Residents skeptical of Peel breakup must be reassured it’s best for Mississauga: Councillor


Published November 15, 2023 at 5:27 pm

Mississauga provides update on Peel split Nov. 15, 2023

Mississauga officials are confident their long-sought and impending political independence from the Region of Peel will prove to be a boon for Canada’s seventh-largest city and its residents.

Now, they just have to convince a somewhat skeptical public that the dissolution of regional government in which Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon will go their separate political ways as of Jan. 1, 2025 is a good thing.

Responding to an update on the ongoing Peel breakup from Mississauga City Manager and Chief Administrative Officer Shari Lichterman on Wednesday, Ward 2 Coun. Alvin Tedjo said many residents need to be reassured that the city moving forward as a single-tier municipality is the best plan.

A provincial government transition team is currently working with the Region of Peel and its three member municipalities to determine the best way to go about the split.

Tedjo said at today’s general committee meeting that “the fear that’s out there (among residents) over the transition is really based around the unknown about timing, about whether or not it’s actually happening, about what’s happening with jobs, and I think as much as we can” that we must alleviate that by sharing information and letting people know that the city, the region and the provincial government are committed to getting things done in the best possible way.

“No disruption in service. There will be no disruption in service. We’re going to have to say it 20 times (to residents),” Tedjo continued, noting he’s heard from constituents they’re concerned about the split negatively impacting their daily lives.

The councillor said they must keep driving home the message to taxpayers that the municipal breakup is an opportunity for improvement and that it’s going to be better for Mississauga.

He suggested, among other things, hosting town halls in the new year to get the word out.

Mississauga City Manager and Chief Administrative Officer Shari Lichterman updates councillors on the Peel breakup earlier today in council chambers.

Lichterman acknowledged there are people who are skeptical about how such a massive undertaking and restructuring can work.

“Certainly breaking up an organization as large as the Region of Peel is complicated, so I’m not suggesting it’s going to be easy, but I think it’s really important to understand that we’re not creating a new model of government here,” the city manager told councillors. “There are many, many other single-tier cities who deliver all of these services. So, while getting there might be challenging just given the size and scale of the organizations involved, it’s certainly doable and given the size and the ability of the organization of the City of Mississauga, for example, I’m very confident that if Windsor and Kingston and Sudbury etc. can deliver all of these services, so can Mississauga — and Brampton, and even Caledon, which is going to grow rapidly over the next decade or so.”

Lichterman added that residents worried about the city not knowing how to best deliver services that for decades have been handled by the Region of Peel should be reassured that Mississauga has put together a strong team to take up the task.

“To get ready for independence, Mississauga has taken action to bring on the right people with the right experience to ensure the city is ready to take on regional services,” she said, referring to several recent hirings by the city. “We’re ensuring Mississauga will have the right people in place for a seamless transition. This includes bringing on experts in fields like health and human services so that we’re ready to deliver these critical services on day one. Our focus remains on providing quality services with no disruption for residents and businesses. It also means welcoming the highly qualified Peel Region staff and their expertise to deliver the programs and services in these areas.”

Acting Mayor Chris Fonseca said there’s no doubt Mississauga is ready to take on the challenge of making the transition without major issues getting in the way.

“We’ve advocated for this change for years and are prepared to take on the challenge of becoming a single-tier, independent municipality,” she said in a follow-up news release this afternoon. “The city has proven its ability to be a world-class destination with strong financial management, exceptional leadership and extensive experience. The shift towards independence will allow council and the city to make meaningful decisions to address key issues unique to Mississauga such as housing, growth, transportation, infrastructure, climate change and financial management. We’re confident this change will lead to a better service delivery for residents and businesses. This is good news for Mississauga.”

Mayor Bonnie Crombie, who’s on a leave of absence as she pursues the Ontario Liberal Party leadership, has said all along that independence for Mississauga can’t happen soon enough.

In an interview in late August with publisher Khaled Iwamura that was posted to X (formerly Twitter), Crombie said the municipal split is the best path forward for Mississauga.

She said she’s hopeful and confident things will proceed smoothly.

“The (transition) board was very well prepared and they were very committed to separation as soon as possible,” Crombie told in the recent interview. “It’s very important for (Mississauga), in particular, that this process go quickly so that the third-largest city in Ontario (Mississauga) not subsidize the growth of the fourth-largest city (Brampton), and that they stand on their own two feet.”

It’s also crucial, the mayor continued, that “…we have the ability to control our own destiny and reinvest our taxpayer dollars back into our city rather than to another tier of government or to another growing municipality nearby.”

insauga's Editorial Standards and Policies advertising