Premier Doug Ford Comes Onside
Provincial Government Announces Support For Local Decision-Making
KITCHENER - This morning Steve Clark, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, announced the next steps in the Regional Government Review. The Province committed to partner with municipalities, support local decision-making and provide funding to assist municipalities in their on-going efforts to modernize service delivery.
“This is welcome news from Minister Clark and Premier Ford,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “It is clear through today’s announcement, that the government is demonstrating their commitment to local decision-making and will not be taking a top-down approach to modernization.”
“The province’s approach is very much in line with what we heard from Kitchener residents,” Mayor Vrbanovic
The City of Kitchener collaborated closely with Minister Clark and Special Advisors, Michael Fenn and Ken Seiling since the launch of the Regional Government Review. Mayor, Council and staff worked closely with area municipalities, heard from residents, met with the Special Advisors, engaged local MPPs, commissioned public opinion research and met with the Minister and Deputy Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing.
“While we recognize there are a range of opinions on the shape of municipal government, a majority of residents told us they like our existing local-decision making structure and want to see more supports for making our service delivery even more efficient.”
Earlier this year, the City of Kitchener commissioned a statistically representative survey of Kitchener residents about the review. When asked about the structure of their local government, 8 of 10 Kitchener residents said they are satisfied with their two-tier government in Waterloo Region.
“The province’s approach is very much in line with what we heard from Kitchener residents,” said Mayor Vrbanovic.
Waterloo region has a long and proud history of successfully collaborating on shared priorities. Area municipalities are currently in discussions to explore service delivery opportunities in pursuit of cost savings and optimization. Currently, the City of Kitchener is undertaking its own service review of fleet and facilities to find efficiencies. The $143 million announced for audits and modernization will make the cost of service delivery reviews much less onerous for municipalities.
“This new funding will help area municipalities further explore opportunities and will help us improve municipal service delivery; avoid duplication of activities; reduce costs; optimize infrastructure investments; and position the communities within our region to compete effectively on the global stage – now, and well into the future.”
“The City of Kitchener is grateful for the work of Michael Fenn and Ken Seiling as Special Advisors. They are respected municipal leaders and I have no doubt that their work has helped shape the government's direction.”
Mayor Jaworsky Applauds Province’s Decision On Municipal Governance
Waterloo, Ontario – Mayor Dave Jaworsky says the province’s decision to not mandate forced municipal amalgamations is good news for the community.
“Giving municipalities the ability to determine their own future is a good decision by the province,” said Mayor Jaworsky. “We know through the citizen satisfaction survey we completed earlier this year that residents are happy with the services we provide, how we provide them and the overall quality of life in Waterloo.”
The citizen satisfaction survey found:
• 99% of respondents said the quality of life in Waterloo is either very good or good
• 94% are satisfied with Waterloo as a place to live
• Citizen satisfaction is highest with fire services, our libraries, arts and culture, parks and recreation programs and the city’s facilities and museum
Mayor Jaworsky noted the communities in Waterloo Region have a successful track record of working together in areas of mutual interest, such as economic development and tourism. He said the spirit of co-operation that exists among local municipalities is a hallmark of the region and they will continue to work together to introduce further efficiencies and benefits. The city would also welcome annual provincial support for the city’s long-standing and ongoing efforts to find efficiencies throughout its organization. He also noted the province’s decision preserves the rural/urban fabric of our region, which the citizens of the cities and townships value.
“Throughout the consultation we have maintained that local municipalities are best positioned to decide what works best in their local areas and I thank the province for listening to that input.”
The mayor also applauded the province for signaling its interest in unifying voter lists, which will add efficiency to that process.