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Friday 27 May 2011

Time for an overhaul!

The May 25th edition of The Western Star included an article titled "Getting Together" that was all about how regionalization was the new word for amalgamation and it was all inevitable given the current economic conditions. Well I guess we can all move along now and that will just take care of its self......not quite.

The short article contends that municipalities are fighting against amalgamation but that they currently can't afford to operate their existing services. That's partially correct as many municipalities do struggle to provide their existing services but the article is off base with regard to a number of other factors.

To point out the issues in the story Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador issued a press release, including the differences between amalgamation and regionalization. Unfortunately there has been an ongoing confusion between the two and because there is generally only a passing interest in municipal issues by the media, very few in the media have a strong handle on the real issues.

The issues in the municipal sector include lack of participation, lack of training for councillors and staff, insufficient funding for both operations and infrastructure and a very serious lack of planning, strategic and land use. Oh and then there's the issue of the existing structure.... When all the issues are considered it becomes clear that a complete review of the municipal sector is required. It could lead to new funding structures, governance models, or perhaps a complete overhaul of the whole bloody thing. But we won't know until more people get informed and get involved, including the media, and the Province shows the required leadership to get the process started.

For some background information you could start here, here,here, and here.

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