The Blue Mountains council may be exploring interest in a review of the current system of regional governance, but the mayor has recently clarified the town is not trying to form a new government.
Council at its meeting on May 10, reacted to a recent letter from Wasaga Beach Mayor Nina Bofolchi advising council that Wasaga Beach is not interested in pursuing a new regional government model.
The letter from Mayor Bifolchi was in response to a recent resolution passed by The Blue Mountains council asking staff to review the town’s financial relationship with Grey County and suggested a different governance structure involving the town and its neighbours: Grey Highlands, Meaford, Collingwood, Clearview and Wasaga Beach might be better.
The town’s resolution has not generated any enthusiasm from neighbouring municipalities.
Members of council stressed that the resolution was not about forming a new regional governance structure, but rather it was about reviewing how services are delivered and the costs of the services.
“We’re asking staff to tell us if we’re getting good value for our ratepayers and would we get better value if we were in a different setting,” said Mayor Alar Soever.
Councillor Rob Sampson brought forward the resolution and said the focus was not on redefining the local political landscape.
“The thrust of the motion was to look at service delivery and service delivery options,” said Sampson. “Are these the right services at the right price for our ratepayers.”
Sampson noted that The Blue Mountains already had cross-border service agreements with Collingwood on things like water, police and transportation. He said it only makes sense that the town would look at other opportunities.
Councillor Jim Uram said the issue should be clarified and noted the regional governance discussion is not new.
“The regional topic has been raised three or four times in history. It has been an issue in the past,” he said. “There should be an explanation as to what the principles of the study should be.”
Councillor Paula Hope said in retrospect the reaction from the town’s neighbours is understandable.
“Going beyond our borders is provocative. We need to be careful with this particular conversation. It does upset others who are not coming from the same place we are,” said Hope.
Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca