Wasaga Beach rejects TBM regional government idea

·3 min read

The Town of Wasaga Beach isn’t interested in pursuing a new regional government model recently suggested by the Town of The Blue Mountains.

In a letter dated April 14, Wasaga Beach Mayor Nina Bifolchi advised The Blue Mountains council that her council is not interested in looking at a new regional model. TBM council will consider the mayor’s letter at its regular meeting on May 10.

“In summary, the Town of Wasaga Beach is not interested in being part of a South Georgian Bay Regional government consisting of Meaford, Grey Highlands, Collingwood and Clearview,” Bifolchi states in the letter. “The Town of Wasaga Beach has the benefit of being part of the County of Simcoe and has no desire to be part of this review.”

In March, The Blue Mountains council asked its staff to prepare a report about the town’s financial contributions to Grey County. Leaders in The Blue Mountains have long expressed dissatisfaction with the amount the town pays to Grey County compared to the level of service it receives back. At the time, council also suggested a new regional authority with neighbouring municipalities be considered.

In her letter, Mayor Bifolchi said the Wasaga Beach coordinated committee passed a resolution rejecting the regional suggestion from The Blue Mountains. The resolution noted that Wasaga Beach was not consulted about the idea ahead of time.

The resolution states:

“And Whereas there was no contact with the Town of Wasaga Beach before the motion was put forward; And Whereas there was no regard or consideration for Wasaga Beach, Collingwood or Clearview taxpayers on the implications to these taxpayers of becoming part of a regional government with the Town of The Blue Mountains, with these taxpayers likely being asked to fund any funding shortfalls of this new governance model; Be it resolved that the Council of the Town of Wasaga Beach advises the Town of The Blue Mountains that Wasaga Beach enjoys being part of the County of Simcoe governance structure and has no desire to be part of the review; And be it further resolved that the Council of the Town of Wasaga Beach indicate to the Town of The Blue Mountains that it will strongly oppose any regionalization efforts.”

TBM Mayor Alar Soever and Councillor Rob Sampson, who brought forward the resolution passed by The Blue Mountains, expressed disappointment neighbouring municipalities are not interested in investigating other options.

“Councillor Sampson’s motion merely requested staff to provide additional financial analysis on our relationship with the county in terms of finances and service delivery, and to compare it with a possible alternative governance arrangement which might or might not serve our residents better and provide better value for their tax dollars,” said Soever, who emphasized that he was not commenting on behalf of council, but was giving his personal thoughts on the matter. “South Georgian Bay was picked because it is the most logical alternative. It is the responsibility of all councils to leave no stone unturned to ensure their residents are getting the best value for their tax dollars. This is what we are doing.”

Sampson echoed the mayor’s sentiments and said there was more to his resolution than the governance component.

“The purpose of the motion was to look at service delivery to make sure that we were delivering services for our taxpayers that they want and need, and in the most efficient and effective way. This is something that councils should be doing regularly,” said Sampson. “It is indeed unfortunate that some politicians have seen this motion as solely a governance model review. Governance model analysis is only proper once service delivery is fully analyzed, and proper data assembly has occurred – the thrust of the motion.”

Chris Fell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca

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