April 8, 1957 (22nd Parliament, 5th Session)


William Gourlay Blair

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Blair:

Mr. Chairman, I am very happy to see this resolution on the order paper but I am sorry that the bill is going to be delayed until the next parliament. I was a member of the joint committee and I think the committee worked very hard in the hearing of evidence. There was one point that caused considerable difficulty, the division of jurisdiction between the provinces, the dominion and the townships adjoining Ottawa. It presented a very difficult question and, as the hon. member for Calgary North pointed out, conditions in Ottawa are changing all the time, especially in the areas surrounding
National Capital Plan
Ottawa, and the sooner we get a commission empowered by the government to get busy on the plan the better it will be.
The question of sewage disposal was one that was put in the class of No. 1 priority in the recommendations of the committee. The committee heard a long report from Dr. Berry of the Ontario department of health and we were greatly impressed by that report. Since that time, however, in so far as sewage disposal is concerned, the Ontario government has passed the Ontario water resources act which is going to make it less difficult to deal with the sewage question than it was prior to that act being passed.
There were other matters that were listed in the four top priority considerations of the committee, including bridges across the Ottawa, the matter of the Queensway and the matter of the green belt. We cannot afford to delay any longer dealing with the green belt. The bridges across the Ottawa river are a necessity at the present time. The question of the Queensway is being solved by an agreement between the city of Ottawa, the federal government and the provincial government. As yet, the matter of sewage disposal is delayed, and that was No. 1 on the list of priorities in the consideration of the committee. I hope the time will not be far distant when the question of sewage is dealt with by the same committee and when power is given to the federal district commission to deal with the question.
In so far as the name is concerned, I agree that the national capital commission is the better of the two because in the minds of certain people in and around the area there was the thought that the federal district commission would be a commission somewhat akin to that existing in Washington at the time. Hence I am glad that the resolution is on the order paper, even if the bill will not make its appearance or at least will not be dealt with until another session.
I again point out the urgent necessity of dealing with the sewage question because that is a basic matter. You can not start to build a city beautiful and still maintain the conditions existing in the Ottawa river at the present time. The solution of the problem is going to entail a great deal of work. Again you are dealing with the jurisdiction of several municipalities or areas along the Ottawa river. The sooner we start to work by way of a bill dealing with this federal district commission or, to use the suggested name, the national capital commission, the better it will be. So far as sewage is concerned, the position is not improving. Owing to the growth of this city which is rapidly expanding, there are in the outlying areas of the city now developing into an urban area, conditions which should be dealt with now because, as was

National Capital Plan
pointed out by the hon. member for Calgary North, the longer we delay this question, the more expensive it is going to be to deal with it.

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