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  #41  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2017, 9:35 PM
balletomane balletomane is offline
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Originally Posted by mistercorporate View Post
Interesting, thanks for sharing. In our case, amalgamation was shortly followed by new planning regulations (forced through by the province) which not only created a greenbelt surrounding the city to limit sprawl but also set out parameters for greater densification in the core and a few nodes surrounding it (for political expediancy). This may be useful for Winnipeg to consider so it can leverage all the advantages of amalgamation without all the disadvantages, which frankly Toronto also had to deal with until the province stepped in to refocus priorities.
Toronto amalgamation seemed much better thought out than Winnipeg's. I think had Winnipeg amalgamated in the 2000's than the 1970's, it also would've been better thought out. I'm not sure when the "anti-suburb/sprawl movement" started, but suburban development and increasingly sprawling cities were commonplace in the 1970's.
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  #42  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2017, 9:39 PM
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To balletomane's point, how many of those things can be said to be the fault of Unicity? There were broader trends at play such as the decline of Winnipeg's stature relative to other major western cities, the influx of a relatively impoverished population (leading to higher inner city crime), the fact that the large urban core was growing quite old and in need of rehabilitation/renewal.

Although shopping and retail has been decentralized, many of Winnipeg's important office, institutional and cultural functions remain centrally located. That would have been much tougher to accomplish had suburban cities been free to do whatever they wanted to steal activity away from the core.

As with Toronto, I think there came to be a more unified and cohesive attempt at planning the city, rather than letting every little municipality do whatever it wanted. No question that came at a cost of letting suburban areas wield some more control over things, but I think Winnipeg has done an acceptable job of keeping sprawl in check.
I agree with your points, its a bit like a chicken or egg question. I'm sure both had their part in causing and speeding up the decline of the inner city. One thing that's for sure is that other than the amalgamation itself, unicity lacked vision, it seemed the city didn't really contemplate what would happen after the city was enlarged and services centralized under one authority.
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  #43  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2017, 9:41 PM
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Originally Posted by wave46 View Post
The question remains: would the increase in crime and depopulation have happened anyway without amalgamation? Or did having an extensive suburban tax base prevent worse decline from occurring?

Many US cities lost lots of their tax base to the neighboring suburbs, which arguably caused more damage as they had to cut city services and police, which tended to exacerbate the population decline. With the surrounding suburbs contributing to overall funding, perhaps the city of Winnipeg suffered less than it might have?
I haven't really thought about this, but this is an interesting alternative. I guess the only way of knowing for sure is if the city had never amalgamated in the first place. US cities are different to some degree, as race played a major role in their decline (i.e. "white flight").
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  #44  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2017, 9:46 PM
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Originally Posted by balletomane View Post
Toronto amalgamation seemed much better thought out than Winnipeg's. I think had Winnipeg amalgamated in the 2000's than the 1970's, it also would've been better thought out. I'm not sure when the "anti-suburb/sprawl movement" started, but suburban development and increasingly sprawling cities were commonplace in the 1970's.
The anti-sprawl element in society only really took hold in the late-1990s and early 2000s. There might have been fringes of it prior to that (see: freeway revolts of the 1970s), but generally, land use planning by government did not begin to change much around major cities until the 2000s.

Winnipeg had too many uncoordinated municipalities in the 1960s. Toronto had 5 "cities" for about 2 million people. Winnipeg had 12 (?) for about 1/2 a million. Getting anything planned or done must have been a giant hassle.
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  #45  
Old Posted Apr 4, 2017, 10:19 PM
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I'm not sure amalgamation changes much on its own. The larger social trends taking place in a given city are much more important. The cost savings and improved regional coordination sometimes materialize and sometimes don't.

One thing that did happen with Halifax amalgamation was that the suburban councillors forced a lot more development on the city. Almost every councillor has a lot of local NIMBY support, but NIMBYs don't generally care about other neighbourhoods, so the larger the council the less effective the NIMBYs are.

In Halifax, amalgamation did nothing to stop businesses from moving to the suburbs and may have accelerated it. The amalgamated municipality has huge suburban land banks that it sells off at cheap prices for big box office park and retail development, and the tax structure of the municipality favours suburban businesses.

It is hard to find numbers for Halifax, since the old municipal boundaries aren't tracked explicitly, but there hasn't been population loss in the old city. I seem to recall that the City of Halifax population was around 114,000 in 1996. Adding up the census tracts that were a part of the city back then yields 133,151 working from the uncorrected 2016 census numbers.

Population isn't always a great measure of whether or not an area is doing well. A lot of places lose population as they gentrify, and a lot of poor neighbourhoods traditionally had high population densities.
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  #46  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2017, 5:14 PM
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I was reading up a bit about the amalgamation of Winnipeg. There were actually many plans presented to the province and proposed by the NDP government at the time. Some of the NDP plans ranged from amalgamating all former 12 municipalities into a single entity (the city today) to as many as 9 separate cities.
Interestingly, the Manitoba Boundary Commission at the time recommended that the two-tier system of government was sufficient and allowed for better municipal representation. It only proposed a few minor changes and the 12 municipalities would've been reduced to 9,
City of Winnipeg (less Elmwood) pop. 204,000
City of East Kildonan (East Kildonan, North Kildonan, Elmwood) pop. 90,000
City of Fort Garry pop. 76,000
City of St. Vital pop. 69,000
City of West Kildonan (West Kildonan, Old Kildonan) pop. 67,000
City of St. James-Assiniboia pop. 63,000
City of St. Boniface pop. 60,000
City of Charleswood-Tuxedo pop. 44,000
City of Transcona pop. 32,000

Had the NDP followed through with the boundary commission's recommendations, I wonder how the city might be different today. Obviously, amalgamation was inevitable once it was being studied in the late-1960's, but the 9-City Plan could be an interesting alternate history topic.
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  #47  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2017, 5:33 PM
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What I dislike about all these post-1995 mergers is that it takes a lot of work to get census data for all these dissolved communities!
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  #48  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2017, 5:42 PM
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What I dislike about all these post-1995 mergers is that it takes a lot of work to get census data for all these dissolved communities!
I know its very frustrating! Unless you're willing to spend hours of going into census archives and adding up data from each census tract (and making sure it adds up to the correct number), you can't find any information on the former municipalities. The further back you go into census archives the more inconsistencies there are, probably due to revisions, so you can only really approximate to the nearest thousand.
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  #49  
Old Posted Apr 9, 2017, 6:11 PM
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And the Harris era ones just seemed to be some bean-counter approach to efficiency plus politics (i.e. 905 left alone), unlike the more sensible mergers of the Robarts and Davis eras.

Toronto is the only one that really did and it was 75% "amalgamated" anyway. Having one mayor makes sense - it was ridiculous that the Metro chair wasn't an elected official. However there should be a functioning borough system IMO.
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  #50  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2017, 4:39 PM
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Just a question...
Have there ever been any serious talks of amalgamation in Metro Vancouver? You'd think that with the wave of amalgamations that swept across Canada in the late-90's/early-00's, Metro Vancouver would have been touched by it as well.
It doesn't seem feasible for all municipalities to amalgamate, but at least Vancouver/Burnaby/New Westminster would.
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  #51  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2017, 5:43 PM
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The anti-sprawl element in society only really took hold in the late-1990s and early 2000s. There might have been fringes of it prior to that (see: freeway revolts of the 1970s), but generally, land use planning by government did not begin to change much around major cities until the 2000s.

Winnipeg had too many uncoordinated municipalities in the 1960s. Toronto had 5 "cities" for about 2 million people. Winnipeg had 12 (?) for about 1/2 a million. Getting anything planned or done must have been a giant hassle.
Look only to Edmonton as the city of Edmonton only represents about 2/3rd of the total urban population. Not even sure if amalgamation is on the books there and while they have the Capital Area Region group (or whatever it's just been recently renamed to) issues like annexation and control of Edmonton International Airport (county of Leduc) appears to still be a contentious issue.
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  #52  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2017, 9:58 PM
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Amalgamation is a provincial responsibility. The amalgamation scenario for Vancouver is similar to Victoria. Both probably would benefit from amalgamation.

I think the aggressive scenarios of Winnipeg/Ottawa/Toronto/Montreal scared governments off due to the terrible reception.
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  #53  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2017, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jigglysquishy View Post
Amalgamation is a provincial responsibility. The amalgamation scenario for Vancouver is similar to Victoria. Both probably would benefit from amalgamation.

I think the aggressive scenarios of Winnipeg/Ottawa/Toronto/Montreal scared governments off due to the terrible reception.
Perhaps its an issue that will be further discussed in the future, I'm sure there would be some savings should city amalgamate with a few of the surrounding municipalities.
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  #54  
Old Posted Aug 13, 2017, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by balletomane View Post
Perhaps its an issue that will be further discussed in the future, I'm sure there would be some savings should city amalgamate with a few of the surrounding municipalities.
you don't do mergers to save money, but to have more control. the smaller, less urban cities will hate that.
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  #55  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2017, 2:14 AM
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you don't do mergers to save money, you do them to have more control. the smallest, less urban cities will hate that.
so true!
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  #56  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2017, 2:37 AM
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Originally Posted by balletomane View Post
Perhaps its an issue that will be further discussed in the future, I'm sure there would be some savings should city amalgamate with a few of the surrounding municipalities.
The savings have proved largely illusory, as wages tend to go up to whoever the highest paid city employees were of the former municipalities.

As for 'efficiency' by decreasing bureaucracy, institutions that tend to benefit from that (ex. police/fire) tend to operate at a regional level anyways - for instance, the City of Waterloo doesn't have a city police force - the police force is for the whole Region of Waterloo, which includes Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and surrounding areas. Same with transit.

The best thing that happens is that coordinating responsibilities that are handled between the lower-tier municipal governments are easier. To use an extreme example, there are dozens of little municipalities on the New Jersey side of the Hudson river - some no more than a few blocks in area. It is a wonder that anything can be accomplished there.
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  #57  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2017, 3:45 AM
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Greater Vancouver has soon really stupid and wasteful duplication all maintained by politicians who want to keep their jobs and fiefdoms.

There is a Langley city surrounded by a Langley Municipality. Same as you have a North Vancouver City surrounded by a NV Municipality even though no one can see any difference and 90% of the people in those cities even know where the boundaries are.
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  #58  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2017, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by GreaterMontréal View Post
you don't do mergers to save money, but to have more control. the smaller, less urban cities will hate that.
In Montreal's case, that was one of the big problems: the merger gave less control to local municipalities in certain domains (public works and snow removal notably) which resulted in inferior services to the population compared to what they had. Hence why many of the smaller (and often more affluent) cities voted to demerge.
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  #59  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2017, 12:13 PM
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The savings have proved largely illusory, as wages tend to go up to whoever the highest paid city employees were of the former municipalities.

As for 'efficiency' by decreasing bureaucracy, institutions that tend to benefit from that (ex. police/fire) tend to operate at a regional level anyways - for instance, the City of Waterloo doesn't have a city police force - the police force is for the whole Region of Waterloo, which includes Cambridge, Kitchener, Waterloo and surrounding areas. Same with transit.

The best thing that happens is that coordinating responsibilities that are handled between the lower-tier municipal governments are easier. To use an extreme example, there are dozens of little municipalities on the New Jersey side of the Hudson river - some no more than a few blocks in area. It is a wonder that anything can be accomplished there.
So would the Edmonton urban area gain some savings if amalgamation were to occur there? The city of Edmonton has it's own transit, garbage, police and fire departments and they do not cover the areas outside of the city of Edmonton's boundaries.
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  #60  
Old Posted Aug 14, 2017, 12:43 PM
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So would the Edmonton urban area gain some savings if amalgamation were to occur there? The city of Edmonton has it's own transit, garbage, police and fire departments and they do not cover the areas outside of the city of Edmonton's boundaries.
I'm not quite sure. If there is duplication for certain high-cost services, like policing, then maybe a case could be made for savings.

It depends on what areas are merged and how much their services cost relative to Edmonton's. Also, what kind of service do these smaller places want - i.e. do they want to be connected to Edmonton's transit, or are they happy without?
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