In my opinion, saving money on paycheques and municipal budgets is not the best reason for amalgamation. In fact, time and time again, in amalgamated cities across Canada, the touted savings don’t materialize. Yet, there may be other possible, positive outcomes.
Effectiveness of service delivery. Yes, our local municipalities have shared service agreements in many areas as The City of Summerside provides fire protection, as well provides many sports opportunities for our youth to the municipality of Linkletter. We also do banking, shop and eat, as well the city has a hospital which provides us care.
It is time for surrounding municipalities – Linkletter, Sherbrooke etc. – the low hanging fruit in this area has been picked. It’s time to climb higher in the tree, to find the bigger fruit for the betterment of the residents in which they represent. Let’s face it, municipalities are a lot more complex than they used to be, with greater needs and challenges to tackle with the new Municipal Government Act, as they need to have office space open to public staff to run their own elections etc. all which would make it difficult for small municipalities to provide the services to the residents they represent.
Better service and higher impact are somethings that will come out of a greater unification with a major city such as Summerside and over the long-term the surrounding municipalities will see they will be stronger together as our province continues to grow. Summerside does many things better than Linkletter, Bedeque, Miscouche and Sherbrooke does, and vice versa. Imagine if we actually figured that out and adopted all of the best practices? That’s where you would see the real gains materialize, which could lead to increased effectiveness, heightened impact, and improved service.
So, how about a new word?
Unification. A process that clearly identifies our collective strengths and forges a stronger, unified path to the future. Tomorrow’s Summerside Region, not yesterday’s. Poised for success, for the long term.
I think it may be worth a look and I encourage the councils of these surrounding municipalities to get to the table with Summerside for the greater good of those people they represent.
Jeffery Warren Reynolds,