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NCC Chair: No seat for Ottawa, Gatineau mayors

We don't need or want you.

That's the message from National Capital Commission chair Russ Mills to the mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau, who are demanding a seat on the board.

On Thursday, Mills defended the fact that the majority of board members are from outside the National Capital Region.

"From a national perspective, Ottawa's only 3% of the Canada's population. And we think that people who are making decisions about the 10% of federal land should have all Canadians on their minds," he said. "There has to be a representation of the national interest...And I think it's a bit unfair to be accused of meddling when we're simply trying to represent the interests of all Canadians in their capital city."

Mayor Jim Watson and Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin held a joint news conference on Wednesday calling for the change, complaining the organization is a roadblock for certain local projects.

But Mills disagreed.

"Well you know, the mayors and city councils control, or have responsibility for, 90% of the territory in the National Capital Region. The NCC only has a say in the 10% that belongs to various parts of the federal government."

That 10%, however, is made up of prime property, and includes stretches along the Ottawa River and Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway.

The city and the NCC are currently locked in a stubborn battle over the western LRT route. So far, board members are consistently calling for a 500 metre section near the Sir John A. Macdonald Parkway to be buried, while city staff argue that's too expensive.

Mill's insistence that no changes are needed appears to have the backing from the MP that oversees the NCC.

A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister said on Wednesday that giving the mayors a seat is not something this government, and previous ones, have endorsed.

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