answer to your question, Mr Eddy, is that we need to do proper planning. Many of the annexations in the past have been piecemeal; they've had to be planned in a piecemeal way. Putting a larger tract of land within the city's planning boundaries does allow proper wide-ranging and broad-based servicing and planning studies to be done.

Mr Eddy: It's a matter of planning for services.

Mr Hopcroft: It's a matter of planning for services. It's a matter of planning for growth. It's a matter of allocating where development will take place. For the first time, with this amount of land coming with the city boundaries, I think the city is really, truly going to have to deal with agricultural and rural concerns in a permanent way rather than treating it as land that's just there to be gobbled up until the next annexation.

I see a benefit from that, because the city will have to recognize in a very permanent way, in a real way, that there are going to be lands within the city of London that, for our lifetimes and probably the lifetimes of our children, are going to remain in active agricultural production.

Mr Eddy: Please don't --

The Chair: I've got to cut you off; I'm sorry. Mr Murdoch.

Mr Murdoch: I'll continue on, then. I mean, you talk with a forked tongue; there's no doubt. You're saying in one way you're going to service all this area, yet you're not going to use agricultural land. Give us a break. Are you going to use the agricultural land for agriculture or are you going to service it for development? Which are you going to do?

Mr Hopcroft: Mr Murdoch, you've known me long enough to know that I don't speak with a forked tongue --

Mr Murdoch: You just did to Mr Eddy, and I am questioning that.

Mr Hopcroft: -- or whatever euphemism you want to put on it. I am suggesting to you that we recognize that there are lands that will come within the city under Bill 75 that will remain agricultural in perpetuity. They will be designated as such.

Mr Murdoch: Until they're serviced.

Mr Hopcroft: They will not be serviced. They will remain agricultural. But it does allow us to properly plan without having the constraints of a boundary that may be half a concession or one concession.

Right now we have services -- we have pipes that go right to the edge of the city; we have streets that end at the edge of the city -- in anticipation that the city will grow beyond those boundaries. I'm suggesting that that sort of piecemeal planning, based on ifs, ands and buts of whether that land will be annexed in the future, won't be part of the equation any longer.

Mr Murdoch: You've basically said the people who had the land before couldn't plan and you have to annex it to plan it. That's what you're saying.

Mr Hopcroft: I'm not suggesting that the people who were there couldn't plan. I'm suggesting that there were financial constraints in terms of their ability to properly service. The inability to properly service meant there was a wastage of land because of lack of urban services. You know as well as I that to properly provide for services and growth without sewers, without water, gobbles up land at an incredibly inefficient rate.

Mr Murdoch: One quick one before he goes: There's going to be a compensation package from London to Middlesex. Is London prepared to pay the full cost and the Ontario taxpayers won't have to pay any of that? Are you guaranteeing us that, as a controller?

Mr Hopcroft: I am suggesting to you, and I made it part of my presentation, that in fairness to London taxpayers, there should be compensation to London taxpayers for some aspects of the annexation.

Mr Murdoch: From whom?

Mr Hopcroft: From the province of Ontario.

Mr Murdoch: That means everybody's going to pay for London, then? Is that what you're saying?

Mr Hopcroft: Well --

Mr Murdoch: Okay, that's fine. I just want that on the record.

Mr Hopcroft: The province, in view of the commitment it has made to the residents of the county in terms of the tax impact they will suffer, particularly when you consider that there's been free policing in Westminster that shouldn't have been free for at least the last three or four years, that an element of fairness to London taxpayers should require some transitional assistance. We're not looking for permanent assistance; we are looking for transitional assistance to carry us through the difficult period of growth that we're going to be dealing with.

Mr Winninger: It's always a treat to go last, Mr Chair, because all the good questions have already been asked. I do have a couple, however. Certainly, as chair of the task force on restructuring and as a member of the board of control and a member of the boundary negotiation committee, even though you don't speak for the city of London, your views and opinions carry a considerable degree of weight.

I'm wondering, first of all, what safeguards the city envisages to prevent the widespread urban sprawl that Professor Troughton referred to. I'm wondering, secondly, whether you disagree with Warden Gare's position that coservicing agreements would have been appropriate in this instance.

Mr Hopcroft: To answer the last question first, I think the warden's suggestion and concept of coservicing simply is not workable in many ways, particularly given some of the new planning and environmental constraints we all know we're going to be facing as a result of the deliberations of the Sewell commission and many of the other reviews going on. That is not to suggest we, as a city, are not prepared to cooperate with the county. The landfill site, I think, is an obvious example where we can and will work out a local solution in terms of access to the landfill site, but to suggest that city taxpayers should be paying for extension of services or capacity that would be used to the benefit of taxpayers outside the city, to me, there's an element of a lack of fairness there.

On the first question you asked, which is with respect to the city's intentions with respect to protection of those agricultural concerns and our committee structures, if I recall the question correctly --

Mr Winninger: It addressed urban sprawl.

Mr Hopcroft: Urban sprawl? We will be dealing with that through our official plan review. The minister, in the act, has set forth almost extraordinary powers in terms of an ability to direct that if he feels we're getting off the rails. We feel that, given the servicing issues that are going to have to be dealt with, the planning issues that are going to have to be dealt with and the structures we're going to put in place in terms of our new environmental advisory committees, a technical advisory committee on natural areas, where we're looking at creating inventories of environmentally sensitive areas, that we are going to ensure that the horse doesn't get out of the barn too early, that in fact it doesn't get out at all, by properly identifying areas that need to be protected, by properly identifying prime farm land for protection and directing growth away from it to the extent possible.

Clearly we recognize, and I think municipalities across this province recognize, that growth at the type of low densities that has been apparent across the province in the past is not going to continue; it's simply too expensive. I suggest to you that the city recognizes that. We have infilling policies within our official planning now that provide for intensification in already developed areas. You're not going to see just reckless, galloping growth and sprawl over good agricultural lands. We recognize a responsibility there, and that's not going to happen.

We intend to have an advisory committee or some form of committee on agriculture. We haven't determined yet whether it will be an advisory committee or a standing committee of council, but we are committed to a process of consultation over at least the next month to ensure we get input and properly consult with the agricultural interests. I'd like to thank Irene Mathyssen for chairing a meeting about a week and a half ago between representatives of the federation, the city, the county and the town of Westminster in an effort to try to resolve some of those concerns. While I would be premature in suggesting there is consensus now, I'm confident that some form of consensus can be reached to ensure that there's meaningful input on those issues.

Mr Mills: Thank you very much, Mr Hopcroft. I heard your concerns about compensation. I can tell you that negotiations are continuing on compensation issues and a solution is being sought that will minimize the impact on the taxpayers. That's assured.

Mr Hopcroft: Thank you very much. I'm very pleased to hear that.

The Chair: Thank you for appearing before the committee.



The Chair: Would Mr Ed Holder of the London Chamber of Commerce come forward, please; the other gentleman is Mr Frank Berry, I take it. We have 20 minutes all together, until 6 o'clock, unless the bell rings. Sir, you might as well start because of the time factor.

Mr Edwin A. Holder: The London Chamber of Commerce appreciates the opportunity to make its views known to the committee. We're certainly pleased to do that tonight.

If I may tell you, the position of the London Chamber of Commerce is very clear. We support the passage of Bill 75 to take effect January 1, 1993.

The London Chamber of Commerce, along with other interested parties, has had several opportunities to participate in hearings convened to discuss the aspects and implications of annexation in the greater London area.

In July 1991, the London Chamber of Commerce provided to Mr John Brant, arbitrator, a position paper outlining the principles necessary in reaching a final boundary adjustment solution. Our position paper outlined a number of points of interest and concerns to the greater London business community regarding annexation. A copy of that report is included for your consideration in my package tonight.

On February 18, 1992, the London Chamber of Commerce made representations to Mr Brant to advise that the chief negotiator's report of January 1992 was generally consistent with the London chamber's statement of principles. The chief negotiator's report effectively ruled out two-tier regional government and confirmed that airport lands and the Highway 401-402 corridor should be within the urban municipality's jurisdiction.

We applauded the program of public consultation that had been launched. On September 24, 1992, the London Chamber of Commerce again made representation at public hearings in London hosted by Minister David Cooke. At that time, we made a number of points, and again for your purposes I have also included that position paper in your package tonight.

The thrust of our comments was the London Chamber of Commerce's support and commitment to legislation which created and maintained employment in the greater London area. We also spoke about the positive reaction from the business community in greater London and the ability, as a result of Bill 75, to contribute to economic revitalization and job creation.

At that time, we also expressed concern about the potential for stunted economic growth in our region due to moratoriums on all development at or immediately outside the city's boundaries until the new official plan was prepared to cover all of the land.

We were confident at that meeting of the minister's assurance that greater local autonomy would be considered on the issue of serviced development on our existing boundaries. With that assurance, it is incumbent on the business community to initiate and deliver well-planned, environmentally responsible and economically stimulating development for the greater London area.

To provide some history -- I'm sure you've heard much of this over these hearings -- the boundary adjustment process formally, although not initially, was started by the council of the city of London in January 1988. Through the Ministry of Municipal Affairs, local governments were given the opportunity to come with their own local solution to boundary adjustment and associated issues of servicing. A deadline of December 31, 1990, was extended to April 26, 1991. No local solution was found, however.

Ultimately, the report of the greater London area arbitrator, Co-opportunity, Success through Co-operative Independence, was released in April 1992. It was clear from the arbitrator's report that what was necessary was a long-term response for growth and economic development. It was determined that an expanded city of London was the most appropriate means of delivering the service and infrastructure requirements necessary for our area's long-term economic needs.

The analysis has been extensive. The public hearings process has been considerable. Most parties have come to terms with the decision as recommended by the arbitrator and put into legislative format by the minister. With all of the actions taken to date, it would be irresponsible to speak in terms of other thrusts and other ideas that would serve only to delay the important steps necessary for economic growth in our area.

We wish to make it clear that the solution developed for the greater London area is just that: for the greater London area. It would be inappropriate for this chamber of commerce to comment on what is right for other jurisdictions, but this is right for London, for our area, and it makes good economic sense.

As we press on with our January 1, 1993, time frame, it is important to acknowledge that there must be fairness in dealing with the important issues in the county of Middlesex, and we must also look to the greater good of citizens in greater London. To delay or further amend boundaries at this very late date would be a disservice to our citizens and to the business community.

It has long been our view that a leader's role is to lead. You have shown that leadership and you have the opportunity to maintain that leadership role and carry on with the successful resolution of Bill 75. The citizens of greater London and our business community deserve no less.

Mr Frank R. Berry: I might add to Mr Holder's comments, Mr Chair. I want to pick up on two or three items in the legislation which the chamber has taken a great interest in for many years -- probably, as Ed mentioned, prior to even the 1988 formal submission.

First of all, with respect to the public utilities commission, we have been on record for quite a long time as being in favour of the city taking over at least the parks and recreation component. To us, it made no sense to have a separate elected body in the city running a function which was clearly a municipal function.

With respect to some of the planning issues, Ed has already referred to a couple, but we've had some concerns with the wording of the proposed legislation, Bill 75, with respect to provincial authority and provincial control over the official plan process. We have been reassured -- I'm prepared to take Minister Cooke's word for it -- that the province will act in a very pragmatic manner with respect to approval for development in an appropriate and timely manner.

We're satisfied with the provisions of Bill 75, with the protection that's built in there for agricultural land over the long term. We think, again, it's a very fair and a very pragmatic approach to that.

With respect to the buffer issue, we are in favour. We know it's not specifically a part of the legislation. The minister may establish a buffer zone. We would urge the minister to give that very serious consideration.

One of the very major problems, if you look at cities and municipalities throughout the province, is the urban sprawl immediately beyond the cities' boundaries. Controller Hopcroft referred to some of that earlier. The buffer zone will give that protection; it will make things a little easier to handle.

Finally, in terms of the development charges reference in the legislation, we have in the past urged the city to keep development levies at an appropriate level. We recognize, however, that with the expansion, with the need to extend these services now into areas beyond the existing city boundary, development charges will have to be looked at again, and we're fully prepared to support a reasonable approach to financing the infrastructure development on development levies.

The Chair: Thank you. We'll start off with the third party. Mr Murdoch.

Mr Murdoch: In your presentation you mentioned that this was good for the people of London. Are you concerned about the people of Middlesex also and their concerns? I noticed you didn't mention that.

Mr Holder: I think it would be fair to say, from our perspective, not only are we absolutely concerned about their interests, I wonder by the implication of the question if you're suggesting that we are trying to do otherwise. I don't think that's a fair presumption.

Mr Murdoch: No, I just noticed you didn't mention it and I thought maybe you'd forgotten and I wondered if you were.

Mr Holder: No, we are not.

Mr Murdoch: You are not concerned with them?

Mr Holder: I beg your pardon.

Mr Murdoch: No, I think we got that mixed --

Mr Holder: No, I think that's quite rude. In fact, we are quite concerned about the citizens within the whole jurisdiction that's responsible for this legislation, sir.

Mr Murdoch: All right, and then they're going to annex 96,000 acres. A lot of that land is farm land. I notice you didn't really say too much about whether you're concerned that some of the best farm land in Ontario may be gobbled up. It's going to be serviced, and what's going to happen then? From what I've heard, I don't think London is going to go into the business of being a rural municipality. It is a city.

It was a good presentation. I just wondered if you had anything to say about the protection of farm land in there.


Mr Berry: If I may comment on that, sir, the farm land is not going to be gobbled up. The London area is going to grow regardless of where political boundaries are drawn on the map.

Mr Murdoch: That's true.

Mr Berry: Would you rather see that farm land consumed by rural subdivisions and septic tanks at a rate of three to five units per acre, as opposed to 15 to 30 units per acre? I suggest to you, the continuation of the status quo will gobble up prime farm land at a far faster rate.

Mr Murdoch: Obviously, you're saying then, this is a better way to get rid of farm land.

Mr Berry: We're not getting rid of farm land.

Mr Murdoch: You just said, which way do you want to do it? You said you want to do it this way.

Mr Berry: Excuse me, sir. I would much rather --

Mr Sutherland: Come on.

Mr Winninger: Ask a fair question.

Mr Murdoch: I asked a fair question. He answered it.

Mr Berry: If I may answer the question, farm land will be protected for a much longer time when development in the London region is on full urban services.

Mr Murdoch: It's still going to be gobbled up. It's going to the city of London. London is not a rural municipality. You said you didn't want to see it done by rural development; you want it done by urban development. The same way, we're going to lose farm land, and that's what the concern of a lot of people is, because it's some of the best farm land.

Mr Berry: At a much slower rate, sir.

Mr Murdoch: Yes, okay. It's a slower rate. It's still going to be gone, and once farm land is gone, it's gone. A slower rate is better and I guess that's what you have.

I notice you say that you're impressed with the way the government is forging ahead with Bill 75, and you give a lot of credit to the government for doing this. I notice at some other times there are other bills that you're not so concerned with, that sometimes you come to us and say, "Well, they don't want them to do this." I just wondered how all of a sudden the chamber of commerce got so much confidence in the government that it can do something so wonderful.

Mr Mills: Well, naturally, of course. Don't be so negative.

Mr Holder: Actually, sir, if you assisted in passing the bylaw we have regarding your decision as well -- and I'm not trying to be trite by the response -- I suggest to you it's like dealing with any government group; there are some things that we are in agreement with what governments do and some things that governments don't do. It is not our role to be the cheerleader for the government of the day, whether it be at the local, provincial or federal level, and when it does things right we think that it should be acknowledged, and when it does things wrong, as members around this table will note, we're not shy to tell it either.

Mr Murdoch: Okay, that's fine.

The Chair: I know you're not used to severing farm land but only the Niagara Escarpment Commission lands.

Mr Sutherland: I was just going to make some comments, and we all know Mr Murdoch is an expert on effective and efficient planning in rural areas, and I know he was glad to share his advice here. I just wanted to make an additional comment that I hope both members of the opposition will take back to their party leaders: the realization here that we've had a presentation that indicates that this government is being pro-business, and these constant attacks on the government being anti-business may not always be appropriate.

Can I just ask the chamber one other thing: Sorry, your official title, is it the London Chamber or is it the London and District? Do you have members who are actually outside the current boundaries of the city, who are out in the county?

Mr Holder: Absolutely. The formal title is the London Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Sutherland: Okay. London and District?

Mr Holder: No, sir.

Mr Sutherland: Just London.

Mr Holder: London Chamber of Commerce.

Mr Sutherland: Okay, all right.

Mr Will Ferguson (Kitchener): I just have one very quick question. As you know, people from the county have expressed a lot of concern about urban development of prime agricultural land. It's been suggested on a number of occasions, of course, that this can be protected through the official plan. Of course, as you well know, in the official plan that exists in the city of London under the Planning Act currently, it's up to the local municipality to interpret the official plan. I can understand the concerns there, because I know in some municipalities the official plan has been interpreted in very strange ways.

What kind of guarantee do you think we ought to be giving the county population to ensure that the official plan will only be interpreted in a very strict and fair manner? Would you agree that we ought to be enshrining in this piece of legislation some sort of guarantee that it is a pretty strict interpretation? I have seen lines being drawn and pulled over, lines and boundaries defined where nobody sees them on a map etc. I'm sure you're aware of that as well.

Mr Berry: I think, if I can answer that, the official plan, obviously, of a municipality is only as good as the strength of the resolution of that duly elected municipal government to enforce it or to ensure it's implemented.

In the provisions of Bill 75, specifically with respect to the role of the ministry, which is somewhat unique -- it's a new departure, certainly in my experience, in planning and engineering in the province -- at least in the initial stages will go a long way to ensuring that the official plan doesn't become just papered on the wall and then totally ignored afterwards. As I said early in my part of the presentation, we have a great deal of confidence in the statements of the minister with respect to carrying out the objectives of the annexation process.

Mr Holder: If I might add to that as well, we feel it's important that current members from the county participate in the official plan. May I also say that our belief is that having a single jurisdiction to control development and all that goes into the implications of an official plan would be preferable to what we consider as piecemeal development, with the various municipalities competing for assessments and other aspects of their tax base. Certainly, from the standpoint of the official plan, we think they should have a more comprehensive program under one single jurisdiction.

Mr Eddy: I have to follow up. You'll always find municipalities competing for industry and commerce right across this province, with the help of the government to hurry it along in some places more than others.

My only question is about the London PUC. I wondered if the members realize or feel, I guess, that it's better for the government to impose the dissolution of the London PUC, a body elected at large, or maybe by wards, by the citizens of the city of London and indeed established by the citizens of the city of London. Many PUCs were established by plebiscite at the municipality.

It's had several studies, but it seemed to me the city of London council voted just three or four years ago and the vote was to keep the PUC. It is rather a strange organization. I was amazed, when I arrived to work in the city of London, that there was a PUC that had so many responsibilities. I said, "That's the way city council or the city people must want it." I don't know; it's a locally elected body and it must be under the statutes, the Power Corporation Act and maybe by plebiscite.

My position on the whole thing is that it's an internal city of London problem and I think maybe it should deal with it, but maybe you don't agree with that. Do you want to comment on that one?

Mr Berry: Yes. In some respects I think your point, Mr Eddy, is well taken; it's a body. However, to say it was the way it was chosen or the way the people of the city of London wanted it, I think, is perhaps a moot point.

The PUC started in 1911 as the hydro-electric provider and from there grew just like Topsy. It kept adding little pieces, for whatever reason. London's always had a reputation here at Queen's Park of doing things differently. I don't know why, but we have. We always do things differently. The PUC grew into a rather unique form, different from any other municipality in the country.

I think inevitably the PUC's functions, other than those provided for by statute, such as the power supply, would have been taken over by the city, regardless of whatever else happened. You referred to a council decision a few years ago. You're probably as well aware as I am that that's come up before council several times, every so often, because there is always the concern: "Why are we doing it this way? Is this the most efficient way to deliver services?" Like everything else that's been entrenched in tradition, history and everything, it's difficult. It's like the Gordian knot: You can fiddle around with it and try to untie it until somebody comes along with a sword and, there, the problem's solved.

Mr Holder: We'd like to stress as well, it's our view that the services currently provided by this PUC will certainly not mean, by virtue of the change, any less service to the citizens of London and, may I also say, to those residents who are in Middlesex county who would be brought under the city's jurisdiction.

We also have to believe that there are going to be efficiencies. From a business perspective, where we and governments and other organizations are trying to be so mindful of dollars spent, you can't help but believe that a variety of services that are currently provided can certainly be financially benefited by virtue of the amalgamation.

I can tell you that the intention certainly is that no one will lose his or her job as a result of this; that's clear. Through attrition and good planning, I think it's very clear, even when you look to the extent of the new city engineer for the city of London. Based on the recent retirement of Darcy Dutton, our city engineer, that's been taken over by the PUC's chief engineer. We think that's good planning. So to the point that there will be efficiencies associated with this, that's good for business and certainly good for government as well.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr Holder and Mr Berry, for appearing before this committee.

Mr Eddy: I want to add my thanks for the presentation and the information.

Mr Ferguson: I would like to add my thanks as well. I just wanted to mention that I don't think any party is pure in this hearing or this process, before anybody starts throwing stones, let alone boulders. The Conservative Party has members who don't support this bill, we have members who don't support this bill and the Liberal Party was suggesting, when we were in the fight to preserve agricultural land in Ottawa, that we ought not to be in that battle.

The Chair: I'd also like to say to the committee members that there's a letter here from Mr Stewart McColl. Everyone should have a copy. There were some press releases from the London region that were sent to my office and a press release also from the London-Middlesex coalition. There's a package there. There are responses to the questions from Irene Mathyssen this morning. If you take a look in your package, they're all there.

This committee will be adjourned until 10 o'clock Thursday, whatever date. We'll proceed with the subcommittee meeting right now.

The committee adjourned at 1803.