Amalgamation on P.E.I. complicated but necessary

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Stratford town councillor, Diane Griffin

Institute of Island Studies symposium looks at local governance on Island , way this province is falling behind

By Madison Blanchard

The Guardian

Trying to amalgamate P.E.I.'s rural communities will be a tough sell, says Dianne Griffin.

The Stratford town councillor was a part of a recent Institute of Island Studies symposium that took place at UPEI on Feb. 25 and looked at local governance on P.E.I and the way this province is falling behind when it comes to how it is governed both provincially and municipally.

There are many communities on P.E.I. with fewer than 200 residents that do not share amenities and struggle to afford residential services.

It is something that cannot last in the future, Griffin says.

"People have to be willing to collaborate. Unfortunately, traditionally a lot of these communities have been competing with one another . . . . We have to find ways to operate efficiently to be sustainable."

Dr. Michael van den Heuvel agrees.

The professor of biology at UPEI was also a panelist at the local governance symposium. He says communities haven't been able to see the benefits of regionalizing governance and, instead, feel they are losing something.

"A lot of communities see it as losing their identity."

The key to changing people's minds about amalgamation is ensuring the province and its residents are being involved and included.

 

"The will hasn't been there in P.E.I. (from the provincial government)."

There is an idea that looking into any sort of change to the current system, which has 73 municipalities, some of which have fewer than 200 residents, is getting past people's perception of it costing them, said van den Heuvel.

"I think there's this idea that it's government bureaucracy and it'll cost more money."

Any sort of regionalizing of services would end up saving the communities money in the long run, said van den Heuvel.

"I see it working. There's a lot of resistance to that."

In order for P.E.I. to remain sustainable, he agrees with Griffin that communities have to amalgamate before the Island falls even further behind the rest of the world.

"I think it could be done in a way where it's efficient."

Organizations: Institute of Island Studies

Geographic location: P.E.I.

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Recent comments

  • Amalgamate
    March 05, 2016 - 10:39

    Wake up and amalgamate and go provincial police. Save the province millions and millions

  • REAL REASON
    March 05, 2016 - 08:23

    Regardless of what the people say or have been put through Government is not going to listen. The main reason for amalgamation is to raise your property tax bills to give even more money to throw away of stupid schemes and backers. All it will do is lower Government costs as many things will then come under the amalgamated areas such as snow removal, road clearing, etc.

  • Squirrel
    March 05, 2016 - 08:02

    Amazing, simply amazing !!!! The only people against amalgamation are those people who live outside of those Communities & importantly USE their facilities for free. ie: Rinks, Ballparks, Soccer Fields Amalgamation could be each High School areas as a unit. Communities are getting smaller & older, that's whose paying the bills. How many studies agree with my view 6/7. Do it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Buzz Off Bedeque
      March 05, 2016 - 17:00

      Municipalities may moan that "outsiders" use their "facilities" for free, but that's a complete myth, a silly attempt to disguise the reality that certain municipalities may not be viable. Regardless, nothing can justify the ultimate hostile act of attempting to annex any unwilling neighboring community.

  • I suggest a different model
    March 04, 2016 - 21:24

    How about we dissolve all 73 existing municipalities and then incorporate all of PEI as a single municipality? And we can be part of the province of Nova Scotia. Kill 2 birds with 1 stone.

  • Injustice Again
    March 04, 2016 - 19:35

    In past centuries, rural PEI suffered under a system of absentee landlordism imposed from beyond. Any government forcing our rural communities into municipalities would create injustice on an equal scale and surely attract scorn in future history books. From a rural perspective, the prospect of annexation looks gravely damaging, so much worse than unnecessary, a potential death sentence for agriculture.

    • NIMBY
      March 05, 2016 - 00:30

      Will people stop with the Henny Penny stuff already?! The only thing stopping PEI from becoming a viable entity is the resistance to change.

  • Kinlocker
    March 04, 2016 - 14:40

    The great saviour of everything - amalgamation. Yes, let's shove that down every communities throat whether they want it or not. Should we ask residents of smaller communities that have been forced to bail out, er I mean amalgamate with, larger communities how it worked out? No, no, no, don't do that, you might hear that in reality, all communities like Keppoch-Kinlock got was higher taxes and more rules/regulations. Amalgamation should never be forced on any community just because someone thinks it might be better for them. maybe these communities know better and know that however small they are, they are better off than having their taxes sky rocket and get nothing for it.