Will Burlington become part of a mega-city? Process to determine City’s fate will begin next month

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Published August 22, 2023 at 5:12 pm

Burlington city hall power mayor politics

A facilitator who will determine the political fate of Burlington and the rest of Halton Region will be assigned next month.

Today, Steve Clark, Ontario’s Minister of Municipal Affairs announced the facilitator will be named by Sept. 11 thereby starting the process to determine if Halton will become one big mega-city, whether or not regional government will be abolished, or if local government will remain the same as is has been since 1974.

The move follows in the footsteps of the decision to do away with regional government in Peel Region where it has been determined that the political relationship between Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon will be dissolved with each going its separate way.

In Halton, Burlington, Oakville, Milton and Halton Hills have all largely advocated for the status quo, but the Queen’s Park appointed facilitator will have to be convinced that the process that began in Peel won’t spread elsewhere.

Burlington has made it clear that it wants no part of a Halton mega-city that would include the other three municipalities.

Although the City of Burlington says it welcomes the assessment and looks to create efficiencies in the way it operates alongside Halton Region, it has made its position clear that giving up its independence should not be an option.

“We’ve been down this path before, we did not support changes then and we still don’t, we absolutely don’t want a City of Halton,” Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward said at a City committee meeting earlier this year (May 3). “If the Province is of the mind to make any changes, (they have) to make sure the changes are an improvement and if not, why fix what’s not broken?”

Ahead of the facilitators’ assessment, Burlington has outlined its intentions regarding how the procedure should take place. These include a defined work plan and a timeline for completion, looking at all governance options (except amalgamation of the four municipalities into a City of Halton), carrying out the decided-upon changes, and consulting the public in the process.

As well, Burlington believes the assessment should lead to improved long-term quality of life for residents, reduced service costs, a funding plan, and putting the City in a position to succeed in the future.

In today’s announcement, Minister Clark said the facilitator will be tasked with assessing local governance structures to ensure they are prepared to support future growth and meet the needs of their residents, particularly when it comes to building homes and housing-enabling infrastructure.

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