OLRA’s understanding is that neither Seguin Township nor the Township of the Archipelago was invited to attend the Jan. 10, 2019 provincial budget consultation with MPP Norm Miller (Parry Sound – Muskoka), and a representative of the Ministry of Finance in Parry Sound at the Charles W. Stockey Centre. Ideas on how to save money and cut red tape were solicited at the meeting and the topic of amalgamation was brought up too. The Township of the Archipelago has resolved to send a letter to share its unhappiness with the Province at being left out.
Why should all this be concerning to you?
- Amalgamation could very likely come with tax increases for Seguin property owners. Seguin has the largest property tax assessment in the District, has operated in the black for several years and a has a relatively low tax rate compared to i.e. Parry Sound.
- Parry Sound’s Mayor, Jamie McGarvey seems to be advocating for amalgamation. He is quoted as saying, “We have a number of projects in the area that we really need everyone on board and if we’re going to market and get really good economic development (projects) going, we need to be all on the same page.”
- Amalgamation would affect Seguin’s services, Official Plan and by-laws.
- The Province has not yet disclosed their funding for 2019 to Seguin. This action leaves our Council unable to finish their 2019 budget.
OLRA’s understanding is that there already is good cooperation between the Municipalities in the District of Parry Sound. That is not to say that it couldn’t be improved but is amalgamation the best strategy? The rational behind amalgamation is that shrinking government will “save money” however, it does not always work that way, especially if forced and/or rushed. Not only can costs go up but municipalities can lose representation, staff can lose their jobs and communities can lose their focus and character.
For Seguin that is the Environment First policy that is so vital to maintaining sustainable, clean lakes which are Seguin’s drawing card.
At this point it is not clear what Seguin would gain in an amalgamation. Those details are yet to be disclosed or perhaps defined.
OLRA urges you to share your input with us and:
MPP Norm Miller’s constituency office – 705.746.4266, in person at 17 James Street, Parry Sound, Ontario, P2A 1T4, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seguin Mayor Ann MacDiarmid – Cell: (705) 346-2210 or by email at
Seguin Councillor Daryle Moffatt, Ward 1 – Cell: (416) 500-3451 or by email at email@example.com
Seguin Councillor Art Coles, Ward 2 – Cell: (416) 428-1990 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
OLRA will be following the developments in this issue.