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kitchener-lrt Nov 19, 2007 11:14 PM

Amalgamation
 
Cambridge ready to name anti-amalgamation team

November 19, 2007
KEVIN SWAYZE
RECORD STAFF

CAMBRIDGE

Four businesspeople, a lawyer, a nurse and a social activist are proposed to champion Cambridge opposition to a single government for Waterloo Region.

The Cambridge Community Advisory Committee is expected to be formally created tonight, based on the recommendations of a committee of city council members.

Mayor Doug Craig proposed the committee last month in response to a citizens committee that has revived the idea of local government reform in Waterloo Region, replacing it with a single structure that promises to make public services more efficient while being easier for taxpayers to understand.

Those are the key issues the Cambridge committee will have to "reply to," Craig said.

"Is one-tier government, big-city government, better than small city government?"

And, in terms of our regional situation, is one government better at providing services, he added.

Candidates for the city advisory committee include:

James Anderson, Sam Purdy, David Smart and Lori Van Opstal, all with a business background.

Bill Davidson, a social services advocate and executive director of Lang's Farm village association.

Milena Protich, a lawyer.

Kathyrn McGarry, a critical care nurse.

Council meets at 7 tonight in the historic city hall at 46 Dickson St.

Delegations are welcome.

Craig intends for the city committee to have general directions from council, but they'll be free to write their terms of reference for the job ahead.

"I'm going to leave it up to them how they're going to handle that, to get a handle on that."

Nor will Craig predict how much tax money the committee will need.

"That's going to be up to them in terms how much support they need to do their jobs," he said.

Craig said he has been invited to speak to the Confederation Club in Kitchener on Dec. 13 about the amalgamation issue.

"Talk about the lamb being asked to walk into the lion's den," Craig said.

"I've been asked to talk about local (government) amalgamation."

Jim Erb, spokesperson for Citizens for Better Government, said he, too, was invited to speak to the Confederation Club last month.

That citizens group is hosting community meetings across the region to talk about government reform, the most recent one attended by 19 people Thursday in New Hamburg.

"It's been a very civilized debate," even if people don't immediately agree with the single-city proposal on the table, Erb said.

"They say: Convince me that single tier is the right way to go. At the same time, they're saying the system has to change."

With the regional government providing most services, Erb sees the logical solution as taking the final step to one government after 34 years of creeping in that direction.

Water and sewer services, planning and fire departments are better run by one big government -- the way police, transit and ambulance are today, he said.

"People are really surprised when you tell them 70 per cent of services (already) come from the region and 30 per cent from the (local) municipality," Erb said.

kswayze@therecord.com

PUBLIC SESSIONS

Citizens for Better Government public meetings:

Waterloo

Wednesday, 7 p.m., Waterloo Rec Complex.

Cambridge

Nov. 28, 7:30 p.m., Holiday Inn, Cambridge.

St. Clements

Dec. 6, 7:30p.m., St. Clements Community Centre.

kitchener-lrt Nov 20, 2007 1:14 AM

No offense Cambridgite, but you're city's holding us back:haha: . Why doesn't Kitchener and Waterloo already amalgamate, we're practically one city! It's even in the name, Kitchener-Waterloo. It'll be much more convenient if all of our services were joined.

Cambridgite Nov 20, 2007 1:47 AM

I actually read this article today while eating lunch.

Quote:

Originally Posted by kitchener-lrt (Post 3178291)
No offense Cambridgite, but you're city's holding us back:haha: . Why doesn't Kitchener and Waterloo already amalgamate, we're practically one city! It's even in the name, Kitchener-Waterloo. It'll be much more convenient if all of our services were joined.

I know that, but I'd like to hear the argument from both sides. Unfortunately, the only argument I've really heard against amalgamation is the community identity bit. Supposedly, amalgamation leads to higher taxes. A Cambridge councillor and former Hamilton resident told me this through the Hamilton experience. At the same time, proponents for amalgamation also say it will lead to lower taxes and greater efficiencies. The latter seems to make more sense, but both are trying to push their own agendas. I'd really like to hear some kind of factual evidence, so I can make an informed opinion.

What we have are two problems presented, each with an opposing solution. On one hand, there is the community identity issue, strictly opposed to amalgamation (for obvious reasons). On the other hand, there's a need for the management of a co-ordinated metropolitan region, where imaginary political boundaries lead to separate agendas and a lack of vision. Both are important issues. I'm going to ask for the opinions of Toronto and Hamilton forumers about their views on amalgamation.

Cambridgite Dec 10, 2007 5:49 AM

I found this interesting.

http://www.cambridgenow.com/npps/story.cfm?ID=892

WaterlooInvestor Dec 10, 2007 6:23 AM

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Cambridgite Dec 10, 2007 12:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WaterlooInvestor (Post 3217459)
Now replace world stage with Canadian stage, and I believe that's what would happen for Waterloo Region. Yes, I know I'm cherry picking these two lines from the article, however this one point makes up for all the drawbacks IMO.

It makes up for the increased beaurocratic confusion, higher taxes, and disenfranchished townships? Sorry, I disagree with you here. I don't think amalgamation will change how people will view the Region in terms of size. All one has to do is drive through the Region or take a look at google maps to see that it's a larger urban area than each municipality suggests on its own. And our Regional population reflects those numbers anyways. Presently, I think the two-tiered system is working because it not only has a form of government that manages the issues of metropolitan-wide importance, but also addresses the localized concerns at the city level. The townships also don't have to take on the burden of city taxes. Even if the municipalities were to amalgamate, it wouldn't make people think as one big city. In Cambridge, people still refer to themselves as being from Hespeler, Preston, or Galt.

WaterlooInvestor Dec 10, 2007 7:17 PM

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Cambridgite Dec 10, 2007 10:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by WaterlooInvestor (Post 3218418)
In or outside of the city? The reason I ask is because whenever a friend of mine would say where he's from while in Waterloo Region his response would be "Hespler". However, whenever we went to Toronto, his response would be "Cambridge" or even "Kitchener-Waterloo".

Well, I tend to just say I'm from Cambridge anyways. If people ask me to be more specific, I say North Galt. Most people in Ontario know where Cambridge is, so I generally don't say Kitchener or Kitchener-Waterloo area unless I'm out-of-province. When I'm in the US, I say I'm an hour from Toronto. Usually this method works.

There was one particularly sad experience I had one time though. I was in a hobby shop in the Eaton's Centre with my dad and brother. The cashier was being all helpful and trying to get us to come back for some kind of convention of sorts, but we weren't that interested.

My Dad: "Actually, we're not from around here."
Cashier: "Oh yeah? Whereabouts?
My Dad: "Cambridge"
Cashier: "Oh yeah? Where's that?"
My Dad: (pauses with a dumbfounded look on his face) "Next to Kitchener"
Cashier: "Oh okay...that sorta sounds familiar."

....kinda sad :haha:

dunkalunk Dec 11, 2007 1:10 AM

I agree we won't lose civic identity through amalgamation. My main concern is how areas are taxed. As a resident living around Grand River Hospital, I have no need to pay for RIM Park (one example), though taxes. I have facilities which are closer to where I live. On the other hand, It would open up more regional services ect. to be used region wide. If i were taking something like swimming lessons, standard practice is to bill extra for people who live outside of the city.

I have no idea how things are taxed in Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, City of Montreal ect. It would be interesting to see what they have done. It would also be interesting to find out the reasons reasons why some cities dropped out of the Montreal amalgamation.

Aside: In the area where I live, it is almost impossible to tell apart from the road signs which city you are in, Kitchener or Waterloo. I have lived in Kitchener for the past 8 years and I still identify more closely with Waterloo.
Also, If we did amalgamate, what would we call ourselves? Cambritcherloo?

vid Dec 11, 2007 1:22 AM

Grandenburg. ;)

I've been proposing that name for a long time. Either Waterloo or Grandenburg. The latter really reflects the German heritage, and mentions the river. :) The previous is more familiar.

dunkalunk Dec 11, 2007 1:58 AM

Believe it or not, when they were deciding on names to rename Berlin, Hydro City was on the list. No foolin! Link
Check out other names such as Uranus and Cameo. Cameo i thounk would be the coolest name ever :P

Cambridgite Dec 11, 2007 2:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dunkalunk (Post 3219323)
Also, If we did amalgamate, what would we call ourselves? Cambritcherloo?

Quote:

Originally Posted by vid (Post 3219348)
Grandenburg. ;)

I've been proposing that name for a long time. Either Waterloo or Grandenburg. The latter really reflects the German heritage, and mentions the river. :) The previous is more familiar.

Nah, forget that.

Kitchenwaterbridge OR Rimstein !!

jeremy_haak Dec 11, 2007 3:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Cambridgite (Post 3220354)
Nah, forget that.

Kitchenwaterbridge OR Rimstein !!

Hah! Rimstein would be perfect. :haha:

Waterlooson Dec 11, 2007 6:07 PM

Rimstein.... that's too cute.

vid Dec 11, 2007 6:38 PM

WaterlooInvestor would love it. :)

MolsonExport Dec 11, 2007 10:57 PM

Fill it to the Rim, with Brim.

rapid_business Dec 12, 2007 1:28 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dunkalunk (Post 3219323)
As a resident living around Grand River Hospital, I have no need to pay for RIM Park (one example), though taxes. I have facilities which are closer to where I live. On the other hand, It would open up more regional services ect. to be used region wide. If i were taking something like swimming lessons, standard practice is to bill extra for people who live outside of the city.

I'm glad you see the 'other hand'. The first argument you posted is so problematic in North American (mostly south of the border) that it's wreck havoc on cities. With that argument, you could say, you don't use the rehab clinics, you only use one branch of the library, public transit, the food bank, 85% of the roads, etc. so why should you have to pay for it.

The shining example of where this hails is gated communities in the suburbs (again, mostly south of the border). Residents are willing to fork over lots of money for things that are connected to them immediately, but hate the idea of property tax for service in cities they don't use. It screams so much of a selfish attitude, and fails to see the importance and indirect implications these services/facilities/etc. have on a city, even if one doesn't use it.

vid Dec 12, 2007 1:37 AM

Someone wrote into our paper saying "I never use buses therefore no one uses buses therefore get rid of them".

Villages seem to be an idiots favourite thing with which to fuck. :no:

rapid_business Dec 12, 2007 4:43 AM

Write back and tell them since you've never driven on their road, therefore it shouldn't be paved or serviced.

vid Dec 12, 2007 8:19 PM

That's already been covered, though. A few months ago, someone said "I never use Belrose Bridge therefore it shouldn't exist".

I don't want to be one of them! :( And I have used Belrose Bridge. It's rickety.


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