Forget Peel amalgamation, Mississauga mayor says, as fight to go it alone continues
Published February 16, 2023 at 3:15 pm
Mayor Bonnie Crombie and her Mississauga council are once again–for the umpteenth time–screaming from rooftops that Canada’s seventh-largest city needs to split from Peel and forge an independent political path moving forward.
What Mississauga and its nearly 830,000 residents do not need, Crombie stressed during Wednesday’s City council meeting, is to be lumped into a new megacity along with current Peel partners Brampton and Caledon.
That idea, which Mississauga’s mayor and councillors argue would greatly disadvantage their citizens, was floated once again Wednesday when Ontario Premier Doug Ford spoke about the matter at a Brampton news conference that took place while Mississauga City council was in session.
Ford and his government are looking for ways in which to reduce or eliminate municipal duplication in Peel and several other municipalities across the province. Forming a Peel megacity is one option that has been discussed, but Ford is on record as saying recently that he supports a move in the other direction–Mississauga and Brampton becoming standalone cities.
Ford said his government will at some point sit down with Peel’s mayors to talk about the issue.
Meanwhile, Mississauga adopted a motion from Crombie on Wednesday that once again states its commitment to moving forward as a single-tier municipality and calls on the Ontario government to “make it a priority to appoint a provincial facilitator as soon as possible to begin the assessment of the Region of Peel and that this review be completed in a timely fashion.”
In speaking to the motion on Wednesday, Crombie noted it’s an appropriate time to again push for independence given 24 hours earlier they had said a final goodbye to former Mississauga mayor and Canadian political icon Hazel McCallion at her state funeral.
“Today, in particular because it’s post-Hazel and she started this ball and I think we all want to fulfill her legacy in doing so,” said Crombie, adding an amalgamated Peel megacity could cost Mississauga, and its residents, a long-established identity.
“So, why amalgamation doesn’t work for the City of Mississauga is because, number one, it doesn’t address the underlying issues that currently exist and it would mean that we are continuing to subsidize our regional partners, Brampton in particular with (its) growth and policing.”
Secondly, Crombie noted, is the cost to Mississauga taxpayers.
“Through independence, we realize a savings of $1 billion, so amalgamation doesn’t work because we don’t realize that savings. It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t address the issues and we’re still funding the growth for another municipality as it becomes amalgamated into our city as well.”
Furthermore, the mayor added, amalgamation in Peel “doesn’t do what I know the premier’s aim is, and that is to cut red tape and eliminate duplication (and) speed up the development process, which being a single-tier city would do.”
Crombie also noted that amalgamation experiments in Toronto, Ottawa and Hamilton didn’t work as “there was no savings realized when those cities were amalgamated.”
The mayor concluded that single-tier cities also “are more nimble and innovative and we can respond faster. There’s just less bureaucratic layers to peel through, hence why we could speed up the development process.”
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