Is Breaking Up Hard To Do? That’s The Plan For Peel Region, Simcoe County Up For Review


Courtesy of Barrie 360, Ian MacLennanPublished: May 18th, 2023

With files from The Canadian Press

Could the County of Simcoe’s days be numbered?

On Thursday, the province introduced a bill to break up Peel Region by 2025 and let Caledon, Brampton and Mississauga become standalone cities.

The province also announced a facilitator would review government structure in Simcoe County, similar to what is being done in Waterloo Region, York Region, Durham Region, Niagara Region and Halton Region.

There are 16 towns and townships that make up the county, which provides services such as land ambulance, long-term care and social housing to those communities as well as the separated cities of Barrie and Orillia.

Those 16 lower-tier municipalities are responsible for their own policing, fire and library needs, among other things.

“The County of Simcoe has and continues to be a highly efficient and effective level of government, serving its residents extremely well and working co-operatively with a range of partners and multiple levels of government. As the future unfolds, the County continues to recognize the importance of high-growth pressures, servicing capacity, affordable housing, health care and infrastructure,” County Warden Basil Clarke said in an email statement Thursday afternoon.

“The County provides high value and quality in its service delivery through its responsible management of tax payers’ dollars. Efficiency also comes through co-operation from its 16 member municipalities and 2 separated cities. From waste services, to paramedics and long term care, road maintenance and social services, these programs are expensive to deliver and the consolidated expertise at the County level and overall system approach, means all municipalities and residents benefit. The County of Simcoe has always placed residents first.”

The statement went on to say that Simcoe County is at a different point in its evolution than that of Peel Region or other regional municipalities.

“Our structure and governance in Simcoe County is different than larger regions across Ontario because many of our smaller municipalities already face budgetary constraints and challenges with service delivery capacity, such as water and waste water. With more population coming, the benefits of economies of scale are evident. In Simcoe County, there is simply more capacity and more value for household taxes with regional services.”

The County of Simcoe Council said it did formally request engagement and facilitation with the province on planning and co-ordination of growth-related services at a meeting of council earlier this year.

” We trust this will be included in the provincial process,” the statement said.

Patricia Dent

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