Doug Ford’s decision raises questions in Waterloo Region
Published Saturday, July 28, 2018 6:51PM EDT
Ontario’s new Premier has promised that he’s going to slash the size of Toronto city council almost in half, from 44 councilors to 27, before the October election.
It’s a move that’s left many people shocked, and has re-opened the discussion of amalgamation amongst local politicians.
It’s a conversation that Kitchener Mayor, Berry Vrbanovic, is open to having.
“It’s been 20 years since we’ve had this meaningful dialogue here in Ontario,” says Vrbanovic. “It’s ultimately something that I believe should be a local decision.”
It’s unknown if the Progressive Conservative government is eyeing amalgamations or not, but Cambridge Mayor, Doug Craig and councilor, Nick Ermeta, are opposed to the idea.
“I can assure you, there will be a huge fight in Cambridge if that happens,” says Ermeta.
“We’re a large enough city and we can determine our own destiny,” he adds.
Ermeta believes that if a review does lead to amalgamation then the PC’s will lose their seats in the Cambridge ridings.
“People have attachment to their communities,” Ermeta says. “We still haven’t been able to unite the city as well as we should have.”
All of the rules for municipalities are set by the province.
The Municipal Affairs Minister says that it’s time to take a look at regional governance, and see what is and isn’t working.
Waterloo Mayor, Dave Jaworsky believes that being bigger doesn’t necessarily mean it will be more efficient.
“Citizens love their community because of the small town feel” Jaworsky says. “If we want big city vibe, we visit for a day, then come back home.”
Jaworsky believes that if the discussion is going to be had, then goals need to be set.
“If the province says that this conversation is going to happen, that is their right, and I’ll be at the table,” says Jaworsky.