Will the Halton Region Become One Big City?
The question still stands... will the Halton Region become one big city?
Amalgamation (which can be defined as the action, process, or result of combining or uniting) of the Halton Region has been an incredibly hot topic ever since the provincial government announced that it will be reviewing the governance, decision-making, and service delivery functions of eight regional municipalities and Simcoe County.
These eight municipalities include the Durham Region, Muskoka District, Niagara Region, Oxford County, Peel Region, Waterloo Region, York Region, and of course the Halton Region.
The goal of this review is to ensure that municipalities are working efficiently, effectively, and can continue to provide critical services communities depend on.
So, where does the idea of amalgamation come into play?
Following the provincial government announcement, there have been concerns and speculations regarding the possibility of amalgamations. As some may recall, the modern-day City of Toronto is the product of a major amalgamation that took place in the 90s. Some say that reviews of regional governments could lead to more mergers, although the provincial government hasn't promised anything quite so drastic yet.
In a previous article on inhalton.com it was noted that when it comes to amalgamation, it is up to municipalities to put it on the table.
Now, some municipalities in Halton have commented on the idea.
In a recent blog post on her website, Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward noted that, "We're very happy to look for efficiencies within our government system, but amalgamating our municipalities into a City of Halton is a non-starter."
This statement from the Meed Ward followed the recent passing of a resolution that the Mayor brought forward at a council meeting. This resolution will work to protect the city's identity and two-tiered municipal government system.
The Town of Oakville has a similar opinion on the matter.
"Oakville Council does not favour any structural change in governance because we already have established and effective working relationships with both the Region of Halton and our neighbouring municipalities," Oakville Mayor Rob Burton said in a press release. "We have continually worked together to ensure the efficient and effective delivery of services. We have conducted major reviews to ensure value for money for our taxpayers and we work closely with Halton to ensure we don't have duplication in our areas of shared responsibility. Two-tiered government works here in Halton."
Halton Hills or Milton have not commented on the potential possibility.
And, as mentioned, although the provincial government has not yet promised anything as drastic as amalgamating the municipal governments in the Halton Region, if this idea does become more of a reality it is safe to say that there will be some pushback.
According to the Ontario government website, "The review will include consultations with municipal councilors and leaders, stakeholder organizations and the public in the spring of 2019."
For more information on the province’s regional governance review, click here.
Cover photo courtesy of the Region of Halton's Twitter page.
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