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Docere Feb 20, 2017 5:48 PM

Municipal amalgamations/annexations
What municipal amalgamations/annexations do you think were "right" and what places do you think should not have occurred?

Thinking of "justified" ones: I think Montreal Island with a borough system was the right move. The de-mergers were kind of silly. Imagine if Metro Toronto had amalgamated into one city but Forest Hill, Leaside and say Long Branch had remained independent municipalities (I suppose this exists in a few American cities where there were city-country consolidations like Nashville).

The creation of Metro Toronto was the right move. And now there are 4 community councils that function as "boroughs" in a sense, even though they need budgets and some more independent budgets. The Goldenberg report in the 1960s had recommended reducing the number of municipalities from 13 to 4, but ultimately went with 6. That made more sense. Toronto/York/East York as one municipality, as well as Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough.

The "city" of Ottawa is ridiculous given that it actually includes rural/exurban areas (it's like having King, Caledon, north Pickering etc. as part of the "city" of Toronto). Should have regional municipality of Carleton in place. The same is true I think for Hamilton-Wentworth.

Winnipeg I'm not sure about. In contrast to the right-wing Harris Tories doing amalgamations to "save money" and "reduce bureaucracy" Winnipeg was amalgamated by the Schreyer government on "progressive" grounds. I can see the argument - especially given that Winnipeg is one of Canada's inner city "donuts" - but on the other hand it may have led to suburban interests and outlooks dominating municipal politics.

1overcosc Feb 20, 2017 5:53 PM

Ottawa's model may look ridiculous on paper but it has one major benefit: the city can control rural development. The massive rural areas within Ottawa's city limits don't have the insane proliferation of exurban housing that are common in rural areas near cities. This sort of thing has "leaped over" Ottawa's city limits and happens in surrounding municipalities but because of sheer distance this is limited.

toaster Feb 20, 2017 7:10 PM

The Toronto boroughs should be allowed to prioritize transit, and be given a budget (based on a combination of geographical size and population) to fund those projects. This is part of the reason why high growth areas in the inner-suburbs (read Humber Bay Shores) don't get transit prioritized. It also makes it difficult to operate other public entities (e.g., education), as it becomes difficult to create and draw lines for multiple school boards within a single city (much different than operating and creating school boards with multiple cities in a single board). There is a reason why the TDSB has more issues with funding than any others in Ontario, considering they all follow the same funding formula.

Also RE: Ottawa, I remember a few years ago when the GTA got a funding announcement (not sure what it was for, but multiple cities were given funding), and when asked why Ottawa didn't get as much, the response from the province was that there were no surrounding communities to provide additional funding to. I think the response of the mayor was that it was because amalgamation was forced on them. Basically, an unamalgamated Ottawa would see more funds allocated to the area, as the total funds received from the province for anything, (transit, infrastructure, etc) would come in several chunks across the different cities, instead of one big chunk for one city (although less $$$ if you totalled what all areas unamalgamted would get).

One good example of annexation I would say would be what Barrie did recently. It was not a political move, it was simply because the city could not continue to grow given the land makeup they had.

GernB Feb 21, 2017 10:39 PM

Certainly not on the scale of the above examples, but there was some movement on instituting a regional system of government with the City and County of Lethbridge and the Towns of Coaldale, Coalhurst and Picture Butte. The City did assume policing over Coaldale and was to do the same in Picture Butte (and changed the name to Lethbridge Regional Police) while the water systems had been integrated as well. Transit service was to be extended to Coaldale and Coalhurst. Not sure if there was to be more integration, but the concept seems to be off the table as Coaldale has now withdrawn from the policing agreement, building the RCMP a new HQ.

GernB Feb 21, 2017 10:42 PM

I would think that Vancouver/Burnaby/New West would be an obvious candidate for amalgamation, as well as Victoria/Saanich/West Shore.

manny_santos Feb 21, 2017 11:23 PM

London wad a good idea, though I question if it needed to get as large as it did. By the late 80s a lot of new industrial development was locating along Highway 135 and around the 401, both of which were in Westminster Township (which became the Town of Westminster in 1988), and London was not seeing the tax benefits. At the same time residential development was expanding in Lambeth, which was part of Westminster.

Today the geographic area of London is about 80% of the area of Toronto, and still has a large rural area that has seen very high property taxes with no additional services. It's a case of rural taxpayers subsidizing sewers and public transit that they have no direct access to.

Docere Feb 21, 2017 11:26 PM

Can't speak for New West, but much of Burnaby feels as "urban" as say, South Vancouver.

Burnaby seems to be to Van what say, East York is to Toronto.

SignalHillHiker Feb 22, 2017 10:53 PM

All of the various municipalities in the St. John's CMA (this list isn't complete; excludes the City of Mount Pearl and probably a couple others) cost the roughly 200,000 residents almost half a billion dollars.

St. John's alone has 11 councillors for 108,000 people.

We should definitely amalgamate. There's too much anti-St. John's sentiment for it to happen willingly. It probably would be possible to amalgamate literally every other municipality into a sprawling city of equal population to St. John's without an uprising - but ****'em. It's time for the newcomers to the capital city region to realize what it is. If you hate St. John's, don't move to the Town of Paradise and bitch at us. Stay in Lark Harbour or wherever the fuck. :haha:

Docere Apr 2, 2017 9:38 PM

Montreal looked pretty funny after the Rivière-des-Prairies–Pointe-aux-Trembles annexations.

Montreal 2001:

Montreal 2002:

Montreal 2006:

[I would have preferred Wikipedia's third cleaner map with red and blue rather this orange and red one with the borough boundaries, but for whatever reason I couldn't download the Montreal 2006 map. So if someone wants to put the Montreal 2006 Wiki page up that would be great!]

GreaterMontréal Apr 2, 2017 9:55 PM

But it was not a complete de-merger. ''...without, however, giving them all the powers they had originally.''

The agglomeration of Montréal was created in order to manage certain services of general competence (eg police, firemen, water, economic development), while the cities manage local skills (leisure, public works, etc.).

Coderre is still in control of the whole island. The president of the agglomeration is the mayor of Montréal.

The West Island is not growing anymore.

When we talk about Montréal, we should be talking about the whole island, not just the city.

Rico Rommheim Apr 2, 2017 11:39 PM


Originally Posted by GreaterMontréal (Post 7760150)

Coderre is still in control of the whole island. The president of the agglomeration is the mayor of Montréal.

Which is why the de-mergers was bogus. Which is why as far as I'm concerned, Montreal City = Island. You can't tell me that Westmount isn't part of Montreal.


Originally Posted by Docere (Post 7760131)

What a mess that was.

Docere Apr 2, 2017 11:59 PM


Originally Posted by Rico Rommheim (Post 7760213)
Which is why the de-mergers was bogus. Which is why as far as I'm concerned, Montreal City = Island. You can't tell me that Westmount isn't part of Montreal.

Westmount almost seems akin to the Upper East Side separating from NYC or something.

balletomane Apr 3, 2017 12:16 AM

In general, I see Winnipeg's amalgamation as having ultimately negative effects on the former city. It resulted in the suburbs getting priority when it came to development and revitalization, at the expense of the inner city neighborhoods. Part of the issue is that it took on the existing infrastructure of 11 other municipalities. On the other hand, it centralized municipal organizations, resulted in equal taxes and meant there wasn't 50+ Councillors for an urban area of 600,000.
In 1961, Old Winnipeg had a population of 265,429 compared to 200,188 in 2016 (up from a low of 189,801 in 2001). This is a 24.6% decrease, comparable to many Rust Belt cities.
In 1961, the suburbs had a population of 210,560, compared to 505,056 in 2016, a 139.9% increase.
Unicity wasn't established until 1972, but the decline of the inner neighborhoods began a decade earlier.

GreaterMontréal Apr 3, 2017 12:21 AM


Originally Posted by Docere (Post 7760223)
Westmount almost seems akin to the Upper East Side separating from NYC or something.

Westmount is stuck at 20,000 since 1981.

Rico Rommheim Apr 3, 2017 12:49 AM


Originally Posted by Docere (Post 7760223)
Westmount almost seems akin to the Upper East Side separating from NYC or something.

That's pretty much the way I see the west island. Something akin to Queens, like Long Island City or something.

Docere Apr 3, 2017 4:25 AM

No, not LIC, which is urban as can be.

The West Island municipalities like Beaconsfield and Kirkland are suburban as can be, almost like Oakville or something. Even York Mills and central Etobicoke seem more "urban."

East Montreal "suburbs" are more "urban" than most of the suburban 416 though - compare say, St. Leo vs. Downsview or something.

Laceoflight Apr 3, 2017 7:42 AM

I'll quote myself here from the recent «Which municipalities would you merge together» thread by YannickTO (p. 3 of this forum)


Originally Posted by Laceoflight (Post 7689559)
Here's what I would envision for a re-unified Montreal island. A city of 2 011 778 inhabitants*, composed of 15 strong and relatively equal boroughs / arrondissements.

*All the population data is from Québec's Ministère des Affaires municipales et de l'Organisation du territoire 2017 population decree, for July 1, 2016.

The list of boroughs and populations could go as follows :

Laceoflight Apr 3, 2017 8:46 AM

Some examples of what could be done here and there...

Around Joliette, for example, merge the continuous urban fabric into one town :

On the North Shore of Montreal, go back to the historical parishes :

In the Laurentides, try to contend the sprawl by merging adjacent communities :

Docere Apr 3, 2017 10:29 PM

One Montrealer I know calls Westmount "an island of sanity."

ue Apr 3, 2017 10:40 PM

The Montreal de-merger was dumb. Places like Westmount already get a lot of their services from the City of Montreal, so what's the fuss over being separate?

Halifax's RM seems a bit ridiculous. How did they figure Sheet Harbour fits within Halifax, at 90 minutes away? How would it even be in the CMA? I get merging Halifax, Dartmouth, Bedford, Timberlea, the Sackvilles, etc but the RM extends way too far IMO.

I'm on the fence about Toronto's. In a lot of ways it makes sense, as it was basically Metro Toronto turning into the new City of Toronto, and by the time it happened places like Etobicoke were maturing in a way that the 905 was not. But it also provides issues, like Rob Ford, and pandering to more suburban needs at the expense of the core city. I think having the 3 Yorks merge with Old Toronto makes sense, but I'm iffy about Scarborough and Etobicoke.

Vancouver needs a Toronto-style amalgamation, with the City of Vancouver, Burnaby, New West, and maybe Richmond.

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