The Owen Sound Mayor has raised the question of the possibility of going to single tier regional government in Grey County saying that it has 'worked' on other areas and has in fact contacted the minister responsible in that regard. As a rural resident in Grey I must say that I am deeply concerned with such a proposal, firstly I am not convinced that a larger and centralized government model is responsive to the need of individual communities , nor am I convinced that such a move would save taxpayers any money. In point of fact I see the costs for urban services being spread across the entire county thus hitting rural residents particularly hard with costs for services that they do not receive.
From what I have seen for the most part 'amalgamation' where rural
communities have been lumped in with larger urban areas has simply
created problems in trying to accommodate both sides, let us be quite
clear the needs and wishes of the two are quite different. On the
other had in places where two or more largely rural areas were
amalgamated there seems to be less problems and costs have not
changed substantially either way.
We already have an overall upper tier county government although I
am not very conversant with exactly what their mandate is, its hard
to separate who is responsible for what, Municipalities, County,
Provincial, and Federal - roads, health, policing, permits,
environment, etc etc. They are all mixed up with various parts of the
various services funded and controlled via various levels of
government. There may well be some services that can be better
delivered by a regional government and it would seem to make more
sense to merge the Grey & Bruce County governments and use common
resources for things like county road upkeep, and county wide
policing services for instance than to do away with the individual
municipal councils who are much more able to respond to individual
Frankly centralized governments scare the hell out of me, the
larger they get the less responsive they are to particular needs of
the various diverse wishes of the communities they govern. Such
government also quickly become urban-centric in that the majority of
the taxpayers are living in the towns or cities now contained in a
very large physical area with varying needs. Both the Ontario
government and the Federal government are fixated on Toronto for
instance with little regard to smaller centres or populations for
In short I am strongly opposed to this idea and can see no real
advantage in it, I remain unconvinced that it will reduce taxes but
am convinced that it will reduce accountability and direct access to
council by said taxpayers.
UPDATE – A
recent report would seem to support my view that amalgamation does
NOT result in any savings -see this-
Not only are there more employees per taxpayer but Ontario is way above average in this regard according to the report.
A longtime rural resident, I use my 60 plus years of life learning to opinionate here and elsewhere on the “interweb” on everything from politics to environmental issues. A believer in reasonable discourse rather than unhelpful attacks I try to give positive input to the blogesphere, so feel free to comment upon rural issues or anything else posted here. But don’t be surprised if you comments get zapped if you are not polite in your replys.