Brampton ‘averted disaster’ as province scraps Peel dissolution, says Mayor Brown

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Published December 13, 2023 at 2:18 pm

Mayor Patrick Brown speaks to reporters flanked by members of Brampton City Council spoke to reporters on Dec. 12, 2023.

News that the province isn’t breaking up the Region of Peel was met with a round of applause in Brampton City Council.

Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Paul Calandra announced on Wednesday that the much-debated dissolution of Peel would not go ahead as planned in 2025.

The move backtracks on a deathbed promise to late Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion by Premier Doug Ford and comes after Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown went public with concerns the break-up would cost taxpayers more than $1 billion.

“We have averted disaster,” Brown said in reaction to the news.

“The Ford government has stopped a potential financial train wreck and diminished emergency services across the board,” Brown said in a post on social media.

With the decision reversed, Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon are expected to remain part of Peel Region for the foreseeable future, and regional services such as paramedics and waste collection are expected not to be dissolved.

Brampton City Council was in the middle of budget deliberations when Calandra took the podium at Queen’s Park and paused for a recess to watch the announcement live.

Members in council chambers broke into a round of applause when the news broke.

“We have some certainty now, after such a torturous time waiting,” said Coun. Rowena Santos said in a post on X (formerly Twitter) while watching the announcement.

The province billed the split as a way to reduce duplicated departments and lower taxes under the Hazel McCallion Act, but Calandra says he has heard “loud and clear” from politicians and stakeholders that a full break-up “would lead to significant tax hikes and disruption to critical services.”

“This is something our government will never support,” he said.

Brown was opposed to the dissolution process which saw a provincial-appointed transition board named to oversee the split, while his Mississauga counterpart Bonnie Crombie seemed committed to “dissolution at any cost,” Calandra said.

The Brampton mayor commissioned a report by KPMG to look into the potential cost of the dissolution which was leaked last week – a report Crombie has challenged Brown to release.

When asked by Insauga.com whether the document would be made public, Brown at first deflected pointing to an updated report from  Deloitte before saying he would “be happy to share that as long as the contract allows for it.”

The new mandate for the transition board asks it to bring forward recommendations to remove the “duplicative layer of regional bureaucracy” to help build housing faster.

Peel Paramedic Union OPSEU/SEFPO L277 and Brown had raised concerns about a potential “mass exodus” of first responders due to job insecurity related to the potential dissolution.

“Our goal in reviewing Peel’s local government structure has always been to provide the highest level of service at the lowest cost to taxpayers,” said Calandra, adding that “that full dissolution of Peel is not the best way to achieve this goal.”

Calandra also said he is considering revoking or amending several Minister’s Zoning Orders, which override local bylaws, for lack of action or lack of water or wastewater servicing for sites.

As well, the government said that measures it introduced earlier to spur the creation of “attainable” homes will be amended to incentivize the development of modular homes.

– With files from Jonah Shinuda and The Canadian Press

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