Originally Posted by Elmira Guy
How do you see amalgamation affecting the townships? Do you think it will be a positive thing for the smaller urban and rural areas in the region?
Here's a good article I saw in the Woolwich/Wellesley Observer today about how the townships feel about amalgamation.
One more kick at the amalgamation can
Citizens For Better Government looking for municipal input in deciding what comes next
(By Marc Miquel Helsen; OBSERVER; Saturday, December 6, 2008)
Looking at its next steps, the Citizens For Better Government (CFBG) is unlikely to get a green light from municipal officials. The organization hosted a discussion Thursday that delegates from Wellesley and Woolwich townships were scheduled to attend.
Discussing the issue Monday night, Wellesley councillors laid out a clear position: they’re not interested.
“My role there would be, definitely, to tell them that this is not a good idea for municipalities, especially the outlying areas.
I certainly want that voice heard there,” said Coun. Jim Olender in an interview before the meeting.
Although the purpose of the CFBG meeting wasn’t to discuss the merits of its recently published final report in which the group advocates amalgamation of Waterloo Region’s municipalities, Olender said his message would be abundantly clear that such a move is not in the rural municipality’s best interest.
Furthermore, bringing up the issue in these tumultuous economic times is especially inappropriate.
“In theory it sounds wonderful but in practice, as we know, from anywhere in Ontario that it’s been done it hasn’t worked out anywhere. And anybody whom I’ve talked to who came from small places like here, they lost out, big-time. Their services diminished, their taxes went up, the big centres took all their brand new equipment, dumped off their garbage.”
Advocating amalgamation of the region’s seven municipalities, CFBG released a report in October, “Finding a Better Way,” in which it presented a number of alternatives to replace the existing two-tier system. Representatives of the group then attended local councils to present their findings.
CFBG’s preferred form of amalgamation calls for the elimination of each of the existing municipal councils (a total of 51 politicians), replacing them with one city council comprising 26 ward councillors and a mayor. Ward councillors would be assisted by 26 unelected community councils intended to provide a local voice on a centralized government.
Historically, such proposals for further amalgamation have met with cool and unenthusiastic responses from both Woolwich and Wellesley councils.
Despite the obvious potential for disagreement, however, this week’s meeting was to take a more fluid approach.
“Really, the intent of the meeting … is to determine interest and further discussion of the report and its recommendations to see whether or not there is any interest in this,” explained Randy Gosse, director of legislated services/city clerk with the City of Kitchener. “If there is no interest, I would suspect it will just end right there.”