Charlottetown Mayor says sharing services important
Charlottetown Mayor Clifford Lee, says regionalizing municipal services might be the best use of tax dollars.
Lee applauds the provincial government for undertaking a comprehensive review of P.E.I.'s police services, but says the microscope shouldn't stop there.
And, while amalgamation has been a bit of a topic in the Montague area, Lee doesn't see Charlottetown, Stratford and Cornwall merging into one community anytime soon. However, he thinks it makes sense if Island municipalities begin sharing more services.
"I think it's a great move by the province to explore the policing costs across the province,'' Lee said Thursday in regards to the first provincewide review of police services in more than 40 years. "I only wish the province would look at other services as well.''
He cites the water and sewer issue in Stratford as one example where the town has had problems in the past. There have been very informal talks about creating a system where sludge is pumped over to Charlottetown's treatment plant on Riverside Drive, but such a project would take a lot of government money.
"I don't know how we come to grips with that but it would be, in my mind, a pretty sad say for residents of the Charlottetown area if the Town of Stratford has to build a waste water treatment facility in order to deal with that problem when there is already a waste water treatment facility on the other side of the harbour.''
So, it's not amalgamation he's talking about. It's a regionalization of services.
The City of Charlottetown is also using this approach when it comes to things like heavy equipment purchases (snow clearing equipment, for example). The city has been piggybacking on provincial government tenders. That way, more equipment is purchased and it's cheaper because they're buying more of it.
"We've been doing that for a number of years . . . but I think there are other areas where we need to look at regionalization of services. Just because Stratford and Charlottetown don't amalgamate doesn't mean we can't share services. If we start to share services, my suggestion is taxpayers in all communities end up being the winner.''
The mayor said a comprehensive review of municipal services in the Charlottetown area could look at fire protection needs, whether different departments are necessary for services like recreation and public works.
"At some point and time we need to go into this thing not with 'who gets to be the boss at the end of the day or who provides services' but what the most cost effective way would be for taxpayers.''