We have an opportunity like no other to significantly change the destiny of North Simcoe. Let’s hope those we have entrusted to represent us will have the vision, courage and capacity to help the future arrive on schedule!
As many of our readers know, the Provincial Government has undertaken consultation regarding a Regional Government Review covering eight regional municipalities and Simcoe County.
We appreciate those of you who have taken the time to participate in this exercise, as it truly matters! The decisions to be made will affect you in the first instance, but more importantly your Grandchildren. Thank you to those of you who sent us a copy of your submission. Your comments on this important matter will help shape our region for decades to come.
One concerned respondent wrote, and we quote, “with the current possibilities for the use of technology for communications and delivery of services, it is unfathomable that we are still encumbered by so many levels of government.
Taxpayers need to have greater efficiency and expanded effectiveness in the delivery of services”.
Since inception some eight years ago, Midlandcommunity.ca has maintained its focus on what we refer to as the three-legged stool. The three legs of the stool are representative of 1) economic development, 2) progressive/friendly planning, and 3) effective/affordable taxation. Success is only possible if the governance structure of the region is aligned with these three imperatives. In addition, if we do not have a balanced approach to these ‘legs’, which support growth and an enhanced quality of life for our community, then the stool will invariably topple.
While North Simcoe (Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay and Tiny) has begun the journey to embrace municipal partnerships, explore efficiencies, leverage talent across municipal borders, pool funding, etc, it is clear that the ‘Power of Four’ will not realize optimum success for their respective catchment until the governance model is addressed to ensure that we eliminate duplication, streamline government processes, simplify the delivery of services and rationalize the ownership of strategic infrastructure. Remember these are our tax dollars at work for our interests.
We can no longer afford to bump along for another 30 years absorbing costs for multiple layers of government with overlapping and duplicated services.
Collectively, local governments will need to invest tens of millions on roads, water and wastewater infrastructure, which the current property tax supported model will not sustain.
Getting governance right is not a task local elected officials and staff can carry out because there are real vested interests in the outcome.
With this in mind, we have reviewed various submissions individuals and groups have provided to the Provincial Government. The one that resonates most with us is attached for your consideration.
It is called ‘ONE NIAGARA NOW’, and addresses the challenges presented by 13 governments and 126 politicians serving a population of 450,000. It concludes the solution is One Region, One Brand, and One Agenda for a proposed new City of Niagara.
In Niagara the citizens are driving what appears to be a common-sense approach to a complex matter.
Please take the opportunity to read their submission. The question becomes, will we have the courage to embrace a more forward thinking solution?
Time will only tell!
Midland Matters, You Matter and Getting Involved Matters.
Click To Read
One Niagara Now Report April 29 2019.pdf
A message from Minister Steve Clark for context:
Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Our government is committed to improving the way regional government works. After almost 50 years, it’s time to consider whether changes are needed in communities where populations have grown, and hard-earned taxpayers’ dollars are being stretched.
This consultation is an opportunity for us to hear directly from you ? the people who live, work and spend time in the municipalities covered by the review. We want to hear your ideas on how we can improve governance, decision-making and service delivery in the regions and Simcoe County.
The outcomes of the review are not predetermined. It is about making sure regional and municipal governments are accountable to the people and working hard to deliver services to their communities. By building on what’s working well, we can improve regional government and make it easier to access local services. Only after we have thoroughly considered the advisors’ recommendations will we determine how to proceed.