Jim Watson, Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin call on PM to change NCC
Mayors of Ottawa, Gatineau want elected representatives to sit on National Capital Commission's board
The mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau are calling on the prime minister to make significant changes to the National Capital Commission, saying they're "frustrated" by the NCC's approach to making decisions.
To that end, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson and Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin signed a letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking that the NCC's board of directors be made to include at least one elected representative for each city.
"Municipal taxpayers need a seat at the table. The NCC board, made up of a majority of members from outside the region, often micromanages projects, slows down progress and places greater burdens on local taxpayers," Watson is quoted as saying in a media release.
"It needs to stop intruding on local decisions and get back to the basics of what it was created to do in the first place."
Watson cited his frustration over the NCC's closed-door discussions about the western light rail expansion project. Pedneaud-Jobin cited Gatineau's frustration over the closure of Gamelin Street in Gatineau Park.
Ottawa MP responsible for NCC an 'enhancement'
John Baird is the MP responsible for the National Capital Commission.
His communications director, Rick Roth, said in an emailed statement that the NCC "has a national and Pan-Canadian mandate."
"I think the fact the prime minister has had a local minister responsible these last eight years is an enhancement. The idea of putting city officials on the board is an idea this and the previous government have not endorsed."
Pedneaud-Jobin and Watson made Wednesday's announcement after meeting formally for the first time since Pedneaud-Jobin was elected late last year.
They also agreed on improving public transit, cleaning up the Ottawa River, private sector job creation and they agreed to a new connection plan for pedestrians and cyclists along the Prince of Wales Bridge.
The mayors plan to meet again in several months at Gatineau's city hall.