Monday 23 August 1993

County of Simcoe Act, 1993, Bill 51

Stan Wismer

City of Barrie

Janice Laking, mayor

Township of Springwater

Helen Coutts, reeve, township of Vespra

Don Bell, reeve, township of Flos

John Brown, reeve, village of Elmvale

Robert Carson

Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations

Jack B. Ellis, president

Marjorie Gordon

C.R. Groves

Kingswood Acres Beach Association

Alan Taylor, president


*Chair / Président: Beer, Charles (York North/-Nord L)

*Vice-Chair / Vice-Président: Eddy, Ron (Brant-Haldimand L)

Carter, Jenny (Peterborough ND)

Cunningham, Dianne (London North/-Nord PC)

Hope, Randy R. (Chatham-Kent ND)

Martin, Tony (Sault Ste Marie ND)

McGuinty, Dalton (Ottawa South/-Sud L)

*O'Connor, Larry (Durham-York ND)

O'Neill, Yvonne (Ottawa-Rideau L)

*Owens, Stephen (Scarborough Centre ND)

*Rizzo, Tony (Oakwood ND)

*Wilson, Jim (Simcoe West/-Ouest PC)

*In attendance / présents

Substitutions present / Membres remplaçants présents:

Conway, Sean G. (Renfrew North/-Nord L) for Mrs O'Neill

Hayes, Pat (Essex-Kent ND) for Ms Carter

McLean, Allan K. (Simcoe East/-Est PC) for Mrs Cunningham

Waters, Daniel (Muskoka-Georgian Bay/Muskoka-Baie-Georgienne ND) for Mr Hope

Wessenger, Paul (Simcoe Centre ND) for Mr Martin

Also taking part / Autres participants et participantes:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs:

Griggs, Jeremy, fact-finding officer, municipal boundaries branch

Hayes, Pat, parliamentary assistant to the minister

Perron, Linda, solicitor

Clerk / Greffier: Arnott, Doug

The committee met at 1300 in the County of Simcoe Administration Centre Council Chamber, Midhurst.


Consideration of Bill 51, An Act respecting the Restructuring of the County of Simcoe / Loi concernant la restructuration du comté de Simcoe.

The Chair (Mr Charles Beer): Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the beginning of our hearings regarding Bill 51, An Act respecting the restructuring of the County of Simcoe.

Before I ask the parliamentary assistant to begin our proceedings this afternoon, I will need the report of the subcommittee on committee business to be accepted. I think all of you have a copy before you.

Mr Ron Eddy (Brant-Haldimand): I move the report be adopted and approved.

The Chair: All approved? Objection? Carried.

I understand there is coffee in Drury Room A, which is downstairs. Coffee is not permitted in the council chamber, but those of you who need a caffeine fix, feel free to go down and have one as the afternoon goes on.

I think, then, we have a full schedule this afternoon. I would ask the parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, Pat Hayes, if he would start our deliberations.

Mr Pat Hayes (Essex-Kent): Thank you, Mr Chair. I am pleased to be here at your request to participate in the hearings on the County of Simcoe Act -- not the Chair's request, the county's request.

The county has been pressing for speedy passage of the legislation, which would put its restructuring recommendations into effect. Simcoe county council directed the study and endorsed the recommendations. The county has also negotiated solutions to a number of outstanding issues. Recently, the county endorsed the boundary adjustment between Tiny township and the town of Midland.

This legislation provides for considerable consolidation and streamlining of local government in Simcoe county. More importantly, it gives the county a policy-setting and strategic role in protecting agriculture and environmentally sensitive areas.

The county will also have a coordinating role in economic development. With the province's financial assistance, they are well on the way to adopting a strategic plan. The county and the province are working together to make sure the residents of Simcoe county will have a say in their county's future.

The local municipalities were consulted on the draft bill and their comments were incorporated. As a result, there are only a few housekeeping amendments to the second reading bill which are being proposed at the request of the local municipalities concerned. These have also been endorsed by the county. The boundary adjustment between Tiny township and the town of Midland is one of the amendments.

Simcoe county has proven to be a model of self-determination. We commend county council for its commitment.

We are here today to listen to you and your recommendations. Also, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the local members who were quite responsible for getting the second reading of this bill into the Legislature: Al McLean, Jim Wilson, Paul Wessenger and Dan Waters. They've done a lot of hard work. It just shows that committee can work and also it's good to see both sides of the floor working together for something like this.

At this time, if I may, Mr Chair, I'll turn it over for the rest of the presentation on behalf of the government to Jeremy Griggs, who is a fact-finding officer for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

Mr Jeremy Griggs: Ladies and gentlemen, members of the standing committee on social development, my name is Jeremy Griggs. I am a fact-finding officer with the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. I'm here today to talk to you about Bill 51 and the municipal restructuring of Simcoe county that it implements. I will begin my presentation with a brief description of the county, including recent growth trends. I will also describe the process followed in the Simcoe restructuring, summarize the recommendations submitted by county council and outline the impacts of the restructuring.

Simcoe county consists of 28 member municipalities and geographically encloses the cities of Barrie and Orillia. Both cities do not contribute to the county levy and are separated from the county for administrative purposes. Although they are separated, the cities share a number of services with the county and its constituent municipalities, including social services, the suburban roads commissions, the Huronia Tourist Board and the Simcoe County District Health Unit.

The current county structure of local government in Simcoe was created under the Baldwin act in 1849. This structure remained virtually unchanged for over 140 years, until the southern portion of the county was restructured in 1991.

Simcoe is located directly north of the greater Toronto area and is significantly impacted by development patterns in the GTA. In recent years, Simcoe county, including Barrie and Orillia, has experienced greater population growth than any other county in Ontario. From 1971 to 1986, Simcoe's population grew by 2.61% per annum. During the same period, the populations of Canada and Ontario increased by only 1.15% and 1.21% per annum respectively.

Much of the recent growth in Simcoe has been focused in the larger urban areas. From 1988 to 1991, Barrie's population increased by 7.4% per annum, while Simcoe county as a whole, excluding Barrie and Orillia, grew by only 4.43% per annum. Among the county municipalities, Innisfil, located directly south of Barrie, experienced the most rapid growth from 1988 to 1991, at 10.87% per annum.

Because of its proximity to the GTA, Simcoe is projected to be the second-fastest-growing county in Ontario over the next 20 years. A provincial report entitled Perspectives projects growth of 1.44% per annum from 1986 to 2011 in Simcoe and the rest of the GTA periphery. The report concludes that "much of this growth will be concentrated in the commuter shed extending in a band between 60 and 100 kilometres from downtown Toronto, and includes Guelph and Barrie."

I'm now going to review the Simcoe county study process followed in generating the restructuring recommendations.

In 1988, prior to the initiation of the province's county study and restructuring program, Simcoe county and eight municipalities in southeast Simcoe were asked to participate on a steering committee to assist the Ministry of Municipal Affairs in determining the form of government best suited to meet the servicing needs and manage the rapid growth in this area. The south Simcoe study was initiated in response to a proliferation of municipal boundary adjustment applications in the area.

To address the issues in south Simcoe, the study committee recommended reducing the number of local municipalities in the area from eight to three through a number of amalgamations. These amalgamations were implemented through the County of Simcoe Act, 1990, on January 1, 1991. The restructuring in south Simcoe was a major factor in Simcoe county council's decision to undertake a county study.

In the late 1980s, two provincial studies, the Haggerty and Tatham reports, made recommendations for reforms to Ontario's system of county government. These studies identified a number of concerns, including inequities in representation, the proliferation of intermunicipal boundary disputes and joint servicing agreements and the inability of many small municipalities to effectively manage growth and meet their residents' demands for increasingly complex and expensive municipal services.

These reports led to the release of Toward an Ideal County, a provincial policy paper supported by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario. Toward an Ideal County outlined guiding principles for county government reform, including a clear division of responsibilities between the county and its constituent municipalities; equitable representation; effective local decision-making ability; the maintenance and encouragement of cooperation between counties and separated municipalities; enhanced local accountability and accessibility; municipal viability and self-reliance; and the enclosure of service areas and communities of interest within individual municipalities.

The county reform program established in Toward an Ideal County enabled counties to apply for individual studies to be conducted by committees of county council. Research, report-writing and analysis support would be provided by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs.

In June 1989, Simcoe county council initiated a study to consider reorganization of the county structure. In late 1989, Simcoe county council elected a study committee from among its members. The separated cities of Barrie and Orillia agreed to participate and provincial staff were assigned by the Minister of Municipal Affairs to assist in the study.

The purpose of the study was to carry out a comprehensive review of municipal structure, representation, functions and services in the county of Simcoe. The study was also to review the relationship between the county and the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. The ultimate goal was to ensure that the county had strong municipalities, capable of managing the growing number of issues facing local government, both now and in the future.

The issues to be addressed during the study included increased pressures for development with resulting environmental, financial and social implications; the need for county-wide policies to address issues transcending local municipal boundaries; the need to provide efficient, economical and effective service delivery by eliminating inequities and duplication of services; and the need to remedy inequitable representation.

As mentioned earlier, the recent restructuring exercise in south Simcoe was a contributing factor in county council's decision to undertake a county study. Many of the issues identified in the south Simcoe study, such as concerns regarding fringe development beyond the boundaries of urban municipalities, were identified in other areas of the county. Given the recent nature of the south Simcoe reorganization, the county study committee did not review the municipal boundaries in this area.

When the Simcoe county study began, the study committee had full participation of representatives from the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. However, in late 1990, it became apparent that there were significant differences in the philosophy and approaches taken by the city and county members. The city representatives favoured more extensive restructuring than was acceptable to the county members. In addition, the county representatives were concerned that the cities were presenting county restructuring proposals without making a commitment to rejoining the county. As a result, county council excused the city representatives from further participation in the study.


Throughout the county study, efforts were made by the committee to ensure an open, consultative process. All four rounds of municipal consultation meetings were open to the public and there were numerous opportunities for the submission of written comments. Public consultation meetings were held in April and October 1990 and June 1991. The study committee also released two public discussion documents in addition to its final report.

On July 23, 1991, county council completed its review of the study committee's final report and formulated a response to the Minister of Municipal Affairs. Most of the committee's 126 recommendations were approved by county council, with the exception of several proposals, including county planning and the reintegration of the separated cities. County council voted 42 to 26 in favour of adopting the final report as amended.

The Minister of Municipal Affairs accepted county council's recommendations in principle in January 1992. The minister also stated that while the county's recommendations address most of the principles established for strengthening local government, several outstanding issues remained to be resolved.

The minister suggested that the county and the separated cities work together to reach an acceptable compromise to address their mutual concerns and interests. The minister also suggested that the county reconsider establishing a county planning department to develop policies to address county-wide issues. Finally, the minister suggested that the county finalize the details of the implementation plan for the proposed restructuring, including mechanisms to address concerns expressed in public and municipal submissions.

The minister established the joint consultation committee to address these outstanding issues. Because the joint consultation committee did not include representatives from Barrie and Orillia, the minister established a separate committee to address the unresolved issues specific to the separated cities.

The joint consultation committee presented its recommendations to Simcoe county council in March 1992. County council endorsed all of the committee's recommendations, including the development of the first county official plan and the establishment of joint planning between the cities and their neighbouring municipalities.

In April 1992, the cities' consultation committee requested that the minister extend the discussions regarding the outstanding cities' concerns. The minister responded, stating that the cities' concerns regarding extensive fringe development and the lack of coordinated planning in the fringe areas will be addressed through county council's recommendations regarding county planning and joint planning between the cities and their neighbours.

The minister also indicated that the remaining cities' issues, namely, reintegration with the county and boundary adjustments to provide additional land for long-term future growth, should be resolved following the implementation of county council's restructuring recommendations.

Of the 126 recommendations contained in the study committee's final report, 95 were approved unchanged, 11 were amended and 20 were rejected outright by county council. County council approved all of the recommendations of the joint consultation committee.

County council's recommendations address a range of servicing, representation and boundary issues.

Most notably, county council recommended a series of amalgamations that will reduce the number of local municipalities in Simcoe from 28 to 16. It should be noted that the proposed amalgamations also include a number of annexations to provide additional land for urban growth and to enclose existing communities and environmentally sensitive areas within individual municipalities.

Simcoe county council did not recommend significant changes to functions and services on the premise that the enlarged municipalities, with access to greater financial resources, will provide for service delivery improvements. However, county council did recommend that the county assume a policy-setting role in strategic, land use and emergency planning.

County council made a number of recommendations regarding the relationship between the county and the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia. As part of the restructuring, county council recommended that the county official plan include policies regarding fringe development around the cities. The county also recommended that the cities establish joint planning mechanisms with their neighbouring municipalities.

The existing municipal boundaries in Simcoe county do not reflect existing communities and developed areas. In a number of cases, small hamlets are divided among as many as four different municipalities. This makes it very difficult to coordinate planning and services in these areas. In addition, residents may become confused as to which services are provided by a specific municipality. The new municipalities proposed by county council enclose existing communities. As such, the restructuring will provide for improved local accountability and consistent municipal servicing.

Under the county's recommendations, each of the new municipalities in Simcoe will include an existing urban area. This will allow the municipalities to effectively plan for future growth, focusing development within or adjacent to existing builtup areas. This will maximize the use and efficiency of existing infrastructure and allow for compact development on urban services such as sewage treatment and piped water. The result will be better protection for the county's agricultural lands, environmentally sensitive areas and natural resources.

The enlargement of Simcoe's urban municipalities will provide the additional land required to effectively manage future growth. These expansions will also enclose existing fringe development, reducing the need for future municipal boundary adjustments and eliminating a number of existing joint servicing arrangements.

Generally, the county's servicing recommendations reflect a clear division of responsibilities and will facilitate the strategic management of long-term growth and area-wide issues. Where services are to be provided by the county and the local municipalities, it is proposed that the county play a coordinating policy-setting role with the local municipalities actually delivering the services.

A number of municipalities in Simcoe that provide municipal sewer and water services lack the excess capacity required to accommodate future urban growth. In addition, many of these municipalities do not have the financial resources needed to build new systems or expand existing sewer and water facilities. With the implementation of the county's proposed amalgamations, the new expanded municipalities will have access to enlarged assessment bases providing the resources required to expand and upgrade existing municipal infrastructure. Access to a larger tax base will also improve the municipalities' ability to manage future growth and accommodate any resulting demands for new services.

The county's recommendations will also improve representation by population at county council. Under restructuring, Simcoe county council will be reduced from its current membership of 37 to 32. To provide for representation by population, county council recommended that the existing multiple voting system of one vote per 2,000 electors at county council continue, but that the five-vote-per-municipality maximum be removed. This system will provide for much fairer representation at county council.

Because the restructuring provides each of the new municipalities with an established urban area to accommodate future growth, many of the proposed amalgamations involve the combination of rural and urban municipalities. Because urban municipalities often offer a broader range of services than rural municipalities, amalgamations involving urban and rural areas tend to result in rural tax increases and urban tax decreases. In many instances, this is because the rural ratepayers have been benefiting from recreational and other soft services offered by neighbouring urban municipalities at no cost. In these cases, the urban ratepayers have, in effect, been paying for the use of these services by rural ratepayers. Under the new municipal structure, the costs of providing these services will be shared equally by all of the ratepayers of the new municipality.

In addition, county council passed several recommendations to help minimize local tax increases resulting from the restructuring. The county recommended that the new municipalities adopt user rates to be charged to residents of defined urban service areas. The establishment of urban service areas provides for a user-pay system, ensuring that residents do not pay for services that they do not receive. County council also recommended that local property tax increases of 20% or more be phased in over a five-year period and that municipalities losing 10% or more of their commercial and business assessment be compensated for the resulting loss in revenue.

The province has committed to providing transitional funding to the county and its member municipalities to assist in the implementation of the proposed restructuring. The new municipalities in Simcoe will receive approximately $2.6 million in transitional assistance. In addition to the transitional funding for the new municipalities, the province will be providing $650,000 in transitional assistance to the county. The county has already received an interim payment of $170,480 to assist in the development of county official and strategic plans and to pay for a transitional coordinator to assist the Simcoe municipalities during the implementation of the new structure.

While there will be transitional costs for the Simcoe restructuring, the new municipal structure will save money in the long run. Substantial savings will be realized through various aspects of the restructuring. The amalgamations will result in the consolidation of departments, allowing for increased specialization. This should result in improved service delivery, greater efficiency and lower municipal expenditures for consultants.

In addition, the restructuring will result in 44 fewer local politicians in Simcoe, saving the municipalities approximately $150,000 annually. Staff-related savings will be realized through natural attrition and retirements. The reduction in local building and equipment costs resulting from restructuring is estimated at $200,000 annually.

In total, the restructuring should eventually save Simcoe's municipalities over $1.3 million annually. These savings will likely be realized in three to four years once the one-time transition costs have occurred.


The reduction in the number of municipalities in Simcoe should also lead to savings for the province. The restructuring will mean that the province will be processing fewer municipal boundary adjustments, official plan reviews, financial information returns and municipal audits. It is estimated that the restructuring will eventually save the province more than $850,000 annually.

Bill 51 implements Simcoe county council's restructuring recommendations. The bill is divided into eight parts.

Part I establishes the new municipalities in Simcoe, including the composition of the new local councils.

Part II establishes the new Simcoe county council, including the new multiple voting system for the county.

Part III establishes the new hydroelectric commissions in Simcoe. Part III also outlines a process for step-by-step expansion of local hydro service areas. This process is similar to the one currently in place in the southern part of the county.

Part IV establishes the new local library boards in Simcoe.

Part V provides for the standard treatment of financial concerns resulting from the proposed amalgamations.

Part VI addresses a number of miscellaneous concerns, including the appointment of committees of referees to address the transfer of assets and liabilities and the implementation of the county's recommendations regarding suburban roads.

Part VII addresses transitional concerns such as the composition of the municipal and county councils during the period between the implementation date and the next municipal election in the fall of 1994. Part VII also provides for the standard treatment of existing municipal bylaws, in-process applications and unpaid taxes. Part VII also addresses transitional concerns relating to public utility commissions and library boards.

Part VIII describes consequential amendments resulting from the implementation of the restructuring. Part VIII also establishes the short title of the act, the County of Simcoe Act, 1993.

As part of the restructuring, county council requested that the province release the draft legislation implementing its recommendations to allow its member municipalities an opportunity to review the legislation and provide comments. As such, a draft bill implementing the county's proposed restructuring was circulated to the municipalities in Simcoe last fall. Where the suggestions provided did not conflict with the county's recommendations, the legislation was changed to reflect the comments received.

In addition, since Bill 51 was introduced, a number of municipalities have requested minor changes. The government will be bringing forward amendments to accommodate these requests during the clause-by-clause review of the bill.

In closing, Bill 51 implements locally generated restructuring recommendations. The county of Simcoe provided numerous opportunities for the public to comment on the proposed restructuring. The implementation of the county's recommendations will improve local representation and accountability and provide for effective growth management and greater efficiency in the delivery of municipal services.

In addition, the new municipal structure will provide for better protection for the county's agricultural lands, environmentally sensitive areas and other natural resources.

The restructuring will also streamline local government in Simcoe, resulting in savings for both the province and the affected municipalities.

Thank you for your time. That's it for my presentation.

The Chair: Thank you both for the presentation. We'll now turn -- yes, sorry, Mr Wilson.

Mr Jim Wilson (Simcoe West): A quick point, Mr Chairman. I was wondering if either the parliamentary assistant or Mr Griggs from Municipal Affairs could tell us whether the schedules to Bill 51 are available at this time. Secondly, the parliamentary assistant referred to some housekeeping amendments. Are those available at this time?

The Chair: Mr Hayes?

Mr Hayes: We'll have to talk to someone else in the ministry regarding the schedules.

Mr Jim Wilson: They're rather essential to the bill.

The Chair: Just while we're waiting, we'll move next then to Mr Eddy and then to Mr McLean and subsequently to any other questions, of which I know there is at least one. Would it be appropriate if we were perhaps to begin and come back to that question after Mr Eddy -- oh wait, here we have --

Mr Griggs: Regarding the distribution of the schedules, they're not finalized yet. We do have draft copies that we're still working on. However, the boundaries are shown on the maps that are around the floor of the chamber, and all of the municipalities have access to the maps. They were actually provided by the county of Simcoe. If there are any questions regarding the actual location of the lines, that's clear. It's just that we're putting those lines into legal metes-and-bounds descriptions for the legal description of the new municipalities. So we're anticipating that those schedules will be available within the coming weeks, and we will certainly distribute them to the municipalities when they're finalized.

The Chair: And the amendments?

Mr Griggs: Oh, sorry. We were just wondering, Mr Chair, when you were considering a date for the exchange of proposed amendments.

The Chair: Well, clause-by-clause is on Thursday so I think --

Mr Jim Wilson: Any minute would be good.

The Chair: Was there another question, Mr Wilson?

Mr Jim Wilson: With respect to the schedules, it's all fine to have maps located throughout the room, but the fact of the matter is, those maps aren't photocopied and become part of the legislation, so perhaps the ministry could undertake to provide us with the draft schedules at this point then.

Mr Hayes: Some of the amendments, or the housekeeping ones, as an example, with some of the municipalities wanting the ward system and then there are a couple that wanted to elect members at large, are part of those things, and some of the boundaries.

Mr Jim Wilson: When will we see those then, because that's essential. For example, one of my municipalities, Wasaga Beach, its whole presentation is going to be about being exempt from the ward system. If there's an amendment coming, perhaps we could not waste their time.

Mr Griggs: We do have an amendment prepared for that issue with Wasaga Beach, which I believe is the question as to whether they have to establish a ward system or continue election at large.

Mr Jim Wilson: Yes.

Mr Griggs: Yes, in that case it was a resolution of county council and we have prepared an amendment to address that concern.

Mr Hayes: I believe it's in here. Isn't it in this?

Mr Griggs: No, it isn't. It isn't included in the book. However, regarding the map of the new boundaries, there is a map in the briefing book for the committee, at the back of the book, showing the existing municipal boundaries and the proposed boundaries endorsed by county council.

The Chair: Just on the amendments, though, I think the question was, if they're ready, can they be circulated to members of the committee?

Mr Griggs: No, we're not ready to circulate them yet.

Mr Hayes: They're not ready yet.

Mr Griggs: No, we're not ready to circulate them yet.

Mr Allan K. McLean (Simcoe East): Why were you in such a hurry to have these hearings held when you didn't have your material prepared? There's lots of time throughout the rest of the summer to have had the hearings. Why were they rushed when you didn't have any material to present us? There are municipalities that want to talk about negotiating boundary changes, and if you have something in place that you're going to change, then we should know about it and everyone should know about it. If you're not going to come forth with those changes, what avenue are they going to have when they're here making a presentation during these hearings?

Mr Hayes: If I may, Mr Chair, I think the members pretty well know what the procedures are, members who have been in government for some time. We have these public hearings to listen to the municipalities, listen to individuals, and then the procedure is, and it was all agreed upon, that we would go back and go clause-by-clause and also make the amendments and also look at amendments that the members from the other parties might want to present to the committee. We'll deal with those at that time.

But as far as why we are rushing to do this, I think we rush to do this because members, including yourself, Mr McLean and other members, wanted to have these hearings as soon as possible so we could get this piece of legislation through so it certainly wouldn't interfere with the next municipal elections, for that matter.

Mr McLean: It was going to be done whether we had the hearings or not.

The Chair: With that then I'd ask for any comments from the official opposition.

Mr Eddy: I hesitate to be overly critical of the bill, realizing that this matter has been discussed for many months and several years by Simcoe county council and the councils of the local municipalities and has come to a consensus, and I understand that there is great hope that this will solve many problems.

However, I do have some cautions and I'd like to point out that if succeeding governments of the province of Ontario had not kept county governments as archaic, outdated, inefficient governments to some extent and had provided them with the tools to do the job, we wouldn't be facing the restructuring to the extent that we are now in Simcoe county.

I think legislation should be changed and permissive legislation to get municipalities to cooperate to a much greater deal and indeed to work out their problems themselves. For instance, any county can have an equal voting system. It's very easily done, a decimal voting system based on population, if indeed that county council feels the need for it.

Many things could have been done, many things should be done, and it's my sincere hope that many things will be done in the future to equip locally elected governments to do the job.


I am very pleased to see that the members of local councils will form the members of the county council, because I think it's absolutely necessary to have very close liaison between the two levels of local government, absolutely essential. It's the local councillors who authorize the tax bill and know what costs are all about and what it's doing to the citizens who pay the taxes.

I think one of the most important things in restructuring municipalities is to remember community of interest, because there have been many area municipalities formed in regional governments across this province where that was not considered, and as a result you have feelings of adversity and conflict within the population, and the councils themselves, because that wasn't considered. I'm pleased to see that this isn't, in my opinion, as extensive as the restructuring has been in many other areas.

I'm very anxious to hear those who have requested to come forward and make their presentations and I think it's important to have public hearings and give anybody who wishes the opportunity to speak.

I note that the point of joint services was mentioned in the presentation by Mr Griggs previously. There's nothing wrong with joint services as an agreement between adjoining municipalities. It's ongoing. There are many cases of joint services and will be in the future. Even in a restructuring system, you will have that. Indeed, you will continue to have people in one municipality use the soft services of the adjoining municipality simply because it's closer.

I notice that we're dissolving the suburban roads commissions. It's a joint service and we want to get rid of it, but on the other hand you're establishing joint planning boards, and joint planning boards were dissolved in this province a few years ago. They were prevalent; every separated municipality, almost, had a joint planning board with surrounding municipalities. They were dissolved because they weren't working. We must remember that under the Planning Act any adjoining municipality has the right for input into the planning process and the planning policies of any local municipalities.

I noted another item -- it caught my eye right off -- about the considerable, shall I say, savings for local municipalities, local taxpayers, and savings for the province. It didn't give the proportions of the savings. I would submit that with the view of having larger municipalities and requiring more services, although there may be savings in some areas, I don't think we should mislead the population by thinking that there are going to be savings in tax dollars, because certainly there will be other services that will be required and that will, I would think, be under way almost as soon as the new municipalities are established.

It also mentioned urban service areas. Any local municipality can have an urban service area with a user-pay system. I come from what you might call a tiny township -- I'd better change the wording -- a small township under 4,000. It has an urban service area for water, sewer and hydro, and it works just fine. The people within that area who get the services pay for those services. There are many things here that we're talking about that, although they appear to be new, are possible under the present system.

I believe that's all I have to say. I'm very anxious to hear what the presenters have to say to consider their views.

Mr McLean: The first presenter's for 2:30, is that correct?

The Chair: That's correct.

Mr McLean: I will not use all that time between now and 2:30. I have a couple of questions for the fact-finder. When were you hired?

Mr Griggs: In April 1989.

Mr McLean: In 1989? Have you been fact-finding in other counties other than this one?

Mr Griggs: Generally, my involvement has been under the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act, which involves negotiations between municipalities for individual boundary adjustments.

Mr McLean: Are you on full-time on ministry staff or are you hired as a consultant?

Mr Griggs: No, I'm full-time.

Mr McLean: Are you fairly familiar with what's going on here in Simcoe county?

Mr Griggs: Yes, I believe so.

Mr McLean: Obviously your report indicates that you are, but I was just a little curious. I didn't read anything in your report that reflected any of the plebiscites that have been held, the votes that have been held with regard to the negatives towards county restructuring, like 80% to 90% of municipalities voting against it. How come you didn't address that in your report?

Mr Griggs: I guess the reason is that this bill is implementing county council's recommendations. County council is made up of elected representatives from the local municipalities. County council endorsed all of the recommendations that we're implementing through this bill. That's the process that was established and that's the process that we're following. In terms of the local plebiscites, it's very easy to word a plebiscite to incite a certain response to it. While I don't think they should be taken lightly, our focus in this exercise was county council's recommendations.

Mr McLean: In your remarks you indicated that there will be a savings. Can you tell me what savings to date there has been in south Simcoe?

Mr Griggs: No, I'm sorry; I'm not familiar with that case. Again, in my presentation I tried to make it clear that the savings will not be immediate, that they will be in three to four years. We have to realize that the south Simcoe restructuring was implemented on January 1, 1991. We're still in that grace period where the new municipalities are getting up and running from the existing structure that was there before. There is a fairly long transition process before those new municipalities can begin seeing some cost savings.

Mr McLean: In any other area that's been restructured, can you name one that has had a saving?

Mr Griggs: I don't have that information available.

Mr McLean: Then how can you be so sure that there's going to be a saving here when there's no place else that has had one?

Mr Griggs: I didn't say that there was no place else, that there haven't been savings; I said I didn't have that information available. In addition, in my mind it seems fairly clear that where you have three municipalities with three separate roads departments, three separate fire departments, three of every kind of municipal department that you need, when you're consolidating those municipalities it will provide for a certain level of efficiency.

Mr McLean: On the figures that you gave us with regard to the transition funding, the indication that I have is that can be in the millions, but if I remember right, it was $650,000.

Mr Griggs: There were two figures. One was $2.6 million, which is the transitional funding that's going to the local municipalities to go through this whole consolidation of departments and establish the new administrations in the new municipalities. The second number was, I believe, $650,000, which is for the county itself to establish the new county council, to set up the new county plan and also to provide for a county transition coordinator who is assisting the municipalities in getting ready for the new structuring in Simcoe county.

Mr McLean: How much has been turned over to the local municipalities for their work so far on restructuring?

Mr Griggs: To date, no money has gone to the municipalities directly. However, we are in the process of getting money together to provide to the local municipalities, and that's one of the reasons why we want to proceed with the bill.

Mr McLean: My understanding was that the money was going to be sent to the administrator of the county and then the municipalities would have to apply for their funding.

Mr Griggs: There are administrative reasons for that. The funding is for new municipalities that don't exist as legal entities right now. It becomes an accounting nightmare to provide that funding to municipalities that in five or six months will no longer exist and in some cases be split between two new municipalities. The question is how do you account for how much of that funding went to the existing municipality and how much goes to the new municipality. That's why the funding is to be directed to the county for distribution.

Mr McLean: I didn't read that in your remarks.

Mr Griggs: No, it wasn't in the presentation.

Mr McLean: What would the total amount be that you're looking at: $6 million, $7 million or $8 million?

Mr Griggs: Which, the transitional funding for the municipalities?

Mr McLean: Yes.

Mr Griggs: It's $2.6 million.

Mr McLean: I know there are some municipalities where one is $400,000 and the other is $300,000. That's just two municipalities. I can't understand the figure of $2.6 million that you're getting when I know of two municipalities getting three quarters of a million already.

Mr Griggs: That $2.6 million is based on a formula that was presented to the county transition committee prior to the bill proceeding. It was based on a formula applied to the number of households switching between existing municipalities.

Mr McLean: I wanted to try to get some of those answers, because I've been asked that by municipalities and I thought it was only fair that some of those municipalities should have some of those questions answered.

Many people here will know that I've been opposed to county government for many years. This is another form of county government. When the last vote was taken, I decided that I would neutralize myself and try and get the best bill possible, because the municipalities, the county, had asked for it. I still don't believe that we are totally right, because when I look at the agenda we have lined up for this week, it's made up mostly of municipalities. I thought the hearings would be for the people to come and have some input into the concerns they have with regard to the municipalities. There have got to be a lot of problems yet with this bill, which is going to be finalized on Friday, if we ever get the amendments before Thursday so we can deal with it.

There are some municipalities that are going to be making presentations that are still looking at boundary changes, so the question I guess I have is, are any more boundary changes going to be allowed in these hearings?


Mr Griggs: The position of the county from the time that it submitted its study recommendations and the position the province has taken as well regarding changes to the proposed boundary adjustments endorsed by county council was that if the municipalities affected can agree to a boundary change, then we will be glad to implement it. In fact, that has occurred between Tiny township and Penetanguishene, and Tiny township and the town of Midland, as well as the town of Collingwood and the township of Nottawasaga. There are a number of cases where that process has worked, but we have stressed throughout that it requires the agreement of all the affected parties.

Mr McLean: Yes. I've had questions asked of me by individuals who wanted some of their land switched from one municipality to another on the border. One municipality agrees to it, but the other one doesn't. That was the same answer I said, "I'm telling you, you've got to have both municipalities agreeing." You can't make them agree, but if the facts are laid out here and that individual's facts appear that this should be recommended, would you then recommend that this would take place without the consent of the one that's opposing?

Mr Griggs: You see, facts are slippery subjects in these cases.

Mr McLean: I've noticed that.

Mr Griggs: It's very difficult to decide here or there whether a certain property should be in one municipality or another. The process established under the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act requires the agreement of all the parties before a boundary adjustment can proceed under the act. That's the position we're taking with these proposed boundaries and it's the position that the county took as well.

Mr Eddy: Too bad it's not used in all areas of the province.

Mr Jim Wilson: Just following on Mr McLean's remarks, I too want to pose just a few questions to the government. I want to begin by asking the parliamentary assistant whether or not the government would have forced restructuring on Simcoe county if at the beginning of this process the county had said no to the restructuring process, because that's the essence of the question of why we're here. Mr McLean and I and others who have appeared in this chamber several times have been told by county council the reason it went ahead was that it had a gun to its head, and yet two successive ministers of Municipal Affairs and now the Liberal Party, which forced the restructuring in the south end, tell us that they're not in favour of forced restructurings.

Mr Hayes: My answer, just very bluntly, is no. As a matter of fact, there are 10 other counties that were on a list for restructuring and chose not to and the government has not forced them to restructure.

Mr Jim Wilson: I appreciate the answer. Then can you explain to me and perhaps the fact-finder, who, I agree with Mr McLean, found some selective facts and certainly didn't find any of the negatives that we hear out there -- the government must be aware that county council consistently told us that it had a gun to its head -- what would the basis for that statement be?

Mr Hayes: I don't have a clue; I've never heard it.

Mr Griggs: I imagine you would have to ask county council as well. Throughout the whole county study process it was made clear that it was a local process. In all the other cases where a county council has gone through a study similar to the Simcoe study and the recommendations went before county council and were rejected, no restructuring has been forced or carried through. Simcoe county is the only case where county council endorsed the recommendations for restructuring, and that's what we're implementing, the local recommendations.

Mr Jim Wilson: Thank you. It's a good suggestion. I will ask the county that question when it makes its presentation.

For the record, I too want to indicate that the fact-finder doesn't have in his report any mention of the referenda that were held throughout the county. In my area I think there were six questions on the municipal ballots in the last election, and the average would have been over 90% of the people opposed. I think that's important for the government to understand, because a number of people have said to me, once they got notice that these hearings were occurring and that the act was proceeding, that they thought it was over and done with two years ago when they voted no on the municipal ballot.

Then they look at the more recent Canada-wide constitutional referendum, where the government of Canada did take seriously the results, and they again come back to me and say, "I thought that was the purpose of the referendums." The government has consistently said you can skew questions on plebiscites to get whatever answer you want. It was a very simple question, and that was whether or not the people of a particular municipality were in favour of restructuring. As I said, in my area of those questions placed, the responses were over 90% opposed, on average, to restructuring.

I too agree with Mr Eddy in terms of some of the goals of restructuring that are cited in support of the bill and in support of the restructuring that was forced upon the south end of the county. Surrounding services and the question and desire, I suppose, for county-wide planning, I'm still of the opinion, and I'll be looking throughout these hearings to hear from witnesses in support of restructuring, why do you have to restructure an entire county to achieve the objectives of county-wide planning and some of the services?

I will tell you, and Mr McLean's question is right on, that I've spent the last several months reviewing all of the regional governments in Ontario, many of which were imposed by my party in the past, so believe me, we come to this with some experience, and the south Simcoe experience to date. There are no cost savings. Bigger is not better. The government cannot point to an area of this province, including south Simcoe, where amalgamating departments has resulted in savings to the ratepayer. It does not exist. In fact, history shows that smaller units are more efficient.

We're only a couple of decades away from the time when my grandfather, out of his own kitchen, as clerk of the township of Adjala, ran the township of Adjala, a little shoebox. Things have gotten a little complicated since then; I understand that. But none the less, I hope the government appreciates the impact this is having upon local residents.

I'll tell you, as the only member here who's been restructured -- and part of Mr Wessenger's riding has been restructured -- I to this day cannot find anyone in Tottenham, Beeton, Alliston or Tecumseth township who liked restructuring. They do not like it, including a number of people on council. We've had all kinds of problems, and we'll get into it later, with respect to urban service areas.

To this date, the government has spent over $4 million on the restructuring of south Simcoe, so to come up with a figure of $2.6 million for this restructuring I find highly unbelievable, when the costs have been more than double that to date in south Simcoe. There are some shocks coming to the people of south Simcoe that perhaps everyone here isn't aware of. That is that once the restructuring transition money runs out -- it runs out, I believe, in two years from the province -- property taxes are going to go sky-high in the south end. Policing alone, which now has been downloaded by the province, is going to have a major impact upon that municipality. The bureaucracy doesn't get smaller; in fact, it's getting larger.

With respect to this restructuring, there's already talk among some of the amalgamated municipalities or those being forced to amalgamate, that -- take the example of Creemore, Stayner, Nottawasaga and Sunnidale -- that they're going to need a new administrative centre for that municipality, because currently those four municipalities each meet in a room that would be a quarter of the size of this. They won't have room for their transitional council and they're already talking about how they're going to have to build an administrative centre. I need not point any further than the property next door, where one of the major political issues in the last provincial election was the Taj Mahal next door, which was built by the Simcoe county school board. When people start to see administrative centres having to pop up as a result of restructuring, I tell you they're going to know why their property taxes are going up.

I see this whole thing as a downloading of the provincial government. I don't understand for the world of me, when county councillors complained for years that they were opposed to downloading that has occurred from successive governments. We see in the fact-finder's own report that the greatest beneficiary of this process is the government itself. The province of Ontario will save $800,000 annually.

Mr Hayes: That's taxpayers you're talking about, right?

Mr Jim Wilson: There is one taxpayer, but you're downloading on to what the NDP used to believe was a regressive tax: the property tax. Many of the expenses of amalgamation, if you're going to stick to your $2.6-million figure of assistance, I suggest many of the costs are going to have to be incurred by the ratepayers in the transition period alone.

I want to end by talking about local identity. Again, I don't believe you have to restructure an entire county to achieve some of the goals. In fact, if one looks at the example of Adjala and Tosorontio and one considers that one of the goals of restructuring was to have self-sufficient units, you tell me how Adjala and Tosorontio got together when they don't have nearly the services, even combined, to make them a self-sufficient unit. I say that was a political decision, and I'm well aware of how it came about.


With respect to loss of identity, I notice this map of the county of Simcoe, and one was sent to my office recently. If we take the area of Clearview, already Creemore, Stayner, Nottawasaga and Sunnidale don't appear on the county map. I ran into this in Southampton, where the Liberals went around and said you wouldn't lose local identity. I can tell you that respect to a very real example in the former village of Cookstown, now part of the town of Innisfil, I had to fight for several months last year to prevent the town of Innisfil from changing the street names in Cookstown. In fact, if they had their way, I think we probably would have seen the population sign of Cookstown taken down.

It's not very many years ago when there used to be a place called Galt in this province. It's not there any more. Many, many others -- I've got over 100 pages sent to me by parliamentary research with respect to the issue of local identities. It's not very long after restructuring, maybe a couple of governments down the road, where maps like that become enshrined and where there's no indication of the municipalities that I ran in on that map. I say that's a shame and I say that those people who will appear before this committee worried about the loss of local identity have very good reason for that.

I'll also end by indicating that a number of the county councillors I knew who ran for election in 1990 were opposed to restructuring and somehow, with the bureaucratic think tank around here, and the same occurs at Queen's Park, they're now in favour of restructuring. I will be asking those councillors specifically what made them change their minds.

The Chair: There is time for other questions. I know there are several.

Mr Paul Wessenger (Simcoe Centre): I have a question that's perhaps more technical in nature. It probably will require the assistance of legal counsel, who I believe are here today. I've had some concern expressed to me by some of the planning profession about how the act deals with official plans and official plan amendments.

Some of them feel the act does not continue the legal status of official plan amendments as they're proceeding through the process. It may be that there's a lack of understanding, because it may be that there was an absence of provisions in the draft act when it was set out. I don't know whether that was the source of difficulty, but I would like to ask, if I could, for some clarification from legal counsel on that matter.

Mrs Linda Perron: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Linda Perron. I'm solicitor with the legal branch at the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. I would ask Mr Wessenger to restate his question, because we do have some provisions in the bill that deal with the transition as it pertains to the enactment of zoning bylaws and the continuation of processes undertaken for the adoption of official plans and official plan amendments.

Mr Wessenger: Right. Perhaps I'll just be more specific and start out to say, how will official plans or official plan amendments which have not yet received approval from the Minister of Municipal Affairs be treated under the act? That is those official plans that have been --

Mrs Perron: They have been adopted already.

Mr Wessenger: But not approved by the Minister of Municipal Affairs. In other words, will the municipality have to readopt the bylaw which approves the official plan amendments and do rehearings?

Mrs Perron: A bylaw that has been adopted will be continued under the provisions as though it's been adopted by the new local municipality. I think I'm a bit familiar with the situation you're leading up to, and I recognize there will be situations where policies in an official plan which has been adopted but not approved may not be as workable in the new municipality to which those policies will apply.

I believe some of these details have actually been worked out with ministry staff, who are processing official plan amendments and are aware of the boundary adjustments and will be looking for any, I guess, inconsistencies or incompatibilities in the plans, and where necessary will defer approvals until the annexation takes effect on January 1, 1994, or work out other arrangements with the municipality. I guess ultimately it's no longer a strict legal matter because the minister has the authority to approve and to decide on the timing of that approval. I think we can all agree that it would be premature to proceed with some of these approvals.

Mr Wessenger: So, in effect, those official plan amendments which have some inconsistencies with other official plan amendments will be deferred until January 1, 1994. Is that correct?

Mrs Perron: That's correct, yes.

Mr Wessenger: The new municipality will then have a chance to work out the appropriate solution to that problem.

Mrs Perron: A lot of the problems could be resolved through modifications, with the hope that the local municipality would be in agreement with the proposed modifications, and again the idea is not to impose anything which cannot work in the new municipality.

I think each case will have to be examined on its merits. I don't have a complete listing of the official plan amendments that are in process, but if something is deserving of approval now and there are no other impediments according to the new municipality, those should proceed.

Mr Wessenger: And they can proceed.

Mrs Perron: They can proceed.

Mr Wessenger: Right, thank you. That's my only question, then.

Mr Daniel Waters (Muskoka-Georgian Bay): I have a few concerns about the act. One of them is that I'd like to know how strongly the ministry feels about section 34 of this act. I'm not going to beat around the bush. I don't see any need for section 34 in this act, and for some reason it seems that the ministry, prior to the present minister and the parliamentary assistant, set down some rules for section 34 that it would be there for ever and a day. I want to know why. Let's be blunt about it.

Mr Hayes: No sense in you changing now, Dan.

Mr Waters: That's right, Pat.

The Chair: That was section 34, which relates to --

Mr Waters: Section 34 is guaranteeing a review for Orillia and for the county of Barrie as in annexing property. It is dealt with under the Municipal Act separately from this. I see absolutely no reason for it in this act.

Mr Hayes: First of all, Mr Waters, it would be permissive and not mandatory. The fact of the matter is that the minister can review these amendments. There was some discussion that some cities I think wanted it to be changed from "may" to "shall."

Mr Waters: But the city of Orillia and Barrie are not part of the County of Simcoe Act, and everyone I talked to in the rural sections either doesn't care or is opposed to section 34. It has been a matter of controversy. When I look across at the other two members, from the Tory party, who represent Simcoe county in the rural sections, we all get the same thing.

The ministry seems to have this. They have the power under the Municipal Act completely separate from this. They do not need it in the Simcoe County Act. Why is it there and why are you adamant about keeping it there?

Mr Hayes: I don't think I'd be adamant at all, Dan.

Mr Waters: The ministry is.

Mr Hayes: The ministry may be, and if you're talking about all four members here as saying it should be out, we can certainly bring it back to the minister and take a look at this. There may be another amendment to deal with this issue.

Mr Waters: Okay. I'm going to go back to what Mr Wilson and Mr McLean said. They both mentioned savings.

I've lived under restructuring under another name. It was called district government back in those days; it's restructuring. I can tell you that to this day, most of the people in the district of Muskoka would like to get out of it. It's cost us more, dramatically more. It's been unfair to the small communities. We've lost everything, including our schools in small communities, and you're saying there's going to be a saving. I want to see it.


The north end of this county is not wealthy. It is not populated. There is a large section of road work that has to be maintained. As the representative of those people, I think we need to know where the savings are going to be, how these people are going to be paying less. When you have a mainly rural area that is patrolled by the OPP because it's just roads -- four houses at an intersection does not make a community -- and it's my understanding under this that they will have to pay for policing, I'm concerned.

Mr Griggs: I can answer that question right away. There's no provision for requiring any municipality that is not providing policing or not paying for policing directly now to pay for it as a result of this restructuring. The only case where new areas are going to be policed by local police forces are the areas added to the towns, specifically Midland, Penetanguishene and Collingwood. In all other cases, policing by the OPP will continue and there will be no cost impact on the municipalities.

Regarding your comparison of the Simcoe restructuring and the creation of district governments such as the district of Muskoka or regional governments, this is completely different. This is a local process, locally directed. In the case of Simcoe county, they chose to strengthen the local municipalities rather than shifting services to the upper tier as occurred in the regional governments. The only new services that are being taken on by the county of Simcoe are in county planning. They are not assuming any services from the local municipalities. So I would argue that it's significantly different than any restructuring that has occurred before in Ontario.

Mr Waters: Okay, then let's follow along that line a bit. One of the things that I think the people need to hear is that there's going to be some flexibility, let's say, at least in the first 10 years, some regular reviews to make sure indeed that this act is doing what it's supposed to do. Has there been any discussion about this? Is there going to be any discussion about this?

Mr Griggs: No, there has been no discussion on that kind of process. I'd just like to point out that it's impossible to take a municipal unit and say that if it wasn't restructured, it would have saved money. Saying that regional government in an area like around the GTA is expensive frankly does not make sense because you have no idea what it would cost to run government if the existing governments were still in place. You have no way of comparing the existing municipal structure down the road if it doesn't continue.

Also, the cost impacts in any area are the result of decisions of local councils. So if the local councils elected for these new municipalities make decisions for service delivery, then that will have cost implications. That's clear, whether the area is restructured or not. So to blame all cost increases or any increases in taxes anywhere in Ontario on restructuring frankly is just unfair and misleading.

Mr Waters: I can tell you that I live it, and tax increases in a restructured area are a lot greater than in those that aren't restructured.

Mr McLean: Excuse me, Mr Waters. Could I have a clarification with regard to the police?

Mr Waters: Yes, that's fine.

Mr McLean: My understanding was that there have been committees in the county, police meeting with regard to county restructuring. If they're not going to be affected, why are they meeting?

Mr Griggs: My understanding was that representatives from the Solicitor General are meeting with the three towns that I mentioned -- Midland, Penetanguishene and Collingwood -- to discuss the transition for the areas being added to the towns so that the towns are prepared to police those relatively small areas that are being annexed to those town municipalities where they have existing police forces.

Mr McLean: So the OPP who's going to be appearing before us at the end of this week -- why would he be appearing before us as an OPP?

Mr Griggs: I have no idea. I would wait for his presentation and find out then.

The Chair: Mr Waters, you have another question?

Mr Waters: Yes, a few more. One of them is -- and I look up into the onlookers up here and I see some people. I know he's going to bring it up, Mr Armstrong, and that is MOE. He and I have had correspondence and discussions with them. I guess I'm curious: Has the Ministry of Municipal Affairs talked to the relevant ministries?

Mr Hayes: Yes.


Mr Waters: Because MOE has used restructuring as a weapon. In the case of Port McNicoll, MOE indicated that: "We will talk to you after you're restructured. Until then, have a good life." I guess have some concerns about this type of thing going on.

Also, when we're talking about MOE, in the case of Midland, I agree: Midland has to take over the mall strip. Whether there was restructuring or not, something had to be done there. Have there been discussions, also with MOE, about providing funding so that Midland can indeed enlarge its service area to cover this major area on the outskirts of its town that it's now going to take in? Because as soon as it takes it in, those people are going to want their servicing.

Mr Griggs: In answer to both your questions regarding MOE's treatment of the village of Port McNicoll, while I can't respond based on decisions of another ministry, I can understand the rationale for making that kind of statement. The fact of the matter is that if this restructuring proceeds, which I'm assuming it will, the village of Port McNicoll will cease to exist on January 1, 1994, and become part of a new municipality.

It's a similar situation to what we were discussing earlier regarding official plan amendments. It makes no sense to pass official plan amendments that will not be rational when the new structure is created, just as it makes no sense to make decisions on servicing or funding for servicing when that municipality will cease to exist in several months.

With regard to your other question regarding service extensions from the town of Midland to the area to be added from Tiny township, our ministry staff have been having discussions with the town of Midland. I believe we have come to an agreement for some extra transitional funding for the town of Midland to take into account those additional servicing costs for providing services to those areas.

Mr Waters: Okay. One of the differences that I've seen between the north Simcoe act and the south Simcoe act is when it talks about employees. I believe in the south Simcoe act an employee's wages are set as of -- if I remember correctly, it was the December of the year that the bill was passed, yet in this act you're saying in July of that year.

I happen to represent probably two of the poorer municipalities in the north end. The one in particular is very sparsely populated. Their employees are being paid at a rate reflecting the population. They're going to be lumped in with probably one of the better-paid groups. We have some problems. Has the MMA been dealing with those problems -- namely, the Coldwater/Matchedash/Orillia township problems -- and, if so, where are you in the process?

Mr Griggs: We have been having discussions with the municipalities regarding that situation specifically between Orillia township, the township of Matchedash and the village of Coldwater, and the treatment of the employees of those municipalities when the new structure is created.

I should point out, however, that the section in the bill that provides for protection for employees sets a base salary -- in other words, a salary no less than the amount provided on July 1, 1993 -- so it's not a maximum salary per se. So there's no limit on that.

Mr Waters: Okay.

Mr Griggs: In terms of providing for some kind of additional protection for the employees who are put at a disadvantage -- as you say, the two poorer municipalities -- I think that we're willing to entertain any amendments that would accommodate that at clause-by-clause.

Mr Waters: Okay. Also, in the same area, and I'm speaking for the riding that I represent, the new Tay township has lost, not necessarily all because of restructuring, but because of impacts of other ministries on that region, such as the rebuilding -- one of the main ones is the rebuilding of Highway 69 and the complete decimation of their commercial tax base along that; it's gone.

When I look at it, when I talk to the people at the municipal level, they're all saying the same thing, and I agree, everything that I've seen, these people's tax base is going to be less with restructuring. They're going to lose. Now, how do we deal with that in the long term? There's some transitional funding, but that isn't going to do it. So are you going to pay for ever?

Mr Griggs: No, definitely not. There won't be a payment for ever. The whole point of the restructuring was to correct inequities and problems with the existing structure --

Mr Waters: But you've traded one.

Mr Griggs: -- and we all have to recognize that there will be some shifts in property taxes and some changes resulting from the restructuring, but in the long term it should save money.

Mr Waters: Where? It isn't going to for these people, obviously. In your answer -- you haven't said it, but you indicated a tax increase for these people.

Mr Griggs: No, I didn't say that. I said some areas will experience tax increases, others will experience tax decreases, but overall it should save money. In the case of Tay township, it's combining with two small villages, the village of Port McNicoll and the village of Victoria Harbour. So in that case you have three separate councils, three separate administrations, all providing similar services. In my mind, it seems fairly clear that when you combine those three units you'll have some cost savings.

Mr Waters: Okay, well, I will let them take that up with you at the appropriate time.

Mr Jim Wilson: Mr Chairman, just a --

Mr Griggs: I believe they are on the list for --

Mr Jim Wilson: Just a point on Mr Waters's point, if I may, Mr Waters. Perhaps I could ask on our behalf, then, why the Ministry of Finance is undertaking a tax impact study with respect to restructuring, what's the status of that study, and are there any preliminary findings?

The Chair: Parliamentary assistant?

Mr Hayes: I'm not aware of that.

Mr Griggs: Yes, I wasn't aware that the Ministry of Finance was doing a tax impact analysis for the restructuring. My understanding was that several years ago the county of Simcoe had requested a study on the impacts of countywide reassessment under section 63 of the Municipal Act, I believe. I believe that's the study that the Ministry of Finance was conducting.

Mr Jim Wilson: Actually, I do stand corrected. It is a tax reassessment study.

Mr Griggs: That's unrelated to the restructuring.

Mr Jim Wilson: Is it unrelated to the restructuring?

Mr Griggs: Yes. That request from the county, I believe, came before the whole restructuring exercise began.

Mr Jim Wilson: But if it's unrelated to restructuring, and certainly legislative research -- in fact, some of the drafters of the bill don't believe that that tax impact study is unrelated, because the questions that they formulated in this area that I've reviewed were with respect to the sections in Bill 51 which allow for phase-in of tax increases, and it was suggested that I ask the ministry what protection the ratepayers might enjoy from the government if the county does go to market values, 1992 level countywide, and we see tax increases as a result of restructuring in some of the new administrative buildings that'll have to be put up etc.

Mr Griggs: Okay, in terms of the impacts of restructuring versus the impacts of reassessment, we have to recognize that these are two separate processes and in both cases the final decision is with the county. For the reassessment, the county has asked for a study to find out the impacts of a reassessment, and my understanding is that when they get that study they will make a decision whether to proceed or whether not to proceed.

In terms of protection for municipalities, I believe the bill provides for the phase-in of tax increases. Section 27 on page 20 of the bill provides for a regulation-making process to allow for the setting of local property taxes in annexed areas to address that phase-in of tax increases where they occur.

Mr Jim Wilson: What worries me in that section is, in the previous section, I believe, it talks about tax increases of more than 20%. Is the government envisioning that some of these areas that are being annexed will see property taxes go up by at least 20%?


Mr Griggs: No, that was a recommendation that was passed by county council. That was their criteria that they established for areas that should have tax increases phased in. My guess is that the county study committee felt that a 20% tax increase -- and, again, we're talking about a local tax increase. We're not including county taxes and school taxes. So we're talking about, in some cases, a quarter of the total property tax bill. A tax increase to that quarter greater than 20% should be phased in, and that was a decision that the county study committee made and it was endorsed by the county council.

Mr Eddy: I just wanted to state how much I strongly support the suggestion that section 34 be deleted from the act, because it's stated that the minister has that power in the Municipal Act and that should be deleted too, because there is a boundaries act which was negotiated between the government and the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, whereby any municipality may at any time apply for a boundary adjustment. It gives the opportunity for all and any interested parties to appear and state their cause, and it's a negotiation.

Of course, it's very unlike the appointment, as we've seen, of an arbitrator completely inexperienced in municipal government coming forth and making recommendations approved by the minister in the case of London-Middlesex. We really need to get away from that sort of desperate move.

Mr Griggs: If I can just provide a clarification regarding section 4, which provides that the minister may undertake a review of the municipal boundaries of the city of Barrie and the city of Orillia, I'd like to point out that this does not provide any new authority to the minister. It does not allow the minister to change the boundaries of the cities. It does not allow the minister to, with the strike of a pen, redraw the municipal boundaries. All it states is that the minister may undertake a review of the cities' boundaries. I just wanted to provide that clarification.

Mr Eddy: Yes, a review of the boundaries would be, I would imagine, though, at someone's request to change them, or why would you review them? Any process to change boundaries should be under the boundaries negotiations act, because it's open to any municipality at any time.

Mr Jim Wilson: Just a couple of quick questions while we still have time before the presenters. I note from the brief submitted by the corporation of the town of New Tecumseth that it will be requesting of this committee and of the government an adjustment to the easterly boundary of that town. I can get into the issue later, as I'm very familiar with it and I've met with Mr Cooke and a delegation from the town when Dave Cooke was Minister of Municipal Affairs.

I'm just putting the government on notice that that request will be coming. I'm wondering at this point whether, during this process, Mr Hayes, the government will be contemplating changing any of the boundaries in the south half, as has been the longstanding request of the town of New Tecumseth, since this is the only opportunity and since we're scrapping the 1990 County of Simcoe Act.

Mr Hayes: At the present time, these recommendations are made by county council -- the boundaries -- and I'm not sure if we can just arbitrarily start changing boundaries for each individual municipality. So we'll have to deal with that during clause-by-clause, I guess.

Mr Jim Wilson: Secondly, I have a specific question with respect to police villages. I notice in the bill that in my area the police village of Everett and the police village of Angus are to be dissolved. We don't have the schedule so I don't know what the ward system looks like. I have people in the current village of Angus who feel that they're underrepresented now because they're part of the larger township of Essa. Essa's getting larger, the police village is being dissolved and the ratepayers of Angus are wondering how they're to be represented in this whole scheme. Everything they've heard to date leads them to believe that they're going to be underrepresented because their status is being dissolved. So does anybody from the government have a response to that specifically?

Mr Griggs: I can respond to your question. Regarding the establishment of ward boundaries, the bill provides for a process whereby each of the local municipalities submits a ward proposal. So in that case, the definition of the ward boundaries is at the local municipality's discretion. So if there are some questions about whether there is going to be a ward created for former police villages, I would suggest that those people contact the local municipality involved.

The Chair: I think that brings us to the close of the introductory part of the hearings, even a little bit ahead of time. So if Mr Stan Wismer is here, I would ask him to please come forward. We have received copies of Mr Wismer's submission. Just give him some time to make his way down. While we're doing that, Mr Wilson.

Mr Jim Wilson: A preliminary discussion with Hansard indicates that the transcripts of today's meeting may take a while. I was wondering if the committee could put in a request, and I would request, that these transcripts be available as soon as possible. It's my understanding that perhaps the tapes were not going to Queen's Park till Thursday. In fact, for our purpose locally, we need the transcripts for today's hearings prior to Thursday.

The Chair: I'll discuss that with the clerk, and perhaps at the end of the day we can come back. Mr Wismer, if you wouldn't mind, in order for us to tape the proceedings we'll need you at the mike. If you want, I'm sure it would be all right to bring that whatever-it's-called forward to show us. Is that all right? We can just move the stand forward. I don't believe these mikes are movable, so if you wouldn't mind just sitting in the chair closest, then we can hear you. Just before we begin, Mr Hayes.

Mr Hayes: I just wanted to make a point. On the question about the government motions or amendments, I would request, Mr Chair, if we could possibly have the members from the other parties indicate or if you could set a time when they could bring their motions or amendments forward so we may be able to exchange those. We are very flexible. We'll try to rush ours as soon as possible.

The Chair: I believe the practice has been that if people want to do that, we do have our clause-by-clause on Thursday, but I would think it would help everyone the sooner everyone saw those amendments. Perhaps the whips can discuss that among themselves.


The Chair: Mr Wismer, we have a copy of your presentation. You have 15 minutes, and please begin.

Mr Stan Wismer: Honoured members of the standing committee, I thank you for the opportunity to explain this recommendation. I was listening to the comments on boundary adjustments and I have since the beginning of the process. However, with an official county plan coming and with it land use designations, I have continued to follow the process, and I believe some of the things that I have to say are worthy of consideration at least.

Because today we live in a time when there are certain kinds of land that are to be used only for certain specific uses and only in certain areas, it's with this in mind that I state my purpose for being here: It's basically to find the highest appropriate use of my property in the location that it is. That's my reason for being here. I'm not a defender of the public interest today; however, I also understand that any appeal I make needs to be within the public interest. From various departments that I have spoken to, they feel that there are at least some reasons to be very beneficial to the public interest, and so I have continued.

My family has owned this property since the early 1960s. We farmed it. I'm no longer in a position to continue farming it. It's located in the northwest corner of the city of Barrie, in this area right here. I thought I'd probably just indicate briefly a little bit of the description of the land and then talk about some of the public policies that I believe are relevant to the situation and then close with just a few recommendations.


These lands lie within the Barrie Kempenfelt watershed and I believe they relate more appropriately to urban use than to rural use and therefore to the city. As you can see, this is the city boundary here and the watershed's coming here. The yellow indicates the properties involved. There are no hardwood trees or environmentally sensitive issues involved in this parcel. There are storm and sanitary services with capacity in the pipes already existing in the ground in this section and this section here. Also, these lands lie adjacent to a significant transportation issue which has apparently not been able to be resolved.

In regard to the public interest now, first the provincial interest and in regard to the watershed, I notice that in the Growth and Settlement document prepared by the same ministry we are dealing with today, which I take it is an approved document, it states on page 5 that, "Land use planning be coordinated with and facilitate implementation of related initiatives such as servicing strategies, watershed plans and remedial action plans." That is on the papers that I gave you there today.

Also from the provincial interest with regard to these lands having capacity in the existing storm and sanitary piping, again in the same document, on the same page, on page 2 of the document I circulated it says that,

"All opportunities to use, expand and upgrade existing infrastructure and public facilities to accommodate growth be evaluated and, where practical, utilized before developing new infrastructure and public facilities."

The question is, would it be in the public interest for the city to develop new infrastructure in new areas before this possibility is utilized?

The regional interest circulates around the road I described that intersects the property right here. A recent study by the city of Barrie, a transportation study completed in October 1992, says that the northern area of the city of Barrie ranks second for the highest population and will continue for the next 10- to 15-year time frame. It also identified the north area as standing second out of nine sectors for the highest number of destination origin on that table. So traffic concerns are with us not only at the present but also into the 10- to 15-year time frame. Already on Bayfield Street there are capacity concerns, and now on Highway 90, and to a lesser extent also on Anne Street.

Ferndale Drive is the proposed solution to the ongoing traffic problems in the northwest end of Barrie. It is to be a four-lane, paved arterial road and will start north of Vespra, from Vespra in the north to Innisfil in the south. As you can see, I've tried to indicate it in this pink area. You can just see certain parts that are completed already. It intersects the highly congested Highway 90, and with the Sunnidale Road here, which is the only other arterial road that leads west out of the city of Barrie, proceeds on to this asphalt part of the 7th Concession of Vespra, which takes it up to Highway 26, which leads into Bayfield Street.

The concern and the problem here arises that when this is completed, this here is already a 90-foot road, four lanes, and it leads into a quarter of a mile of gravel road before it's able to resume on the paved portion of the 7th Concession of Vespra.

The issue that has been debated is, who will pave this road? Will the city of Barrie pave a road that is in the township of Vespra or will Vespra pave a road mainly for city traffic, bearing in mind that this piece of land is within the Barrie watershed?

My suggestion is that even if everything continues on as it is and the land remains in the township of Vespra, and even if Vespra township does agree to pave the road to township standards, if and when this land does come into the city of Barrie, it will all have to be torn up because there will have to be services put in and urbanized to city standards. I'm saying that with the decreasing pool of taxpayers' money today, that's not a wise use of taxpayers' money.

Also, at this point right here, there is an environmental study taking place right now on these lands, and they are usually only begun when a project is within three to five years from construction. So it's reasonable to assume that those lands will be constructed in five years, and I'm saying that it would be a positive thing for the area if the gravel portion of the road could come into a closer time frame as this other part that has to be completed. If we wait for five years and nothing is done and that other part is reopened, there's going to be a considerable amount of traffic utilizing that arterial, as anybody who knows Barrie will tell you. That's not really the time to start planning I guess is what I'm saying.

Okay, my recommendations. You'll have to let me know if I go over; I've lost track.

I recommend amending Bill 51 to allow for this minor technical adjustment. It makes sense in terms of being able to utilize the force of gravity and to be sensitive to the environmental aspect in terms of the watershed. The public could reap the benefits of revenues already spent on infrastructure in the area, and if it's not allowed to be utilized, it will be money wasted. To permit the upgrading of this road through lot levy or through condition of development would leave no cost to the municipality of Vespra or the municipality of Barrie. Apparently there is no other solution that has come out of this. I wonder if this is not a win-win situation for everybody. It seems like the window has been opened with the process of restructuring for this thing to be resolved.

I would like to make one comment on the township of Vespra. I acknowledge that my recommendation would lead to a loss of land for the township of Vespra, but I would just like to say that I believe the loss of that land was initiated long before this when the public became concerned for environmental issues and for watershed planning. I can only say that the city of Barrie acknowledged the arguments I gave and supported the proposal. Two other owners who are also involved have supported the proposal, and I've given the letters of the township of Vespra and Barrie in the sheets there.

Just a few closing comments. I guess I would just like to say that I think that some kind of changes were in order to prepare for the growth in this area that the restructuring process has brought. I do have some questions about the cost savings that have been mentioned already even today, and I agree that there is reason for concern there, especially in situations like this: $800,000 savings a year doesn't sound like very much when you consider the savings that could be realized in this one small minor adjustment.

If these kinds of opportunities are not taken, it leaves me with a larger question. I think one thing the Japanese have taught us is that through unity and cooperation, it can equal progress, and I guess I think it's something to be kept in mind. So far in this process, municipalities that cooperate with the cities may be penalized and lose land, and those who do not cooperate may be rewarded, I don't know, but perhaps some differentiating of the policies between greenbelts and watersheds may be in order.

Just to read the conclusion, therefore I recommend to all members of the standing committee on social development to amend Bill 51, the County of Simcoe Act, to allow for this minor technical adjustment of this neck of land into the city of Barrie. The property is described on your sheet.

I ask this to prepare for the appropriate use of the land in accordance with provincial public policy and to facilitate the more efficient use of public revenues and to permit the upgrading of a necessary arterial road. In the interests of environmentally sensitive planning, this recommendation I believe is appropriate.


The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. We still have just a little bit of time and I believe there's a question from Mr Wilson.

Mr Jim Wilson: I really don't have a question, other than to reiterate what I said in my opening remarks. It would be impossible for us at this point, even if we were to agree with the presenter, to put forward an amendment, given that we don't have the schedules to this legislation, and I don't think we should be proceeding without them.

Mr Griggs: I can respond to that. The schedules merely describe the lines in legal terms.

Mr Jim Wilson: In legalese you see the lines.

Mr Griggs: Yes.

Mr Jim Wilson: I'm well aware of what schedules do.

Mr Griggs: If we have a proposal that's put forward that everybody can support, then it's just a matter of preparing a schedule to describe that portion or property to be transferred between the municipalities. I don't believe we need the legal metes-and-bounds descriptions of the new lines of the new municipalities in front of us to proceed.

Mr Jim Wilson: I do. If you haven't gathered from my questioning to date, I don't trust the Ministry of Municipal Affairs. Having seen legalese come out after a process that doesn't quite match what we thought the process was, and as Health critic I can tell you it happens all the time with our Health bills, I and I think every committee member here would like the schedules. I don't understand, when you've had ample time to prepare, why the ministry doesn't have those.

The Chair: Parliamentary assistant?

Mr Hayes: If I may, just to let Mr Wilson know that the municipalities will have input in this and they'll be able to review the maps and the schedules prior to the legislation going through. I think the purpose here in the first place -- I thought I made it clear earlier -- is that we are going to be going clause-by-clause after we hear presentations from individuals and municipalities and associations or organizations. That's the purpose of this committee and that's why we're here today.

Mr McLean: Could I have a clarification? As was indicated before, if the two municipalities didn't agree, it wouldn't happen. If this committee has a motion to put in an amendment to allow this to happen, will the ministry accept it?

Mr Hayes: I'm not sure. Just on this, Mr Chair, and I think it's important here right now, actually it's a question I guess I'd have to ask Mr Wismer about. The thing is that the one municipality hasn't agreed with your request. My question to you is, have you contacted county council also on this, because in fact they would have a say in this also, and you have to consider that the city and the county are both separate. They're not part of the county.

Mr Wismer: Yes, I have tried to maintain contact with the county. I submitted a number of letters through the process. However, this recent meeting came up so quickly that I did not have a letter to send in immediately for the county at this time.

One thing that has kept me thinking or to be involved in the process is that at the very first restructuring it said that there would be no major changes. No one seemed to look at this as a major change. This looked to be a minor change. But, again, I guess I feel that when this thing is all said and done and there's cost savings involved, I want to at least have said I put it forward, I've left it in the hands of the decision-makers, and some of the fine points of what the minister had said that he would resolve, some outstanding issues, I didn't know if this qualified under one of those, so I put forward my best foot.

The Chair: We have time for just one last question.

Mr Wessenger: Thank you, Mr Wismer, for your presentation. The township of Vespra is opposed to this change in boundaries. Is it basically because they want to preserve a greenbelt, or would they consider allowing you to develop the lands within the township of Vespra itself?

Mr Wismer: I don't know how much I should be speaking on their behalf. I can only say what I interpreted from my speaking with the township of Vespra. Granted, I believe the greenbelt policy is a valid principle, but I just felt there could be some flexibility there since it's just farm land north of the area. In terms of whether I could develop in Vespra, I didn't get the opinion that would be possible.

Mr Wessenger: Right, so you feel that your lands could not be developed within the township of Vespra or within the new town of Springwater.

Mr Wismer: That's correct.

Mr Wessenger: Could I just get a clarification --

The Chair: A brief clarification.

Mr Wessenger: -- from staff with respect to the annexation procedures? I'd just like clarification. Is it only municipalities that can initiate annexation procedures, or can citizens under the Municipal Act, subsection 14(2), commence annexation proceedings?

Mr Griggs: In fact, the Municipal Act, subsection 14(2), only applies to municipalities in northern Ontario. The process for altering municipal boundaries in southern Ontario in counties, such as the county of Simcoe, is the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act.

Mr Eddy: Except in the case of Vaughan and Middlesex.

Mr Griggs: Or under separate legislation such as we're considering here, or the London-Middlesex Act.


The Chair: Order, please.

Mr Wessenger: Could I just follow that up?

Mr Griggs: The only way to alter municipal boundaries under the Municipal Boundary Negotiations Act is through a municipal bylaw initiating the process. There is no opportunity for a citizen or group of citizens to petition for an application.

Mr Wessenger: Can't a municipality, as formerly, petition for an annexation, as they used to be able to?

Mr Griggs: A municipality can, yes, but an individual ratepayer cannot. That individual must convince one of the councils to apply for a boundary change.

Mr Wessenger: Right, fine; thank you very much.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mr Wismer, for coming before the committee and for leaving us with your brief.


The Chair: I'd now call on our next witness, the mayor of the city of Barrie, Ms Janice Laking, if she'd be good enough to come forward. Welcome to our session this afternoon, your worship. If you'd be good enough to introduce your colleagues, then please go forward with your presentation.

Mrs Janice Laking: Thank you very much, Mr Beer. I have the list of my colleagues being delivered to you, as you requested, so you will have them for the record. I have with me Alderman Jim Perri, Alderman Anne Black and my city administrator, Mr Peter Lee. Thank you for having us.

Attached for your reference is a copy of my comments to the committee on August 23, 1993. That really is just a memorandum for you, sir. I'll start on the next page, and there's no secret information on the first page.

The Chair: Did you say you have a copy of your submission?

Mrs Laking: Yes, we have copies.

The Chair: Okay, fine. If the clerk could receive them, he'll make sure the members have copies.

Mrs Laking: Mr Chairman and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to meet and to talk with you about the city of Barrie's perspective regarding the restructuring of Simcoe county.

Since 1990, when the city of Barrie began to formally participate in the process of reviewing the structure of municipal and county government in Simcoe county, the city has acted in good faith. We have, through our participation in the process, attempted to promote a concept which would result in the provision of services in the most efficient manner and in the formation of a political structure that recognizes true communities of interest.

Through 1990 and up to January 1991, when county council approved a recommendation to remove the representatives from Barrie and Orillia from the county restructuring committee, the city of Barrie fully participated in the restructuring process. This participation included providing planning, engineering and clerical assistance to the committee at no cost to the county.

Barrie's participation in the process was focused on helping to attain the goal of ensuring that all municipalities are organized into viable, self-reliant administrative and geographic units, capable of providing responsible, effective and representative government.

The city of Barrie believes that a restructured county can, and should, provide significantly improved opportunities to plan, organize and manage the environmental, cultural and economic assets of all municipalities in the county. The city believes that the restructuring of Simcoe county must establish municipal organizations which will be capable of dealing with the issues of the future.


When evaluating Bill 51, members of the committee must ask whether the proposed legislation adequately addresses the opportunities offered by restructuring. As previously presented, the city of Barrie believes the opportunities offered include the chance to restructure the county based on the following principles.

Financial stability: We believe that restructuring should result in the creation of municipal entities which are financially strong and independent. Municipalities must be well-financed and large enough to reduce competition among neighbours for an assessment base that is finite across the county.

Communities of interest: We believe that municipal boundaries should recognize communities of interest as well as the physically and culturally significant features of the landscape. The establishment of boundaries that recognize communities of interest will assist in focusing growth in urban areas and will help to reduce rural fringe development.

Sustainable development: We believe that any restructuring of municipal boundaries should support the concept of sustainable development.

Environmental planning and coordination: We believe that fewer jurisdictions and municipal entities with boundaries that reflect natural geographic features would represent the most appropriate response to improving the overall ability to guide future development in an environmentally sensitive manner.

Nodal growth: We support the concept of nodal growth. Restructuring should result in new municipal boundaries that include at least one major urban concentration. Growth should then be concentrated within these urban communities.

Accommodating future growth: We believe that the land base of an urban municipality should be large enough to do more than accommodate growth within a fixed planning horizon.

Unfortunately, it appears that due to a number of varying influences, adequate attention has not been paid to these crucial areas of concern within Bill 51 as introduced by the provincial government.

As previously presented to the Minister of Municipal Affairs, the city of Barrie believes that exclusion of the city of Barrie and the city of Orillia from the process of developing Bill 51 has led to the formulation of a proposed county structure which does not fully address the long-term objectives of the county restructuring exercise.

The decision-making process which culminated with the introduction of Bill 51 focused on the achievement of consensus rather than the original, more broadly based purpose of the county study. From the beginning of the county restructuring exercise, the city of Barrie's been anxious to deal with the issues of the next decade and the next century. The city has for a long time recognized the importance of integrating environmental concerns with the planning process.

The mismatch between municipal boundaries in the Barrie area has, and will, lead to increasing environmental and interjurisdictional conflicts. The potential for conflict will not disappear unless Bill 51 appropriately addresses the issue of boundary adjustments, including adjustments for the city of Barrie.

In previous submissions to the minister, the city of Barrie requested that the concepts of sustainable development and an environmentally responsible approach to future growth be supported. The city of Barrie has recommended and still supports provincial action to immediately undertake a number of minor boundary adjustments. These adjustments, together with the establishment of a joint planning area outside of the city's boundaries, would help to address the watershed and drainage issues which are most pressing for the city.

Recognizing that the city of Barrie's concerns are not the primary focus of Bill 51, the city of Barrie has, independent of the province, undertaken a number of steps to address Barrie's concerns while facilitating greater consultation with neighbouring municipalities and the county.

These steps include extensive consultation with representatives from our four neighbouring municipalities regarding specific matters of interest to the city of Barrie and those municipalities. Specifically, the city of Barrie has proposed and discussed the following matters with our neighbours:

(1) Creation of a fringe management area located within the adjacent municipality and under the jurisdiction of that municipality.

(2) Control of the fringe management area would be through separate agreements between the city of Barrie and that municipality.

(3) Land use in the fringe management area would be restricted to agriculture.

(4) That all municipalities should subscribe to the philosophy that land development must be ecologically responsible and must be supported on full municipal services.

(5) That the city of Barrie and the adjacent municipalities recognize the potential for mutually beneficial intermunicipal service agreements and that either party may request consideration of joint service arrangements, as appropriate.

The city of Barrie has found that the previous annexation agreement with the town of Innisfil has been a very useful and successful arrangement for managing boundary issues. That agreement could serve as the foundation for a model for resolving the outstanding city issues and areas of interest.

In support of greater consultation with the county, the city of Barrie has recently appointed a city alderman as a full voting member of the county planning committee.

Although the city of Barrie has outlined its position on the issue of joint planning a number of times, it is important to note once again that the city does not support joint planning with the county and does not support the management of any fringe management through a formal joint committee structure.

The city of Barrie has worked very cooperatively with the provincial government and with the adjacent municipalities in attempting to facilitate resolution of the outstanding county restructuring-related issues. It is now time for the provincial government to finally resolve the outstanding issues in order to address the important matters affecting the city of Barrie.

The city of Barrie is the largest municipality in Simcoe county and is a provincially designated growth area. As such, the economic, social and ecological interests of the city of Barrie are of major importance to the whole county. Bill 51 and the matters contained therein have significant implications for the city of Barrie.

For these reasons, the council of the city of Barrie believes that the legitimate concerns of the city must be addressed by the provincial government. The city appreciates the opportunity to appear before the committee today and confirms our previous requests to meet with the minister to discuss county restructuring-related issues.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation, and we'll move right to questioning, beginning with Mr Wessenger.

Mr Wessenger: Mayor Laking, you have indicated you're not in favour of the joint planning process with respect to the boundary areas with the adjoining municipalities. Is that correct?

Mrs Laking: Mr Wessenger, as a former member of my council, you know the kinds of demands that are made on municipal councillors. We are in favour of working individually with the municipalities on our boundary. We're not in favour of trying to find consensus among all four of them. It may be that the agreement we make with the four municipalities will be identical, but we see that agreement only having to be affected if there is a matter of interest to the municipality in which the land is that would then request us to consider its proposal for that particular land.

In actual fact, Paul, what's happened with Innisfil is that we have never had to meet on that because Innisfil, under the annexation agreement, has not had a proposal within that area that was protected for which it was prepared to recommend approval to us. So it might save us a lot of meetings. That's our concern.


Mr Wessenger: Would you feel that you'll be adequately protected at the stage that we have an official plan in effect for the county of Simcoe?

Mrs Laking: I would think it probably needs a little stronger line drawn, but that might be a fallback position, Paul. I'm not sure how tight the regulations within the boundaries of our municipality would be indicated in that official plan.

Mr Wessenger: You indicated about the whole question of financial viability. I know in your proposal you really didn't deal with any specific recommendations in that regard. Do you see this county of Simcoe restructuring act as interim legislation, something for the interim, and in the long run do you see an eventual further restructuring down the road?

Mrs Laking: If you were asking me to be a member of the provincial government and make some of the tough decisions that will need to be made by the government, I would say that before you got into this structure you probably should have made some of those tough fiscal decisions that had to do with policing, for instance, and every member of every community paying the same cost towards policing, or at least paying for the same percentage of their own policing.

If that sort of fiscal outfall had been addressed first, then I think a lot of the municipalities you're dealing with today might indeed have realized that there was an advantage to larger municipalities. I think those outcomes will be evident to the municipalities in Simcoe county in the coming years and they indeed may be asking for more economical units.

Mr Wessenger: Just one further question. Would you indicate to the committee, at the present time you do have how much land available, do you feel, for how many years for future, for instance, industrial expansion?

Mrs Laking: How fast is the province going to help us grow within our industrial expansion policy? A very tough question. We're not cramped at the moment, but I think long-term planning requires more than we probably have. I'm not talking about expansion here, other than some minor adjustments.

Mr Eddy: I want to thank your worship for making this interesting presentation. I'm particularly interested in the creation of a fringe management area located within an adjacent municipality and noting the city council's opposition to joint planning boards.

Joint planning boards were a very common body and they were dissolved by the members themselves in many cases because they weren't working. They were time consuming and you have to realize that the municipality in which the land is situated had the final say anyway, and our planning process allows for an adjacent municipality. This is a very interesting concept and you see it working in the case of an adjacent municipality even where there's some considerable activity or proposals for planning changes. Would you comment on that?

Mrs Laking: I was part of one of those joint planning committees in the 1970s. I well understood the frustrations that we felt, because you might be able to put planning teeth into something that would work better than it did at that time, but yes, our Innisfil agreement has worked well. We think it's a good model.

Mr Jim Wilson: Thank you, Mayor Laking, for appearing before the committee. I know the city wasn't given a great deal of notice and the hearings have kind of come upon us all rather quickly, so I appreciate you taking the time on such short notice to appear.

I'm interested -- on page 3 of your presentation you say in the middle of that page: "The decision-making process which culminated with the introduction of Bill 51 focused on the achievement of consensus rather than the original, more broadly based purpose of the county study." Do you have any particular examples in mind where consensus was achieved, rather than the purpose of the study?

Mrs Laking: I think the broader purpose that was originally envisioned was part of the reason the city of Barrie and the city of Orillia were asked to join into the study. When we were asked to leave, the following procedure seemed to be a procedure that could get the majority of county council. I would challenge you that some lines were drawn in order to try to appease certain interests and keep certain support. If I were asked to draw those lines, I could give you a different version.

Mr Jim Wilson: I appreciate your frankness, because I contended in my opening remarks that some of the lines are a little suspicious if one of the objectives, as you've said in your brief, of the bill was to come up with self-sufficient units. I need only look at some of the amalgamations taking place in my own riding, like Adjala and Tosorontio, and it throws out any theory the government may have presented in selling this bill or this process to the public. So I appreciate your comments there.

I perhaps disagree to a certain extent with some of your oral comments, though, in that I think you come to this presentation with the premise that larger units are more economical units and you talked about perhaps in the future the county will see the wisdom of more economical units. Do you want to just expand on that? I've done a search of the literature. If you look at Oxford or even look at south Simcoe or if you look at any of the regional governments that have been set up in the past, we don't find actually less expensive government; we find over the long run more expensive government.

Mrs Laking: You really want me to answer that? Because I'm going to be very frank. I think that if we have very large enough municipal units we don't need a province, so we've got rid of one level of government very quickly.

Mr Jim Wilson: Again, you're very frank. I notice for the record, your worship, that you're skipping that level altogether.

Mrs Laking: I think a strong federal government and strong municipalities could do a good job, Jim.

Mr Jim Wilson: There's my request of Hansard: Speed it up. Ms Laking may need these remarks for her campaign.

I do appreciate your frankness, Janice.

The Chair: With that, we'll pass to Mr McLean.

Mr McLean: Mayor Laking, I have a couple of questions. You talk about communities of interest and you talk about the establishment of boundaries that recognize communities of interest will assist in focusing growth in urban areas and would help to reduce the rural fringe development. Then on page 4 you say, "Land use in the fringe management area would be restricted to agriculture." Does the city of Barrie plan in the immediate future or in the future to expand the boundaries northward?

Mrs Laking: That's going to be somebody's decision some time in the future. We have no request for that at the moment. We just think that because we have in the past -- and I'll have to be historical on it -- expanded boundaries over areas that have been developed in ways that we would not necessarily develop them, and without services that the residents then demand and are a cost to the existing residents of the municipality, that we would both be better served if that was not happening.

Mr McLean: Your boundary to the north, of course, the Hickling property and the Wismer property -- there has been a request by them to be included in the boundaries when we were going through this process. You would see nothing wrong with that happening if that's a minor boundary adjustment?

Mrs Laking: I don't think my council would have any problem. That particular one, I think, can be serviced by gravity and probably makes some sense in terms of a township road that is now entering into the city and we have had some discussion with the township on, but it's not within my purview to make that request.

Mr McLean: But you would be happy if it happened. Thank you.

Mr Sean G. Conway (Renfrew North): Your worship, I appreciate your submission today. Just a couple of questions. The first arises from your oral submission. I gather that from your point of view the city of Barrie looked with some fondness on the Barrie annexation of some years ago as perhaps a preferred model for sorting out interjurisdictional questions.

Mrs Laking: I think you put words into my mouth that I didn't in terms of a fondness. The acrimony involved with that particular annexation, both on the part of Innisfil and on the part of Vespra, is still very active. So I look at it with no fondness. However, the result in terms of the land that was preserved for future growth if needed within the township of Innisfil has worked well. I think it's been easy for Innisfil too, because it's been able to say to major developers that came into that area, "Go away." That has let them operate on some focal areas that they wanted to concentrate on.


Mr Conway: Section 34 of the bill before the committee has, I think, attracted some interest. The section -- I'm sure you're familiar with it -- provides that before January 1, 2001, the minister may undertake a review of the municipal boundaries of the city of Barrie and of the city of Orillia.

I am quite new to this particular debate, though I know a little bit about Simcoe county. One gets the sense that there are some, perhaps in the non-Barrie and Orillia parts of Simcoe county, who imagine that the two aforementioned urban communities might have imperial ambitions.

It has been suggested here today that perhaps one of the most useful things the committee could do to show, if nothing else, goodwill is simply to amend the bill by striking out that provision of the bill. Would it concern the municipal corporation of the city of Barrie if Bill 51 were to be amended in a way to eliminate section 34?

Mrs Laking: Sean, I guess the reality of the world is that the minister could amend it next year or in 1996 or in 2049. So I think the wording probably is semantic in any case.

Mr Conway: So it wouldn't concern --

Mrs Laking: You must realize that I'm speaking as Janice Laking rather than as a consensus of my council at the moment, but it's not my bill anyway.

Mr Conway: But would I be right, then, in taking from that that the city wouldn't be particularly upset if that section were to be dropped?

Mrs Laking: Sean, we came into the committee, we came into the county restructuring, saying that to really get into the next century, we should be looking at six municipalities within the county of Simcoe. We came a long way when we agreed maybe six could go to 13, and 13 has now gone to 16.

I think the municipalities themselves are going to have to have a very strong look. If some of those lines remain as they are now, they're going to want to get together. Janice Laking would not have a strong objection to it, because I don't think it means anything.

The Chair: Thank you very much, Mayor Laking and members of council, Mr Lee, for coming before us this afternoon. We appreciate you taking the time.

Mrs Laking: Thank you. On behalf of my council and the members of my committee who are with me, I want to say thank you to you people. I'm sure you've got better things to do on August afternoons too and I'm impressed with the number of members who are with you today. Mr Beer, thank you.

The Chair: Thank you.


The Chair: I'd next call on the reeve of the township of Springwater, Ms Helen Coutts. If she would be good enough to come forward. While Ms Coutts is coming forward to take her seat, could I just note for members, there are two presentations to be added at the end today, each of 15 minutes: Mr C.R. Groves at 4:45 and Mr Alan Taylor at 5 o'clock.

Ms Coutts, welcome to the committee. If you would be good enough to introduce your colleagues and then please proceed with your submission once you're settled. Your submission is being circulated to the members of the committee.

Mrs Helen Coutts: I will pause briefly until those are circulated.

The Chair: We listen well and we're fast readers.

Mrs Coutts: Chairperson and members of the committee, my name is Helen Coutts and I'm currently the reeve of the township of Vespra. As the committee will be aware, the townships of Vespra and Flos and the village of Elmvale will be amalgamating under the legislation you are currently reviewing on January 1, 1994, to become the township of Springwater. The terms of the legislation state that I will be the mayor of that new municipality, and it is in that capacity that I have been requested to address you today on behalf of the township of Springwater. Accompanying me are on my left, Reeve Don Bell of the township of Flos, and on my right, Reeve John Brown of the village of Elmvale.

I would be guilty of misrepresentation if I were to say that the 15 members of the three municipal councils involved in this amalgamation were unanimously and wholeheartedly in support of restructuring at the commencement of this exercise. I'm pleased to be able to inform this committee, however, that after initial difficulties, the councils of these three municipalities have been able to work together and have succeeded in accomplishing many of the preparatory tasks, not the least of which is the designation of all staff to new positions within the new municipality. Ward boundaries have been established and the manner in which the new municipality is to be organized and housed is well on the way to being resolved. Consequently, the 15 politicians involved in our particular exercise would not be prepared to advocate abandonment of the process, and therefore wish to go on record as supporting the principle of this legislation.

We appreciate amendments that were made to the act which respond to our previous comments, including those to the public utility commission section.

Having said this, I've been requested to raise with you two issues that remain of concern to Springwater.

First, in our original submission on the draft bill, we expressed our extreme concern with regard to sections 5 and 49, which is now section 52, of the proposed legislation. These sections dealt with the dissolution of recreation committees in section 52 and the establishment of each municipal council as the recreation committee.

In our original submission, we indicated that we felt the basic foundation for local recreation in our municipalities has been voluntarism and the undeniable pride which manifests itself in the efficient operating and maintaining of a facility which local people regard as theirs. We indicated that we felt the removal or even severe limitation of that right would not only lead to the withdrawal of local people from involvement in their local facility, but would also create practical difficulties for councils.

It would seem that in response to this and many other submissions which the provincial government received with particular regard to this part of the legislation, a subsection has now been added to section 5 which indicates, "A council deemed to be a board of commission under subsection (1) may exercise the powers under paragraph 58 of section 207 of the Municipal Act."

While this is an addition that we requested, we are by no means convinced that this serves to preserve the voluntarism and pride which we feel is so fundamental to local recreation. We feel there should be clarification of the powers and abilities of the board of management that may be created under section 207, clause 58(e), with particular regard to the financial and other independence that such a board would be entitled to enjoy. If the effect of the additional subsection is not to preserve the relative freedom of the local people to provide for their own recreation, it would be Springwater's position that the amendment is inadequate.

Second, we must join our voice with those of other municipalities surrounding the cities of Barrie and Orillia in opposing section 34 of the legislation. As far as Springwater is concerned, this provision has been inserted in the legislation to appease the cities. It is respectfully suggested that this provision to allow the minister to undertake a review of municipal boundaries of the cities prior to January 1, 2001, is so fundamental to the municipality to which it relates that it severely undermines the purpose of the restructuring exercise and creates the prospect of further total upheaval for the municipal residents involved within a relatively short period of time.


Not only would it make nonsense of the ward system that each new municipality has created, and make the work and expense invested in developing an organization to service the ratepayers futile, but it would also substantially undermine the financial stability of the rural municipalities surrounding the cities at a time when, as a result of the restructuring next year, that stability has only just been recreated. We respectfully request that this section be deleted from the legislation on the basis that the cities can apply for the necessary legislation at a time when they can adequately and properly show that the need has arisen for further land.

I would respectfully comment that the more cynical of us would see a very definite relationship between sections 33 and 34. Springwater is on record as supporting the concept of joint planning, and on that basis has met and will continue to meet with the city of Barrie. This, however, is in the belief that joint planning is a positive and possibly proactive measure, where two municipalities listen to and give consideration to issues that are relevant to each of them in relation to proposed development. We are not prepared to contemplate simply a freeze on an area of land around the city boundaries as being sufficient to accommodate section 33.

It is respectfully suggested that a freeze as such is not joint planning, but a measure that lends weight to the argument that the establishment of the "joint planning area" is merely a façade which ensures that the land in question is as free as possible of development pending annexation of the same by the city following the minister's review under section 34. However, please be assured that Springwater will continue to work cooperatively with the city of Barrie to address planning issues.

In closing, I have been requested to inform the committee that the three councils comprising the new township of Springwater wish this legislation to proceed in order that restructuring can occur on January 1, 1994. While the advantages and disadvantages are not, we are sure, capable of being fully appreciated as yet, we know this is a time of change and we are ready to meet the challenges of the future as a unified municipality.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the committee for giving me an opportunity to make this presentation, I would like to ask if Reeve Bell and Reeve Brown may be given an opportunity to add anything at this moment and then we would be pleased to answer any questions you wish to ask.

The Chair: Fine. Gentlemen?

Mr Don Bell: Thank you, madam, and thank you, Mr Chairman. I'd just like to say, on behalf of the township of Flos council, that our council has endorsed this presentation. We have worked very cooperatively with the township of Vespra and the village of Elmvale in proceeding with the restructuring, we are also very strong on joint planning and we feel that Springwater can address issues that have been raised by the two previous presenters under our concept of joint planning.

Mr John Brown: I'd just like to welcome the opportunity to say a few words. Elmvale may be a little different than the other two municipalities we are amalgamating with. We happen to be a small community with all the urban utilities that every large city has. It hasn't been an easy amalgamation for us because we're dealing with agricultural versus urban. I can't say we've endorsed the situation totally, but we've also gone along with it at the same time. We certainly have not held back in any participating way of trying to make Springwater a better place to live.

I know that my council has had a lot of second thoughts about it, because we sit in a position where we have our own sewers, we have our own water and we're going to be kind of left out in limbo with the user-pay situation, which adds a fair debt to us. But we are willing at this point to try to make this thing work.

I would just like to re-emphasize what Reeve Coutts has said concerning the committee aspect on recreation. I think recreation was started by the local interest way back, many years ago, and to take the recreation out of the hands of the people who are really using the recreation would be a cardinal sin. So I really feel, as we said in our presentation, that is quite an important factor, otherwise it won't work.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to speak.

The Chair: Thank you. We'll turn right to questions. Mr Conway?

Mr Conway: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman, and thank you all for a very helpful submission.

Just two questions: I'm very sympathetic to the point you've all made with respect to the dissolution of local recreation committees as provided for under section 52 of the bill. From your point of view, Reeve Coutts and colleagues, what specific relief could the committee provide to address that concern?

Mrs Coutts: I would think if there were a provision that under the direction of council there could be local recreation and community centre groups that had some powers, it would solve our problems.

As you may be aware, in certain parts of the province there are little community centres which have continued to function as independent entities under the umbrella of council, even though current legislation may suggest that is unwise. In those places, the roofs get fixed and the septic systems get replaced and the ball diamonds get mowed and groomed because people have that pride, and that's what we're concerned about. If all of a sudden Springwater must own them all, we're going to need a huge parks and recreation department, where in two municipalities we truly have none at the moment and in the other one we have one employee, but we have this whole army of volunteers who keep a lot of recreation programs and facilities working.

Mr Conway: I think that's exactly the point with which I am very familiar and sympathetic.

The second question has to do with the business of your support for the joint planning committees. My colleague Mr Eddy's had to leave to go to the AMO conference. You may have heard him a moment ago. In fact, he's said a couple of times today that from his experience, they have not been very successful. I don't have very much experience in my part of the Ottawa Valley -- I represent part of the county of Renfrew -- but I just wondered what you felt about the criticisms you've heard today around the difficulties with joint planning councils, many which have been just abandoned because of the reasons cited, and what you might have thought of Mayor Laking's point about a fringe management area concept.

Mrs Coutts: If I could speak to that first, and perhaps my colleagues would like to add something, the joint planning boards were prior to my involvement with the municipal council. I've heard members of the city of Barrie council describe them as little tea parties where they got together and did nothing. That does not seem to serve any purpose whatsoever.

However, neighbours, whether they're municipal neighbours or whether they're just neighbours who live on the same street, tend to have wee disagreements over whose branch of the apple tree that is and who has the right to cut it down, and I think the same thing happens with municipal boundaries, particularly when water runs back and forth and streets cross and traffic and all of those things. It seems to me that joint planning would allow the representatives of the two groups to sit down and talk about those sorts of problems with proposed development before they happen, where now we have the commenting system that happens after the development is pretty well planned, and so we're saying: "Whoa, hold it, you forgot to think that if the ditch came to the end of the municipal boundary, the water's going to go somewhere. Think about our side of it." It's sort of after the fact. I would think joint planning would be proactive and would be much earlier in the process. It would perhaps only come into play when there is a need, when there is a change in designation envisioned or contemplated. It would just give that extra little opening of the door for the two municipal partners to talk to one another about things.

Just incidentally, I might add that for that same sort of reason, we see a shadow falling in both directions from a municipal boundary. It's hard to determine in advance on which side of the boundary the tree might grow that has the apples and the branch on the wrong side and that I picked and you're mad about or that you picked and I'm mad about.

The Chair: Thank you. Just before moving on to Mr Wilson, the parliamentary assistant with a clarification regarding the recreation committees.

Mr Hayes: I appreciate it, Mr Chair. On your question regarding the recreation committees, I would like Mr Griggs to clarify this, and maybe you can respond if you're not satisfied.

Mr Griggs: I just want to point out that there was draft discussion legislation that was circulated to the municipalities prior to first reading to give the municipalities an opportunity to review the bill and provide comments. This was a comment we received quite strongly, this concern that there wouldn't be provision for the appointing of recreation committees by the municipalities, because what the bill does is it dissolves all existing recreation committees and assigns the new council as the recreation committee for that municipality.


The reason for that, and it's been pointed out in this case, is that you have three separate recreation committees. Obviously, when the new municipality is created, you have to combine those recreation committees. That's what the bill does. On the request of the municipalities, there was a subsection added which states that nothing in the bill stops the municipalities from appointing a committee to deal with recreation matters. So none of the abilities of the councils have changed; all the bill does is combine the existing recreation committees for the new municipalities.

Mr Conway: All right. Can I ask this question, then, because I need a clarification. Now we have these three distinct municipalities; they each have their own recreation committee. That's correct. They are highly volunteer because they're local, rural, small-town communities. Under the provisions of section 52 and other sections of Bill 51, the new policy is that there will be one committee for the new?

Mr Griggs: Not necessarily. What the bill does is it dissolves all the existing committees and then it assigns the new council as the committee. But the council could choose to appoint three separate committees or one committee or whatever it chooses to do. The bill does not infringe on the ability of the council to do that.

Mr Conway: But as a practical matter, in the new larger, consolidated township of Springwater, is that going to work? I don't understand the dynamic of your communities.

Mrs Coutts: Right. I don't see a problem with one recreation committee that serves the whole municipality. I think in all of this the three councils have been working together and anticipate becoming one council next January. Our library boards, and we have two library boards because we have a joint board between two municipalities, are working together and they don't see a problem with next January and one board, and I don't think the recreation committees do.

To me, the other part is all those community centres out there in the three municipalities. That's where the true little volunteer boards are, with the little community centres, working with the arena, working to provide a tennis program, all of those. Those are the ones that concern us.

Mr Griggs: I guess the way the bill was written it was to provide the new municipality with a clean slate so that if it wanted to have one recreation committee or if it wanted to continue several recreation committees, it could do that. But it was to deal with this, as you said, bringing together these functions for the new municipality.

Mrs Coutts: John, you spoke to this. Do you wish to speak?

Mr John Brown: Yes, thanks, Reeve Coutts. My concern is, for instance, in our village of Elmvale we have one committee alone that looks after the ballpark and raises the money, handles all the funds, takes care of all the liabilities and everything. I was led to believe about 18 months ago that this amalgamation was to cut costs. I hope that hasn't changed. It's been a fairly expensive trip so far.

So by taking the volunteer labour out, somebody is going to pay to have that work done. I'm talking about dragging your ball diamonds, I'm talking about reconditioning them every spring, the maintenance of them. We look after the grass cutting and everything from that particular bank account and have been since 1971. If you come along and tell these people that because of amalgamation their services are no longer needed, they'll have about three or four months to think about this, and then when you ask them back, they won't come back.

Mr Griggs: That's not what has to occur. I mean, the legislation will dissolve those committees and then you can say, "You guys have been doing such a great job, why don't you continue for the new municipality?"

Mr John Brown: Then why would you dissolve them?

Mr Griggs: Just to provide for that consolidation. Another municipality may choose to just have one committee. In your case, you may choose to have several.

The Chair: I think the points have been made here and perhaps there may be some grounds to continue afterwards, but I'm just conscious of time, and there are some other questions.

Mr Jim Wilson: Mr Brown, Ms Coutts and Mr Bell, thank you for appearing before the committee. I think, with respect to recreation, you hit upon one of the surprises of amalgamation down at the south end of the riding. I'll touch on that in a minute.

Currently, do your three municipalities apply separately for recreation grants and receive recreation grants from the province? Because I'll tell you, one of the surprises of amalgamation and one of the reasons it's a form of downloading from the province is that on the map now you will be one municipality at Municipal Affairs and when they're, for instance, in New Tecumseth, treating three arenas, in the past -- I remember the recreation director coming to me after amalgamation saying, "We used to get three separate arena grants. We got one this year and we have to decide what arena roof we're going to fix." It was a form of downloading to the municipality. And I said, "Well, that's because, John, you're one municipality now at Municipal Affairs and this is where they save money."

So you ask the question, why dissolve the committees? It's necessary in order to perform the downloading from the province.

Secondly, I do want to ask you, because you talk about voluntarism and you talk about -- I assume in that it's fund-raising for the ballpark, for the hockey teams, for all the stuff we do. I'm going to ask anyone who wants to answer it, how do you think fund-raising is going to occur? When I look at the county of Simcoe map and I see that Creemore, Stayner, Sunnidale and Nottawasaga don't even exist as entities on the new map of the county of Simcoe which will go into effect -- it simply says Clearview.

Now, I can tell you, having been amalgamated, fund-raising does become a problem. You get people in Beeton who say, "Well, I'm not fund-raising for the hockey team over in Alliston," and you get a recreation department that has to deal with that sort of attitude. I want to tell you, I agree with that sort of attitude and it's one of the reasons I've been opposed to forced restructurings along the way.

Has anyone thought of these comments that I've just made and do you want a chance to rebut them? Mr Brown?

Mr John Brown: Yes, thanks, Mr Wilson. We're about to embark on a similar situation with an arena and we're hoping that -- at this point, there's not a lot of action from the provincial government, but we're hoping that there is some down the road because a grant is going to be totally necessary for this to work, because we're bringing the township of Vespra on track to be involved in an arena that it really has had very little to do with -- on the south end, excuse me, not on the north end of Vespra but on the south end. We are concerned about the fund-raising that way because we're going to have to reeducate somehow or another that this is going to no longer be called the Flos-Elmvale Memorial Arena; it's going to be called the Springwater arena, and that's going to take some reeducating.

The plans are being drawn right now for an arena so we're about to embark on that situation. But I don't know how it's going to -- this is all new to, I would say, Reeve Bell and me, due to the fact that we've never had to look after a reconstruction of this magnitude. So we're just hoping that we have the blessings of the complete township of Springwater. Otherwise, we'll be knocking on the parliamentary doors. We'll be knocking anyway so, you know us by face now.

Mr Jim Wilson: We'll note, Mr Brown, you've just made a plug for the arena.

The Chair: Mrs Coutts, did you want to comment?

Mrs Coutts: Just to add that I think we have the concern because we want the ability of the small community to keep its name and to keep the name for its community centre and to have that little committee, volunteer committee, that works with that community centre.

I come from the village of Midhurst, which is not a separated anything. It has never been a police village. It's now about 2,000 people. But we're still Midhurst and we maintain a Midhurst community hall with a volunteer group.

Some of the voluntarism disappears as the little village grows, but in my other villages in Vespra it's still very strong. That's why we spoke, because we want to see that continue, because I think they will do the fund-raising for the Anton Mills community centre if they in fact know that the Fun Day money goes to their community centre and they can track that it does and they can put in the cupboards or the new lamp or whatever it is they need.

Mr Jim Wilson: It is a challenge.

The Chair: Reeve Bell, I think, just wanted to comment as well, and then we'll go back to another question.

Mr Bell: I just wanted to comment that we still haven't found out this year, Jim, whether we're going to get our individual municipal grants -- the recreation grants -- and it doesn't sound as though they're coming.

Mr Jim Wilson: The point is, at least, Don, you're entitled to them. Under this one, you're not.

Mr Bell: I'm not sure we're going to get them, though. As long as that issue is clarified, I think, in the regulations, Mr Griggs, if they can address our issues in the regulations and let the communities operate the way they have been, I don't think we have too much concern.

Mr Jim Wilson: I just want to go to the crux of why we are here today as a committee discussing the restructuring of Simcoe county, and just to reiterate for you, because the presenters weren't here for my opening remarks, Mr McLean and I have appeared in this chamber on a few occasions and we've been told by county councillors over the past few years that they felt they had a gun to their heads, that they had to go ahead with restructuring given that the south end had been forced restructured under the Liberal government and that if county council didn't go ahead with restructuring, Queen's Park would do it.


I had the opportunity on the record this morning to ask the parliamentary assistant, Mr Hayes, if that was true. He flatly said no, that had the county of Simcoe said, "No, we don't want anything to do with restructuring," this government, coming from the parliamentary assistant, and also, I must add, the previous minister, Dave Cooke, told me this, would not have forced restructuring. You know the view of the Conservative Party, it would not have forced restructuring at this time. Things have changed; we are the party that forced regional government in the past, and we despise it. Frankly, with respect to the two private members' bills I brought forward concerning restructuring, one of which would have prevented municipalities from being restructured against their will, Bernard Grandmaître, the former Liberal Minister of Municipal Affairs, voted in favour of both that resolution and the bill, saying that the policy of his party is changing.

Given that, I also asked the parliamentary assistant, "Where did county council get the idea that they had a gun to their heads?" He said: "I have no idea. It's the first I've heard of it." So given that I've heard that from individuals on county council, I want to give you the opportunity to respond to how we got to this point, given that your local MPPs told you we didn't have a gun to your heads. If it was the bureaucrats at Municipal Affairs, I want that put on the record. If it was something else or if it was the wisdom of Job that told county council it should go ahead and do this, then perhaps we'd better hear about that miracle too.

Mr Bell: I'd be glad to respond to that. I did have the pleasure of serving on the study committee right from its initiation in 1989. The study was county-driven. Some of us didn't like it. It was a majority vote of county council to ask for a county study. There was a vote held almost 10 or 12 times throughout the year in attempts to abandon the process, and the county council sitting around this table here in a majority vote every time asked the study committee to continue to proceed. So it was driven by the county council. Despite what Mr Wilson may have said, that we had a gun to our heads --

Mr Jim Wilson: No, I heard that specifically from county councillors many, many times over the years, that they're being forced to do it or Queen's Park would do it for them. I don't know where they got that idea.

Mr Bell: I don't know either.

Mr Jim Wilson: And that was the raison d'être put out to the residents of my communities for restructuring today.

The Chair: Do you have a comment on that as well?

Mrs Coutts: I think, as Reeve Bell has said, this was a decision by the county, but as one county resident and one person with a county council vote, I would say that I was influenced by the fact that south Simcoe had been restructured. We suddenly had this funny county with these three huge municipalities to the south and the rest as it was. I had two choices, only you people didn't really propose drawing a line across Highway 90 and making two counties out of us. That would have been one answer. Because the south had changed so dramatically, it made sense to make the whole match and therefore to restructure. I don't think that's a gun; I would like to think that was common sense, that after the part had been done and really had been forced, let's face it, that it made sense, and as Reeve Bell said, it was then a democratic decision to proceed.

The Chair: Reeve Bell, did you want to add --

Mr Bell: Just in addition, I think there were only two public meetings held when south Simcoe was restructured by the former government and the county council asked at that time if county council could do a study of the balance of the county to reorganize the rest of the county.

The Chair: Mayor Brown, did you -- --

Mr John Brown: Thank you. It's Reeve Brown.

The Chair: Sorry.

Mr John Brown: Mayor Brown would be nice, but we're still a small town. That's how I got involved in this.

I kind of have to disagree with my colleagues a bit. I've been on council eight years but I've only been two years as reeve -- two fairly hectic years, due to the fact of this. I was always led to believe, being on the outside because I didn't attend county council at the time, that if we didn't do something on our own, we would be told what to do. In other words, you could choose your bed partner now or be told whom you're going to bed with. That's why a lot of research went into this whole thing from our point of view. It may not have been a gun to your head, but you certainly were influenced that you'd better proceed. As Mayor Coutts has said, you took a look to your south and you knew what happened there -- and there were "ifs" and "ands" and there were some arguments and things -- so if you could do it in a regimented fashion on your own, you'd be much better off.

Also, with regard to this vote that was taken on county council, we had the pleasure from our former reeve of going over these questions. The questions were put in such a manner that you had to say yes to a certain amount of them, like, "Do you need fire protection?" "Yes." "Do you like sewage in your backyard?" "No." It only made sense. You had to answer yes to these. I was given the understanding, and I stand to be corrected because I wasn't here, that these were all totalled at the end, and when you totalled up the votes, if the percentage was in favour of restructuring -- that's because of all the yes votes -- then restructuring went through.

That's all I can tell you, because that's what I was told. I remember the day they went through all the voting; it was a long day. I think if anybody saw those questions, there were some that were -- the way we looked at it from our municipality in Elmvale, a lot of the ideas were terrific, but you didn't have to amalgamate to do them.

The Chair: Thank you. We're tight for time. We have time for only one more question.

Mr Hayes: Of course, you're all county councillors. My understanding of what has happened here is that all these amendments or recommendations were brought forward to county council and county council -- correct me if I'm wrong -- voted on each recommendation individually and then voted on the proposal as a whole. Is that correct?

Mr Bell: Yes, that's correct.

Mr McLean: Mr Chairman, I never got --

Mr Wessenger: I didn't get --

The Chair: I'm sorry, but the Chair has to deal with the time we have. We have had the full time. I'll allow Reeve Brown a final comment. Those who weren't able to ask questions, I will make every endeavour to catch you on the next round.

Mr John Brown: I'm not sure, but I think at the time that vote was taken they used a multiple vote. I'm from Elmvale and I get one vote that counts for one. If you're from another municipality, it can count for three. Theoretically, I could be against it and it really doesn't matter; I have to take the three votes to equalize it.

Mr McLean: Mr Chairman, on a five-second point of order: I just want to make it abundantly clear that there are many county councillors and ex-councillors who told me that if they didn't do it the province would. I just want to make that abundantly clear.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming this afternoon, for your written presentation and also for answering our questions.


The Chair: I would now call on Mr Robert Carson, if he would be good enough to come forward. Mr Carson, we have a copy of your submission. Once you've had a chance to get settled, please go ahead with your remarks.

Mr Robert Carson: Thank you. I was almost more interested in listening to the answers to Mr Wilson's question and the questions related to how did we get to this point.

You'll see from my presentation that I'm a student of restructuring, and that's why the brief is in front of you today. I've had an opportunity over the last couple of years to sit in on county council meetings and watch this process from afar. The rest of my association with the process has been through a master's project which is related to a program that Mr Conway is very familiar with at Queen's.

This is quite frankly a proposal or submission which I make to you knowing full well that this restructuring process has moved far along and that we are only about three and a half months away from the planned date for implementation. I've also had the chance to listen today to the discussions related to all the technical matters that are in process in order to put the restructuring in place. So it may seem somewhat a moot point to come forward now and say, why this restructuring?

The answer to that is that as a student of public administration I'm looking at the prospect of using this restructuring as a model for future county restructurings. You will know from your research that this is probably the only restructuring in the 20 years of the program which has been initiated by a local council. The questions you asked a moment ago are particularly poignant in that regard, because if it is the only one and we're not quite sure how we got to this point, then I'm a little concerned about the process.


If I may, the comments I'm about to make are just briefly to suggest that I have two concerns related to the bill as it stands now.

The proposed restructuring of Simcoe county attempts to solve problems which, from my perspective, look backward rather than forward. They try to address problems of 1989 rather than 1999 and are looking at solutions which are in the context of annexation and amalgamation rather than at an overview of local government that would position the county for some effective local government in the next century.

In terms of different agendas for local government reform, this restructuring process may be characterized as seeing a county which has selected an amalgam of the past and the present rather than taking a more quantum leap towards a desirable state of affairs in effective local government. By accepting the recommendations of the county, the province has really failed to demonstrate, in my view, to other counties what vision it may have of the appropriate structural, functional and financial changes which will be required for local government in Ontario for the 21st century.

I have two specific concerns with Bill 51 as the final phase of what has been a lengthy process. First, the decision to go forward with county restructuring without including the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia is contrary to the approach that's been taken by previous governments in the regionalization process -- I know not everyone's a fan of that -- that occurred between 1953 and 1973. It also is contrary to the approach taken with the other county restructurings, the Oxford county one in the early 1970s and the Sarnia-Lambton restructuring which occurred in 1989. It retains the county government as the representative of only 70% of the residents of the geographic county and really begs the question as to whether such a government can adequately address the issues of the next decade for Simcoe county.

Except for the status quo option, all the options in the 1990 What If... report prepared by the study committee included the cities within the restructured county. The decision to excuse the city representatives from the study committee in January 1991 and the subsequent failure of the joint consultation committee in the spring of 1992 really made the study committee's, and subsequently the council's, recommendations for restructuring incomplete.

Sections 33 and 34 -- and there was some discussion about the fate of those two sections earlier -- of the bill demonstrate the extent to which the current proposal is really an interim proposal without a reorganization that includes probably 85,000 people within this county.

Second, I'm concerned that there are still too many small municipalities in the restructured county. The process of county restructuring in Simcoe has demonstrated the resistance to change by local politicians and citizens. The same resistance characterized the era of regionalization in Ontario. It may be argued that the recommendations of the final report -- namely, the decision to reorganize the county into 16 municipalities -- are the result of an effort to reach a political consensus on a process of county reorganization. I would like to say that I did not read the Barrie submission before I wrote this.

It is my view that the urban-centred, six-municipality option of the What If... report was a preferred structure for a new Simcoe county. That model reunited the two cities with the rest of the county and proposed local government units that were a mix of urban and rural areas, that met the requirements of the principles formulated in the provincial guidelines titled Toward an Ideal County and that were capable of meeting the complex challenges required for planning, the environment and sustainable development within the municipalities over the next decade.

Again, the decision to amalgamate the county's municipalities into 16 units solves last decade's problems. It's more an amalgamation than a restructuring. The result's a political one and one which I've had a chance to watch debated here in county council over the last couple of years. It's not necessarily one that's based upon criteria for effective local government.

This is a piece of legislation which, without being overly dramatic, could be a milestone in local government within the province of Ontario. County government is 150 years old. Within that century and a half there was scarcely any change in the role of county government for over 110 years, until Metropolitan Toronto was reorganized. In the next 20 years, Ontario's regionalization process was really a grafting of the traditional county system on to certain urban settings within the province. Briefly put, the opportunity for change does not occur often.

The county restructuring process has produced numerous studies but, with the exception of this one country, little change in terms of new forms of local government. There have been two counties restructured in the 20 years of the program, but Oxford was really a defensive response to regionalization and Lambton was a comprehensive solution to amalgamation and annexation battles within that area, much like the 1990 south Simcoe amalgamations.

The Simcoe county case is the first initiative from a county council that has moved through the study stage to a proposed restructuring. In my view, the province has a responsibility to assume leadership at this point where there is a degree of local consensus on a reorganization and there is an opportunity for change. The province needs to demonstrate its policy vision of local government for Simcoe county and, from the perspective of all those counties which are conducting studies or have conducted studies over the last 12 years, a model for restructuring. Ontario needs more viable local government, and from my perspective that means more effective county government. The province must provide some direction. Unfortunately, from my view, Bill 51 is a mixed message and would be an interim measure.

The Chair: Thank you very much for your presentation. We are a bit tight, but there are some questions, so I am going to allow one question from each caucus, beginning with Mr Wilson.

Mr Jim Wilson: Thank you, Mr Chairman. That's a challenge in itself.

Mr Carson, thank you very much for your presentation. I understand your point that perhaps Bill 51 doesn't go far enough and you preferred the six-municipality option. I do want to just ask you then, since I get one question, what's wrong with our current system of municipal government? I keep hearing from people out there that we need a more viable system of government and yet, when I visit my local municipalities, which run them as if they were using their own money and have small, efficient units, I find very little wrong and I find indeed that those smaller units are actually quite viable in providing the services people want at a reasonable cost. So tell me I'm wrong.

Mr Carson: If I come up with a good definition of "viable" I could probably make a lot of money as a consultant in municipal affairs. No, what I'm concentred about, Mr Wilson, is that there are, or were, 859 municipalities within the province of Ontario. Most of those serve populations that are under 2,000. You end up with a structure for each one of those little municipalities that somewhat begs the question of whether Prince Edward Island really deserves to be a province.

But you have small municipalities each of which each has to have the structure and the municipal responsibility of the city of North York, with a population of 300,000 people or more. There is a duplication of effort that I believe we can no longer afford. I'm looking at reorganizing that to somehow strike the balance between responsive and representative government on the one hand and cost-effective government on the other. Bigger may not be better, but I'm afraid that the complexities of municipal government in the 1990s in the area of environmental planning and sustainable development questions will leave us with have and have-not municipalities if we don't form units which are capable of dealing with those kinds of issues.

It may beg the question, but in the south Simcoe study I believe that the study of those eight municipalities demonstrated that somehow they were stepping on each other's toes or their own little jurisdictions didn't permit them to look at a bigger question, and so you ended up with the need for some very significant, sophisticated responses to some very real problems.


Mr Jim Wilson: As a supplementary, do you then, in your opinion, have to restructure a whole county, as this bill does? Because you said in your remarks that it's more of an amalgamation. To achieve the goals of good planning and sustainable development, and indeed some economic goals, do you have to restructure as envisioned in Bill 51?

Mr Carson: No, you could come up with a joint approach to special boards that dealt with it on a functional basis, combine different municipalities to work through those boards, but you're creating another layer of government once again. We have school boards and we have library boards and we probably have joint library boards, and we were talking earlier about recreational facilities and the management of those.

There could be a functional organization which wouldn't need this geographic reorganization or territorial organization, and maybe the county would have a role to play in terms of monitoring or setting up those joint service boards. But theoretically, anyway, I don't have the view that you must have a bigger geographic territory. I do have the view that functionally -- and I'm thinking in the environmental area of watersheds and conservation authorities and the way in which they spread across municipal boundaries and even county boundaries and have a functional authority but then run into interference when they have to deal with local municipalities that may have planning functions and desires that are contrary to theirs.

So I don't think it's necessary, but I'm looking to avoid duplication somehow and at the same time develop a sophistication and an ability to deal with some very complex issues where if municipalities don't take over the ability to deal with those things, the province may or could step in. Then you lose further contact at the local level.

Mr Wessenger: Thank you for your presentation, Bob. As I was listening to you, I sort of was thinking about my early days of thinking of myself as somewhat of an academic in this area. I think the basic problem, if we look in the past, is we've had restructured government in Ontario in the past on sort of the regionalization model, which I think we'd suggest is basically a failure because of creating another tier of government and having two tiers which have high levels of organization and bureaucracy. That certainly isn't a very efficient system.

But the question is, you have to balance that and the concept of local communities or local groups developing their own structures -- balance those against an "efficient, viable structure." Which way do you think the balance should be? Do you think the balance should be towards having a more viable or sensible structure; in other words, elimination of duplication? For instance, maybe we should do away with county government and -- we're talking theory here -- have stronger local municipalities.

Mr Carson: To be blunt, the county government has assumed those roles for a wider area traditionally because local municipalities couldn't pick up or did not have an interest in picking up the cost of particular programs or savings. The planning function of Simcoe county may be a perfect example. Would you have needed a county planning department if you had effective local municipalities that had planning in place that was workable, or is the need for a county planning department really a grade on the ability of the local municipalities to come up with a planning function for the 1990s?

Now, I can give you the example of the region of York, which went regional and still hasn't got an official plan at the regional level after 20 years. So I'm not telling you the county's the answer, but just in short, the county may in fact have picked up certain services. Waste management's a new example. Simcoe county was the first one to pass a bylaw under the new waste management provision whereby it would assume certain municipal waste management. I don't think Wasaga Beach liked the outcome of that, and there's been a court case as a result, but there may very well be a case that the province passed that legislation because it didn't perceive that local municipalities were doing the right thing, or the necessary one. So what's the answer to your question?

Mr Wessenger: Yes, what's the answer to my question?

Mr Carson: The answer to the question is a process one. I think Simcoe county needs to be more centralist than it is now. Where the balance is, I'm not quite sure.

There are alternative approaches in terms of the special-purpose bodies that could be created in order to, on a functional basis perhaps, pick those things up without eliminating local municipalities. I'm not quite sure which is --

Mr Wessenger: Could I just follow that with one last question? Should the province reconsider --

The Chair: Mr Wessenger, sorry. We still have one more question. I've allowed a little leeway here just because I think we've been getting into some interesting areas. Mr Conway, final question.

Mr Conway: I'll maybe pick up on something that Paul was saying by just asking a general question with a little bit of a preamble. I'm sorry, Mr Chairman; I won't be too long. But what Simcoe county needs from a sort of technocratic, planning point of view, where I'm probably quite disposed to agree with a lot of what you think and some of what you've said, is one thing. But what Simcoe county, I suspect, is prepared to accept is a rather different thing.

Mr Carson: Or can afford.

Mr Conway: Or can afford.

I'm not an academic. I am a practising politician who's spent 18 years in this business. And today I drove up here. I thought it was interesting: I cut right through Metropolitan Toronto at midday, and the worst traffic jam I encountered was Bayfield Avenue coming in here. I thought that was interesting. Now, it may have been idiosyncratic, but --

Mr Carson: No, I can --

Mr Conway: I've often driven Bayfield Avenue, too, I want you to know, and my sense is that it is an extremely industrious thoroughfare. But it was busier today at 1 o'clock than the Allen Expressway, Highway 400 northbound, even with the construction, Eglinton, Bloor. So I have a sense that there are some things here in Simcoe county that are probably in need of some attention.

Now, I come from Renfrew. I think we're the largest county, maybe. If we're not bigger than Simcoe, we're almost --

Mr Carson: Simcoe's the largest.

Mr Conway: We've got 36 municipalities. We look at Simcoe and we think it's big, but we think it's enormously sophisticated and very urban, because half of our municipalities have fewer than 1,000 people. But I look at this and I say to myself -- and I've been around. Boy, I remember the John Whites and the Darcy McKeoughs. I don't mean to be political, because we've all had them. I mean, Michael Pitfield and Pierre Trudeau had a vision. The only problem with the vision was that it just sounded a hell of a lot better than it felt, and it didn't deliver a lot of what it promised. So we have got, as a practical matter now, a lot of citizens who are from Missouri, who are really sceptical when silver-haired politicians and silver-haired academics -- silver-tongued politicians and silver-haired academics -- come with the promise of a better tomorrow. They just remember the people who offered the same with the divisional school boards and the this and the that.

As a number of people have said, the member from Muskoka and some of my friends from the area who know this region a lot better than I do, people just have a sense of, you know, it was not all bad but it sure as hell wasn't as good as they said it was going to be. So help me, as a practical matter, in dealing with the citizen who is increasingly disaffiliated from all of the structures out there and increasingly disinclined to believe a lot of this informed wisdom.

Mr Carson: I'm not pretending I have any informed wisdom, but I also appreciate your preambles. They -- never mind; I'll leave it at that.

But there is a logic that I think -- I can't remember the example you've used in the past about your constituents in Renfrew, but you have two people on a farm in Renfrew --

Mr Conway: Harry and Mildred.

Mr Carson: Harry and Mildred. Thank you. I'm not surprised that you would have asked this question, remembering Harry and Mildred's example.

See, the logic of regionalization, back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, was very attractive if you were a politician or an academic. But when you started to draw lines on the ground and started to take people's policemen off the street and put in a regional force, there was a political backlash that drove Bill Davis into minority governments in 1975 and 1978, and I don't think he got back a majority until 1981. But it gave a lesson to everyone, I think, except academics, that notwithstanding the logic of bigger government, there was something wrong about all that.


The attributes I would look to would be what has been affectionately known as disentanglement in this province, but really needs to be relabelled "rational entanglement," I think: the need to bring together effective units of government, and they could be Matchedash township with 500 people in it, and that council. But there is a need to identify what's effective and what services that particular locale, and then work out the relationship between the higher levels of government. But the viability is very complex in terms of deciding what's going to work best. It may be that my dream to have a model for county government for Ontario is going to be ad hoc, that each county is going to have to work out its own reorganization, and that may be the last two pages of this 60-page paper. But it is very difficult to try and get down to the practical level in a hypothetical model.

The Chair: I'm sorry. I'm going to have to close off, and Harry and Mildred may not get the full answer at this point, but I do want to thank you very much for coming on behalf of the committee. You have raised, I think, some broader issues that we need to think about.

Mr Carson: Thank you, Mr Chairman. I appreciate that.


The Chair: If I might, then, call on Mr Jack Ellis of the Federation of Tiny Township Shoreline Associations, if he would be good enough to come forward. Mr Ellis, we have all received copies of your submission. Once you've had a chance to get comfortable, please go ahead. And I just remind members that following this presentation, we have three others. Thank you. Please go ahead, and welcome to the committee.

Mr Jack B. Ellis: Thank you very much, Mr Chairman. I'd certainly like to preface my remarks today by saying how glad I am to be here and with a word of very sincere appreciation to the committee for coming to Simcoe county. It's a very golden time of the year and everybody wants to be somewhere else, but we appreciate that you're here to hear the views of those most directly affected by the bill; namely, the taxpayers of all the municipalities in northern Simcoe county.

Bill 51, in our view, is of crucial importance to the future of the county and, as has been pointed out in the recent discussion, no doubt to the future of other counties in Ontario that may be the subject of similar restructuring bills in future.

There's no finer place, in my opinion, to spend a few days in August than here in Simcoe county. We certainly do appreciate that you, Mr Beer, and the other members and the staff, of course, of your committee have taken these few days away. I'm certainly reminded of the time, Mr Beer -- it was a Sunday, I believe, back in June a few years ago -- when you came to the Pottageville Park pavilion to open the place down in King township where, at the time, I was on the board down there. In return for that, I will certainly do my best to give you some solid information as well as to express what I think are the sincere and heartfelt views of our membership.

Now, there's a little section that follows on who we are. Perhaps I will just skip it. I suppose in the light of Mr Conway's remark, I might also remark that we're from Missouri.

We're really from Tiny township. There are in the order of 7,500 seasonal households in Tiny township, representing about 18,000 to 19,000 people. When you add in the 7,500 or so residents who live permanently in the township, you have a population total of 24,000 to 25,000 people. It's interesting to note that that makes Tiny township the largest municipality that will be a member of the county of Simcoe in future. It will outpoint Innisfil in that regard. It would be just about even with Orillia if Orillia were in, and would be about half the size of Barrie if Barrie were in, from a population point of view.

If I go on too long and ramble, I hope I will go directly rather than around in circles, but it comes by me naturally, because my normal occupation is as a professor at York University in environmental studies.

The second section of the brief gives a little recapitulation of how the federation has been involved in restructuring. It was early in 1990 that we first heard about the process and that a report was to be forthcoming in the middle of the year. In talking both to our member associations, and as our member associations had meetings and other gatherings with their members, the interest rose and the concern deepened with what was coming out.

The very first concern we had was that there was literally a 12-day period allowed from the appearance of the interim report, called What If..., for the submission of input from the public. We pointed that out fairly firmly, and also that as far as we could tell, there were very laudable principles put forward in the report. However, after our searching, to our chagrin we didn't find them embodied in the recommendations, particularly as they applied to Tiny township.

Later in August, we made a delegation to Tiny township council, asking them to go on record as opposed to the process at that stage, and we made an initial presentation to the county. One thing that was, I think, of interest to the study committee was that we showed where tax increases had been coming from, particularly in the more recent years. As it turns out, we didn't have data from every single municipality in the county, but certainly from Tiny, and from talking to people in citizens' groups in other municipalities, they were finding that the municipal component of their tax increase was, generally speaking, in the years from 1988 to the early 1990s, being kept under the rate of inflation.

The county government purposes levy had gone up at about triple the rate of inflation and the other county institution, the school boards, namely, had gone up in their levy at about four times the rate of inflation. Mind you, it happens that in Tiny township, some three quarters of the taxes that are collected go straight to the school boards.

It's very interesting, parenthetically, to remark that in Barrie, which is not under the Simcoe county school board, the school board there has been able in fact to contain its rate of increase very much more considerably. Down on the rest of the page, it indicates where we were at various times in getting our input out to the various people, including the wardens of the county and the ministers of the day.

In addition to the various points that we made directly to the ministers and to the various other people, there were a number of our member associations, a number of individuals within them, who made submissions, presentations and letters on the process. I feel it's fair to sum up in saying that the seasonal residents of Tiny township felt strongly about restructuring. They're not opposed to review in the future, or to change, but they have to be shown that it's beneficial and that it achieves what it sets out to achieve.

I think they clearly expressed their views through the process. They were pleased, I would say, that the participation process was extended, certainly in the initial phases, in 1990. But frankly, we were very disappointed, even disgusted, that the fundamental objectives of restructuring, which in our view were not achieved in the interim or the final reports of the study committee, are also not achieved in the draft or final versions of the bill. When we look at Tiny township, we see that alone among all of the affected municipalities in northern Simcoe county, Tiny got plucked of its tax base like a chicken. It was literally carved up, with the most delicious pieces served to its neighbours. There will be a bit more on that later.


We then have a number of points to make about general objectives on a county-wide perspective. We feel the whole purpose of restructuring has been achieved neither by Bill 51 nor the process leading up to it.

We look at the four major priorities -- environmental concerns crossing municipal boundaries and effects of development -- not being effectively addressed by a single municipality. We very much agree that is a significant concern. Bill 51, in our opinion, does nothing to really change this. It was pointed out in the discussion with the last speaker that of all the regional governments this province has had over 20 years, and in one case 40 years, how long have they had an official plan and how effective has it been? The answer is very mixed.

We feel that the province must stay involved, and it has become involved, in environmental protection through planning, particularly through the agricultural lands, the wetlands policies. We feel it should not follow the recommendation of the Sewell commission to devolve more planning power to the municipal level, and to us that would include the county.

The same municipal politicians who are represented and who perhaps are seen by the public as making mistakes are still the ones who will be at county in future and they need, frankly, a provincial level of control and review of their actions.

Furthermore, the biggest single source of development pressure in Simcoe county is the city of Barrie. They wish to grow, and significantly, as the mayor has said. Bill 51 leaves Barrie out. I don't for a moment fault or flaw the city of Barrie for that occurrence. They had very rational, sensible reasons for not participating, from their own point of view. But really, a bill to address the problems of the whole county in my opinion is fatally flawed unless it covers the whole county. A regional government without the core of the region, to us, is really perhaps a donut theory of regional planning, which I'm sure has yet to be properly baked.

Another goal of restructuring was to have a county-wide strategy for sustainable development, whatever that is, protecting the urban and rural character and promoting diversity of lifestyles and communities, although in fact having fewer municipalities reduces the diversity. I guess no one was paying much more than lipservice to that. Certainly, I think we can see that to obtain those ends we don't need a restructured county. They can be achieved now.

When we look at the need for stronger municipalities, reducing the pressure on urban areas to acquire assessment and so on, it turns out that the effect on Tiny township, and I would suggest on several other areas of the restructured county, will be exactly the opposite. When Bill 51's boundaries are applied to Tiny, what it does is to effectively strip it of almost its entire commercial assessment base, namely, the shopping malls or marinas, bingo halls and so on, which sound mundane, but they're money-spinners and involve very little in the way of costs to the township.

Already there is talk of, where are we going to put the next industrial park or the next commercial area in Tiny? Bill 51 therefore increases the pressure on the unique rural and recreation resources of Tiny. Tiny is, I believe, not the only place this might occur.

For duplication of services, as far as that goes, we don't need a restructuring bill affecting the entire county to achieve effective cooperation. The mayor of Barrie and the other political representatives who were here explained how specific agreements to address specific problems have worked quite well in the past. We believe that can be done in the future. We don't need to fire off the cannon to kill the fly on the wall.

The question of a need for equitable representation: The reason why it may be seen as impossible to define an equitable means of representation on county council without restructuring the whole northern part of the county is never explained in any report I've seen. One good thing that is proposed in Bill 51 is for each municipality to have a ward system to allow for equitable representation of taxpayers within each municipality. Yet you will probably learn tomorrow, if not later today, that Tiny township's present council wants to avoid this one sensible provision of the bill and continue with a relatively notorious one-ward system.

It would seem to me that there should be some simpler provision than a whole act restructuring the county to bring a fairer representation of a ward system to municipalities with an appropriately large population base. Why do we need Bill 51 for that one point?

The real problems, I think, lie in the areas of what was not done. It was part of the terms of reference of the study committee that a thorough financial impact analysis and a cost-benefit analysis of the servicing changes, boundaries changes and so on be done, and to this day it hasn't been done. The financial analysis is still, frankly, a joke and I think that Bill 51 enshrines this. It's just making it a pig in a poke.

Frankly, there have been so many motherhood statements made about the bill, how it will improve coordination, improve services, preserve the environment that it seems it would do almost everything except make toast in the morning and make the rainbow appear in the sky, but as taxpayers we have not seen any proof of that. Everyone can see that in fact the county tax escalation is showing the opposite. The county is inefficient.

Surely we have example after example, from existing regionalizations of government in Ontario, existing cases where municipalities have been amalgamated and made larger, that whether the service is better or not, it is not less expensive, it is not more efficient. The proceeding, where necessary, with amalgamations or annexations could go on; agreements would suffice in cases of lesser momentum.

I think the whole approval process and voting in council has been looked at, and I believe Mr Frank Hughes on Wednesday will be able to go into considerable detail. Let it just be said that the voters, by and large throughout the county, certainly in the northern part, were not asked to approve or disapprove restructuring. In the very few cases where they were, one of which was Tiny township, it was rejected and not by a narrow margin, not by one faction or another faction or this group or that group; it was rejected hands down, literally by over 90% of the voters in Tiny.

A number of the specific concerns that focus on Tiny township are enumerated in the fourth section.

All the priorities that Bill 51 was supposed to achieve, except for a municipal ward system giving more equitable representation of the taxpayers, are already present in Tiny township, and in fact Bill 51 destroys them for Tiny township. Tiny already has a sufficient scale and balance of assessment to be a viable municipality. Bill 51 weakens it.

Tiny includes most of the appropriate natural environmental features within its boundaries, watersheds and so on. Bill 51 does nothing to improve this and it introduces the uncertainty of what the county might do with more power, and we're not impressed with its performance so far.

Tiny can protect these environmental features with the proviso that continued provincial review and approval continues. Bill 51 does nothing for that.

Tiny now does not suffer from duplication of services. It will under Bill 51.

The question of taxes, I think, has to be examined. There is definitely going to be, for seasonal properties in Tiny, what we call a triple whammy of taxation. The effects of taxation will be felt throughout the county and, frankly, all taxpayers will suffer and suffer quite seriously. We've already heard of recreation grants, for instance, being a third of what they were in a particular municipality where they did three into one.


Some of our members who are accountants or have very high knowledge of financial matters see the potential for cottage taxes in particular to triple with restructuring. This can literally lead to many families losing their cottages; the end of the great Ontario tradition. The triple whammy for Tiny township, the loss of commercial assessment and the resulting need to make up the shortfall, is probably the smallest component of the loss.

The second whammy is the downloading of services from the province to the regional government, as has occurred in all other regions that we know of. Policing is one prominent and relatively costly example that's frequently mentioned.

The third is the pressure to adopt recent market values for assessment. Now, 1990, even 1992, can be seen as peaks, or even freaks, in the real estate market. Especially, shoreline properties had inflated values during those years there. If you drive up and down and see all the signs and ask some of the people who know, they're no longer there. So really there's no benefit at all for Tiny township, only costs, and these costs have never been fully and properly set out.

As I mentioned, over 5,000 voters in the 1991 municipal election said no, they didn't want restructuring; barely 400 said yes. Surely that should count for something.

Our recommendations for the committee -- and I appreciate very much that there must be an effort to grapple with the problems of municipal government in the future, in this area as well as in other areas of the province. If Bill 51 is seen as a milestone, then I think it's incumbent on this committee to not let it be enacted until it is such; otherwise, it may well be a millstone.

Frankly, without incorporating the main centres of Barrie and Orillia, there's no point in having a regional Simcoe government being given more power than it has now.

Please, we would recommend, don't have the bill enacted until it covers the whole of the county. Insist that they go back to the drawing-board on this.

The second point is that the financial and cost-benefit analyses that were promised and were required have not been done. We feel this just isn't fair. No one is in a position to say whether the solution of Bill 51 is cost-effective or not. How do we know it will be any more effective? Certainly, it will be less accessible government for the average taxpayer. The history of this county's tax bills suggest it will be more costly and less effective. The history from other areas show it will certainly be more costly, and the effectiveness would be questionable.

We ask that the committee not have the bill enacted until there has been the proper benefit-cost study and the results have been incorporated into amendments to the bill as required.

The third point is that Tiny township has the largest population in the entire Simcoe county, yet it's proposed to continue with the smallest permissable council, five members as we understand. We feel this is just not acceptable. For decades, Tiny councils have been easily dominated by members elected by the 4,800 or so permanent resident electors. They can naturally turn out to the polls in much greater numbers than the 12,000 to 13,000 seasonal resident electors.

Most of the past years this has been of little concern. But in recent years there have been a lot of development pressures building up, particularly to develop at pretty high densities with minimal municipal services, certainly no municipal sewage services, areas of land behind the shore. This fact has led to increasing polarization on council and even, in effect, some victimization of seasonal residents by some members of the council.

We had recently the spectacle of one councillor being quoted in the Toronto Star to the effect that the cottagers are bigoted racists who don't like anybody. This turns out to be a person who was quite narrowly elected in a campaign that was characterized by really quite vicious racist attacks on a candidate, a former reeve, who just happened to be Italian.

Under the one-ward system that has prevailed, as I say, from time immemorial in Tiny, even mammoth efforts to turn out enough seasonal electors to have some equitable and balanced representation elected to the council can fail.

The implementation of a ward system would at least ensure that the electors of the most populous municipality in Simcoe have what all other municipal electors in the province have: the ability to choose someone to represent their neighbourhood and its interests. I think we deserve no less.

We urge you not to enact Bill 51 until it's made law that Tiny township have at least a seven-person council with a ward system representative of seasonal and permanent residents of the township.

On the last page there's a very crude and intentionally conceptual map of what a five-ward system would look like to permit a seven-person council. In other words, wards 2 and 4 on the diagram are shown as inland wards with, respectively, in the south anglophone and francophone populations, 1,500 to 2,000 electors in each. There would be three wards around the 50-mile shoreline which would be adjusted to reflect the appropriate numbers of properties, electors and so on in each one.

I should point out that this is not a seasonal/permanent residents split. There are probably just as many permanent residents living in those three wards shown around the shore as there are in the inland, but nevertheless we feel it's appropriate that this degree of redress of the balance be taken, and we would urge that without it, Bill 51 not go forward.

Sorry for taking so long. I appreciate the opportunity.

The Chair: Thank you very much both for the presentation and also I would just note the attachments that you have included for members of the committee as well. We have several questions.

I wonder just before starting with Mr Waters, could I just make one point of clarification. I believe you mentioned that Barrie was not part of Simcoe county in terms of the education board. I think you'll find, though, that Barrie is, that the county operates in terms of education as one, and for the record, if I can mention that. As Education critic for my party, I'd just note that.

Mr Conway: And Tiny township, it might be added, had a role in the educational and constitutional history of the Dominion of Canada.

The Chair: That's true.

Mr Waters: I represent the town of Midland and the area east of there. You were saying something had to be done about the mall strip, that commercial strip and all of that area, about the sewage problem, and the cost of this. If that didn't go into the town of Midland, how would Tiny or you as a taxpayer within that township -- Tiny would have to pay for all of that, because something had to be done one way or the other. I guess my question is that as a taxpayer in Tiny township, would you have been supportive of shouldering the burden of that environmental cost?

Mr Ellis: No, I very much appreciate your point. If you look at the whole watershed that the malls are located at, it drains into a little lake, which is a problem. There is no feasible way of taking to a treatment plant in Tiny any sewage from these malls. This to me, though, seems, with all due respect, Mr Waters, like a bilateral issue that should've been settled by a bilateral agreement or by a specific boundary change, which could've been done without restructuring the whole shebang.

Clearly at some stage, I understand that Midland is not in a position and that sewage plant and sewer capacity won't permit servicing those malls, but when it does, in due course of this decade or perhaps the next decade, acquire that capacity, surely then would be the time to negotiate to take over the particular areas from Tiny with appropriate compensation.

Mr Waters: With the lifeline studies and some of the work that's going on in Midland, it may not, I don't believe, require basically a new plant or anything. It might require an extension of the sewage trunks that go up into that area, and indeed we might be able to manage the capacity without a major investment. I know that you've been watching this as it goes through. You know that I have concerns about restructuring. I want to make sure that it is fair and, indeed, I've got myself probably into controversy that I don't need to be in all the time with it.

You've raised some other environmental things and I'm curious, because the shoreline is so important to those of us around Georgian Bay, should we not be doing more, such as reinspection, out along the bay? Maybe that's something that we should look at and try to incorporate into the act with a bit more protection of the environment as we're doing Simcoe county restructuring. I wouldn't mind a comment on that.


Mr Ellis: I would say that I certainly agree with that. There's no question that everything that is in place to protect the environment should remain in place and should be enforced, whether that requires inspection or other types of enforcement. But it seems to me that a question of, say, septic tank inspection just has almost nothing to do with restructuring. We've got that now. There are provisions. As far as I know, they're working well. If they're not, I don't see how restructuring will fix them. Yet I think it will harm a lot of other things.

Mr Conway: One hardly knows where to begin but I want to start by saying I'm inclined to put Professor Ellis and my friends Waters and McLean in a room together and just let them deliberate until they settle this part of the north Simcoe issue. We'll probably check in 25 years from now and see what kind of progress they're making, because there is a lot going on here, quite obviously.

I am a cottage owner so I have some sympathy for some of what you're saying, though I must say that I gather cottage owners in north Simcoe are a little more aggressive about their expectations in terms of a participatory democracy than they are on my little lake, and that's probably a good thing.

Just two quick things: One, in your recommendations, your first recommendation, which is understandable from an academic point of view, that there really is no point in restructuring Simcoe county without incorporating Barrie and Orillia -- is essentially the recommendation. But to be clear, as they would say at York University, we do all understand that that is the third world war. We know that, just so there's no confusion over what that means. Good and virtuous as it may be, it is the third world war, right?

Mr Ellis: If you say so. From what I've heard earlier today and on other occasions from Mayor Laking and so on, I think there are ways around some of the problems. The interesting alternative of sawing the lady in the cabinet in two and calling each half a county might not be so bad after all.

Mr Conway: The second point: I listen to people and I'm very sympathetic to a lot of the argument that's made because, again, my own experience is a small town, rural. But having been in the Legislature for perhaps too long a time, one of the things that I observe in the smaller communities is that there are two issues that are just really explosive in terms of cost, as well as other things, but cost is the thing that sensitizes people most quickly, and waste management and environmental protection in another way. I'm thinking now of water and sewer projects, either new or upgraded for all of the good reasons around environmental protection.

I represent a little community that has 600 people. It's called Killaloe. We had some serious environmental difficulty in that village involving 68 homes and businesses. The bill to clean that up was $2.8 million. The per-household rehabilitation cost was $70,000, and of course that bill was paid, I think entirely, by Her Majesty's provincial government.

The difficulty I've had over the years, because I'm very sympathetic to local democracy -- and you were talking to Mr Waters about bilateral matters, and, again, I like bilateralism, as long as the bills aren't sent someplace else. Because my experience is that the bills tend to be sent someplace else, and these days the someplace else is broke -- real broke -- and I don't see it getting much better in the next 5 to 10 years. In fact it might stay the same; it might even get a bit worse.

So my concern is that if we're going to do a lot of the things that have to be done, somebody's got to pay the bill, and the bill, speaking just from my Renfrew experience, tends to be sent elsewhere. I've carried many of them and sent others to Ottawa, and I just worry now that the banker isn't going take any more of them.

Mr Ellis: If I could comment briefly, certainly you point to a very important issue. There is only one taxpayer. They can only take so much and they can only bear so much, and the question of what specific things should be paid for under what circumstances by which level of government is very important to civil servants and politicians, but ultimately it's the same taxpayer who pays. It seems to me that there are no questions of that nature in the northern part of Simcoe county that aren't bilateral issues, such as Mr Waters quite properly raised, to which Bill 51 is an answer. I just don't see it.

Mr McLean: Mr Ellis, you have one of the better-prepared briefs we have had here with regard to the many figures that you've used within it and the issues that you raised and the financial analysis that you spoke about, which had never, ever been addressed. The questions that you have asked, there are a lot of them that there have never been any answers for yet. I have never seen the answers for them.

Have you ever had replies from the wardens you wrote to? You wrote to Warden Bell, you wrote to Warden Keefe, you wrote to the minister, you wrote to Ed Philip, you wrote to Cooke, you wrote to ministry staff.

Mr Ellis: Yes.

Mr McLean: I see the copies of the letters that you wrote. Are there any copies of letters that you've received?

Mr Ellis: Not with me, no.

Mr McLean: But you have --

Mr Ellis: In a couple of cases, and it's indicated in there, a reply wasn't received.

Mr McLean: Right. Okay.

Mr Ellis: That was from the staff. Politicians all reply.

Mr McLean: Over 5,000 people voted against restructuring, 92% in Tiny township, 95% in Sunnidale township, 85% in Elmvale, 75% in Rama, 91% in Orillia township. Why did the county proceed with restructuring with votes such as this, in your opinion?

Mr Ellis: That is the $64,000 question, sir. I don't know.

Mr McLean: You have an excellent brief and I appreciate it. Thank you.

Mr Ellis: I would just hesitate to add, if I could, that it's not that there's no financial analysis. If one looks at the final report, page after page, every restructured municipality has a small spread sheet. It's just that that is so much less, in terms of the detail and the meaningful relation to changes in service, as opposed to just changing the boundary that was foreseen in the terms of reference, that it's really a pale imitation of what a financial analysis should be.

Mr McLean: To the parliamentary assistant: Does the government not have a cost analysis?

Mr Hayes: We're going to explain that in a moment when we get the floor.

The Chair: The parliamentary assistant just has a couple of clarifications to make.

Mr Hayes: Thank you, Mr Chair. I know, Mr Ellis, you have concerns about the ward system and I'd like Mr Griggs here to explain the procedure that may be used in order to deal with that particular issue and also to make some clarifications on some of the issues pertaining to cost and other things, very briefly.

Mr Griggs: First of all, regarding your concerns with respect to a ward system in the township of Tiny, in fact your submission is correct. Originally the county study committee recommended that all the new municipalities establish ward systems. Subsequent to the drafting of the bill and the draft bill that was circulated to the municipalities, Tiny council and Simcoe county council passed resolutions requesting that Tiny be allowed to continue elections at large.


However, I should point out, and this was indicated in a letter to you from the Minister of Municipal Affairs, that there is a process under subsection 13(3) of the Municipal Act for ratepayers to petition the Ontario Municipal Board to establish wards within any municipality. It's a requirement for 75 electors in a municipality having fewer than 5,000 electors and 150 electors in a municipality having more than 5,000 electors. In the case of your federation, I imagine you wouldn't have any problem getting that number of people together to petition the OMB to establish a ward system in the township.

With regard to the portion of your presentation describing a tripling of taxes for cottage properties in Tiny township, I'd like to speak to that for just a minute. You mentioned that the first portion, which is the loss of commercial assessment and the resulting need to make up that shortfall for Tiny township, was the smallest portion. Then you go on to describe number 2, which is the downloading of servicing, and you use the example of policing.

Tiny township will not be required to provide local policing as part of the restructuring, and in fact we're not creating a regional government here. The whole focus of this was local recommendations, and the county chose to strengthen the local municipalities rather than the county level. So it's not a regional government.

The third one you point out is regarding market value assessment for the county of Simcoe. This is totally unrelated to restructuring. The county requested a study be conducted by the Ministry of Finance. There is no commitment from the county to implement market value assessment in the county and, as far as I know, the Ministry of Finance is conducting a study based on that, which is independent from the whole restructuring exercise.

Mr Ellis: If I could just reply for a second, certainly on the question of tripling of taxes and what services will eventually end up in whose pocket and so on I don't think we know the answer. It's very reassuring to hear you say that there won't be very much downloading, if any.

With respect to the question of a ward system, your minister made it quite crystal clear to us what the situation was, and why we're here today is because we have been sold down the river by our unrepresentative Tiny township council. You people, unfortunately or fortunately, are the only people who can redress that wrong of depriving the largest municipality with the largest number of electors in this entire county of its right to a ward system. That's one of the main reasons why we're here. It's all very well to note that after the legislation is passed, so many years later a certain number of people can go to the OMB. But frankly, we think you have it in your power and you have the obligation, I would say, to overrule that aberration of a really unrepresentatively elected council, for good reason.

Mr Hayes: But there is a procedure, which was explained to you, and you can do that.

The Chair: I think there's clearly a difference of opinion here, and you have put that forward. I think we have to now consider that, and I regret that we're over time but I want to thank you very much for having come before the committee and in particular for the material you've brought to us.

Mr Ellis: Thank you very much for being so patient.

The Chair: Good luck to Kettleby.


The Chair: Our next witness is Mrs Marjorie Gordon, if she would be good enough to come forward. Mrs Gordon, we have a copy of your presentation, so please have a seat, and when you're settled, please go ahead. And welcome to the committee.

Mrs Marjorie Gordon: Thank you for this opportunity of giving my views. It's been interesting listening to other people give their concerns.

The first part of my presentation tells you that I'm speaking only for myself and my husband, Elwood. We were both born in Simcoe county. He lived his whole 82 years in Sunnidale township. I came there in 1935. I haven't figured out whether that was for good or for worse. But in any case I'm here this afternoon and I want to deal with the quality of life.

The first part tells my credentials. It tells about the growth of the council along the ways as we have noticed it, how the residential development progressed in an orderly fashion, producing an enviable quality of life.

The community centres: Because Sunnidale was long and narrow, according to the boundary changes they whacked off a bit, I think every side, for no rhyme or reason.

People services: I've listed them.

I mentioned too that the community spirit within our township is fantastic. The different things that go on there, affairs that go on there, are headed by volunteers, and all events are family-oriented. You go to any event that's held in the township and you'll find mothers and fathers and their children there, because there's something for everybody.

I want to go on then on page 3. This is not the first time the province has pressured Simcoe county. While I was on the Sunnidale library board, the province wished to change our Simcoe county co-op services to a county library system, offering the usual promises of euphoria. From the minutes of the Simcoe county library co-op annual meeting Saturday, April 27, 1985, we read:

"Moved by Milton McArthur and seconded by John Lackie that the county of Simcoe library board approve, in principle, that an in-house study be conducted by the county library co-op in cooperation with all county municipalities and library boards in an endeavour to improve existing cooperative services."

I remember the time Mr McArthur made the remark, "No system is so good that you can't look at it and maybe make it better," and that's what was done.

We are not against restructuring, but this scenario that has unfolded leaves much to be desired. Daily we are told that the province of Ontario has no money for any extracurricular activities, and so far the committee working hasn't seen any either. There was no consultation by the committee with the municipalities involved. The manner in which the recommendations from the committee were rushed through county council was mind-boggling. The last municipal election showed how the people felt about the planners.

Our recommendation would be for the province to put Bill 51 on the back burner; that Simcoe county council conduct an in-house study, leaving for now the boundaries as they were. Gradually, through discussion with municipalities, come up with a feasible plan.

We want to keep our quality of life without the bitterness which exists over Bill 51.

Thank you for listening to our views.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming and speaking on behalf of yourself and your husband. We'll begin questioning with Mr Wilson.


Mr Jim Wilson: Thank you very much, Mrs Gordon, for taking the time to bring your concerns to our attention. Certainly, as I travel throughout Sunnidale, I hear it weekly on my way through. I live in Wasaga Beach so I go by Burnfield Wines's house at least two or three times a week. I certainly hear it from the reeve and hear it from the people. I know that in the last municipal election well over 90% of the voters rejected restructuring. That has been ignored by this government.

I want to ask you a very personal question, given that you talk about the community spirit. I'm well aware of the activities at the Brentwood Hall, for example, where I've attended on many occasions, and the other community centres. When you look at the map of the county of Simcoe, all it says where Sunnidale township used to be and where Creemore and Stayner and Nottawasaga township used to be is Clearview. It doesn't even say "Sunnidale" any more.

Mrs Gordon: I know it doesn't, but we've known --

Mr Jim Wilson: How does that make you feel when you see Sunnidale isn't even on the county map any more?

Mrs Gordon: I don't feel very happy with it because it's been there ever since I went to public school. In fact, I was taught and tested on the county of Simcoe: Tiny, Tay, Flos, and all the railways, CN, CP, and I was supposed to be able to mark those on a map.

Mr Jim Wilson: Do you think the people of Sunnidale have had an opportunity to understand what restructuring is, or has it been explained well enough?

Mrs Gordon: I think they have by their own local council. It has been explained. But then people from the surrounding municipalities are asking us questions; they don't seem to know.

Mr Jim Wilson: You talked about library boards and attempts in the past, I gather, to amalgamate some library boards. In this case, Sunnidale township's library board is dissolved and there will be a new library board for Clearview. Do you have any thoughts on that? Have you been on any -- I imagine they're having preliminary meetings now.

Mrs Gordon: Oh, yes. We wouldn't be happy with losing our library. This community spirit works into that. We have not a fancy library as Creemore had and Stayner had with their debt. You see, ours is paid for. Through the cooperative system within the county, we are able to get any service just the same as though we walked into the Stayner library or the Creemore library.

Mr Jim Wilson: And you pay a levy to the county for that service.

Mrs Gordon: Yes, we do.

Mr Jim Wilson: Because one of the arguments that's been made, and it's made at county council although not very publicly but it's certainly a behind-the-scenes argument, is that townships like Sunnidale don't pay their way. In fact, we saw in the opening remarks today from the government that there's a problem there, or a perceived problem, that some of the smaller townships don't pay for the full cost of services; for example, if you were using the arena in Angus down the road.

My view has been, if that's a problem, then just tell Sunnidale and some of the other townships to pay more towards the cost of services that they're using in other municipalities. You don't have to restructure and wipe it off the map if you feel they're not paying enough. Do you have any thoughts on that?

Mrs Gordon: I feel that the library has grown within the last number of years and people are using it, very much so, and I think they would be perhaps quite willing to. If everybody else in the same situation wished to pay more for the service, I expect that it would be settled, or the money raised somewhere.

The Chair: I apologize, I'm afraid we're tight for time and still have a couple of other presentations so I'm going to have to interrupt. But again, Mrs Gordon, we appreciate very much your taking the time to come before the committee and giving us your thoughts. Thank you.


The Chair: If I could call on Mr C.R. Groves. Mr Groves is here, and while Mr Groves comes to the table, members have been given a copy of his letter. Mr Groves, welcome to the committee. I know you've been sitting watching the proceedings through the afternoon and we appreciate the fact that you've come. Once you're settled, please go ahead.

Mr C.R. Groves: I'll keep it short and sweet. My concerns, as outlined in my letter, focus specifically on section 34.

As a resident and taxpayer of Vespra township, county of Simcoe, I am totally opposed to section 34 of Bill 51 as it currently is drafted. In my opinion, the intent of section 34 can only be the means of changing the boundaries of any of the municipalities that share a common border with the city of Barrie or a common border with the city of Orillia up until January 1, 2001.

For the township of Springwater, which is to comprise the townships of Vespra and Flos, plus the village of Elmvale, along with some further adjustments, the prospect of any boundary change involving the city of Barrie and whatever portion of the present township of Vespra the minister at the time may deem appropriate is alarming and totally unacceptable for the following reasons.

I might add, I'm also a Vespra township councillor. I'm a member of the transition committee and I have been working along with the other members of the committee on all of the preliminaries that will hopefully set the stage for January 1.

(1) The administrative requirements of the township of Springwater are based on the total area and population of the township as of January 1, 1994.

(2) The wards that will comprise the township of Springwater are based on the population distribution of that total area.

(3) The staffing requirements of the township of Vespra are based on the needs to service the population and land base of the township of Springwater.

(4) The economic base of the township of Springwater requires the existing assessment plus whatever additional assessment may materialize over the years.

Conclusion: On the basis of the foregoing, it would be totally inappropriate for the minister to arbitrarily review any boundary change involving the city of Barrie and the township of Springwater. This could only result in the annexation of a portion of the present land mass of the township of Vespra in favour of the city of Barrie. This would only serve to seriously erode the economic viability of the township of Springwater. Section 34 of the act, respecting the restructuring of the county of Simcoe, as represented by Bill 51, must be deleted.

Some of the comments that were made prior to the presentations -- I notice that this section 34 was one of the more contentious issues and even though -- and I believe Mr Griggs mentioned that all of these recommendations were locally generated. I seriously question that any reference to section 34, which even though it was explained was permissive, I consider it very antagonistic. I doubt very much whether that was a recommendation that evolved out of the county council.

A further point that is not concluded in my presentation I would like to make verbally, that in the annexation act of 1983, the Barrie-Vespra Annexation Act, the boundaries of Vespra township were deemed to be -- remain status quo until the year 2012. Now, this point has not been raised, to the best of my knowledge, during this hearing today.

So really we've got three possibilities: The minister, any time up until the year 2001, can arbitrarily review -- and I doubt very much whether the minister would review against the city of Barrie; it's more likely that there would be territorial designs on the township of Springwater; (b) There are references to the boundary changes act, which has another option available, and now I'd like to remind this committee that there is also the Barrie-Vespra Annexation Act which took a very significant component of the south part of Vespra township and incorporated it into the city of Barrie under the annexation act in 1983. The way that act is set down, that boundary is supposed to be valid until the year 2012, so why have we got this section 34 which gives the minister the option of further eroding the base of the township of Springwater at his discretion even though, as you say, it's permissive well before the year 2012?


Those are the points I wish to make and I thank you very much for the time that's been made available.

The Chair: Thank you for coming before the committee.

Mr McLean: I have a couple of questions, Mr Groves. The city of Barrie's boundaries are now totally full out to the north end of the city to the gas line that went through there, and that was a boundary. Do you not anticipate that some time in the near future Barrie will be asking for boundary negotiations to be put in process?

Mr Groves: I don't doubt that could very well be the case. The thing that concerns me, section 34 is probably the first vehicle that the city of Barrie's going to utilize in order to achieve that objective.

Mr McLean: They don't have to use section 34 at all, they could just apply for boundary negotiations under the act that's presently in place and proceed.

Mr Groves: So that makes this section even more redundant.

Mr McLean: I don't know why it was there. I know the county didn't want it put in. My understanding was Cooke put it in to kind of pacify the two cities after they were no longer part of the county restructuring committee. But in my opinion, I don't really know whether it has any benefit at all because it says, "He may," but under the boundary negotiations act, they can apply at any time.

The other question I'd like to ask you is why was Elmvale, Flos and Vespra put into one? Why was Vespra added to it? Have you any idea why that would happen?

Mr Groves: As opposed to what?

Mr McLean: Leaving it alone.

Mr Groves: I think they were looking at a so-called economically viable unit comprising the three municipalities.

Mr McLean: Okay, that will lead up to my supplementary, then: So wouldn't a viable unit, with Midhurst now being in Barrie, the viable unit would be left with Flos, Elmvale and the other half of Vespra. Wouldn't that leave a viable unit?

Mr Groves: No, it wouldn't, in my opinion, because a very large part of the township of Springwater would include the village of Midhurst, a population of over 2,000 people, and if you remove not only the population but also the assessment of that part of the township, you've effectively emasculated the township of Springwater.

Mr McLean: A hidden agenda.

The Chair: Yes. The parliamentary assistant?

Mr Hayes: Of course, my understanding is not the same as Mr McLean's. I don't think Mr Cooke just arbitrarily came in and said, "We're going to do this." It was at the request of a couple of the cities.

However, if we were to do away with section 34, would you support this restructuring bill?

Mr Groves: As a member of council, and I'm a part of Vespra township council, the reeve has already made that statement, so I follow along with the presentation that was made.

Mr Hayes: We'll take your comments very seriously.

The Chair: Thank you very much for coming to the committee this afternoon and taking time to set forth your views.

Mr Groves: Thank you, Mr Chairman.


The Chair: Our last witness today will be Mr Alan Taylor, if Mr Taylor would be good enough to come forward. As he does so, I believe -- and I hope I have this correct -- that Mr Taylor's the president of the Kingswood Acres Beach Association in Tiny township and will be speaking to us, I believe, on behalf of the association. Mr Taylor, welcome to the committee. Once you've settled, please feel free to begin.

Mr Alan Taylor: Thank you very much for talking to me at the last moment. I got on the agenda, thanks to the clerk. I was notified by Tiny township on Friday that I was allowed to come and speak and it seems so typical of the township and the council that seems to represent me. I'm the lost soul in Tiny township. I'm a cottager. I'm a seasonal resident. I very much feel betrayed and I'm disenfranchised. You've heard today that there were 400 voters who voted for restructuring and 5,000 against. I am absolutely appalled that this is where I am today, saying I would like you people to make it right. I just cannot believe that Tiny township put me in this terrible position. I do not want restructuring. It's not wanted. It's not needed. It wasn't asked for. It's been put down my throat by the Tiny council. In that regard, I would like you people to help me out.

I just want to give you a couple of ideas of things and how I feel about this. All I am doing is reflecting the feelings of not hundreds but perhaps thousands of people in Tiny township. We were ignored. We were absolutely ignored. You have to remember that. The taxes will go up, trust me. They are not going to go down. I cannot afford it. I am withholding taxes now in Tiny township because I want them to know how I feel. That doesn't seem to matter to them. I do not want to support an arena in Collingwood. If we come to restructuring, that's what I'll be paying my taxes for. I do not want to support a ballpark in Alliston. That's what restructuring might mean.

I come from Mississauga, and you must know that big is not better. Large businesses and corporations have failed us. Look at General Motors. Look at IBM. Look at Peel region. We are going to dismantle Peel region in that area. There's a great movement towards that. Why are we building a bigger and better horse? We don't need one. I am not against change, but I did not see one benefit to me, the guy out there paying the bills for you guys -- not one benefit for me. Nobody told me. It's not in writing. It's not in the paper. My reeve -- I think his name is Hastings; I wish I didn't know his name -- did not tell me anything. He did not want to see any financial papers on that. This is very typical. I can't see why this should go ahead.

Again, I just have three words to say about restructuring: No, no, no. That's all I have to say.

The Chair: Thank you. Your message is clear. We'll begin the questioning with Mr Wilson.

Mr Jim Wilson: Thank you, Mr Taylor. I appreciate your frustration with respect to the process to date that's brought Bill 51 to this stage. I too have been fighting it along the way and, in the last couple of years, have introduced private member's bills, which unfortunately have been defeated at Queen's Park, to try and ensure that municipalities are not restructured against their will and to try and bring some democracy back to what is supposed to be a parliamentary and a democratic society.

What was the result of the referendum in Tiny township?

Mr Taylor: In the election? It was 404 and 5,000 against restructuring.

Mr Jim Wilson: I just wanted you to reiterate that, because I think the average across the county where the question was put on the ballot was over 90% would have been opposed to restructuring. Your reeve, Ross Hastings, in fact ran in that election opposed to restructuring.

Mr Taylor: That's correct; he did. That's why I feel betrayed.

Mr Jim Wilson: He's now warden, for members who don't know that. For the world of me, I don't know what changed his mind or what happens to people when they come here to the county building, but if I were to run on one thing and do a complete flip-flop midterm with no explanation to my constituents, I would expect my constituents would kick me out, particularly in this day and age when people are sick and tired of that sort of politics of saying one thing and doing something else.

All I can say is that I appreciate your frustration. I have challenged three wardens now, Nancy Keefe, Stewart Fisher and more recently Ross Hastings. I've said to them: "I've got an open mind on restructuring, initially. If this is such a good idea, why aren't you out at the Rotary clubs and the Lions clubs and whatever other groups you can get an audience at and explain to them the benefits of restructuring?" Three wardens now and oodles of county councillors have failed to take me up on that offer.

Even if I were in favour of restructuring, I could not sit here, sir, and give you five good reasons for it, nor could I give a speech to a Rotary Club. I suggest the reason Mr Hastings and others -- they're all good people, but on this particular issue, I think the reason they haven't been out explaining it to the ratepayers is that they don't have a leg to stand on when it comes to this legislation. I'd just say that some of us have heard you. The point is, as you see, the government members outnumber us seven to five, I think it is, on a good day. You've got to convince them that this is not what the NDP stood for at one time.

The Chair: I know that you were made aware of this late in the day, but none the less, we want to thank you. I know you've been sitting through the meetings. I appreciate your coming before the committee today.

Mr Taylor: I feel a lot better.

The Chair: If I could, just before we break, for those who will be taking the bus, it will leave in approximately 15 to 20 minutes. There's just a need to get all the equipment together to go on to Orillia. Our hearings will start tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock.

Mr Jim Wilson: This is with respect to my comments about Hansard, Mr Chairman. What's the earliest possible?

The Chair: At the moment, we are going to try to do our best. I understand that there have been similar requests from other committees, which has got everybody working quite hard. If you could let us just see where things stand overnight, we might be a little clearer in the morning.

With that, the committee stands adjourned until 9 o'clock tomorrow morning in Orillia at the Highwayman Inn.

The committee adjourned at 1718.